Members of the Oregon congressional delegation are trying to halt a surprise push to kill the state's Sports Action betting game.
An amendment to the omnibus crime bill pending in Congress threatens to ban the game, the nation's only state-run sports lottery.
"Oregon officials got caught flat-footed," Rep. Les AuCoin (D-Ore.) said.
AuCoin said the crime bill is virtually assured of passage on the House floor, adding that the only way the amendment is likely to be killed is in a conference committee.
Sen. Bob Packwood (R-Ore.) had been leading the drive to stop a ban in the Senate and began working Thursday with other Oregon lawmakers to defeat the House measure.
The sports lottery amendment is sponsored by Rep. John Bryant (D-Tex.), who said professional sports should "remain wholesome, family-oriented entertainment and competition, rather than instruments for government-sponsored gambling."