THE National Basketball Association has filed a lawsuit in an attempt to stop the Oregon Lottery from adding professional basketball to its Sports Action betting game. The lawsuit, filed Dec. 21 in US District Court in Eugene, contends that the game violates federal antigambling statutes and the Oregon Constitution. It also alleges illegal use of NBA trademarks and unauthorized commercial exploitation of the league's property rights.
Gary Bettman, the NBA's senior vice president and general counsel, said the Oregon contest is not a game of chance. Voters approved a lottery in 1984, he said, but ``they didn't contemplate sports betting. The lottery is something you pick by numbers, by chance, not on the basis of athletic competition.''
Bettman said it is likely the lottery game will start before the lawsuit is settled and ``the game will have been conducted by the state at its own risk.''
A similiar game was ruled legal in Delaware in 1975, but it was abandoned shortly after it began because of a lack of sales.