A Virginia Beach legislator planned strategy yesterday to revive his failed lottery referendum bill in the waning days of the current session. Del. J.W. (Billy) O'Brien, a Democrat who has unsuccessfully pushed the lottery measure for four consecutive years, said he hopes to revive the proposal with an amendment to a raffle bill by Sen. Clive L. DuVal (D-Fairfax).

O'Brien also said he is forming a citizens' group to help in his fight for the lottery, which he argues can be used to raise money to help the elderly, improve schools and clean up the Chesapeake Bay.

O'Brien could be halted in his bid to resurrect the lottery bill if House Speaker A.L. Philpott of Bassett rules the amendment is improper. O'Brien spoke with Philpott and expected a ruling today.

"He's mad as he could be at me right now," O'Brien said. "My wife said, 'Well, he can't fire you.' "

The bill calls for a referendum so voters can decide whether there should be a lottery such as the ones operated in Maryland and the District.

Earlier this session, O'Brien's bill died in the House General Laws Committee.