SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The longtime promoter of expanding Illinois gambling has taken his name from a bill over "perceived conflict of interest" with his law firm.
In a statement released Tuesday, Democratic Rep. Lou Lang says there've been no violations, but not only is his name off the gambling bill, he may not vote when it comes to the House floor.
Lang is counsel for Odelson and Sterk, an Evergreen Park firm hired by Rockford. The city is one of five that would get a casino if lawmakers approve pending legislation. Rockford officials have said there's no connection.
Lang says his actions have been respectful of laws and ethical rules. He declined to comment Tuesday beyond the statement.
Democrat Rep. Robert Rita is now the gambling bill's sponsor.
It looks like the last of the safeguards Missouri legislators had initially placed on casinos could soon be tossed out.
A bill now before the Senate would let the state’s 13 casinos issue short-term loans to gamblers, secured by the gamblers' bank accounts. The measure easily won approval in the state house last month.
Casino executives say they need to be able to provide credit in order to attract high-end gamers who don't want to carry large amounts of cash.
The measure would repeal the last of the safeguards that were in the original state law voters passed in 1992 when they legalized riverboat gambling. The rule requiring riverboat casinos to actually be on a boat on a river, and $500 loss limits have already been repealed.