Casey Urlacher, the brother of former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher, may have more to worry about now. The first news about an illegal gambling ring broke since February, when federal agents arrested Casey Urlacher for his alleged participation.
One of the ring members pleaded guilty on July 2 to a single count of conspiring to conduct an unlicensed gambling operation. It’s unclear what that will mean for the other members of the group, however.
What we know about the potential role of Casey Urlacher
According to the arrest documents, Casey Urlacher acted as a “middleman” for the unlawful scheme. Urlacher allegedly recruited bettors, organized their wagers and collected/delivered payments. In exchange, Urlacher allegedly received a cut of the losses of the bets he arranged. The Department of Justice alleges that Urlacher did all this while acting as mayor of Mettawa, IL.
Urlacher has yet to be arraigned on the charges. If he should plead guilty or be convicted, he could face a similar sentence as another member of the ring is now facing. Eugene “Geno” DelGiudice admitted his part in the ring in an IL federal court on July 2. For three years, he acted in a role similar to the one Urlacher is alleged to have played, collecting payments and delivering winnings.
The DOJ alleges that DelGiudice’s son, Vincent DelGiudice, led the ring. Although Eugene DelGiudice declined to refute any of the allegations against his son, it isn’t sufficient to convict Vincent DelGiudice.
The elder DelGiudice faces up to five years in prison. If convicted, Urlacher would face the same maximum sentence. It’s still possible that Urlacher could work out a plea deal with prosecutors, exchanging his testimony against the younger DelGiudice for a more lenient sentence.
Whether that happens or not, Urlacher’s story could be a cautionary one for Illinoisans. Illegal gambling is a risky and potentially costly business.
Disadvantages of illegal sports betting
Even if law enforcement never catches up with illegal gambling operations like the DelGiudice ring, illegal sports betting is negative for Illinoisans. That goes for illegal bookies and offshore websites.
Choosing a legal sportsbook affords customers a better level of protection. If a dispute arises that the operator’s customer service can’t resolve, bettors can seek assistance from the Illinois Gaming Board.
Licensure means bettors will receive their winnings in a timely manner. There is nothing to stop an illegal gambling service from withholding your winnings for months if not longer.
Another benefit of registered books is that even those in Illinois who never bet a penny benefit from their existence. Tax revenue from legal wagers covers the cost of pensions and other public services.
Perhaps the biggest benefit, however, of legal wagering is the aid it provides for individuals with compulsive gambling issues. Illegal operations only prey upon such people.
With online and retail sportsbooks now operating legally in Illinois, there are above-board options for sports wagering in the state. Using illegal channels, like the DelGiudice ring, simply isn’t worth the risk.