Eugene “Geno” DelGiudice, 85, has been sentenced to a year of probation and three months of home detention for his role in an illegal gambling scheme.
It’s the same scheme that allegedly involved Casey Urlacher, brother of the Chicago Bears legend Brian Urlacher. DelGiudice’s son, Vincent, was in charge of the operation.
The elder DelGiudice pleaded guilty to serving as a “runner” for the gambling ring. He allegedly would collect and deliver large sums of money and be tipped for his services.
“I know what I did was wrong and I’m sorry,” he said in the video conference hearing. “I don’t have an excuse, so I ain’t gonna make any.”
The sentence is lighter than previously expected. Prosecutors asked US District Judge Virginia Kendall to give DelGiudice a sentence of home detention and probation because he has lived a “largely law-abiding life.”
They also noted that due to his age and health, he’s at severe risk of death or illness if he were to contract COVID-19.
DelGiudice’s defense attorney also said that his client was “unaware of the mechanics” of the scheme and “unable to use a computer.” Supporters sent dozens of character letters to the court on DelGiudice’s behalf.
DelGiudice admitted that he relished the role of serving as a resource for younger members of the ring.
“One of the scariest things about getting old is not feeling useful,” he said. “I miss that.”
What it means for Casey Urlacher
Urlacher has been charged with conspiracy and running an illegal gambling business, whereas DelGiudice was only charged with the former.
Urlacher faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of both counts. While extenuating circumstances may have been in play for DelGiudice (age, a smaller role in the scheme), his relatively light sentencing would appear to be good news for Urlacher.
At the time he pleaded guilty on July 2, DelGiudice faced up to five years in prison.
While serving as the mayor of Mettawa, IL, Urlacher allegedly recruited bettors in exchange for a cut of their losses.
He is still the mayor today.
Vincent DelGiudice to plead guilty
Vincent DelGiudice, who allegedly led the operation, will plead guilty next week, according to court records.
The younger DelGiudice allegedly paid more than $10,000 a month to run his website that was called unclemicksports. Agents searched his home in April 2019 and found almost $1.1 million in cash to go with various silver bars and jewelry.
Feds are seeking forfeiture of $8 million. The gambling ring was allegedly a multimillion-dollar business.
Why legal gambling in Illinois is better
The operation specifically targeted problem gamblers, and one victim said he felt threatened by one of the agents. The victim wound up embezzling money from his employer to cover his losses.
Legal gambling, meanwhile, has resources in place to encourage people to gamble responsibly. Legal operators will also never pressure or threaten people.
“That is just one gambler’s story, and there are undoubtedly many more like it,” Assistant US Attorney Ankur Srivastava wrote. He added that Eugene DelGiudice “assisted the criminal venture in preying upon the gambling enterprise’s many victims,” but did not personally pressure gamblers.
Srivastava also said that many of the victims risked their careers and marriages by continuing to bet with the ring.
“This is not a group of friends gambling together or doing a football pool,” he said at the hearing. Srivastava asked that the home detention sentencing for Eugene DelGiudice be six months instead of three.
In total, 10 people have been charged in the scheme. PlayIllinois will monitor the story as more rulings come to light.
There are many safe and legal sports betting in Chicago and throughout the Prairie State.