Third Man Implicated in Major Chicago Gambling Ring Avoids Prison Time

  • Todd Blanken received six months of community confinement and two years of probation
  • The defendant had pleaded guilty to gambling conspiracy in February this year
  • Assistant US Attorney Kinney said this was one of Chicago’s largest-ever bookmaking rings 
  • Brian Urlacher’s brother was also allegedly involved, but he received a presidential pardon
female judge holding gavel
Todd Blanken has avoided any prison time for his role in a Chicago-based illegal gambling ring as a district judge ordered him to serve six months of community confinement and two years of probation. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Blanken gets off the hook

Todd Blanken, an alleged key player in a major Chicago-based gambling ring, has avoided prison time, receiving six months of community confinement and two years of probation from US District Judge Virginia Kendall on Monday.

six months of community confinement and two years of probation

He is the third suspect in the case to avoid prison after codefendant Casey Urlacher received a presidential pardon and the elderly Eugene DelGiudice got three months of home detention. The judge believes the 44-year-old defendant has since “made some tough decisions” and “broken from this community” by moving to Arizona. She described Blanken’s efforts to get his life back on track as “admirable”.

As part of his sentence, Blanken will live in a community center and will still be able to work. Before sentencing, the defendant apologized to the judge and his family, saying: “I fully understand what I did was wrong.” He had already pleaded guilty to gambling conspiracy in February and was facing between six months and one year in prison.

A key role in the gambling ring

According to Assistant US Attorney Terry Kinney, this was “one of the largest bookmaking operations ever” in the federal court district of Chicago. He alleged that Blanken was a runner for ring leader Vincent “Uncle Mick” DelGiudice and some of his best agents, and would help with recruiting and managing gamblers.

Kinney also believed that Blanken played a role in collecting gambling debts, including regularly picking up $1,500 from someone who owed the operation $600,000. Vincent DelGiudice gave a Christmas bonus of $7,000 to Blanken in 2017 and $12,000 the following year.

Blanken had been working in the Cook County courts’ mandatory arbitration office while also carrying out his roles in the betting ring. The defense attorneys said he has recently been supporting his family by working at Costco.

Ten charged in major illegal operation

The federal authorities had alleged that Blanken held an important role in “an absolutely massive, long-term, very profitable” international gambling ring. Their investigation culminated in charges in February 2020 against Blanken, Brian Urlacher’s brother and Mettawa Mayor Casey Urlacher, Vincent DelGiudice and his father Eugene, along with six other people.

a high-profile sports figure “whose name we all know” had some involvement

A prosecutor also hinted on Monday that a high-profile sports figure “whose name we all know” had some involvement in the bookmaking operation.

Casey Urlacher avoided any sort of prison term after receiving a pardon from former President Donald Trump before he left office in January 2021. Blanken was the second person who received charges through the February 2020 indictment to get sentenced. Judge Kendall sentenced Eugene DelGiudice last fall to three months of home detention for his role in the bookmaking ring. The octogenarian is now reportedly seriously ill.

Vincent, the alleged boss of the business that catered to over 1,000 gamblers in Illinois and elsewhere, has already pleaded guilty to money laundering and gambling conspiracy charges. The authorities are reportedly seeking an $8m judgment against the ring leader, who also faces prison time.