Massive Chicago Area Gambling Ring Preyed on College Kids, Prosecutors Contend

Written by:
Jagajeet Chiba
Published on:

Assistant U.S. Attorney Terry Kinney insisted in a court memo Monday that Matthew Namoff, 25, deserves to spend time behind bars for his role in “facilitated gambling by underage students”.  Namoff was part of a massive Chicago area gambling ring run by Vincent “Uncle Mick” DelGiudice with one of the accused even pardoned by former US President Donald Trump.

“Matthew Namoff played an important role in DelGiudice’s illicit business — as an agent, he ran DelGiudice’s bookmaking operation on a college campus, which facilitated gambling by underage students,” Kinney wrote.

"Uncle Mick" plead guilty in a federal court back in February to conducting an illegal sports gambling business and laundering the proceeds through an offshore company.

Delgiudice admitted in a plea agreement that from 2016 to 2019 he directed an illegal bookmaking business in Chicago, Lemont, Frankfort, Orland Park, and Woodridge.  The brother of Chicago Bears great Brian Urlacher, Casey Urlacher, was also charged but later pardoned by Trump.

No Small Time Player

  • Namoff is accused of bringing a “deep-pockets” gambler and a police officer into the ring.
  • Namoff’s defense attorney, Darryl Goldberg, says that his client had difficulty making friends in high school and found taking "small" bets formed a unique bond with his peers.
  • Namoff was instrumental in allowing for the gambling ring to reach onto the campus of Illinois State University, prosecutors claim.
  • Goldberg wrote that Namoff — while drunk and dealing with an undiagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder from a violent robbery — bragged that he knew of DelGiudice and his gambling website.
  • Kinney argues that Delgiudice once boasted that Namoff was his "partner" and brought 60 gamblers into the business.
  • Namoff is set to be sentenced Aug. 23. He pleaded guilty to a gambling conspiracy in April.

To date, only the police officer tied to the ring is serving any time in prison.  Veteran Chicago officer Nicholas Stella is serving a 15 month sentence for bookmaking.  Nine others, including Namoff and Delgiudice, were charged.

Sports betting is now legal in the state of Illinois but operators must be licensed.  Additionally, bets on state schools like the University of Illinois and Northwestern as well as games they are featured in are strictly prohibited.

Lawmakers are mulling the option of allowing bets on state schools, however, university higher-ups oppose the idea.  This case will likely help to put the kibosh into those efforts.

“Gambling on college sports places student-athletes squarely in harm’s way due to individuals seeking to alter the outcome of games or looking to obtain inside information for the purposes of wagering,” athletic directors from a handful of Illinois universities wrote in a letter to Governor J.B. Pritzker back in 2019. “ … On any college campus, (athletes) are easy to contact and particularly susceptible to undue influence.”

- Nagesh Rath,

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