O'Donnell: Was Casey Urlacher used to whet a headline-seeking net?
CASEY URLACHER HAS HAD better weeks.
And better publicity.
He is the 40-year-old brother of Brian Urlacher -- the Bears Hall of Famer -- and the mayor of the notably wealthy Lake County village of Mettawa.
On Thursday, he was named in an ominous federal indictment along with nine other men as allegedly being part of "an offshore sports betting ring" that had "hundreds of bettors" losing "millions of dollars."
Urlacher has been denying any knowledge of the government's investigation.
The indictment lists a fellow named Vincent Delgiudice of Orland Park as being the mastermind behind "the ring" with Urlacher one of eight "agents" who helped recruit and service upstreaming wagerers.
Delgiudice, according to the indictment, had the extreme misfortune to have $1.06 million cash laying around his house when the feds came knocking last spring.
That's generally not pizza-delivery tip money.
Along with an alleged stream of text messages, emails and links to a Costa Rica-based online gaming service, it's also not a difficult opening judicial mosaic to put into play.
So -- investigation, indictments and now constitutional due process afforded to all presumed innocent continues down the system's pathways.
But at least one locally-bred expert -- an individual who operates the same sort of "ring" at a level well above that alleged of Delgiudice -- was miffed by elements of the government's announcement.
"There's not a hint of muscle or intimidation in the indictment, meaning this operation was about as dangerous as having ink cartridges refilled at Costco," the authority said.
"You had bettors who wanted to play and got to keep playing as long as they paid. That's the way it works."
The authority said agents are essentially passive recruiters who bring bettors into "a ring." They're responsible for paying or collecting from the speculators they recruit.
A final point of curiosity is that legal sports gaming in Illinois is scheduled to begin in March.
So today's sin will be next month's drive-through, albeit with much easier tracking capabilities accruing to the IRS.
There can be little question the timing of the government's announcement of the indictments was intended to send a very clear boom-shakalaka to all independent bookmakers.
In this case -- whether he is found innocent or guilty -- the name "Urlacher" merely helped to whet a headline-seeking net.
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• Jim O'Donnell's Sports & Media column appears Thursday and Sunday. Reach him at email@example.com.