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The Nevada Independent

Nevada gaming regulators file complaint against embattled casino exec

The action follows a guilty plea by the former casino president over failure to comply with anti-money laundering programs with the MGM Grand.
Howard Stutz
Howard Stutz

The Nevada Gaming Control Board has filed a three-count complaint against former casino executive Scott Sibella four months after his January guilty plea for violating the Bank Secrecy Act in connection with a sprawling, ongoing federal illegal bookmaking investigation. 

Sibella, who was fired last September as president of Resorts World Las Vegas after overseeing the June 2021 opening of the $4.3 billion Strip property, is facing a substantial fine and other penalties, either through a stipulated settlement with the board or following a hearing overseen by the Nevada Gaming Commission.

The complaint, which was signed by all three control board members and filed Tuesday, addressed events that took place in 2018 when Sibella was president of the MGM Grand Las Vegas. 

Earlier this year, Sibella pleaded guilty to violating federal anti-money laundering compliance programs when he authorized MGM casino marketing representatives to allow Wayne Nix, an alleged illegal bookmaker and former minor league baseball player, to gamble millions of dollars at the casino and pay his debts in cash.

“Sibella failed to comply with MGM Resorts International’s anti-money laundering policy and failed to comply with MGM Grand’s internal controls that required Sibella to report suspicious activities regarding Nix,” the control board wrote in the complaint.

In February 2023, the control board publicly declared that it had ended a nearly year-long investigation into Sibella and Resorts World concerning the property’s relationship with a restaurant partially owned by a convicted felon. The move was considered unusual as historically the agency only announces an investigation when a complaint is filed. 

Sibella was initially given a limited license by state gaming regulators before Resorts World opened, with the agency saying at the time his license application and investigation hadn’t been completed. He was given a full gaming license a year later after a background and character investigation.

The control board attached a copy of Sibella’s guilty plea that he agreed to during a hearing in January at the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. 

Las Vegas attorney John Spilotro, who represents Sibella, declined comment.

He is scheduled to be sentenced on May 8 and faces up to five years in prison. The Nevada Independent columnist John L. Smith reported that Sibella is likely to receive a one-year probation and a fine.  

MGM Grand and The Cosmopolitan were fined a combined $7.45 million because of the actions of its former employees and the failures of its anti-money laundering compliance programs. 

Resorts World Las Vegas is owned by Malaysia-based Genting Berhad, a multifaceted conglomerate that operates Resorts World branded casinos throughout Asia (including Singapore) and in New York.

Editor's note: This story was updated at 2:32 p.m. on 5/1/24 to correct the name of an attorney who represents Sibella.


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