Las Vegas Casino Executive to Serve a Year of Probation for Letting Bookie Gamble Millions

  • Sibella failed to file a suspicious transaction report about an illegal bookmaker
  • He may face further punishment from the gaming regulators in Nevada
  • The MGM Grand accepted $4m in cash from the bookie without asking questions
Judge pounding gavel
The former chief operating officer of the MGM Grand has to serve a year of probation after he allowed an illegal bookmaker to gamble millions without reporting him to the compliance department. [Image:]

Facing the music

A former leading casino executive in Las Vegas has to serve a year of probation for not reporting the gambling activity of an illegal bookmaker. Scott Sibella was most recently the president of Resorts World Las Vegas until he was let go from his role in September 2023 after his employer learned about the investigation. The offense for which the federal court convicted him on Wednesday relates to his time as the chief operating officer of the MGM Grand.

allowed illegal bookmaker Wayne Nix to spend millions of dollars gambling

Sibella pleaded guilty in January to violating anti-money laundering (AML) laws as part of the Bank Secrecy Act that requires casinos to file suspicious transaction reports. He allowed illegal bookmaker Wayne Nix to spend millions of dollars gambling without having to answer any questions about the origins of the money. US District Judge Dolly Gee also requires the 61-year-old to pay a $9,500 fine.

Sibella avoided prison time as he had no criminal record and cooperated with the investigators. He was facing up to five years of prison time and a fine of up to $250,000. Judge Gee did say that the Nevada resident “turned a blind eye” to the actions that were taking place at the casino which he possibly knew to be illegal.

Not over yet

After receiving his sentence, Sibella issued an apology to his previous bosses, friends, and family, telling the judge that she wouldn’t see him in her court again. He also emphasized that he never gained anything from not filing the suspicious transaction report.

One of the people who provided a character reference for Sibella was Clark County Sherriff Kevin McMahill, who said that the defendant is his friend and has provided support to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

He’s not completely in the clear, as gaming regulators in Nevada may dole out their own punishment. He could be facing a suspension or total revocation of his Nevada gambling license, as well as a fine of as much as $750,000.

The casinos involved in the illegal betting scheme also did not get off the hook. The US Department of Justice investigation led to both the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and MGM Grand admitting to their failures to comply with AML laws, resulting in the two resorts paying $7.45m in penalties combined. They also have to carry out an external review and improve their AML compliance programs.

Background of the case

The illegal bookmaker at the center of this case is still waiting for his own sentencing after admitting in April 2022 to running an illegal betting enterprise and submitting false tax returns.

MGM Grand had accepted over $4m in cash from Nix by 2020

Wayne Nix implicated Sibella and various casinos in his plea agreement, explaining how he was able to gamble with the money he earned from his illegal bookmaking without the compliance departments becoming aware. Sibella even extended complimentary benefits to the former baseball player and encouraged him to visit other affiliated properties. The MGM Grand had accepted over $4m in cash from Nix by 2020.

When investigators asked the Sibella about Nix, he said that while he had heard about the illegal betting operation, he didn’t really want to know for sure as then he would have to stop him from gambling at the property.

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