Ex MGM, Genting Exec Scott Sibella Could Lose Gaming License in Betting Scandal

Posted on: May 2, 2024, 03:03h. 

Last updated on: May 2, 2024, 03:03h.

Former Resorts World Las Vegas and MGM Grand president Scott Sibella is now the subject of a complaint by the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB). The three-count formal complaint, filed Tuesday, alleges Sibella allowed illegal bookies to gamble large at the MGM Grand without questioning the source of their funds.

Scott Sibella, Nevada Gaming Control Board, Wayne Nix, Matt Bowyer, Shohei Ohtani, Ippei Mizhura
Scott Sibella, above, invited bookies Wayne Nix and Matt Bowyer to his Scott Sibella Undercover Weekends, VIP-only events inspired by his appearance on CBS reality show Undercover Boss. (Image: Fox News)

Sibella, who was fired by Resorts World in September 2023 for violating company policy, pleaded guilty in January to a federal charge of violating the Bank Secrecy Act in relation to the same allegation. He is scheduled to be sentenced next week.

The NGCB initially fumbled the ball on the Sibella case. Presented with information of his links to bookies, the regulator cleared the casino executive last year, finding the allegations to be “unsubstantiated.”

Investigation Widens

Having missed a trick, the NGCB has now joined a sprawling federal investigation into the possible laundering of proceeds from illegal bookmaking at Las Vegas casinos. This has widened to include Matt Bowyer, who received $16 million from the bank account of Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani, allegedly stolen by Ohtani’s interpreter, Ippei Mizhura.

The first count of the NGCB complaint against Sibella alleges he failed to file a suspicious transaction report (STR) in 2018 when bookie Wayne Nix paid a marker at the MGM Grand with $120K in cash.

Sibella was president of the casino at the time and later admitted to federal agents he didn’t want to ask about the source of the funds because he knew he would have to stop Nix from gambling.

The second count alleges he allowed Nix to gamble despite knowing that the source of his funds came from illegal bookmaking. The third alleges he violated MGM Resorts anti-money laundering (AML) protocols by committing the first two offenses. The complaint could result in Sibella losing his gaming license and paying a fine of up to $750K.

Nix, a former minor league baseball pitcher who provided illegal bookmaking to professional players of several sports, has pleaded guilty to illegal gambling and is awaiting sentencing.

Scott Sibella’s ‘Undercover Weekends’

At the MGM Grand, Sibella periodically hosted “Scott Sibella Undercover Weekends.” These were invite-only events for VIP gamblers, so called because of his 2011 appearance on the CBS show Undercover Boss. Both Nix and Bowyer were invited to these events as Sibella’s guests, according to the complaint.

Nix was also comped golf trips with senior executives, which aimed to encourage him to continue gambling at the casino.

Ohtani’s Money Filtered Through Casinos

An investigation by ESPN, published Tuesday, found that the money wired from Ohtani’s bank account ended up at casinos in Las Vegas and California, including Resorts World.

Sources told ESPN that Mizhura wired the money to an associate of Bowyer who would forward it to his marker accounts at Resorts World and Northern California’s Pechanga Casino. The men withdrew the funds in chips, gambled with them, and cashed out what was left.

Bowyer lost $7.9 million at Resorts World from June 2022 to October 2023, according to ESPN sources.