Former Las Vegas Casino Executive Faces Sentencing In Bookmaking Money Laundering Case

Scott Sibella

A former high-ranking executive from major Las Vegas casinos is scheduled to appear before a federal judge on Wednesday following his admission of allowing an illegal bookmaker to gamble millions of dollars at the MGM Grand and settle debts using cash.

Scott Sibella pleaded guilty in January to violating federal anti-money laundering regulations, which mandate casinos to report suspicious transactions.

He could be sentenced to up to five years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

After Sibella’s guilty plea, the MGM Grand and nearby Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas resolved a related U.S. Justice Department money laundering investigation.

Both resorts agreed to pay a combined total of $7.45 million, undergo external scrutiny, and enhance their compliance protocols.

Sibella’s legal team, consisting of Jeffrey Rutherford in Los Angeles and John Spilotro in Las Vegas, is seeking leniency and a probationary sentence from U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee in Los Angeles.

They submitted letters of support to the judge on Friday, including one from Clark County Sheriff Kevin McMahill, the head of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

The bookmaker central to Sibella’s case, Wayne Nix, a former minor league baseball player residing in Newport Coast, California, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty in April 2022 to operating an illegal gambling enterprise and filing a false tax return.

According to his plea agreement, Sibella permitted Nix to gamble at MGM Grand and associated properties with proceeds from the illegal gambling business without informing the casinos’ compliance department.

In January 2022, Sibella informed federal investigators that he had heard Nix was involved in the booking business and claimed ignorance regarding Nix’s funding sources for gambling activities.

Sibella held senior executive roles at The Mirage and Treasure Island casinos on the Las Vegas Strip before serving as president of the more than 6,800-room MGM Grand in 2011.

He later became president of Resorts World Las Vegas until 2023.

Federal prosecutors are pursuing a separate case involving Ippei Mizuhara, former interpreter for Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani, alleging that he transferred stolen money from Ohtani to Resorts World to settle debts with illegal bookmakers. Sibella is not implicated in that case.

Additionally, Nevada casino regulators are contemplating revoking or suspending Sibella’s state gambling license and imposing fines of up to $750,000.

A complaint filed by state Gaming Control Board investigators on April 30 is pending consideration by the Nevada Gaming Commission.

Sibella was terminated by Resorts World in September 2023 for alleged violations of company policies and terms of employment.

This story was culled from a report by the AP.