Convicted casino executive faces loss of gaming license


Former Las Vegas casino executive Scott Sibella faces a potential three-count complaint from the Nevada Gaming Control Board, which could lead to his license being revoked and a fine of up to $750,000.

After months of conjecture on potential action following Sibella's guilty plea to violations of the Bank Secrecy Act, which aims to combat money laundering, on January 25, the Control Board officially filed its case against him.

It also happened more than a year after Sibella's complaints were originally deemed to be unsubstantiated and the Control Board completed its inquiry into them. There has since been a push from other government officials for an investigation into why the Control Board came to this conclusion in view of facts that were apparently well known to investigators.

U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee of the Central District of California sentenced Sibella in her downtown Los Angeles courtroom to no prison time, one year’s probation and a fine of $9,500, plus a $100 special assessment, for violating the federal Bank Secrecy Act established to prevent money laundering at financial institutions. The maximum punishment for the federal offense is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Several attorneys and other interested parties who did not want their names used for this story commented that Sibella was fortunate to receive an exceptionally light sentence.

“Financial institutions have a duty under the law to report criminal or suspicious activity occurring at the institution through suspicious activity reports,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph McNally said. “Our office will aggressively prosecute corporate executives and employees who turn a blind eye to criminal actors depositing illegal funds at casinos and financial institutions.”

The El Camino Real Financial Crimes Task Force, which is looking into illicit bookies and their connections to professional sports, is overseeing the investigation by the U.S. attorney's office. The claims concerning baseball player Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Dodgers and his former interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, are the subject of the investigation. Federal prosecutors have charged Mizuhara with bank fraud in connection with a $16 million theft from Ohtani's bank account, which was used to pay Southern California bookmaker Mathew Bowyer.

Charges brought against Sibella

The main subject of the Control Board's complaint is Sibella's tenure with MGM, during which he hosted events dubbed "Scott Sibella Undercover Weekends," a nod to his participation on the reality series "Undercover Boss."

Sibella hosted illegal bookie Wayne Nix, a former minor league baseball player, and Bowyer as guests at "Undercover" events. According to federal prosecution documents, Sibella hosted Nix six times despite knowing that he shouldn't have been permitted to play. According to court filings, Sibella purposefully withheld information on how Nix paid for his casino markers and refrained from reporting any suspicious activity to the authorities.

Federal court records that were made public in January state that Sibella acknowledged to authorities in 2022 that he thought Nix was engaged in illicit sports betting but "didn't want to know because of my position. We can't let him gamble if we know. Since he wasn't trying to defraud the casino, I guess I didn't ask because I didn't want to know.”

The complaint filed with the Control Board centers on Sibella's relationship with Nix. The complaint was noted in Sibella's felony plea deal with federal agents.

The complaint states,“Sibella, knowing that Nix engaged in illegal bookmaking, allowed Nix to gamble at the MGM Grand and its affiliates and receive complimentary benefits at the MGM Grand, including room, board and golf trips with senior executives and other high-net-worth customers of the casino to further encourage Nix to patronize the casino and/or affiliated properties.”

Sibella departed from MGM to assume the position of president of Resorts World, which opened in June 2021. Shortly thereafter, Resorts World fired him for breaking corporate policies.

The Control Board complaint suggests fines specified in Nevada statutes, however it is unclear when the Nevada Gaming Commission will take this recommendation into consideration. The commission may hold a hearing on the complaint or Sibella and the Control Board may reach a predetermined settlement agreement.


“Former MGM exec faces sanctions; gaming license could be revoked” , Richard N. Velotta,, May 1, 2024.


Please log in or register to leave a comment