Former MGM Grand casino president to be sentenced over illegal bets

Former MGM Grand casino president to be sentenced over illegal bets
Wild Casino

The former president of the MGM Grand casino in Las Vegas is set to be sentenced Wednesday afternoon on a federal criminal charge related to his failure to report millions of dollars in wagers by an illegal bookmaker at his casino.

Scott Sibella, the ex-MGM executive, pleaded guilty in January to one count of failure to file reports of suspicious transactions required to be made by casinos under the Bank Secrecy Act. MGM Resorts owns MGM Grand, and more than a dozen other Las Vegas properties, including The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

Sibella's lawyers have asked that the 61-year-old Nevada resident be sentenced to probation, as have prosecutors.

The sentencing comes more than a week after the Nevada Gaming Control Board filed a complaint against Sibella with the state Gaming Commission for conduct underlying the federal criminal case. The new civil complaint is seeking a a fine and action against Sibella's gaming license.

Sibella, who was president of MGM Grand from August 2017 through February 2019, admitted knowing that a patron of his casino, former minor league baseball player Wayne Nix, ran an illegal bookmaking business, according to the Department of Justice.

"Despite this knowledge, Sibella allowed Nix to gamble at MGM Grand and affiliated properties with illicit proceeds generated from the illegal gambling business without notifying the casino's compliance department," the DOJ said in a press release in January.

"Not only did Sibella allow Nix to gamble at the casino, he also authorized Nix to receive complimentary benefits at the casino, including meals, room, board and golf trips with senior executives and other high net-worth customers of the casinos to further encourage Nix to patronize the casino and/or other affiliated properties," the DOJ added in the statement.

By 2020, MGM Grand had accepted more than $4 million in cash that were illicit proceeds from Nix's bookmaking business, the department said.

Nix pleaded guilty in April 2022 Los Angeles federal court to one count of conspiring to operate an illegal sports gambling business, and one count of filing a false tax return. He has yet to be sentenced for those crimes.

Sibella because president of Resorts World casino, which is owned by Genting Group, in 2019.

He "was terminated by Resorts World when it learned of the investigation of Mr. Sibella regarding conduct at his prior employer," Sibella's lawyers wrote in a court filing. "Mr. Sibella is currently unemployed."

At the time of Sibella's guilty plea, the DOJ also said it had resolved an investigation into alleged violations of money laundering laws and the Bank Secrecy Act at MGM Grand and The Cosmopolitan. The casinos agreed to settlements that required them to pay a combined $7.45 million, as well as to enhance their anti-money laundering compliance program.

"In their respective [non-prosecution agreements] MGM Grand and the Cosmopolitan each accepted
responsibility for laundering Nix's illicit funds and failing to properly file suspicious activity reports (SARs) on Nix, who conducted numerous transactions involving millions of dollars at the casinos between 2017 and 2020," the DOJ said at that time.