Scott Sibella, former president and COO of Resorts World Las Vegas, has admitted guilt in a U.S. District Court in Los Angeles to charges related to illegal gambling activities. These charges could lead to a five-year prison sentence and a $250K fine for Sibella. The charges are linked to his tenure as president of the MGM Grand from 2010 to 2019, where he allegedly permitted Wayne Nix, a known operator of an illegal sports-betting business, to gamble at the casino, violating anti-money laundering laws.
The Underlying Charges and MGM’s Role
During his time at MGM Grand, Sibella reportedly allowed Nix, a former minor league baseball player, to use the casino for his illicit betting operations. Nix’s illegal gambling ring, operational for nearly two decades, involved former professional athletes and catered to high-profile clients, including active NFL and MLB players. According to Sibella’s plea agreement, he provided Nix with complimentary hotel stays and golf trips, during which Nix expanded his illegal betting network. The MGM Grand and the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, now owned by MGM Resorts, have agreed to pay a combined $7.5 million in fines related to Nix’s activities.
Nix himself pleaded guilty in 2022 to running the illegal gambling operation and tax evasion, facing up to eight years in prison, with sentencing scheduled for March 6, 2023.
Sibella’s Career and Future Prospects
Despite the potential prison term, Sibella expressed his wish to stay in the casino industry. In his statement, he acknowledged his responsibility for his actions and inactions, emphasizing his intent to contribute positively to the gaming industry’s development and professionalism.
Sibella’s career in the casino industry is extensive, having previously served as president of The Mirage and held executive roles at Treasure Island, Tropicana, and the Golden Nugget. He joined Resorts World, owned by the Genting Group, as president in 2019, successfully leading the $4.3 billion project to its completion, including partnerships with Hilton, Conrad, and Crockfords. Sibella claims he was dismissed from Resorts World in September 2023, shortly after informing Genting officials about the Justice Department’s investigation, a claim the resort disputes.
Scott Sibella’s guilty plea marks a significant development in a high-profile case involving illegal gambling operations at a major Las Vegas casino. His career, spanning various top roles in the industry, faces uncertainty as he confronts potential prison time. The case sheds light on the challenges and responsibilities of casino management in maintaining legal compliance, even as Sibella expresses his commitment to the industry’s future.