Former Vegas exec Sibella pleads guilty to violating casino AML rules

Gold MGM Grand Lion
Image: Shutterstock / Keith J Finks

There is finally more context to Scott Sibella’s abrupt departure from Resorts World in September. The property’s President and CEO stepped down for violating company policy, but his removal was short on details.

On Thursday, the Department of Justice reported that Sibella pleaded guilty to failing to file reports of suspicious transactions while working in his role as CEO of MGM Grand for MGM Resorts.

Per the plea agreement, Sibella knowingly let customer Wayne Nix continue to gamble large amounts of money at MGM properties despite having knowledge he was working as an illegal bookie. Nix was treated to lavish hotel stays and casino weekends hosted by Sibella from August 2017 to February 2019.

During the 2019 Super Bowl, Nix informed Sibella he had accepted a $5 million wager on the Super Bowl. Sibella did not take that information to the casino and report it to the proper authorities, which was a violation of the law.

Sibella faces up to five years in prison followed by five years of probation. He will also pay a fine of $250,000.

The Cosmopolitan and the MGM Grand have also agreed to pay an additional $7.45 million for their part in the transgression.

“Financial institutions have a duty under the law to report criminal or suspicious activity occurring at the institution though SARs,” said First Assistant United States Attorney Joseph McNally. “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.”

Nix was found guilty of operating an illegal gambling business in April 2022. Nix played minor league baseball when he was younger and allegedly counted a number of athletes as clients, including MLB player Yasiel Puig. Puig pleaded guilty to lying to police officers about the illegal gambling operation.

This is not Sibella’s first run-in with regulators. Last February he was cleared of wrongdoing in an investigation undertaken by the Nevada Gaming Control Board. The allegations against Sibella and Resorts World is that they knowingly let a restaurant partially owned by a convicted felon open on property.

Sibella left MGM Resorts in 2019 to take the role as President of the soon-to-open Resorts World Casino in 2019.