Former casino executive hit with complaint by Nevada regulator

Nevada Scott Sibella MGM Resorts World
Image: Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock

The fallout from the illegal gambling by Shohei Ohtani’s former interpreter includes Nevada casinos and a disgraced former executive.

According to an ESPN report, the $16 million Ippei Mizuhara allegedly stole from the MLB superstar to participate in an illegal gambling operation run by former bookie Matthew Bowyer was siphoned to Resorts World Casino in Las Vegas.

The casino, which opened in 2021, allegedly saw the money funnel through a “marker” account while under the leadership of former president Scott Sibella.

The former president and COO of Resorts World was fired in September 2023 for violating the company’s policies. Nearly five months later, Sibella pleaded guilty to violating the Bank Secrecy Act for allegedly failing to file reports of suspicious transactions during his time as president of the MGM Grand Las Vegas.

Sibella allegedly allowed Wayne Nix, an illegal bookmaker, to use proceeds from his operation to gamble at the MGM Grand and The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. As a result, The Cosmopolitan and the MGM Grand reached a $7.5 million settlement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Central District of California for money laundering violations.

Resorts World faces a similar fate after Bowyer, who accepted Mizuhara’s illegal wagers, allegedly forwarded the money to his marker account at the casino where he withdrew chips from the account to gamble. Bowyer allegedly cashed out all of his winnings.

Between June 2022 and October 2023, Bowyer allegedly lost $7.9 million, per ESPN.

Nevada regulator calls out Sibella

In response to the alleged money laundering fostered by Sibella, the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) has filed a three-count complaint against the former executive.

“Sibella failed to comply with MGM Resorts International’s anti-money laundering policy and failed to comply with MGM Grand’s internal controls that required Sibella to report suspicious activities regarding Nix,” said the NGCB in the complaint.

The proceeding includes details of Sibella’s alleged lack of leadership as he allowed Nix to gamble at MGM Grand and its affiliated properties for nearly two years. Nix also received benefits at MGM Grand, including comped meals and resort stays. He also allegedly went on complimentary golf trips with MGM senior executives and other high-profile leaders.

In the complaint, Sibella is accused of knowing Nix gambled at MGM Grand using illegal bookmaker funds with transactions reaching more than $5,000. A transaction in 2018 included a $120,000 cash payment by Nix to MGM Grand to settle a marker owned to the casino. The transaction was considered suspicious but Sibella took no action despite his training and duty to submit a Suspicious Activity Incident Report and consider Nix as an illegal bookmaker.

In 2022, Nix pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to one count of conspiracy to operate an illegal sports gambling business. He also plead guilty to one count of filing a false tax return. Nix, a former minor league baseball player, is set for a sentencing hearing on Sept. 25 following delays.

Sibella, who will be sentenced in May, faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine while the NGCB is seeking a revocation of his license and an undetermined fine.