Feds reportedly investigating associations between illegal bookmakers, Las Vegas casinos

Federal law enforcement agents are reportedly investigating Las Vegas casinos over inappropriate associations between illegal bookmakers and executives. The agents are said to be looking at allegations that current and former hotel employees used casino assets to pay gambling debts and provided confidential customer data to an illegal gambling ring that operated for almost 20 years, sources told the Nevada Current.

A state employee told the cited source that feds have interviewed several former employees of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, inquiring in specific about Resorts World President Scott Sibella, former president of MGM Grand. An email obtained by the Current seemingly indicates regulators are aware of the allegations being investigated.

The unnamed sources told the publication that feds are investigating allegations that hotel employees at MGM properties used comps and promo chips to pay off personal gambling debts to former minor league baseball player Wayne Nix, and money owed to an illegal sports wagering operation Nix admits he operated.

The promo chips, which are free chips provided to high rollers, subject to limits and internal controls, can be “washed” in large amounts at the gaming tables and redeemed at the casino cage for cash. Many casinos have begun to phase out the use of these chips as of late due to the potential for abuse.

Sources told the Current that authorities are also looking into whether hotel workers provided confidential customer data to Nix’s operation, encouraged their customers to bet with the illegal ring, and received kickbacks when their players lost. The investigation is reportedly being conducted by Homeland Security and the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service.

Resorts World President Scott Sibella

Nix entered guilty pleas to conspiring to run an illegal betting operation and filing false tax returns in 2022, and is scheduled to be sentenced in March next year. According to authorities, the betting ring catered to current and former pro sports figures.

As for Sibella, the Resorts World president was exonerated by the GCB just months ago when gambler Brandon Sattler alleged he was aware a convicted illegal gambler had an ownership interest in a hotel concession. Gaming Control board member George Assad unilaterally announced the GCB had cleared him of any wrongdoing when he testified before the Board in 2022 that he didn’t know Sattler “from Adam.”

Sattler sought to depose Sibella last year and alleges he has known the executive for years. For his part, Sibella denied the claims. “I met the person twice. He’s been a customer for 20 years,” the executive told the GCB. “I don’t know him from Adam. He’s done no work at Resorts World.”

“After a thorough investigation by the Nevada Gaming Control Board, the allegations by Brandon Sattler against Resorts World and its president, Scott Sibella, were found to be unsubstantiated,” board member Assad said in February.