Former Las Vegas casino executive Scott Sibella pleads guilty to federal charges in AML case

Former Resorts World Las Vegas President Scott Sibella has pleaded guilty to a federal charge for allowing a known criminal to gamble at the MGM Grand casino when he was in charge of overseeing the resort. Sibella, 61, served as the president of that property from August 2017 until February 2019.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, a plea agreement with Sibella was entered Wednesday for a count of failure to file reports of “suspicious transactions” required to be made by casinos. As per the plea deal, while Sibella led operations of MGM Grand, known illegal bookmaker Wayne Nik gambled in the resort’s casino.

Federal prosecutors allege Sibella was aware that Nix was gambling at the casino and affiliated properties with illicit proceeds generated from the illegal gambling business, but failed to notify the compliance department. 

Moreover, the former MGM Grand President allegedly authorized complimentary benefits for Nix, which included meals, room, board, and golf trips with senior executives and other high-net-worth customers.

Nix ultimately pleaded guilty in 2022 to conspiracy to operate an illegal gambling business and subscribing to a false tax return. Unsealed court records reveal that Sibella admitted that year he knew Nix was involved in illegal bookmaking, but “didn’t want to know because of my position,” as reported by KSNV.

MGM Grand Las Vegas

If we know, we can’t allow them to gamble. I didn’t ask, I didn’t want to know I guess because he wasn’t doing anything to cheat the casino,” Sibella reportedly admitted, as per the unsealed court records.

Sentencing for Sibella, who was subsequently named President of Resorts World Las Vegas in 2019 and led the casino resort through its opening in 2021, is scheduled for May 8. The former casino executive faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the charge.

MGM Grand and The Cosmopolitan to pay nearly $7.5M settlement

Both MGM Grand and The Cosmopolitan, now operated by MGM Resorts, have also agreed to a settlement of nearly $7.5 million to resolve a federal money laundering probe tied to the casino. 

As part of the settlement, which follows an investigation into alleged violations of money laundering laws and the Bank Secrecy Act, the properties have also agreed to undergo external review, and enhance their anti-money laundering compliance program.

Agreements reached with both casinos would see them admit failing to file reports related to Nix’s activity and cooperate in any additional investigations or proceedings, reports KTNV

The MGM Grand agreed to pay a monetary fine of $6,527,728 and to forfeit $500,000 in proceeds traceable to the violation, which will be counted towards the fine. 

The Cosmopolitan agreed to pay a monetary fine of $928,600 and to forfeit $500,000 in proceeds traceable to the violation, which will also be counted towards the fine.