A former top Las Vegas casino executive faces up to five years in prison after admitting to assisting an illegal gambling ring run by a former minor league baseball ballplayer who carted duffel bags full of cash to The Strip.
Scott Sibella pleaded guilty on Wednesday to his role in Wayne Nix’s illicit sports betting ring, which catered to VIPs including NBA legend Scottie Pippen and LeBron James’ business manager Maverick Carter.
According to a plea agreement, Sibella turned a blind eye when Nix arrived at the MGM Grand in 2018 with $120,000 in cash to pay off a gambling debt, failing to file a suspicious-activity report in violation of federal anti-money laundering rules.
Sibella also lavished Nix with free hotel stays, complimentary meals and golf outings with other high-rollers between August 2017 and February 2019, according to the plea agreement.
The MGM Grand and another MGM Resorts property, The Cosmopolitan, agreed to pay $7.5 million in fines as part of a non-prosecution agreement over Nix’s activities, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Former Las Vegas casino executive Scott Sibella pleaded guilty on Wednesday to his role in Wayne Nix’s illicit sports betting ring, which catered to VIPs and professional athletes
According to a plea agreement, Sibella turned a blind eye when Nix arrived at the MGM Grand in 2018 with $120,000 in cash to pay off a gambling debt
In a statement through his attorney, Sibella said: ‘I take full responsibility for my actions and inactions, but I must make clear I took no action for my personal benefit or inurement.’
DailyMail.com reported in August that the federal investigation of Nix’s gambling ring had extended to Las Vegas, where agents questioned current and former employees at the MGM Grand and Resorts World.
Sibella was president of the MGM Grand for eight years, until joining Resorts World Las Vegas as president in 2019.
He was fired from Resorts World in September, with the Genting Group-owned casino saying at the time that it was ‘was recently made aware that Mr. Sibella violated company policies and the terms of his employment.’
Nix, a former pitcher for Oakland Athletics farm teams, pleaded guilty in 2022 to conspiracy to operate an illegal gambling business and filing a false tax return.
Prosecutors say he ran a massive illegal sports betting operation in California that used other former pro athletes to take bets, and took wagers from celebrities including active professional players.
The sprawling investigation into the betting ring has continued, leading to charges against a celebrity accountant, ex-MBL star Yasiel Puig, and others.
The charges against Sibella are the latest fallout from the investigation, which is being run by federal prosecutors in Los Angeles.
Sibella insisted to investigators in 2022 that he did not know how Nix earned the money he used to gamble at MGM properties.
‘I didn’t want to know because of my position,’ he said, according to the Journal. ‘If we know, we can’t allow them to gamble…I didn’t want to know I guess because he wasn’t doing anything to cheat the casino.’
Nix, a former pitcher for Oakland Athletics farm teams, pleaded guilty in 2022 to conspiracy to operate an illegal gambling business and filing a false tax return
LeBron James’s business partner Maverick Carter, seen with the NBA star above, admitted to placing a bet with Nix, but has not been charged in the case
Scottie Pippen (left), the retired NBA Hall of Famer and Michael Jordan’s longtime Chicago Bulls teammate, admitted to placing at least one bet with Nix
But prosecutors say that in January 2019, Nix told Sibella that an MGM Grand customer, who was known to Sibella, had placed a $5 million bet on the Super Bowl through Nix’s business, according to documents.
Nix also used luxury golf outings provided by MGM Grand to lure in new clients for his betting operation, prosecutors say.
And at least two casino hosts assigned to Nix were also aware of the betting ring, and on one occasion Nix told a host that he would be upset if one of his clients traveled to Vegas to gamble before paying off a sports betting debt to Nix.
Sibella faces up to five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 after pleading guilty to failing to file suspicious activities reports while employed at MGM.
‘I am pleased to have this investigation and its findings reaching a conclusion,’ said Sibella’s statement to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
‘I am proud of my 35 years of contributions and leadership to the industry that has meant so much to and has supported me,’ he added. ‘As this process comes to a conclusion, I look forward to continuing to provide my knowledge, skills and insights to support the continued growth, evolution and professionalism of the gaming industry.’
Sibella, 60, was a veteran of the Las Vegas Strip, and previously held high-level positions at the Mirage, Treasure Island, Tropicana and Golden Nugget.
He also served as an executive at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, and the Tropicana’s Atlantic City outpost.
In 2011, when he was President and COO of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Sibella starred in an episode of Undercover Boss, posing as a blackjack dealer on the casino’s floor.
In 2011, when he was President and COO of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Sibella (center) starred in an episode of Undercover Boss, posing as a blackjack dealer
Surveillance video shows a confrontation between Robert Alexander (on scooter) and RJ Cipriani (standing) in Crockfords, a Hilton-managed hotel at Resorts World Las Vegas. The incident is the subject of a pending lawsuit naming Sibella as a defendant
In 2019, he departed the MGM Grand and took a new job at Resorts World. He was fired from Resorts World in September, with the company issuing a public statement claiming he ‘violated company policies.’
Sibella is also a defendant in a lawsuit filed by Las Vegas high roller Robert ‘RJ’ Cipriani in October.
Cipriani, a high-stakes professional blackjack player, in the suit alleges that Sibella brushed off his July 2021 warnings that felons with fraud and illegal gambling convictions were playing at Resorts World.
The suit alleged that the famed casino allowed a convicted fraudster to menace and harass Cipriani from the back of a mobility scooter, claiming negligence, civil conspiracy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Sibella’s attorney previously denied the lawsuit’s claims in a statement to DailyMail.com, calling them ‘the latest rehashing of allegations against Resorts World and Mr. Sibella that have been thoroughly investigated and determined to be baseless by Nevada gaming authorities and others.’
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