Casino Exec Sibella Avoids Jail Time in Money Laundering Case

Land Based Casinos Business Crime
Edward Scimia

Updated by

Edward Scimia


Last Updated 13th May 2024, 02:00 PM

Casino Exec Sibella Avoids Jail Time in Money Laundering Case

Scott Sibella, formerly of the MGM Grand and Resorts World casinos, is becoming the face of executives at licensed and regulated casinos getting caught up in illegal betting activity, and still being able to negotiate a sweet deal. (Image: Associated Press/Alamy)

Former MGM Grand and Resorts World Las Vegas executive Scott Sibella was sentenced to a year of probation on Wednesday for allowing an illegal bookmaker to gamble at the MGM Grand and failing to file reports of suspicious transactions associated with that play.

Sibella will also pay a fine of $9,500, based on sentencing from US District Judge Dolly Gee, and will also pay a $100 special assessment. 

MGM is home to one of the best online casinos for online gambling.

Sibella ‘Didn’t Want to Know’ About Nix

Sibella pleaded guilty in January, admitting he had violated federal anti-money laundering laws. He could have potentially received up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. However, lawyers representing Sibella submitted more than 80 letters of support in an effort to reduce his sentence, including one from Clark County Sherriff Kevin McMahill, the head of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. 

The case involved actions that Sibella took – or didn’t take – in 2018, when he authorized employees at the MGM Grand to allow illegal bookmaker and former minor league baseball player Wayne Nix to gamble millions of dollars at the casino. Sibella also allowed Nix to pay his debts in cash. 

“I didn’t want to know because of my position,” Sibella told federal investigators in January, speaking on where Nix’s money was coming from. “I stay out of it. 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.”

In a statement, Sibella took responsibility for his actions, but said that he didn’t get anything of value from the crime he pleaded guilty to.

“I was charged from the very beginning for not filing an SAR [Suspicious Activity Report], accepted a plea, and have taken full and complete responsibility for what I did,” Sibella said in a statement after the sentencing. “I want to reiterate that by, anything alleged, I gained no benefit – neither personal, professional or financial.”

Sibella may not be done facing consequence for those actions, however. The Nevada Gaming Control Board filed a complaint against him on April 30, one that has yet to be considered by the Nevada Gaming Commission. Regulators in the state could suspend or revoke Sibella’s gaming license, and he could also face a fine of up to $750,000.

Sibella Downplays Associations with Bowyer, Mizuhara

Sibella worked as the president of MGM Grand from 2011 through February 2019, when he left to run Resorts World Las Vegas. He was dismissed from that position in September 2023, after owner Genting said that he violated company policies.

Because of his time at Resorts World, Sibella has been tangentially connected to the betting scandal involving Shohei Ohtani’s interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara. Alleged bookmaker Mathew Bowyer, who is suspected to be the bookie who took the best from Mizuhara, had been banned from multiple Las Vegas casinos, but was briefly allowed to gamble at Resorts World again after casino host Jennifer Belcastro asked the casinos’ compliance office to lift the ban. 

According to an ESPN report, the funds paid by Mizuhara – allegedly stolen from an Ohtani bank account – were forwarded to “marker” accounts at multiple casinos, including Resorts World Las Vegas before being cashed out. 

However, Sibella attorney John Spilotro has downplayed any link between his client and Mizuhara.

“Contrary to published reports, Mr. Sibella never used a betting account and never made any illegal bets,” Spilotro said in a statement. “In addition, Mr. Sibella had no involvement in the bookmaking activities of Mathew Bowyer and nothing whatsoever to do with Ippei Mizuhara.”

Meet The Author

16 Years
Edward Scimia
Edward Scimia
Journalist Journalist

Ed Scimia is a freelance writer who has been covering the gaming industry since 2008. He graduated from Syracuse University in 2003 with degrees in Magazine Journalism and Political Science. In his time as a freelancer, Ed has worked for,, and, among other sites. He has also authored multiple books and enjoys curling competitively, which has led to him creating curling-related content for his YouTube channel "Chess on Ice."

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