Nearly six weeks after the Nevada Current reported claims that federal investigators were looking into Las Vegas casinos, Resorts World Las Vegas (RWLV) announced the immediate departure of its president and chief operating officer, Scott Sibella, over “violations of company policy.”
Notably, the Current’s initial reporting namechecked Sibella as a person of interest to the inquiry. Since then, a follow-up revealed that a federal subpoena preceded Sibella’s hasty Resorts World retreat.
Here’s what else we know about the investigation into Sibella’s Vegas dealings.
Investigation Revealed by Confidential Source
At this point, everything publicly known about the federal investigation is based on the Nevada Current’s reporting. Most of this comes from an anonymous source close to the inquiry. However, there’s a lot of circumstantial evidence lending credence to the source’s claims.
In its Aug. 2 report, the Current revealed that federal agents are investigating whether Vegas hotel employees at MGM properties paid gambling debts with casino assets to convicted bookmaker Wayne Nix. Also in question is whether casino employees fed confidential customer data to Nix’s long-running illegal gambling ring.
According to the anonymous source, Homeland Security and the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service are conducting the investigation. The same agencies dug into Nix’s activities before laying charges. Nix faces sentencing in that case in early 2024.
In this case, investigators have reportedly interviewed and collected statements from former Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) employees. The unnamed source also said agents asked specifically about Sibella, who was president of MGM Grand for eight years before joining Resorts World in 2019.
Unfortunately, neither the US Department of Justice nor the NGCB have commented publicly.
However, an unauthenticated email obtained by the Current indicates that regulators are aware of the allegations.
Relatedly, the NGCB recently conducted its own investigation into Sibella. This came after Brandon Sattler, a gambler facing bankruptcy fraud charges, told regulators that yet another gambler with a criminal record, David Stroj, was illegally involved with a concession at Resorts World. Though the NGCB cleared Sibella of wrongdoing, the restaurant, Tacos El Cabron, closed down following a report by the Current.
Now, Sibella is also facing a federal lawsuit mounted by infamous gambler and philanthropist Robert “Robin Hood 702” Cipriani. In the suit, Cipriani claims Sibella and Resorts World retaliated against him after he alerted both to several unsavory high-rollers gambling at the casino.
Sattler and Stroj are both among those Cipriani mentions. So is noted fraudster Robert Alexander.
Subpoena Preceded Sibella Dismissal
According to a follow-up report in September, authorities from the US Central District Court of California subpoenaed Resorts World communications and player data sometime before Aug. 9, the date of a “privileged and confidential” memo obtained by the Current.
Sent by the hotel’s general counsel, Gerald Gardner, the memo details the federal grand jury subpoena, according to that report.
The subpoena, the memo said:
Relates to policies, procedures, and practices of the Company’s Casino Operations (including sports book and poker), Casino Marketing, Finance (including Cage and Credit), and Compliance Departments. The subpoena seeks documents relating to the Company’s Anti-Money Laundering (AML) policies, Know Your Customer (KYC) practices, policies and practices relating to extensions of credit, comps or other benefits, use of promotional chips, and other customer transactions.
In addition, the memo asked for proof of communications between employees and other individuals:
The subpoena requires production of communications between certain named employees of the Company and other named individuals, some of whom are believed to be current or past casino customers, including player histories, Enhanced Due Diligence activity (EDD), Cash Transaction Reports (CTRs), and Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs).
A confidential source confirmed to the Current the subpoena named close to a dozen individuals. At this point, it’s a safe bet Scott Sibella is part of the group singled out.
Sibella Saga: Still Much yet to be Revealed
According to the Current’s latest Sibella update, the ousted president told reporter Dana Gentry via text more details about his termination were coming “soon.”
Whether he intends to mount a legal action against Resorts World remains speculation.
However, it seems inevitable Sibella will remain part of the gambling news cycle for a while.