Scott Sibella has left his role as President and COO of Resorts World Las Vegas. The company named current Chief Financial Officer Peter LaVoie as Sibella’s replacement. In a statement, Resorts World said that the move comes after it was made aware that Sibella had violated company policies. Some analysts have speculated that the timing of Sibella’s ouster may be related to the company’s bid for a New York downstate casino license.
In a statement, Resorts World said Sibella had left the company effective immediately. The company added:
This action comes after the company was recently made aware that Mr. Sibella violated company policies and the terms of his employment.
It’s unclear which policies Sibella violated. He was recently the subject of a year-long investigation by the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB). However, in February, the regulator cleared Sibella of wrongdoing.
Sibella joined Resorts World in 2019 and guided it through its opening in 2021. Under his leadership, the property partnered with Hilton Hotels and introduced cashless gaming. Before his position with Resorts World, he had been president of the MGM Grand Las Vegas for eight years. Even earlier in his career, he held executive positions at the Mirage, Treasure Island, Tropicana, and Golden Nugget.
Scandalous Accusations by Sattler
Much of the controversy surrounding Sibella—and the NGCB investigation—relates to his relationship with embattled gambler Brandon Sattler.
In April 2022, during a multi-million-dollar bankruptcy fraud lawsuit against him, Sattler accused the former Resorts World executive of lying about their relationship. During a licensing hearing a month prior, Sibella told the NGCB that he had met Sattler twice and knew him solely as a customer for 20 years. However, Sattler says the relationship was much closer and has made various claims about things the two allegedly did together, some rather salacious.
At one point, Sattler told the NGCB:
We’ve partied, yes, we did drugs together, drank together, yes we went out to eat together. Yes, we probably had sex with multiple women at the same time.
In Nov. 2014, Sattler found himself banned from MGM Grand at a time when Sibella was that property’s president. Resorts World also banned Sattler in Jan. 2022, again with Sibella in charge of the property.
In addition to playing at the Resorts World casino, Sattler said he installed video cameras for the Tacos El Cabron restaurant inside the property.
Sattler understood that Resorts World owned 50% of the restaurant and that David Stroj was among the remaining owners. Stroj was convicted in 2018 for running an illegal betting ring and laundering $10 million. Stroj denies ownership.
If Stroj was a co-owner, Sibella and Resorts World could have faced disciplinary action from the NGCB for working with a convicted illegal gambler. Nevada law doesn’t ban former convicts from working in casinos. However, they cannot own more than 5% of businesses located inside casinos.
Cleared by NGCB, Sibella May Face Federal Investigation
Following Sattler’s claims, the NGCB opened an investigation into Sibella and Resorts World. In clearing Sibella of any wrongdoing, NGCB Chairman Kirk Hendrick said:
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.
Meanwhile, Sattler was indicted on federal wire fraud charges in April. Prosecutors accuse him of defrauding investors of over $10 million. In the indictment, the three victims claim they loaned Sattler the money to purchase video monitoring equipment for his company, SattCom Video.
The investors claim that Sattler provided them with false company paperwork and claimed he had contracts to install 3,500 television units across casinos and resorts. Sattler also allegedly told the investors that he had a substantial cash balance.
However, anonymous sources told the New York Post that Sibella’s departure from Resorts World may have to do with another scandal, separate from Sattler’s allegations. The Nevada Current recently published unconfirmed reports that a separate investigation into Sibella is underway at the federal level relating to his time with MGM. Per the Current’s sources, these involve another gambler, Wayne Nix, who has admitted to running an illegal sports betting operation during that period. (This was before 2018, when the Supreme Court struck down the federal prohibition on sports betting.)
Sibella Guided Resorts World Through Opening
Sibella joined Resorts World in 2019 after serving eight years as president of MGM Grand. Before that, he was president of The Mirage and Treasure Island. Sibella helped the casino open in 2021, marking the first major development on the Strip in over a decade.
The Resorts World development cost $4.3 billion, making it the most expensive casino-hotel development on the Strip. It’s located at the site of the former Stardust casino and is owned by Malaysia-based Genting Group.
Genting also owns Resorts World New York City, one of the possible applicants for a full New York downstate casino license. Removing Sibella could be a move from Genting to ensure it stays in contention for the license.
Under Sibella’s tenure, Resorts World worked with five technology partners to introduce a cashless gaming system used in the casino and across the property. Resorts World also signed a franchise partnership with Hilton Hotels Corp. The deal connected Hilton’s database of millions of users to the Las Vegas property.
As part of the deal, Resorts World is home to two of Hilton’s luxury brands – Conrad and Crockfords.