Posted on: May 8, 2024, 05:38h. 

Last updated on: May 9, 2024, 09:46h.

The former president of the MGM Grand and Resorts World in Las Vegas was sentenced by a federal judge Wednesday to one year’s probation and a $9,500 fine, plus a $100 special assessment. US District Judge Dolly M. Gee imposed the lenient sentence Wednesday in the Central District Court of California in downtown LA after Scott Sibella pleaded guilty in January to violating the federal Bank Secrecy Act established to thwart money laundering at financial institutions.

Former Resorts World Las Vegas president Scott Sibella speaks at the 2021 opening of the casino resort that fired him two years later. (Image: Getty)

The violations occurred from August 2017 through February 2019, while Sibella was president and COO of the MGM Grand Las Vegas.

Sibella admitted to failing to file the suspicious transaction reports that are required of casinos under the Bank Secrecy Act. The transactions were millions of dollars in bets made by former minor-league baseball player Wayne Nix, a person Sibella knew to operate an illegal sports-betting business.

Sibella, who served as president of Resorts World from 2019 until the company fired him over an unspecified violation of his employment contract in 2023, admitted to federal investigators in January 2022 that he had “heard that Nix was in the booking business” and “couldn’t figure out how he had all the money he gambled with.”

Nix, currently of Newport Coast, Calif. awaits sentencing following his own guilty plea in April 2022 to operating an illegal gambling business and filing a false tax return.

Significant Reduction

Sibella faced up to five years in prison and a $250K fine, though his attorneys requested probation, submitting letters of support on Friday from notables, including Clark County Sheriff Kevin McMahill.

In its recommendations for sentencing Sibella, the probation office noted that he accepted responsibility for his actions by pleading guilty and that his age, 61, was also a mitigating factor.

Following Sibella’s guilty plea, the MGM Grand and Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas agreed to pay a combined $7.45 million to settle a related US Justice Department probe, to submit to an external review, and to toughen their compliance programs.

Nevada casino regulators are also considering revoking or suspending Sibella’s state gambling license and fining him up to $750K for the same offenses. A three-count complaint was filed on April 30 by the state Gaming Control Board, though it has yet to be considered by the Nevada Gaming Commission.

Before landing at the MGM Grand in June 2011, Sibella also held top executive positions at The Mirage and Treasure Island.

Sibella’s attorneys are Jeffrey Rutherford of Los Angeles and John Spilotro of Las Vegas. The latter’s surname should ring a bell to all Las Vegas history buffs, since the criminal attorney is the nephew of murdered mafia boss Anthony “The Ant” Spilotro.

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