After weeks of smoky speculation on social media by controversial gambler RJ Cipriani, who has repeatedly insinuated an inappropriate association between illegal bookmaker Wayne Nix and a Las Vegas casino executive, the Nevada Current is reporting that federal authorities are busily investigating the matter.
The story sources an unnamed state employee who spoke on a condition of anonymity and expressed knowledge of the federal investigation, which has specifically inquired about Resorts World President Scott Sibella, a former president of the MGM Grand.
The investigation has already resulted in contact between federal investigators and the office of the Nevada Gaming Control Board. The inquiry appears to center on allegations that MGM employees exercised their authority to grant complimentary privileges and issue valuable promotional casino chips to pay off personal betting debts to Nix, a former Minor League Baseball player-turned-bookie who was convicted last year of operating a multimillion-dollar sports-gambling ring.
Set to be sentenced in March 2024 in the Central District of California, Nix was convicted of filing false tax returns and failing to pay income taxes on at least $1.5 million. It is unclear whether Nix has agreed to cooperate with federal authorities. Sources confirmed this week that he continued to maintain many gambling associates in Las Vegas in recent years.
Sibella was forced to answer tough questions last year during Resorts World’s licensing hearing before the Control Board after he was accused of inappropriate associations by former Resorts World high roller and accused bankruptcy fraudster Brandon Sattler. Among Sattler’s allegations was a claim that Sibella had a private business relationship with convicted bookmaker David Stroj. An investigation found the allegations against Sibella unsubstantiated, newly appointed GCB Member George Assad said in a surprise announcement.
The latest dustup involving Nix surfaced weeks ago after Cipriani, who describes himself as a “philanthropist, activist, gambler” and goes by the moniker Robin Hood 702, erupted on social media with a series of increasingly incendiary blasts. Among them, a tweet on July 27 said in part, “A HUGE bookmaker (MB) has been playing at Resorts World LV since it opened. Will KT LIM, Genting Chairman, put Scott Sibella on the sidelines while the Wayne Nix bookmaking scandal gets fully investigated by the NGCB and the feds? OR will he let Scott roll the dice?”
Cipriani made his own headlines after he was charged with felonies following a fracas with convicted Kizzang fraudster and then-Resorts World gambler Robert Alexander. After being accused of cheating at gambling and theft, the charges against Cipriani were reduced to misdemeanor disorderly conduct.
He has since complained of being shut out of playing at a number of casinos.
At the time of the settlement of the charges, Cipriani’s attorney Robert Langford said, “It is a compromise that involves both the merits of the case and the desire by everyone to just calm everything down. Nobody wanted to go further with this case. No one. My client included. It’s a good compromise that hugely favors my client and I appreciate the District Attorney’s Office’s willingness to negotiate this case the way they did.”
The latest controversial headline is bound to make observers wonder if that sense of calm is about to end.