Unfolding

Scott Sibella: A Timeline of the Unfolding Legal Drama

Scott Sibella allegedly violated company policy at Resorts World Las Vegas (RWLV), the casino told reporters on the day of his Sept. 15 termination. Since then, that casino’s former president and COO has been named in a lawsuit and listed as one of the subjects of a federal investigation. Here’s a timeline about Sibella.

Sibella spent his 35-year-long career working at Atlantic City and Las Vegas retail casinos. Beginning as a front desk clerk at what’s now called Golden Nugget Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, he worked his way up to the leadership position at RWLV. It took him 12 years to reach his plateau as a “president and COO,” which he first held at Treasure Island in 2000.

The end of Sibella’s career with Resorts World also coincides with a ramped-up concern about the brand’s reputation.

Not only is Resorts World Bet a sportsbook in the No. 1 sports betting revenue state of New York, but its land-based casino partner may be interested in buying a full retail casino license.

However, the upcoming application process that Resorts World New York City may enter will involve background investigations before applicants are selected for one of three downstate New York retail casino licenses. As of today, state gaming officials haven’t yet formally requested applications.

Present Day: The Cipriani Lawsuit

The philosopher Søren Kierkegaard wrote that “Life can only be understood by looking backward; but it must be lived looking forward.”

In that spirit, we’re starting this story from the end.

On Oct. 9, a gambler by the name of Robert Cipriani, alias Robin Hood 702, filed a lawsuit against RWLV and Sibella. The court case reads a bit like scenes from the 1995 film Casino, in which criminals played by Joe Pesci, Sharon Stone, and others use the fictional Tangiers casino as their personal sandbox.

The actual plaintiff, Cipriani, recounted many incidents in the lawsuit, including this alleged event:

[Convicted fraudster Robert] Alexander, mounted on his mobility scooter, repeatedly pursued and disrupted [plaintiff] Mr. [Robert J.] Cipriani’s play at RWLV’s tables. Time and time again, Alexander maneuvered his scooter within inches of Mr. Cipriani’s person, causing Mr. Cipriani to become fearful for his safety, and blatantly and unlawfully video recording Mr. Cipriani against the latter’s express instructions.

Another current-day allegation from Cipriani is the following:

Joseph Angelo Bravo, a convicted drug trafficker who was sentenced to 87 months in 1993 for his role in a cocaine importing ring with ties to the Buffalo mob, remains an active partner in no less than three (3) separate businesses at RWLV, including Eight Cigar Lounge, Bravo Tickets, and Bravo Concierge.

Cipriani’s lawsuit came less than a month after Sibella’s termination from RWLV on Sept. 15.

The article written by Chav Vasilev includes this information:

Much of the controversy surrounding Sibella … 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.’

The NGCB is the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

Scott Sibella Timeline

Sibella’s career is full of highlights, but the latest chapter ends unhappily for him with his termination from RWLV.

2023

  • Oct. 9: Plaintiff Robert J. Cipriani files his lawsuit against Resorts World and Sibella in the US District Court, District of Nevada. In the 84-page-long complaint against the casino and Sibella, Cipriani seeks monetary compensation for their alleged “concerted negligent failure to prevent foreseeable harm and for the infliction of emotional distress” against Cipriani. He asserts that, as a high-roller gambler, their neglect of his reports about convicted felons at his tables went unaddressed.
  • Oct. 9: Sibella texts Nevada Current reporter Dana Gentry, saying the truth about his termination by Resorts World would emerge “soon.”
  • Oct. 6: Round Two of questions from possible applicants for three downstate New York retail casino licenses are due to the New York Gaming Facility Location Board (NYGFLB). The board may formally request license applications after staffers answer and publish those questions. It’s unclear when the names of those applicants will become public, but Resorts World NYC is expected to be among them.
  • Sep. 15: Sibella leaves his role as president and COO of RWLV, which states only that he violated company policy. Peter LaVoie, formerly senior vice president and CFO, fills the vacancy. Like Sibella, LaVoie came to Resorts World from MGM Grand Las Vegas. However, LaVoie arrived in March 2020.
  • Aug. 2: News of the federal investigation gets out. Gentry’s article in the Nevada Current quotes “a state employee” who said federal agents collected interviews and statements from former employees of the NGCB. The agents allegedly “inquired specifically” about Sibella.
  • August: Cipriani’s lawsuit states — “Federal law enforcement agents from California were investigating allegations that both current and former RWLV employees had used casino assets to pay off gambling debts. In addition, it was reported that these same individuals provided confidential customer data to illegal gambling rings that had been operating for decades. Reporting also confirmed that Sibella was at the center of this investigation. The investigation included the issuance of a subpoena wherein the Federal authorities sought communications between RWLV employees and customers.”
  • June 22: Resorts World launches a  new national brand marketing campaign, Rule the World. Sibella is front and center in the press release.
  • June 19: Following a year-long investigation, the NGCB clears Sibella of wrongdoing.

2022

  • Holidays 2022: A former colleague of Sibella’s posted a photo on LinkedIn of him wrapping gifts for “Adopt-A-Family.” The program gives clothing, toys, and other requested items to families in need during the holidays.
  • Oct. 3: The New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) unanimously approved appointing three members to the New York Gaming Facility Location Board (NYGFLB). That’s the board overseeing the selection process for three full downstate New York retail casino licenses.
  • Sept. 22: Bonus heard Kevin Jones, chief strategy and legal officer at Resorts World NYC and Genting Americas, say his company’s casino in Queens would likely receive one of the three full retail casino licenses. He suggested Empire City Casino in Yonkers, an MGM Resorts International property, would also get a license.
  • August: Sibella contributed $10,000 to the reelection campaign of Clark County District Attorney Steven B. Wolfson. Cipriani notes the donations of “$5,000 in January 2022, and another $5,000 in August 2022” because he believes Sibella was trying to silence him about the casino’s allegedly “unlawful activities” by pushing Wolfson on “the ludicrous gambling fraud complaint” against Cipriani.
  • July 29: Sibella talked about his more than 20-year history of bringing the events to Las Vegas casinos. He represented RWLV on an NFR Extra podcast because the casino hosted a rodeo event. NFR stands for National Finals Rodeo.
  • May 4: Criminal charges are dropped against Cipriani regarding when he took Alexander’s smartphone and handed it to a security guard.
  • April 21: The NGCB opens its investigation into Sibella.
  • April 5: Testifying under oath at his own bankruptcy fraud hearing, Brandon Sattler makes the accusations against Sibella that would lead to his investigation by the NGCB.
  • April: Cipriani’s lawsuit notes the NGCB investigated RWLV, “this time pertaining to the ownership of the … Tacos El Cabron restaurant on RWLV’s premises. Specifically, an alleged part-ownership in the restaurant by convicted felon David Stroj.” The legal complaint also alleges Sattler owned 50% of the now-shuttered restaurant. [Author’s note: In Spanish, “cabron” means “male goat.” However, it’s also an insult in Mexican slang. Bonus doesn’t mean to offend readers.]
  • Feb. 22: “Cipriani emailed Sheriffs Joey Herring and Joe Lombardo (now Governor of Nevada) to bring light to RWLV’s retaliatory pursuit of criminal charges,” Cipriani’s lawsuit reads.
  • Jan. 8: Online sports betting launches in New York. Resorts World Bet is among the state’s nine licensees.
  • January: After an investigation into Cipriani’s reports of seeing Stroj gambling at RWLV, Stroj “admitted” to doing so during H2 2021. Cipriani’s lawsuit said he told “federal probation officer Tina Neiman, the FBI, and the Nevada Gaming Control Board.” Cipriani alleged Stroj continued to gamble at RWLV.

2021

  • Nov. 19: Cipriani alleges Alexander’s “weeks of continual harassment” came to a head when Alexander maneuvered his scooter within inches of Cipriani. Alexander then allegedly started recording Cipriani through smartphone video. Cipriani grabbed the phone, tried to hand it to a cashier, then gave it to a security guard. Cipriani was arrested. Cipriani alleges Sibella tried to add cheating to the charges.
  • Nov. 19: Cipriani believes Joseph Tatonetti resigned as RWLV’s surveillance operations manager because Sibella allegedly asked Tatonetti to “manufacture evidence” to show Cipriani cheating.
  • Oct. 26: NGCB notifies RWLV about its “active law enforcement investigation into Alexander.” Cipriani’s court complaint continues: “Despite this, for almost a full month following such notice, Alexander was allowed free roam on RWLV’s premises, unlawfully wagering his investors’ money at its tables.” Cipriani alleges he also told RWLV and Sibella about Alexander betting on the casino floor.
  • Oct. 1: Cipriani texted Tatonetti that he had seen Alexander at RWLV the night before. In texts Cipriani sent on Oct. 20, 25, and 28, he told Tatonetti that Alexander was gambling at RWLV “almost every day.”
  • Sept. 18: Cipriani texted Tatonetti about seeing a “convicted felon gambling at RWLV — known Triad and money launderer Edwin Ting.” Cipriani’s lawsuit includes a response from Tatonetti allegedly acknowledging Ting shouldn’t have been gambling at RWLV.
  • Sept. 18: Cipriani’s lawsuit states that RWLV removed Sattler from the casino because “a government agency” was investigating and requested photos of Sattler on the casino floor.
  • July 10: Cipriani “advised Tatonetti” that Ting was allegedly betting at RWLV.
  • July 9: Cipriani texted Tatonetti that Sattler was allegedly wagering on the RWLV casino floor.
  • July: Cipriani’s lawsuit alleges he “initiated a text message conversation” with Tatonetti about “career criminals gambling at RWLV.”
  • June 24: RWLV’s opening day arrives. The property developed by Genting Berhad is part of Genting Group.

2019, 2020

  • Jan 8, 2020: Robert Alexander pleads guilty to fraud.
  • April 2019: RWLV hires Sibella as president and COO. He readies the casino to open to the public.
  • February 2019: MGM Resorts International (MGM Resorts International 34,63 -5,54%) bought out Sibella’s contract as president and COO of MGM Grand, so he departed.

From 2010 to 2018: The MGM Years

  • Feb. 28, 2018: Sibella’s alma mater — the William F. Harrah College of Hospitality at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV)published a feature article about him. The lead paragraph for Vegas’ Native Son: Scott Sibella read: “You could say Scott Sibella learned the hotel business from the ground up. As a boy, he often tagged along with his construction superintendent dad, who had a hand in building some of the Strip’s most iconic hotel casinos.”
  • March 20, 2011: The MGM Grand episode of the reality television show Undercover Boss aired on CBS. In the episode, Sibella is a subpar roulette dealer instead of working in his C-suite role.
  • September 2010: Sibella took on the MGM Grand Las Vegas role as president and COO.

    From 1988 to 2009: Sibella’s Path From the Front Desk to COO

    • Oct. 1, 2007: Sibella began working at The Mirage as president and COO.
    • 2000: His first role as president and COO of a commercial casino was Treasure Island, Sibella said. Steve Wynn envisioned Treasure Island as a family-friendly destination, Sibella said on the NFR Extra podcast on July 29, 2022. After that, he helped shift the city to an adult-oriented casino experience. Cipriani’s lawsuit mentions Sibella was “vice president of casino marketing” for Tropicana in Atlantic City and Las Vegas “and served in various executive positions at the Trump Taj Mahal (now Hard Rock Hotel and Casino) in Atlantic City.”
    • 1988: Sibella graduated with a bachelor’s degree in hotel administration from UNLV. Sometime after that, he began his casino career as an intern at Golden Nugget, though it’s unclear whether this was in 1988 or later.

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