Gambling

Nevada Regulators Join Las Vegas Money Laundering Probe as Net Widens

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Posted on: April 26, 2024, 11:14h. 

Last updated on: April 26, 2024, 11:29h.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) has joined a sprawling investigation into the possible laundering of proceeds from illegal bookmaking at Las Vegas casinos, the Nevada Current reports.

Nevada Gaming Control Board, NGCB, Scott Sibella, Wayne Nix, Dave Stroj, Ippei Mizuhara
Scott Sibella, above, has pleaded guilty to violating the Bank Secrecy Act in connection to Wayne Nix, the bookie he allowed to gamble at the MGM Grand. (Image: Las Vegas Review-Journal)

The gaming regulator is a little late to the party. Last year, the board cleared former Resorts World President Scott Sibella of allegations of connections to convicted illegal bookie “Fat” Dave Stroj.

Stroj had an interest in a taco restaurant at Resorts World and had been gambling at the casino and others in Las Vegas in violation of a supervised release clause.

Egg on Face

The board ended up with egg on their faces six months later when the feds subpoenaed Resorts World demanding records of cash and wire transactions. Resorts World fired Sibella shortly after for violating company policy.

In January, Sibella pleaded guilty in a federal court to violating the Bank Secrecy Act. This was because he failed to report that another bookie, Wayne Nix, had paid a marker at the MGM Grand with $120K in cash in 2018 when Sibella was president of that casino.

Sibella admitted that he knew of Nix’s profession and deliberately did not ask the source of the funds because he would have had to stop him from gambling.

Sibella is scheduled to be sentenced in December. Nix, a former minor league baseball pitcher who provided illegal bookmaking to professional players of several sports, has pleaded guilty to illegal gambling and awaits sentencing.

MGM and the Cosmopolitan entered into nonprosecution agreements with federal agents over Nix’s gambling and paid a $7.45 million settlement between them. Resorts World hasn’t been accused of wrongdoing.

Ohtani Interpreter Scandal

Now, the investigation has widened to focus on other illegal bookies and whether proceeds have been laundered at Las Vegas casinos. Several sources within the gaming industry told The Current that the NGCB had reached out to them as part of the probe and appears to be assisting federal agents with their inquiries.

One focus of the investigation is Matt Bowyer, an alleged bookmaker and Las Vegas gambler who received $16 million from the bank account of LA Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani.

The money was allegedly transferred by Ohtani’s interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, who was facing massive gambling debts and has been charged with bank fraud.

Mizuhara started betting with Bowyer in September 2021, placing approximately 19K bets between December 2021 and January 2024, according to prosecutors.

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