Principal Owner and Managing General Partner of the Las Vegas Raiders Mark Davis, President of Resorts World Las Vegas Scott Sibella, Chairman and Chief Executive of Genting Group Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, and Deputy Chief Executive and Executive Director of Genting Group Lim Keong Hui have a first roll of the dice at the Resorts World Las Vegas Grand Opening on June 24, 2021.(Photo by Bryan Steffy/Getty Images for Resorts World Las Vegas)
The Nevada Gaming Control Board recommended approval of Scott Sibella, president of Resorts World Las Vegas, as a key employee Wednesday, but not before asking about professional gambler R.J. Cipriani, an FBI informant charged with two felony charges stemming from his stay at Resorts World last year.
Cipriani, a high-roller who spent 482 hours gambling at Resorts World in four months last year, according to a GCB report, was arrested Nov. 19 after he took a phone from Robert Alexander, a patron he says was taking video of him gambling. He was later charged with attempting to change his bet during play on the same day.
“I’ll be careful what I say, but when you decide to throw somebody out of the casino, which isn’t me, they want to attack somebody,” Sibella told the Control Board. “This person (Cipriani) was at MGM, hanging out in the Mansions area with our high end customers, causing problems.”
The problems Sibella refers to, according to Cipriani, also known as Robin Hood 702, is his penchant for notifying law enforcement of alleged wrongdoing in the form of loan sharking, cheating, and money laundering.
Sibella, formerly the president of MGM, said corporate executives made the decision to trespass Cipriani from MGM, and the gambler “attacked” him on social media as a result.
“And then when I got here (Resorts World), he was in the casino without me knowing. He created some problems,” Sibella said. “It’s under the DA now. But now he’s trying to attack and create things that aren’t even true.”
“He absolutely knows I was there,” Cipriani said in response to Sibella’s comments before the GCB. He says the two met frequently and had dinner in Brezza at Resorts World on Nov. 15 with Resorts World New York executive Kevin Jones, and the CEO of a major music entertainment production.
“The point I was making is that he didn’t contact me to come here for the first time,” Sibella told the Current via text, when asked about his assertion to the GCB that he didn’t know Cipriani was at the resort.
In an email provided by Cipriani to the Current and authenticated by Sibella, the gambler tells Sibella he’d like to come in after the July 4th holiday.
Three days after Cipriani’s arrest, the GCB took a report from Resorts World alleging that Cipriani changed a bet on Nov. 19 while a blackjack hand was in play.
The gambler says he bet two hands of $500 and was told by the dealer to increase his bet to meet the $1,000 minimum. He ultimately changed the bets back to $500 at the instruction of the floor person.
Resorts World made no attempt to stop Cipriani from gambling, and he remained at the tables for hours following the incident, according to the GCB report.
“Though Cipriani did not fraudulently obtain any payment, he intentionally past-posted at the moment he gained knowledge of his hand outcome,” says the GCB report. “If successful, Cipriani would have fraudulently obtained an extra $1,500 which was not entitled to receive.”
“(The dealer) paid Cipriani for the winning hand of 21 on Spot 4,” says the report, which was used to obtain an arrest warrant. “Cipriani’s hand in spot 5 lost to (the dealer’s) hand, with a hand total of 18 versus dealer 17.”
The GCB has not explained how Cipriani, with an 18, lost to the dealer, who had 17.
“They owe me, according to that report,” Cipriani said.
“It appears, based on the report, that Resorts inappropriately took this man’s money,” says former California Gambling Commissioner Richard Schuetz. “They should be cited and an effort should be made to return the funds to the person – with an apology.”
“Mistakes are made in casinos, and what happened with this man’s bets here may well have been a mistake,” says Schuetz. “I would guess that the agent that wrote this report will suggest that he made a mistake with the 17 & 18 nonsense, so what is good for the goose is good for the gander. That should destroy the whole case.”
Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson did not respond to requests for comment on the GCB report.
“It also happens that people get confused about the color of chips. The whole point is that you do not make a case on one transaction,” Schuetz said, adding people “drink too much, get confused, and do all kinds of things in a casino, and other than something flagrant like grabbing a chip and running, the general rule is to give them a Mulligan, so to speak.”
Cipriani contends he’s being vilified for badgering Sibella as well as Resorts World’s Compliance Department about gamblers who are of interest to law enforcement, according to documents provided to the Current.
One of those individuals, Brandon Sattler, owes creditors upwards of $13 million in a bankruptcy fraud proceeding, according to court records. Sattler’s creditors sought to question Sibella about Sattler’s gambling and business affairs, but Sibella told the GCB the creditors have abandoned their efforts. Sattler did not respond to requests for comment.
The Gaming Commission will take final action on Sibella’s license bid later this month on March 17.
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