(Resorts World promotional video screengrab)
Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson dropped charges Wednesday against professional gambler R.J. Cipriani for taking a phone from a man Cipriani says repeatedly harassed him last year at Resorts World Las Vegas.
The about face comes weeks after Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Suzan Baucum issued a no-bail warrant for Cipriani and Wolfson added a robbery charge and special victim enhancement to the larceny count filed against Cipriani last November.
Cipriani, a law enforcement source known on social media as Robin Hood 702, has previously said he notified Resorts World executives and the FBI last year that allegedly undesirable individuals were gambling at the casino. He was arrested Nov. 19 when he took a phone from gambler Robert Alexander, a convicted felon awaiting sentencing for defrauding investors in his company.
Cipriani contends Resorts World president Scott Sibella, angered by the attention Cipriani drew to the hotel from law enforcement, subsequently embarked on a campaign to discredit him.
He says Wolfson, who eventually charged Cipriani with cheating by changing his bet in the middle of a hand, was doing Sibella’s bidding. Wolfson and Sibella have declined to comment.
On Wednesday, the DA reduced the cheating charge to disorderly conduct and Cipriani pled guilty.
“Cheating at gambling in Nevada –. that’s like a capital offense,” said Cipriani’s attorney Robert Langford. “And instead, it’s disorderly conduct, which is essentially talking too loud. And let’s not even talk about robbery, a violent crime and that was flat out dismissed. You do the math.”
“He has to stay away from Resorts World and not post or have contact in any way that is harassing or negative with employees of Resorts World,“ Langford said Wednesday of Cipriani’s probation terms. His client declined to comment.
In March, Sibella told the Nevada Gaming Control Board he was unaware Cipriani was at Resorts World, and denied knowing gambler Brandon Sattler, a debtor in a multimillion dollar bankruptcy fraud case. Sattler swore under penalty of perjury in a deposition related to the bankruptcy case that he and Sibella have a long relationship that included illicit drug use while Sibella was president of MGM Grand.
The Gaming Control Board says it’s looking into the allegations but will not comment on the scope of its probe.
Resorts World, which said via a spokeswoman that it’s been in compliance with gaming regulations all along, has recently trespassed at least three of the gamblers reported by Cipriani to law enforcement, including Alexander, Sattler, and convicted illegal gambler David Stroj, who managed a taco stand at the hotel until he was trespassed. One of Stroj’s co-defendants, Craig Kolk, has also been trespassed.
“I did get banned from all MGM properties and all Harrah’s properties at the time of my conviction,” Kolk said in an interview. “So it’s just another property I’m banned from, but it’s weird that it was after the fact.”
The hotel has not commented on why the gamblers were trespassed.
“Gaming Control is a really effective regulatory agency in Nevada,” Langford said, noting the GCB is “looking into what’s happening at Resorts World.”
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