Nevada Gaming Control Board Needs More Scrutiny, Researcher Says, After Resorts World/MGM Grand Scott Sibella Scandal 

A prominent researcher into freedom of information says that the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) is unfairly allowed confidentiality in its investigations. 

David Cullier of the University of Florida’s Freedom of Information Project says the current situation may have led to the protracted fallout from the scandal involving former Resorts World and MGM Grand President Scott Sibella. 

The NGCB joined the investigations into Sibella’s links to illegal California bookmakers at a late stage. It initially cleared him of involvement with a suspected money launderer in a separate case in early 2023. However, the regulator ended up doing a swift turnaround. 

Last month, it announced it was working with the wide-ranging federal investigation into Sibella, and conducting its own legal filings against the embattled former exec. 

Cullier says that the specific rule of the state’s regulation, Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) 463.120, allows too much privacy for the NGCB. He suggests that if journalists or curious members of the public had been able to look into the NGCB’s files and break the story earlier, the money laundering for which Sibella was recently convicted for failing to report could have been avoided. 

Hidden Dealings 

The NGCB is allowed to keep informers’ statements confidential, according to NRS 463.120, . 

“Information provided to the members, agents, or employees of the board or commission by a governmental agency or an informer or on the assurance that the information will be held in confidence and treated as confidential, and may be revealed in whole or in part only in the course of the necessary administration of this chapter or upon the lawful order of a court of competent jurisdiction.”

If you’re after some light bedtime reading, you can see the whole of Nevada’s Licensing and Control of Gaming statutes here.

In Las Vegas, with its massive gambling business and its long, complex history of mob dealings, transparency is more important than ever. 

“Clearly, there’s a huge public interest in Nevada on the gaming industry and making sure that it’s honest and transparent and accountable,” Cuillier said, speaking to the Las Vegas Review Journal. 

“It’s such an important force in the state and the people should demand transparency on that. Otherwise, it leads to suspicion. What’s going on? Are we back to mobsters running Las Vegas? We’re not going to know unless that sort of thing is public.”

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