May 23, 2024 3 min read

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Resorts World Faces Money Laundering Investigation

The casino allegedly failed to spot the suspicious behavior of several players connected with a suspected underground gambling ring

Resorts World is under federal scrutiny after revelations that three gamblers, currently under investigation for their involvement in illegal sports betting rings, lost nearly $24 million at the casino since its opening less than three years ago. The venue reportedly failed to detect this suspicious activity, which could result in substantial fines if proven true.

A Black Market Operation Allegedly Operated Undisturbed

The investigation, led by federal authorities from California, aims to determine the extent of the alleged money laundering activities and could result in a significant fine for Resorts World. A recent report by local news outlet The Nevada Current revealed that the Nevada Gaming Control Board has also launched a related inquiry into multiple casinos.

This suspected money laundering operation connects to the legal case against Ippei Mizuhara, a former interpreter for baseball star Shohei Ohtani, who reportedly stole $4.5 million and gambled them away with a black market betting ring. Illegal bookmakers are known to launder money by wiring illicit funds to casinos, later withdrawing most of these funds.

Matt Bowyer, who has admitted to taking bets from Mizuhara, made 32 trips to Resorts World, losing $7.9 million between 2022 and 2023. Some of Mizuhara’s weekly payments to Bowyer, up to $500,000 each, were reportedly deposited into another suspect’s gambling account at Resorts World to obfuscate the source of the funds.

Resorts World Faces Pressure over Sibella’s Actions

Damien LeForbes, another high-roller who reportedly lost $12.3 million over nearly four dozen trips to Resorts World, and Real Housewives of Orange County star Ryan Boyajian are the other two individuals suspected of aiding Bowyer. The three men have not faced charges, but the situation may change as the authorities collect more evidence of their alleged illegal activities.

The ongoing investigation follows the court case against ex-Resorts World executive Scott Sibella, who received a sentence for his earlier anti-money laundering (AML) violations. Sibella turned a blind eye to suspicious activities, not unlike Bowyer’s alleged gambling ring. By opting not to report such transactions, Sibella effectively violated the federal Bank Secrecy Act and was sentenced to up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

As the investigation continues, Resorts World could face significant penalties if found complicit in the alleged money laundering operations, underscoring the complexities and risks of maintaining compliance in the high-stakes world of casino gambling. Recent revelations highlight how such black market schemes may be more common than expected, necessitating increased vigilance by casinos.

Deyan is an experienced writer, analyst, and seeker of forbidden lore. He has approximate knowledge about many things, which he is always willing to apply when researching and preparing his articles. With a degree in Copy-editing and Proofreading, Deyan is able to ensure that his work writing for GamblingNews is always up to scratch.

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