Investigation by federal authorities

Resorts World potentially facing fines in alleged money laundering case

Reading time 1:43 min

Three gamblers under federal investigation for their involvement in illegal sports betting rings have reportedly lost nearly $24 million at Resorts World in Las Vegas since the casino's opening less than three years ago. This revelation could have significant implications for the property, currently under investigation by federal authorities from California.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board has also initiated a related probe involving multiple casinos, Nevada Current reported. Resorts World has not been charged with wrongdoing.

Damien LeForbes, one of the gamblers under investigation, incurred $12.3 million in losses over close to four dozen trips to Resorts World, according to sources. The casino turned over a bad check for $2.5 million from LeForbes to the Clark County District Attorney, but no case has been filed. LeForbes also owes $1 million to The Venetian, which has similarly referred the matter to the District Attorney without resulting charges, the report said.

Ryan Boyajian, an associate of illegal bookie Matt Bowyer, reportedly lost $3.7 million at Resorts World over 21 trips. Bowyer, who took sports bets from Ippei Mizuhara, a former interpreter for baseball star Shohei Ohtani, made 32 trips to Resorts World and lost $7.9 million between 2022 and 2023, Nevada Current reported. Mizuhara, who stole nearly $17 million from Ohtani’s bank account to fuel his gambling and pay off debts, has entered a plea deal with federal authorities.

As per the Current, Bowyer, Boyajian, and LeForbes have not been charged with any crimes. Bowyer’s home was raided last October by federal authorities, the same team that investigated former MGM Grand and Resorts World president Scott Sibella. Sibella received one year of probation and a $9,500 fine for failing to ensure MGM filed a suspicious transaction report for a cash payment from gambler Wayne Nix, who has admitted to illegal bookmaking.

MGM Resorts agreed to pay $7.5 million to avoid prosecution in the case, which involved violations at MGM Grand and Cosmopolitan. The investigation of Nix and Sibella has now expanded to other resorts and alleged illegal bookmakers, including Bowyer and LeForbes. A dozen individuals have been charged or entered plea agreements in connection with the case.

On the day federal agents raided Bowyer’s home, they also confiscated the phone of Jennifer Belcastro, an independent representative who hosted Bowyer's first trip to Resorts World. Subsequently, Resorts World and state regulators approved Bowyer’s wife to represent him, allowing the couple to recoup a percentage of Bowyer’s losses, the report said.

Outside representatives, compensated based on their customer’s level of play and losses per trip, must be registered with the state and undergo a background check, according to Gaming Control Board spokesman Michael Lawton.

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