Resorts World Faces Potential Massive Fines Amid Money Laundering Allegations

Money laundering allegations against casino operator Resorts World
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Money laundering has been a permanent issue in the casino and gambling space. Just recently, the casino operator SkyCity was fined $78 million in New Zealand and Australia. In Las Vegas, the Nevada Gaming Control Board has initiated a probe into several casinos, including Resorts World, amid allegations of money laundering tied to illegal sports betting rings. This investigation highlights the ongoing issue of financial crime within the casino and gambling sector.

According to Nevada Current, three gamblers under federal investigation for their connections to illegal sports betting operations reportedly lost nearly $24 million at Resorts World since its opening less than three years ago. This significant loss has drawn the attention of federal authorities from California.

While Resorts World has not been officially charged with any wrongdoing, the potential financial repercussions are considerable. Federal authorities often impose substantial fines on corporations to reclaim illicit gains.

Among the gamblers under scrutiny is Damien LeForbes, who is linked to illegal sports betting activities. Sources indicate that LeForbes lost $12.3 million over nearly 50 visits to Resorts World. Additionally, a casino record reveals that Resorts World forwarded a $2.5 million bad check from LeForbes to the Clark County District Attorney, although no legal action has been taken.

Another notable figure in the investigation is Ryan Boyajian, associated with illegal bookie Matt Bowyer and known from the “Real Housewives of Orange County.” Boyajian reportedly lost $3.7 million during 21 trips to Resorts World.

Bowyer himself is a central figure, having lost $7.9 million at Resorts World between 2022 and 2023. ESPN reported that Bowyer received substantial payments from Ippei Mizuhara, the former interpreter of baseball star Shohei Ohtani, who is accused of embezzling nearly $17 million from Ohtani’s account to support his gambling habit. Mizuhara has since entered a plea deal with federal authorities.

The investigation into these activities underscores the persistent issue of money laundering within the casino industry, where illegal bookmakers often launder money through casino transactions. Despite the high-profile nature of the case, none of the individuals involved, including Bowyer, Boyajian, and LeForbes, have been formally charged with crimes at this time.

The broader investigation also involves former MGM Grand and Resorts World president Scott Sibella, who was sentenced to probation and fined for failing to report a suspicious transaction involving another gambler. MGM Resorts has since paid $7.5 million to settle related violations.

As the investigation continues, Resorts World and other implicated casinos may face significant penalties, further highlighting the critical need for rigorous compliance and oversight in the gambling industry.

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