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Gambling Boss Gave £50,000 Donation to the Labour Party

10 Nov 2004

UNITED KINGDOM -- As reported by the (London) Independent: "The director of one of Britain's biggest online betting companies gave £50,000 to Labour while the Government was drafting final proposals to reform the gambling industry.

"Peter Coates, a director of the internet gambling company, gave the cash to the party in July. His donation was revealed in figures from the Electoral Commission yesterday. Mr Coates, a lifelong Labour supporter, is also a shareholder in Lindley catering investments which has contracts at football grounds planning to build casinos.

"The caterer, which Mr Coates founded in 1968 but has now sold, has contracts with more than 30 clubs including Manchester City, Sheffield United and Hull City. The deals could open lucrative business opportunities for the UK's largest stadium catering firm which has contracts throughout the leisure industry.

"Mr Coates' online bettting company,, is among the biggest internet gambling sites in the UK. It has an offshore casino arm which allows punters to play poker and other games online.

"...Mr Coates, who has made substantial cash gifts to Labour before, said he had not given the money because of the Gambling Bill; he was "a long-standing supporter of the Labour Party" and had been "a member for years".

"...Last night the Labour Party denied Mr Coates had met officials or ministers about the Bill. 'No donation to the Labour Party will give the donor any influence over party or government policy,' a Labour spokes- man said. 'Mr Coates has never sought to influence policy as a result of any donation.'..."

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