Las Vegas Gaming Companies Represented on Annual List of Most Overpaid CEOs

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  • Penn’s CEO made close to $2,000 per dollar earned by average company employees
  • The list is released yearly to help monitor executives
  • The 100 executives on the list let down shareholders in totality

Four Las Vegas executives found themselves on the unflattering list of non-profit watchdog As You Sow’s Top 100 Most Overpaid CEOs.

Members of Penn Entertainment, Las Vegas Sands, Caesars, and Wynn were all named four of the most overpaid members of the gaming industry. Penn Entertainment CEO Jay A. Snowden had the highest ranking of the bunch (third) and was paid just under $66 million, compared to average employee salaries of $33,930.

As You Sow was formed in 1992 to help monitor and encourage corporate responsibility. Its list of overpaid executives is published yearly.

Breaking down the numbers

Snowden’s enormous compensation translated to $180,548 every day, $7,523 per hour, and $125 every minute. He also earned $1,942 for every dollar earned by other company employees on average.

The Penn boss fell only behind Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc. CEO David M. Zaslav, who earned $2,972 per dollar by other employees on average, and beauty supplier Estee Lauder Companies Inc. CEO Fabrizio Freda, who took home $1,965 on the company dollar.

Penn describes itself as “ North America's leading provider of integrated entertainment, sports content and casino gaming experiences.” It owns and operates many resorts and properties in Las Vegas and across the country, and also holds sports betting and online casino licenses in 19 total jurisdictions.

The company also finalized its acquisition of Barstool Sports for just over $551 million last week. It had previously purchased a 36% share for roughly $163 million and paid out the remaining $388 million.

According to research team HIP Investor’s analysis of S&P 500 companies’ CEO salaries and financial performances, Snowden should have been paid about $16 million. That’s over four times less than he made.

The gaming scene has been at the center of the entertainment revolution in numerous ways. Many states have either legalized or are battling to legalize sports betting and casinos, gambling is being integrated into common activities like video gaming and television viewership, and sports like poker are quickly rising in popularity.

So, although Snowden’s take-home pay may be above the standard of most high-profile execs, it is a reflection of the trajectory of the gaming industry—one in which Penn is a leader and only fortifying its position in.

Other overpaid CEOs

As previously mentioned, Penn Entertainment was not the only gaming company with an executive named on the recent list.

Las Vegas Sands Corp. CEO Robert Goldstein was dubbed the eighth-highest financial overachiever with a final payment of $31.2 million. The company offers entry-level pay of $40,000 and an average of around $77k, per career-finding company Zippia.

Caesars Entertainment CEO Thomas R. Reeg was much lower on the list but still checked in at the 54th spot. His final compensation of $22.6 million made him another one of As You Sow’s most overpaid executives during a time in which company stock fell 31.04% year-to-year.

Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox was near the bottom of the list after he received $12.9 million. Unlike Caesars, Wynn made a 23.11% jump in stock price year-to-year, theoretically justifying his salary to a greater extent.

HIP Investor revealed that Goldstein and Reeg should have been paid $13.8 million and $15.5 million respectively. It did not include an estimate for Maddox.

In total, the 100 CEOs on the list were paid over $3.8 billion and collectively let down company shareholders. As You Sow said that, combined with many receiving unearned bonuses, are clear indications that the executives are being paid too much for their work.

One gaming company that is doing exceptionally well right now is DraftKings. Company stock jumped up 81% in the fourth quarter of 2022, although it took on a net loss of $1.4bn for the entire year.

With March Madness right around the corner, all companies can expect to receive an uptick in bettor participation. The American Gaming Association estimated that roughly $3.1 billion would be wagered during last year’s tournament, and the number should only increase with the growth in popularity and availability of legal sports betting.

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself in his up-to-the-minute reporting on the latest events in the industry. A member of Virginia Tech’s 2021 graduating class, he has quickly put together an impressive portfolio since moving to the professional world full-time. Grant’s favorite sports to cover are basketball and both types of football (American and soccer), and he is pushing written, audio, and video content. He has been employed by companies as highly regarded as Forbes and continues on a great trajectory in the industry. When he’s not on the clock, you can find Grant at the gym, looking for adventures, or hanging out with his family.