Saturday, February 04, 2012

Poker News Media: Qatar pays record $250m for Cezanne - 5th February 2012

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OIL-RICH Qatar has bought Paul Cezanne's painting The Card Players for more than $250 million, by far the highest price yet paid for a work of art.

Previously, a Jackson Pollock - No. 5, 1948 - held the record, sold for $140 million in pre-recessionary 2006.

Vanity Fair magazine points out that only four other versions of Card Players exist - Cezanne painted them as a series in the 1890s. They are all housed in world-class museums, including the Musee d'Orsay in Paris and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

"The purchase is just the latest bid in Qatar's effort to become an international intellectual hub," the magazine wrote, adding that it "upends the modern art market."

According to the Gulf Times, Qatar has the third highest density of millionaires in the world after Singapore and Switzerland.

The sale, which took place last year, was confirmed to the magazine by multiple sources only last week.

Qatar's royal family declined to comment and all other players involved in the sale signed confidentiality agreements.

The Card Players bought by Qatar is one of three that shows two men at a table playing cards.

"$250 million is a fortune," Victor Wiener, a fine-art appraiser told Vanity Fair. ''But you take any art-history course and a Card Players is likely in it. It's a major, major image."

Cezanne inspired Cubism and helped pioneer abstract art, and Picasso called him "the father of us all." (Credit: GNE)

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment CEO Sees Legal Online Gaming In US Soon

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Legalized online gambling in the U.S. is now a case of 'when', not 'if', Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment PLC (BPTY.LN) Co-CEO Jim Ryan said Wednesday, adding that he expects the foundations to be laid this year.

But speaking at the ICE online gambling conference in London, the co-chief executive advised that establishing it up will take time.

The process of passing legislation, drawing up regulation, vetting and licensing operators will likely last through 2012, he said, and he speculates that actual operations likely won't happen before next year.

Partygaming, which last year merged with Austrian peer Bwin to form Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment, along with other European operators withdrew from the U.S. market in 2006 shortly after then-President George W. Bush signed a bill designed to prohibit U.S. banks and credit card companies from processing payments to gambling websites.

Partygaming paid a $105 million fine as part of a non-prosecution deal with the DOJ (Department Of Justice) in 2009, for admitting indirect contravention of US law, but in anticipation of a relaxation of the rules, Bwin.Party last year inked a joint venture with U.S. casino operators MGM and Boyd to operate online gaming if and when it became legal in the U.S.

Ryan's confidence comes after a recent ruling by the U.S. Department of Justice, which clarifies the scope of the Wire Act, a law that in the past has been used stop online gambling sites. The ruling essentially gives U.S. states the green light to allow gambling within their borders, according to online gambling experts.

Still, Ryan said this doesn't mean the company is in line to recoup any of the $105 million fine.

Bwin.Party and its joint venture partners have already applied for a preliminary suitability review in Nevada which will lay the groundwork for gaining a license there once regulation is agreed.

Ryan also told the press the sale process for its Ongame poker network is very advanced and he expects to be able to announce further news in the not too distant future.

He confirmed recent reports that the company is looking for an executive to head up its payments processing division CQR with a view to ultimately taking it public, but said this was several years away.

He said the company wants to expand its online payments operations outside of the gambling sector to build an online merchant market place, increasing the value of this asset and ultimately realising shareholder value by listing it on the stock market.

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