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My Dear MelancholyGaspar Noe/Cannes Film Festival
The My Dear Melancholy era notable for being a time when The Weeknd was in proximity to a lot of serious directors. While he’s had a foot in Hollywood for awhile, 2017 through 2019 he was actively engaging with filmmakers like the Safdies Brothers, Gaspar Noe, and Claire Denis, amongst others. While he had been actively courting the Safdies since Good Time was released, he attended the 2018 Cannes Film Festival where he crossed paths Noe, whose film Climax took home a number awards at Cannes. Noe’s Enter the Void had previously served as an inspiration for Kiss Land, and for MDM (and later After Hours) seem to call back to Noe’s other films, like Irreversible and Love, which are both twisted depictions of heartbreak. On the other hand, Climax is about a French dance troupe who accidentally take LSD, and according to Noe is not a “message” movie. It is an audacious psychedelic technical exercise, with numerous long takes and highly choreographed set pieces. The idea for Noe, who had previously captured the feeling of drugs in previous films, was to do the opposite, and present the objectively reality of drugs, watching people high from a sober perspective.
Noe is a rather strong advocate of film, and the opening scene of Climax features VHS boxes of a number of films that have influenced his filmmaking. Two of note are Schizophrenia, otherwise known as Angst, one of Noe’s favorite films which The Weeknd name checked to the Safdies, and Possession, which would go on to be an influence on After Hours (more on this later). He is also said to have sat next to Benicio Del Toro at Cannes, which means he likely caught some of the Un Certain Regard section, where Del Toro served as a jury member. Outside of that section, there were a few other films of interest such as The House That Jack Built from Lars Von Trier (The Weeknd has previously expressed affection for Von Trier’s Antichrist), Mandy from Pastos Costamos, and music video director Romain Gavras’s The World Is Yours, as well as a restoration of 2001: A Space Odyssey, which Noe has referred to as the film that got him into filmmaking.
Later in 2018, The Weeknd continued his globetrotting with a tour of Asia. He once claimed in an interview that whenever visiting a foreign country he only watches films from there. I’ve previously written about the influence of Asian cinema on Kiss Land, and there’s not enough work from the MDM era to glean anything cinematically adjacent to this, but now would be a good time to mention that the "Call Out My Name" video was heavily inspired by the work of famed Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto. The Asian tour poster seems to be a reference to Ichi the Killer, which leads us to Takashi Miike. Though he is notoriously prolific across a number of genres, his most popular works internationally are genre melding blends of horror, comedy and crime, most notably Audition, Ichi the Killer and Gozu. Another film worth mentioning is Perfect Blue, Satoshi Kon’s masterwork about a pop star’s mysterious stalker that The Weeknd posted about on Instagram before. Bloody and haunting, the film was a major influence on Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream. In Interviews he has also mentioned a number of Korean films, such as The Wailing, I Saw the Devil and Oldboy. While Wong Kar Wai was previously mentioned as an influence on Beauty Behind the Madness, also worth mentioning is the work of John Woo, specifically A Better Tomorrow, well known for the shot of smoking a cigar off money, and Infernal Affairs, Andrew Lau’s crime classic which served has the basis for Scorsese’s The Departed.
After HoursMartin Scorsese
While After Hours more so than any other Weeknd album is bursting at the seams with cinematic references, the influence of Martin Scorsese stands above all. Similar to The Weeknd’s body of work, many Scorsese’s are explorations of violence and masculinity, investigating them from a perspective that depending on who you ask (and how they’re feeling) glamorizes, condemns or just simply presents the reality of characters on the fringes of society.
While there are direct references to a number of prominent Scorsese films, what’s interesting is that his influence also reverberates in other films/filmmakers that influence After Hours. Todd Phillips’s Joker is in effect an homage to Scorsese’s loner-centric New York films, and the Safdie Brothers have been putting their own millennial spin on the type of 70s gritty thriller that Scorsese trafficked in (Scorsese was also a producer on Uncut Gems). Specific Scorsese works will be discussed more in depth in the requisite sections, but it is worth mentioning upfront what a prominent role that Scorsese plays in the nucleus of After Hours.
With After Hours, The Weeknd departs from the slicker sounds and influences that permeated Starboy and returns to the cinematic grittiness of Beauty Behind the Madness. While urban horror is a theme that permeates throughout The Weeknd as a project overall, there is a thorough line to be drawn here that follows a number of 70s and 80s cinematic and aesthetic references. For one thing, while the initial bandaged nose was a reference to Chinatown (previously, The Weeknd has a Kiss Land demo titled "Roman Polanski"), the full bandaged face that is so prominently featured throughout the After Hours era is a classic cinematic visual trope that was especially prominent throughout 60s and 80s, though it saw a slight re-emergence in the 2010s. The fully bandaged face is often used to remake someone in the image of another, usually against their will (The Skin I Live In, Eyes Without Face), or as a case of mistaken identity and doppelgängers (Good Night Mommy, Scalpel), themes present throughout much of After Hours. The "Too Late" video acknowledges these references, but instead presents the bandages on two Los Angeles models recovering from plastic surgery, in a nod to a famous Steven Meisel’s photoshoot for Vogue Italia.
The “masks” people wear is another horror trope that is featured prominently on After Hours, and this is best seen in the red suit character. One important reference in the film is to Brian De Palma’s Dressed To Kill, where a serial killer is targeting the patients of a psychiatrist (any more on this film will veer towards spoiler territory). The Weeknd is on the record as saying Jim Carrey’s The Mask as being a large influence on the Red Suit character, it being one of the first film’s he watched in theaters. One of the more complex references would be to Joker. While it sort of an in-joke that the character of the Joker is commonly overanalyzed and misinterpreted, referencing Todd Phillips’s Joker is more nuanced because it is in essence a full on homage to Martin Scorsese’s New York films, most notably Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy, which focus on eccentric loners, and can both be seen as cautionary tale of urban isolation, a theme explored perhaps in songs like "Faith." The King of Comedy revolves around a would be obsessive stand up Rupert Pupkin haggling his way to perform on late night TV, with The Weeknd’s talk show appearances being a prominent part of the early After Hours marketing, most notably in the “short film”. This idea of isolated and compressed urbanites recurs throughout After Hours and it’s films.
The idea of urban repression is in the subway scene of the After Hours short film. The entire film itself is something of a reference to the subway scene to Possession (another Gaspar Noe favorite), mimicking the (also subway set) scene in which Isabelle Adjani’s Anna convulses on the subway due to a miscarriage, as well as Jacob’s Ladder, a 90s cult classic horror film starring Tim Robbins as a Vietnam vet (like Taxi Driver’s Travis Bickle) who is experiencing demonic hallucinations, encountering them in the subway and later at a party he attends, splitting the scene into two.
As always, The Weeknd once again grounds After Hours with a strong sense of place, this time setting the album against a nocturnal odyssey through Las Vegas. One of the most prominent films is Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Terry Gilliam’s adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson’s book. This is directly referenced in the "Heartless" video, which sees The Weeknd and Metro Boomin in the Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro roles as they tumble through a Las Vegas casino. The Weeknd has gone on the record to state that the famous red suit character was influenced by Sammy Davis Jr.’s character in the film Poor Devil. However, similar red suit has also been sported by a number of Vegas characters, most notably Richard Pryor and Robert De Niro’s Sam Rothstein in Martin Scorsese’s Casino. With the red suit, The Weeknd seems to be playing with the idea of a devil-ish other, another side of his personality that emerges in Las Vegas.
While the city lights are the oft discussed part of part of Las Vegas, it should be noted that similar to Beauty Behind the Madness, the desert that surrounds Las Vegas is just as important to the juxtaposition of its beauty. The "Until I Bleed Out" video ends/"Snowchild" video in the desert, similar to the confrontation between Robert De Niro’s and Joe Pesci’s showdown in the desert in Casino, as well as Joe Pesci's death in Goodfellas. The idea of a hedonistic desert playground also bears semblance to Westworld, both the film and the TV show. The desert seems to represent some sort of freedom to The Weeknd, as the "Snowchild" video portrays the desert as a pensive location for reflection, as well as the "In Your Eyes" video showing the girl prominently dancing with the dismembered head out in the open, in reference to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, another prominent desert film.
New York/The Safdies
Despite it’s Las Vegas setting, After Hours also takes a good amount from films set in New York, most notably Martin Scorsese’s 1983 film After Hours. Besides the title, After Hours is similarly about a twisting and turning nighttime odyssey. The film stars Griffin Dunne as Paul, a working class stiff who heads downtown to rendezvous with a woman he met at a diner earlier that night. Of course, things don’t turn out the way they should, chaos ensues, and Paul is set on a dangerous trek back uptown. Like the film, the album After Hours is set off by a woman (though the album takes more stock in romantic endeavors), seems to be set over a single night (or at least a condensed period of time), and involves similar chaos and misadventures (sirens at night at the end of Faith). Tonally, After Hours the film is more comedic perhaps than After Hours the album, however The Weeknd is on the record as having said that "Heartless" and "Blinding Lights" placement on the album is intended to be somewhat comedic, reflecting exaggerated machismo and ecstasy, respectively (to comedic effect).
Another of the most prominent filmmakers of After Hours are the Safdies, who featured The Weeknd in Uncut Gems. They also served as a link to Oneohtrix Point Never, who scored their last two films and later worked After Hours. I believe there are three major film tropes (not genres) that inspired After Hours, all of which the Safdies’s have engaged with. There is the one-long-night films, in which a character spends one-long-night on the run from whatever chaos and forces may be that they left in their path. This can be seen in the Good Time, as well as After Hours (the movie). Then, there is the descent-into-madness type, where a character slowly loses grip with reality and ends up in over their head (something like Scarface or Breaking Bad, but for our purposes Jacob’s Ladder can be categorized here as well), which the Safdies did with Uncut Gems. Lastly, but maybe most importantly, the Safdies also explored toxic romance (more on this later) in their less seen film Heaven Knows What, about two heroin addicts and the destructiveness their love brings out in each other, an idea that recurs throughout After Hours on songs like "Until I Bleed Out" and "Nothing Compares." A recurring song throughout Heaven Knows What is Isao Tomita’s synth version of Debussy’s "Claire De Lune", which is featured in some episodes of Memento Mori and bears some resemblance to the start of "Alone Again".
While love and lust and the ups and downs with it have been a formative part of The Weeknd’s ideology and themes, I don’t think it would be remiss to say that After Hours is perhaps his most outwardly romantic album. Despite this, one of the major arcs of the album is toxicity that comes with it, which a number of already mentioned films deal with. While "In Your Eyes" is one of the more romantic and accessible songs on the album, a re-assessment of it Ala Sting’s “Every Breathe You Take” could frame it as lonely obsessing, such as Travis Bickle’s infatuation with Jodie Foster’s teenage prostitute Iris, Joker's fixation on Murray Franklin, Rupert Pupkin’s obsession with Jerry Langford. Casino also deals with toxic romance, another prominent theme in After Hours, best seen in the love triangle that forms between Sam, his partner Nicky and his wife Ginger, played by Joe Pesci and Sharon Stone respectively.
In almost all of the After Hours’s video content, The Weeknd seems to constantly meet his demise at the hands of women. Another interesting reference that may be something of a reach is to Phantom Thread, Paul Thomas Anderson’s film about Reynolds Woodcock, a couture dressmaker loosely based on Cristobal Balenciaga and his muse Alma, played by Daniel Day Lewis and Vicky Krieps, respectively. The film delves into their dysfunctional relationship, with Woodcock berating her and Alma poisoning his tea to keep him dependent on her. One of the highpoint of the film is a New Years Eve Party that bears strong resemblance to the "Until I Bleed Out" video. While the balloons may just be a callback to his earlier work, there is something about the color grading/temperature and the production design of the "Until I Bleed Out" video (as well as parts of the "Blinding Lights" video) that made me immediately think of Phantom Thread. A similar relationship is seen in the German horror film Der Fan, which The Weeknd has mentioned in a recent interview. In Der Fan, a young girl Simone spends her days obsessing over popstar R, until she finally encounters him outside his studio. The film is similar to the aforementioned Takashi Miike’s Audition in its exploration of obsession and idealization. In the film, an older man puts up a fake casting call to search for the perfect girlfriend. While Audition explores these themes from an Eastern perspective of societal pressure, Der Fan explores it through a Western lens of pop idolization and idealization. Both films deal with the idea that despite outward appearances, the perfect partner does not exist, and anyone that claims to be (or has the expectations put on them) is not who they seem.
One film he has spoken at length about is Trouble Everyday, Claire Denis’s arthouse vampire movie. The film stars Vincent Gallo as Shane, a scientist who travels to Paris under the guise of his honeymoon to track down core, a woman who he was once obsessed with who has now become a vampire. Core is locked up in a basement but sometimes sneaks out to seduce and consume unwilling victims. This seems to be where some of the bloody face stuff comes from, but I believe it’s influence is a little more conceptual. To me, a good companion film to Trouble Everyday is American Psycho, which seems to also have been a thematic influence on After Hours. Both films concern idealized version of masculinity and femininity, both very sexual and physical, but hostile as well. American Psycho ends with Patrick Bateman confessing to the killing of a prostitute, but no one believe him. Trouble Everyday ends with Shane killing Core, but Shane is unable to arouse himself after that except through violence. Koji Wakamatsu, a former Yakuza turned prominent extreme Japanese filmmaker (and a major influence on Gaspar Noe) is quoted as saying “For me, violence, the body and sex are an integral part of life.” Despite being hollow, idealized impressions of the self, a vampire and as a banker (cold, seductive bloodsuckers = monsters), Patrick Bateman and Core represent the Frankenstein-ian relationship between sexuality and violence, which I believe is the main theme of After Hours. Truly, we hurt the ones we love.
PostscriptTo cap things off, I would just like to illuminate some key takeaways. As a filmmaker myself, this has been an extremely helpful exercise in understanding other artists process and ideas.
Steeped in the history of the medium…
It’s clear that The Weeknd is not your typical “I’m influenced by cinema” artist but an extremely legit film buff with serious credentials. The Weeknd’s film taste leans towards 70s-00s genre works, mostly horror, drama and thriller, and is well versed in the classics but also has the nose to sniff out deeper cuts and obscurities. The mantra of “good artists borrow, great artists steal” works even better if not many people know where you’re stealing from! What is impressive to me is that he is not just versed in “mainstream” obscurities, but also serious deep cuts. Films like Possession and Phantom of the Paradise may not stick out to the average person on the street but are well known in most film circles. Films like Inland Empire and New Rose Hotel (Der Fan was especially impressive to me, it is one of my favorite films) however are not as well known and it is very impressive to me that he can come across films like that, and really get enough out of it to bring into his own work.
…is able to interpolate contemporary/mainstream films…
This perhaps is one of the most impressive aspects of his integration of film into The Weeknd’s work. It is very easy for film buffs to get lost within their own obscure taste, living in a world where everyone is an idiot for not knowing who Shinya Tsukamoto. Trilogy and Kiss Land had a lot of contemporary obscurities, like Stalker, David Lynch etc., well known but they still existed as artifacts, not of the time we live in. However, perhaps picking something from his work on Fifty Shades of Grey, of late he has kept his finger on the zeitgeist and anticipated/integrated what the filmmakers of today are doing, such as his work on Black Panther and Game of Thrones, general appreciation of Tarantino, the works of Nicolas Winding Refn in Starboy, and his use of the Joker and Uncut Gems on After Hours, both of which came out just a few months before the album. It feels Jackson-esque, and I believe this is one thing that will help him further in his quest for pop stardom.
…while also being fully in tune to the works of modern transgressive auteurs…
In addition to keeping up with the mainstream is in touch with, The Weeknd also makes it a point to seek out and learn from the cutting edge filmmakers of today. While the Safdies were always going to blow up, I don’t doubt that a Weeknd co-sign accelerated their rise. Gaspar Noe is one thing, Enter the Void and Irreversible exist as masterpieces of the mainstream obscurities I’ve been mentioning, but he really truly tries to understand the heart of Noe’s work, even going so far back as to understand Noe’s influences (I sincerely hope he is tuned in to the work of Koji Wakamatsu). But most of all, to be a fan of Claire Denis is one thing, but to seek her out and make her an offer that she ACCEPTED is absolutely astounding to me. Just spitballing but it would be like if Michael Jackson shot a music video with Rainer Werner Fassbinder (who I’d bet good money that The Weeknd was put on to by Noe). We can only PRAY that one day we will be blessed with a David Lynch Weeknd video.
…and that just about does it. Hope you enjoyed this and thanks for being patient with me. I got quite busy after the first two and had my own projects/work going that kept me occupied. As we’re still technically in the After Hours era, I also wanted to wait until a few more videos and interviews came out to aid me in my research.
I also wanted to find enough time to make the Letterboxd for this. I personally don’t love Letterboxd culture, I find the popular culture surrounding the site a bit snobbish and exclusive, but I’ve gotten a number of requests for one and you gotta give the people what they want. Throughout the list are a few films that he hasn’t mentioned but are some of my personal favorites and I believe Weeknd fans will like, I encourage you to accidentally stumble upon things on it. Don't overthink, just pick something and watch!
If you’d like to follow me further, you can find me on Instagram here, where I post about film reviews Letterboxd style. I prefer Instagram so that more average people see it instead of an echo chamber of film snobs. I am also a filmmaker myself, I just recently wrapped this short film and am currently in the process of putting together my next project.
The main reason I did this however, besides a general appreciation of The Weeknd’s work, was to put more people on to the beautiful art form that is cinema. One thing I learned from Scorsese is that one must be an advocate and truly champion your medium. I hope that this encourages to check out more interesting movies than they wouldn’t normally come across, and I hope this will inspire more people to create more as well, whether it be to write, make films, music, anything. If even one person picks up a pencil, a camera or a keyboard because of these posts, I will be satisfied.
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Unlike most casinos nowadays, Spin Casino uses only Microgaming software for its animated casino games. There’s nothing wrong with this. It’s just that you won’t have the game or graphics variety that you will have at casinos that work with multiple software providers.
Trust us, though; this casino is plenty good enough. Spin Casino offers a little bit of everything here including slots, video poker, and table games.
They have a live dealer casino, too. Their live games come from Evolution and Ezugi, who are heavy hitters in the live gaming space. The result is a robust selection of live games. We’ll look at these later.
The one confusing aspect of their casino is that there are three sections — a casino, live casino, and Vegas (casino). We’re going to list some of their games below, but we’re only going to make a distinction between their animated and live dealer games.
We also noticed that their Vegas casino section doesn’t have any filters. You can’t select the type of games (slots, table games, video poker, etc.) that you want to see. This can make it tough to find the type of game you’re looking for unless you already know what it’s called.
The good news is that most, if not all, of their Vegas games, are also available in their main casino. This means there’s a chance you won’t need to visit the Vegas section at all.
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Table GamesWe’re going to start with Spin Casino’s table games. The following is a list of card and poker games that we found during our review.
The most frustrating thing about their table games is that there’s no way to filter for specific games in the Vegas section. This can make it incredibly tough to find the games you want to play unless you already know what they’re called.
Another thing we were sort of unimpressed with is the lack of non-blackjack and roulette games. There are not enough games to offset all the blackjack and roulette options.
However, that brings us to one of the good things about their table game selection. They have lots of blackjack and roulette games.
In fact, you’ll find more than 30 blackjack games and more than 10 roulette games. Some of these are merely high-stakes variants or duplicate titles with improved graphics. Even discounting those, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better selection elsewhere.
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Table Game Testing, Graphics, and Stakes
Once we were done browsing their games, we opened a few of them up to make sure they worked well and to see what their graphics and stakes are like.
The graphics for the games we tested are pretty good. They’re not glossy, overly polished, or even realistic. They look more like animated games. There’s nothing wrong with that, though.
They don’t make it clear the stakes you can play for. We had to manually decrease and increase our bets to figure out the limits. The stakes we found varied from $2/hand or round to as much as $1,000. But keep in mind that this may vary depending on the game you play.
These aren’t bad limits — they’re higher than what many casinos offer. No t only that, but we also anticipated their live dealer casino offering even higher stakes. This means that we’re less concerned about how high the stakes are in this section of their casino.
We’ll look at their live dealer section in a few minutes.
Video PokerThe next section we checked out was Spin Casino’s video poker games. Here are the games we found during our review.
There are video poker machines in the Vegas section too, but we didn’t find anything different than what’s listed above.
Testing Their Games, Graphics, and Stakes
We tested a couple of their poker games during our review.
The games we played had average graphics, but that’s to be expected with video poker machines. They’re not meant to be fancy. They worked great, though. We experienced no lagging or bugs.
Some of them had neat features, too. For example, the machines we played offered the chance to double your winnings. When you make a winning hand, you can click the “double” button to play a mini-game to see if you can double up. Keep in mind that if you lose this game, you lose everything.
The best feature, though, had to be the automatic hold. Many video poker machines will tell you when you made a winning hand so that you don’t forget to hold those cards. However, one of the machines we played automatically held the best cards according to the common video poker strategy.
Now, we don’t know what strategy these machines are using or how optimal that strategy is. However, they did hold the cards we would have had this feature not existed. This is a neat option if you’re new to video poker and aren’t sure how to play optimally.
As far as stakes go, we found machines that let us play for as little as $0.25 per coin to as much as $50 per round. We recommend you bet the max number of coins, though, which means your minimum bet will be $1.25. This will vary from machine to machine, though.
Overall, we liked Spin Casino’s video poker section. We’d like to see more unique titles to choose from, but our opinion is that this lineup will work for most people reading this.
SlotsNext up is Spin Casino’s slot selection. They have far too many slot machines to list here, but here is a small sample to give you an idea of what you’ll be able to play.
That said, their selection of slots is much smaller than we expected considering that they work with Microgaming. We still can’t complain, though, especially after seeing some of the titles that you can play here.
For example, the slots that stood out to us are the licensed/branded slots. Licensed slots are machines that revolve around IP that other companies own. This includes movies (Jurassic Park), video games (Hitman), TV shows (Game of Thrones), and more.
These are fun to play because it’s highly likely that you’re going to be a fan of whatever the slot machine is about. For example, we like Jurassic Park. This means we get to kill two birds with one stone — play slots about a theme we really like.
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Live Dealer GamesLast up is Spin Casino’s live dealer section. Here are the games we found during our review.
Once you click on one of these games, you’ll be redirected to a section where you’ll find several tables to choose from (depending on the game). You’ll also find a navigation bar at the top with several filters to help you quickly find the game you want to play.
The lowest stakes we found for these games is $5 for blackjack. This is sort of a bummer since some live blackjack games can be played for as little as $1. However, $5 is pretty standard for a live game, so it’s not something we can hold against them.
You can play some of their other games, like baccarat or roulette, for $0.10-$1 per round.
The highest stakes we found were $5,000 for blackjack, $2,000 for roulette, and as much as $5,000 for everything else. These aren’t th highest stakes online, but they should work for most people.
One of the most impressive things about their games is the camera work. The different angles they use and the close-ups make it look like you’re watching a movie. Depending on the game, you can also change the camera option. For example, the roulette game lets you choose from 3D, immersive, or classic camera angles
The streams were very good considering how good the camera work was. We noticed a few lags, but they didn’t take away from the game much. The resolution was pretty good regardless.
Other features include the option to chat with your tablemates and the dealer, adjust the sound and camera angles, bet behind, and set up automatic actions. You can even multi-table several games at once.
Overall, we’re impressed with the live dealer casino at Spin Casino. You’ll have plenty of games to choose from, stakes, features, and men and women dealers that speak different languages.
We recommend you check it out.
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The SportsbookSpin Casino is unique from some of the other casinos under The Palace Group brand in that they also have a sportsbook. It’s called Spin Sports.
Here’s what you can expect to find if you choose to bet here.
Sports, Market, and Betting OptionsSpin Sports has an excellent selection of sports that you can bet on. Here’s what we found during our review.
For example, click on the soccer option, and a dropdown menu containing options such as England, Europe, Spain, Italy, and Germany will appear. This goes for many of the other options, too — you’ll find countries as subcategories. You’ll need to click on these to find the different leagues that play in those countries.
Your betting options will obviously depend on the sport you bet on. We found plenty of choices, though. For example, you can bet outrights or money lines for Europa basketball. You’ll find spread betting, more money lines, oveunder, and outrights for NBA games.
Click on a match, and you’ll find additional markets. For example, we checked out an NBA game and found options to bet on different quarters, total points, team points per quarter or half, overtime, and more.
There are plenty of betting options here, which was a surprise, honestly, considering who’s running this sportsbook.
Live BettingSpin Sports also offers live sports betting.
When we were there, you could bet on soccer, basketball, tennis, ice hockey, and cricket. We wouldn’t be surprised if they covered more matches than this (when those games are available).
In fact, we know that’s the case since we looked at their Event View and Live Schedule tabs. This is where you’ll see all the sports you can bet on, all the matches, and the number of betting opportunities available for each one.
And that’s about it for their live sportsbook. The one thing we’d really like to see added in the future is the option to watch live streams. It’d make sense to add a racebook too.
Here’s hoping that Spin Sports has both items on their to-do list.
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Final ThoughtsSpin Sports is a much better sportsbook than we expected. It’s hard to expect something this impressive from a company that has been running only casinos for more than a decade.
We’re fans, though. There are plenty of sports and markets to bet on. You also have your standard options for betting in American, fractional, or decimal odds, as well as using the sportsbook in different languages.
That said, there is room for improvement. They could add a racebook, live streaming, and additional features and build out their esports section.
But we think they’ve done a good job so far, and it’ll be more than enough for your typical casino player or recreational bettor.
Banking OptionsSomething we noticed during our review is that there’s the option to deposit inside both the casino and the sportsbook. As far as we can tell, it looks like you’ll want to deposit to the section you plan to spend your time in.
In other words, if you want to bet sports, you’ll want to deposit to your sportsbook account. If you want to play blackjack or slots, you’ll want to make your deposit to the casino.
The good news is that it looks like the same banking options are accepted in both sections. Find an option that works for you, and you can use it in both places.
When we reviewed Spin Casino, we didn’t find any evidence that suggests they charge fees on their deposits. This is great news. However, it’s not clear whether they charge fees on withdrawals.
As for limits, you can cash out as much as €4,000 per week if the amount you’re trying to cash out is more than 5x the amount that you’ve deposited over the life of your account. Otherwise, it looks like you can cash out as much as £10,000 in a 24-hour period.
This will depend on the banking option you use, of course.
Progressive jackpots are exempt from these rules, which is great to see. It’s no surprise, though, considering that they work with Microgaming.
That wraps up their banking details. The following two sections will list the banking methods you can use to fund and cash out your account.
Bonus PromotionsYou can claim a few promotions as a customer of Spin Casino and Spin Sports. The following sections summarize the offers you can claim and the terms you need to fulfill if you do.
Spin Casino PromotionsThe following are offers that you’ll find under the promotions tab on the casino side of things.
New Player BonusThis is an offer available to first-time customers. Spin Casino is offering a 100% match bonus of up to $1,000. It’s spread out over your first three deposits like this.
You will need to roll over this bonus 50x, though the playthrough will depend on the casino game you play. We recommend reading their terms if you plan to play a game other than slots.
The downside to this offer is that if you do happen to complete the playthrough with money to spare, and you want to withdraw it, cash-outs will be limited to 100 casino credits. You’ll forfeit the rest of the bonus.
That being the case, it might make more sense to play the bonus (and lose money) until you only have 100 credits left. Then make a withdrawal if you want. That way, you can enjoy the bonus money/winnings for as long as possible.
And that’s all they have for bonus offers. Spin Casino does say that they offer bonuses on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. We have no idea what those offers look like, though.
While we were there, we did notice that they have a “bonus wheel.” You spin the wheel, and you can earn prizes, such as bonuses to claim. It looks like you can spin the wheel once every couple of hours.
This is pretty neat.
Loyalty ClubSpin Casino also offers a loyalty club. This is a multi-tier program that awards more perks the higher your status.
This program has six levels.
You can receive monthly bonuses too. Climb the ladder to the very top of their VIP program, and you can receive more than $10,000 every month in bonuses.
Getting to each tier is straightforward — you need to earn so many points to reach a specific status, and then so many points to maintain that status each month. You’ll earn 1 point for every $10 you spend in the casino.
We recommend you read their promotions page to determine for sure if this program will be a good fit for you. But if we understand their points setup and minimum point requirements correctly, then this looks like a good program to use — even for low-stakes players!
Spin Sports PromotionsYou’ll need to be in the sportsbook section in order to find their sports betting promotions. The following are the promotions we found during our review, including what you can get and the terms you need to fulfill.
Free Bet – First-time sports bettors will be able to claim a free bet bonus. This is a 100% match up to $200. To claim the offer, deposit at least $10.
This offer has a 5x rollover ($1,000 if you claim the entire $200) before you can withdraw any winnings. We recommend you read their terms and conditions for their other rules, as you’ll need to abide by odd minimums/maximums when you make your bets.
And that’s the only offer we found for sports bettors during our review.
This isn’t a bad offer by any means. That said, it would be great if they had a few other promotions running. It’d be nice to see some kind of cashback or rebate offer or additional bonuses.
But as the saying goes, something is better than nothing.
Mobile FriendlinessBoth Spin Casino and Spin Sports are mobile-friendly. You don’t need to download any apps. All you need to do is go to the casino or sportsbook from your phone or tablet and log in. You’ll be able to play all games and make bets from your browser.
It looks like you’ll have the full sportsbook at your disposal. And considering that they work with Microgaming and Evolution Gaming, we wouldn’t be surprised if most or even all of their casino games are available.
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Customer SupportYou can use the following options to contact Spin Casino.
For that reason, we recommend that you make it clear that you’re a Spin Casino customer when you contact them. That way, you eliminate any confusion and reduce the chances of any unnecessary back and forth.
We were disappointed to see that they don’t offer phone support despite saying they do in multiple places throughout their website.
That said, phone support still isn’t a standard communication method offered by online gambling sites. It wouldn’t be fair if we held the lack of phone support against Spin Casino.
Besides, you can contact them 24/7 using the methods above. We sent Spin Casino an email, and we were surprised to receive a response less than two hours later. They answered our questions, too.
That’s better than the average casino for sure. For that reason, we give Spin Casino’s support two virtual thumbs up.
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Royal Vegas Casino Free Spins and Welcome Bonus
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Royal Vegas Casino ReviewWhen a casino operator decides to launch multiple brands, it is unusual for them to launch them all at once; they are typically staggered over a series of years, and sometimes the original site can get a bit stale as the focus shifts to new brands.
The subject of this review, Royal Vegas Casino, is one of the old guards of online casinos. Since its launch, its parent company has gone on to manage 19 other brands; have they put this site out to pasture, or is it still worth your time and money? That is what I plan to find out with this honest, legit review of this casino.
About Royal Vegas CasinoRoyal Vegas was one of the flagship sites of the Fortune Lounge Group when it was launched in 2000. It is now one of the 20 brands under the Digimedia Casino umbrella, alongside sister sites such as Casino Epoca, Spin Palace, and Platinum Play. In fact, while I was performing my initial stages of this review, I did notice a significant number of similarities between this casino and Platinum Play. As a result, much of this review may sound the same to many of you; I apologize, but I am going to look behind every corner to find all the differences between the two.
All of the Digimedia casinos have a license from the Malta Gaming Authority. This regulatory board keeps a watchful eye over all of its approved casinos, ensuring that player funds are safe and that the casino is completely above board when it comes to fairness and security.
Software SuppliersRoyal Vegas uses two software partners for the two sides of their online casino. The Live Dealer games are provided by industry-leader Evolution Gaming. We’ll talk more about these games further down this review; they are only available via the Instant Play format. For the remainder of the casino, Royal Vegas is powered by Microgaming, one of the industry’s longest-standing and top providers of games. In fact, Royal Vegas is one of Microgaming’s oldest clients, so this casino has seen all the improvements they have made over the years.
Microgaming’s casino is available in Instant Play format, but if you want all the games and the full casino experience, you are better served downloading the casino client to your desktop.
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The Good Stuff
Progressive JackpotsWhen you hit the casino lobby, your eyes track immediately to the ticker which shows how much money is available in progressive jackpots on the site. The total is currently around 2.5 Million USD; almost half of that can be found in the Mega Moolah game. One spin of those reels could win you just over a million dollars! You should spend a couple minutes playing every time you log in; you never know which spin might be the one that changes your life!
A Clear Opt-Out OptionWow. You don’t see this very often at a casino. Right there with an overview of the promotions and the rewards is a tab named Unsolicited Communications, where they outline how to opt-out of emails, and their policy to not just spam their players. Well done, Royal Vegas – this is most impressive.
The Bad Stuff
So Much Is the SameOne thing about operating many casinos is that sometimes it is easy to just copy and paste one site into another. From a games standpoint, that is exactly what has happened with Royal Vegas. If you are already a player with Platinum Play, you probably don’t need to play here; the casino lobby is exactly the same.
Quick Points ExpiryYou will read a little later on how important a Comp Program is in my eyes; not only do I like to be able to redeem the points for cash, but I also like to try to move up VIP levels as quickly as possible. I noticed that the points at Royal Vegas have an expiry of 60 days; that is significantly faster than the industry standard of 90 days. This is a little disheartening considering you need to accumulate 5,000 to convert them. In my opinion, one of those rules needs to be adjusted.
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Royal Vegas Casino Game Selection
SlotsEven though you can see these games at many of the Digimedia Casinos, it is entirely possible that this is your first time seeing Microgaming in action. If so, you are in for a real treat. The slots catalog is bursting at the seams with titles for you to choose from; at last count, there were well over 300 slot machines in the casino lobby.
What I particularly enjoy are all the games that feature brands I know from other walks of life; you will see many of those along with other in-house content that I have enjoyed playing from the list below:
Live Dealer GamesI mentioned earlier how much I love the Live Dealer games from Evolution. Truth be told, I enjoy live casino games form virtually any supplier. The pace of these games is much different than the traditional online casino; I also love watching the dealers on the live stream having to deal those oversized cards!
At Royal Vegas, you can find the Live Casino games in the “Tables” tab of the lobby, and from there you can choose from the following games:
Video PokerI am sure I am one of the craziest video poker nuts I know. Sometimes, I will find myself at the Hard Rock in Las Vegas, playing at one of the machines at the bar while also playing a game on my phone at one of the online casinos I have reviewed. Yes, that may be considered extreme behavior, but I can’t help it – I love these games!
When it comes to the selection at Royal Vegas, you will find a significant number of machines and pay tables. It is important to look at the pay tables before playing a game; you want to make sure the variant you are playing gives you the best return for your betting style. Also, you may find the multi-hand versions of the games exciting; there is nothing better than a Royal Flush except maybe 4 of them on the same hand!
Check out the types of video poker games you can play at this casino:
Table GamesFor this casino review, I decided to do something different when testing the Table Games. I chose to play a game I don’t play very often and give it a full 45 minutes session. This time I decided on 3 Card Poker; this is a game I tend to play only with my friends after way too many drinks in Vegas, so I thought I would try it in the comfort of my own home. The end result? Well, I am still not sure if I like the game as much as I do other Table Games; thankfully there is a full complement of those at Royal Vegas:
Specialty GamesNow, the honest truth here: I did not test any of these “Casual Games” in reviewing Royal Vegas. While many of you may love to play these games, I consider them nothing more than a time-filler, and a costly one at that. However, should you get the itch to try one of them out, here are all the options you have to choose from:
Royal Vegas Casino PromotionsWhile the casino lobby can look the same, where I am hoping to find some differences between this casino and its sister properties is in the promotional area. I am going to have a look at two promotions in detail here in this review:
Welcome BonusThis offer for first-time depositing players is eerily similar to the one being offered by Platinum Play, but this one is just a little bit sweeter. They are offering you up to $1,200 in bonuses and 120 Free Spins in their Welcome Bonus, along the following lines:
I was able to access the Terms and Conditions page and found there that the wagering requirement for this bonus (and all other bonuses) is 40x the bonus amount; that is a competitive rate, so it’s definitely worth giving this bonus a shot.
Wild Wins WheelThis is a great ongoing promotion that by the sounds of things has been run before at this casino. It is a time-sensitive offer (this one looks to be about three weeks long), and has straightforward rules:
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BankingGetting your money to this site is not going to be a problem. As you will see below, the number of payment methods offered is staggering. Also, if you have a problem with the first method you choose, as I did, the casino works fast to ensure you are still on the hook. I received a Live Chat message as soon as my deposit was rejected, followed by being walked through another method which ended up being successful. That is an excellent way to keep players interested.
Royal Vegas Casino VIP ProgramAlong with the Comp Program, all real money players are entered into Royal Vegas’s VIP Program. This program has two parts to it; an in-house tiered program that rewards players from the second they make a deposit, and access for higher-level players to the Fortune Lounge VIP program, where you can find yourself being invited to some of the most exclusive parties and events in the online casino world.
Would I Play at Royal Vegas Casino?Well, here’s the thing: I have a real money account at Platinum Play and have used the Welcome Bonus, so I am not even sure I will be able to take advantage of the superior offer from Royal Vegas. If you haven’t opened an account at either, I would suggest you do so at Royal Vegas first, then see what happens after you clear the bonus.
The site itself is great: an excellent selection of games, a great comp and VIP program, and a whole host of ways to contact the casino in real-time if you have any issues. I have no problem recommending this casino to anyone- time has not passed Royal Vegas by, and they remain one of the flagship brands of the Digimedia Casino group!
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LAS VEGAS – In this town, every opening is grand. The debut Wednesday of the 44-story Circa Resort & Casino – now the tallest building in downtown Las Vegas – was no exception. Courtesy, Circa Las Vegas. The new Circa Resort & Casino in downtown Las Vegas is set to open in time for Halloween—two months sooner than its original scheduled date of December 2020. New Downtown Las Vegas Attractions, Bars & Restaurants . Circa Las Vegas. One of the biggest changes coming to Downtown is Circa Las Vegas, the new resort and casino planned to be completed by the end of 2020. Being built where the Las Vegas Club, Glitter Gulch, and Mermaids Casino previously resided, Circa Las Vegas will be the true embodiment of the prosperity of Downtown Las Vegas. After ... Las Vegas’ newest resorts will be opening in downtown, not on the Strip. Circa Resort & Casino will tower over the Fremont Street Experience when the 44-story hotel opens next year. Also, the ... A new archway spanning Las Vegas Boulevard near the downtown casino district is set be lit up in several weeks. Much of the construction work on the Las Vegas archway costs $6.5 million. It is a ... The Plaza Hotel and Casino, seen here, was opened on Main Street in downtown Las Vegas in the early 1970s. The resort is planning to build restaurants and more in an adjacent converted bus station. Circa, new casino coming to Fremont Street (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) By Richard N. Velotta / Las Vegas Review-Journal January 10, 2019 - 7:05 pm New Circa casino called a ‘game changer’ for downtown Las Vegas Christopher DeVargas The Stadium Swim rooftop pool complex, seen during a media preview of Circa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, is ... Downtown’s New Casino and Resort Circa Debuts on the Fremont Street Experience. A by-the-numbers look at the first casino built from the ground up since 1980, debuting in Downtown Las Vegas Downtown Las Vegas casino developer Derek Stevens is the brains behind Circa. He also owns The D Las Vegas and Golden Gate casinos on Fremont Street. In fact, Circa is across the street from the Golden Gate. All three properties will be connected by the Club One rewards program. Construction on Circa started in early 2019, but the property faced challenges to opening before the end of 2020 as ...
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Downtown Las Vegas Reopened at 12:01 AM June 4, 2020. We decided we needed to be down on Fremont Street for it. We played slots at Golden Nugget and Golden... Announced last night, NEW hotel casino CIRCA makes it's way to Downtown Las Vegas. FULL STORY ON KTNV CHANNEL 13 https://www.ktnv.com/news/announcement-plans... Vintage Las Vegas at its best. Fantastic color as we journey down the Las Vegas strip with views of the Desert Inn, the Desert Spa, billboards for El Morocc... Kelsey McFarland goes over what's back and what's different in downtown Las Vegas Las Vegas Vlog Day 3. What is the best casino downtown Las Vegas on Fremont Street? What are the top 3 casino / hotels ? My 3 fav at the moment are The D, Go... Here are excerpts from the city council meeting approving the new casino to be built on the NE corner of Las Vegas Blvd and Sahara. Renderings of the project... We did a live huge spin of $1000,- on a slotmachine in the highrollers area in the Bellagio casino hotel in Las Vegas on the strip.Http://www.onetime.nl De c...