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The Sad Demise of Phoenician and Nostalgia Casinos

Discussion in 'Online Casinos' started by chalupa, Dec 10, 2004.

    Dec 10, 2004
  1. chalupa

    chalupa Experienced Member

    Occupation:
    Loaf
    Location:
    USA
    I had played at Phoenician/Nostalgia back when they were using RTG software, and was very impressed with the customer service, clear bonuses, and instant Neteller withdrawals.

    Unfortunately, all that has changed.

    I was disappointed to learn that they had become YAMGS (Yet Another MicroGaming Skin).

    But, Nostalgia was offering a 50% bonus to existing accounts, so I thought I'd give them a try.

    Uh-oh... they are using a separate "bonus account" which I have always found confusing and annoying, so I have avoided casinos using those in the past.

    But... these are the good guys, right? So I decide to give the special bonus account thing a try. I read over the terms, deposited $200 for a $100 bonus, logged into my special annoying bonus account (like we don't have enough numbers and passwords to keep track of), merrily wagered my 20x Blackjack requirements per the terms, and.... tried to withdraw my remaining scraps. Nope, can't do it.

    What? Looking harder at the terms, it appears despite the big wagering requirements (double the BJ requirements on Fortune Lounge for real bonuses, for example), the bonus is only PLAY credits and the bonus amount is removed when transferred to the real account. Sigh. So, back to the games, try to double up to have a few bucks to withdraw... lost it all. Oh well, my fault for not scrutinizing the terms better I guess.

    Back to my real account, goofed around a bit, won $50, and decided to withdraw my $250.

    Soon after... I get an e-mail saying that I have to play 10x (20x if Blackjack) in my account to withdraw. I reply that I already have. They reply that I also have to play 10x/20x in my REAL account in ADDITION to my bonus account.

    Whaaaat??? I recheck my e-mail offer letter from them. There is NO mention of this requirement in the e-mail from them, and the You must register/login in order to see the link. in the e-mail only mentions the bonus account wagering requirements (Note: They have since added a link at the bottom of this page which says "Match Play Bonus Terms and Conditions", sometime after my complaint).

    So I e-mailed them back about that, and they said "I do apologize about the inconvenience, when casino was upgraded, the new wagering requirements were set in place and all players were sent an email about this." and referred me to You must register/login in order to see the link., which was a new one to me.

    To which I replied:
    Various back and forth ensued, various robotic replies saying essentially that there was nothing they could do. Then I was FINALLY able to get it to escalate to someone in VIP support, who admitted it was confusing but still maintained their hands were tied (you'd think these guys didn't run their own casino or something...) but credited my account $20 to placate me.

    At that point I gave up, ran through my wagering requirements on autoplay Blackjack tried to withdraw, got another e-mail that I still needed more play (aggh... of course there is no way to tell this from within the casino software as before), autoplayed some more and withdrew, ironically, the EXACT $250 that I originally tried to withdraw. And finally got a confirmation e-mail saying it was processed successfully.

    Whew. Finally, ordeal over at last, 5 days of intermittent time and aggravation.

    But wait.

    After ALL that, now I get the good old BS "Due to your recent cashin or random fraud check and in order to comply with banks and control fraud, we ask that you provide us with a copy of the following documents..."

    Aaaaaaagh. This despite my thousands of dollars of play in Phoencian/Nostalgia in the past, including several instant Neteller cashouts.

    At this point I don't even bother complaining, I just send them a copy of the documents. Which they receive and process my withdrawal without further hassle.

    And it arrives. FOUR days later. Making the entire process a total of 10 days.

    As opposed to in the past, where the longest I waited was... 10 MINUTES.

    All of which leaves me feeling a little nostalgic (heh) for the old days. How the mighty have fallen.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2004
  2. Dec 10, 2004
  3. Vesuvio

    Vesuvio Dormant account

    Location:
    UK
    Chalupa, I see your point... but if you understand the terms of the bonus (which they could explain better) it's a fair deal.

    It's certainly much more appealing to the player than the Fortune Lounge start-up terms you mention which force you to play high variance games. Nostalgia and Phoenician had sticky bonuses in the past. Now the bonus is in a bonus account, so you don't have to risk your whole deposit, which seems more attractive, to me at least.

    Yes, there aren't instant payouts to Neteller anymore, but these casinos (the Casino Action group) pay out quite quickly after you send them a couple of scans. And surely being just another MG skin's better than being another RTG skin?

    p.s. all the publicity on here really seems to have slowed down their casino servers just now :(
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2004
  4. Dec 10, 2004
  5. chalupa

    chalupa Experienced Member

    Occupation:
    Loaf
    Location:
    USA
    Actually, you DO have to risk your entire deposit at Nostalgia, because the "real" account must be wagered 10x the deposit (or 20x the deposit if you want to play "good" games like Blackjack or Video Poker) before any withdrawal can be made. That is in ADDITION to the bonus account wagering requirements.

    And again, the bonus is for PLAY credits only, which are less than half of a real bonus, and that's assuming you play them correctly (i.e. immediately go for double-or-nothing before playing out your wagering requirements, which I didn't do).

    Compared to Fortune Lounge, the real account wagering requirements alone are nearly DOUBLE the amount that Fortune Lounge requires for good games, and Fortune Lounge gives real bonuses, not play credits. (Note: I'm talking about the weekly Fortune Lounge bonuses, I haven't examined their current sign-up bonuses.)

    So if you're a Blackjack or Video Poker player, I'd estimate that a 50% bonus at Nostalgia is roughly equivalent to a 15% bonus at Fortune Lounge (assuming the Nostalgia play credits are played correctly, requiring the risky double-or-nothing initial bet).

    Not that there's anything wrong with that if it's clearly explained, it just ain't a good deal. Unless you are enamored with the Nostalgia splash screens or something. :)

    A far cry from the Phoenician and Nostalgia bonuses and games of the past. Pontoon and Carribean 21 (in the old RTG software) are some of the best games for the player in terms of casino edge and being able to put together a significant winning run.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2004
  6. Dec 10, 2004
  7. cipher

    cipher Banned member - being a jerk

    Hi Vesuvio:

    Are you sure that Phoenician and Nostalgia are part of Casino Rewards? Or am I reading your post wrong. Have a good one.
     
  8. Dec 10, 2004
  9. Vesuvio

    Vesuvio Dormant account

    Location:
    UK
    True, you do have to risk your deposit - but not in the way you have to with a sticky bonus. So the expected loss is the standard loss for wagering the wr on e.g. BJ. With a standard sticky bonus played in the classic all or nothing fashion you've a better than 50% chance of losing all your deposit. In this case you've got maybe a 5% or less chance.

    I don't think it's shocking that you have to wager in the real account as well - if you didn't it'd be a completely risk free bonus, which isn't in the casino's interest. You don't have to rewager transferred money.

    I'm not sure of the figure here, but remember you can keep transferring money after making your first transfer. This must make a signifcant difference to the worth of the bonus - I've managed to make numerous transfers at some of these casinos

    Yes, you're right here again. I was thinking of the sign-up bonus because the Nostalgia & Phoenician offers at the moment are like sign-up offers. Fortune Lounge only ever give me worthless bonuses, so their reasonable wagering requirements don't help.

    It's true it's less than 50%, though I'd say it's much more attractive than a standard 15% Fortune Lounge offer. Being able to play BJ for 50 cents significantly improves your chances of getting the expected return. The problem for 15% offers, unless they're allowed on large deposits, is the chance of ruin.

    Even though I seem to keep disagreeing I do realise you've got a genuine grievance with them over your treatment. It's just that in the current climate with casino bonuses Nostalgia and Phoenician are among the better ones around.
     
  10. Dec 10, 2004
  11. Vesuvio

    Vesuvio Dormant account

    Location:
    UK
    Well spotted, Cipher!

    I meant to say: Casino Action - along with Aztec Riches, Music Hall etc.
    I'll go back and edit my post.
     
  12. Dec 10, 2004
  13. Vesuvio

    Vesuvio Dormant account

    Location:
    UK
    Before I manage to persuade any casino executives that their bonuses are more player-friendly that they hoped... there's no need to worry, I'm on course to lose money at the one I've tried so far :D
     
  14. Dec 10, 2004
  15. chalupa

    chalupa Experienced Member

    Occupation:
    Loaf
    Location:
    USA
    The old Phoenician/Nostalgia bonuses were sticky -- which made them worth (almost) as much as real money (although with higher variance).

    In the old Phoenician I met the wagering requirements and withdrew all my deposit and winnings, and the sticky bonus remained. And at that point it was completely risk-free wagering. If you won, you withdraw and lock in another profit, and play/withdraw again.

    As far as I can tell, the new Phoenician/Nostalgia bonuses are NOT sticky. That is, once you make a transfer from your bonus account, the initial bonus amount is subtracted and can never be played again.

    So the old bonuses were worth basically twice as much on that point alone.

    And further, to the best of my recollection, the old Phoenician bonus:
    • Wagering requirements only 10x the deposit and bonus
    • Carribean 21 or Pontoon allowed (very low casino edge)
    • Earn comp points during bonus play that could be redeemed for cash, essentially a 0.1% kickback
    • Lareger bonus amount, 50% bonus up to $500
    • True instant withdrawals
    In comparison, the new Nostalgic longs for the good old days while the Phoenician has "risen" to the ashes. :)

    -------

    Regarding Fortune Lounge vs the new Phoenician/Nostalgia, I think you're right and my first comparision of 50% to 15% is low, but not by much. Further back-of-the-envelope calculations I'd say a 50% Phoenician/Nostalgia bonus is roughly equivalent to a 20% Fortune Lounge, assuming you are playing a "good" casino game in both with a 1% casino edge.

    Of course, the Phoenician/Nostalgia bonus requires higher and riskier (for the play credits) wagering, which means that your results will be more volatile in the short run, and in addition you are much more likely to bust out before meeting your requirements.

    The problem with the higher requirements in the main account is this -- after you have wagered 10x (and with Fortune Lounge, could quit) you are only halfway there. If at that point you have won 100%, you have to keep playing. But if you have lost 100%, you are done. Advantage to casino either way.

    I'm not sure how that figures into the expected value, but it's clearly A Bad Thing, as anyone who has busted out before meeting requirements can attest.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2004
  16. Dec 11, 2004
  17. Vesuvio

    Vesuvio Dormant account

    Location:
    UK
    Good analysis, except the new Nostalgia and Phoenician bonuses are sticky - if you get to $250 and transfer $50 then the $200's still there and you can keep trying to transfer more.

    I can't remember Phoenician's old wr, but I probably had to wager something like $12000, which meant you had to play high stakes unless you had incredible patience. That made the variance high, and losing $200 as I did wasn't too suprising. After withdrawing the remains of the deposit I then failed to transfer anything, though it was a good deal & I was just unlucky. Still, being able to autoplay BJ at low stakes is a huge advantage when it comes to reducing your risk.
     
  18. Dec 11, 2004
  19. sw2003

    sw2003 Dormant account

    Location:
    somewhere :)
    It used to be only wr=8x at Phoenician!
     
  20. Dec 11, 2004
  21. cipher

    cipher Banned member - being a jerk

    Another major consideration is the fact that The Phoenician and Nostalgia RTG casinos had the $1.00 to 500.00 wager window as well and that's a major consideration. I don't think you're going to see that wager window return anytime soon under the Microgaming system. Have a good one.
     
  22. Dec 11, 2004
  23. DiePolizeiistda

    DiePolizeiistda Dormant account

    I can only agree that Phoenician Casino and Nostalgia have joined the average crop. Luckily I read the bonus conditions carefully. I do not like that the casino does not say right away that it is a non-withdrawable bonus. Instead of saying that they tell you that you can transfer the winnings. And the explanation for the introduction of the bonus account is just ridiculous marketing quote it enables us to credit you with more bonuses more often . HaHAHA.
     
  24. Dec 11, 2004
  25. sw2003

    sw2003 Dormant account

    Location:
    somewhere :)

    Yup, that is just stupid! No one believes that!
     
  26. Dec 11, 2004
  27. Vesuvio

    Vesuvio Dormant account

    Location:
    UK
    I just checked this and you can bet from $0.50 to $500 on Vegas Strip BJ.

    8x bonus sounds right - I deposited $1000, $500 bonus, so 8x1500=$12000 wr.

    The only thing I personally regret about the 'demise' of Phoenician and Nostalgia are the instant payouts. You're right the explanation of the bonus accounts is absurd, though!
     
  28. Dec 11, 2004
  29. Weedlayer

    Weedlayer Dormant account

    Occupation:
    tradesman
    Location:
    US11
    So let me see if I have this straight. You have to wager 10X in your bonus account before you can transfer only your winnings to your real account. Original bonus if any stays in bonus account. You also have to wager your deposit in your real account 10X before withdrawl. Do you have to play in your bonus account first?
     
  30. Dec 11, 2004
  31. Black21Jack

    Black21Jack Dormant account

    Occupation:
    Courier driver
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    I do not understand why this is repeatedly said. This Casino Action you speak of is it You must register/login in order to see the link. ? and is this an affiliate program? The Phoenician Group is not even listed at this site and their affiliate program is AdRiches. Can someone please clarify as I am quite confused as to why people keep saying that Phoenician Group is Casino Action, did I miss something?
     
  32. Dec 11, 2004
  33. cipher

    cipher Banned member - being a jerk

    Hi Vesuvio and thanks for the information. But with this bonus account nonsense I'll be staying far far away from any of these bonuses. Have a good one.
     
  34. Dec 11, 2004
  35. chalupa

    chalupa Experienced Member

    Occupation:
    Loaf
    Location:
    USA
    Weedlayer, yes you have it right, with the possible exception that (as I read it) the original bonus does not stay in your account. Vesuvio has a different interpretation, and if he has actually seen it in action then I defer to him.

    I don't think it matters which account you wager first. In any event, both accounts must be wagered 10x (or 20x for good games) before a withdrawal can take place.

    Really the details are moot, because as another poster aptly put it, they have unfortunately "joined the average crop".

    If you are bonus shopping, there are other better signup bonuses available with reputable Micrograming casinos such as Fortune Lounge which has NINE(!) clones available right now.
     
  36. Dec 11, 2004
  37. realwtfsup

    realwtfsup Experienced Member

    Occupation:
    Laborer
    Location:
    Tacoma
    I deThey sent me email for deposit $400 get $200. Having lots of fun playing in there bonus account.

    Hit the rams in Thunderstruck for 75 total spins! Had it up to 45 at the most. That was a fun ride =)))
     
  38. Dec 11, 2004
  39. Vesuvio

    Vesuvio Dormant account

    Location:
    UK
    B21J - I'm not sure of the exact relationship, but if you use the casinos you'll find the 'Casino Action' button that Music Hall, Aztec Riches etc. use - they also use the same company for Neteller transactions. I don't know if they consider themselves the 'Casino Action' group or go by another name.

    These casions did once have a terrible bonus system for which they wouldn't disclose the huge wagering requirement and forced you to rewager any winnings in the real account. The current system takes some getting used to, but it's not so bad. If you're going to have a sticky bonus then there are advantages to having it in a separate account to your deposit.

    Chalupa, I agreed with you that similar follow-up offers from Fortune Lounge (if they ever gave out a 50% bonus on a $400 deposit) would be better, but in terms of sign-up bonuses these Casino Action casinos currently win hands down. They let you play BJ & you have an expected profit. With Fortune Lounge you can play 20% BJ & then you have to gamble with high variance games which mean you'll more likely than not lose your deposit.

    realwtfsup - yep, it can be a lot of fun when you've made a couple of transfers (enough to guarantee you a profit overall), and then you can have fun gambling in the bonus account at absolutely no risk, skimming off any winnings each time.

    Ok, I'm not quite sure why I've become an advocate for these casinos!! I'll return to trying to make money from them ;)
     

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