Modern gamers are getting more and more used to seeing their favourite titles augmented by significant updates long after release. Just last summer you may have read here about a major new content bundle for Fortnite, and in the time since several other popular titles have hosted similarly impactful DLC. Recently though, the gaming world saw an update even more significant than most: the opening of the Grand Theft Auto Online casino.
So what exactly makes this DLC bundle such a big deal?
For starters, it’s worth noting that GTA players have waited years for this opening. The “Diamond Casino & Resort” within the game has been in place all this time, but previously intrigued gamers saw only an “Opening Soon” banner displayed as a tease outside the building’s entrance. This gave way to all sorts of fun fan theories, rumors and hoaxes speculating on what was really going on inside.
So when the game’s Diamond Casino and Resort finally opened its doors this summer, players naturally started to theorize further about what took so long. One theory, for instance, is that Rockstar, the developer behind the series, wanted to work out a virtual currency system of its own, so as to avoid any uproar over players gambling away actual money on virtual games.
Whatever the reason though, GTA Online’s new casino is here – and it looks set to stay.
What can you do at the casino?
What’s already known about the Diamond Casino is that traditional casino games such as roulette, blackjack, three-card poker and slot machines are all available. One can even partake in horse race betting, in what may be a subtle tribute to the previous series instalment, San Andreas (which offered similar activity). Players can trade actual cash for chips, and use their in-game money to play these games with the potential for in-game winnings (which cannot, in turn, be sold back for real-world money).
This marks far and away Rockstar’s deepest integration of gambling into a GTA game, and may well represent a decision by the developer to capitalize on the ever-expanding popularity of real casino gaming across the internet. Once designated largely for career poker players and those with a niche interest in slot arcades, international gaming sites have taken to offering free games and accessible experiences, which in turn have made them all the more popular. Millions-strong waves of gamers are now familiar with digital casino content, which gives Rockstar a rock-solid foundation on which to present this update.
Meanwhile, fans who wish to abstain from gambling, or just aren’t drawn to the games, aren’t left out. There are also side activities like the casino’s Lucky Wheel, which can be spun once a day for a prize with zero risk of chips or in-game cash. And even beyond this, the Diamond Casino update came with additional features such as new outfits and cars for characters.
How it affects gameplay
In addition to being a fun new stop within the game, the Diamond Casino comes with challenges for additional perks as well. For instance, completing all casino-related co-op missions by August 7th will grant players Diamond Status, which comes with benefits including livery of an Annis S80RR super car – which looks to be one of the most spectacular vehicles this auto-obsessed series has ever seen.
Yet it’s the penthouses that are central to this update. Players who ave up enough GTA cash to buy a penthouse will get VIP Silver Status. And those who shell out for a Master Penthouse can even become part of the Diamond Casino’s business itself, opening up a whole new set of additional missions.
All in all, GTA’s new online casino promises nothing but additional fun. And given the variety of new activities and challenges it offers, combined with the massive welcome mat it lays out to existing online casino enthusiasts, it’s fair to call it one of the most significant pieces of DLC we’ve seen in years.
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