GTA Casino Officially Opens
Grand Theft Auto V has officially launched its in-game casino where real money can be exchanged for virtual gambling chips. They can’t be turned back into cash.
THE DIAMOND CASINO & RESORT IS NOW OPEN
Today marks the grand opening of The Diamond Casino & Resort, a sprawling entertainment and luxury living complex conveniently located in Vinewood and open to all citizens of Southern San Andreas.https://t.co/dpmbuHZGme pic.twitter.com/rDCVe2daX7
— Rockstar Games (@RockstarGames) July 23, 2019
Computer game developer Rockstar North confirmed the Diamond Casino and Resort gives players of GTA Online the opportunity to try their luck on a range of virtual poker and roulette tables. It isn’t possible for players to earn real money cash prizes but they can win in-game rewards.
During 2019, it has been confirmed that the exchange rate for in-game currency on GTA V is $7.49 will get you GTA$500,000. Twitch Prime users were given the chance to link their Rockstar Social Club accounts to the casino in order to earn GTA$1.5 million.
Where Is It?
Players can find the Diamond Casino and Resort in Los Santos. Membership is available in two tiered options. The first is the GTA Online Casino Standard Membership. This is the cheaper membership. It includes a parking garage, champagne reception, valet, aircraft concierge, and a limousine.
The second membership option is slightly more lucrative in the form of the GTA Online Casino VIP Membership. This offers players all of the advantages that come with the standard membership package except players now also get access to the penthouse, high limit tables, and a VIP lounge.
The Long Wait Is Over
Items within the game that can be won include weapons, cars, and artwork. It has been reported that some players have been able to walk around the casino but the tables have not been available to play because gambling has been banned in their country of residence.
The casino has been included in GTA V since the game was initially released with fans eagerly awaiting its opening for the past six years. It wasn’t certain that real money could be exchanged for virtual chips to use in the casino until right before the casino opened. It was only last month that we were discussing the GTA V update including a casino.
A Persistent Lootbox Conundrum
An ongoing debate rages about whether games should allow players to spend real money to purchase in-game currency with an aim to purchase in-game rewards. GTA V has allowed players to buy in-game rewards using real money but this is the first time that players have been able to exchange real money for virtual gambling chips. The game is rated 18.
Controversy still reigns over video game loot boxes where players essentially pay to win in-game prizes. Gambling laws state that unless a monetary value is given to the in-game rewards then they do not fall under gambling legislation. This has not prevented critics from claiming loot boxes have become a form of gambling even if money isn’t being staked.
In some games, a third-party “black market” exists where money does become exchanged for in-game rewards. Examples of this include players earned through player card packs on FIFA 19 and skins achieved in Counter-Strike.
Chief Executive of the video games trade body UKIE, Dr Jo Twist, said “Unlicensed and unauthorized secondary in-game item trading markets that abuse the terms and conditions of games are a scourge on the industry.”
“Companies take proactive measures to close them down, regularly working hand in hand with law enforcement agencies and regulators to safeguard players,” she added.
Early reports suggest that the opening of the GTA Online casino has been well-received by players using the game. The arguments about the pros and cons of players being able to use real-money to purchase in-game rewards will continue on. It’s no surprise that once again, GTA finds itself at the center of another media firestorm.