The latest downloadable content update to GTA Online sees the highly anticipated and long awaited Casino finally open for players to explore. The "Coming Soon" signs from 2013 have finally been taken down and it is well and truly open for business. But what does the DLC entail? What can you actually do in the casino and can you make any money from it? This article will go through it all.
However, and probably as expected when you introduce gambling into a game that previously didn’t have it, the introduction of the casino has not been without some controversy. With players in over 50 countries (such as Argentina, Greece, Poland, Portugal, and South Korea) not able to use anything in the Casino at all due to gambling laws where they live, not everyone is going to get the same experience from this update. Those in the affected countries will find that this update is merely just a selection of new cars to buy, with many other features of the casino that will be detailed here completely locked off from being experienced.
For those in countries that are unaffected, read on for a complete run down of what you can do with this new update. For those in countries that are affected, keep in mind that not all of this may be possible for you.
The Diamond Casino & Resort
The main part of the update is of course the casino itself, and Rockstar as usual has done an excellent job when it comes to modelling the exterior and interior of the swanky new building. You can drive up to the entrance and have the valet park your car for you in the new shared space that is the casino’s parking garage, an area where multiple players can congregate away from the hustle and bustle of the city (weapons are disabled in the parking garage). There is even a beautiful rooftop terrace, however this isn’t locked off in any way and in most public GTA Online session will likely just become a war zone.
Although the exterior of the casino has changed, and because of that has caused some issues for races and other jobs that were created around it, it’s nothing in comparison to the interior. In classic casino fashion, it’s almost like a maze where you can get lost in the bright lights, tables, slot machines, VIP rooms, bars and other people enjoying what the resort has to offer. This is also a shared space—unlike the arena from the previous update, everyone who enters the casino in the same session will be in the same area, able to interact with and watch each other peacefully (again weapons are disabled).
What would a casino be without a place to live to keep you close to the action? The Diamond offers this in the shape of the Penthouse suite. This functions in the same way as other apartments/living spaces in the game, with each player gaining access to his own living area in which they can invite other players and customise how they see fit. A standard penthouse will set you back $1.5 million in game (a little over $20 in shark cards), with all the optional extras added, such as private blackjack table, bar, spa, arcade machines, etc bringing that price up to around $6 million instead. You can also add a single private 10 car garage to increase your overall vehicle storage capacity.
One thing new to this living space is the ability to customise it to hitherto unseen levels. Utilising a new casino-only currency called “chips” (we’ll come on to this later) you can buy various decorations to place around the penthouse—wall art, trinkets for shelves and other surfaces, even floor sculptures. The level of control in where you place these items is quite remarkable, with various spots all around the penthouse to utilise. However since those in restricted countries can’t even buy chips to then buy items, this aspect will be locked off for those in the countries mentioned at the start of this article despite it having no gambling connotations.
Buying a penthouse gives you VIP access to the casino which raises the limits for how many chips you can buy and how much you can bet, but it also gives you access to six casino missions that must be played with 3 other players. Similar in style to Lamar’s missions, it’s a short story in its own right where you, as the owner of the penthouse, are helping those running the casino with some troubles they’re having.
Completing them will net you $50k for the first five missions plus $100k for the last the first time they are played, and if you host them all you’ll receive an extra $100k plus the Paragon R (Armored), which is the only way to access this new car. There are also various bonuses which get you some extra cash too, such as completing the missions in order ($500k), while being a crew member ($100k), and while not losing a life ($50k). If you’re having trouble accessing the missions, wait until you get a call from Ms Baker from outside the casino before going to the management area inside to start each mission.
If you call Ms Baker you can also request additional “casino work”. These consist of odd-jobs such as searching for thieves or delivering goods to the casino. There are 12 missions available but you can’t choose which you will get. They can however all be done solo and in private sessions.
Each mission completion gives you around $5-10k and 5k chips, depending on the type of work you do. Completing 50 of them rewards you with $180k, but given how long they can take it’s not a worthy investment from a money making perspective. You can see all the jobs here.
22 new vehicles were added to the game with the casino update, and only the aforementioned Paragon R (Armored) is weaponised, meaning 21 “normal” cars broken down into the following classes: 5 supercars, 6 sports cars, 3 muscle cars, 3 sports classics cars, 2 off-road vehicles, 1 SUV and 1 motorcycle. Although 22 cars were added with the update, only 7 are available initially, with the remaining 15 set to be released one per week in the usual drip-feed fashion for the next four months.
Of those that came on release day, the two new supercars (the S80RR and Thrax, which can also be won on the prize wheel) are actually very competitive for lap time, although have relatively poor top speeds. Two of the three sports cars (the Paragon R and Issi Sport) are also impressive for lap time, but all three (including the 8F Drafter) aren’t too special for top speed. New cars will be tested for lap time and top speed each week on this YouTube channel to see how they fare against already existing models.
As a normal player walking into the casino you first have to pay a small membership fee of $500. This means you become a standard member of the casino and can play the various games on the casino floor. Buying a penthouse will upgrade you to a VIP member and will give you access to high limit tables as well as higher limits on betting and buying chips.
In the centre of the main casino area you’ll see a large spin wheel next to the revolving car—you can spin this wheel once per 24 hours for free. Some of the potential prizes include more chips, GTA dollars, or RP as well as clothing, vehicle discounts, and a 1 in 20 chance to win the car being showcased next to the wheel!
Chips are the currency of the casino. 1 chip is equivalent to 1 GTA dollar, so betting 25,000 chips is really betting $25,000. At the cashier’s desk you can get 1,000 chips for free every 24 hours, and buy as many chips as you want with your GTA dollars up to a certain limit every in-game day (which is 48 minutes). The buying limit for standard members is 20,000 chips every 48 minutes, whereas for VIP members it’s 50,000 chips.
There’s not much to these. You keep hitting a button and hope you land on a combination that is a winner. With the return rate to the player being 98.7%, you will lose money playing these over the long term (although that can be said about any casino game frankly, in GTA or real life).
Unfortunately the actual horse track that’s located outside the back of the casino isn’t used here. Instead you’ll be watching virtual horses on a screen. You make your bet on one out of six horses, each with different odds of winning (the lower the chances that a horse will win, the more money you’ll win if it does) and watch the race unfold.
Roulette, Blackjack and Three Card Poker are the table games available in the Diamond Casino. In roulette you’re playing against the wheel, betting on what will come up, and in the card games you’re playing against the dealer, trying to beat whatever hand they have with your own.
Playing Against Others
There is no way to gamble against other players in the casino, such as with a game of Texas hold ‘em poker. All games are played against the house and while you can sit with other players at the same tables, you cannot actively play against them in any of the games.
As usual with things like this if you feel like you have a gambling problem it’s best to avoid the casino in GTA just as it would be in real life. With the same sort of hooks being used (like free daily chips and lucky wheel spins) to get you inside and spend money on the other tables, and the potential to spend upwards of 20 USD in shark card money each day buying chips to gamble with, depending on your location, those who have problems may not be too pleased to see something they try to avoid being introduced to a game they may otherwise use to get away from such issues.
And that’s pretty much it for GTA’s new Diamond Casino & Resort DLC update. Since there aren’t any continual money-making opportunities in the form of businesses like we’ve seen before with Import/Export, Gunrunning, etc. the longevity of this update is questionable. Especially given that after the missions are done there isn’t really an awful lot to keep you involved except gambling, which a lot of people can’t even do in the first place. Maybe that’s for the best.