It has always amazed me that Grand Theft Auto Online (and its parent game, Grand Theft Auto 5) hasn't had a casino until now, what with it being all about a life of vice and high-stakes action. Next week on Tuesday the 23rd, Rockstar are fixing that, and opening the doors to the Diamond Casino & Resort. As with other GTA Online expansions, players will have to buy in with in-game money to access its new story missions and high-stakes tables. For everyone else, there'll be a bundle of new minigames to play, including poker, blackjack, roulette and betting on horse races. Below, the update trailer.
"Experience Preeminence", "Experience Accidents", "Experience Incontinence", the glitzy casino resort page breathlessly proclaims. Good to see that GTA 5's sense of humour has become no classier since its 2013 debut. It does look like a fun new social space for the game, away from the chaos that a heavily armed online player-base inevitably brings. Within the casino proper there's a bunch of gambling minigames, including the one-spin-a-day Lucky Wheel which can pay out some of the most expensive cars in the game. Upstairs in the penthouse apartments, there's a pair of retro-styled arcade games, and I'm curious to see whether they're any cop.
Of course, hanging out and being social (and dodging aircraft strafing runs) is more Alice's thing. I'm more about the big-budget missions that come with each of these major updates. While seemingly not as ambitious as the very Saint's Row styled Doomsday Heist missions, it doesn't look like the Diamond will disappoint. With a purchase of a Master Penthouse at the casino, players can unlock a new story about protecting the casino from a Texan oil firm trying to devalue the resort and buy it on the cheap.
Of course this means car chases, explosions and a bundle of rich idiot characters suffering at the hands of our many mute protagonists. There's some special rewards for completing this new story the first time, but Rockstar are keeping quiet on what you'll get. I do wonder just how high they'll allow the gambling stakes to go within the casino. Let's not forget that you can buy bundles of GTA Online cash for real money, and the chance to lose it all in moments at a virtual casino might raise a few eyebrows.
The Diamond opens in GTA Online on July 23rd, and you can read a bit more on the Rockstar blog here. Twitch Prime subscribers that claim their GTAO perks bundle before the end of the 19th will get the Master Penthouse free when the casino launches, giving access to some extra features and co-op missions. The current discounts on in-game properties have been extended to the 24th.