Rockstar recently released its new free DLC into Grand Theft Auto V. The GTA Online Diamond Casino see players enter a fancy-looking casino in the online version of the game and gamble their life’s savings away.
The way it works is players should be able to buy in-game “dollars” with real money and convert it into gambling chips. You can spend these gambling chips various machines in order to place bets and hopefully have lady luck on your side.
Take a quick look at a video sent to us by Reyat Ramtahal as he enters the casino and has no access to anything.
Unlike Red Dead Redemption Online the GTA Online Casino lets players spend real money to purchase these gambling chips which for many regulators is a no-no.
In South Africa, online gambling, while still actively open to anyone through sites like PiggsPeak, Playcasino.co.za, AfricanPalace.com and others is illegal to a certain extent but should not cover the GTA Online Diamond Casino as everything in the National Gambling Act points to “gaming” as real money exchanges through websites and licensed financial institutions.
It is only illegal in South Africa for South African-based casinos to have online versions of themselves. Everyone over the age of 18 can gamble online as long as the casino is hosted in a different country and not within the borders of South Africa.
This is according to the National Gambling Act of 2008 section 11 which was amended in 2011 to include new regulations for online websites. I could be completely wrong but from I am understanding by reading the act, which can be found here, it sounds logical. Please correct me if I am wrong.
These sites are actively exchanging money but in the GTA Diamond Casino, you cannot convert your winnings back to real cash. So in theory, the GTA Diamond Casino is just like any other game where you spend real money to get a specific currency and spend that on a loot box hoping to “win” something great from it.
Perhaps the issue with this update is players can win money and spend it on actual in-game items like cars, clothes, houses and weapons. In many countries, the prizes won in online gambling needs to be money or have a monetary value in order for it to fall under gambling legislation.
The short of it all is South African cannot access these new Grand Theft Auto V Casino features as they have been blocked in the country. Users are complaining that even though they are able to enter the casino, they cannot gamble at all.
Over on Reddit, we are listed as one of these countries where online gambling is banned. But the frustration is being seen throughout the thread with people asking why when there is no exchange of money after you have purchased your chips?
Many users stating that there’s no difference between buying loot boxes and a spin on the slot machine. We also need to keep in mind there are dozens of other examples of online gaming casinos in other games. Final Fantasy XIV, for example, features the Manderville Gold Saucer which sees you spend money on a currency which you can use to play various games in order to win more currency and purchase in-game items.
One user has even created a “petition” to get this feature accessible in SA stating
If you can’t call management, create a petition. You can sign it here in hopes of it doing something.
So what is the big issue here? Well, whoever blocked the GTA Diamond Casino in South Africa is clearly not paying attention to the gaming landscape in general.
This DLC is identical to every other malicious in-game purchase system and countless other “gaming casinos”. If we should block this, then why is FIFA’s FUT readily available for everyone? It just makes no sense. Hopefully, we will have clarity on this in the coming days as more and more people discover it for themselves.
Let us know your experience with the Grand Theft Auto V Casino down in the comments section below.