For over five years, players of GTA 5 saw the message “Opening Soon” whenever they drove past the Vinewood Casino. But July 2019 saw all this change when the shock announcement was made that it would soon be opening under the new name Diamond Casino and Resort. The fact that the opening was imminent generated a great deal of speculation and excitement.
Rockstar Games was keeping pretty tight-lipped about why it had taken so long for the casino to open its doors but the rumour was that they had been so busy with getting Red Dead Redemption 2 ready that they simply hadn’t had the time or the resources to focus on any other game before that was launched.
Luckily, they eventually did manage to put in the work and the arrival of the casino has proved to be a big leap forward for the game. Arguably, it has also contributed to it reaching sales of an incredible 135 million for GTA around a year after the casino’s grand opening.
The Diamond hasn’t just been a fun diversion away from the action, it’s also provided a new way for players build on their riches as well as swelling the number of cars at their disposal. It’s also introduced a number of new missions – something that regular players of the game surely welcomed.
As to why Rockstar chose to focus on the casino, instead of some other aspect of the game, this is probably down to the fact that so many people are now enjoying the real casino online experience that it was something of a no-brainer to capitalize on this interest.
How it compares to the real thing
So, the million-dollar question is whether the Diamond Casino and Resort has really lived up to expectations by both effectively recreating a genuine casino atmosphere as well as adding a whole new dimension to the player experience.
As it has been such an important and widely publicized update, it’s pretty certain that most players have at least taken a look around inside it, if only to try their chances on the Lucky Wheel in the casino’s foyer which offers the first prize of a new podium car that changes weekly.
The fact that there are many sites that are full of hacks which allegedly guarantee wins in the casino also suggests that it’s been receiving pretty close attention from plenty of gamers looking for a quick way to the easy money. In this respect, it’s certainly very different from actual online casinos that are pretty hack-proof. But there are certainly many ways in which it has captured the spirit and nature of the real thing.
The games on offer
While the Diamond Resort and Casino certainly offers the range of games that you’ll find both in online and so-called “bricks and mortar” casinos, its effectiveness in doing this certainly has produced some mixed results.
For example, when it comes to the most popular of all online casino games, the slots, the games you’ll find there are not nearly as exciting or sophisticated as the real thing. Today, many of these have up to five reels with bonuses and other features that offer many different ways to win.
In the Diamond Casino, however, they are standard three-reel games and all the different variations even use the same symbols. There have also been a number of gripes that the game’s NPCs seem to enjoy far greater success than anyone else.
Much more positive have been the reports of the classic casino table games like blackjack and roulette. These are far more like the versions that online casinos offer. For true blackjack experts, it’s also been reported that the algorithm that drives the game in the Diamond Casino makes card-counting possible. For the uninitiated, this is a technique used by expert players to more effectively calculate the odds of getting the cards that they want. Frowned upon by many casinos, it certainly seems to be welcomed in this one.
With roulette, there are all the betting choices that the real game offers, and the plush surroundings add to the experience when you play.
For fans of poker, they have to be content with the simplified three card version of the game. It’s hoped that in future versions of the casino this might change to the more sophisticated Texas Hold’em as this can already be played in Red Dead Redemption 2. So, importing the software that drives it into another game surely shouldn’t be too much of a technical challenge.
Horse racing enthusiasts, on the other hand, can head to the corner of the casino for Inside Track. This is a constant display of horse races beamed direct from the Vinewood Racetrack and which lets players bet on scheduled Main Event races or Single Event ones instead. It provides an exciting enough diversion for a few minutes, plus, betting on the favourites can prove to be quite a good, if slow and steady, way to build up some winnings.
What about the resort?
Of course, we shouldn’t forget about the Diamond’s resort element, either. It gives players the chance to invest some of their spare cash in apartments and penthouses to use as somewhere to chill out or party. This has certainly been a very welcome addition to the game.
So, when it’s all added up, the Diamond Casino and Resort has made a great contribution to GTA 5. It might have a few issues, but these are far outweighed by what it has brought to the table.
Plus, we can be sure that, as rumours start to circulate about the prospect of GTA 6 being on the way perhaps as early as 2021, the casino will feature there too. Hopefully, the hiccups will have been sorted out and more games will be added. But, until then, there’s plenty for high rollers to enjoy as they chance their arms on their own particular casino favourites.