The opening of the Los Santos casino in Grand Theft Auto V’s online mode has been teased for over six years now, but similar to other games that feature gambling in recent news, more than 50 countries will be blocking the game due to their laws regarding online gambling.
Los Santos will look and feel similar to what one may find in a real casino, with players able to use their in-game cash to wager on the outcome of horse racing, roulette, slots, blackjack, and more. Make no mistake, while so much of the rest of game places characters in situations that are downright absurd, and perfect for the fictional world of GTA V, the casino is about as real as it gets.
Players who need money to participate in the casino can do in-game missions to replenish their wallets, but there is also a worrisome alternative. In-game currency can be purchased with real world money, which could lead to players dumping huge amounts of real money into a virtual economy.
For now, there is no legitimate way to cash out from the game, and there likely never will be, according to developer Rockstar Games. However, if one uses any search engine to look up “sell gta v currency” or any similar phrase, they immediately find several credible websites with years of experience in handling such black-market exchanges.
Other games have recently experienced problems in the addition of similar online modes, such as Red Dead Redemption 2, which is also developed by Rockstar Games. In the online component of that game, poker was recently added and has been a popular mode among players. In that game however, the distinction lies in that there is no way to use real money to purchase currency for use in the online poker mode, and also no way to cash out.
For now, this means that players in the following countries will not have access to the game, unless they bypass the regional locks by resorting to a VPN:
- American Samoa
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Cayman Islands
- Czech Republic
- North Korea
- Saudi Arabia
- South Africa
- South Korea
- Sri Lanka
- United Arab Emirates
There is not likely to be much change in the situation going forward, as many of these countries have also blocked Red Dead Redemption 2 for their addition of poker, and in that case the restriction of real money to gamble is far more restrictive.
Hopefully the addition of Los Santos is nothing but positive for the game. In a time when loot boxes and spending mechanics in video games are being highly scrutinized, it seems out of place for the addition of a literal in-game casino that allows players to spend their real money to participate in virtual gambling.