Some Red Dead Online players are being restricted from accessing poker in the game due to regional laws.
The recent update to Red Dead Online brought some big changes, introducing new story missions, free roam activities, and poker. Unfortunately, many players are barred from playing poker depending on where they are located and the regional laws that apply.
Some players initially thought that they were unable to play the game due to a bug. However, Rockstar support replied to concerned players, stating that some players would be prevented indefinitely from playing cards in certain areas due to their location, as some countries have prohibited online gambling.
This is an interesting decision made by Rockstar since it feels counterintuitive. The only currency that can be purchased in Red Dead Online is Gold Bars, while the poker games use money that is earned from activates in the game. The two do not cross paths in any way, meaning that cash cannot be purchased with real money and Gold Bars purchased with real money cannot be used for poker. In addition, there is no way to exchange one for the other, nor any way of "cashing out" into real currency.
With this in mind, it seems that the policy is being applied to uphold the spirit of the law. However, it feels unnecessarily overbearing, as there is no way to gain or lose any real money through the new feature.
Other players reported that despite being blocked from playing poker in Red Dead Online, their countries allowed online poker to be played with real money and that their governments run their own online lottery. Because of this, it doesn't seem to make any sense to block these players from playing a fictional game of poker.
As is always the case when players are region blocked from an online feature, some are turning to VPNs to bypass the obstacle, running the risk of being banned by Rockstar Games.
While this is frustrating to some players, it is important to remember that this is only one issue with the update, which was released last week. If the efforts put forth in moving Red Dead Online from beta are any indication of the future, players will have years of outstanding gameplay to look forward too, with perhaps a little less gambling than expected.