GTA Online Casino Update Blocked By Gambling Laws In Over 50 Countries
For over 5 years, Rockstar Games has teased the grand-opening of the Los Santos casino, which was allegedly once supposed to be part of a single-player DLC update for GTA V. Now it’s open, gamers can use their in-game cash (which can be purchased with real money), to bet on virtual horses, roulette, slot machines, blackjack, and more.
It’s a bitter pill to swallow for those that were eagerly anticipating the long awaited GTA Online Casino update. Entering the casino, buying a penthouse, playing missions and everything else that the new update has to offer is fine, yet it’s specifically playing casino games that some players are unable to do.
Despite using GTA dollars and not real money which we’ll come onto in a minute some governments still consider it gambling. Whether they are right or wrong doesn’t matter as Rockstar are always going to comply with a countries’ laws.
There’s a huge debate going on in the video game world right now about loot boxes, monetization, legality, and what constitutes gambling. It’s not just the usual form arguments either there are real consequences here, with governments around the world looking at what constitutes gambling inside of a game, whether or not current mechanics are legal, and whether or not new definitions need to be drawn in order to protect consumers. And given that argument, it’s pretty on-brand for Rockstar Games to go clomping in with GTA Online and start up a whole new front in the war.
This is where it becomes somewhat of a gray area as although the money can’t be converted back into real currency it does have real monetary value. As a result, it can be interpreted as gambling, albeit loosely.
Rockstar themselves for sure will not agree with their definition of gambling but are likely taking the precautionary option of banning those countries so it can’t come back on them. As yet, the developers haven’t commented on the issue.
Big markets like the United States, Western Europe and Japan are absent from this list, so it’s not a house on fire disaster for Rockstar or Take Two. It’s still not great, however, though people do report being able to get around bans with VPNs.
The gambling in GTA Online isn’t quite as cut and dry as things might sound. In a certain way, you are gambling with fake money, which is the sort of thing that has been legal in video games ever since someone once animated poker. But you also buy that fake money with real money, even if there’s no way to turn it back into real money. So in that sense, it’s much closer to actual gambling because Rockstar has assigned a straightforward value to this fake money in terms of real money.
And in the sense that gambling is the sort of thing that can lead to problematic behavior, it’s not hard to imagine how these new mechanics could start causing people with addictive personalities some issues.
It’s a new wrinkle in the still-developing saga of how governments are going to treat virtual economies going forward, and I wonder if this could be used as precedent in any other arguments.
Ofcourse some gamers are making use of VPNs to bypass their countries laws and Rockstar’s bans. Obviously, this is actually illegal in some locations, so we really wouldn’t advise it as a course of action.
List of countries where GTA’s Casino games are banned:
Here are the full list of countries unable to gamble in GTA 5’s online casino, according to Reddit user SlapshotTommy:
- American Samoa
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Cayman Islands
- Czech Republic
- North Korea
- Saudi Arabia
- South Africa
- South Korea
- Sri Lanka
- United Arab Emirates
The above list of countries is not confirmed but if you are receiving the message “This feature is not available for you” when attempting to play casino game, then your country has likely banned you from taking part.