Grand Theft Auto Online is about to get a casino – in a development that could draw the attention of regulators concerned about betting in games.
Fans have long been calling for the feature to be added in the multiplayer version of the game, and a vague tweet from Rockstar appears to suggest it is finally arriving.
Rockstar gave very few details on how exactly the casino would work, how it might fit into the rest of the game or what it might look like.
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But it’s announcement was unambiguous that it would be arriving “soon”.
The feature is likely to arrive in the coming weeks, with Rockstar regularly releasing new features into Grand Theft Auto Online.
While the casino will almost certainly work as another kind of business for players to run – alongside the nightclubs and car dealerships that are already offered in the game – it also seems likely that players will be able to gamble and play games inside the locations. Red Dead Redemption already offers the opportunity to play cards with friends in its multiplayer mode, for instance.
The feature is likely to be popular with fans, who have been asking for the game’s long-standing casinos to come to the multiplayer version. Rockstar’s announcement tweet has been shared more than 7,000 times, and there are thousands of replies from fans celebrating the news.
But it will almost certainly draw the attention of regulators, too, who have recently taken an interest in the kinds of gambling that games could be making possible. Several countries have suggested they could ban loot boxes, for instance, arguing that the feature allows children to gamble.
Loot boxes see people pay real money for access to randomly generated in-game items. Since those items can then be sold on for real money, some politicians have argued that the feature is a disguised form of gambling.
Since GTA also allows people to pay real money for in-game cash, if its casinos work in the same way then they are almost certain to draw the attention of legislators. But Rockstar is thought to have been working on the casino feature for some time, and may have found a way to add it without drawing the ire of politicians.