Grand Theft Auto has been a bestselling video game since it first came out in 1997. The series, set in fictional mockups of Miami, Los Angeles, and New York City, sold hundreds of millions of copies. Grand Theft Auto or GTA has always been controversial. Its designers received criticism for the game’s use of nudity and violence. Earlier this summer, GTA online opened a new business in the game world — the Diamond Casino and Resort. While the casino was a part of gameplay before this summer, designers made the casino fully functional. Players can purchase chips and play games in the casino. This has caused a lot of controversy.
What Is Grand Theft Auto?
Two designers from the United Kingdom named the game Grand Theft Auto after the American motor vehicle theft law. Players choose their missions, and that allows them to move forward in the story. All the stories involve elements of racing, driving, theft, shooting or acts of violence and stealth. Players also choose their characters. The major characters in GTA are all trying to move up in the criminal underworld.
Grand Theft Auto is a very popular game series. It is the fourth most popular title ever sold. The game has sold close to 300 million copies since it was first introduced. Following other games that have streaming play services, GTA moved online as well. Grand Theft Auto progressed from a fairly simple storied game to total 3-D immersion. The design of Grand Theft Auto is an open-world design. Players can move around freely with no limitations to their play.
Gamers celebrated the immersive nature of Grand Theft Auto, and critics loved the sophistication of the game’s design. However, GTA is a controversial game. It features nudity, sexual situations, and graphic violence. Critics said GTA targets teenagers for gameplay, even though the game has adult themes.
The Diamond Casino and Resort
Gamers love Grand Theft Auto for its stories and exciting play. Grand Theft Auto online allows players to choose their game environments, and those environments are all-encompassing. One of the features of GTA online is the Diamond Casino and Resort. This first appeared in the game in 2013. In the fictional town of San Andreas, Calif., the Diamond Casino and Resort is now open for business. Previous versions of the game had the casino-resort as part of the scenery. Gamers could not go into the casino. GTA online opened the casino in late June, and the casino is home to a lot of action storylines.
Playing in the Resort
Gamers who want to try their hand at the Diamond Casino and Resort can play different games inside. Players have to join the casino first. There are two different membership levels. A standard membership costs $500 of in-game money. Players who join with a standard membership get 5,000 chips to play with to begin and 1,000 chips each day. They also receive valet service and access to casino activities. VIP memberships cost players varying amounts of money because they have to buy a penthouse. There is a separate gambling area for VIPs. They also have high-stakes games and new gaming missions.
Casino players can choose from several games. Examples of casino games that gamers can play include blackjack, three-card poker, roulette, and slots. There are also horse racing games and a lucky wheel that players can spin to earn prizes. Like most real online casino gambling, players play against the house rather than against each other online.
The Object of the Casino Games
Players in the casino are playing to get the most chips they can. Gamblers at the casino can trade their winning chips for merchandise in the casino store. Merchandise at the store includes fancy wardrobes, items for a casino penthouse, and a chance to spin for a luxury car. There are many luxury cars in Grand Theft Auto, so these are hot items. Casino players can buy up to 50,000 chips in a day — or about $45 of actual money. A “day” in GTA is roughly 48 minutes of actual game time. Each chip purchased equals a dollar in the game.
Criticisms of the Casino
Players have raved about the Diamond Casino for its casino feel and the thrill of casino action. They say that the Diamond’s Casino is authentic, and they enjoy the games. As always, Grand Theft Auto gets high marks from critics for the visual quality of its game. However, these same critics have some problems with the new addition to the landscape.
Gambling and Children
Critics have two issues with the Diamond Casino and Resort. First is the idea of introducing gambling into a game environment. According to critics, gambling addiction is a real problem. While most people can gamble for entertainment, not everyone can gamble without becoming addicted. About 3 percent of all gamblers have a problem, or they are addicted to gambling. Critics say that by encouraging gambling in a video game setting, designers are encouraging teenagers to gamble. Grand Theft Auto has an M rating, and only adults should play it. However, teenagers and young children also play it. Critics worry this foray into a casino sets players up to have potential problems with gambling later.
Loot Box Controversy
Critics also see the idea of a casino store and casino chips as a loot box. Players get 1,000 free chips a day, but they have the option to buy as many as 50,000 per day. Many players opt to buy more chips to increase their chances of winning virtual loot. Critics think these purchases with no guaranteed return are loot boxes in disguise. Loot boxes are controversial. Several research studies have linked loot boxes to problems with gambling in teenagers and younger children. Some countries in Western Europe have banned loot boxes, and others are considering a ban.
Loot boxes have been around for 10 years. Game designers used loot boxes as a way for people to acquire things for their characters. Players purchase loot boxes not knowing what is in them. The contents of the box are usually hidden until after a person purchases one. Like purchasing chips in the casino, players purchase more and more loot boxes trying to get the items they want. Some games hold loot boxes over the heads of gamers. Players won’t be able to complete gameplay until they purchase loot boxes. They might also not have access to their characters without one.
Critics of the casino say it is a loot box in disguise. The game allows players to access new characters and new scenarios at the VIP game level. Players can purchase more chips to continue casino play. They have a sense of urgency to buy more chips. This may create a problem with gambling for some players at a very young age. While critics criticize the game, it is doubtful the designers will change the casino portion. It’s very popular with GTA players. Also, Grand Theft Auto is no stranger to criticism. Game designers want to stay true to their game scenarios and are unlikely to change any elements of it. For now, players will be able to gamble and win money at the Diamond Casino and Resort.
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