Video game developers have frequently found themselves under heavy fire from regulators, as well as nonprofit organizations. In recent years, two things have frequently popped up on the list of complaints, with micro-transactions and subtle forms of online gambling being in the crosshairs of activists and regulators. The former are used extensively by developers who create games that are free to play on the best casino sites and use the micro-transactions to make profit. Other games made it possible for players to engage themselves in activities that resembled online gambling, to spice things up and make the video games more exciting.
In a world where most games developers are taking a step back on both the aforesaid fronts, Rockstar Games has made a giant leap forward. The company famous for developing the Grand Theft Auto series has just announced the grand opening of its in-game casino. Without being a traditional online gambling operator, this casino sets a precedent that is regarded by some watchdogs and pundits as dangerous.
How does the new GTA casino work?
This brazen move from Rockstar Games comes at a time when video games developers are accused for taking advantage of vulnerable people. The Diamond Casino & Resort is a virtual casino in the latest Grand Theft Auto game that allows players to bet virtual currency. Those who play the game can enter and leave this place whenever they desire and spend the money acquired in game to gamble here. The casino is inspired by land-based operators, but its games are similar to those that can be played online.
Rockstar Games was quick to react to criticism by highlighting the fact that players can’t bet and win real money here. Instead, they can only use the virtual currency they earn while playing and which can currently be spent on cars, weapons and vanity items. They use it to turn it into a special type of currency that can be used exclusively inside the casino to play the games available. Once their gambling activities conclude and players leave the online casino, they convert these funds back into in-game money.
Why is the GTA casino under fire?
Detractors were quick to highlight the fact that even though players can’t win real money in the GTA casino, they can spend it for in-game currency. Essentially, people can buy it with real cash to progress faster and unlock stuff that would normally require them to play longer hours. The problem is that given the addictive nature of gambling, some people might end up spending more money than intended. The fact that the GTA online casino is a one-way street doesn’t fully address the risk of addiction.
Another complaint against the GTA casino was made by those who feared that it promotes gambling among children. At the end of the day, video games are played largely by people who have not yet turned 18. This means that the online casino can act as a gateway to the world of gambling and appeal to people who don’t have the reasoning abilities to make the right decision.