GTA Online’s long-awaited Diamond Casino & Resort update finally went live earlier in the week, but it appears that the expansion has been blocked in over 50 countries as a result of strict local gambling laws.
For over five 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 important to note that players can’t turn their virtual currency back into real-world cash in GTA Online, but it would appear that the virtual gambling is just a little close to the real thing for some governments around the world.
Players in Iceland, Iran, Peru, China, Vietnam, and various other countries are reporting that large chunks of the casino are blocked off to them. While they can enter the building, talk to other players, and buy one of the swish new penthouses, attempting to indulge in a spot of virtual gambling is met with an error message that reads “This feature is not available for you.”
The decision seems to have been made by Rockstar itself, presumably in an effort to err on the side of caution and restrict the features before they’re found to have fallen foul of gambling laws in multiple territories.
One Reddit user wrote:
I launched and headed straight for the new building, and wanted to buy myself some chips for the games. After contacting support I received a quick reply that because of my region I cannot enjoy the gambling related content in the new DLC. I tried buying the High Roller penthouse but it was locked for no apparent reason.
Over on the GTA Online subreddit, players have put together a list of countries where the gambling minigames are restricted. Some players are reporting weird inconsistencies with what they can and can’t do, with some facing restrictions despite living in countries that allow online gambling.
It’s not entirely clear why the above Reddit user would have been blocked from buying a High Roller penthouse, as one of the features in the new update that surely can’t be seen as gambling in any way, and is simply an in-game bonus.
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 I really wouldn’t advise it as a course of action.
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Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.