It's happening at last - next week, the Diamond Casino and Resort opens its doors in Grand Theft Auto Online, allowing players to enter and interact with the building that has stood locked up ever since the game was released.
Today though, we've finally got more information about the gameplay additions and how Rockstar plans to handle gambling in this long-awaited DLC.
The casino building itself has got one hell of a makeover, transforming the generic-looking, everyday building into a lavish architectural wonder befitting its name. The new complex is massive, incorporating both the casino and a luxury hotel with penthouse apartments. No doubt it will serve as a gathering point for Los Santos' elite.
You'll find plenty of opportunities to spend your hard-earned, or bought, GTA$ in the casino. We finally know how Rockstar plans to navigate the legal minefield of gambling in the game - all gambling is only ever done against the house, meaning no other players are ever involved. Essentially, it seems to be the equivalent of a loot boxes mechanic.
Players can try their luck at Three Card Poker, Blackjack, Roulette, a wide variety of slot machines, and the lucky wheel. You can win GTA$, more chips to play with, clothing items, or a luxury vehicle on weekly rotation - starting with the all new Truffade Thrax. The Inside Track offers opportunities to bet on Horse Races.
Rockstar has also pre-emptively indicated that some of these features won't be available worldwide, or at all times. A support article indicating what the reasons behind unavailable features may be, including regional regulations, has been provided. If you happen to live somewhere where Poker was an issue in Red Dead Online, don't expect to see all of these minigames.
A large selection of new character customization items will be available in the Casino Store. Make sure you stock up on the newest in elegant designer clothes so you can dress the part as you brush shoulders with Los Santos' other high rollers.
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The main addition, however, doesn't seem to be the casino at all, but rather the new penthouse properties available in the Resort. Penthouses are large, fully functional apartments that can be bought instead of rented like a hotel room, and offer the most luxurious of living conditions - most likely at a premium price point. Beyond the usual customization options, you'll be able to furnish your penthouse with exquisite artwork.
You can also upgrade your penthouse with additional facilities, such as a private spa with a personal stylist, a dedicated party area featuring a bar and retro arcade games, and a media room that acts as a home theatre. You can also gain access to the roof garden featuring an infinity pool.
Owning a penthouse also unlocks a slew of additional content, making it the mission-specific property you'll need to own for this DLC. Being a penthouse owner makes you a VIP member of the Diamond Casino, giving you access to high-limit tables, lounges and exclusive phone services. Additionally, it also means you can cozy up to Diamond's proprietor, Tao Cheng.
Cheng, being the owner and operator of a very popular, very profitable, and presumably very illegal casino has some powerful enemies. Being one of Los Santos' top criminals, who better to help him out in a few highly dangerous missions against a group of wealthy oil magnates keen on taking over the Diamond than you?
Players who complete the story missions tied to the Diamond will get special rewards and if you host the whole set of missions, you'll get a high-end vehicle for free. Agatha Baker, one of Cheng's employees, also has a constant selection of additional work you can take on should you get bored of losing all your GTA$ at the slot machines.
Rockstar has been pushing their newfound partnership with Twitch, and are not letting up now either. All players who have linked their Social Club profile with a Twitch Prime account will get new bonuses related to the newest GTA Online DLC. Not only will such members get a free master penthouse, but an additional GTA$ 1.25 Million too, and 15% extra GTA$ on Shark Card purchases.
All of last week's bonuses have been extended to cover this week as well, giving you more time to grind cash in anticipation of the opening of the Diamond Casino & Resort in GTA Online, which will happen next Tuesday, on the 23rd of July. See you there!