For several years, the Grand Theft Auto V in-game casino was effectively the biggest tease in gaming. When GTA V first came out in 2013, a casino with a “coming soon” sign on it was visible in the Los Santos neighbourhood of Vinewood. In 2015, GameRant announced speculation that perhaps the casino was finally about to open. But it was only last summer — about six years after the game’s initial release — that the Diamond Casino & Resort finally opened its doors.
For those who haven’t gotten around to exploring it yet, or who may be preparing to revisit GTA V for the first time in a while, here’s our guide to this fascinating, multi-dimensional in-game upgrade.
Accessing the Casino
Basic access to the Diamond Casino & Resort is cheap ($500 of in-game cash) and allows you to explore the main casino area. You can play some of the games, but the broader resort (and some of the gambling action) will be kept exclusive.
By contrast, you can also buy a penthouse for a cool $1.5 million from your character’s pocket. A penthouse doubles as VIP access to resort features and the full casino, and comes with all sorts of fun extras (which can cost several million more in total). GTA Base has a fairly comprehensive breakdown of these extras, but from the chance to access your own spa, to changing the colour palette of your suite, to accessing high-roller casino games, it’s clear there are a lot of customisation options. Best of all for some players will be the fact that your penthouse can come with a 10-car garage beneath the resort — massively increasing your capacity to store cars in the game.
The Gaming Scene
The interesting thing about gambling in the Diamond is that there are almost tiers to the activity. As a casual member, you can spin slots, gamble on virtual horse races, and play a few different card games with varying stakes (and only against in-game AI — not other players). Naturally those who really dive into the casino look to play for increasingly large prizes — and once you’re a VIP, you can play true high-stakes games. There’s nothing connecting these tiers (meaning you don’t have to win at one blackjack table to progress to another), but in a way they mirror the gamified structure we’re increasingly seeing at real-life online casinos.
To clarify, partypoker outlines how missions have become a popular aspect of online gambling. Basically, players can now sign up to be challenged with “missions” that consist of in-game achievements, and progress through them to establish milestones and collect rewards. Again, this is not specifically how the Diamond casino works, but it does show how video games and casino culture continue to inspire each other. Missions at poker sites are a response to traditional milestone-driven gaming formats, and the Diamond in turn reflects the kind of progressive difficulty people are now accustomed to on real casino sites.
When you own a penthouse in the Diamond Casino & Resort, you also gain access to six new in-game missions. These need to be completed alongside other players, but generally they revolve around helping the casino with one task or another, and they pay out nice rewards ($50,000 each, and $100,000 for the final one). There are also “work” missions, which involve your calling the casino manager (Ms. Baker), requesting casino work, and helping her with whatever she may need.
The casino update also came with two secret missions, however. Forbes detailed how to unlock the more popular of these missions, which is essentially to direct your character repeatedly to the bars (ideally the private one in your penthouse). Eventually, your character will wake up somewhere unexpected, and the mission “Damage Control” will have begun. You can launch the other secret mission, “Under The Influence,” somewhat similarly, though in that case you need to contact Ms. Baker after drinking — but before drinking quite enough to wind up asleep somewhere.
The Diamond Heist
Finally, it also has to be noted that the casino DLC came with a major heist mission, which for some almost eclipsed the excitement of the casino itself. Metro quoted a Rockstar description of the “Diamond Casino Heist” as “the most complex criminal operation ever. And frankly, the action lives up to the description — though we won’t spoil how it all goes down!
All things considered, there’s a lot to like about the Diamond Casino & Resort. It will of course appeal more to some players than others, but it’s some of the most impressive DLC we’ve seen from the GTA franchise.