The history of casinos in Grand Theft Auto (via GTA V, the PSP and Vita)

For years, Rockstar made video game series Grand Theft Auto has been one of the most popular going. From the blocky top-down chaos of the PS1 originals to the majestic madness produced by Grand Theft Auto 5, we’ve seen some major changes over the years. We’ve spent our time in various major cities, from Los Santos to Liberty City, from the countrysides of San Andreas and the Britpop madness of London to the 80s wonder of Vice City. One thing that was always missing, though, was the ability to fritter away your gangland legends money in the casinos like the ones at Betfree. Now, that’s changed.

GTA5 has introduced so many new features to its online mode that keeping up with the pace of change can almost feel dizzying. However, one thing that always stands out when it comes to GTA5 is their desire to add more and more features, not just rehashes of what already exists. Back in the summer of 2019, Rockstar decided that it was time to bring in a new casino – one that you can use real money in if you so choose.

The Diamond Casino & Resort has become a major hit for players looking to go big and go home. What’s the deal, though?

The Diamond Casino and Resort: a game changer for GTA

While casinos in the past have been in the games, they’ve often played very minimal roles in the overall world building. Now, given GTA has more or less always made space for prostitution and strip clubs since the days of GTA3, or even before, the lack of gambling has always been seen as a minor oversight. That, though, has all changed.

This grandiose new casino is probably the largest add-on to GTA5’s online mode in a year to eighteen months. It has players flocking back after many left to go hunting in Red Dead Redemption 2. With this new casino, the most controversial addition has been the fact that you convert the money you have in GTA into casino chips to play with.

You could even buy GTA$ with real-life dollars, and then convert that into chips. This would allow you to take part in all manner of gaming fun, from table games like Poker and Roulette to various others like horse racing, slot machines, and so much more.

However, there’s not just the ability to spend your wages chasing a big win for your virtual gang lord. You might also choose to take part in the various new GTA Online add-ons like story missions that help you guard the casino, as well as various new cars to spend your winnings on.

While some decry another game going down the route of letting you use real money, there’s no obligation to do so. As such, you could spend some time in-game making money, or you could buy some online. It’s entirely up to you. One thing is for sure, though; the world of GTA can finally proudly boast having one of the finest virtual gambling establishments in all of video gaming.

The history of Casinos in GTA for PSP and Vita – Leone Casino

Leone Casino is actually a heck of a historied landmark building for GTA fans. Making its first appearance in the now-legendary GTA III, it would go onto appear in GTA Advance and then lastly, in GTA: Liberty City Stories for the PSP. You can find yourself visiting this establishment throughout the game (now available to play on your Vita as well), fending off attacks by the rival Sindacco family. Not to spoil much, but thank goodness you had a guy like Toni Cipriani working for you.

It’s worth mentioning that there are other such establishments in Liberty City Stories, such as the much-less storied Big Shot Casino, owned by arch-rivals the Sindaccos.

Funny enough, despite clear nods to gambling in both games, neither Vice City Stories nor Chinatown Wars (the other two entries in the GTA franchise available for PSP and Vita) feature casinos prominently.

Where to next?

Obviously, we have no idea what will happen next in the Grand Theft Auto franchise. But we know that Rockstar was keen on introducing a lot of minigames and gambling into Red Dead Redemption 2, so I think it’s safe to assume that whatever the future may hold, it’s sure to hold some sort of in-game casino for GTA VI (whenever that happens).

You’ll likely even be able to play with real money, just like in GTA Online’s Diamond Casino and Resort.

Is gambling something you look forward to in the next GTA game? Sound off in the comments below!

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About Simon Plumbe 1069 Articles
Husband, father and lifelong geek. Originally from the West Midlands, now spending my days in South Wales with my family and a house full of animals. Passionate about video games, especially retro gaming, the Commodore 64 and PlayStation Vita. Love pro wrestling, sci-fi and I'm an animal lover and vegetarian. Enjoyed this and my other articles? Why not buy me a coffee: