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There are a lot of eagerly anticipated games coming out in 2021. We’ll see the releases of Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury and Far Cry 6; of Halo Infinite and Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga; and of new Pokémon action and the Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time remake. Among all these titles it’s difficult to say which is the most anticipated of the year.

It might be easier, however, to say which is the most anticipated game in general. Even though it almost certainly won’t be coming out in 2021, Grand Theft Auto VI takes this (unofficial) honor. Fans of the beloved Rockstar series will have waited almost a decade for the follow-up to GTA V, which has anticipation at a boiling point.

It’s for this reason that there’s rampant speculation about what exactly GTA VI will bring us. Said speculation touches on everything from a return to Vice City, to a playable female protagonist, to significant in-game natural disasters. Undoubtedly there are thousands of things Rockstar has thought of in the attempt to one-up the wildly popular GTA V. In this post though, we’re going to focus on a fairly simple idea: building a better casino.

The Diamond Casino in GTA V represents arguably the biggest piece of DLC in the franchise’s history. Players waited years for the "coming soon" venue to open up for business, and when it did it proved to have a number of fun side-game activities. Ultimately though, as detailed by Polygon, it was a heist mission that took center stage. The casino still offers some interesting stuff (players can even buy penthouses there), but it’s the Diamond Casino heist that seems to have been the main point.

There’s nothing wrong with this, really, but it does leave space for a more robust casino in a GTA follow-up — one in which gaming and activities are the main attractions, and the experience is a little bit smoother. So, what would this entail?


Expand on games

In the Diamond Casino in GTA V, players can enjoy three-card poker, slot machines, roulette, and blackjack. That’s not bad for a casino within a bigger video game — but it’s also far from complete. A follow-up to the Diamond Casino could employ other forms of poker (notably the popular Texas Hold’Em), craps (a very common game with some of the best odds in a casino), a few random, one-off jackpots, and even some arcade games (which casinos are said to be developing with betting features). Basically, the more games the better.


Explain the games

One of the issues a lot of gamers ultimately have with casino games — in apps, on casino sites, or even within bigger video games — is that they can seem exclusive to enthusiasts, or inaccessible to beginners. It’s for this reason that some of the top gaming platforms in the category actually now go out of their way to provide reference materials for players. Having the core rules of casino games available to players is an absolute necessity. But something as simple as Poker.org’s hand ranking charts can explain the whole game of poker in a deeper, yet still easy to understand way. Listing the odds associated with blackjack decisions can keep players from feeling like they’re simply guessing and subjecting themselves to chance. A better casino within GTA VI would include resources like these in the gaming menu, so that even people without much casino experience could feel welcome, and get the hang of the games.


Implement sports betting

Lots of real-world casinos these days have sports betting areas right alongside their slot banks and poker tables. And the GTA world has dabbled in sports before. From the sort of background presence of local sports teams (like the Los Santos Kings) to wild action sports like the fan-created Football Deathrun in fact, there’s a fairly strong undercurrent of sports in the series by this point. Turning that undercurrent into more of an in-game culture would make for a lot of fun, both in the casino and in general. GTA VI should have full, automated sports leagues, and a casino sportsbook allowing players to bet on the action.


Bring in modern Vegas features

Another interesting update would be a whole new design that better captures the spirit of a modern, American casino. The Diamond Casino is plenty fancy, and perhaps realistic for a big-city venue as opposed to a destination resort. Nevertheless, many people today — including those in younger demographics who play GTA games — hear “casino” and think of the DJ-driven pool parties, late-night clubs, and high-octane performance acts of Las Vegas. In a sense, a Diamond Casino follow-up with some of these features would be more modern, even if this is mostly a matter of atmosphere.

None of this is to say the Diamond Casino isn’t fine. It’s plenty of fun, and the heist is great. But after years of waiting, it’s almost surprisingly incomplete as well. So, as we wait for Rockstar to get GTA VI just right, one thing to hope for is a better version of the casino idea.