CJ in a casino in GTA San Andreas

The Reason I Gamble in Video Games

I love gambling in video games.  I used to frequent local betting shops in my area and go to Vegas every 18-months or so, but after a health scare, I found myself stuck at home with nothing to do.  Feeling the itch to have some fun at a blackjack table, I turned to my old friend: video games.  And I haven’t looked back.

I especially love video game casinos.  The bright, flashing lights, the buzzes and whirls of the slot machines, the neon glow eminating from cabinets as far as the eye can see.  Heavenly.

I switch between playing in Grand Theft Auto San Andreas and GTA Online to classic games like Casino Kid and Vegas Stakes (these days they would be considered “gambling simulators” or even outright “gambling” if they had even a nod to microtransactions).  Heck, I even find myself loading up Yooka-Laylee for a quick burst in the Capital Casino.  It’s like going on a world tour of casinos, all from the comfort of my couch, computer chair or toilet.  Don’t judge me.

In truth, that is the reason that I lean towards gambling in video games over gambling in real life these days, despite having nothing but fond memories of seeing Las Vegas glowing in the middle of the Mojave Desert.

Sure, I still find myself searching for online blackjack in USA virtual casinos, but 9 times out of 10, my PC or PlayStation 4 will help me to get my fix.

If you want even a little taste of what I’m talking about, fire up a Yakuza game – any Yakuza game.  The various gambling halls found in Kamuorocho are home to familiar games like blackjack and poker, but also have a bunch of Japanese games that I’d never heard of before.


Koi-Koi, Cho-Han, Cee-Lo – it’s like going to a Japanese casino!  Well, I assume so…they’re the only Japanese casinos I’ve ever frequented, but that’s the point – I can go anywhere in the world and gamble within a few minutes.

If you’re looking for something a bit more colourful then check out Wario Land: Shake It.  The game is filled with incredible normal levels, but it is really saying something when I say that the Glittertown and Neon City casino levels are some of the best in the game.

Glittertown casino from the Wario Land video game

A pretty awesome touch is that these are the only levels in the game that don’t have enough coins to fulfil the “Collect X coins” optional mission that is usually fairly straight forward in other games.  Instead, to hit the quota, you have to find a hidden slot machine and score a few jackpots.  It’s addictive and, once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll be stacking up coins in no time.

Don’t worry if these games aren’t “Las Vegas” enough for ya.  If you’re looking to get a taste of Vegas without embarrassing yourself on the strip in person (I’ve been there, done that, got the puke-covered t-shirt – it isn’t pretty!), you could always try Fallout: New Vegas.

Casino in Fallout New Vegas

Fallout: New Vegas’s Sierra Madre Casino has everything someone like me could want.  Slot machines, blackjack, overly aggressive super-mutants and a whole ton of ammo – it’s great!  If you’re worried about Fallout: New Vegas looking a bit, well, dated, then fear not.  There are literally hundreds of mods for Bethesda’s masterpiece that bring the visuals and gameplay up to date.

The bottom line is, I love gambling in video games because it is just as fun as doing it in person, but much more convenient.  It combines two of my biggest loves – money and money (oh, and gambling and video games, I suppose).  I also like that it is risk-free, yet still gets the blood pumping every time I win big.  It is a great way to spend a rainy evening with a bowl of snacks and a cold beverage without waking up with regret the next day.  Well, unless I decide to end the night losing on Fortnight, but that’s another story…