The evidence provided by Yale Belanger largely comes from reputed sources of already published works. While there are merits to this approach, there is always the danger that some of these sources were partially propagandist, aiming to spread one particular viewpoint on the subject to the neglect of the others. For this reason, one wishes that the author could have incorporated more first hand research in the writing of the book.
The author also peruses government records pertaining to native Indian legislation and discusses their implication on the gambling industry. Considerable space is also devoted to native American political participation and the political changes enforced as a result. Even today, the native Indian community is very vocal in its claims for equal rights and special privileges as citizens of the modern Canadian democracy, the evidence for which is gathered from daily newspapers and weekly magazines. This aspect of the blending of traditionality and modernity is what makes the study of the gambling institutions all the more interesting.
In the final analysis, the book is a commendable work of scholarship. Given that the author had to make the most of a select number of previously published research on the subject, ‘Gambling with the Future’ is indeed a well put-together book. The book is not just about documenting history, it is also about the prospects in the future. For example, in the concluding chapter of the book, Belanger raises some legitimate concerns regarding the future of native casinos and gambling centers, which could have serious consequences to a whole array of other industries and institutions. In this way, the book can serve useful guidance for policy makers in Canada to chart a fair and just future for the indigenous gambling industry in Canada.
Coming to the drawbacks, the book at times focuses on the examples of a few native casinos and draws broad conclusions based on them. Such conclusions are not usually accurate as the native casinos and gambling centers across Canada, and for that matter across North America are quite diverse in terms of their quality, feel and organization.
Yale Belanger, Gambling with the Future, 232 pages, published in fall 2006 by Purich Publishing Limited, ISBN 978-1-895830-286