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John J. Bodinger de Uriarte - Casino and Museum: Representing Mashantucket Pequot Identity

Casino and Museum: Representing Mashantucket Pequot Identity

John J. Bodinger de Uriarte – Casino and Museum

John J. Bodinger de Uriarte

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While a book about the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation might seem out of place on a list of essential gambling reads, the aboriginal band is responsible for running North America's largest casino. John J. Bodinger de Uriarte does a fantastic job of recounting the history of Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and shedding light on how the tribe managed to end up operating the Foxwoods Resort Casino. It's worth noting that as an ethnohistorian, the author does a better job of explaining the nation's history and culture than giving you an inside scoop on the inner workings of the casino. Still, there's enough gambling in these pages to interest bettors of all stripes.

You may find it strange how a book about Mashantucket Pequot identity has made its way into’s book review collection. But considering that this Native American tribal nation runs the largest casino in the Western Hemisphere it makes sense that we take an interest. In total, the Foxwoods Resort Casino that’s run by the Nation has 344,000 sq ft of casino gaming space with 6,640 slots and more than 360 table games. To put this in perspective, The Mirage resort in Las Vegas has a 100,000 sq ft casino, while the Hard Rock Casino has a paltry 30,000 sq ft of gambling space.

In Casino and Museum: Representing Mashantucket Pequot Identity, John J. Bodinger de Uriarte provides a comprehensive history of the tribal nation including how they came to run one the world’s largest casinos.

For those looking to gain a bit of background about any of the tribal-operated US casinos, it’s a particularly interesting look at how the running of casinos fell into the hands of tribes such as the Mashantucket Pequot and how their role has changed through the years. From the time that the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was created in 1988 all the way up to present day, everything about the Indian operations behind the Foxwoods casino is included. But for those looking for a bit more than just the story of running a casino, Casino and Museum also offers an examination of how the Nation fits into society.

Bodinger de Uriarte is undoubtedly an expert in the history of the Mashantucket Pequot people. This can be ascertained by simply reading a few passages of the book and a brief history check on him confirms that he is in-fact a veteran of various ethnohistories. Unfortunately for casino enthusiasts, his knowledge doesn’t extend quite as far into the intricacies of casino gambling as it does in tribal history, so don’t expect to be blown away with slots facts or table game dealer tricks. However, there is enough there regarding the operating of the casino to ensure that you’ll be more knowledgeable on the subject once you’ve finished reading.

Despite being several years old, the subject matter means that Casino and Museum will manage to stay relevant regardless of its age. After all, considering the drastic changes that have occurred in the past, it’s unlikely that any quite as significant will occur any time soon.