Top Canadian Authors Who’ve Written About Gambling and Casinos

The advent of online casinos in Canada has revolutionized gambling, shifting the casino experience to the digital sphere. These platforms, including the leading Canadian online casino destinations listed on, offer new and innovative possibilities for risk and reward accessible from any location, thus expanding the range of topics in Canadian literature. As gambling moves from traditional venues to these cutting-edge online environments, it motivates Canadian authors to explore this transformation’s societal and personal implications.

Gambling themes, traditionally rich in literature for exploring risk, chance, and human vulnerabilities, are prevalent in Canadian narratives. These themes provide a basis for examining complex emotions and societal issues, enhancing the depiction of luck and its consequences in stories.

Casino cards in hand and book in the background

Why Are Casino and Gambling Themes So Appealing in Literature?

Exploring Risk and Human Emotion

Casinos and gambling are not merely about money; they are epicentres of emotion and human drama. Literature that incorporates these themes often does so to highlight the intense moments of decision-making and the psychological turmoil involved. The risk inherent in gambling can be a metaphor for life’s unpredictabilities, where every human must occasionally stake their lot on an unseen future.

Societal Issues and Moral Dilemmas

Moreover, gambling in literature often mirrors the moral choices people face in society. Whether it’s the ruinous pursuit of quick fortune or the strategic play of poker faces, authors use gambling to reflect on broader societal issues—such as social equity, addiction, and the human inclination towards greed and desperation.

Key Canadian Authors and Their Contributions

Pen notebook and glasses on the table

Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood, one of Canada’s most prolific authors, has often woven themes of survival and power into her narratives, which extend into her depictions of gambling.

In her novel “The Handmaid’s Tale”, Atwood infuses gambling metaphors to enrich the dystopian setting. Characters routinely must take risks as a matter of survival, much like placing bets in a game where the stakes are life itself.

Gambling in Atwood’s work symbolizes the control and lack thereof that individuals hold over their destinies in a repressive regime, highlighting both the randomness of oppression and the calculated risks undertaken by her characters.

Michael Ondaatje

Michael Ondaatje, another iconic figure in Canadian literature, often explores themes of identity and displacement. His storytelling captures the ephemeral nature of human connections, akin to the transient alliances one might find at a gambling table.

In “The English Patient,” Ondaatje touches upon the uncertainties of war and love with the same unpredictability as gambling, using the backdrop of a war-ravaged casino to parallel his characters’ chaotic, chance-driven lives.

Through his narratives, Ondaatje examines how the forces of luck and fate dictate our lives, much like the uncertain outcomes in games of chance. He urges a deeper reflection on how much control we genuinely exert over our paths.

Robertson Davies

As a figure of Canadian letters, Robertson Davies’ works often delve into the human psyche, intertwined with spiritual and supernatural elements, where gambling and risk-taking become significant motifs.

In “Fifth Business,” Davies uses small-town bingo games and conjuring tricks as gambling elements that affect the fate of his characters, illustrating how seemingly trivial choices can precipitate profound life changes.

Davies discusses themes of destiny and fortune, weaving gambling into his narrative as a force that drives his characters to confront their deepest beliefs about themselves and the world.

Comparative Analysis

We’ve prepared a table that provides a detailed comparative analysis of how three prominent Canadian authors—Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, and Robertson Davies—explored gambling in their literary works. Each author brings a unique approach to this theme, using it to delve into deep questions about fate, luck, skill, and self-determination within their characters’ lives.

Margaret AtwoodMichael OndaatjeRobertson Davies
Thematic HandlingDystopian futuresWar settingsMystical realism
Themes ExploredFate vs. self-determinationLuck and skill interplayFate and self-determination
Ethical and Motif ConsiderationsIllusion of controlImpact of random chanceEthical dilemmas of risking value
Perspective on GamblingA metaphor for control and lack thereof in oppressive regimesReflects uncertainties of life and love akin to gamblingGambling is a force driving characters to confront beliefs

Insights from Atwood, Ondaatje, and Davies on Gambling and Risk

The works of Atwood, Ondaatje, and Davies provide deep insights into the intricate themes of gambling and risk, showcasing how these elements can reflect and affect human behaviour and societal values. Their narratives prompt you to consider the implications of risk-taking and decision-making, mirroring personal fears, aspirations, and moral choices. These stories offer entertainment and foster a greater understanding of the dynamics of chance and choice, emphasizing their impacts across various societal and personal contexts.

Engaging with these authors’ works allows you to appreciate the complexity of human emotions and the ethical dilemmas that gambling and risk introduce into our lives, enriching our perspective on human nature and the forces that shape our decisions.