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Suicide Life Threat Behav. 1997 Winter;27(4):373-8.

Elevated suicide levels associated with legalized gambling.

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  • 1Sociology Department, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla 92093, USA.


There has been no systematic, large-scale statistical investigation of the link between gambling and suicide, despite the suggestion of such a link from small-scale case studies. This article examines whether gamblers or those associated with them are prone to suicide and whether gaming communities experience atypically high suicide rates. Las Vegas, the premier U.S. gambling setting, displays the highest levels of suicide in the nation, both for residents of Las Vegas and for visitors to that setting. In general, visitors to and residents of major gaming communities experience significantly elevated suicide levels. In Atlantic City, abnormally high suicide levels for visitors and residents appeared only after gambling casinos were opened. The findings do not seem to result merely because gaming settings attract suicidal individuals.

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