06/08/2011 03:46 EDT | Updated 08/08/2011 05:12 EDT

Problem Gambling In Nova Scotia Claims 6 Lives Every Year: Study


THE CANADIAN PRESS -- HALIFAX - A draft report on the impact of gambling in Nova Scotia estimates that an average of six people a year are killing themselves due to problem gambling.

The figure is contained in a draft report on the social and economic impacts of gambling that was shelved two years ago by the Nova Scotia government.

The government dispute the findings in the report, saying there were flaws in its research.

The province disputes the link between suicides and gambling, adding that accurate figures on suicide aren't kept in Nova Scotia.

The study says that about 20 per cent of the 55 problem gamblers interviewed by the researchers in 2008 say they've experienced either mental or physical health problems due to gambling.

The Canadian Press and an anti-gambling group applied for the release of the report from the province's Department of Labour under access-to-information legislation.

The government refused to provide the study a year ago, but both parties successfully appealed to the review officer to get the report released.

The final draft of the report was submitted by a consultant in September 2009, a couple of months before his contract was terminated under the direction of the province's NDP government.