Nova Scotia’s NDP government wants a new study done on the socio-economic impacts of gambling. The previous study was shelved after the NDP felt it was flawed in its methodology. But after repeated pressure from other groups, the government posted the 476-page document on its website last week. The report was littered with notes from civil servants pointing out or correcting flaws and errors.
The inferences the report makes are questionable.
An average of six people a year kill themselves in Nova Scotia because of problem gambling, according to the draft report by researcher Mark Anielski. There are data gaps — Nova Scotia does not publish the number of all suicides annually, for instance.
“There is no definitive number of these suicides that can be directly linked to a gambling addiction, it is possible to estimate the annual gambling-related suicides ranged from 6.8 in 1996 to a low of 4.0 in 2000,” the report says.
Sounds like a fairly contradictory statement. How researchers can estimate that these are gambling related suicides as opposed to mental health issues of a person who was a problem gambler is beyond logical reason.
It’s not surprising then that the Nova Scotia NDP government now wants the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation to conduct their own study with some facts that can be verified and with a methodology that is beyond reproach.