Las Vegas seems to bring out people's desire to kill themselves, according to a new study.
Matt Wray from Temple University in Philadelphia and colleagues from Harvard University in Boston analyzed the patterns of suicide in Las Vegas over a 30-year period.
The study found that the Sin City residents face a suicide risk significantly higher than residents elsewhere in the United States; people who die while visiting Las Vegas are twice as likely to die by suicide than people who visit elsewhere; and visitors to Las Vegas face an even higher suicide risk than residents of Las Vegas.
According to Wray, one noteworthy finding is that if person lives in Las Vegas, but travel away from home, the risk for suicide decreases.
"So, one conclusion we might draw from this fact is that something about the place is toxic or 'suicidogenic,' and that there is something about reduced exposure to Las Vegas that is beneficial," said Wray.
Wray said that there are a couple of scenarios that may explain the reasons for this geographical suicide cluster, but these need further research.
"One would be 'gambler's despair'-someone visits Las Vegas, bets his house away and decides to end it all. Another would be that those predisposed to suicide disproportionately choose Las Vegas to reside in or visit, said Wray
"And, finally, there may be a 'contagion' effect where people are emulating the suicides of others, with Las Vegas acting as a suicide magnet, much like the Golden Gate bridge. Some people may be going there intent on self-destruction," he added.
The study is published in Social Science and Medicine.