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Las Vegas Strip casino gambling jumps in May

Las Vegas Strip casino gambling rose the most in 15 months in May, driven by a surge in baccarat and a championship bout with Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao.

Revenue on the Strip rose 29 percent to $580.4 million, the Nevada Gaming Control Board said today in a statement. It was the biggest gain since February 2010 and the highest total since January 2008, said Michael Lawton, senior research analyst for the board.

Pacquiao is the biggest draw in Vegas, Lawton said in an interview. An Ultimate Fighting Championship cage-fighting match, a weak year-ago comparison and calendar-related factors also helped push up revenue he said. The gain was higher than he expected, and helped push Vegas’s year-to-date results into positive territory.

“I don’t want to say we’re back, but this was definitely a step in the right direction,” Lawton said.

Activity on the Strip is helping drive business to local markets including North Las Vegas and the rest of Clark County, Lawton said.

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