Las Vegas Strip casino gambling rose the most in 15 months in May, driven by easy comparisons, a surge in baccarat and a championship bout with Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao.
Strip revenue 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 match, a weak year- ago comparison, when revenue fell more than 6 percent, and calendar-related factors also bolstered results, he said. The gain was higher than he expected, and helped push Strip gambling into positive territory for the year.
“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 also helping drive business to local markets including North Las Vegas and the rest of Clark County, he said.
MGM Resorts International (MGM), the largest casino operator on the Strip, fell 89 cents, or 6 percent, to $14.07 at 4 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. Las Vegas Sands declined $2.07, or 4.5 percent, to $43.94, while Wynn Resorts Ltd. (WYNN) lost $4.34, or 2.7 percent, to $156.81 on the Nasdaq.
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