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Jackpot Month for Nevada Casinos

LAS VEGAS -- People are coming back to Las Vegas and spending more cash which seems to be signs that the economy is on the path to recovery.

Casino winnings in May jumped more than 16 percent in Nevada compared to the same time last year. Because of that spike, the state took in nearly 18 percent more in taxes. The Las Vegas Strip saw a huge year-to-year increase as well of nearly 29 percent. More visitors also came to the Strip. Casino taxes account for about a third of state general fund revenues.

The gaming numbers show more than just dollar figures. The statistics are indicative of who's visiting Nevada.

"We've been gambling away. The Wheel of Fortune is awesome," said Cindy Ortiz who is visiting from Texas.

Nina Gonzalez has also been gambling and despite even losing some money, she plans to keep spending the rest of the week while visiting Las Vegas.

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Strip Safety Emphasized After String of Killings

LAS VEGAS - Sandra Braziel feels safe when she travels to Las Vegas.

"I feel comfortable, because I've been here so many times, and I've never had any problems," she said.

The tourist from Fort Worth, Texas was surprised to learn, however, that three different people met bloodshed in three separate fights along the Strip in recent weeks.

On June 25, a man was stabbed to death during a fight on the pedestrian walkway between MGM Grand and New York-New York.

This week, another man was stabbed on the pedestrian walkway between Planet Hollywood and Cosmopolitan.

Also this week, a Utah tourist died after getting punched in the head at O'Sheas Casino.

"I think more cops would be good," said Brazilian tourist Renan Souza.

Wynn Spends Millions on Decorations for Macau Resort

Wynn Resorts says it bought a set of rare antique Chinese vases for its newest resort in Macau. The company announced Friday that it paid more than $12.7 million for four porcelain vases at an auction in London. The vases will be on display at the resort which is under construction on Macau's Cotai Strip. The resort will open in 2015. The vases date from the late 1700s and early 1800s. The only similar examples belong to the British Royal Family. The resort says it paid more than double the world auction record for similar vessels. Share prices for Wynn Resorts have jumped lately after analysts gave it a "buy" rating based on its business in Macau and the improving Las Vegas market. (The Associated Press contributed to this report)

Wife of Murder Suspect Says Husband Was Defending Himself

Wife of Murder Suspect Says Husband Was Defending Himself

The wife of a Florida high school football coach being held on a murder charge said Friday her husband was defending himself when he threw a single punch that authorities say killed a Utah man in a Las Vegas Strip casino.

Benjamin Hawkins, 37, pleaded not guilty Friday during a brief appearance before a Las Vegas judge. The judge scheduled a Tuesday bail hearing and set a July 21 date to hear evidence in the early Wednesday slaying of John Massie, 46, of Roy, Utah.

"It just looked like he wouldn't leave my husband alone," Leticia Hawkins, 35, a banker from Gainesville, Fla., told The Associated Press outside the courtroom. "My husband was defending himself."

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Street Trench Collapses near Fashion Show Mall

Street Trench Collapses near Fashion Show Mall

A trench has collapsed near Las Vegas Boulevard and Spring Mountain Road while a contractor was working on a steel pipe project.

The trench that had been dug to 10 feet by 6 feet has collapsed and now measures 25 feet by 10 feet. Traffic in all directions in all directions is being affected. Las Vegas Boulevard is down to one lane in each direction and Spring Mountain Road/Sands is down to one lane east bound and two lanes west bound.

The contractor on the scene will work around the clock until the problem is repaired and completion of the work is not expected to be completed before Sunday morning.

Rain Hits Some Areas of Southern Nevada

Rain fell in some parts of the valley Thursday afternoon. The video featured was the parking lot of 8newsNow this afternoon. The severe thunderstorm warning expired at 4 p.m. Thursday afternoon. The humidity is expected to last through the weekend with drier air moving in next week.

Wynn Las Vegas Takes Bets on Non-Sporting Events

Wynn Las Vegas Takes Bets on Non-Sporting Events


The Wynn Las Vegas on Wednesday became the first Sin City casino to take event wagers on a non-sporting event, with bets on the World Series of Poker main event.

   The wagers are the first to be approved by state regulators since new rules in January made them allowable, Nevada Gaming Control Board Enforcement Chief Jerry Markling told The Associated Press.

   "There have been inquiries made, but none that got to this point," Markling said.

   The bets add a new wrinkle around poker's most prestigious tournament, being held roughly 2 miles from the Wynn at the Rio

All-Suite Hotel & Casino, with the possibility of entrants betting on themselves.