Our network

I-Team: Taxicab Long Hauling Continues, Despite Promised Reforms

LAS VEGAS -- Las Vegas visitors and locals alike are being long hauled -- taken the long way by cab drivers. The practice is illegal, but happens every hour of every day, right under the noses of the state officers who are supposed to protect the public.

The Nevada Taxicab authority told 8 News Now last summer that long hauling is its number one enforcement priority. But the Channel 8 I-Team went undercover and found plenty of evidence that it is as common as ever.

"Are we going the long way? The highway, right?"

The driver didn't ask if Photojournalist Matt Adams wanted to take the more expensive route. He headed right for the tunnel -- a textbook case of long hauling. When confronted about it, he tried to cut a deal.

"I forgot to ask. Whatever you want, you can pay me," he said.

And Producer Ian Russell got the same treatment. No ask, no tell, just tunnel and freeway.

Community Sponsors

Nevada Gaming Revenues Suffer Biggest Percentage Drop

CARSON CITY, Nev. -- Nevada casino revenues plunged 10.4 percent in the 2009 calendar year, when casinos reported a total gambling win of $10.4 billion.

A report by the Nevada Gaming Control Board released Thursday shows last year's steep decline followed a 9.7 percent drop in 2008.

For December, casinos statewide reported a win of $859.3 million, down 3.2 percent from the same month a year ago. The state collected $33.4 million in taxes, down 6.7 percent.

Taxes paid by casinos make up about a third of the state's general fund. Nevada's gambling industry has been especially hard hit in the recession as tourists and residents keep a tighter hold on discretionary spending that historically fueled the state's economy.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Man With an Ax Kills Child, Critically Injures 2 Females

LAS VEGAS -- A Downtown Las Vegas neighborhood is in shock after a women was attacked in the middle of the street.

Police arrested 33-year-old Harold Montague for allegedly attacking two adults and killing 4-month-old Damian Avila Castro near Sahara and Maryland Pkwy. Police believe the attack may have been random.

Officers say a woman was pushing a her baby in a stroller on San Pedro Avenue when Montague came out of a house with an ax and started attacking her.

A neighbor named Teresa watched Montague kill the infant and bludgeon the child's mother with the ax.

Read Harold Montague's arrest report

Las Vegas Visitor Volume Up

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority reports that visitor volume was up for the fourth straight month in December after 15 months of decline. They say they are cautiously optimistic.

Overall, visitor volume for 2009 was down 3-percent with convention attendance taking a nearly 24 percent hit.

Community Sponsors

UNLV Students Walk Out of Classes in Budget Protest

LAS VEGAS -- College students around Las Vegas are demanding lawmakers leave higher education alone.

To prove just how serious they are about fighting back, hundreds walked out of class Tuesday and headed to the Grant Sawyer Building, where lawmakers were holding an finance committee meeting, to make sure leaders get the point.

Their persistence paid off, but now the real question is whether it will pay off down the road.

"These budget cuts could pretty much take us down to a community college level, and it's something that we can't tolerate as students," said UNLV sophomore Adam Lester.

SLIDESHOW: UNLV Students Protest Proposed Cuts

While there was cheering and chanting, the walkout served a deeper purpose than just proving a point – UNLV, CSN and Nevada State College are organizing.

Sinatra, Martin to Receive Stars in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS -- Sin City is paying homage to iconic singers Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin by giving them each a place on the Las Vegas Walk of Stars.

Las Vegas Walk of Stars spokesman Pablo Castro Zavala said stars for the crooners would be unveiled Feb. 22 in a ceremony at the Flamingo Las Vegas casino-resort.

The stars will be then be placed in the sidewalk outside the Flamingo on the Las Vegas Strip. Sinatra and Martin are icons of Sin City entertainment because of their appearances on stage, in film and on television.

The Rat Pack performers appeared in the 1960 movie "Ocean's Eleven," about a plan to rob five Las Vegas casinos in one night. Officials say Dean Martin's daughter Deana Martin will accept his star on behalf of her father. 

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Nevada Regulators Endorse Plan for Planet Hollywood

CARSON CITY -- Nevada casino regulators have given preliminary approval for Harrah's Entertainment to acquire Planet Hollywood Resort in Las Vegas.

Under the deal endorsed Wednesday by the Gaming Control Board, Harrah's will acquire $306 million in debt at a discounted rate of under $70 million and assume Planet Hollywood's remaining debt of $554 million.

The Nevada Gaming Commission is scheduled to take final action on the deal Feb. 18. If approved, casino operations would transfer at noon the next day.

Harrah's officials said the property's current staff of 2,300 will be reduced by about 5 percent. Harrah's also will assume collective bargaining contracts in effect.

Harrah's took over operations of the 2,496-room hotel and food and beverage operations on Jan. 16.

 (Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)