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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.

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.

WATCH: The Arts Take Center Stage

LAS VEGAS -- Las Vegas is transforming into a cultural mecca, and this weekend, 8 News NOW takea you inside as the arts take center stage.

From the new Smith Center for Performing Arts, to the Neon Boneyard and Arts District, Las Vegas is doing more with arts and theater than ever before.

8 News NOW and our Community Pride sponsors will be the first to take you through the new buildings and give you a sneak peak at what's to come in the next year in our special.

Hundreds of New Newsracks Approved for the Strip

Hundreds of New Newsracks Approved for the Strip


The Las Vegas Strip will soon be littered with hundreds of additional newsracks.  Clark County held a lottery Monday to decide which businesses would get the more than 1,400 newsrack locations the county reopened inside the resort corridor. The newsracks rarely contain actual newspapers but mostly hold advertising for escort services and gentlemen's clubs. The county approved more than 400 of those racks Monday. The rest of the spots will be on a first-come, first-serve basis.  Most of the new spots are on side streets that provide tourists access to the Strip like Paradise Road and Koval Lane. Permits are not required for newracks placed outside the gaming corridor. 

World Series of Poker Starts Tuesday

World Series of Poker Starts Tuesday

The 42nd Annual World Series of Poker starts Tuesday at the Rio Hotel and Casino.

The series starts with the biggest names in poker competing in the exclusive $25,000 buy-in Heads Up No-Limit Hold'em Championship. Poker players will face off in a bracket-style format. The tournament kicks off with the shuffle-up and deal event at noon. Viewing for the tournament is free and open to people 21 years old and older. 

On Saturday, professional and amateur poker players from around the country will be at the hotel for the $1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em tournament. That part of the series starts at noon. 

All the players are competing for millions of dollars in prizes and the coveted World Series of Poker gold bracelet.

Affinity Gaming Drops Herbst Name in 'Fresh Start'

LAS VEGAS  -- Affinity Gaming LLC is shedding the Herbst Gaming name following bankruptcy reorganization and the departure of Herbst family members.

Company chief David Ross said in a statement that the Monday move reflects a "fresh start" with a new corporate identity, a new board of directors and new corporate management.

The Las Vegas-based operator has 12 casinos and some 6,000 slot machines in Nevada. That includes three resorts at the Interstate 15 Nevada-California state line town of Primm, and the Terrible's Hotel & Casino east of the Las Vegas Strip.

The company has two casinos in Missouri and one in Iowa. Herbst Gaming emerged from bankruptcy in December. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that company debt was reduced with the reorganization from $1.1 billion to about $350 million.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)