Las Vegas visitor count, gambling up in December

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LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Las Vegas saw a 2.5 percent increase in visitors in December compared with the same month a year ago in the latest sign that Nevada's devastated economy might finally be turning around.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority reported Thursday that nearly 3 million people visited in December.

In all, the city's visitor count was up 4.3 percent in 2011 compared with 2010. Convention attendance also grew by 9 percent to 4.9 million.

The higher visitor count contributed to a 5 percent increase in Las Vegas Strip gambling revenue in 2011 compared with last year.

The visitor numbers are good news for Nevada, which depends on tourism. The state has had the nation's highest unemployment rate for months.