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Casinos’ off month shows significance of boxers such as Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather

Boxing

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Manny Pacquiao arrives at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas for his Dec. 8 bout against Juan Manuel Marquez (AP)

Anyone who still doesn't understand why boxers such as Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao earn so much money and are treated so reverentially in Nevada's casinos -- And now, in Pacquiao's case, in Asia's -- only needs to check out the Nevada Gaming Control Board's report for June.

In June 2013, Nevada's casinos won $792.5 million from gamblers. That, though, was down from the $832.5 million they won from gamblers in June 2012, the month when Pacquiao fought Timothy Bradley Jr. at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. There was no major boxing event in Nevada in June 2013.

Winnings from baccarat, a game favored by the high-rolling Asian gamblers Pacquiao attracts, were down nearly 50 percent year over year. In 2012, Nevada's casinos won $52.1 million from baccarat play, down from $103.1 million in June 2012.

When Pacquiao and Mayweather fight in Nevada, the casinos inevitably have a strong month.

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Slot machines in the Philippines bear Manny Pacquiao's likeness (AP)

The significance of this from a boxing standpoint is that Mayweather and Pacquiao attract the super wealthy, who spend significant money gambling and in the shops and restaurants around town. Now, they also sell more tickets, more pay-per-views, and more merchandise than other fighters. Television networks around the world are willing to pay more for the right to broadcast their fights.

In many ways, they help fund boxing at large, because they generate so much revenue from their casino fights. And it's not just going to be casinos in Nevada and New Jersey that are going after the big fights any more. Asia is about to become a big player in the mega-fight market.

Top Rank's Bob Arum has already in 2013 brought two cards to Cotai Arena in Macau, a special administrative region in China. He will promote a pay-per-view bout there between Pacquiao and Brandon Rios on Nov. 23 (Nov. 24 in Asia). On Arum's first show, the casinos in Macau recorded the largest win in their history. Numbers for last month's show aren't available. But whatever they are, they're going to be dwarfed by the November 2013 numbers, when Pacquiao fights there.

It is why Arum is going back and why the Asian casinos -- Largely owned by the major casino owners in Nevada, such as Las Vegas Sands, MGM and Wynn -- are eager to pay Top Rank big money to secure the rights to the fights.

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