Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of casino operator MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM) rocketed as high as 16% today on one of the healthiest Las Vegas gaming data reports in years.

So what: According to the Nevada Gaming Control Board, gaming revenues on the Las Vegas Strip surged a whopping 21% year over year in August to $544 million. Not surprisingly, shares of other Las Vegas-based casinos such as Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS), Wynn Resorts (Nasdaq: WYNN), and Boyd Gaming (NYSE: BYD) are up big on the news.

Now what: While MGM is far from out of the woods, a recovering Las Vegas would serve as a much-needed tailwind for the embattled casino. Fools have generally turned their bullish attention toward booming Macau plays like Melco Crown (Nasdaq: MPEL) amid Las Vegas' slump, but Sin City at least seems to be bouncing back. MGM is still way too leveraged for my rather conservative tastes, but for more enterprising investors, that same debt load makes it the most potent bet -- even with today's pop -- on Las Vegas' long-term turnaround.

Interested in more info on MGM? Add it to your watchlist by clicking here.

Fool contributor Brian Pacampara owns no position in any of the companies mentioned. Melco is a Motley Fool Global Gains recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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