Shares of casino stocks rose on Thursday after the Nevada Gaming Control Board released gaming revenues for May that showed a moderating decline.

In a report posted to its Website, the state entity said Nevada gaming revenues were down 8.34 percent in May and off 13.71 percent for the year to date. Revenue on the Las Vegas Strip was down 6.36 percent for the month and down 15.31 percent for the year to date.

The May result compared with a statewide gaming revenue decline of 14.07 percent that was reported for April 2009.

The revenues that came out today from Nevada indicated that the declines (on the Las Vegas Strip) weren't as large as some other recently reported declines, said Matthew Jacob, an analyst with Majestic Research.

I think there are some expectations out there that this is potentially the beginning of a recovery for the industry, he added.

Shares of casino operator Las Vegas Sands Corp were up 11.1 percent to $7.39 in early afternoon trading, while Wynn Resorts Ltd climbed 7.0 percent to $32.01, MGM Mirage 4.7 percent to $5.78, Ameristar Casinos Inc 5.3 percent to $18.59 and Boyd Gaming Corp 5.2 percent to $8.11.

Jacob said some gaming executives had noted signs of improvement in recent trends. But he added that his firm's proprietary data were still not showing the kind of improvement that some investors expect to materialize in the next few months.

Jacob noted some casino stocks were still down as much as 80 percent or more over the past year and a half.

We think recovery is going to take longer than maybe the more bullish investors are expecting, Jacob said.

(Reporting by Karen Jacobs, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)