Photograph - Photography
The Golden Nugget was originally built in 1946, making it one of the oldest casinos in the city. Jackie Gaughan at one time owned a stake in the hotel as part of his many downtown properties. Steve Wynn bought a stake in the Nugget, which he increased so that, in 1973, he became the majority shareholder, and the youngest casino owner in Las Vegas. In 1977 he opened the first hotel tower and the resort earned its first four diamond rating from Mobil Travel Guide. It was the foundation for Wynn's rise to prominence in the casino industry. The second hotel tower opened in 1984 along with the showroom, and the third tower was opened in 1989. On May 31, 2000, the Golden Nugget (and all of Steve Wynn's other properties) was sold to Kirk Kerkorian; the consolidated corporation was known as MGM Mirage and has been the largest casino corporation in Las Vegas since that date.
Although the Golden Nugget was profitable, it was not part of the master expansion plan of the corporation which was focused on consolidating a long stretch of the Strip by acquiring Mandalay Resort Group, building City Center, and beginning construction in Macau. Gaming revenue on Fremont Street had peaked in fiscal year 1993. The Golden Nugget was sold for $215 million to Poster Financial Group, owned by Timothy Poster and Thomas Breitling in 2004. When Poster Financial assumed control of the Golden Nugget, they began to upgrade the gambling operation by installing new cashless slot machines and by increasing the maximum bet available at table games to $15,000. Their story became the basis for The Casino, a television series on Fox that premiered on June 14, 2004.
On February 4, 2005, Houston, Texas-based Landry's Restaurants, Inc. announced its intent to purchase the property and the Golden Nugget Laughlin. The sale closed on September 27, 2005.
The Hand of Faith
After the purchase, the Golden Nugget embarked on a 14-month, $100 million renovation project, which was completed in November 2006. In December 2007, the Golden Nugget completed its $70 million Phase II project, which expanded the resort west onto First Street and introduced additional entertainment, event and dining venues. Phase III was the opening of a 500 room, $150 million dollar hotel tower on November 20, 2009 along with the Chart House restaurant.
December 23rd, 2012
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