It is the largest casino in the downtown area, with a total of 1,914 deluxe guest rooms and suites. It has also maintained AAA's Four Diamond rating consecutively since 1977, a Nevada record.
Steve Wynn bought a stake in it, which he increased so that, in 1973, he became the majority shareholder, and the youngest casino owner in Las Vegas. It was the foundation for Wynn's rise to prominence in the casino industry. It was owned by the Golden Nugget Companies, which became Mirage Resorts in 1989 under Wynn.
The property was sold 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.
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.
The world's largest gold nugget on display, the Hand of Faith, is displayed in the Golden Nugget lobby. Weighing 27.2 kilograms and 46 centimeters in length, the Hand of Faith was found near the Golden Triangle in Australia, and put on display at the casino in 1981 amid a number of other gold nuggets.
The casino's large hotel sign at its entrance off Fremont and Casino Center was removed in 1984 when the casino underwent renovations. The old sign presently sits at the YESCO signage yard.