No redo for Golden Nugget, new owners stand pat

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LAS VEGAS -- The Golden Nugget hotel-casino here officially changed hands in late January, but you would not know it by looking at the downtown property.

Purchased by the Poster Financial Group along with the Golden Nugget Laughlin in a deal valued at $215 million, the former MGM-Mirage property, at least for the foreseeable future, will remain as is, according to Dan Shumny, the Golden Nugget's vice president of marketing.

"They [Poster Financial Group owners Tim Poster and Thomas Breitling] bought the Golden Nugget because they liked what it stood for -- Vegas as it used to be," Shumny said.

The Golden Nugget Hotel, with the Fremont Street Experience light show overhead, reflects Vegas as it used to be. Even when the property was owned by MGM-Mirage, a hotel-casino giant, the 58-year-old Golden Nugget -- downtown's largest hotel-casino with 1,907 guest rooms and a AAA Four Diamond rating since 1977 -- was known for its small-property feel and personal service.

"We have many loyal, frequent guests who sort of discovered the Golden Nugget and now come here many, many times a year," Shumny said.

"That's the type of [casino] operators [Poster and Breitling] wanted to be -- the Las Vegas owners of old, on the floor talking to customers and hanging out in the casino," he added. "That's the kind of feel that they wanted to reestablish [in] the Golden Nugget."

A few minor aspects of the property may be tweaked, he said, including "different limits and odds in the casino, making it more inviting to gamblers; some new uniforms throughout the property; and turning Zax into more of a steakhouse."

There also will be more of an effort to link the Las Vegas Golden Nugget with its sister property in Laughlin.

Before the sale of the two properties, the Golden Nugget properties were part of a high-profile casino company with multiple hotel-casino venues, Shumny said.

"They didn't give very much recognition to the downtown property, and Laughlin pretty much fell off the map," he said.

Now that the two are in a portfolio of independent owners -- tennis star and Las Vegas native Andre Agassi is a 10% investor in Poster Financial Group -- more will be done to foster their relationship, such as a shared Web site and casino programs for slot and table game players that work more closely together and have reciprocal arrangements, Shumny said.

One aspect of the Golden Nugget Las Vegas that Shumny wanted to mention is its relationship with travel agents.

"We want to let them know that we still do business with travel agents and last year paid more than $300,000 in commissions," he said.

For more information on the property, phone (800) 634-3454 or visit www.goldennugget.com.

To contact reporter Amy Baratta, send e-mail to [email protected] .

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