The long noncoding RNA nicotinamide nucleotide transhydrogenase antisense RNA 1 (NNT-AS1) is a key malignancy regulator in a variety of human cancers. In this study, we first measured the expression of NNT-AS1 in bladder cancer and examined its role in cancer progression. The mechanisms behind the oncogenic functions of NNT-AS1 in bladder cancer were explored. We found that NNT-AS1 was upregulated in bladder cancer tissues and cell lines. This increased expression demonstrated a significant correlation with advanced clinical stage, lymph node metastasis, and shorter overall survival. NNT-AS1 knockdown suppressed bladder cancer cell proliferation, migration, and invasion and facilitated apoptosis in vitro and hindered tumor growth in vivo. NNT-AS1 functioned as a competing endogenous RNA for microRNA-496 (miR-496), and the suppressive effects of NNT-AS1 knockdown on malignant characteristics were abrogated by miR-496 silencing. HMGB1 was identified as a direct target gene of miR-496 in bladder cancer, and HMGB1 expression was enhanced by NNT-AS1 via sponging of miR-496. In conclusion, the NNT-AS1–miR-496–HMGB1 pathway plays a significant role in the aggressive behavior of bladder cancer and may lead to new NNT-AS1–based diagnostics and therapeutics.