The Fremont Street Experience no longer free at the Golden Nugget

An exterior view of the Golden Nugget in downtown Las Vegas on Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013.

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Danielle Weber and Troy Nuccio of Detroit kiss just after midnight fireworks just before midnight during the New Years Eve party at the Fremont Street Experience Tuesday, Jan.1, 2013. Launch slideshow »

Survivor at Fremont Street Experience

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The Golden Nugget, an anchor of downtown Las Vegas, plans to start July 1 charging hotel guests $5 a night for the Fremont Street Experience.

“It’s not a resort fee,” said Tiffany Hauck, the Golden Nugget’s public relations manger. “It’s a Fremont Street Experience fee.”

The fee will be the first charged for the Fremont Street Experience among any of the eight casino-hotels that collectively fund the overhead light show.

“There are significant costs associated with maintaining the Fremont Street Experience,” Hauck said in a statement, “and rather than raise hotel rates or charge high resort fees, we have chosen to keep our rates low and implement a nominal $5 fee.”

Anyone who books now for a stay after July 1 will be charged the fee. Those who booked a room before June 1 will not incur the fee.

Tom Bruny, a spokesman for the Fremont Street Experience's board, said the Golden Nugget pays a monthly fee to fund the experience, but that fee has not been increased in some time. Bruny would not say how much the Golden Nugget pays each month.

“That was a Golden Nugget decision,” Bruny said. “You’ll have to ask them about it.”

But the casino has the freedom to initiate any fee it wants, he said.

Golden Nugget officials were not immediately available to comment on the specifics behind their decision to charge the fee.

Increasing resort fees is a growing trend on the Strip, where fees range from $5 to $25 a night.

After years of marketing no resort fees at its hotels, Caesars Entertainment rolled out a $25 resort fee in early March.

Caesars officials at the time said guests requested the fees because they prefer to pay a packaged price rather than multiple separate fees. The South Point also started charging a fee on the same day.

Experts say the new fee at the Golden Nugget shouldn’t have much impact on downtown visitation.

“There are visitors that stay downtown for the discount lodging. To that end, a cursory glance of the Golden Nugget’s website indicates that rooms are going for roughly $47-$55 midweek and $109-$149 on the weekends,” said Bill Lerner, an analyst with Union Gaming. “We don’t think an additional $5 fee will discourage many guests.”