Life of Notorious Las Vegas Casino Owner Willie Martello Laid Bare in Biographical Book

Las Vegas, Nevada based comedian, actor, variety entertainer, and freelance writer, Andy Martello, has announced the launch of his first non-fiction book, titled “The King of Casinos: Willie Martello and the El Rey Club,” under the Biography genre. Andy’s book has the tagline “An unreal, but true story,” and as such, is expected to be an extremely exciting read as it takes the readers on an extraordinarily powerful and stimulating journey of a little known, but very influential small casino in Searchlight, Nevada, and its outrageous owner, Willie Martello. It is a classic underdog story about a man chasing the American dream, his struggles, his various trysts with celebrities and mobsters, damsels and prostitutes, money and misfortune, and how he takes it all in his stride! The Video Intro of the book is available at YouTube at the following URL:

Released under the banner of “Just A Martello Books”, the 304 pages book is currently available in Paperback format for $19.99 on at the following URL: and on at the following URL:, besides being also available from the author’s official website The book’s eBook format for Amazon Kindle is expected to be available soon and a separate announcement for the same will be made on author’s website.

King of Casinos

King of Casinos

“The protagonist of my book is Willie Martello, a man whose adventures included regular trysts with celebrities, gun-toting mobsters and sensual prostitutes,” said Andy Martello, author of the book. “The book showcases how, after a horrific blaze destroyed Willie Martello’s El Rey Club in 1962, nearly fifty years would pass before anyone knew of how that casino and one-time brothel provided a template for present-day gambling resorts, upset the Las Vegas mob, and inadvertently launched the career of none other than, Francis Ford Coppola, himself!”

Being considered as one of the most influential and revealing biographical books released on behind the scenes happening in Las Vegas during its early years, Andy’s well researched book is expected to emerge as a must-read for all readers, who share a fascination with 1940s through 1960s Las Vegas, prostitution, and the mob, as the story has elements of all three!

“Were it not for the chance discovery of a single photo in a Las Vegas museum, the El Rey Club would be known only as the seedy brothel where Senator Harry Reid learned to swim,” the author further added. “Using everything from prostitutes to plane rides, passenger pigeons to wild burros, and transgendered celebrities to the DeCastro Sisters, Willie Martello saved the near-ghost town of Searchlight from extinction. His outrageous exploits and accomplishments should place him among magnates like Howard Hughes or Steve Wynn, yet very few know his name.”

Lost for over sixty years and featuring over 140 rare or unseen photos, the vibrant stories and exploits of the adventurer that Willie Martello was, are now brought to light through the amazing book by author Andy Martello!

“The stories about Willie Martello and his rather colorful life are extremely funny and entertaining and deserved to be shared with the world. Plus, the story of HOW I became involved is a book within itself,” speaking on the inspiration for his new book, the author says. “It all started with a photo of the El Rey Club on a museum wall. It had a label stating the owner of this casino and brothel had the same, rather uncommon last name as myself. I decided to do a little research and see what I could learn about the place, never expecting to discover a great story that needs to be told. This book is a way to introduce the world to a man, an unsung American hero, who should be a household name.”

The actual quotes from a few who have read Andy’s book in advance of publishing sum up all the excitement packed in the package:

  • “Who else could tell the story of Willie Martello, that rollicking town builder, casino owner, and favorite of Sinatra’s Rat Pack? The rare photos alone are worth the price of admission. My only regret is that I didn’t write this book.” — Robert Graysmith, New York Times Bestselling Author of Zodiac, Auto-Focus, and Black Fire
  • “Quick, funny, and extremely intelligent!” — Mark L. Walberg, Host, Antiques Roadshow (PBS)
  • “A literal time machine…a read that not only unleashes the imagination, but authenticates the splendor of Las Vegas’ golden years.” — Todd Newton, Emmy-winning game show host, author, and Las Vegas performer
  • “Andy Martello has written a fascinating biography of Willie Martello. It is a long-awaited addition to my Nevada history shelf.” — Mark Hall-Patton, Clark County Museum System Administrator, Pawn Stars, American Restoration (The History Channel)
  • “LONG LIVE WILLIE MARTELLO!” — Richard B. Taylor, Author, historian, Las Vegas casino owner

With the kind of early reviews it has elicited, the book is rightfully expected to appeal to  a variety of readers including but not limited to historians, educators, fans of vintage Las Vegas, people who like stories about Hollywood celebrities and mobsters, and folks who like to learn about unsung heroes of America.

To buy the paperback version of the book “The King of Casinos: Willie Martello and the El Rey Club,” please log on to on at the following URL: and on at the following URL: You may also order the book from the author’s official website The book’s eBook format for Amazon Kindle is expected to be available soon and a separate announcement for the same will be made on author’s website.

About Author, Andy Martello
Andy Martello is a comedian, actor, variety entertainer, and freelance writer.  He is a regular on American Restoration (History Channel), Mystery Diners (Food Network), Last Comic Standing (NBC/Comedy Central) and is currently the announcer for the nationally touring stage show, The Price is Right LIVE!  Originally from Chicago he now makes his home in Las Vegas, Nevada.  A writer since birth, his work has appeared in the pages of the North Las Vegas Voice newspaper and Strip Las Vegas magazine.  Aside from his very popular (and rarely updated) blogs, his humor and opinion columns can be found at web magazines such as The Cheers, Absolute Write, Malicious Bitch, and Gapers Block. For more information on Andy or his works, please visit

For media queries, please contact:
Andy Martello
Andy Martello Entertainment/Just A Martello Books
North Las Vegas, Nevada
Email: andy[AT]andymartello[DOT]com
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