After eight years of research, interviews, collecting, and fundraising, The King of Casinos: Willie Martello and the El Rey Club is now available for book-lovers and Vegas history buffs alike (Pictured: Pawn Stars history expert Mark Hall-Patton with “King of Casinos” author Andy Martello).
“It was a long road, but the dream has been realized and Willie Martello will finally get his day in the sun.” – Andy Martello, Author & Las Vegas Entertainer
Officially released on Amazon.com and CreateSpace.com on January 4, 2014 (one day after the 46th anniversary of the death of legendary casino owner, Willie Martello), The King of Casinos unearths the unreal, but true story of Searchlight, Nevada’s entertaining and notorious El Rey Club. Were it not for Andy Martello’s 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. 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 Francis Ford Coppola.
Fans of the popular History Channel program, American Restoration may remember seeing Andy Martello restoring a roadside billboard from the El Rey Club in April of 2012. However, until the release of this book most only knew of the checkered past of this tiny, yet very influential casino and resort.
On January 21, 1962, The El Rey Club burned to the ground. On January 21, 2014, fifty-two years later, Willie Martello and his El Rey Club make their return at the book’s official release party, aptly named Rising from the Ashes. The event will be held, appropriately enough at En Fuego Cigars & Lounge. “En Fuego” means “on fire” in Spanish, a fact not lost on the author, who is a comedian and announcer for The Price is Right LIVE at Bally’s and touring nationally.
“It’s just incredible how it has all come together. This was supposed to be a hobby to learn about a casino & brothel owner who shared the same, uncommon last name as myself. It simply wouldn’t stay a hobby. Everything happened as if Willie Martello planned it himself, ” said Andy Martello.
The release party will be held January 21, 2014 from 6-9pm at En Fuego Cigars & Lounge, 328 W. Sahara. The event will feature light refreshments, fine cigars, book discussion, and the author will be available to sign copies of his book.