Updated January 19, 2019 - 6:35 pm
It’s only fitting that the film “Casino” was playing on the living room big screen as prospective buyers toured the former Las Vegas home of Chicago mob enforcer Tony Spilotro.
Spilotro, who was portrayed by Joe Pesci in the film, is the original owner, along with his wife, Nancy, of the home built in 1974. The ranch-style, single-story home at 4675 Balfour Drive near Paradise Park is on the market for $419,900. Shannon Smith with Realty One Group is the listing agent for owner David Stevens, a contractor and president of XL Steel.
The home measures 2,392 square feet and has four bedrooms, two baths and a two-car garage. It stands out in the modest neighborhood, with the home’s lot size of nearly one-third of an acre and a large backyard pool.
One visitor touring the home Monday who has looked at buying it in the past was Jeff Green, a friend of the Spilotros’ late son, Vincent, and frequent visitor at the home during his teen years in the 1980s. He said Tony’s brother, Michael, lived down the street.
“It was a lot of fun. It was a gathering place, and friends and family would be here hanging out playing cards or going swimming,” Green said. “There would be parties, people watching football games, and parties. It was a gathering spot for friends for Tony and Vincent.”
The home has a long covered walkway leading into it on the inside and reflects that era of ranch-style homes with long hallways and walled-off sections.
On the left is the living room with couches and a large-screen television. On the other side of the wall is the kitchen with its upgraded appliances and a pool table. A dining alcove with a table links the living room with the kitchen.
Green said walking through the house for the first time in about 15 years brought back memories. Some of the colors of the walls and exteriors and carpeting and flooring have changed, but there’s a lot as he remembers.
Tony Spilotro’s bedroom is just off a hallway from the living room and dining room. The carpet has changed and wall colors have changed, but the mirrors on the wall are as Green remembers them. There’s an oversized closet where Green said Spilotro kept weapons and cash.
One of the bedrooms at the end of the hallway on the other side of the house was a room where Nancy Spilotro would watch television and sleep on the couch, Green said. Her bedroom was down the hall toward the back of the house, and Vincent’s bedroom was at the end of the hallway, Green said.
There’s a full bath on that side of the home, and a door off the hallway leads to the pool area.
“He was very proud of the pool being the biggest pool in the neighborhood,” Stevens said. “A lot of these mobster guys, like John Gotti, would throw neighborhood block parties to keep the neighbors loyal.”
Stevens said it’s viewed as a modest home today, but at the time the house was considered an upper-middle-class home.
“He wasn’t going out of his way to make a statement,” Stevens said. “He was a blue-collar guy. He wasn’t a fancy executive. It fit him. What he did do was have the biggest lot and the biggest pool and did a few extras that made the house that much more interesting.”
Stevens, who bought the home in 2017, said he’s a history buff and did so because it was owned by Spilotro. Clark County assessor records showed he paid $275,000.
“I’m a Vegas history buff and couldn’t resist the opportunity to own a unique piece of history,” said Stevens, who called the home a great party house. He said someone interested and excited about that history is a likely buyer.
“It may be somebody from out of town who would like a vacation home in Vegas,” Stevens said.
Green said Spilotro had a presence about him and because of his reputation he could make some people nervous. He said he rarely saw him with a gun even when he carried a lot of cash. Spilotro joked if someone had the ability to take it from him, they could have it, he said.
Spilotro’s nicknames were “The Ant” and “Tough Tony,” according to the Mob Museum. His associations were the “Outfit,” “Hole in the Wall Gang” and Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal.
The Mob Museum described Spilotro as “a soldier and enforcer for the Chicago Outfit who was assigned to protect the Las Vegas ‘skim’ — the illegal diversion of casino profits to the mob. However, Spilotro’s violent extracurricular activities, as documented in the movie “Casino” hastened the demise of the Mob’s influence in Las Vegas.”
Geoff Schumacher, senior director of content for the Mob Museum, said mobsters typically met at outside locations they owned or rented. But in the case of Spilotro and his crew, they would gather around the kitchen table at his house, he said.
“They would play gin rummy and talk about whatever,” Schumacher said. “One would presume they would talk about some of their criminal activities while they were playing gin.”
Spilotro and his brother, Michael, were killed in 1986, and their bodies were found in an Indiana cornfield. The FBI said Spilotro is believed to have been responsible for about two dozen murders, according to the Mob Museum.
Nancy and her son, Vincent, remained in the home until selling it in 1997, according to county records. It has had four owners since.
Green’s experience as a teen made him interested in Las Vegas’ history. He once owned the Las Vegas Country Club home of “Lefty” Rosenthal.
Green said he has fond memories of his experience with the Spilotros. For people in the neighborhood, Spilotro was a great family guy who helped a lot of people, he said.
“People knew who he was and what was going on, but he was a nice guy,” Green said.
Buck Wargo is a Las Vegas-based reporter.