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News From the Dutch Caribbean

by Ralph Pollack
CC&GTCC Life Member R-749-13

News From the Dutch Caribbean, July, 1999

This Ralph Pollack article appears courtesy of Gaming Times Magazine

Holiday Inn of Aruba

The Holiday Inn Hotel & Casino is located near the northwestern end of

Aruba. Its structure has not significantly changed for more than 30 years. Clifford Jones and Jake Kozloff opened this casino and their initials "C.J. J.K." can be seen on the first chips from this casino. The classic logo of the Divi-Divi tree with the Ewing mold on the casino chips can be seen with a PRC #HOL-5E.1, their initials can be seen in the lower area of the round center inlay. These chips were in use from 1969 to 1972. They also used the Christy & Jones, shinny Hat & Cane mold on their roulette chips. These chips had the letters "CJ" on the top and "JK" in the bottom of the chip and the table, either 'A', 'B' or 'C' in the center which represented individual roulette tables. The colors used were teal green, red, yellow and off white. There were no periods in-between the letters, code PRC #HOL-C&J.2 & .3 & .4 Roul, figure 1.

In 1972 the King International Casino opened in the Holiday Inn and a similar logo of the Divi-Divi tree was found in these chips however the words 'King International Casino' were added with the same Ewing mold, PRC #KIN-5E.2.
Incidentally, the $25.00 (PRC # 25E.1, figure 2) and the $100.00 chip (PRC #100 E.1, figure 3) have differences for those purists who collect variations. The second issue has a darker and bolder tree outlines and the $25.00 chip has a lighter green color in its clay composition, PRC #KIN-225E.2, figure 4).

The next series of chips that were issued were the Hat & Cane by Paul-son. A nice series of $20.00, $25.00 and $100.00 Baccarat chips with the Hat & Cane mold were in play for a limited number of years, PRC #KIN-20H.1, KIN-25H.2, KIN-100H.3 (figures 5, 6, 7).

During this same time period, on October 14, 1985, they issued the first and only series of

$25.00 and $100.00 credit chips manufactured by the Bud Jones Company. These chips had the dice and card suits on the rim with a metal inlay, the $25.00, PRC #KIN-25B.1, figure 8.

In 1986, the King International Casino first introduced the table card game of Caribbean Stud. It is so popular that today it is played in virtually every casino in the United States, the Caribbean, and most cruise ships. The original special token used for the progressive jackpot. It was made of a lightweight metal with the words 'Caribbean Stud' and an opened treasure chest on side and '10, J, Q, K, A' surrounded by two palm trees and a rising sun.

King sold this casino and the name changed to Grand Holiday Casino. Their chips are the beautiful Chipcos, PRC #GHC-1C.1, with the 'palm tree and Royal Flush in hearts' as the logo, figure 9.

In their poker room, they have live Seven Card Stud and Texas Hold'em poker. They are using the $1.00 chips from the Scandinavian Dawn cruise ship, PRC #GHC-1SCD.3, the $5.00 Grand Holiday Casino Doubloon Chipco, PRC #GHC-5C.2 (figure 10), and the resurrected $20.00 King International baccarat chip, PRC #KIN-20H.1 in the $10.00-$20.00 Texas Hold'em poker game, figure 5.

On January 1, 1998 the GHC issued its first new low denomination tokens with the same logo that is on their Chipcos, name a plam tree with the words 'Grand Holiday Casino'. There is 5 cent, code #GHC-.05.1 is a non-denominational, bronze-type token whose size is in between a US penny and US nickel, and 25 cent steel-type token, PRC #GHC-.25.1. Both of these tokens have the added words 'Located in the Holiday Inn' near the bottom of the logo. These tokens were probably introduced for better inventory control.

On September 1, 1998 the Grand Holiday Casino became defunct and the new casino is called Excelsior Casino. Presently the Excelsior is the only casino in Aruba that has a daily functioning poker room with (2) Texas Hold'em and (4) Seven Card Stud tables. The Stellaris Casino also has a poker room, but only opens it sporadically.

In almost 30 years of operation, the Holiday Inn had four different names of owners or operators yet the name of the hotel, The Holiday Inn, stayed the same.

'Til next time, Ralph.

The above Pollack's Reference Code (PRC) numbers are referenced in "Casino Chip & Tokens of the Dutch Caribbean, Aruba Bonaire, Curacao & St. Maarten" by Ralph P. Pollack, which was published in 1998.

Visit Ralph Pollack's website

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