Bay 101 Casino: A history & chips

By Stu “The Count” Lovett

The Bay 101 Casino in San Jose has a long and rich history that predates it’s current name and location. The one-table card club was originally found­ed as Sutter’s Club in 1929 by Joseph Sutter, Sr. in Alviso at Old Alviso Road and Highway 237.

When Sutter passed away in 1947 his son, Joseph Sutter, Jr., took over the business. In 1961, Joseph Jr. added five poker tables.

The old Sutter’s Club was originally a local hangout where alcohol and cigars were consumed and poker and pool were played. It was a nice place at the time where men socialized and played cards.

It became quite popular and started attracting people from nearby cities. As the surrounding highways grew bigger and had more traffic, more people began stopping in. As word of mouth increased, more people made Sutter’s a place to go for some recreation.

When California widened Highway 237 in 1992, the Alviso location closed and a new site was erected on Bering Drive, just off East Brokaw Road at Highway 101.

The main turning point in its history occurred when it was acquired by Marko Trapani and opened as Bay 101 Casino in September of 1994. It became an upscale and clean facility with food, drink and gaming—one of the finest clubs in Northern California.

Today the Bay 101 Casino is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It has 49 gaming tables, a sports bar, restaurant, deli and beauty salon. It is a well-lit 72,000 square foot facility.

Old Sutter/Bay 101 Chips

Chip Collecting

Chip and token collectors have been around as long as casinos have, but it ­wasn’t until the 1980s that collectors began talking with each other on a regular basis and dealers began to concentrate on casino material.

Before the 1980s, chips and tokens could be found outside of casinos only as oddities: a few chips or tokens mixed in with a coin dealer’s stock, or a few chips at an antique shop or garage sale.

The first issue of what would eventually become “Casino Chip & Token News,“ the quarterly magazine of the Casino Chip & Gaming Token Collectors Club (CC&GTCC), first appeared in January 1988. At over 100 pages per issue it was entitled “Atlantic City Chip & Token Newsletter.”

The five-page newsletter was the creation of Archie Black, who began publishing his newsletter quarterly, including news and history of the relatively new (10 years old) Atlantic City casino industry.

The response to the survey Black included in his first issue was overwhelmingly in favor of establishing a formal club, and thesutter-loyalty-chips CC&GTCC was a reality. The initial group of collectors numbered about 20, but the charter membership was extended to the first 100 members. Today, worldwide membership is almost 9,000.

The CC&GTCC has members that collect matches, ashtrays, slot cards, players’ cards, lighters, china and slot machines. Anything related to a casino or cardroom is collected by different individuals and usually shows up each year at the convention.

The 25th annual convention will be in Las Vegas June 19 to 21, 2014.It will be held at the Southpoint Hotel and Casino. Their website is