If you’ve enjoyed spending time playing at an online casino, it’s likely you’ve given thought to visiting a brick-and-mortar version, too. Casinos have acquired a reputation for high-end entertainment and value, where players can win big and spend their money in style. With famous live entertainment venues, fine dining restaurants, thousands of casino games and specialty bars, it’s no wonder that many casinos regularly host celebrities, sports stars and the world’s wealthiest.
To attract and maintain this sort of standard and clientele, casinos have implemented dress code regulations to ensure everyone looks their best and is dressed in appropriate casino attire. Ultimately, the dress code sets the tone for the environment and the type of behavior that will be considered acceptable.
bespoke suit in our cupboard. This means that when wondering what to wear to a casino, many of us might need to look through our Sunday best or wedding attire.
This ultimate guide will unpack the different dress codes, what they entail and when you should wear what. It includes the appropriate casino wear for women and men as well as what is suitable for online casinos. No need to doubt yourself any longer – from here on out, you can dress the part. You’ll be sure to catch the attention of fellow casino players as you approach your favorite casino table game.
History of dress codes at a casino
Almost all societies have had some variation of a casino. This may not necessarily have been the brick-and-mortar casino we’re all familiar with, but at least a place where people would gather to socialize and gamble on games of chance. Historically, in the US this took the form of saloons in New Orleans, St. Louis, San Francisco and Chicago.
In understanding how the dress code for casino attire developed, we need to consider changes in fashion. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, fashion was very formal, with men wearing shirts, ties, blazers and top hats. A saloon or casino attire for women usually took the form of corsets with frilly blouses worn with long skirts and broad-brimmed hats.
When serving clientele who dressed as formally as that, the saloons needed to ensure their staff also looked the part. After all, they were handling large amounts of money from potentially prestigious members of society. In a sense, this was the beginning of the dress code we see in casinos today. Staff members would set the standard of elegance and respectability required by clientele at the establishment.
As the 20th century progressed, fashion became more informal. In the 1960s, women wore short skirts and men started to grow their hair long. And, of course, you’d not be surprised to see the CEOs of the biggest companies in the world wearing T-shirts and jeans these days. Mark Zuckerberg and Sir Richard Branson are prime examples of this.
Despite this gradual shift away from sartorial formalities, casinos have remained a conservative environment. Staff still wear shirts and ties, with neat haircuts and makeup. In most casinos, this has also remained the appropriate casino attire for clientele. Some establishments have lowered their dress code to match a more casually dressed society, but that’s generally the exception to the norm.
When selecting your casino attire, it’s advisable to check the website of the casino in question for dress code requirements. If in doubt, dress formally. Casinos remain an environment of class and sophistication, where large fortunes change hands regularly.
So the next time you’re in a brick-and-mortar establishment, take the time to notice how the casino staff are dressed. Imagine what type of hat you’d have worn in a New Orleans saloon when you greet them.
Casinos and their place in popular culture
Today, amid increased regulation and licensing and with the uptake of online gambling, casinos are as popular as ever. According to Statista, the online gambling industry reached a global value of $61.5 billion in 2021 and it’s estimated that this amount will increase to over $114 billion by the year 2028. The addition of online casinos and legalized sports betting has, and will, continue to grow the industry’s value.
People are still looking in large numbers to experience the world’s best casinos. In 2014, The Strip in Las Vegas was voted the No.1 tourist attraction in the world, according to a list of the world’s 50 most visited tourist attractions by Love Home Swap. The lights, sounds and excitement of casinos as well as their hosting of world boxing title fights, have ensured that they are still relevant in the 21st century.
In popular culture, casinos have provided the setting for many movies, shows and books over the past 50 years. Gambling songs go back even further. “Luck Be A Lady” was famous in the 1950s, as was Elvis’ “Viva Las Vegas” in the 1960s.
In literature, Hunter S Thompson’s 1971 novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas has influenced countless readers. Its movie equivalent, released in 1998, captivated subsequent generations.
Fear and Loathing is a cult casino movie, alongside the likes of The Cincinnati Kid, Casino, Rounders, Casino Royale, Ocean’s Eleven and The Hangover series. These movies showcase the casino environment in all of its intensity, passion and joy. The next time you’re thinking of heading to a casino and aren’t sure what to wear, you could draw inspiration from these films.
In these cult casino movies, characters are dressed perfectly for the occasion. Of course, James Bond in Casino Royale is the best example, with a black bow tie, tuxedo, crisp white shirt and a fresh haircut. Ginger, (played by Sharon Stone) in Martin Scorsese’s 1995 movie Casino, is another great example of stylish dressing with her halterneck, beaded white mini dress and keyhole neckline.
Of course, we don’t all have such stylish clothes at our disposal when planning what to wear to the casino. These films simply serve as an example of how to dress to impress at the tables. But don’t worry, these days many establishments are no longer that formal. Raoul in Fear and Loathing is a good example of a more casual dress code, wearing a shirt and a sports jacket. That said, his hat and sunglasses might not pass inspection these days!
These movies, books and songs give us an insight into the casino experience. A person is likely to experience a great many emotions at a casino, especially if they place a large bet.
Casino outfits of celebrities
If you’re not the biggest fan of movies, you might want to draw inspiration from what real-life people wear to casinos. Many celebrities enjoy an evening at the tables. Some enjoy the tactical play in poker, others the low house edge of blackjack. Regardless of who they are, they still need to follow the minimum rules of what to wear to the casino. You could even take some inspiration from top fashion influencers. Below are a few celebrities you can use as dress-code inspiration, whether you’re looking for ideas for casino outfits for women or men.
Celebrity examples of casino attire for men
Ben Affleck, Tiger Woods and Charlie Sheen are all known for enjoying a visit to the casino. Affleck in particular offers a good example of a smart casual dress code for men. He likes to wear a long-sleeve, button-up shirt over a T-shirt. When he needs to look smarter, he wears a blazer and shirt without a tie.
Interestingly, Affleck appears to be a fan of casino table games and will often be found at the blackjack table. He’s had his ups and downs, though. In the past, he’s been asked by security to leave a casino because they suspected him of counting cards. He also once won $800,000 on a $60,000 wager. After winning, he tipped the casino employees $150,000. Way to go!
Celebrity examples of casino wear for women
Casinos are certainly not just a place for men who enjoy gambling. Female celebrities, including Pamela Anderson, Jennifer Tilly and Shannon Elizabeth, are well known for frequenting them. Tilly is a good example of a stylish dress code for women at a casino as she often wears a low-cut black evening dress to the tables.
She is also a very accomplished poker player and received a bracelet from the World Series of Poker after winning the 2005 Ladies Event. Tilly and UK TV presenter Victoria Coren Mitchell are perhaps the two best-known female celebrity poker players, with both having won several titles.
Modern casino dress codes
While there are still high-end casinos that have a white- or black-tie dress code, most will allow a more casual outfit. It is always safer to check before you arrive, though. After all, you wouldn’t want to be turned away from the casino floor while your friends are invited in to enjoy themselves.
These days, most people avoid wearing cocktail clothes if possible, as they are generally less comfortable than casual clothes. The CEOs and CTOs of Silicon Valley have made a clean plain T-shirt and neat jeans a respectable outfit for an extremely wealthy individual. That said, dress codes still set the standard and with a minor tweak or two – or the addition of a few clever accessories – the humble jeans and T-shirt combo can be bumped up from casual to smart casual.
Once you understand the different dress codes, you may well realize that your wardrobe contains more clothes that would be considered appropriate than you originally thought. Instead of asking, “What could I wear to a casino?” you’ll wonder, “What should I wear?”
So what are the different types of dress codes? We’ve all attended a wedding, school dance or work function where we’ve had to interpret the dress code, but what about a casino? Below we offer a comprehensive list of the different smarter-than-casual dress codes that are generally required for a visit to the casino. Each dress code is clarified for both women and men, and we start from the top.
White tie is considered the most formal of dress codes at casinos. A white-tie dress code is usually associated with A-lister events attended by the most respected members of society. This is perhaps the biggest reference to the dress code of the upper class in the 18th and 19th centuries in early saloons and casinos.
White tie is most likely used as the dress code for a special event at a casino rather than the default dress code for the casino floor. It is a heightened dress code, perfect for state dinners or big business events. Weddings and other social events may be more relaxed in their interpretation of white tie, but if you’re invited to a presidential or royal event, make sure you get it right. So how does a person dress for a white-tie event?
White tie for men
For men who want to dot every “i” and cross every “t,” there is a set of requirements for white tie. You’ll need to wear a black dress coat with tails. The pants (often called “dress pants”) will also be black, with a satin stripe down the side of the legs. You’ll wear a crisp, white shirt with a stiff front and wing collar. You’ll decorate the shirt with studs, cufflinks and a hand-folded, white bow tie. A pair of white or gray gloves would also be included. To finish it off, wear black socks and formal, patent leather shoes. Of course, while not compulsory, this would be the occasion for a top hat. This is definitely the most strict men’s casino attire.
White tie for women
White tie is a little less prescriptive for women. The minimum requirement is a floor-length evening gown or dress. There are no restrictions on color or material but “tasteful” is the order of the day. Optional accessories include clutch purses, tiaras, long white gloves and, of course, jewelry. With a floor-length evening gown, you won’t necessarily draw too much attention to your feet. Nevertheless, it is advised that you wear heels. And because it’s very formal, when it comes to casino attire for ladies, they are expected to wear their hair up – plus, if it’s a little chilly, they may wish to have a pretty stole, wrap or shawl to keep their shoulders warm while not hiding their beautiful dress.
The black-tie dress code is slightly less formal than white tie. It is also different in that it is traditionally used for events after 6 p.m., whereas white tie could also be expected for day events. You may find casinos with a black-tie dress code, but it’ll also generally be in place only for exclusive events or reserved areas in the casino.
Black tie for men
Black tie is perhaps the default assumption of what a dress code for a casino is. This is partly because of movies such as Casino Royale and Casino, in which men in black tuxedos try to call a villain’s bluff. In truth, it is still more formal than is required for general casino floors. However, if you want to dress like James Bond in a casino, you’ll probably benefit from good table seats and receive admiring glances.
For men, black tie is centered around the tuxedo. As a minimum, you’ll need a crisp, white shirt, an evening waistcoat, a black dinner jacket and black pants. On your feet, you’ll wear black socks and patent leather shoes. A black bow tie will round off the black tie look (hand-folded is always better than clip-on!).
Most casinos won’t turn you away if you wear a conventional black tie rather than a bow tie. Equally, you could wear a dark navy blue dinner jacket. There is, however, no space for jerseys or sports jackets.
You’ll often find casino staff dressed in black tie. They may even wear a variation on the dinner jacket color that picks up the color of the casino brand. If you plan on wearing a black tie with a white dinner jacket, it may be worth looking for online images of the casino staff. Nothing will ruin your mood more than a fellow gambler asking if you work at the casino!
The black-tie dress code is perhaps more in fashion than white-tie. A tuxedo is a lot more modern than a coat with tails. If you can afford a good tuxedo, you could wear it to any formal event or venue – so that would be a worthwhile investment. Alternatively, many places rent these garments, so if this option works better for you, go for it.
Black tie for women
For women, the black-tie dress code comes with many options. You could wear a long evening dress, a ball gown or perhaps a pair of palazzo trousers as part of a pants suit. Long dresses are usually the preferred choice. The only standard requirement is that you need to wear evening shoes – which means heels, ladies!
Up until the end of the 1970s, black tie was slightly stricter for women. In the past, a pair of palazzo trousers or a cocktail dress might have been too casual. Instead, black tie would have meant a floor- or calf-length evening gown, with a fur wrap and a pair of long gloves. The classic black tie look is not out of fashion, so wearing a long dress will guarantee that you are dressed appropriately for the occasion.
Formal or black tie optional
Formal or “black tie optional” is slightly less formal than a black tie-dress code. Formal is one of the main dress codes used for casinos, partly because it is so close to a black-tie dress code. Many casinos set their dress code to formal but also tolerate semi-formal. In some interpretations, formal means anything above semi-formal – that is, anything that would fit into a white-tie or black-tie dress code with a tolerance for more color.
Formal for men
Formal for men could be described as adding color to the black-tie dress code. You would still wear a suit, with a crisp white shirt and tie, but the suit and tie need not be black. If in doubt, err on the side of a conservative, darker color. Your shoes would still be leather but could be either dark brown or black. A tuxedo could be worn, but a coat with tails would be too formal. On the other hand, a jersey or sports jacket would certainly be too informal.
Formal for women
For women, formal is also very similar to the black-tie dress code but slightly more relaxed. You could wear a floor-length gown, a palazzo pants suit or a knee-length cocktail dress. You would still need to wear heels, though.
Perhaps a knee-length cocktail dress best sums up this dress code. You would err on the side of an evening gown at a black tie event, whereas at a formal event, you can feel confident in a cocktail dress.
Not many casinos set their dress code to semi-formal, but it is almost universally accepted. Semi-formal dress code caters for morning events through to late evening. As a result, the clothing choices cater to a level of comfort while retaining a degree of elegance and style.
Semi-formal for men
Semi-formal men’s casino attire still requires men to wear a suit. A pair of khakis or jeans would not be appropriate! There is, however, no need for a tuxedo. A neat business suit – preferably a darker color – would be the go-to. If you have a vest or waistcoat, that could also be worn.
Your shirt does not necessarily need to be white, but it should be a conservative color or pattern. The tie color should match the shirt and there’s no need to wear a bow tie for a semi-formal occasion. Your socks should also be a conservative color and the shoes either brown or black leather.
In modern times, it has become acceptable for semi-formal to not include a tie. A neat shirt and suit remain a must, though, even more so if you don’t wear a tie. But if in doubt, wear a tie. You can always take it off if you feel overdressed.
Semi-formal for women
The biggest difference between semi-formal and formal is the length of the cocktail dress. In a formal environment it should be no higher than the knee, whereas on semi-formal occasions, you can go slightly higher. Along with the cocktail dress, there are other appropriate clothing options.
Semi-formal options for women include a neat dress, a dressy blouse with slacks or a dressy skirt and top. Colorwise, it’s always best to err on the side of evening conservative colors. A beaded dress is always a good option.
As the name suggests, business formal is the type of clothes you’d wear to work. Nowadays, this has become increasingly informal, so with time, this dress code may need to consider a different name! It basically means presentable and professional.
Business-formal for men
Business formal and semi-formal are considered at the same level for men. Both require a business suit, shirt and tie, with leather shoes. As with semi-formal, you can go without a tie in business formal. Perhaps the only difference is that you wouldn’t include a vest or waistcoat in business formal.
Business-formal for women
For women, business-formal is slightly different from semi-formal. Business-formal could be considered a more corporate dress code, with business suits and dresses as the main attire. Business jackets, stockings and heels are also often associated with business-formal.
Business-casual is the most common type of casino dress code at the moment. This goes for almost all casinos, not just the world-famous ones. Business-casual is a lower rung to business-formal. It’s neat, comfortable and professional, but you’re not going to be leading a presentation.
One thing to consider when visiting a casino with business-casual as its dress code is that other areas of the establishment may require a higher (or more formal) dress code. For example, an exclusive bar or restaurant may require formal wear. Before heading to the casino, make sure that you consider what areas of it you’d like to visit so that you can avoid asking a stranger to borrow their tie or jacket!
Business-casual for men
Raoul, in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, is a good example of business-casual. It requires a sports jacket and a collared shirt. The shirt could be a dress shirt, a casual button-up shirt or an open-collar shirt. The first thing that staff will look for is a collar of sorts. A tie is completely optional.
Slacks and khakis are acceptable in business-casual, but jeans are not business-casual. Shoes-wise, you could wear loafers, but not sneakers.
Business-casual for women
Business-casual casino attire for women is close to casual but still professional. A common rule of thumb is, would I wear this at work? If the answer is no, then it’s too casual. Business-casual includes collared or knitted shirts with a sweater as well as skirts, pants and khakis. The skirt can be shorter than knee-length but should not be a mini skirt. The main thing is not to make it too revealing – although what is “too revealing” is, in itself, subjective.
Smart-casual is similar to business-casual. The main difference is that you can remove the corporate element from the dress code. It is slightly less formal than business-casual in that you wouldn’t need to consider if you’d wear the outfit in a corporate environment. Perhaps a more appropriate question would be, would I wear this in a startup business environment? You wouldn’t find too many casinos with a smart casual dress code, as it could be interpreted as slightly too casual.
Smart-casual for men
Smart-casual is the first time that jeans and a T-shirt would be acceptable in a dress code. You could even be accepted wearing a clean pair of sneakers, although this would be a risky call. A smart casual outfit could include a blazer, a collared shirt or T-shirt and a well-maintained jersey.
Smart-casual should still look neat and presentable. You don’t need to tuck in your shirt as long as it looks neat. Shoe-wise, it’s perhaps safer to go with a pair of loafers than your favorite sneakers.
Smart-casual for women
A smart-casual look should always be polished and comfortable. You can wear a jumpsuit, jeans, khakis or a skirt. A shirt and jersey are also smart-casual. The shirts don’t necessarily need to have a collar. In terms of footwear, you should stick to heels, although you could go for thicker heels or flats for more comfort.
Smart-casual should bring out more of your personality than business-casual. While still professional and elegant, it should be softer than business-casual.
In the context of a dress code, casual doesn’t mean “anything goes.” It still needs to be neat and presentable. This means nothing offensive or polarizing. Military uniforms, jeans with holes in them and shorts with sandals are not permitted. There still needs to be an evident level of respect for the casino establishment in your attire.
Casual for men
For men, a casual dress code includes clean jeans, khakis or cargo pants. These can be paired with a neat shirt, polo shirt or plain T-shirt. Loafers would still be the main footwear, but clean sneakers are also accepted.
Casual male dress code with a blue check shirt and blue canvas shoes
Casual for women
A casual dress code for women is pretty broad and includes skirts, neat shorts, jeans or khakis. Casual tops could be plain T-shirts, blouses, polo shirts or turtlenecks. Colorful summer dresses are also accepted. Footwear could be small heels, flats or sneakers. Casinos dislike sandals, so make sure not to wear them with your outfit.
“No dress code”
Sometimes, a casino doesn’t clearly say what its dress code is, while other casinos claim to have no dress code at all. What is the best thing to do in these situations? The first thing is to probe a little deeper. If a casino doesn’t indicate its dress code on its website, it’s advisable to call the casino directly. You wouldn’t want to travel a fair distance only to have to turn around and drive back. Equally, you wouldn’t want to spend hours on the casino floor only to realize that you’re inappropriately dressed to enter the bar or restaurant.
It’s always advisable to be overdressed rather than underdressed for the casino. Business-casual is a great dress code to default to. If you’re still unsure if there is a dress code, you should wear or pack the following clothes to be safe.
General casino clothes for men
An ironed long-sleeve button-up collared shirt with a pair of khaki pants and loafers will make you look professional and comfortable. If it’s colder, opt for a formal jacket or a sports jacket if you don’t have one available.
General casino clothes for women
A safe bet for general casino clothes would be a sophisticated long cocktail dress. It should not be shorter than your knees. On top of this, you could wear a wrap or a sweater that matches the dress. Your footwear could be heels or flats, depending on your preference.
Different casino areas
Casinos will often be divided into sections. There is the main floor with the table games and casino slot games, but there are sometimes separate poker rooms, sports betting areas, VIP sections and private rooms. Just like the restaurants, bars and event areas, these different areas of the casino could have varying dress codes. If you know beforehand what type of game you’d like to play at the casino, you can prepare your outfit accordingly.
Select your outfit mindfully
A casino should indicate on its website what its casino floor dress code is. The casino floor is the main gambling area. The table games will have a casino staff member present as the dealer. Some might think that a table game’s dress code would be stricter than the slot machines, but this isn’t the case. Since they’re both on the casino floor, they’ll have the same dress code.
If you’re going for the slots, you might just dress to meet the dress code and not with the aim of human interaction. However, if you’re going for the table games, you might want to put a bit more thought into your outfit, all the way down to the accessories: watches, jewelry and even aftershave or perfume, if you wear it.
A well-considered blackjack dress code, for example, could set the tone for your game with the dealer. If you arrive in jeans and a plaid shirt, the first impression could be that “this player is a card counter.” If you arrive in a tuxedo, you could be assumed to be a high-roller. Table games have an element of human interaction and these first impressions really count.
For a game such as poker, perceptions of appearance are even more influential. Here, you’re not playing against the dealer – you’re playing against the other players. You’ll be watching them, and they’ll be watching you. Refining your poker dress code could help you step into character, hide your bluffs and bring out bigger bets from other players.
You might want to think again if your outfit makes you look like a seasoned gambler, a wealthy high-roller, a celebrity in disguise or even a newcomer who doesn’t know what they’re doing. If you’re serious about your table games, it’s a good idea to make your table games dress code part of your game strategy.
When it comes to poker rooms and poker tournaments, the dress code is often open to interpretation. Often, players will wear outfits in an attempt to put other players off their game. This could include strange sunglasses, a very suave tuxedo or wearing a low-cut top revealing cleavage.
Most poker tournaments don’t have a dress code other than no sandals or flip-flops. The rest is up to you and your poker persona.
Quick dress code tips for the casino
It can be rather overwhelming deciding what to wear to a casino, especially after this extensive breakdown! But if you’re struggling to find something to wear and you know there isn’t an incredibly formal dress code, keep these basic guidelines in mind:
- Absolutely no flip-flops, sandals or sneakers should be worn.
- Don’t wear old, worn-out or torn clothing.
- The dress code is generally more relaxed during the day but will become more formal in the evening.
- Make sure to check the dress codes for the different areas in the casino, such as the lounge or nightclub.
- The more exclusive the casino, the stricter the dress code will be. Make sure you dress the part.
Choosing an outfit for a casino can be a frustrating dilemma. Perhaps you don’t enjoy wearing formal clothes and don’t see why you should be forced to wear them in a casino. You might also find the personal interactions taxing, especially if you’re well-known. You could feel it’s getting in the way of enjoying the games. If this is the case, it is fairly safe to assume that you’ve explored playing online casino games, such as online slots and blackjack.
With the increased legislation and regulation of these virtual casinos, you can now play casino games online safely and securely from the comfort of your home. And unless you have a household dress code (as if!) you can dress in absolutely your most comfortable clothes.
When it comes to online poker, this brings a different element to the game. When you play poker online, you won’t be able to see your opponent’s clothing. This means you won’t be able to judge their bets and hands by their appearances and bluffs become more difficult to read as a result. For many, this is one of the best online casino traits. The focus of the table games becomes more about the games themselves and less about the interpersonal dynamics.
At an online casino, real money is still exchanging hands regularly, so the game’s intensity remains. The focus on gameplay heightens the importance of every decision.
When selecting a casino site, it’s important to do your research. Make sure it’s legal to gamble online where you live. Then see which casinos are registered for your area. The best casino sites will be licensed with reputable gaming regulatory bodies.
The next step is to research what you’d prefer to play. The best casino sites will offer sports betting, online poker and a carefully curated list of available online casino games. With a healthy welcome bonus, it could be the first time you sit back with your sandals on (socks too, if you must!) and ask the dealer to “hit.” There is a whole world of fun online slots and live dealer games that won’t require a strict dress code. Simply focus on enjoying the games.
Choose your own dress code with Borgata Online
At Borgata Online, we only want you to dress in something that makes you feel good and in which you’re at your most comfortable. Whether you’re looking to play live dealer games, slot machines, online roulette or anything else in between, you can enjoy our online casino experience wherever you are (and whatever you’re wearing.) Register with Borgata Online and enjoy some fun games in your favorite outfit.