Unless you’re a con artist or a spy, chances are you’ll never play in a casino that requires men to wear suits or tuxedos and women to wear equivalent formal attire.
Casino based movies have shaped many people’s expectations about gambling. The reality is often far from the fiction. I’ve been in near-empty casinos and busy casinos. Even when they’re packed, it doesn’t feel like a movie experience.
Even though some movies film in real casinos, they definitely don’t look the way real casinos do. Everything is staged. Nothing is ever out of place, unless it contributes to the story.
People take unnecessary risks in casinos. I’ve walked past slot machine games where women have left their purses, coats sitting on chairs, and I even saw a pile of cash sitting on the console once.
No one touched these things while I was looking, but I know people who could have easily been robbed. Thieves don’t point a weapon at you and demand your money. They wait until you’re careless, then take it. And that’s where how you dress in casinos comes into consideration.
Everyday Clothing Is Usually Acceptable
If you’re ever in doubt about how you should dress at a casino, check their website. If you’re gaming at online casinos from home, I guess you could play in your birthday suit, but maybe you should put electrician’s tape over your camera lens. Just to be sure.
On past casino dates, I’ve dressed nicely for my partner. We like looking nice for each other. We didn’t necessarily do it for the restaurant or the casino.
50 years ago, everyone was likely expected to dress up when they went out. I remember my grandmother always looking nice when she went shopping. But today, as long as your clothes are clean and presentable, you should be good to go in any casino.
If you’re going to dress up, though, pay a little extra for something most dressy clothes lack—pockets. Otherwise, guys, carry a satchel and always keep it with you.
I know many women are reluctant to put their purses on restroom floors, but there are usually hooks in the stalls of public restrooms. I’ve used them for jackets and shopping bags.
There’s no reason to “mark” your machine by leaving clothing and accessories on it. That’s asking for trouble and casinos don’t take responsibility for lost or stolen items.
Wear Layers If You Can
You wouldn’t think about wearing a jacket on a hot summer day, but many people take a light jacket or sweater to the movies because they know it’ll be cold inside.
Casinos blast their air conditioning, too. I know they look hot and smoky in the old Frank Sinatra movies, but they have really upgraded everything since the 1950s.
Your body won’t generate as much heat if you sit around for three to six hours as it will if you’re out walking around. You feel hot outside partially because you’re moving. The body burns more calories to move than to sit, so you’re generating more heat when you move around.
And having an extra pocket or two is a good idea. Don’t take a cardigan or pullover sweater to a casino. Take something with pockets. You’ll want to put something in a pocket sooner or later.
Just don’t put anything that doesn’t belong to you there.
Wear Comfortable Durable Shoes
When you dress up for any reason—a wedding, a dinner, a hot date—you’re probably wearing shoes that look great. But I’ve rarely found shoes that look great and feel great at the same time.
Remember, you’re not going out on the dance floor. Your shoes can make your evening of fun an awful experience. Don’t sacrifice comfort for style, because no one’s going to care about it as soon as they walk out the door.
In addition to comfort, you want your footwear to survive the experience. You may have to walk across a large, packed parking lot. You may have to walk up or down concrete stairs. And you may have to step gingerly around a mess on the casino floor. Staff are good about putting up “wet floor” signs and cleaning up, but anything can happen right next to you.
You’re in a public place. The ground beneath your feet is under constant assault. It may not always be in the condition you expect.
Wear Clothes That Are Easy to Clean
Spills happen. You might sit in gunk you didn’t see. And you might pick up dirt in other ways.
Smoke-free environments guarantee almost no one ever lights up. But when the guys come back from the cigar lounge or take a cigarette break outdoors, they can reek. And your clothing may pick up on the odor.
I’ve been ambushed by fragrances from all parts of the world. I’ve had nights where I’ve gone home smelling awful. You may need to make a special trip to the dry cleaners if you wear something special to a casino you’ve never visited before. Don’t be fooled by the glitz and loud ringing bells. Casinos can’t do much about odors.
So, when I say you should wear something easy to clean, I mean that you should be ready to clean up on the spot and plan on doing some laundry.
Take a Change of Clothes With You
If you’re traveling and you stop at a casino near the highway, you’ll have all your clothes in the car. But are they packed away in the trunk?
I’ve seen people unpack their cars in the most inconvenient places because the kids had an emergency or a tantrum. You may be too old for tantrums, but if you need a change of clothes and you’re more than a 30-minute drive from home, an emergency bag is a good idea.
Keep the bag in your car. Put a spare change of clothes in it, and a few extra things like snacks or tissues if you may need them. Put the bag where it’s easy to get to. It can be a reusable grocery bag.
If you’re staying in the casino’s hotel, it doesn’t take much to go back to your room to change. But if you drove two hours across the mountains in a snowstorm to get to a casino in the next state over, take a change of clothes.
You may never need those extra clothes, but you’ll be glad to have them when you do. I’ve never been to a casino on the beach. It’s on my bucket list of things to do. But I’m guessing you’ll feel more comfortable if you take a change of clothes with you rather than try to play in a bathing suit. If nothing else, you’ll want to wash the sand off.
There’s no need to overdress when visiting a land based casino. If you’re attending a special function, ask ahead about a dress code. Even then, I’d take something extra just in case.
When it’s cold outside, wear layered clothing. That’s always good advice, but it applies inside the casino, too. You may still get a little chilly even though the heat is on.
Don’t overthink how you should dress for gambling, but do be prepared for unexpected things. And most of all, wear something with pockets! You’ll be glad to keep your hands free when you’re playing against the pros.