Why Did the Tuxedo Become Synonymous with Casinos?

min read
A man wearing a black tuxedo sitting on a gold couch.
BetMGM Jun 23, 2022, 3:05 AM

Due to the popularity of online casinos and online casino games, many casino gamers haven’t experienced strict casino dress codes. Nowadays, most people can play their favorite casino dice games and table games in the comfort of their own homes, wearing whatever they want.

Of course, it hasn’t always been like this: Casino goers frequenting brick-and-mortar establishments had to adhere to some strict rules when it came to their attire. While this may seem like a lot of effort today – there was something incredibly glamorous about casinos back in the day. 

If you had to think of one piece of clothing that’s synonymous with a formal casino event, what would it be? We’re guessing it’s the tuxedo: It’s the quintessential casino statement piece, and has been so for centuries.

In this blog post, we’re going to take a look at tuxedos and how they came to epitomize the style and glamor of the casino world.

Early casinos were about class

Casino di Venezia, which opened in 1638, is believed to be the very first operational casino. It featured many casino table games that you can still play today both online and in person. Located on the stunning Grand Canal in Venice, the Casino di Venezia remains one of the grandest casinos in the world to this day. 

When its doors first opened, only noblemen, aristocrats and other high-society individuals could come and enjoy the casino poker games and other delights on offer. Of course, this class of individuals dressed up wherever they went, so a trip to the casino simply meant wearing their best outfits. For the men, this was undoubtedly their beloved dinner jackets, tailcoats and so on. Down the line, this would turn into tuxedos.

Today, the Casino di Venezia is incredibly formal and has a strict dress code, so visitors can still get to enjoy the glitz and the glam that is associated with casinos for the foreseeable future at least.

The first tuxedo is made

Edward VII (then the Prince of Wales) is said to have ordered the first tuxedo in 1865. The Palace approached the tailor Henry Poole & Co. to create an ensemble that didn’t have the trimmings of a tailcoat but that was still more formal than a lounge suit. The Prince commissioned the creation in blue and it had matching pants. It was at this moment that the “dinner jacket,” as it was called at the time, really took off.

Millionaire James Brown Potter and his wife Cora took a trip to Britain in 1886, during which they met the Prince of Wales. The Prince sent Potter to be fitted for a dinner jacket similar to his own. Potter took this jacket back with him to the US, where he wore it to a private country club in Tuxedo Park, New York. It was from this moment that this particular type of dinner jacket was coined “the tuxedo.” And that was all it took to create sartorial history!

Famous figures begin to take note

The tuxedo and formal wear, in general, went through a bit of a slump after both of the World Wars. Given how tough life was at the time, it was completely understandable that over-the-top formal dos weren’t exactly the highest option on the agenda.

However, tuxedos had a mini-renaissance in the 1960s when famous folk like Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. were seen out and about playing table games at casinos in their formal wear. 

Celebrities have always influenced fashion considerably and this has an impact on the rise in popularity of the tuxedo in casinos.

James Bond shakes things up

Of course, the thing that has probably had the biggest impact on casino fashion over the decades is the James Bond movie franchise. Although you won’t find a casino scene in every Bond film, 007 is nevertheless closely associated with casinos. This is because the author of the original book series, Ian Fleming, made Bond’s favorite card game chemin de fer, which is an older type of baccarat.

The first Bond movie to be released was Dr. No in 1962 and at the beginning of this film, an impeccably dressed Sean Connery wastes no screen time in introducing audiences to Bond’s love of casino games, dry martinis and beautiful women. From this point on, you’ll spot Bond wearing a tuxedo in a casino scene in as many as seven in the movie franchise.

The James Bond franchise is one of the most popular in the world, and over the decades its fans naturally wanted to emulate their role model in any way that they could. But while they couldn’t all buy the fastest cars or work in a spy agency, they could go to a casino in a tuxedo and order a martini! This is what many people loved to do, and it kept tuxedos as the class act of casino attire.

What about today?

Most casinos don’t have a strictly formal dress code today and you’re likely to be able to attend in smart-casual or business-casual attire for a usual night out in a casino. However, you’ll still see tuxedos worn in VIP rooms and at special occasions, fundraisers and other more glamorous events that are often held at casinos today.

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Actress Vanessa Hudgens flipping casino chips next to the text "The King of Casinos"
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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.