Australia

Crown Casino ‘strenuously rejects’ claims NBA player Ben Simmons was racially profiled

NBA star Ben Simmons claims he was racially discriminated against at Crown Casino. Source: Getty

Crown Casino has rejected claims its security staff racially profiled Australian basketballer Ben Simmons, who took to Instagram to report he had been denied entry to the Victorian gambling venue.

Australian NBA star Ben Simmons has claimed he and a group of his friends were refused entry to Crown Casino because of their skin colour.

In a now-deleted Instagram video filmed at the Melbourne casino on Monday, the 23-year-old athlete said he was turned away by security who demanded to check his ID.

"I find it crazy that the only guy who doesn't get checked into the casino is this guy," Simmons said, gesturing to his friend with lighter skin.

"Thank you Crown Casino, damn, and they didn't let me in, or him or this guy."

"Wow, we got a long way to go," he added.

The basketballer recently became the highest-paid Australian athlete ever, after snagging a $242 million contract extension with the Philadelphia 76ers.

He's currently in Australia helping run junior basketball camps.

In a statement, Crown denied its bouncers racially profiled Simmons, saying the company is "an inclusive workplace."

"Crown's internal security policy requires our security officers to check the identification of those persons they believe to be under the age of 25, this is an enhanced safeguard to ensure that no one under the age of 18 is permitted entry to the Casino Floor as required by law," a spokeswoman said.

The group was later permitted entry after presenting their ID. 

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