• Basketball player Ben Simmons said he and his friends were denied entry to Melbourne's Crown Casino. (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
The basketball star, who recently signed the richest deal ever by an Australian athlete, claimed on social media he was denied entry to the gaming venue.
Claudia Farhart

6 Aug 2019 - 3:10 PM  UPDATED 6 Aug 2019 - 3:10 PM

Melbourne's Crown Casino has disputed Australian NBA player Ben Simmons' claim that he was racially profiled by security guards and refused entry.

Simmons, who recently signed a $US170 million ($A250 million) five-year contract extension with the Philadelphia 76ers, has returned to his hometown during the NBA off-season.  

He said in a now-deleted Instagram video that he and a group of friends were turned away from the venue on Monday night.

The 23-year-old athlete, whose father is African-American, claimed that casino security staff asked the group for ID with the exception of 76ers photographer Alex Subers, who has fair complexion. 

“I find it so crazy that the only guy who doesn’t get checked to go into the casino is this guy,” Simmons said, pointing the camera at Mr Subers. 

“I get checked, Mike gets checked, and Tahj gets checked. Thank you Crown Casino. Damn. And they didn’t let me in, or him, or this guy. 

“Wow. We’ve got a long way to go.”

In a statement, Crown rejected claims it discriminated against the group and said they were permitted entry after presenting their ID.

Crown’s internal security policy requires our security officers to check identification of those persons they believe to be under the age of 25," a spokeswoman said.

"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.”