Philadelphia 76ers Star Ben Simmons Denied Entry at Crown Casino in His Native Australia

Posted on: August 5, 2019, 11:35h. 

Last updated on: August 5, 2019, 12:09h.

Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons said he was not allowed to enter the Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia, claiming that he and several friends were denied admittance to the property because of their race.

Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons says he wasn’t allowed to enter the Crown Casino in his native Australia early Monday. (Image: CBS Sports)

Simmons, who was born in Melbourne, and three friends tried to get into the Crown Casino early Monday. The point guard, who made his first All-Star appearance last season, and two black companions were not allowed to enter the gaming venue, but their white friend gained entry, said Simmons in a video obtained by TMZ Sports.

I find it so crazy that the only guy who doesn’t get checked to go into the casino is this guy,” said Simmons in the video, while showing his white friend.

The first overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft went on to mockingly say, “Thank you Crown Casino” while adding “Wow! We’ve got a long way to go,” seemingly a commentary on race in Australia.

As TMZ notes, Simmons should be known in his home country. There are approximately a dozen Aussies on NBA rosters. But only Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving, who was born down under and left the country when he was two years old, could compete with Simmons in terms of star power.

Simmons has been in his home country over the past week helping fellow Aussie players prepare for FIBA World Cup games. The 76ers star will not be playing on the Australian team, which heads to China for the World Cup later this month.

Bad Timing

News of Simmons’s racial profiling claims comes as Crown Resorts, parent company of the Melbourne casino, is ensconced in controversy. Last week, reports surfaced that Australia’s Department of Home Affairs (DHA) is under investigation for allegedly expediting visas for Chinese high-rollers on behalf of the company.

Days later, Crown Resorts fired back at what it called “deceitful” media campaigns aimed at damaging the company’s reputation, taking out full-page advertisements in Australian newspapers that called the media reports “unbalanced and sensationalized.”

Reports claim that Crown Resorts allowed money laundering while using soft spots in Australia’s visa program to usher Chinese VIPs into the country without adequately vetting those gamblers prior to entry.

It’s Happened Before

Simmons isn’t the first black celebrity to encounter issues when trying to enter a casino. In late May, rapper Meek Mill was not allowed to enter the Cosmopolitan on the Las Vegas Strip, prompting the Philadelphia-born artist to allege “extreme racism” on social media.

Several days later, the Cosmopolitan apologized to the musician, saying it has “zero tolerance for discrimination.”

Last year, Canadian rapper Drake said he wasn’t allowed to go into the Parq Vancouver, stoking a social media firestorm that sparked an apology from that venue’s president.