- NBA star Ben Simmons says Crown Casino barred him from entering the Melbourne casino
- Crown refutes Mr. Simmons claims and argues that upon identification he was allowed into the property
- Crown was recently mentioned as part of an investigation into an organized crime ring
NBA star Ben Simmons was trying to get into the Crown Casino in Melbourne on Monday when he was turned at the door for failing to show an ID. Here is the full story.
Ben Simmons Barred from Entry in Crown Casino, Melbourne
Philadelphia 76ers star and Australian native Ben Simmons was reportedly denied entry at Melbourne’s Crown Casino on Monday, August 5. Shortly after the incident, Mr. Simmons appeared on social media where he explained the incident.
From the video, it became clear that Mr. Simmons and other African American men in the group of friends he was with were asked to show identification whereas their white friend was allowed to proceed. The video, now deleted, quickly traveled around social media, prompting headlines.
Since Monday, Crown Casino has published a rebuttal of Mr. Simmons’ claims that the casino had discriminated against them. In the official position, the casino also added that the only reason why identifiable documents were requested to verify the age of customers.
In Australia, the legal threshold to play at casinos is 18 with underage gambling carrying stiff penalties. Crown also explained that upon complying, the group was allowed to enter. In the video, Mr. Simmons had the following to say:
“I find it so crazy that the only guy who doesn’t get checked to go into the casino is this guy. They didn’t let me in, or him, or him, or this guy. Wow, we’ve got a long a way to go.”
While Simmons had perhaps acted rashly to go on the Internet and report the accident – something confirmed by his decision to later take on the video down – he still felt strongly about the reason why Crown had requested checks.
Breaking the Dress Code or Something More?
One Twitter user suggested that Mr. Simmons was breaking the dress code, to which the Sixers’ player posted a comment that his white friend had worn camouflage pants. The player also expressed his conviction that such incidents need to be brought to the public’s attention:
Mr. Simmons is a rising star in the NBA and he is currently the highest-paid Australian basketball, after the Philadelphia 76ers offered him a $170 million contract. At the top of the NBA Draft for 2016, he is definitely going to draw attention from fans, followers and eventually critics.
Responding to an ESPN Tweet, another user shared their opinion that Mr. Simmons was by no means “a favorite son” in Australia:
While it’s not unlikely for Mr. Simmons to have misjudged the situation, an identification check at the entrance of a casino is mandatory. By refusing to comply, he could have been assuming the intentions of Crown Casino’s staff.
The incident has drawn ire from left and right – some directed at Crown Casino, some at Mr. Simmons himself. Crown was recently reported as a facilitator and perpetrator in an organized crime ring that allowed wealthy Chinese citizens to gain entry into Australia.