Canadian casino denies entry to woman with medical conditions

Posted on: July 29, 2023, 05:10h. 

Last updated on: July 29, 2023, 05:14h.

Canada’s Cascades Casino security guards twice denied entry to a woman at the British Columbia gaming property due to their mistaken belief that she was drunk.

Cascades Casino Langley
Cascades Casino Langley, pictured above. The Canadian gaming property allegedly prevented a woman with a speech impediment from entering. (Image: Cascades Casino)

In reality, she has a speech impediment, lupus, and arthritis, according to Global News. She also has a learning disability.

Crystal-Lee Bodnik of Surrey alleges that the Langley-based casino discriminated against her and caused her trauma.

Assumed She Was Stumbling, Drunk

In the most recent incident on July 22, guards barred her entry claiming she was “intoxicated” and “stumbling.”

Despite presenting identification and explaining her disabilities and limitations, the guards still refused to allow her entry.

Her request to speak to a manager was also denied.

Traumatic Situation

I felt like I was being singled out just because of the way I talk and it’s not my fault,” Bodnik recently told Global News. “It’s actually traumatizing. I want to cry about it.

When asked for a response, Cascades Casino Langley stated that they are “looking into this incident,” as reported by Global News.

“We are reaching out to the customer and will work with her to gather the facts of the situation and take any learnings into consideration for future customer interactions,” stated Tanya Gabara, the casino’s director of public relations.

Casino staff are not the only ones who have wrongly assumed Bodnik was intoxicated. She revealed that sometimes even police officers draw the same erroneous conclusion.

To assist her in public, she carries medical notes from physicians, including psychiatrists, explaining her condition. However, it remains a challenging situation for her.

I’m embarrassed to go anywhere,” Bodnik said. “Are they going to criticize me of other things as well?

“It’s an ongoing issue and I don’t know what I can do to stop it.”

When she does present the paperwork from health professionals, she feels she is part of a “sideshow act more than anything,” according to Bodnik.

She is concerned that others with medical conditions have faced similar treatment at the casino.

By sharing her experiences, she hopes casino staff and others will change their behavior and be more sensitive and accepting towards those with such disorders.

Provincial Problem

Elaine Boyd, executive director of Disability Alliance BC, a regional advocacy organization, also stated that other disabled individuals in British Columbia are often mistaken for being intoxicated from drugs or alcohol.

In reality, those with limitations may have speech impediments, multiple sclerosis, ataxia, cerebral palsy, and other speech and muscle-related disorders, Boyd explained.

It’s really rather unfortunate and (I’m) ashamed that this happens to a number of people with disabilities, usually due to just lack of awareness of disability in general, and empathy and appropriate training by those who are delivering service in our communities,” Boyd added.

She advocates for improvements in laws and regulations to ensure adequate “accessibility training to mitigate further situations like this.”

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