British Columbia Casino Blocks Woman With Speech Defect From Entering Property

Posted on: July 29, 2023, 05:10h. 

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

Canada’s Cascades Casino security guards twice refused to let a woman enter the British Columbia gaming property. They thought 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 is also learning disabled.

Crystal-Lee Bodnik of Surrey is claiming the Langley-based casino discriminated against her and left her traumatized.

Assumed She Was Stumbling, Drunk

In the most recent incident, on July 22, guards prevented her from walking into the gaming property because they claimed she was “intoxicated” and “stumbling.”

When she tried to enter, she presented guards with identification, and explained her disabilities and limitations.

Still, the guards refused to let her in.

She got nowhere when requesting to speak to a manager.

Traumatic Situation

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

When asked for a response, Cascades Casino Langley said in a statement it is “looking into this incident,” Global News reported.

“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,” Tanya Gabara, the casino’s director of public relations, added in the statement.

Casino staff are not the only ones who erred when concluding Budnik was intoxicated.

Sometimes, police officers came to the same erroneous conclusion, she revealed.

To assist her in public, she carries medical notes explaining her condition. They are written by physicians, including psychiatrists.

She hands the notes over to those who question her sobriety. Still, it is difficult for her.

I’m embarrassed to go anywhere,” Budnik 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,” Budnik revealed.

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 to those with such disorders.

Provincial Problem

Also, Elaine Boyd, executive director of Disability Alliance BC, a regional advocacy organization, said other disabled individuals in British Columbia are frequently believed to be 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 said.

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 wants to see improvements in the law and in regulations so there is adequate “accessibility training to mitigate further situations like this.”