Disabled N.J. man sues 10 casinos over access

He alleges the Atlantic City operations violate a federal act and state antidiscrimination laws.

NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey man contends in lawsuits against 10 Atlantic City casinos that the gaming halls violate the law by not making their properties sufficiently accessible to the disabled.

The suits, filed in U.S. District Court in Trenton last week by C. Lee Dempsey, name Harrah's, Bally's Park Place, Resorts, Tropicana, Trump Marina, Trump Plaza, Trump Taj Mahal, Showboat, Caesars and Hilton.

The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa was not named.

The litigation says the casinos violate the 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act and state antidiscrimination laws.

"By maintaining architectural barriers and policies that discriminate against people with disabilities . . . defendants have directly and/or indirectly refused, withheld from, and denied to plaintiff the full and equal enjoyment of their place of accommodation because of his disability," the lawsuits state.

The suits do not specify Dempsey's disability, but say he has a "qualified disability" under the federal law and uses a wheelchair. Among the violations he alleges are:

Cash-advance and check-cashing counters, ATM machines, and gaming tables that are too high.

A lack of adequate informational and directional signs addressing people with disabilities.

Inaccessible slots areas due to multiple steps.

Inaccessible slot machines due to fixed seating.

Restrooms that don't meet specifications, such as accessible paper-towel dispensers and insulation on exposed drain pipes to prevent burns.

The suits seek to force the casinos to alter their facilities.

Through his attorney, Robert J. Mirel of Brooklyn, N.Y., Dempsey did not comment on the lawsuits Friday. Joseph Corbo, president of the Casino Association of New Jersey, also declined to comment.

Representatives of Tropicana and Trump Entertainment, which operates the three Trump casinos, said the companies wouldn't comment because litigation was pending.