NORTH STRABANE TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — For the first time, the Meadows Casino in North Strabane allowed cameras and reporters inside its surveillance operation.

It’s where operators can monitor more than 1,200 cameras on the property – 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

The Meadows just spent $2.8 million to upgrade its system and install high-def cameras.

The cameras are so sophisticated, they can not only see cards, they can zoom in to make out the serial numbers on bills.

“We’re focusing mainly on the activity of the casino floor,” said Tim Timko, who’s in charge of the surveillance operators.

He calls the group “The Bloodhounds.” They hunt for slot cheats and card counters, and for people who have put themselves on the self-exclusion list and aren’t allowed to be in the casino.

“That’s why I call them the bloodhounds, because they will track you down,” said Timko.

They also help find items left behind by patrons such as purses, cell phones and even cash. And if there’s a dispute over a transaction, they have every detail recorded.

“When you’re talking about people bringing up hundreds of thousands of dollars of chips and that transaction of cash and other things, you may need to go back and clarify,” said Sean Sullivan, the Meadows Casino General Manager.

It’s a little ironic, but they even have cameras in the surveillance room watching the watchers.

“Everybody’s being observed, almost in every nook and cranny,” said Sullivan, but he said a few areas are still off limits. “Obviously, we’re not in restrooms.”

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David Highfield