On Thursday at The Meadows Racetrack and Casino, a surveillance operator acted quickly after an abandoned purse next to a slot machine was spotted by a floor attendant.
Footage captured on some of the Washington, Pennsylvania racino’s 1,250 video cameras was scanned by one of the “bloodhounds,” who located the slot machine and rewound to find a woman sit down at the slot machine with her purse only to leave without it. After determining where she went via the surveillance footage, she was found by security guards and reunited with her belongings. Meadows’ surveillance director, Tim Timko, said he calls his team of 24 employees bloodhounds, “because they will track them down,’ according to Trib Live. He said, “Our whole job is to protect the assets of this casino and of the commonwealth.”
The analog system was installed in 2009 when the permanent casino building opened and this year the Meadows spent $2.8 million to upgrade it to a digital system. The new digital system includes high definition cameras, many of which have a zooming capability that can allow chips, cards, and even the serial numbers on dollar bills to be seen.
Surveillance operators sit in a remote room in the casino that is off limits to almost all employees. There they monitor casino activity on a bank of approximately four 50-inch screens on a wall that are capable of showing as many as 12 security cameras at once. In addition to people who aren’t permitted on the property and lost items, the surveillance team keeps an eye out for anything that looks out of the ordinary; whether it be players counting cards or a dealer not following protocol. A former card dealer in Las Vegas, Timko teaches each member of his team how to play every game. He said, “You have to understand how the games work to tell when something is wrong.”
Constant surveillance is required by state law, which includes pickups and deliveries by armored trucks, exits, and entrances to the casino floor, as well as the casino cage and count room. Everywhere is monitored with the exception of the inside of the bathrooms. Doug Harbach, a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, said that Meadows, as well as the state’s other 11 casinos, is the worst place to commit a crime.
The new system at The Meadows doesn’t include facial-recognition software, which is a feature that is used at Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh. The North Shore property’s more than 1,000 cameras can scan the faces of patrons and compare them to photos of individuals that are on banned and self-exclusion lists compiled in a state database of known casino cheats.