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July 24, 2014

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New TV show profiles casino security, cheating gamblers in Las Vegas

Most everyone coming to Las Vegas would like to find an edge to put the betting odds in their favor, but some people go too far.

Those are the stories behind "Cheating Vegas," a new documentary television series debuting at 10 p.m. Sunday on the Destination America cable channel. The series chronicles gambling cheaters and how casinos try to stop them.

Sunday's premiere episode features the surveillance system inside the Aria. More than 3,500 video cameras are on the CityCenter campus, which includes the Aria casino. Ted Whiting, Aria's director of surveillance, said that while most of the resort's security procedures remain confidential, he allowed television crews for the show to catch a glimpse of behind-the-scenes operations.

"Aria's goal is to send a message to viewers that in this day and technological age, few casino cheaters and thieves can get away with crimes under the watchful eyes of our cameras and dedicated staff," Whiting said Monday. "One of the greatest satisfactions of my job is knowing that someone who is arrested for committing a crime at our properties is often perplexed — long after the fact — about how their crime could have possibly been detected."

Other features on the premiere episode include double dealers and a sports point-shaving scandal.

It will track the crimes of the Tran Organization, a baccarat swindling group from San Diego that took more than two dozen U.S. casinos for at least $7 million in a false shuffling scheme that included Palace Station in Las Vegas. Sunday's show will also profile the point-shaving antics of Stevin Smith on the basketball court at Arizona State.

Future shows include a TV repairman who used homemade devices to steal money out of slot machines and a gang robbery that changed security procedures in casino cash cages.

"'Cheating Vegas' goes to show that certainly the only thing riskier than gambling at a casino is trying to cheat at one," said Marc Etkind, senior vice president of content strategy for Destination America.

The network, with shows including "Dirty Jobs" and "Fast Food Mania," is produced by Discovery Communications.

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