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  1. Erweiterte Patentsuche
VeröffentlichungsnummerUS20070010319 A1
PublikationstypAnmeldung
AnmeldenummerUS 11/178,531
Veröffentlichungsdatum11. Jan. 2007
Eingetragen11. Juli 2005
Prioritätsdatum11. Juli 2005
Auch veröffentlicht unterCA2614853A1, WO2007008441A2, WO2007008441A3
Veröffentlichungsnummer11178531, 178531, US 2007/0010319 A1, US 2007/010319 A1, US 20070010319 A1, US 20070010319A1, US 2007010319 A1, US 2007010319A1, US-A1-20070010319, US-A1-2007010319, US2007/0010319A1, US2007/010319A1, US20070010319 A1, US20070010319A1, US2007010319 A1, US2007010319A1
ErfinderClifton Lind, Jefferson Lind
Ursprünglich BevollmächtigterMultimedia Games, Inc.
Zitat exportierenBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
Externe Links: USPTO, USPTO-Zuordnung, Espacenet
Method, apparatus, and program product for multiple play bonus system
US 20070010319 A1
Zusammenfassung
A gaming system provides a secondary game in which the outcome depends on the results from multiple instances of a primary game. The secondary game is associated with a particular structure that includes a number of separate locations. Each of the secondary game locations is linked to a particular instance of the primary game so that the results of a particular instance of the primary game determine the condition or state of a respective secondary game location. Additionally, each location in the secondary game structure makes up a certain component of a secondary game display. Players receive an award if a certain pattern is displayed in the secondary game structure based on the application of the multiple instances of the primary game to the secondary game structure.
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Ansprüche(21)
1. A method including:
(a) conducting multiple instances of a primary game to produce multiple primary game results, each instance of the primary game being linked to a respective location in a secondary game structure for a secondary game;
(b) applying the primary game result for each respective instance of the primary game to control the state of the respective location in the secondary game structure linked to that respective instance of the primary game; and
(c) identifying a result of the secondary game based on the state of at least one respective location in the secondary game structure.
2. The method of claim 1 wherein the primary game is a bingo game.
3. The method of claim 1 wherein the primary game is a lottery game.
4. The method of claim 1 wherein the secondary game structure is a representation of a bingo card.
5. The method of claim 4 wherein a predetermined result in a respective instance of the primary game daubs the respective location in the secondary game structure linked to that respective instance of the primary game.
6. The method of claim 1 wherein the secondary, game structure is a representation of reel-type game.
7. The method of claim 6 wherein a predetermined result in a respective instance of the primary game causes a particular reel symbol to be displayed at the respective location in the secondary game structure linked to that respective instance of the primary game.
8. The method of claim 1 further including the steps of:
(a) applying a portion of a wager for participating in multiple instances of the primary game to at least partially fund a bonus prize available in the secondary game; and
(b) awarding the bonus prize to a player in response to the result of the secondary game.
9. The method of claim 8 wherein the result of the secondary game is defined by a pattern of locations in the secondary game structure.
10. The method of claim 1 wherein two or more instances of the primary game are each linked to the respective location in the secondary game structure for the secondary game and the primary game results of the two or more instances of the primary game control the state of the respective location in the secondary game structure linked to those respective instances of the primary game.
11. A program product stored on one or more computer readable media, the program product including:
(a) result coordinating program code executable for linking each respective instance of a primary game to a respective location in a secondary game structure for a secondary game;
(b) secondary game program code executable for applying the primary game result for each respective instance of the primary game to control the state of the respective location in the secondary game structure linked to that respective instance of the primary game, and for identifying a result of the secondary game based on the state of at least one respective location in the secondary game structure.
12. The program product of claim 11 wherein:
(a) the result coordinating program code links two or more instances of the primary game to at least one respective location in the secondary game structure for a secondary game; and
(b) the secondary game program code applies the primary game results of the two or more instances of the primary game to control the state of the respective location in the secondary game structure linked to those respective instances of the primary game.
13. The program product of claim 11 wherein each respective instance of the primary game that is linked to a respective location in the secondary game structure is associated with a common game play input for play in the primary game.
14. The program product of claim 11 wherein each respective instance of the primary game that is linked to a respective location in the secondary game structure is associated with a respective distinct game play input for play in the primary game.
15. The program product of claim 11 wherein secondary game structure is a bingo card representation and the secondary game program code controls the state of the respective location in the secondary game structure linked to that respective instance of the primary game by causing the respective location in bingo card representation to be daubed.
16. The program product of claim 11 wherein secondary game structure is a reel-type game representation and the secondary game program code controls the state of the respective location in the secondary game structure linked to that respective instance of the primary game by causing the respective location in reel-type game representation to show a particular reel symbol.
17. A gaming apparatus including:
(a) a game processor for (i) receiving a number of primary game results, each respective primary game result corresponding to a respective instance of a primary game, for (ii) applying the primary game result for each respective instance of the primary game to control the state of a respective location in a secondary game structure to which the respective primary game result is linked, and for (iii) identifying a result in a secondary game based on the state of at least one location in the secondary game structure; and
(b) a player display operatively connected to the game processor for displaying the secondary game structure.
17. The gaming apparatus of claim 16 wherein the player display is also for displaying the primary game result for each instance of the primary game.
18. The gaming apparatus of claim 16 wherein the player display is associated with an electronic player station having an electronic player station processing device in communication with the game processor.
19. The gaming apparatus of claim 18 further including a number of additional electronic player stations, each electronic player station being in communication with the game processor and each additional electronic player station including a respective player display.
20. The apparatus of claim 16 wherein the game processor is also for linking each respective instance of the primary game to the respective location of the secondary game structure.
Beschreibung
    TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • [0001]
    This invention relates to gaming and gaming systems. More particularly, the invention relates to a gaming system that provides players with the opportunity to participate in a bonus game related to multiple instances of another game.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    Wagering games are commonly played in a format in which one game play yields one result. The game known as “bingo” is an example of such a single play-single result game. Bingo is played with predetermined bingo cards that have designations, such as numbers, letters, or other symbols, randomly arranged in a desired manner, commonly in a grid. The bingo designations on the cards are selected from a pool of available designations. In traditional bingo games, the cards are physically printed on paper or other suitable material. These traditional printed cards are purchased by players prior to the start of a game. After a buy-in period in which players purchase bingo cards for a game, designations from the available pool of designations are selected at random. As the designations are selected and announced in the game, the players match the randomly selected designations with the designations printed on their respective card or cards. This matching and marking of matched designations on the bingo card is commonly referred to as “daubing” the card. The winner of the bingo game is the player first producing a predetermined winning pattern of matches between the randomly selected designations and the printed card designations on a single card, and then announcing “bingo” to claim the win. Other players may also receive awards for achieving other predetermined patterns of matches in the course of the bingo game. In any case, each bingo card in a particular game is associated with a single result.
  • [0003]
    Bonus games are commonly used in gaming systems to provide a level of play in addition to the primary games. Some bonus games award bonus prizes that are based at least in part, on the results of the primary game, while other bonus games award bonus prizes based on the outcome of only the bonus game. The bonus prize may take various forms, with some common examples including additional game play credits, a monetary prize, or tangible items, such as jewelry. Regardless of the prizes that may be awarded in a bonus game, bonus games tend to add a certain amount of excitement to a gaming system and thus tend to increase player participation.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0004]
    A gaming system according to the present invention provides a secondary game having an outcome that depends on the results from multiple instances of a primary game. The secondary game is associated with a particular secondary game structure that includes a number of separate locations. Each of these secondary game locations is linked to at least one particular instance of the primary game. The result associated with each instance of the primary game linked to a particular secondary game location helps determine the state of that respective secondary game location. Players may receive a bonus prize by producing some predefined pattern or other arrangement of secondary game locations in the secondary game structure. By basing the outcome of the bonus game on multiple instances of the primary game, the secondary game encourages players to participate in multiple instances of the primary game. The secondary game according to the present invention also adds a level of excitement to game play and helps enhance player interest in the gaming system.
  • [0005]
    One preferred method according to the present invention includes conducting a primary game multiple times to produce a number of respective primary game results. Each completed game play in the primary game represents an instance of the primary game and produces a result in the primary game. A result from a particular instance of the primary game will be referred to throughout this disclosure and the accompanying claims as a “primary game result.” Each instance of the primary game is linked to a location in a secondary game structure. For example, the secondary game structure may comprise a bingo card-type structure or an arrangement of reel symbol locations in a mechanical or video reel-type game display. Regardless of the exact nature of the secondary display structure, the primary game result for at least one respective instance of the primary game is applied to control the state of a respective location in the secondary game structure. The states of the various locations in the secondary game structure correlate to the result for the secondary game and may entitle a player to a bonus prize.
  • [0006]
    A gaming apparatus according to the present invention may include a game processor and a player display. In one form of the invention, the game processor receives a number of primary game results and applies those results to control the state of locations in the secondary game structure to which the instances of the primary game are linked. The game processor also identifies a result in a secondary game correlated with the pattern in the secondary game structure produced by applying the various primary game results. The player display included in this form of the invention is operatively connected to the game processor for displaying preferably the primary game results, the secondary game structure, and the secondary game result. The game processor may comprise a general purpose data processing device the operates under the control of operational program code to perform its various functions.
  • [0007]
    These and other advantages and features of the invention will be apparent from the following description of the preferred embodiments, considered along with the accompanying drawings.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0008]
    FIG. 1 is a high level diagrammatic representation of a bingo gaming system in which the present invention may be implemented.
  • [0009]
    FIG. 2 is a diagrammatic representation of a computer system arrangement that may be used for a central game server and local area servers included in the system shown in FIG. 1.
  • [0010]
    FIG. 3 is a diagrammatic representation of an electronic player station that may be used in the system shown in FIG. 1.
  • [0011]
    FIG. 4 is a diagrammatic representation illustrating process steps embodying the principles of the invention.
  • [0012]
    FIG. 5 is a representation of a game graphic illustrating an embodiment of the invention in which the secondary game structure comprises bingo-type game matrix.
  • [0013]
    FIG. 6 is a representation of a game graphic illustrating an embodiment of the invention in which the secondary game structure comprises an arrangement of reels similar to a reel-type game.
  • DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • [0014]
    The claims at the end of this application set out novel features which the Applicant believes are characteristic of the invention. The various advantages and features of the invention together with preferred modes of use of the invention will best be understood by reference to the following description of illustrative embodiments read in conjunction with the drawings introduced above.
  • [0015]
    The following description discusses the present invention as used in the context of a particular bingo gaming system disclosed in U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2004/0152499 A1 entitled “Method, System, and Program Product for Conducting Multiple Concurrent Bingo-Type Games,” the entire content of which is incorporated herein by this reference. Although the invention does have particular application to the high-speed bingo gaming system set out in this published U.S. patent application, it will be appreciated that the invention is by no means limited to use in any particular bingo gaming system or to any particular primary game. Rather, the invention may be used to provide a secondary game for any type of game, including not only bingo games, but also lottery-type games, and casino-type games such as reel-type games and video poker games.
  • [0016]
    FIG. 1 shows a gaming system 100 including a central game server (CGS) 101 that cooperates with a number of other components to enable bingo players, preferably at many different remote gaming sites, to participate in bingo games. Each gaming site includes a local area server (LAS) 102 and a number of electronic player stations (EPSs) 103. As will be discussed in detail below, in the normal operation of gaming system 100, a player at any EPS 103 in the system may participate in a given bingo game with players at any other EPSs 103 in the system. Thus, players at different gaming facilities may be grouped together for a given bingo game administered through system 100. Grouping together players from different gaming facilities for the play of a bingo game allows different bingo games to be played rapidly and minimizes the time that players must wait to receive the result of their participation in the bingo game, that is, the result for a given instance of the bingo game.
  • [0017]
    System 100 rapidly groups players and/or game play requests and starts one game after another so that multiple games may be in play at any given time. That is, once a first group of players or game play requests has been assigned to a bingo game offered through system 100, the system proceeds to simultaneously administer a bingo game for the first group of players or game play requests and also begin grouping players or game play requests for a next bingo game. System 100 does not necessarily wait for one bingo game to be completed before starting to collect players or game play requests for, and actually beginning play in, the next bingo game. The number of players or game play requests grouped for the play of bingo games in the bingo gaming system may be limited to reduce the time required for grouping. For example, each bingo game offered through gaming system 100 shown in FIG. 1 may be limited to between 2 to 20 players or game play requests, with the preferred number for any given game being from 10 to 15. Where system 100 includes numerous EPSs 103 at the various remote locations, on the order of several thousand EPSs for example, hundreds of individual bingo games may be in progress at any given time through the gaming system.
  • [0018]
    Since system 100 includes an arrangement for grouping players and/or game play requests for the play of a bingo game to facilitate rapid game play, the system may dramatically reduce the time between a game play request at one of the EPSs 103 and the return of results to the respective EPS. The delay between the game play request and the return of the bingo result may be reduced sufficiently to allow a great deal of flexibility in how results in the bingo game are displayed to the player. In particular, the primary game results may be displayed in some manner unrelated to bingo. For example, the primary game results may be mapped to a display traditionally associated with a reel-type game, to a display relating to a card game, or to a display showing a race such as a horse or dog race, for example.
  • [0019]
    Regardless of the rapid play facilitated by system 100 and regardless of the manner in which the primary game results are displayed, each instance of the underlying primary game remains a standard bingo game played in the traditional sequence of play for bingo games. That is, each player obtains or is assigned a bingo card representation, all bingo card representations in play in the game are daubed or checked for matches with a draw, and the first card in the game to match the sequence of designations to produce the game ending or winning pattern represents the card that may win the bingo game, subject to any claiming action required under the rules of the game. Additional prizes may be awarded for other patterns that may be produced in the course of the bingo game. Furthermore, instances of the bingo game, that is, plays in one or more bingo games conducted in system 100 may be applied to a secondary game according to the invention and may entitle the player to additional, bonus prizes in addition to the prizes available in the bingo games.
  • [0020]
    It will be noted that in the bingo gaming system shown in FIG. 1 may allow a player to make several plays in the gaming system simultaneously. That is, a player may make multiple simultaneous game play requests. Each request may be handled entirely independently by the bingo gaming system to produce a respective result. In particular, each game play request from a group of simultaneous game play requests, or group of game play requests entered in rapid succession, may be grouped in the same bingo game conducted through the system or different bingo games. Regardless of how gaming system 100 handles the individual game play requests, each game play request will be associated with a single bingo game result and a respective instance of the bingo game.
  • [0021]
    As used in this disclosure, any sequence of designations that may be matched against bingo cards or card representations in the course of a bingo game is referred to as a “draw” regardless of how the sequence is actually generated. Under this definition, it will be appreciated that a draw may be produced by a random number generator, a pseudo random number generator, or any other suitable device or system, such as a manual, semi-automatic, or fully automatic physical ball draw device.
  • [0022]
    CGS 101 may comprise a computer system such as the basic system shown in FIG. 2. The basic system may include one or more processors 200, nonvolatile memory 201, volatile memory 202, a user interface arrangement 203 for system operators, and a communications interface 204, all connected to a system bus 205. It will be appreciated that user interface arrangement 203 may include a number of different devices such as a keyboard, a display, and a pointing device such as a mouse or trackball for example, although not shown in FIG. 2. Alternatively to the integrated user interface arrangement 203 shown in FIG. 2, a user interface for CGS 101 may be provided through a separate computer (not shown) in communication with the CGS. Regardless of the particular configuration for CGS 101, in the normal operation of system 100 shown in FIG. 1, the CGS functions to group players for participation in bingo games offered through the system, produces or obtains sequences of designations (ball draws, for example) for the play of the bingo games, identifies the results in the bingo games, and communicates the results to the EPSs 103 through LASs 102. In some embodiments of the present invention, the CGS 101 may also implement the functions of the game processor as described below with reference to FIG. 4.
  • [0023]
    Each LAS 102 included in system 100 as shown in FIG. 1 may comprise a computer system having the same basic structure as shown in FIG. 2. That is, each LAS 102 may include one or more processors 200, nonvolatile memory 201, volatile memory 202, user interface arrangement 203 for system operators, and communications interface 204 all connected to system bus 205. As with CGS 101, the user interface for the respective LAS 102 may be provided through a separate computer in communication with the LAS rather than the integrated user interface arrangement 203 shown in FIG. 2. Regardless of the specific configuration of the LAS, each LAS serves, in normal operation of the system shown in FIG. 1, to transfer or relay information from its respective EPSs 103 to CGS 101 and transfer or relay information from the CGS to the LAS's respective EPSs. Each LAS according to the present invention may also have the ability to group players and actually play bingo games in certain situations. For example, where one LAS 102 serves a large number of EPSs 103, the LAS may group players or game play requests from its respective EPSs during a time of high player activity, obtain or produce a ball draw, identify results for bingo games, and return results to the EPSs 103. Also, each LAS 102 shown in FIG. 1 may be configured to perform the tasks normally performed by CGS 101 in the event the communications link between the respective LAS and CGS is degraded below a certain level or is severed altogether. In some forms of the invention, each LAS 102 may implement the functions of the game processor described below with reference to FIG. 4, either in normal operation of the system or during times that communication with the CGS 101 is not available. It will be noted that when an LAS 102 performs the functions of the game processor described below, it will generally only perform those functions with respect to the particular EPS's 103 with which the LAS is associated.
  • [0024]
    FIG. 3 shows an example of an EPS 103 that may be used as a player interface device in a gaming system that provides a secondary game according to the present invention. The illustrated EPS 103 includes a processor 300, volatile memory 301, nonvolatile memory 302, and a communications interface 303. The volatile and nonvolatile memory stores computer program code that may be executed by processor 300 to cause the processor to perform or direct the various functions provided by EPS 103. In particular, some forms of the invention may use processor 300 as a game processor for conducting secondary games according to the present invention. Communications interface 303 allows communications between EPS 103 and its respective LAS 102 and/or CGS 101. EPS 103 also includes a special user interface arrangement to facilitate player participation in the bingo games offered through gaming system 100 shown in FIG. 1, and display results in an exciting and attractive format. This interface includes player controls 304, a display or touch screen display 305, a sound system 306, and perhaps other features 307 such as alarms or special displays or alerting devices. Each EPS 103 also preferably includes a convenient system for allowing the player to input player-specific information and for receiving wagers and dispensing winnings. For example, the EPS 103 shown in FIG. 3 includes a player card reader 308 that is adapted to read player-specific information from a player account card inserted into the reader. A player account card may, for example, include player information or simply a player identifier encoded on a magnetic medium (mag stripe) associated with the card, or encoded on a bar code, or a memory device associated with the player card. The illustrated EPS 103 also includes a device 309 for receiving value and issuing value in the course of play. This device may accept currency, vouchers, or tokens, for example, and also output currency, vouchers, or tokens. Of course a separate device may be used to receive and issue value for games played according to the present invention. Alternatively, or in addition to value in/out device 309, EPSs 103 may read player account information from the player card or player information otherwise input at the EPS, and account for wagers and winnings through a player account maintained in the system in the manner set out in U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2002/0132666 A1, filed Jan. 10, 2002, entitled “Distributed Account Based Gaming System.”
  • [0025]
    It will be appreciated that the particular configuration of devices shown in FIG. 1 is shown only for purposes of example. A bingo gaming system providing a secondary game according to the present invention may omit some or all of the separate LASs 102 at the various gaming facilities so that the EPSs 103 communicate directly with CGS 101. Also, various regions or different gaming facilities may be divided up into separate systems each having a respective CGS such as CGS 101. In these situations, the system could be configured such that a single EPS 103 may be serviced by any of the CGSs. Furthermore, a gaming system providing a secondary game according to the present invention may include multiple CGSs rather than a single CGS 101 as shown in FIG. 1.
  • [0026]
    It should again be noted that although the bingo gaming system shown in FIGS. 1 through 3 provides a convenient gaming system example through which the present secondary game system may be described, the present invention is by no means limited to use in bingo gaming systems. Rather, the present secondary game system may be used in connection with any type of gaming system providing the required multiple instances of a primary game. For example, the primary game may comprise an electronic lottery-type game in which players receive one or more lottery results in response to a game play request. Such a lottery-type game may have a network topography similar to that used for the bingo system shown in FIG. 1. In the case of the electronic lottery system, however, CGS 101 might function as a component for generating and storing/archiving electronic lottery ticket sets and each LAS 102 might function to manage player accounts and hold sets or subsets of electronic lottery tickets locally. The electronic lottery system would also include EPSs 103 to provide a player interface for entering game play requests and receiving both the primary game results and secondary game results according to the present invention.
  • [0027]
    The present invention is also not limited to a single type of primary game for providing primary game results. That is, in some implementations of the present invention, a single set of multiple primary game instances may include instances of one game type, such as a lottery-type game, and instances of an entirely different type of game, such as a bingo-type game. As used in the following discussion and in the claims, it will be understood that references to multiple instances of a primary game and multiple results from a primary game will include the situation in which the multiple instances/results are all associated with different respective games or game types. References to multiple instances of a primary game and multiple results from a primary game will also encompass the situation in which each instance of the multiple instances and each result is associated with the same game or game type, and the situation in which some instances/results of the multiple instances are associated with one game or game type and others are associated with another game or game type.
  • [0028]
    Although the example gaming systems described above with reference to FIG. 1 each comprise a network gaming system, the secondary game system according to the present invention is not limited to network gaming systems. The present invention may be implemented in a stand alone gaming device that does not communicate with any other device to obtain results in a primary game. In the case of a stand alone gaming device implementation of the present invention, the stand alone player station would implement the processors or controllers required to generate results in the primary game, and would also implement the game processor according to the present invention.
  • [0029]
    FIG. 4 illustrates a process of providing a secondary game according to the invention based upon multiple instances of one or more primary games. As indicated at process block 400, a player first initiates a number of game play requests in the primary game. This initiation of game play requests is preferably performed in response to one or more inputs made by the player at a suitable player station. For example, in the networked gaming system shown in FIG. 1, a player may initiate game play requests through an EPS 103. Regardless of the specific manner in which a player initiates game play requests as indicated at process block 400, each game play request represents a request for a play in a primary game. Assuming that the game play request is a proper request, a primary game result will be correlated to the game play request and associated game play. In the terminology adopted for purposes of this disclosure and accompanying claims, each game play request is a request for an instance of the primary game.
  • [0030]
    It will be appreciated that there may be very wide variations in the specific steps and processes used in a primary game to initiate the various game play requests in the primary game as indicated at block 400. For example, where the primary game comprises a bingo-type game, each game play request may require a separate set of substeps including assigning or selecting a bingo card representation for the game play request, defining a wager for the game play request, and then submitting the game play request. Alternatively, the primary game interface may allow the player to define/assign bingo card representations and define wagers for multiple game play requests and then make a single final “submit” or “play” entry to submit multiple game play requests concurrently. Of course, where the primary game comprises a game other than a bingo-type game, the game play request initiation step shown at block 400 in FIG. 4 may be significantly simplified. For example, where the primary game comprises a lottery-type game, initiating a game play request may include simply defining a wager and activating a “play” button or other control, or, where the wager is predefined, simply activating a “play” control. Also, some primary games may allow a player to make multiple game play requests with a single input at a suitable player station.
  • [0031]
    It will be appreciated that the initiation of game play requests in the primary game as indicated at process block 400 in FIG. 4 will commonly result in one or more communications in the particular gaming system. For example, each game play request in a bingo-type gaming system will commonly include a communication that includes a wager amount and defines or identifies a bingo card representation associated with the request. The identified bingo card representation comprises the bingo card that is to be placed in play in the bingo-type game at the given wager amount. In a lottery-type gaming system, a game play request may produce a communication that includes an identifier for a particular lottery game that may be available to the player among many different lottery games. Such a lottery game identifier allows the gaming system for the primary game to select a lottery ticket record from the correct electronic lottery ticket set/subset. The communications representing or resulting from the initiation of a game play request may also include other system related information such as an identifier for the player station from which the request originates, time of request information, and other information. The destination of the communication or communications associated with a game play request will also depend upon the nature of the primary game and gaming system which implements the primary game. In the bingo-type gaming system example shown in FIG. 1, the game play request is communicated to a system component that is responsible for conducting a bingo game and identifying a result for the game play request. This component may comprise CGS 101 or an LAS 102 as described above in relation to FIG. 1. In a lottery-type gaming system, a lottery game play request may be communicated to a lottery result server that is responsible for assigning lottery records/electronic tickets for each incoming game play request. Such a lottery result server may be implemented in a component separate from the player station from which the request originates, or may be implemented at the player station itself.
  • [0032]
    The example process shown in FIG. 4 includes a step of linking locations in the secondary game structure with particular instances of the primary game as shown at process block 401. This process block 401 reflects the fact that, according to the present invention, each location in the given secondary game structure is preferably linked with, that is, correlated with, at least one instance of the primary game. As will be discussed further below, this linking between instances of the primary game and locations of the secondary game structure allows the state of the various locations in the secondary game structure to be affected by the results from the primary game. However, it should be noted that the linking step shown in FIG. 4 need not be apparent to the player and may be fixed prior to initiating the game play requests in the primary game or games. For example, assume that in a given implementation of the present invention, the secondary game structure comprises a 3×3 bingo-type grid. In this example, the present invention may include linking each respective location in this 3×3 grid with a respective instance of the primary game, and thus, linking each grid location with a respective game play request initiated as indicated at block 400. The linking of one game play request and instance of the primary game to each grid location may be predefined such that a first game play request is linked to a first grid location, a second game play request is linked to a second grid location, and so on. Alternatively, the linking may be performed randomly or according to some algorithm by a suitable processing arrangement either before or after the results in the primary game have been identified. As yet another alternative, a player may be allowed to manually make the links between instances of the primary game and locations of the secondary game structure. The invention encompasses providing a player interface to allow the player to manually link respective instances of the primary game to respective locations of the secondary game structure by associating respective game play requests in the primary game to respective secondary game structure locations. In any event, the linking indicated at block 401 allows the gaming system to control the state of the various locations in the secondary game structure based on the results in the various instances of the primary game.
  • [0033]
    As indicated at process block 402 in FIG. 4, the present invention requires identifying the result for each instance of the primary game that is linked to a location of the secondary game structure. The manner in which primary game results are identified will depend upon the nature of the respective primary game. In a lottery-type game for example, identifying a result in a given instance of the game may require simply reading a result or result code associated with a lottery ticket record that was assigned for the given instance of the primary game. In the bingo-type gaming system shown for example in FIGS. 1 through 3, identifying a result in each instance of the game involves conducting a bingo designation draw, daubing the bingo card representation, analyzing matched bingo card locations to identify any winning patterns of matches, and looking up the result associated with any identified winning pattern. Identifying a bingo result may also require waiting for a player response to claim the bingo result. As discussed above in connection with FIG. 1, this analysis and identification of bingo results is preferably performed by a game processor implemented at CGS 101, although the processes may alternatively be performed by a game processor implemented at a respective LAS 102.
  • [0034]
    As indicated at process block 403 in FIG. 4, the invention includes applying the primary game results from the multiple instances of the primary game to control the states of the various locations in the secondary game structure. This application of primary game results may be accomplished in many different ways within the scope of the present invention. In one preferred form of the invention, each primary game result is associated with a result identifier. Each different result identifier may be associated with data indicating the state of the respective secondary game structure location dictated by the respective result. For example, each possible result identifier may be correlated to a respective state identifier through a suitable data structure. In this example, applying the primary game result to control the state of a location in the secondary game structure includes using the result identifier to look up the corresponding state identifier and then assigning that state identifier to the location in the secondary game structure to which the primary game result is linked. The assigned state identifier then controls the state of that secondary game structure location. Alternatively, each result identifier for a result in the primary game may be directly correlated in a suitable fashion to a state for a location of a secondary game structure. In this alternative, applying the primary game result to control the state of the location in the secondary game structure may involve simply assigning the result identifier to respective secondary game structure location.
  • [0035]
    In forms of the invention in which two or more primary game results control the state of a given location in the secondary game structure, further operations may be required to apply the primary game results as indicated at process block 403. For example, the rules of a particular implementation according to the present invention may be that the state of a given secondary game structure location is dependent upon a cumulative prize value associated with two or more primary game results. In this example, applying the primary game results may include calculating the cumulative prize value of the two or more primary game results linked to the given secondary game structure location, and then looking up a state identifier correlated with the calculated value through a suitable data structure. The state identifier may then be assigned to location to which the two or more primary game results are linked. In yet another example within the scope of the present invention, two primary game results could be logically ORed such that a given primary game result in either instance of the primary game produces a given state in the secondary game structure location to which the two primary game results are linked.
  • [0036]
    Once the primary game results are applied according to the applicable rules for the given implementation of the invention, the invention includes identifying the result of the secondary game. This step is indicated at block 404 in FIG. 4. After identifying the result for the secondary game, any prizes associated with the result may be awarded to the player as indicated at process block 406.
  • [0037]
    Results in the secondary game are based on the state of at least one respective location in the secondary game structure. Thus, the step of identifying the result of the secondary game includes analyzing the state of at least one location in the secondary game structure. For example, the secondary game according to the invention may be defined as providing a winning result if one location in the secondary game structure is at a given state. As another example, a secondary game according to the invention may be defined as providing a winning result if multiple locations, such as a row or column of locations, are each at some respective state. Specific examples of secondary game structures and location states will be described below with reference to FIGS. 5 and 6.
  • [0038]
    The results may be identified in the secondary game in any number of fashions within the scope of the invention. In one preferred arrangement, a suitable data structure includes an entry that defines each winning pattern of location states for the secondary game, and correlates each winning pattern to a prize value in the secondary game. The step of identifying the result of the secondary game in this arrangement includes comparing the pattern of secondary game location states defined by the applying the primary game results at process block 403 to the table of winning secondary structure patterns and noting any matches. The prize value for any matched pattern from the table of winning patterns would represent the prize for the secondary game and would be awarded as indicated at process block 406.
  • [0039]
    As discussed above, each game play request in the primary game may be associated with a separate wager in the primary game. The wager amount for each game play request may be the same or may vary among the different game play requests initiated as indicated at block 400 in FIG. 4. In either case, some forms of the present invention use a portion of the money wagered by a player in each instance of the primary game to at least partially fund a prize available in the secondary game. For example, a fraction of a player's wager, such as 5% or 10% may be devoted to a bonus prize fund. Such a bonus prize fund may also be seeded with a seed amount provided by the gaming system operator. Bonus prizes that are awarded in the secondary game as indicated at process block 406 may comprise fixed amounts for certain secondary game results. Alternatively, bonus prizes awarded for the secondary game may comprise some percentage of the account that has been built up by primary game wager contributions similar to a progressive game. Contributions from primary game wagers at numerous different player stations may allow large secondary game prizes to be awarded.
  • [0040]
    In some preferred implementations of the present invention, a given set of instances of a primary game are applied to control the states of locations in the secondary game structure to define a single instance of the secondary game. After the single instance of the secondary game, the entire secondary game structure is cleared and then another set of instances of the primary game are applied to the secondary game structure. Another preferred form of the invention allows a player to continue play in the secondary game without resetting the state of the locations in the secondary game structure. After a first set of instances of the primary game are applied to a secondary game structure, the player may be given the option of choosing to apply additional instances in the primary game to control the states of one or more locations in the secondary game structure, while leaving other secondary game structure locations in the state dictated by an instance of the primary game from the first set of primary game instances. In either of these implementations according to the invention, a player participating in a primary game is encouraged to participate in more instances of the primary game in order to have a chance at a result in the secondary game.
  • [0041]
    It should be noted that the present invention does not require that the multiple game play requests indicated at block 400 be initiated simultaneously in one step. Rather, initiating the multiple game play requests as indicated at block 400 may include initiating a first game play request and receiving a result for the game play request, initiating a second game play request and receiving a result for the game play request, and so forth until all of the results for the primary game which are linked to the secondary game structure have been identified. At that time, the present invention may include translating the primary game results as indicated at block 403 to control the state of each secondary game structure location, determining the result of the secondary game as indicated at decision block 404, and awarding any prize in the secondary game as indicated at block 406. Alternatively, multiple game play requests are initiated concurrently in one or more primary games, and the concurrently identified results from the primary game are applied to the secondary game structure and evaluated with respect to the secondary game structure to determine the result of the secondary game.
  • [0042]
    It will also be noted that the number of game play requests initiated at step 400 in FIG. 4 may depend on the particular secondary game structure used according to the present invention and the manner in which the instances of the primary game are linked to the various locations of the secondary game structure. For example, if a player is participating in a game where the secondary game structure is represented by a 3×3 bingo card and each location in that grid is linked to only a single instance of the primary game, nine different game play requests would be required at process block 400 in order to control each secondary game structure location. Alternatively, each location in the nine location grid could be controlled by, for example, two instances of the primary game. In that case, eighteen different game play requests would be required at process block 400 to control each location in the secondary game structure.
  • [0043]
    Some preferred forms of the present secondary game invention employ a secondary game structure that includes secondary game structure locations that are all capable of being controlled by one or more instances of a primary game. However, other forms of the present invention apply instances of a primary game to control less than all locations of a secondary game structure. For example, a secondary game structure may comprise a traditional 5×5 bingo grid structure with a “Free” space in the middle of the grid. In this case, the “Free” space would not be linked to an instance of the primary game. Another example secondary game structure may comprise a representation of a reel-type game having a number of reels and reel symbol locations to define one or more paylines. The reel symbol locations represent secondary game structure locations. In this example, all of the reel symbol locations may be controlled by one or more instances of the primary game. However, some implementations may control only a limited subset of reel symbol locations by linked instances of the primary game. The symbols that appear at the other reel symbol locations may be controlled in any suitable manner. For example, the reel symbol locations that are not linked to be controlled by one or more instances of the primary game may be controlled to present reel symbols randomly for each instance of the secondary game.
  • [0044]
    It will be appreciated that the process steps described above with reference to FIG. 4 are preferably performed by various processing elements included in a gaming system or device that implements the present invention. In some preferred forms of the invention, one or more general purpose processors are used to provide the required data processing under the control of operational program code. Other forms of the invention may employ special purpose processing devices that do not utilize operational program code to direct the required data processing. In the example gaming system shown in FIG. 1, initiating game play requests in the primary game is controlled through a processing device at an EPS 103, such as processor 300 shown in FIG. 3. Any linking of locations in a secondary game structure to instances of the primary game as indicated at process block 401 in FIG. 4 may be performed by a game processor under the control of result coordinating program code where the game processor comprises a general processing device. This game processor may also be implemented through processor 300 shown in FIG. 3. Identifying primary game results may be performed by the game processor or by a separate processor. As indicated above, CGS 101 or an LAS 102, and more particularly a processing device associated with one of these components, such as a processor 200 shown in FIG. 2, may be responsible for identifying the primary game results. The game processor may receive primary game results from the component that identifies the results and apply those results to control the state of the linked locations of the secondary game structure as indicated at process block 403 in FIG. 4. The game processor may also identify the secondary game result from the states of the various secondary game structure locations as indicated at process block 404, and award secondary game prizes as indicated at process block 406. However, other forms of the present invention may employ the same processing device that identifies primary game results to also apply those results as shown at 403 in FIG. 4, identify the secondary game result as shown at block 404, and award the secondary game prize as indicated at block 406. Yet other forms of the invention may use a separate processing device for each of the steps indicated at block 402, 403, 404, and 406 in FIG. 4. Regardless of how the process is separated across different processing elements, the steps of applying the primary game results and identifying the secondary game result may be performed under the control of secondary game program code where the processing device or devices are general purpose processors.
  • [0045]
    The manner in which the process steps shown in FIG. 4 are distributed across different components in a networked implementation of the invention will have an impact in the types of communications required between components to implement a secondary game according to the invention. In embodiments in which the game processor is implemented at the player station such as an EPS 103 in FIG. 1, the communications from the primary game result determining component such as CGS 101 to the player station may be limited to communications of the primary game results that have been identified. The EPS based game processor in such an implementation would preferably apply the primary game results to the secondary game structure, identify the secondary game result, and could also award any secondary game prize correlated to that secondary game result. Also, the EPS processor would send instructions to the display device associated with the EPS, such as display device 305 in FIG. 3, to cause the display device to produce the desired secondary game graphics at the player station. The EPS processor may be configured to generate these display controlling instructions directly or through a suitable graphics processor included at the EPS.
  • [0046]
    Communications to the player station such as EPS 103 in networked gaming system 100 may be quite different where the game processor functions are performed at a processing device separate from the player station. In this type of implementation, where the primary game results are applied to the secondary game structure and the result of the secondary game is identified at a processing device separate from the player station, only the secondary game result need be communicated to the player station. However, preferred forms of the present secondary game invention will also communicate sufficient data or instructions to the player station to allow the player station to produce the particular secondary game structure graphics through the player station display. In these centralized game processor forms of the invention, the award associated with a secondary game result could be communicated to the player station or the player station could look up the award using table stored at the player station correlating secondary game results with secondary game prizes. Of course, even where the secondary game processor is implemented through a network component separate form the player stations themselves, the primary game results are still preferably communicated to the player station in some fashion so that the player station can communicate the results to the player through the display device associated with the player station.
  • [0047]
    FIG. 5 shows a graphic representation of an embodiment of the invention where the secondary game structure comprises a standard 5×5 bingo card grid shown on a display screen 500. This display screen may comprise the display associated with an EPS 103 shown particularly in FIG. 3. In this embodiment, display screen 500 shows three separate graphic elements. A first graphic element comprises a bingo card representation 501 that makes up the secondary game structure. A second graphic element 505 comprises a secondary game outcome display. The third graphic element comprises a primary game result display 506. Bingo card representation 501 includes twenty-five locations 502 numbered 1 through 25 in the lower left hand corner of each location for purposes of this description. Each one of these locations 502 may be placed alternatively in different graphic states according to the present invention. In particular, each location 502 may initially appear blank. However, after applying the primary game result or results that are linked to a respective location, the state of the location may be changed to a condition that indicates the location is daubed in a manner commonly used in bingo-type games. In the particular example of FIG. 5, the daub mark appears as an X over the respective location. The pattern produced by these daub markings after applying all of the primary game results linked to the locations of the bingo card secondary game structure 501 defines the result of the secondary game and may correlate to a secondary game prize.
  • [0048]
    To illustrate a more concrete example of the invention, assume each location 502 in the bingo card representation 501 making up the secondary game structure is linked to a single instance of the primary game. Also assume that the primary game comprises a bingo-type game in which a variety of prizes are awarded for different patterns achieved during the course of the underlying bingo game for a respective bingo card entered in a bingo game. Assume further that the secondary game rules according to the present invention dictate that if the linked instance of the primary game achieves any prize winning pattern, that primary game result will be applied to produce a daub at that respective location 502, and that otherwise the respective location 502 will remain undaubed. Assume also that a prize will be awarded in the secondary game in the event that any straight line bingo pattern is achieved in the secondary game structure/bingo card representation 501. Given these rules and assumptions, assume further that a player participates in a group of twenty-five separate instances of a first bingo game and achieves a winning result only in instances 5, 7, 11, 15, 21, 22, 23, 24, and 25. The remainder of the instances of the primary game achieved no winning pattern.
  • [0049]
    Under all of these assumptions and rules, a secondary game according to the present invention would result in a secondary game structure in the condition shown in FIG. 5. That is, the locations 502 linked to primary game instances 5, 7, 11, 15, 21, 22, 23, 24, and 25 are daubed while the remaining locations in structure 501 remain undaubed. Since the entire fifth column in structure 501 is daubed, this instance of the secondary game produces a win in the secondary game and entitles the player to a secondary game prize. In the example shown in FIG. 5, secondary game result display 505 displays a message indicating the result of the secondary game. The message may include a message showing the secondary game prize that has been awarded. In the event that there is no win in the secondary game, result display area 505 could display a message encouraging a player to play again, that is, obtain results for multiple instances of the primary game in order to have a chance in the secondary game.
  • [0050]
    The example display shown in FIG. 5 provides a separate area, primary game results display 506, for showing the individual results in the different instances of the primary game or games. In this example, the display 506 sequentially shows the result of each respective instance of the primary game. The particular display in the drawing shows the result of instance 25 of the primary bingo game. It will be appreciated, however, that numerous graphic presentations may be used alternatively to show the player both the results in the primary game and the results in the secondary game. For example, in one form of the invention, the player's display may be controlled, either by the player or otherwise, to toggle back and forth between a full-screen display showing the result of a single instance of the primary game, and then the secondary game structure as it is modified by the results that have thus far been displayed for the primary game. In other implementations, a full-screen display may be used to show the result in each primary game instance and the secondary game structure may be displayed only after each primary game result has been displayed. Forms of the invention may even show the secondary game structure and result before any of the primary game results are shown to the player.
  • [0051]
    FIG. 6 shows an alternate display 600 for a secondary game within the scope of the invention. In this display, the secondary game structure imitates a reel-type game having reels 601, 602, 603, 604, and 605. Each reel corresponds to a respective result in a bingo-type primary game. Thus, the display shown in FIG. 6 includes graphic elements 606, 607, 608, 609, and 610 each providing a display area for showing the result in the primary bingo-type game. Display 600 also includes a secondary game outcome display 611. In this reel-type secondary game, a winning pattern in the primary bingo-type game may relate to a particular reel symbol. The respective reel symbol appearing on the single horizontal payline through the five reels represents the state of the respective location in the secondary game structure. For example, as shown by FIG. 6, reels 601, 602, and 605 are shown with a “BAR” symbol, which corresponds to a straight line bingo result in the corresponding instances of the primary game, shown respectively at bingo card graphics 606, 607, and 610. Reel 604 displays a double bar symbol that corresponds to a “T” pattern in the corresponding instance of the primary game shown on bingo card representation 609, and reel 603 shows a “7” that corresponds to an indeterminate result in the respective instance of the primary game shown on bingo card representation 608. In this example, it is assumed that the result of three “BAR” symbols across the payline produces a winning combination worth 50 credits. Thus, secondary game result display area 611 shows a suitable graphic advising the player that they have won 50 credits as a result of the secondary game. The patterns, symbols, and corresponding results shown in FIGS. 5 and 6 are presented for illustrative purposes only and are not meant to limit the scope of the invention.
  • [0052]
    The above-described preferred embodiments are intended to illustrate the principles of the invention and are not meant to limit the scope of the invention. Various other embodiments and modifications to these preferred embodiments may be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the scope of the present invention. For example, although a particular hardware arrangement is shown for purposes of describing the invention, it will be appreciated that numerous hardware arrangements are possible for implementing the present invention. Also, although the operational software-controlled process steps are described as occurring at certain processing elements in the system, the processing steps may be distributed in any suitable fashion over various data processing elements.
Patentzitate
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Klassifizierungen
US-Klassifikation463/25
Internationale KlassifikationA63F9/24
UnternehmensklassifikationG07F17/3267, G07F17/32
Europäische KlassifikationG07F17/32M4, G07F17/32
Juristische Ereignisse
DatumCodeEreignisBeschreibung
11. Juli 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: MULTIMEDIA GAMES, INC., TEXAS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:LIND, CLIFTON E.;LIND, JEFFERSON C.;REEL/FRAME:016771/0823
Effective date: 20050708
22. Dez. 2014ASAssignment
Owner name: BANK OF AMERICA, N.A., AS COLLATERAL AGENT, TEXAS
Free format text: SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:GLOBAL CASH ACCESS, INC.;MULTIMEDIA GAMES, INC.;REEL/FRAME:034692/0667
Effective date: 20141219
10. Mai 2017ASAssignment
Owner name: EVERI PAYMENTS INC. (F/K/A GLOBAL CASH ACCESS, INC
Free format text: RELEASE BY SECURED PARTY;ASSIGNOR:BANK OF AMERICA, N.A.;REEL/FRAME:042438/0640
Effective date: 20170509
Owner name: EVERI GAMES INC. (F/K/A MULTIMEDIA GAMES, INC.), N
Free format text: RELEASE BY SECURED PARTY;ASSIGNOR:BANK OF AMERICA, N.A.;REEL/FRAME:042438/0640
Effective date: 20170509
Owner name: EVERI PAYMENTS INC. (F/K/A GLOBAL CASH ACCESS, INC
Free format text: RELEASE BY SECURED PARTY;ASSIGNOR:BANK OF AMERICA, N.A.;REEL/FRAME:042440/0076
Effective date: 20170509
Owner name: EVERI GAMES INC. (F/K/A MULTIMEDIA GAMES, INC.), N
Free format text: RELEASE BY SECURED PARTY;ASSIGNOR:BANK OF AMERICA, N.A.;REEL/FRAME:042440/0076
Effective date: 20170509