FLOATING BEZEL FOR A PERIPHERAL
COMPONENT IN A GAMING MACHINE
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
 The present invention relates generally to gaming machines and, more particularly, to a floating bezel for a peripheral component in a gaming machine.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 Many gaming machines contain a bill acceptor (i.e., bill validator) that draws in and reads currency bills inserted therein by a player. The bill acceptor includes an entry end with an entry slot for receiving the inserted bills. If an inserted bill is determined to be valid, the bill acceptor accepts the bill and delivers it to a cassette that stores the accepted bills. If, however, an inserted bill is determined to be invalid, the bill acceptor rejects the bill by dispensing it from the bill acceptor. The gaming machine increments its credit meter by a number of credits corresponding to the value of an accepted bill. For example, on a "quarter" machine where each wagered credit is worth one quarter, the gaming machine increments its credit meter by four credits for each accepted dollar bill, by twenty credits for each accepted five dollar bill, by forty credits for each accepted ten dollar bill, and so on.
 A bill acceptor is mounted inside a housing of the gaming machine at a mounting location. The housing includes a front door having an opening that exposes the entry slot at the entry end of the bill acceptor. In some assemblies, the bill acceptor may be mounted so deep within the machine housing that a gap exists between the front door and the entry end of the bill acceptor. To bridge this gap, a separate bezel is fixedly mounted to the front door and extends between the front door and the entry end of the bill acceptor when the door is closed.
 A drawback of the above assembly is that the bezel and the entry end of the bill acceptor may be misaligned or become misaligned. Such misalignment may be caused by such factors as variances in manufacturing, age, environmental conditions, shipping and handling, etc. If the bezel and the entry end of the bill acceptor are misaligned, the entry slot may be partially concealed and thereby interfere with a player's ability to insert bills into the entry slot. In addition, the entry end of the bill acceptor includes certain visual status indicators such as miniature LED's indicative of the bill acceptor's operating state, e.g., functioning properly, malfunctioning, full bill cassette, etc. The bezel includes one or more transmissive windows that normally reveal the status indicators when the bezel and the entry end are aligned. If the bezel and the entry end are misaligned, the status indicators might be partially concealed and thereby interfere with a person's ability to easily detect the operating state of the bill acceptor. To cure any misalignment between the bezel and the entry end of the bill acceptor, the position of the front door, bezel, and/or the bill acceptor may require manual adjustment.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 In accordance with the present invention, a peripheral component arrangement for a gaming machine comprises a peripheral component and a floating bezel. The peripheral component is mounted within a housing of the
gaming machine and includes an entry end with an entry slot. The bezel is floatably mounted to a front door of the housing and is mated to the entry end of the peripheral component when the front door is closed. Because the bezel is floatably mounted to the front door, the bezel can shift relative to the front door so as to align with and properly mate to the entry end of the peripheral component. The alignment of the bezel relative to the entry end of the peripheral component ensures that the entry slot is fully exposed for receiving or dispensing bills, tickets, coupons, vouchers, cards, or the like and that any status indicators on the entry end are visible through the bezel.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 The foregoing and other advantages of the invention will become apparent upon reading the following detailed description and upon reference to the drawings.
 FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a gaming machine containing a bill acceptor arrangement having a floating bezel and a bill acceptor.
 FIG. 2 is a section taken generally along line 2-2 in FIG. 1, showing how the floating bezel mates to an entry end of the bill acceptor.
 FIG. 3 is a section taken generally along line 3-3 in FIG. 1, showing how the floating bezel mates to the entry end of the bill acceptor.
 FIG. 4 is a diagram showing the extent of "float" of the floating bezel relative to the bill acceptor.
 While the invention is susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, specific embodiments have been shown by way of example in the drawings and will be described in detail herein. It should be understood, however, that the invention is not intended to be limited to the particular forms disclosed. Rather, the invention is to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE
 Referring now to the drawings, FIG. 1 depicts a gaming machine 10 containing a peripheral component arrangement embodying the present invention. In the illustrated example, the peripheral component arrangement is a bill acceptor arrangement having a floating bezel 12 and a bill acceptor 16. It should, however, be understood that the floating bezel 12 may interface with other peripheral components of a gaming machine that require a separate bezel for receiving or dispensing tickets, coupons, vouchers, cards, or the like. Examples of such other peripheral components include a printer, a card reader, and a ticket or coupon acceptor/dispenser. The gaming machine 10 further includes a hinged front door 14 that may be unlocked with a suitable key and opened by service personnel.
 FIGS. 2 and 3 are cross-sectional views of the bill acceptor arrangement. The bill acceptor 16 is mounted within a housing 18 (see FIG. 1) of the gaming machine and includes an entry end 20 with an entry slot 22. The bill acceptor 16 may be implemented with a WBA Series World Bill Acceptor commercially available, for example, from