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Publication numberUS20020111213 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 09/782,497
Publication dateAug 15, 2002
Filing dateFeb 13, 2001
Priority dateFeb 13, 2001
Publication number09782497, 782497, US 2002/0111213 A1, US 2002/111213 A1, US 20020111213 A1, US 20020111213A1, US 2002111213 A1, US 2002111213A1, US-A1-20020111213, US-A1-2002111213, US2002/0111213A1, US2002/111213A1, US20020111213 A1, US20020111213A1, US2002111213 A1, US2002111213A1
InventorsRobert McEntee, William Mauer, Yuval Levy
Original AssigneeMcentee Robert A., Mauer William M., Yuval Levy
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method, apparatus and article for wagering and accessing casino services
US 20020111213 A1
Abstract
An integrated system for identifying casino customers, placing wagers and tracking wins and losses, and for placing reservations and services, that is capable of automatically verifying that sufficient funds are available, and that tracks the cumulative amounts of money won, lost, and spent by a customer. A hand-held wireless communications device includes a biometric sensor to measure at least one piece of biometric data from a customer during operation which is compared to a previously measured piece of reference biometric data to authenticate the request. One or more receivers receiving requests from a handheld wireless communications device accepts the requests if the requests originated from within an area having access restricted to customers meeting the desired criteria, such as minimum age. Automatic notification of a wagering results are provided. Updated cumulative totals of funds remaining in a customer's account are tracked and displayed. The system can automatically verify that sufficient funds are available to pay for such requested waters, reservations and services.
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Claims(78)
We claim:
1. A hand-held wireless communication device for wagering, comprising:
a housing;
a processor received in the housing;
a user interface to provide and receive gaming and wagering information between the processor and a user operating the hand-held wireless communication device;
a transmitter coupled to the processor to wirelessly transmit at least a portion of the wagering information externally from the housing;
a receiver coupled to the processor to provide at least a portion of the gaming information wirelessly received externally from the housing; and
a bio-metric sensor associated with the housing and positionable with respect to the user operating the hand-held wireless communication device to measure at least one piece of access bio-metric data from the user during operation of the hand-held wireless communication device to place a wager.
2. The hand-held wireless communication device of claim 1 wherein the biometric sensor is coupled to the transmitter to transmit the measured piece of access biometric data externally from the housing.
3. The hand-held wireless communication device of claim 1, further comprising:
a memory containing at least one piece of reference bio-metric data measured before the operation of the hand-held wireless communication device by the user to place the wager, the memory coupled to the processor to compare the measured piece of access bio-metric data with the piece of reference bio-metric data, wherein the processor prevents the transmission of the wagering information by the transmitter unless the measured piece of access bio-metric data corresponds to the piece of reference bio-metric data.
4. The hand-held wireless communication device of claim 1, wherein the bio-metric sensor consists of at least one of a fingerprint imager, an iris print imager, a voice pattern imager, and a facial component imager.
5. The hand-held wireless communication device of claim 1, wherein the transmitter and receiver are formed as a transceiver.
6. The hand-held wireless communication device of claim 1, wherein the transmitter consists of at least one of radio frequency transmitter, an infrared transmitter, and an optical transmitter.
7. The hand-held wireless communication device of claim 1 wherein the user interface consists of at least one of a display, an icon driven menu, a pointer device, a cursor, a keyboard, a keypad, a speaker, and a microphone.
8. A sever system for controlling wagering by hand-held wireless communication devices, the server system comprising:
a transmitter for wirelessly transmitting gaming information to at least one of the plurality of hand-held wireless communications devices;
a receiver for wirelessly receiving wagering information from the at least one of the plurality of hand-held wireless communication devices; and
a processor programmed to accept wagers from a user operating the at least one of the plurality of hand-held wireless communication devices where a piece of access bio-metric data measured from the user during the operation of the hand-held wireless communication device to place a wager corresponds to a piece of reference bio-metric data measured from the user before the operation of the hand-held wireless communication device to place the wager.
9. The sever system of claim 8 wherein the receiver wirelessly receives at least the one piece of access bio-metric data from the at least one of the plurality of hand-held wireless communication devices, and further comprising:
a memory containing at least the one piece of reference bio-metric data, the memory coupled to the processor to compare the measured piece of access bio-metric data with the piece of reference bio-metric data, wherein the processor prevents a placement of any wagers contained in the received wagering information unless the piece of measured access bio-metric data corresponds to the piece of reference bio-metric data.
10. The sever system of claim 8 wherein the receiver wirelessly receives at least an access code from the at least one of the plurality of hand-held wireless communication devices, along with the wagering information.
11. A wagering system, comprising:
a host; comprising:
a host processor;
a host receiver for wirelessly receiving wagering information from at least one of a plurality of hand-held wireless communication devices;
a host transmitter for wirelessly transmitting gaming information to the at least one of the plurality of hand-held wireless communications devices; and
a plurality of hand-held wireless communications devices, at least one of the hand-held wireless communication devices, comprising:
a housing;
a player processor received in the housing;
a user interface to provide and receive the gaming and wagering information between a user and the player processor;
a player transmitter coupled to the player processor to wirelessly transmit at least a portion of the wagering information externally from the housing;
a player receiver coupled to the player processor to provide at least a portion of the gaming information wirelessly received externally from the housing; and
a bio-metric sensor associated with the housing to measure at least one piece of access bio-metric data from the user during operation of the hand-held wireless communication device by the user to place a wager.
12. The wagering system of claim 11 wherein the bio-metric sensor is coupled to the player transmitter to transmit the measured access bio-metric data externally from the housing to the host receiver, and wherein the host processor prevents a placement of any wager contained in the received wagering information unless the measured piece of access bio-metric data corresponds to the piece of reference bio-metric data measured before the operation of the hand-held wireless communication device by the user to place the wager.
13. The wagering system of claim 11, further comprising:
a memory containing at least one piece of reference bio-metric data measured before the operation of the hand-held wireless communication device by the user to place the wager, the memory coupled to the player processor to compare the measured piece of access bio-metric data with the piece of reference bio-metric data, wherein the player processor prevents the transmission of the wagering information by the transmitter unless the measured piece of access bio-metric data corresponds to the piece of reference bio-metric data.
14. A method of wagering, comprising:
measuring a piece of access biometric data from a user during the operation of the hand-held wireless communication device by the user to place a wager;
determining a wagering authorization status for the user based at least in part on the measured access bio-metric data; and
accepting or denying a wager from the user based on the determined authorization status.
15. The method of claim 14 wherein determining a wagering authorization status for the user based on the measured access bio-metric data, comprises:
comparing the measured piece of access bio-metric data to at least one piece of reference bio-metric data measured before the operation of the hand-held wireless communication device by the user to place the wager;
assigning a first authorization status if the measured piece of access bio-metric data corresponds to the piece of reference bio-metric data; and
assigning a second authorization status if the measured piece of access biometric data does not correspond to the piece of reference biometric data.
16. The method of claim 14 wherein determining a wagering authorization status for the user based on the measured access bio-metric data, comprises:
receiving a user identifier;
comparing the measured piece of access bio-metric data to a piece of reference bio-metric data corresponding to the user identified by the received user identifier, where the piece of reference bio-metric data was measured before the operation of the hand-held wireless communication device by the user to place the wager;
assigning a first authorization status if the piece of measured bio-metric data corresponds to the piece of reference bio-metric data; and
assigning a second authorization status if the piece of measured biometric data does not correspond to the piece of reference biometric data.
17. The method of claim 14 wherein determining a wagering authorization status for the user based on the measured access bio-metric data, comprises:
wirelessly transmitting the measured access bio-metric data to a host; and
at the host, comparing the measured piece of access bio-metric data to at least one piece of reference bio-metric data measured before the operation of the hand-held wireless communication device by the user to place the wager.
18. The method of claim 14 wherein determining a wagering authorization status for the user based on the measured access bio-metric data, comprises:
at a player hand-held communication device, comparing the measured piece of access bio-metric data to at least one piece of reference bio-metric data measured before the operation of the hand-held wireless communication device by the user to place the wager; and
wirelessly transmitting wagering information from the player hand-held communication device if the measured piece of access biometric data corresponds to the piece of reference biometric data.
19. The method of claim 14 wherein determining a wagering authorization status for the user based on the measured access bio-metric data, comprises:
at a player hand-held communication device, comparing the measured piece of access bio-metric data to at least one piece of reference bio-metric data measured before the operation of the hand-held wireless communication device by the user to place the wager;
wirelessly transmitting wagering information and an authorization code from the player hand-held communication device to a host, if the measured piece of access biometric data corresponds to the piece of reference biometric data.
20. The method of claim 14 wherein determining a wagering authorization status for the user based on the measured access bio-metric data, comprises:
verifying an age of the user;
assigning a user identifier to the user if the age of the user is above a predefined age;
receiving the user identifier;
comparing the measured piece of access bio-metric data to a piece of reference bio-metric data corresponding to the user identified by the received user identifier, where the piece of reference bio-metric data was measured before the operation of the hand-held wireless communication device by the user to place the wager;
assigning a first authorization status if the piece of measured bio-metric data corresponds to the piece of reference bio-metric data; and
assigning a second authorization status if the piece of measured biometric data does not correspond to the piece of reference biometric data.
21. The method of claim 14 wherein the authorization status is further determined in at least part on at least one of a credit rating, an age, a birth date, a citizenship, a residency, a registration status, a previous performance record.
22. A method of accepting wagers from a remote location, comprising:
receiving access biometric data corresponding to a user attempting to place a wager;
determining a wagering authorization status for the user based on the measured access bio-metric data; and
accepting or denying a wager from the user based on the determined authorization status.
23. The method of claim 22 wherein determining a wagering authorization status for the user based on the measured access bio-metric data, comprises:
comparing the measured piece of access biometric data to at least one piece of reference biometric data previously sampled from the user in-person.
24. The method of claim 22 wherein accepting or denying a wager from the user based on the determined authorization status, comprises:
accepting the wager if the measured piece of access biometric data corresponds to at least one piece of reference biometric data previously sampled from the user in-person.
25. The method of claim 22 wherein accepting or denying a wager from the user based on the determined authorization status, comprises:
accepting the wager if the measured piece of access bio-metric data corresponds to at least one piece of reference bio-metric data previously sampled from the user in-person and associated with a user identity.
26. A computer-readable media whose contents cause a computer system to accept and reject wagers, by:
receiving a piece of measured access biometric data corresponding to a user who is attempting to place a wager;
determining a wagering authorization status for the user based on the measured access bio-metric data; and
accepting or denying a wager from the user based on the determined authorization status.
27. The computer-readable media of claim 26 whose contents cause a computer system determine a wagering authorization status for the user based on the measured access bio-metric data, by:
comparing the measured piece of access bio-metric data to at least one piece of reference bio-metric data previously sampled from the user while independently verifying at least one additional characteristic of the user.
28. The computer-readable media of claim 26 whose contents cause a computer system determine a wagering authorization status for the user based on the measured access bio-metric data, by:
comparing the measured piece of access bio-metric data to at least one piece of reference bio-metric data previously sampled from the user while independently verifying the age of the user.
29. The computer-readable media of claim 26 whose contents cause a computer system determine a wagering authorization status for the user based on the measured access bio-metric data, by:
comparing the measured piece of access bio-metric data to at least one piece of reference bio-metric data previously sampled from the user while independently verifying the age of the user in-person.
30. A hand-held wireless communications device for wagering, comprising:
a processor;
a memory coupled to the processor for control thereby to provide instructions and data to the processor for execution;
a display coupled to the processor for control thereby to present a user interface having a number of wagering prompts;
a user selectable input device coupled to the processor to provide user input to the processor; and
a transmitter coupled to the processor for control thereby to transmit wagering information from the hand-held wireless communications device.
31. The hand-held wireless communications device of claim 30, further comprising:
a global positioning system receiver to receive global positioning data, the global positioning system receiver coupled to the processor to provide the global positioning data to the transmitter for transmission along with the wagering information.
32. The hand-held wireless communications device of claim 30 wherein the user selectable input device comprises a touch sensitive portion of the display.
33. The hand-held wireless communications device of claim 30 wherein the transmitter comprises a light.
34. The hand-held wireless communications device of claim 30 wherein the transmitter comprises an infrared light.
35. The hand-held wireless communications device of claim 30 wherein the transmitter comprises a radio frequency transmitter.
36. The hand-held wireless communications device of claim 30 wherein the wager prompts include a place wager icon.
37. The hand-held wireless communications device of claim 30 wherein the wager prompts include a wager amount field.
38. A computing system for wagering, comprising:
a first wireless receiver positioned to receive wirelessly transmitted wagering information; and
a processor coupled to the receiver and programmed to determine a position from which the wagering information was transmitted, to determine whether the determined position is within a first restricted access gaming area and to accept a wager based on the wagering information if the determined position is within the first restricted access gaming area.
39. The computing system of claim 38, further comprising:
at least a second wireless receiver positioned to receive the wirelessly transmitted wagering information; and wherein the processor compares a time delay between receipt of the wirelessly transmitted wagering information by the first and the second wireless receivers to determine the position from which the wagering information was transmitted.
40. The computing system of claim 38, further comprising:
at least a second and a third wireless receiver positioned to receive the wirelessly transmitted wagering information; and wherein the processor compares triangulates between receipt of the wirelessly transmitted wagering information by the first, the second and the third wireless receivers to determine the position from which the wagering information was transmitted.
41. The computing system of claim 38 wherein wirelessly transmitted wagering information is transmitted along with a set of global positioning system position data corresponding to a position from which the wagering information was transmitted.
42. A system for remote wagering, comprising:
a first restricted access gaming area, the first restricted access gaming area having access restricted to persons meeting at least a first predefined criteria;
a shielding layer surrounding the first restricted access gaming area, the shielding layer being substantially impenetrable to signals of a first type;
at least a first receiver within the first restricted access gaming area; and
a computing system coupled to the receiver to receive wagering information via the receiver from a hand-held wireless communications devices located within the restricted access gaming area and transmitting the wagering information as signal of the first type.
43. The system of claim 42, further comprising:
a number of game sensors positioned to monitor a gaming table, the game sensors coupled to the computing system to provide gaming information to the computing system.
44. The system of claim 42 wherein the computing system is programmed to simulate a wagering game.
45. A system for remote wagering, comprising:
a first restricted access gaming area, the first restricted access gaming area having access restricted to persons meeting at least a first predefined criteria;
a first receiver positioned to receive wirelessly transmitted wagering information;
a second receiver spaced from the first receiver and positioned to receive wirelessly transmitted wagering information; and
a processor coupled to the first and the second receivers to receive the wirelessly transmitted wagering information and programmed to determine a position from which the wagering information was transmitted, and to accept a wager contained in the wagering information if the determined position is within the first restricted access gaming area.
46. The system of claim 45 wherein the processor is programmed to compare a time delay between receipt of the wirelessly transmitted wagering information by the first and the second receivers to determine the position from which the wagering information was transmitted.
47. The system of claim 45 wherein the processor is programmed to triangulate between the receipt of the wirelessly transmitted wagering information by the first, the second and the third receivers to determine the position from which the wagering information was transmitted.
48. A method of automated wagering, comprising:
controlling access by a number of users to a first restricted area, at least one of the number of users having a hand-held wireless communication device;
operating a first number of wireless receivers having a range approximately coextensive with the first restricted area;
receiving a wireless transmission of wager information from at least one of the hand-held wireless communication devices located within the first restricted area, the wager information including at least one wager; and
accepting the at least one wager received by the first number wireless receivers.
49. The method of claim 48, further comprising:
controlling access by the number of users to a second restricted area;
operating a second number of wireless receivers having a range approximately coextensive with the second restricted area;
receiving a number of wireless transmissions of wager information from at least some of the hand-held wireless communication devices located within the second restricted area, the wager information including at least one wager; and
accepting the wagers in the wager information received by the second number of wireless receivers.
50. The method of claim 48 wherein operating a first number of wireless receivers having a range approximately coextensive with the first restricted area includes positioning a number of optical sensors to provide line-of-sight coverage extending over approximately an entire room.
51. The method of claim 48 wherein operating a first number of wireless receivers having a range approximately coextensive with the first restricted area includes positioning a number of infrared sensors to provide line-of-sight coverage extending over approximately an entire room.
52. The method of claim 48 wherein operating a first number of wireless receivers having a range approximately coextensive with the first restricted area includes positioning a number of antennas to provide coverage extending over approximately an entire room.
53. The method of claim 48 wherein operating a first number of wireless receivers having a range approximately coextensive with the first restricted area includes positioning a number of antennas to provide coverage extending over approximately an entire room; and shielding an outer perimeter of the room from wireless transmissions originating outside of the room.
54. The method of claim 48 wherein controlling access by the number of users to a first restricted area includes:
for each of the users, determining an approximate age of the user; and
permitting the user access to the first restricted area if the user has an approximate age greater than or equal to a pre-defined minimum age.
55. The method of claim 48 wherein controlling access by the number of users to a first restricted area includes:
for each of the users, determining an approximate amount of credit for the user; and
permitting the user access to the first restricted area if the user has an approximate amount of credit greater than or equal to a pre-defined minimum.
56. A method of automated wagering, comprising:
receiving a wireless transmission of wager information including at least one wager from at least one hand-held wireless communication device;
accepting the at least one wager if the wireless transmission of wager information originated within a first one of a number of predefined restricted areas.
57. The method of claim 56, further comprising:
determining a position of the origin of the wireless transmission of wager information; and
determining whether the determined position of the origin of the wireless transmission of wager information is within the first one of the number of predefined restricted areas.
58. The method of claim 56 wherein receiving the wireless transmission of wager information comprises receiving the wireless transmission of wager information at a first receiver and at a second receiver spaced from the first receiver, and wherein the method further comprises:
determining a time difference between receipt of the wireless transmission of wager information by the first and the second receivers;
determining a position of the origin of the wireless transmission based on the time difference; and
determining whether the determined position of the origin of the wireless transmission of wager information is within the first one of the number of predefined restricted areas.
59. The method of claim 56 wherein receiving the wireless transmission of wager information comprises receiving the wireless transmission of wager information at a first receiver, at a second receiver spaced from the first receiver, and at a third receiver spaced from the first and the second receivers, and wherein the method further comprises:
determining a position of the origin of the wireless transmission by triangulation; and
determining whether the determined position of the origin of the wireless transmission of wager information is within the first one of the number of predefined restricted areas.
60. The method of claim 56 wherein receiving a wireless transmission of wager information includes receiving global positioning data corresponding to a position of the hand-held wireless communication device producing the wireless transmission; and
determining whether the hand-held wireless communication device producing the wireless transmission is within the first one of the number of predefined restricted areas.
61. A method of automated wagering, comprising:
operating at least one wireless signal receiver to receive a plurality of wireless transmissions of wager information;
accepting at least one wager contained in the received wager information if the wireless transmission of the received wager information originated from within one of a number of predefined restricted areas; and
transmitting gaming information, including wager results to at least the predefined restricted areas.
62. The method of claim 61, further comprising:
determining that the wireless transmission of the received wager information originated from within one of a number of predefined restricted areas by the mere receipt of the wireless transmission.
63. The method of claim 61, further comprising:
determining that the wireless transmission of the received wager information originated from within one of a number of predefined restricted areas by:
determining a position of the origin of the wireless transmission of the received wager information; and
comparing the determined position with a position of at least the one of the number of predefined restricted areas.
64. The method of claim 61 wherein transmitting gaming information includes transmitting gaming information beyond the predefined restricted areas.
65. A host computing system for remote wagering, comprising:
a receiver for wirelessly receiving wagering information from a hand-held wireless communication device;
a processor coupled to the receiver to receive the received wagering information and programmed to accept a wager contained in the wagering information if the handheld communications device was within a restricted area when the wagering information was transmitted; and
a host transmitter coupled to the processor to wirelessly transmit a notification of a result of the wager to the hand-held wireless communications device outside of the restricted area.
66. A method for remote wagering, comprising:
wirelessly receiving wagering information transmitted from a handheld communications device;
accepting a wager contained in the wagering information if the handheld communications device was within a restricted area when the wagering information was transmitted; and
automatically providing notification of a result of the wager to the handheld communications device when the handheld communications device is not within the restricted area.
67. A hand-held wireless communications device for accessing casino services, comprising:
a housing;
a processor received in the housing;
a memory received in the housing and coupled to the processor to provide data and instructions thereto;
a display carried by the housing and coupled to the processor for control thereby, the display displaying a visual representation of a data structure stored in the memory, the visual representation including an indication of a cumulative amount of funds remaining in a user's account;
a transmitter coupled to the player processor to wirelessly transmit requests for wagering and guest services externally from the housing; and
a receiver coupled to the player processor to provide updated funds data received externally from the housing, the updated funds data based at least in part on the cost of the requested wagering and guest services.
68. The hand-held wireless communications device of claim 67 wherein the updated funds data includes an updated cumulative total of funds remaining in the user's account.
69. The hand-held wireless communications device of claim 67 wherein the updated funds data includes a cost of the requested wagering and guest services to be summed with a current cumulative amount of funds remaining in the user's account to updated the cumulative amount of funds remaining in the user's account.
70. A system for accessing casino services, comprising:
a handheld wireless communications device, comprising:
a housing;
a processor received in the housing;
a memory received in the housing and coupled to the processor to provide da1a and instructions thereto;
a display carried by the housing and coupled to the processor for control thereby, the display displaying a visual representation of a data structure stored in the memory, the visual representation including an indication of a cumulative amount of funds remaining in a user's account;
a transmitter coupled to the player processor to wirelessly transmit requests for wagering and guest services externally from the housing; and
a receiver coupled to the player processor to provide updated funds data received externally from the housing, the updated funds data based at least in part on the cost of the requested wagering and guest services; and
a host; comprising:
a host processor;
a host receiver for wirelessly receiving requests for wagering and guest services from the hand-held wireless communication device and coupled to the host processor to transmit the received requests; and
a host transmitter coupled to the host processor to wirelessly transmit the updated funds data in response to the requests for the wagering and guest services.
71. The system of claim 70 wherein the visual representation further includes an indication of a number of user selectable wagering services and a number of user selectable guest services.
72. A method of operating a hand-held wireless communications device for providing access to casino services, comprising:
displaying a visual representation of a data structure stored in a memory of the wireless communications device, the visual representation including an indication of a cumulative amount of funds remaining in a user's account;
wirelessly transmitting requests for wagering and guest services externally from the housing; receiving updated funds data externally from the wireless communications device, the updated funds data based at least in part on a cost of the requested wagering and guest services;
displaying an updated visual representation of the data structure stored in the memory, the updated visual representation including an indication of an updated cumulative amount of funds remaining in a user's account based at least in part on the cost of the requested wagering and guest services.
73. A hand-held wireless communications device for accessing casino services, comprising:
a housing;
a processor received in the housing;
a memory received in the housing and coupled to the processor to provide data and instructions thereto;
a display carried by the housing and coupled to the processor for control thereby, the display displaying a visual representation of a data structure stored in the memory, the visual representation including an indication of at least one wagering service offered by a casino and an indication of at least one guest service offered by the casino;
a transmitter coupled to the player processor to wirelessly transmit requests for the wagering and guest services externally from the housing; and
a receiver coupled to the player processor to provide a confirmation of the requests for wagering and guest services wirelessly received externally from the housing.
74. The hand-held wireless communications of claim 73 wherein the indication of at least one wagering service includes a plurality of user selectable wagering games.
75. The hand-held wireless communications of claim 73 wherein the indication of at least one guest service includes a plurality of user selectable reservations for accommodations, meals and shows.
76. The hand-held wireless communications of claim 73, wherein the visual representation further comprises:
an indication of a cumulative amount of funds remaining in a user's account.
77. A system for accessing casino services, comprising:
hand-held wireless communications device, comprising:
a housing;
a processor received in the housing;
a memory received in the housing and coupled to the processor to provide data and instructions thereto;
a display carried by the housing and coupled to the processor for control thereby, the display displaying a visual representation of a data structure stored in the memory, the visual representation including an indication of at least one wagering service offered by a casino and an indication of at least one guest service offered by the casino;
a transmitter coupled to the player processor to wirelessly transmit requests for the wagering and guest services externally from the housing; and
a receiver coupled to the player processor to provide a confirmation of the requests for wagering and guest services wirelessly received externally from the housing.
a host; comprising:
a host processor;
a host receiver for wirelessly receiving the requests for the wagering and guest services from the hand-held wireless communication device and coupled to transmit the received wagering and guest services request to the host processor; and
a host transmitter coupled to the host processor to wirelessly transmit the confirmation of the requests for the wagering and guest services.
78. A method of operating a hand-held wireless communications device for providing access to casino services, comprising:
displaying a visual representation of a data structure stored in a memory of the wireless communications device, the visual representation including an indication of at least one wagering service offered by a casino and an indication of at least one guest service offered by the casino;
wirelessly transmitting requests for the wagering and guest services externally from the wireless communications device; and
wirelessly receiving at the wireless communications device a confirmation of the requests for wagering and guest services transmitted externally from the housing.
Description
TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] This invention is generally related to the placement of wagers, reservations, and requests for services in an environment such as a casino.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Casinos generally provide a place for legalized wagering on games of skill and chance. For example, the casino may provide games such as poker, “twenty-one” or blackjack, baccarat, roulette, craps, slot machines, and other similar games. Such games, allow the casino's customers to place bets or wagers that result in winnings if the wager is successful, or losses if the wager is unsuccessful.

[0003] Such wagering activity is typically tightly controlled by a state or other governmental authority overseeing the casino. Many rules and regulations are in place to ensure the fairness of the gaming, thus protecting the customers. Some of the rules and regulations, such as minimum age limits, are designed to protect minors by prohibiting them from placing of bets or wagers. The enforcement of age limits is important to the casino maintaining its license to operate.

[0004] The casino can also have its own rules governing the wagering. For example, the casino may wish to limit particularly large wagers to customers having suitable credit. The casino may have other criteria for limiting wagering, such as a registration status with the casino or the casino's frequent player club, a previous performance record, and/or a citizenship or residency requirement.

[0005] In addition to providing gaming activities, many casinos also provide lodging, restaurant and bar services, and entertainment such as shows or performances. As is typical for many large hotels, the casino may provide a variety of guest services, such as room service, laundry service, safe deposit box, valet parking, and/or spa and gym services. Thus, the casino attempts to provide all of the hospitality services that its customers desire.

[0006] In the typical casino environment, the customer receives tokens or chips at the casino bank representing different monetary values in exchange for cash or credit. The chips are accepted at the casinos gaming tables, and can also be accepted at various casino establishments such as restaurants, coffee shops, bars, and theaters.

SUMMARY

[0007] To date, casinos have had difficulty in automating their operation for a number of reasons. For example, state imposed minimum age laws have required casinos to visually monitor those who are gaming. This allows the casino personnel to verify the age of anyone placing a wager that appears to be younger than the state's minimum age. Other criteria that the casino wishes to monitor, such as a customer's credit, has been difficult, if not impossible, to monitor. The casino often must rely on casino personnel to visually recognize individual customers for special treatment. Current systems also make it difficult for customers to track the amounts won and lost during wagering, as well as the amounts spent on various services.

[0008] An integrated system for authenticating casino customers, placing wagers reservations, and/or service requests, and for automatically tracking wins and losses, would provide unique advantages to the casino and customers. An integrated system that is capable of automatically verifying that sufficient funds are available, and that tracks the cumulative amounts of money won, lost, and spent by a customer, would also provide unique advantages to the casino and customers.

[0009] In one aspect, a hand-held wireless communications device includes a biometric sensor to measure at least one piece of biometric data from a customer during operation of the communications device by which a customer placing a wager, reservation and/or service request can be authenticated. In a related aspect, a host computing device includes a receiver for wirelessly receiving wagering information and accepting in the wagering information if measured biometric data matches a sample of reference biometric data previously measured for the particular customer. The comparison of the measured biometric data with the reference biometric data can be performed at the wireless communication device, or at the host computing device.

[0010] Under another aspect, a system employs one or more receivers receiving wagering information from a wireless communications device to determine whether the signals originated from within an area having access restricted to customers meeting desired criteria such as minimum age. The receiver system can be co-extensive with the restricted area, and the restricted area can be shielded to ensure that all signals received by the receiver system originated from within the restricted area. The system can employ GPS data received at one or more receivers to determine the position of the signal's origin. The system can employ a time difference between receipt of the signal by two or more receivers to determine the position, or can employ triangulation using three or more receivers. The system can transmit wagering results to wireless communications devices located within, or without, the restricted area. Thus the system can provide automatic notification of a wagering result after the customer has left the restricted area.

[0011] In another aspect, a wireless communications device displays the cumulative totals of funds remaining in a customer's account, updated to account for wins and/or losses from wagers, and costs associated with requested reservations and services. The cumulative total can be tracked by the wireless communications device or by a host computing device. In a related aspect, the wireless communications device allows the customer to automatically transmit requests for wagering and guest services, such as reservations for accommodations, meals, drinks, and shows. A host computing device can receive these requests, and automatically enter the requested wagers, reservations, and/or service requests. The host computing device can verify that the customer's account has sufficient funds to pay for such services before entering the requests. The host computing device can automatically debit the customer's account for the requested wagers, reservations, and/or services, and provide a confirmation of the acceptance of the request along with an updated cumulative total of the funds remaining in the customer's account.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION

[0012] In the drawings, identical reference numbers identify similar elements or acts. The sizes and relative positions of elements in the drawings are not necessarily drawn to scale. For example, the shapes of various elements and angles are not drawn to scale, and some of these elements are arbitrarily enlarged and positioned to improve drawing legibility. Further, the particular shapes of the elements as drawn, are not intended to convey any information regarding the actual shape of the particular elements, and have been solely selected for ease of recognition in the drawings.

[0013]FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram showing an environment in which an embodiment of the invention can operate, including a handheld wireless communications device and a host computing device.

[0014]FIG. 2 is a block diagram showing the interaction between one of the handheld wireless communications device and the host computing device of FIG. 1.

[0015]FIG. 3 is a schematic diagram showing the use of global positioning data to determine whether a wireless transmission of a wager, reservation, and/or service request originated from within, or without, a restricted area.

[0016]FIG. 4 is a schematic diagram showing one or more receivers having a range co-extensive with a shielded restricted area.

[0017]FIG. 5 is a schematic diagram showing two or more receivers for determining whether a wireless transmission of wagering information originated from within a restricted area by comparing a time difference between signal reception by at least two of the receivers.

[0018]FIG. 6 is a schematic diagram showing three or more receivers to determine whether a wireless transmission or wagering information originated from within a restricted access area by triangulation.

[0019]FIG. 7 is a schematic diagram showing a number of host computing devices networked via a server.

[0020]FIG. 8 is a schematic diagram showing a portion of a user interface represented as a window of user-selectable icons for selecting a wagering game, a reservation, a guest service, or a funds transaction.

[0021]FIG. 9 is a schematic diagram of a portion of the user interface in the form of a number of windows representing current wagering games, and providing information regarding current wagers and a balance of the customer's funds.

[0022]FIG. 10 is a schematic diagram of a portion of the user interface in the form of a pair of windows representing the availability of reservations for a meal and a show, respectively.

[0023]FIG. 11 is a schematic diagram of data flow employing a CORBA communications protocol.

[0024]FIG. 12 is a flow diagram showing an exemplary method of authenticating a request from a customer by comparing measured biometric data with previously stored reference biometric data, prior to transmitting a wager, a reservation, and/or a service request to a host computing device.

[0025]FIG. 13 is a flow diagram showing an exemplary method of authenticating a request from a customer by comparing measured biometric data with previously stored reference biometric data, after receiving a wager, reservation, and/or service request from the customer.

[0026]FIG. 14 is a flow diagram showing an exemplary method of restricting access to a restricted area based on at least one customer criteria and determining at the communications device that a wireless wager, reservation, and/or service request originated from the restricted area.

[0027]FIG. 15 is a flow diagram showing an exemplary method of limiting access to a restricted area based on at least one customer criteria and determining at the host computing device that a wireless wager, reservation, and/or service request originated from within the restricted area at the host computing device.

[0028]FIG. 16 is a flow diagram showing an exemplary method of automatically accepting requests for wagering, reservation, and/or services, and verifying that the requesting customer has sufficient funds prior to accepting the wager, reservation or service request and confirming the same acceptance along with an indication of the funds remaining in the customer's account.

[0029]FIG. 17 is a flow diagram showing an exemplary method of authenticating a wireless request by a customer using biometric data at a wireless communications device, and verifying that the customer has adequate funds prior to accepting the wirelessly transmitted wager, reservation, and/or service request.

[0030]FIG. 18 is a flow diagram showing an exemplary method of authenticating a wireless request by a customer using biometric data at a host computing device and verifying that the customer has adequate funds prior to accepting the wirelessly transmitted wager, reservation, and/or service request.

[0031]FIG. 19 is a flow diagram showing an exemplary method of automatically notifying a customer of the result of a previously placed wager.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0032] In the following descriptions, specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of various embodiments of the invention. However, one skill in the art will understand that the invention may be practiced without these details. In other instances, well known structures associated with computers, computer networks, data structures, wireless communications devices, casino, hotel and gaming operations, have not been shown or described in detail to avoid unnecessarily obscuring descriptions of the embodiments of the invention.

[0033] Unless the context requires otherwise, throughout the specification and claims which follow, the word “comprise” and variations thereof, such as, “comprises” and “comprising” are to be construed in an open, inclusive sense, that is as “including but not limited to.” The headings provided herein are for convenience only and do not interpret the scope or meaning of the claimed invention.

[0034] Environment

[0035]FIG. 1 shows a casino automation system 5, including at least one handheld wireless communications device 10, and a casino based computing system 12. The casino based computing system 12 includes a host computing device 14 that communicates with the wireless communications device 10 via one or more receivers 16 and one or more transmitters 18. The receivers 16 receive wireless signals 20 from the communications device 10 and the transmitters 18 transmit wireless signals 22 to the communications device 10.

[0036] The receivers 16 and transmitters 18 can take any of a variety of forms, and can be formed as transceivers. For example, in an optical embodiment, the transmitter 18 can take the form of a modulated light source, such as an infrared light source, a laser, or other suitable light source. In such an embodiment, the receiver 16 takes the form of a light sensitive device such as a charge coupled device (“CCD”) or photo diode. In an RF embodiment, the transmitter 18 can take the form of an RF transmitter coupled to a suitable antenna, and the receiver 16 can take the form of an RF receiver coupled to a suitable antenna. The receiver 16 and transmitter 18 can function in any of a number of frequency ranges commonly employed for wireless communications. The receiver 16 and the transmitter 18 can operate in the same range, or can operate in different frequency ranges as best suits the particular application. The frequency range can be selected to accommodate government licensing criteria, such as FCC regulations, and can also take into account the physical characteristics of the casino or gaming environment, such as the permeability of the material constituting the walls and other structures of the casino.

[0037] The casino based computing system 12 can include a number of sensors 24 positioned to monitor the activity at a gaming table 26 or other gaming area. The sensors 24 can take the form of motion detectors, machine-vision systems or other devices. The casino based computing system 12 can also include one or more reservations databases 28, for tracking and entering reservations for a variety of services such as accommodations, restaurants, shows, and other entertainment. The casino based computing system 12 can also include one or more services databases for tracking and entering requests for a particular guest services 30, such as requests for room service, room cleaning service, laundry, valet parking, and other services typically associated with a hotel and/or casino. These databases can be combined, some can be omitted, and additional databases added to suit the particular environment.

[0038] Wireless Communications Device

[0039] The wireless communications device 10 includes a housing 32 and a display 34. The display 34 can display at least a portion of a user interface (“UI”), such as a graphical user interface (“GUI”), to allow the customer to interact with the wireless communications device 10. The display 34 can take the form of a touch-sensitive display, allowing the user to enter data and/or commands by touching the display with a finger and/or stylus. The wireless communications device 10 can also include user selectable keys or buttons 36 for operating the communications device 10, for example, for turning the communications device 10 on and off, and for selecting various functions. A cursor control device 38 allows the customer to control a cursor, for example, to move the cursor about the display 34 for interacting with the displayed elements of the UI. The wireless communications device 10 can also include a speaker 40 and a microphone 32 to allow the customer to interact with the wireless communications device 10.

[0040] In certain embodiments, the wireless communications device 10 can include a biometric sensor 34 to detect a physical characteristic or trait of the person operating the communications device 10. The biometric sensor 34 can take a variety of forms capable of measuring one or more physical characteristics. For example, the biometric sensor 34 can take the form of a pressure sensitive pad for detecting fingerprints, thumbprints, or handprints of the user. Alternatively, an imaging device can be used to detect fingerprints, thumbprints or handprints. An imaging device can also detect other physical characteristics, such as the pattern in the iris of the operator's eye which has been shown to be useful for identification purposes. Alternatively, or additionally, the microphone 42 can be used to sample the operator's voice, which has also been shown to be useful in identification purposes. Details about the above-listed biometric sensors, and about additional and/or alternative biometric sensors, are generally known in the identification arts, and thus will not be described in further detail in the interests of brevity.

[0041]FIG. 2 shows various hardware and software elements of the wireless communications device 10 and the host computing device 14. The computing device 10 includes a transceiver 46, a central processing unit (“CPU”) 48, a persistent memory device 50, a media drive 52, and a memory 54. Where the display 34 (FIG. 1) is touch-sensitive, the communications device 10 includes touch screen sensors 56. The principle hardware components of the communications device 10 are conventional, and well-known in the art. For example, the CPU 48 can take the form of any suitable microprocessor, for example, Pentium II, Pentium III or Power PC 604 processor. The persistent memory device 50 can take the form of a hard drive or other non-volatile memory device. The media drive 52 can take the form of a floppy disk reader, a CD-ROM reader, a DVD reader, an optical disk reader, or other similar device that reads instructions from computer-readable media. The memory 84 can take the form of random access memory (“RAM”) or other dynamic storage that temporarily stores instructions and data for execution by the CPU 48.

[0042] The transceiver 46 can take any of the variety of forms explained above in reference to the receiver 16 and transmitter 18, the transceiver 46 being configured to wirelessly communicate with the receiver 16 and transmitter 18.

[0043] The memory 54 of the communications device 10 contains instructions and data for execution by the CPU 48. For example, the memory 54 includes an operating system (“OS”) 58 to provide instructions and data for operating the communications device 10. The OS 58 can take the form of conventional operating systems, such as Windows CE available from Microsoft Corporation of Redmond, Wash. or the Palm operating system available from Palm, Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif.

[0044] The OS 58 can include application-programming interfaces (“APIs”) for interfacing with subsystems and peripheral components. For example, a display API 60 for interfacing with a display system, a keypad API 62 for interfacing with a keypad, a window API 64 for controlling window presentation, a sound API 66 for interfacing with a sound subsystem and a communications API 68 for controlling communications and communications components such as the transceiver 46. In the particular embodiment shown, the OS 58 also includes a biometric sensor API 70 for controlling the operation of the biometric sensor 44. A number of the illustrated embodiments do not require the biometric sensor 44 or the biometric sensor API 70.

[0045] The memory 54 of the communications device 10 can also include additional communications or networking software (not shown) for wired and/or wireless communications on networks, such as local area networks (“LANs”), wide area networks (“WANs”), or the Internet. For example, the memory 54 can store Web browser and/or Web server software applications.

[0046] In certain embodiments, the communications device 10 includes a GPS API 72 for controlling a global positioning system (“GPS”) receiver 74 for receiving and decoding GPS information. Such GPS systems are known in the relevant art, and will not be further described in detail in interest of brevity.

[0047] The memory 54 also includes instructions and/or data in the form of a player application 76. In part, the player application 76, in conjunction with the operating system 58 and the APIs 60-72, provide the UI that aides the customer in placing and tracking wagers, reservations and/or service requests. In some embodiments, the player application 76 also authenticates the identity of the device operator before transmitting requests to the host computing device 14.

[0048] The memory 54 also includes an ORB 77 providing communications via the CORBA protocol. CORBA, developed by the Object Management Group (“OMG”) provides interoperability among a large variety of existing hardware and software products, and includes an interface definition language (“IDL”) and an application programming interface (“API”) 79 that enable client/server object interaction within a specific implementation of an object request broker (“ORB”). The ORB 77 is a middle layer that establishes the client-server relationships between various objects. The ORB 77 allows a client to transparently invoke a method on a server object that may be on the same machine, or on a different machine across a network. Further details regarding CORBA are available through OMG's web site at www.omg.org; as well as other sites such as www.developer.com; and in commonly assigned U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/192,690, filed on Mar. 28, 2000, and entitled “METHOD OF DISTRIBUTED OBJECT LOOKUP”; and commonly assigned U.S. patent application No. 09/663,766, filed Sep. 18, 2000, and entitled “METHOD, APPARATUS, AND ARTICLE FOR GIOP MESSAGE COMPRESSION/DECOMPRESSION,” each of which are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety. In particular, the compression and decompression methods are particularly suit for the casino environment due to the relatively limited computational speed and memory capacity of typical handheld communications devices.

[0049] Host Computing Device

[0050] The host computing device 14 includes hardware and software substantially similar to the communications device 10, thus common acts and structures are identified by the same reference numbers. Only significant differences in operation and structure are described below.

[0051] The host computing device 14 can take any of a variety of forms, such as a mainframe computer, minicomputer, server, workstation, micro or personal computer, laptop computer, and palm top or hand-held computing appliances.

[0052] The operating system 58 of the host computing device 14 can contain an additional network API 78 that provides networking services for the automated casino based computing system 12. The memory 54 of the host computing device 14 also contains a host application 80 in the form of instructions and/or data for controlling the various functions of the host computing device 14. The host application 80 can include modules for executing a number of tasks. For example, an “availability” module 82 can determine the availability of wagering games, reservations, and/or services, and can transfer information regarding the availability to the communications device 10 for display to the customer. In one embodiment, an “authenticate” module 84 can verify the identity of the operator making the request using biometric data. In another embodiment, the “authenticate” module 84 can verify that a request for wagering, reservations, and/or services originated from within a restricted area. An “accounting” module 86 can verify that the requesting customer's account has sufficient funds and can update the amount of funds remaining in the customer's account. For example, the “accounting module” 86 can add funds to the customer's account in response to the customer's deposit or authorization to charge a credit card. Additionally, the “accounting” module 86 can add, or subtract funds based on wagers that are won or lost by the customer. Further, the “accounting” module 86 can subtract funds based on the cost of reservations (e.g, tickets) and/or services requested by the customer.

[0053] An “enter request” module 88 accepts and otherwise places the wager, reservation, and/ or service request. For example, the “enter request” module 88 can automatically reserve seats for a show or meal at a casino facility and/or external facility. The “enter request” module 88 can implement the reservation by placing an entry in an electronic seating database, or by providing a notification such as an electronic mail notification to the appropriate personnel. The “enter request” module 88 can enter a service request by, for example, notifying the appropriate server of the request, such as automatically logging a drink order in an electronic queue at a bar. Additionally, the “enter request” module 88 can provide a confirmation of the entry or acceptance of the wager, reservation or service request.

[0054] A “display” module 90 can provide a real-time display of a wagering game to the communications device 10. The real-time display is based on information gathered by the sensors 24. The real-time display can be a live video and/or audio feed, or can be a computer simulation of the live game. A “notification” module 92 can provide notification of the outcome of a wager placed by the customer. The “display” module 90 and “notification” module 92 operate in conjunction with a live gaming interface 94 that receives information about a wagering game via game sensors 24 (FIG. 1). A communications port 96 allows the host computing device 14 to be networked to other computing devices and databases.

[0055] GPS Based System

[0056]FIG. 3 shows an embodiment employing GPS data for determining the position of a wireless communications device 10. Access to a restricted area 98 can be controlled by limiting entrance to customers fitting some defined criteria, such as a minimum age. Controlled access to the restricted area 98 is through a door or opening 99. In FIGS. 3-7, a broken line box represents a restricted area and a solid line box represents a restricted room.

[0057] A first wireless communications device 96 is located within the restricted area 98 and wirelessly transmits a signal 100 which is received by the receiver 16. A second wireless communications device 102 wirelessly transmits a signal 100 from outside of the restricted area 98. The signals 100 include requests to place a wager, a reservation and/or service request. Additionally, the signals 100 include GPS data indicating the location of the transmitting wireless communications device 96, 102 during the origination of the signals 100. The host computing device 14 can compare the GPS data with location information defining the boundaries of the restricted area 98 to determine whether the signals 100 originated from within, or without, the restricted area 98. Since access to the restricted area 98 is controlled, the casino operator can be assured that signals 100 originating from within the restricted area 98 are wagers, reservations, and/or services requested by customers meeting the desired criteria, such as minimum age.

[0058] Co-Extensive Range Based System

[0059]FIG. 4 shows an embodiment where the range of one or more receivers 16 is co-extensive with the perimeter of the restricted area 98. It is noted that where reference is made to the receiver 16 in the singular, such is for only convenience, and illustrated embodiments can include more than one receiver 16.

[0060] A first wireless communications device 96 transmits a signal 104 from within the restricted area 98. The signal 104 contains requests to place wagers, reservations, and/or service requests, but unlike the embodiment of FIG. 3, does not contain GPS data. Controlled access to the restricted area 98 is through the door or opening 99. The receiver 16 has a range that is co-extensive with the perimeter of the restricted access area 98, thus the signal 104 from the first communications device 96 is received by the receiver 16. A second communications device 102 is outside of the restricted access area 98, and thus outside of the range 106 of the receiver 16. Thus, simple reception of the signal 104 means that the originating device is within the restricted area 98. Alternatively, or additionally, appropriate shielding 108 can be provided about the restricted area 98 to ensure that signals 104 originating from outside the restricted area are not received by the receiver 16. The shielding 108 should be substantially impervious to the signal 104.

[0061] Time Difference Based System

[0062]FIG. 5 shows an embodiment including two receivers 16 within the restricted area 98. The embodiment of FIG. 5 relies on a time difference in reception of a signal by the respective receivers 16 to locate the origin.

[0063] The receivers 16 each receive a signal 104 transmitted from the first communications device 96 located within the restricted area 98, and provide the received signal 104 to the host computing device 14. In addition, the host computing device 14 receives information regarding the time difference between reception of the signal 104 by each of the receivers 16. Similarly, the receivers 16 receive a signal 104 from a second wireless communications device 102 located outside of the restricted area 98. The first wireless communications device 96 can be operated by a customer standing at a gaming table 112. The host computing system 14 employs the timing difference between reception of the signals 104 by each of the receivers 16 to determine a position of the transmitting communications device 96, 102. Thus, the host computing system 14 can determine that the wireless-computing device 96 originated the signal 104 from within the restricted 98, while the wireless communications device 102 originated the signal 104 from outside the restricted area 98.

[0064] Triangulation Based System

[0065]FIG. 6 shows how a number of receivers 16 can monitor multiple restricted areas, for example, various restricted areas and/or restricted rooms throughout a casino 116. The casino 116 includes a first restricted area 98, a second restricted area 118, and a restricted room 120 having walls permeable to the particular transmission frequency employed.

[0066] Three receivers 16 receive a signal 104 from the first communications device 96 at respective times based on the distance between the receivers 16 and the first communications device 96. Additionally, the strength of the signal 104 will vary with distance between the communications device 10 and the respective receivers 16. The host computing device 14 can employ triangulation to determine the position of the communications device 96 originating the signal 104 based on the relative strengths of the signals at each of the receivers 16. Thus, the host computing device 14 can determine that the first communications device 96 is within the first restricted area 98 when originating the signal 104, while the second communications device 102 is outside of the restricted area 98 when originating the signal 104. One or more transmitters 18 can provide notification to the communications devices 10, 96, 102, throughout the casino 116.

[0067] Networked System

[0068]FIG. 7 shows an embodiment where multiple host computing devices 14 are coupled over a network 122 via a server 124. In this embodiment, the host application 80 (FIG. 2) can reside on the host computing devices 14 or the server 124. Locating the host application 80 on the host computing devices 14 allows the casino based computing system 14 to use a less powerful server 124. Locating the host application 80 on the server 124 can provide the benefits associated with a more centralized system, such as better security. Alternatively, the functionality of the host application 80 can be distributed between the host computing devices 14 and the server 124.

[0069] User Interface

[0070]FIG. 8 shows a portion of the UI in the form of an introductory screen or window 126 having a number of user-selectable prompts for display on the display 34 (FIG. 1) of the wireless communications device 10. The introductory window 126 includes prompts 128 for selecting wagering games, prompts 130 for making reservations, prompts 132 for ordering services, and prompts 134 for manipulating and inquiring about the customer's account. The user-selectable prompts 128-134 can function as a typical GUI, or can serve as hot links to appropriate Web pages of a Website on the Internet or on the casino's Intranet.

[0071] In operation, the customer can select one of the games 128 listed under the games heading by touching the display 34 (FIG. 1), or by manipulating the cursor control 38 to select an icon representing the desired game for wagering. Similarly, the customer can determine whether reservations are available for accommodations, meals, or shows and other entertainment. The customer can place the reservations by selecting one of the reservation prompts 130 to go to an appropriate Web page or user-input window.

[0072] Likewise, the customer can request services, such as room service or laundry service by selecting one of the service prompts 132. Additionally, the customer can make inquiries regarding the balance of the customer's casino account and/or transfer funds to, and from, the account using Web pages or input windows displayed in response to the selection of the funds prompts 134.

[0073]FIG. 9 shows a pair of windows 136, 138 displayed on the display 34 of the communications device 10, each window showing a status of a respective blackjack game. The representations of the blackjack games can be live or animated. The display 34 also shows the amount of the wager for the blackjack game in the active of “front” window 138, and a current cumulative total 142 for the customer's account.

[0074]FIG. 10 shows a portion of the UI in the form of a window 44 for making dinner reservations. The window 144 contains a “meal reservations” grid 146 showing the days of the week as columns extending across the top of the grid 146 and dinner hours as rows extending along the left side of the grid 146. Scrolling icons 148 permit the customer to see other hours and days of the week. Letters or icons 149 in the cells of the “meal reservations” grid 146 represent the availability of reservations for the corresponding day and hour. The letter “A” indicates that reservations are available, and the letter “N” indicates that reservations are not available. The customer makes reservations simply by selecting one of the cells containing the letter “A”.

[0075]FIG. 10 also shows a portion of the UI in the form of a window 150 for making reservations for a show. The window 150 includes a “show reservations” grid 152 for making show reservations, that is similar in operation and format to the “meal reservations” grid 146. The “show reservations” grid 152 includes additional rows corresponding to different seating designations, such as a row labeled “F” for floor seating and a row labeled “B” for balcony seating. The display 34 also displays the cost 154 for the show and seating corresponding to the cell indicated by the customer using the cursor 156.

[0076] The display 34 also includes a visual and/or audio notification 158, notifying the customer of the outcome of the customer's wagers, such as the outcome of one of the blackjack games 136, 138. In this case, the notification 158 indicates that the customer has won. Notification regarding the outcome of wagering can extend to areas beyond the restricted access areas 98. Notification can occur while the customer is employing the communications device 10 to place another wager, a reservation and/or service request, or notification can occur while the communications device 10 is in a sleep state.

[0077] Communications Employing CORBA and e*ORB

[0078]FIG. 11 shows a data flow between components of the communications device 10 and the host computing device 14 employing the CORBA communications protocol in an exemplary card game. In reading FIG. 11, one should keep in mind that under the CORBA protocol the requesting device is identified as the “client” and the responsive device is identified as the “server.” Thus, the same device can in one instance be considered the client, while in another instance be considered the server. This is indicated in FIG. 11 by locating the JAVA player 160 in a left-hand column that identifies those actions where the JAVA player 160 acts as a client, and in a right-hand column that identifies those actions where the JAVA player 160 acts as a server. Time generally proceeds from top to bottom.

[0079] The JAVA player 160 is application code and user interface (i.e., a particular embodiment of the player application 76) resident on the communications device 10 that is used to communication with corresponding application code and user interface on the host computing device 14. The JAVA dealer 162 is application code and user interface resident (i.e., a particular embodiment of the host application 80) on the host computing device 14 that is used to communicate with the JAVA player 160 on the communications device 10. The designation KVM indicates that the JAVA player 160 executes on a Java virtual machine suitable for kilobyte range devices (e.g., handheld wireless communications device 10), available from Sun Microsystems, Inc. of Palo Alto, Calif. The designation “e*ORB” indicates that the JAVA player 160 and JAVA dealer 162 each employ a CORBA compliant connectivity product, available from the assignee.

[0080] In step 164, the JAVA player 160 sends a request (i.e., “dealIn”) to the JAVA dealer 162 to be dealt in to a card game in response to a customer request made at the UI of the communications device 10. In step 166, the Java Dealer produces a status update (i.e., “statusUpdate”) to provide notice to all of the current JAVA players of the addition of a new JAVA player 160 to the card game. In step 168, the JAVA dealer deals cards (“initialDeal”) to the JAVA players 160 in the card game. In step 170, the JAVA player 160 receives new cards (i.e., “newCards”) from the JAVA dealer 162, in response to a customer selection made at the UI of the communications device 10. In step 172, the JAVA player 160 submits the hand to the JAVA dealer 162 for scoring. In step 174, the JAVA dealer 162 terminates the card game (i.e., “gameOver”). In step 176, the JAVA dealer 162 provides notification (i.e., “notify”) of the results of the wagers. The notification employs C++ to allow a large variety of devices in addition to the communications device 10 to receive the notification.

[0081] Methods of Operation, Biometric Data Analyzed At Communications Device

[0082]FIG. 12 shows a method 300 of placing wagers, reservations, and/or service requests using the wireless communications device 10 (FIG. 1) and that employs biometric data to authenticate the requesting customer prior to transmitting the wager, reservation or service request to the host computing device 14.

[0083] In step 302, casino personnel verify one or more pieces of customer criteria, such as age, citizen, residency, or credit status for customers that wish to register for access to the casino's services. In step 304, the casino personnel determine whether the user's criteria meets the requirements. For example, the casino personnel can input the customer's identification to determine whether the customer meets a state's minimum age requirement for wagering. If the customer criteria does not meet the particular requirements, the casino personnel reject the registration attempt in step 306 and the method 300 terminates in step 308. If the customer criteria does meet the requirements, a reference biometric data sample is measured from the customer in step 310. For example, the customer's finger, thumb or handprint can be digitized, a voiceprint of the customer's voice recorded and digitized, and/or a digitized print created of the pattern of the customer's iris. In step 312, the measured reference biometric data sample is stored in the persistent memory 50 (FIG. 1) at the wireless communications device 10.

[0084] In step 314, the communications device 10 receives a wager, reservation, and/or service request as customer input via the UI. In step 316, the requesting customer's biometric data is measured at the communications device 10. For example, the communications device 10 can require that the user's thumb, finger, or palm be on the biometric sensor 44 (FIGS. 1 and 2) while the request is placed. Alternatively, the communications device 10 can take a voice sample or can image the iris of the requesting customer's eye while the request is placed. The casino automation system 5 can employ other sources of biometric data suitable to uniquely identifying customers.

[0085] In step 318, the CPU 48 of the communications device 10 compares the measured biometric data with the stored sample of reference biometric data. In step 320, the CPU 48 determines whether the measured biometric data matches the reference biometric data. If a match is not found, the communications device 10 executes an “unauthorized” customer routine in step 322. The “unauthorized customer” routine can, for example, alert casino personnel to an unauthorized attempt to place a wager, reservation or service request, allowing the personnel to confiscate or remotely disable the communications device 10. If the measured biometric data matches the stored reference biometric data, the transceiver 46 transmits the wager, reservation or service request to the host computing device 14. The transmission may include, or may not include, an authorization code produced by the communications device 10. The transmission can be encrypted to enhance security and to protect the customer's privacy.

[0086] Methods of Operation, Biometric Data Analyzed At Host Computing Device

[0087]FIG. 13 shows a method 350 of placing wagers, reservations and service requests using the communications device 10 that employs biometric data to authenticate a user upon receipt of the request at the host computing device 14.

[0088] In step 352, casino personnel verify one or more pieces of customer criteria, such as age. In step 354, the casino personnel determine whether the customer's criteria meets the requirements. If the customer's criteria does not meet the requirements, the casino personnel reject the registration attempt in 356, and the method 350 terminates at step 358. If the user criteria meets the requirements, the casino personnel measure a reference biometric data sample from the customer in step 360. In step 362, the measured biometric data sample is stored at the host computing device 14 or in an associated database.

[0089] In step 364, the communications device 10 receives a wager, reservation, and/or service request as input from the user via the UI. In step 366, the communications device 10 measures biometric data from the requesting customer. In step 368, the transceiver 46 transmits the wager, reservation and/or service request to the host computing device 14, along with the measured biometric data and an identifier. The user identification can be pre-stored in the communications device 10, or entered by the requesting consumer. The identifier allows the host computing device 14 to locate the appropriate reference biometric data. In step 370, the host computing device 14 compares the measured biometric data to the previously stored reference biometric data for the particular customer identified by the identifier. In step 372, if the measured biometric data does not match the reference biometric data, the host computing device 14 executes an “unauthorized user” routine in step 374. If the measured biometric data matches the reference biometric data, the host computing device 14 accepts the wager, reservation or service request in step 376.

[0090] Methods of Operation, Range Co-extensive With Restricted Area

[0091]FIG. 14 shows a method 400 of placing wagers, reservations, and service requests using the communications device 10 that employs the restricted area of FIG. 4.

[0092] In step 402, casino personnel verify one or more customer criteria, such as age. In step 404, the casino personnel determine whether the customer's criteria meets the requirements. If the customer's criteria does not meet the requirements, the casino personnel reject access by the customer to the restricted area 98 (FIGS. 3-7) in step 406, and the routine 400 terminates in step 408. If the customer's criteria meets the requirements, the casino personnel permit the customer access to the restricted area 98 in step 410.

[0093] In step 412, the communications device 10 receives a wager, reservation and/or service request as input via the UI. In step 414, the transceiver 46 transmits the wager, reservation and/or service request externally from the computing device 10. In step 416, the transmitted wager, reservation and/or service request is received at one or more receivers 16. In step 418, the host computing device 14 accepts the wager, reservation and/or service request. This method 400 is particularly useful with the embodiment shown in FIG. 4, where the range of the antenna is coextensive with the perimeter of the restricted area 98.

[0094] Methods of Operation Range Co-extensive With Restricted Area

[0095]FIG. 15 shows a method 420 of placing wagers, reservations and/or service requests using the communications device 10 that employs the restricted areas 98, 118, 120 of FIGS. 3, 5-7.

[0096] In step 422, casino personnel verify the customer's criteria. In step 424, the casino personnel determine whether the customer's criteria meets the desired requirements. If the customer's criteria does not meet the requirements, the casino personnel reject access to the restricted area 98 in step 426, and the method 420 terminates in step 428. If the customer's criteria does meet the requirements, the casino personnel permit the customer access to restricted areas 98, 118, 120 in step 430.

[0097] In step 432, the communications device 10 receives wager, reservation and/or service requests as input via the UI. In step 434, the communications device 10 transmits the wager, reservation and/or service request externally from the communications device 10. In step 436, the transmitted wager, reservation and/or service request is received at one or more receivers 16. In step 438, the position of the communications device 10 originating the requesting signal 104 is determined. The host computing device 14 can determine the position using GPS data, time delay, and/or triangulation. In step 440, the host computing device 14 determines whether the determined position is within the restricted area 98, 118, 120. In step 442, the host computing device 14 rejects the wager, reservation and/or service request if the request did not originate from within the restricted area 98, 118, 120. In step 444, the host computing device 14 accepts the wager, reservation and/or service request if the request originated from within the restricted area 98, 118, 120.

[0098] Methods of Operation Restricted Area With Funds Verification

[0099]FIG. 16 shows a method 450 of placing wagers, reservations, and/or service requests using the communications device 10 that employs the restricted access areas of FIGS. 3, 5-7.

[0100] In step 452, the customer enters a request for information regarding available wagers, reservations and/or services into the communications device 10 as described generally above. In step 454, the communications device 10 transmits the request for information externally from the communications device 10. In step 456, the request is received at the host computing device 14 via receiver 16 (FIG. 2). In step 458, the host computing device 14 transmits the requested information via the transmitter 18 (FIG. 2). In step 460, the communications device 10 receives the requested information from the host computing device 14 via transceiver 46 (FIG. 2). In step 462, the requested information is displayed to the customer on the display 34 of the communications device 10.

[0101] In step 464, the communications device 10 receives a wager, reservation and/or service request as input from the customer via the UI. In step 466, the transceiver 46 transmits the request externally from the communications device 10. In step 468, the host computing device 14 receives the transmitted request.

[0102] In step 470, the host computing device 14 determines the amount of funds available in the customer's account. In step 472, the host computing device 14 verifies whether the customer's account has adequate funds for placing the wager, reservation and/or service request. For example, the host computing device 14 can determine whether there is sufficient funds for the amount of the wager or for tickets or seats being reserved for a show. If the customer's account contains inadequate funds, the host computing device 14 executes an “inadequate funds” routine in step 474 and terminates in step 476. The “inadequate funds” routine can reject the request and can provide notification to the customer and/or casino personnel. The “inadequate funds” routine can also provide the customer with an opportunity to supplement the customer's account, for example, by transferring funds via a credit or debit card.

[0103] If the funds are adequate, the host computing device 14 enters the wager, reservation and/or service request in step 478. In step 480, the host computing device 14 updates the amount of funds remaining in the customer's account. For example, the host computing device 14 can subtract an amount equal to a lost wager, or the price of a reserved seat or ticket. Also, for example, the host computing device 14 can add the amount of any winnings from previously placed wagers or any amounts transferred to the customer's account. In step 482, the host computing device 14 transmits a confirmation of the acceptance of the wager, reservation and/or service request, and also transmits an updated funds amount. In step 484, the communications device 10 displays the confirmation and the updated amount of funds remaining.

[0104] Methods of Operation, Authenticate At Communications Device Using Biometric Data With Funds Verification

[0105]FIG. 17 shows a method 500 of placing wagers, reservations, and/or service requests using the communications device 10, that employs biometric data at the communications device 10 to authenticate the request and also employs verification of the customer's funds.

[0106] In step 502, the customer enters a request for information regarding the availability of wagers, reservations and/or services as input into the handheld communications device 10. In step 504, the transceiver 46 (FIG. 2) transmits a request for information externally from the communications device 10. In step 506, the host computing device 14 receives the request via the receiver 16 (FIG. 2). In step 508, the host computing device 14 transmits the requested information via the transmitter 18 (FIG. 2). In step 510, the transmitted information is received at the communications device 10. In step 512, the communications device 10 displays the requested information to the requesting customer on the display 34.

[0107] In step 514, the communications device 10 receives a request to place a wager, reservation, and/or service request as customer input via the UI. In step 516, the communications device 10 measures biometric data from the customer placing the request. In step 518, the communications device 10 compares the measured biometric data to a previously stored sample of reference biometric data. In step 520, the CPU 48 (FIG. 2) determines whether the measured biometric data matches the reference biometric data. If the measured biometric data does not match the reference biometric data, the communications device 10 executes an “unauthorized user” routine in step 522. If the measured biometric data matches the reference biometric data, the transceiver 46 transmits the request for the wager, reservation, and/or service externally from the communications device 10 in step 526. In step 528, the host computing device 14 receives the transmitted request for wagers, reservations and/or services via the receiver 16 (FIG. 2).

[0108] In step 530, the host computing device 14 determines the amount of funds in the customer's account. In step 532, the CPU 48 of the host computing device 14 determines whether the funds in the customer's account are adequate for the requested wager, reservation and/or service request. The CPU 48 passes control to step 534 to execute an “inadequate finds” routine if the finds are not adequate and terminating method 500 in step 524. If the funds are adequate, the host computing device 14 enters the wager, reservation or service request in step 536.

[0109] In step 538, the host computing device 14 updates the amount of funds remaining in the customer's account. In step 540, the host computing device 14 transmits a confirmation of the acceptance of the wager, reservation or service request, and the updated remaining account information. In step 542, the communications device 10 receives the confirmation and updated account information. In step 544, the handheld communications device 10 displays the confirmation and the amount of funds remaining in the customer's account to the customer via the display 34.

[0110] Methods of Operation, Authenticate At Host Computing Device Using Biometric Data With Funds Verification

[0111]FIG. 18 shows a method 550 of placing a wager, reservation and/or service request using the communications device 10 that employs biometric data to authentic the customer at the host computing device 14, and that verifies that the customer's account has adequate finds for the requested wager, reservation, and/or service.

[0112] In step 552, the customer enters a request for information regarding available wagers, reservations, and/or services and to the communications device 10 via the UI. In step 554, the transceiver 46 transmits the request for information externally from the communications device 10. In step 556, the host computing device 14 receives the request for information via the receiver 16 (FIG. 2). In step 558, the host computing device 14 transmits the requested information via the transmitter 18 (FIG. 2). In step 560, the communications device 10 receives the requested information transmitted from the host computing device 14 via the transceiver 46. In step 562, the communications device 10 displays the requested information to the customer using the display 34.

[0113] In step 564, the communications device 10 measures biometric data from the requesting customer. In step 566, the communications device 10 receives a request to place a wager, reservation, and/or service request as customer input via the UI. In step 568, the transceiver 46 transmits the request and the measured biometric data externally from the communications device 10. In step 570, the host computing device 14 receives the transmitted request, measured biometric data and an identifier via the receiver 16. In step 572, the host computing device 14 compares the measured biometric data to a previously stored sample of reference biometric data. In step 574, the CPU 48 of the host computing device 14 determines whether the measured biometric data matches the reference biometric data. If the measured biometric data matches the reference biometric data, the host computing device 14 executes an “unauthorized user” routine in step 576 and terminates the method 550 in step 578.

[0114] If the measured biometric data matches the reference biometric data, the host computing device 14 determines the amount of funds remaining in the customer's account. In step 582, the host computing device 14 determines whether the remaining funds are adequate for the requested wager, reservation, and/or service request. If the remaining funds are not adequate, the host computing device 14 executes an “inadequate funds” routine in step 584, and terminates the method 550 in step 578. If the funds in the customer's account are adequate, the host computing device 14 enters the wager, reservation, and/or service request in step 586. In step 588, the host computing device 14 updates the amount of funds remaining in the customer's account to accurately reflect the request. In step 590, the host computing device 14 transmits a confirmation of the acceptance of the wager, reservation, and/or service request and an updated amount of funds remaining in the customer's account. In step 592, the communications device 10 receives the transmitted confirmation and updated account information. In step 594, the communications device 10 displays the confirmation and the updated account information on the display 34.

[0115] Methods of Operation Automatic Notification of Results

[0116]FIG. 19 shows a method 600 of providing notification of the results of a wager or acceptance of a reservation or service request. In step 602, the host computing device 14 determines whether there are results to report, such as wagering results. If there are no results, the host computing device 14 performs a wait loop 604. If there are results to report, the host computing device 14 can encrypt the results in optional step 606. In step 608, the host computing device transmits the results via transmitter 18, and returns control to step 602.

[0117] Conclusion

[0118] Although specific embodiments of, and examples for, the invention are described herein for illustrative purposes, various equivalent modifications can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, as will be recognized by those skilled in the relevant art. The teachings provided herein of the invention can be applied to other wagering, reservation and service request systems, not necessarily the exemplary casino automation system generally described above.

[0119] The various embodiments described above can be combined to provide further embodiments. For example, biometric data can be employed in conjunction with the restricted areas. Other aspects of the invention can be modified, if necessary, to employ systems, circuits and concepts of the various illustrated embodiments and recited applications and publications to provide yet further embodiments of the invention. Additionally, or alternatively, the described methods may omit some steps, and add other steps.

[0120] These and other changes can be made to the invention in light of the above-detailed description. In general, in the following claims, the terms used should not be construed to limit the invention to the specific embodiments disclosed in this specification, but should be construed to include all computers, networks and devices that operate in accordance with the claims. Accordingly, the invention is not limited by the disclosure, but instead its scope is to be determined entirely by the following claims.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification463/42
International ClassificationG07F17/32
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/32, G07F17/3232, G07F17/3239, G07F17/3227
European ClassificationG07F17/32, G07F17/32E6D2, G07F17/32E2, G07F17/32E6
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Feb 13, 2001ASAssignment
Owner name: VERTEL CORPORATION, CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:MCENTEE, ROBERT A.;MAUER, WILLIAM M.;LEVY, YUVAL;REEL/FRAME:011613/0828;SIGNING DATES FROM 20001129 TO 20001130