US 20020149152 A1 Abstract A game of chance for a plurality of game participants that is played in a plurality of drawing stages and a method and system for playing the game are disclosed. Game participants self-select or have selected automatically for them a plurality of playing numbers from a population of numbers that are arranged on a game ticket in a number of columns and/or rows, which are grouped in a plurality of discrete blocks. A selection device randomly selects a plurality of winning numbers from the same population in two or more stages. Game participants can win a prize during or at the completion of each drawing stage if all of their playing numbers in designated rows and/or columns match the winning numbers selected in that drawing stage. Thus, game participants can win some prize for matching fewer than all of the winning numbers selected. Moreover, a plurality of winning combinations is possible on each game ticket, producing a plurality of ways to win on a single ticket. The game is played online to facilitate determining the number of winning game tickets and the number of winning combinations per winning game ticket; determining the prize payout amount; and authenticating winning game tickets.
Claims(42) 1. A game of chance played on a network for a plurality of game participants, having a plurality of drawing stages; wherein,
each of the plurality of game participants has at least one game ticket, said game ticket comprising a plurality of discrete blocks comprising a plurality of game boxes that contain a unique number selected from a population of numbers; and wherein each of the plurality of drawing stages produces a plurality of possible winning combinations during or at the completion of each of the plurality of drawing stages, the game comprising:
a first selection device for populating the plurality of game boxes in each of the plurality of discrete blocks on said at least one game ticket, wherein the first selection device populates each of the plurality of game boxes with a number selected from the population of numbers to produce a plurality of arrays;
a second selection device for randomly selecting a plurality of winning numbers from the population of numbers in a plurality of drawing stages; and
at least one server, wherein the at least one server controls the network.
2. The game of 3. The game of 4. The game of 5. The game of 6. The game of 7. The game of 8. The game of 9. The game of 10. The game of 11. The game of 12. The game of 13. The game of 14. The game of 15. The game of 16. The game of 17. The game of 18. The game of at least one server having:
at least one database for storing the plurality of game participant's arrays;
at least one database for storing the population of numbers from which the second selection device samples to produce the winning numbers; and
software for determining the number of winning game tickets and the number of winning combinations on each winning game ticket; for determining at least one prize payout; and for authenticating at least one winning game ticket;
at least one printer, which is connected to the network, to produce at least one game ticket; and
at least one reader, which is connected to the network, wherein the reader provides each of the plurality of game participant's arrays to the at least one server for storage in the database therefor and to the printer for use in producing the plurality of game tickets.
19. A method of playing a game of chance on a network, the game having a plurality of game participants each having at least one game ticket, comprising the steps of:
populating a plurality of game boxes of a plurality of game tickets with discrete numbers selected from a population of numbers to produce a plurality of arrays; randomly selecting a plurality of winning numbers from the population of numbers in at least two distinct stages; determining the number of winning combinations on the plurality of game tickets of the plurality of game participants; verifying that a game ticket is a winning game ticket; and awarding at least one prize to at least one game participant, wherein the at least one prize is awarded based on the number of winning combinations appearing on at least one winning game ticket. 20. The method of 21. The method of 22. The method of 23. The method of 24. The method of 25. The method of 26. The method of 27. The method of selecting a predetermined number of winning numbers from the population of numbers in a first drawing stage; and
selecting a predetermined number of winning numbers from the population of numbers in a second drawing stage.
28. The method of 29. The method of selecting a predetermined number of winning numbers from the population of numbers in a first drawing stage;
selecting a predetermined number of winning numbers from the population of numbers in a second drawing stage; and
selecting one or more bonus ball from the population of numbers in a third drawing stage.
30. The method of 31. The method of 32. The method of 33. The method of 34. The method of 35. The method of 36. The method of 37. A system for playing a multiple drawing stage game of chance on a network, comprising:
at least one server, which is connected to the network, wherein the at least one server comprises
at least one database for storing a plurality of arrays of playing numbers populating a discrete blocks comprising a plurality of game boxes on a plurality of game tickets of a plurality of game participants, and
at least one database for storing a population of numbers;
a first selection device for selecting a plurality of playing numbers from the population of numbers to produce the plurality of arrays; and a second selection device for randomly selecting a plurality of winning numbers from a population of numbers in a plurality of drawing stages. 38. The system of automatically populating the plurality of game boxes on the plurality of game tickets;
determining the number of winning game tickets and the number of winning combinations on each winning game ticket;
calculating at least one prize payout; and
verifying at least one winning game ticket.
39. The system of 40. The system of 41. The system of 42. The system of at least one local printer, which is connected to the network, for producing at least one game ticket; and
at least one reader, which is connected to the network, wherein the reader provides each of the plurality of game participant's arrays to the at least one server for storage in the database therefor and to the printer for use in producing the plurality of game tickets.
Description [0001] The present invention relates to an online game of chance and a method of and system for playing the game. More precisely, the invention relates to an online lottery-type game of chance with multiple lottery drawing stages and multiple winning combinations during each drawing stage. [0002] Legalized public and private bingo-, keno-, and lottery-type games abound in the United States and throughout the world. Bingo-type games involve a plurality of participants each having at least one pre-printed playing card. Typically, bingo playing cards comprise five columns, corresponding to the letters “B”, “I”, “N”, “G”, and “O” whence the game derives its name, and five rows in a boxed matrix. A plurality of numbers and/or free spaces populates the boxes in the matrix. [0003] The game of bingo is played by randomly selecting winning numbers from a population of numbers. The game ends when a combination of selected winning numbers covers at least one row, column, and/or diagonal of five numbers on at least one participant's playing card. Generally, there is only a single winner for each game. Hence, bingo-type games are an example of a “first-to-the-post” game. One shortcoming of a “first-to-the-post” game includes that, typically, only one, or very few people, win anything. Furthermore, the game ends; no additional numbers are drawn; and there is no additional play once at least one participant declares that he or she has “Bingo!”. [0004] The most common lottery-type format comprises a game, e.g., LOTTO, THE BIG GAME, POWERBALL, etc., in which participants win at least one prize, e.g., a cash jackpot, if their playing numbers, which have been selected from a population of numbers, e.g., integers between 1 and 49, match all or most of a plurality of winning numbers, which are drawn at random from the same population of numbers. Participants either select their own combination of “lucky numbers” using a mark/sense-type, i.e., computer, card; or, in the alternate, an electronic random number generator, which is connected to a remote server, produces, e.g., by “quick pick”, a combination of playing numbers for them. Playing numbers are recorded on a playing ticket. The odds of winning any prize decrease significantly, as more numbers must be matched to win. Hence, cash payoffs are usually quite large and, traditionally, cash payoffs go to a very small number of participants. [0005] A shortcoming associated with lottery-type games is that they are “linear”, which is to say that, participants are rapidly excluded from winning the top, i.e., jackpot, prize during play. Indeed, there being typically but a single way to win, if the first winning number randomly selected does not match one of the participant's playing numbers, then a participant has no chance to win the top jackpot. Moreover, further winning numbers drawn are of little or no interest. As a result, a participant's interest in the game at that point is one of indifference. [0006] A variation of the lottery-type game is a keno-type game. By comparison to lottery-type games, keno-type games typically randomly draw more winning numbers from a larger population of numbers, e.g., integers from 1 to 80. Indeed, keno-type games select more winning numbers from the population of numbers than are required to win. For example, typically, about 20 winning numbers are selected from the population of numbers and game participants may win a prize if they match anywhere between two and ten of the winning numbers. Thus, a game participant still can win the top prize without having to match all of the winning numbers drawn. Moreover, keno-type games are more flexible than lottery- or bingo-type games as game participants can choose how many winning numbers they want to try to match in each game. [0007] Indeed, by comparison, keno-type games typically produce (i) more opportunities to match winning numbers, which minimizes the linear effect generally associated with a lottery-type format, and (ii) participants actually can choose the number of winning numbers that he or she intends to match, e.g., two, five, ten, etc. Correspondingly, prizes, e.g., cash jackpots, are greater when more numbers must be, and ultimately are, matched. Indeed, keno prizes increase commensurate with the odds of matching two numbers of the 20 selected, versus matching five of 20, versus matching ten of 20, etc. [0008] Shortcomings associated with keno-type games include inaccessibility to the game and game complexity. Indeed, keno-type games are most frequently played in gambling establishments and bars, which restricts the game participant profile to those who frequent such establishments. Furthermore, those who have never played the game find the rules and the selection process confusing, so they are not inclined or hesitant to play. [0009] There is a present and recurring need for new games of chance that are easily understood; that produce more than one winner; and that provide for multiple ways of winning during a single game to spark greater public participation. Arguably, the best understood games are bingo- and lottery-type games. Bingo-type games are “first-to-the-post” games, in which only a small number of participants, typically just one, wins. Moreover, once a participant is “at the post”, the game is over and no more winning numbers are drawn. Lottery-type games are linear and allow only a small number of participants to win anything. Moreover, interest and participation in current lottery-type games are often flat unless extraordinarily large jackpots accumulate following a series of drawings without a winner. Keno-type games provide potentially more winning combinations and more opportunities for more participants to win some prize. However, the game is not accessible to the public-at-large. Furthermore, the game is confusing to novices, many of whom could be participants. [0010] Thus, it would be desirable to produce a novel game of chance that produces a plurality of potential winning combinations on a single playing ticket, which allows more participants to win at least some prize and a method of and system for playing that game. It would further be desirable to produce a novel game of chance wherein more winning numbers are selected than are needed to win the top prize and a method of and system for playing that game. It would also be desirable to produce a novel game of chance that is easily understood to encourage more people to participate and a method of and system for playing that game. Furthermore, it would be desirable to produce a novel game of chance that is accessible readily by the general public and a method of and system for playing that game. Moreover, it would be desirable to produce a new game of chance that is neither linear nor “first to the post” and a method of and system for playing that game. [0011] Therefore, it is an object of the present invention to produce a novel game of chance that provides more than one possible winning combination on a single playing ticket and a method of and system for playing that game. [0012] It is a further object of this invention to produce a novel game of chance in which more than one participant can win some prize during a single scheduled drawing event and a method of and system for playing that game. [0013] It is another object of this invention to produce a novel game of chance that is easily understood to encourage more people to participate and a method of and system for playing that game. [0014] It is yet another object of the present invention to produce a novel game of chance that comprise more than one drawing stages, with possible winning combinations at the end of each drawing stage to substantially minimize the effects of linearity and a method of and system for playing that game. [0015] These objects and other objects that will become obvious to those skilled in the art can be attained by the disclosed online multiple stage game of chance and method of and system for playing that game. Indeed, the game can be played by a plurality of game participants who participate by purchasing a game ticket at a point of sale terminal, which is connected to a network. Game tickets can include a combination of playing numbers, e.g., integers from 1 to 36, that can be arranged in a plurality of, e.g., columns or rows of equal or unequal length in more than one distinct area thereon. Playing numbers can be self-selected or randomly selected by an electronic random number generator from a population of numbers. [0016] A selection device, which also can be connected to a network, randomly selects a predetermined number of winning numbers from the same population of numbers in a plurality of drawing stages. Participants can win at least one prize during or at the completion of each of the plurality of drawing stages if a combination of winning numbers matches all of the playing numbers appearing in at least one row and/or column on the participant's game ticket and/or completely covering one of the plurality of distinct areas on the game ticket. [0017] The online nature of the game ensures that the game can be administered and operated efficiently and in real time. Indeed, a plurality of point of sale terminals can be connected by a network to at least one server, which contains (i) sufficient memory to store all of the playing number arrangements of all of the participants; (ii) software that can search all of the participants' number arrangements to identify winning game tickets for each drawing event and at each stage of each drawing event; (iii) software that can generate a plurality of numbers randomly to populate a participant's playing game ticket, and (iv) software to calculate the cash payoff for each winning combination. Communication on the network can be by local area net (LAN) wide area net (WAN), Internet, wireless, and any of the other methods that are known to those skilled in the art. [0018] For a fuller understanding of the nature and desired objects of the present invention, reference is made to the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing figures wherein like reference character denote corresponding parts throughout the several views and wherein: [0019]FIG. 1 [0020]FIG. 1 [0021]FIG. 1 [0022]FIG. 2 [0023]FIG. 2 [0024]FIG. 2 [0025]FIG. 2 [0026]FIG. 2 [0027]FIG. 3 is an illustrative embodiment of a network for playing the game. [0028] The present invention relates to an online game of chance and a method of and system for playing that game. The game can be played by a plurality of game participants, each of which can have at least one game ticket [0029] The plurality of numbers [0030] Game tickets [0031] Indeed, the plurality of game tickets [0032] For example, in a preferred embodiment, each of the at least two discrete blocks [0033] In this preferred embodiment, a fraction of the total population of integers can be assigned to populate the plurality of columns A, B, C and/or rows H, I, J according to a formula that the fraction is equal to the reciprocal of the number of rows A, B, C and/or columns H, I, J. For example, assuming three columns and/or rows, one-third (⅓) of the population of numbers, e.g., integers from 1 to 12, populates, e.g., the four-game square column A or the eight-game square row J in block [0034] In this preferred embodiment, the at least one server [0035] In an alternate embodiment, a participant himself or herself can select the plurality of numbers to populate one or more game squares [0036] It is preferred that the scheduled drawing event for the game occurs live on commercial or closed circuit television. For example, the drawing can take place after the evening news on at least one of the local television affiliates. However, the game can be played using other drawing events that are known to those skilled in the art without violating the scope and spirit of the invention. The game can be played by drawing manually or by generating randomly a plurality of winning numbers from the population of numbers in more than one stage, or phase. Manual drawing techniques can include, e.g., a drawing drum or similar device. Random number generating can be effected using, e.g., an electronic random number generator. [0037] A variety of winning combinations can occur during and/or at the completion of each of the plurality of drawing stages. Prizes can be awarded for each winning combination commensurate with the odds of getting that winning combination. A winning combination comprises one or more columns H, I, J and/or rows A, B, C wherein each of the plurality of numbers in the plurality of game squares [0038] The method of playing the game will now be described in greater detail using illustrative examples. The preferred embodiment comprises a two-stage drawing event. In the first stage, eighteen numbers can be selected manually or generated randomly from the population of numbers. Moreover, of the eighteen numbers drawn or generated in the first stage, six numbers can be selected from the range of numbers from 1 to 12; which corresponds to the numbers populating the four-game square [0039] During or at the completion of this first drawing stage, several winning combinations Z can occur and prizes for those winning combinations Z can be awarded. Indeed, at the close of the first stage of the drawing event, potential winning combinations Z can occur by matching each game square [0040] Additional potential winning combinations Z can occur during or at the completion of a second drawing stage. For example, it is preferred that for the second stage of the drawing event, up to six additional numbers and one or more bonus numbers B, for a total of six additional winning numbers, can be selected from the total population of numbers that remain after the first stage of the drawing event. As a result, there are six additional potential winning combinations Z at the completion of the second stage of the drawing. Indeed, potential winning combinations Z can occur by matching each game square [0041] In this preferred embodiment, during or at the completion of this second stage of the drawing, prizes are not awarded for matching all of the game squares [0042] In a second embodiment, the game can be played by making drawings in three stages. For example, in this second embodiment twelve numbers can be drawn or randomly generated in the first drawing stage of the game. Of the first twelve numbers drawn or generated electronically, four numbers can be selected from numbers in the range from 1 to 12; four numbers can be selected from numbers in the range from 13 to 24; and four numbers can be selected from numbers in the range from 25 to 36. For this second embodiment, during or at the completion of the first stage of the drawing event, potential winning combinations Z occur by matching each game square [0043] During the second stage of the drawing event of this second embodiment, four additional numbers can be selected from numbers in the range from 1 to 12; four additional numbers can be selected from numbers in the range from 13 to 24; and four additional numbers can be selected from numbers in the range from 25 to 36. [0044] Potential winning combinations Z during or at the completion of the second drawing stage can occur by matching each game square [0045] Preferably, no prizes are awarded at the completion of the second drawing stage of this second embodiment for matching all of the game squares [0046] In the final stage of this three-stage drawing event, at least one bonus number B is selected from the total population of numbers remaining after the first and second drawing stage. Potential winning combinations Z at the completion of this third drawing stage can occur by matching all of the game squares [0047] Prizes can be awarded to winning game participants based on the odds of having one or more winning combinations Z on a single game ticket
[0048] To redeem a winning game ticket [0049] Indeed, the verification process can include reading the ticket coding [0050] While a number of embodiments of the invention have been described, it should be obvious to those skilled in the art that other embodiments to and/or modifications, combinations, and substitutions of the present invention are possible, all of which are within the scope and spirit of the disclosed invention. Referenced by
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