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Publication numberUS20030045340 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/236,831
Publication dateMar 6, 2003
Filing dateSep 6, 2002
Priority dateSep 6, 2001
Also published asCN1582188A, CN100413556C, EP1448278A1, EP1448278A4, WO2003022381A1
Publication number10236831, 236831, US 2003/0045340 A1, US 2003/045340 A1, US 20030045340 A1, US 20030045340A1, US 2003045340 A1, US 2003045340A1, US-A1-20030045340, US-A1-2003045340, US2003/0045340A1, US2003/045340A1, US20030045340 A1, US20030045340A1, US2003045340 A1, US2003045340A1
InventorsBrian Roberts
Original AssigneeInterlott Technologies, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Lottery game, ticket and interactive method of play
US 20030045340 A1
Abstract
A lottery gaming system and associated method utilizes the internet along with an instant game lottery. The need to maintain jurisdictional and age control for the sale of lottery tickets is maintained while limiting the payment options, since most lottery jurisdictions do not permit payment for lottery tickets on credit. Additionally, the frequency and excitement typically offered by pair-mutuel type play is offered in an internet-based system. Instant game lottery tickets are sold from a standard ITVM or the like. Each lottery ticket includes a unique serial number in a bar code or other format. Upon the purchase of the ticket, the ticket's bar code is read by the ticket dispensing terminal and transmitted to a central computer system for recording and access to remaining play data. In addition to the instant game available on the lottery ticket, the ticket includes an access code or internet address for subsequent interactive internet-based play. The interactive play may be utilized from one's own personal computer or an online terminal incorporated into the ITVM.
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Claims(22)
I claim:
1. A lottery gaming system comprising:
a lottery ticket having a removable portion concealing instant game information, a bar code and an interactive game information portion;
a lottery ticket dispenser having a bar code reader for reading the bar code on the lottery ticket prior to the lottery ticket being dispensed from the dispenser;
a central computer system in communication with the lottery ticket dispenser;
wherein transmittal of the bar code from the lottery ticket dispenser to the central computer system initiates interactive game information represented on the lottery ticket in the interactive game information portion; and
a computer remote from and in communication with the central computer system, the computer being utilized by a player to play an interactive game with the central computer system based on the interactive game information.
2. The lottery gaming system of claim 1 wherein the lottery ticket dispenser further comprises:
a printer for printing the interactive game information on the lottery ticket in the interactive game information portion.
3. The lottery gaming system of claim 1 wherein the computer is in communication with the central computer system via the internet.
4. The lottery gaming system of claim 3 wherein the interactive game information further comprises:
an access code to be utilized by the player for playing the interactive game; and
an address to be utilized by the player for accessing the central computer system.
5. The lottery gaming system of claim 1 wherein the computer is remote from the lottery ticket dispenser.
6. The lottery gaming system of claim 1 wherein the computer is incorporated into the lottery ticket dispenser.
7. The lottery gaming system of claim 1 wherein the interactive game information is pre-printed on the lottery ticket and activated when the bar code is transmitted to the central computer system.
8. A lottery ticket comprising:
a removable portion to reveal instant game information for determining whether the lottery ticket is an instant game winner;
a bar code; and
an interactive game information portion for displaying interactive game information required by a player in playing an interactive game.
9. The lottery ticket of claim 8 wherein the interactive game information further comprises:
an access code to be utilized by the player for playing the interactive game; and
an address to be utilized by the player for accessing the interactive game.
10. The lottery ticket of claim 8 wherein the removable portion is a scratch off layer.
11. The lottery ticket of claim 8 wherein the lottery ticket is releasably coupled by lines of weakness to additional lottery tickets in a fan fold stack of lottery tickets.
12. A method of conducting a lottery comprising the steps of:
accepting payment from a player;
processing a selection by the player for a lottery ticket;
wherein the lottery ticket includes a removable portion concealing instant game information, a bar code, and an interactive game information portion for displaying interactive game information required by a player in playing an interactive game;
reading the bar code from the lottery ticket;
generating interactive game information associated with the bar code;
initiating the interactive game information on the lottery ticket;
dispensing the lottery ticket to the player;
removing the removable portion from the lottery ticket;
determining if the lottery ticket is an instant game winner;
redeeming a prize if the lottery ticket is the instant game winner;
accessing the internet with the interactive game information; and
playing the interactive game via the internet.
13. The method of claim 12 further comprising:
transmitting bar code information of the bar code to a central computer system.
14. The method of claim 13 wherein the generating step is performed by the central computer system.
15. The method of claim 12 wherein the accepting, processing, reading and dispensing steps are performed at least in part by an automated ticket dispenser.
16. The method of claim 15 further comprising:
providing a communication link between the automated ticket dispenser and a central computer system located remotely from the automated ticket dispenser.
17. The method of claim 16 further comprising:
transmitting bar code information of the bar code from the automated ticket dispenser to the central computer system.
18. The method of claim 12 wherein the removing, accessing and playing steps are performed at least in part by the player.
19. The method of claim 12 further comprising:
printing at least a portion of the interactive game information on the lottery ticket in the interactive game information portion.
20. The method of claim 19 wherein the printing, accepting, processing, reading and dispensing steps are performed at least in part by an automated ticket dispenser.
21. The method of claim 12 wherein the accessing and playing steps are performed at a location remote from the dispensing step.
22. The method of claim 12 further comprising:
crediting an account of the player if the player wins the interactive game.
Description

[0001] This claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 60/317,671, filed Sep. 6, 2001 and hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Currently, a wide variety of lottery games, entertainment options and gaming systems are available. To date though, there have been specific obstacles to implementing lottery, interactive play via the internet or even more localized computer networks. However, the internet is extremely effective, efficient and economic in providing limitless access, but to date, the lottery industry has not overcome the obstacles to provide secure lottery play via the internet or more localized computer networks.

[0003] Most lottery jurisdictions, particularly in the U.S., do not permit payment for lottery tickets on credit. Therefore, until such legislative changes are made, players must purchase their tickets with cash or established deposit accounts with the lottery authority to enable them to deduct payment when needed. Managing such accounts, at this time, would be burdensome and costly for lotteries and it is unlikely that players would utilize such accounts to play the mix of currently available games. Account betting or telephone betting has been tried in the past in the lottery industry without success. Yet, in the pari-mutuel industry, account betting is extremely successful in jurisdictions, particularly in international markets, that permit this form of wagering.

[0004] The difference in the product offerings between the lottery industry and the pari-mutuel industry is the factor governing success and failure. The pari-mutuel industry offers a program of entertainment for a period of several hours, either live at the track or televised, with the opportunity to place wagers from one race to the next and with winnings being posted to the player's account immediately the results and prizes are known. In addition, pari-mutuel gaming adds to the entertainment value by the fact that wagers can be associated to the results of several races, with the possibility of greater prizes as the wager progresses from race to race. With the exception of perhaps instant games and keno, no existing lottery games offer the frequency or excitement offered by the pari-mutuel type wagers. Until the games offered by lotteries offer these benefits to the player, it is unlikely that a player will establish a deposit account with the lottery authority to merely play twice a week on lotto.

[0005] Another obstacle to the utilization of the internet to distribute lottery products is the issue of age control. Unless lotteries can provide mechanisms and procedures to prevent play by minors, internet access for lottery games is not likely. Use of credit cards may permit under age players to play unless prior player authorization is approved.

[0006] One possible solution is that this can be done by the implementation of a Player's Club or loyalty program whereby players would be required to register with the lottery providing proof of age. Such loyalty programs have become very popular as a marketing tool in many industries, but with the present lottery game offerings, it is difficult for lotteries to develop programs that can be exciting and rewarding for such players.

[0007] The right games, i.e., those that offer entertainment value, convenience and frequency, will provide the incentive for lottery players to register with a loyalty program. The more players who register, the more attractive the player base becomes to advertisers wishing to access lottery players via the lottery's web pages. Such advertising income makes the loyalty program more rewarding.

[0008] Another paramount concern in the implementation of internet access to lottery products is one of jurisdictional control. Lotteries have a monopoly to provide their products to players within their geographic area. In general, lottery authority officials restrict the sale of their products to within their jurisdiction, and have resisted opportunities to market their products outside.

[0009] The use of the internet can provide access to players outside of a particular jurisdiction, even with controlled access.

[0010] As such, there is a need for an improved, more exciting lottery game that utilizes the internet or other computer network while still providing the lottery authority control over the appropriate use of payment by credit as well as age and jurisdictional control.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0011] These and other objectives are satisfied by this invention which is directed to a way for utilizing the internet with a lottery gaming system. Briefly, the invention addresses the need to maintain jurisdictional and age control in the sale of lottery tickets while limiting the payment options, since most lottery jurisdictions do not permit payment for lottery tickets on credit. Additionally, the invention provides the frequency and excitement typically offered by pari-mutuel type play in an internet-based system.

[0012] The invention in one embodiment includes the sale of instant game lottery tickets from a standard instant ticket vending machine (ITVM) or the like. Each lottery ticket includes a unique serial number in a bar code or other format. Upon the purchase of an instant ticket, the ticket's bar code is read by the dispensing ITVM and transmitted to a central computer system for recording and access to remaining play data such as interactive game information to be played via the internet. In addition to the instant play available on the lottery ticket, the ticket includes an access code and/or internet address for subsequent interactive internet-based play. The interactive game may be played from one's own personal computer or an online terminal incorporated into the ITVM. As such, the invention utilizes existing instant game themes which players are accustomed to while allowing internet capabilities to provide additional and extended play. Additional features of the invention are disclosed hereinbelow.

[0013] This invention provides solutions to the above-issues and enables the lottery industry to access the full potential of the internet in a secure and controlled manner.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0014] The objectives and features of the invention will become more readily apparent from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:

[0015]FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a representative lottery ticket dispenser according to one presently preferred embodiment of this invention;

[0016]FIG. 2 is a plan view of a hybrid instant lottery ticket according to one presently preferred embodiment of this invention;

[0017]FIGS. 3 & 4 are schematic representations of a lottery gaming system according to presently preferred embodiments of this invention; and

[0018]FIG. 5 is a flow-chart of one embodiment of the lottery gaming system and associated method according to this invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0019] In one aspect, the present invention provides the technology to securely dispense instant game lottery tickets 10 and to read a unique bar code 12 on each instant lottery ticket. This invention provides the ability to provide ticket-by-ticket accountability for the instant game product. Such a lottery ticket dispenser, terminal or ITVM 14 is disclosed in applicant's pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/128,406, filed Aug. 3, 1998 and Ser. No. 09/385,336, filed Aug. 30, 1999, each of which are hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety. This attribute of the ITVM makes possible a new generation of hybrid instant tickets 10 according to the present invention that provides play of a conventional instant lottery game with its instant prize gratification, and extended play via an interactive game on the Internet either in the retail location, at home or elsewhere.

[0020] The ITVM 14 disclosed in the '406 and '336 patent applications provides all of the capabilities to provide these game play features and functions at a retail location 16. Moreover, applicant's pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/828,643, filed Aug. 3, 1998 and hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety discloses a device that provides a peripheral to an existing on-line terminal or PC connected to the Internet to deliver these new hybrid instant tickets 10.

[0021] The full service player activated terminal 14 disclosed in the above-identified patent applications is a platform to distribute lottery information via the internet 18 while in the idle mode (i.e., awaiting a player to insert money to purchase a ticket 10). The terminals 14 provide access to the respective lottery web sites to attract player attention and to provide such information as winning numbers, current jackpots, prize pay-outs, etc. The terminals 14 could also provide for player services such as the submission of prize claim forms and general correspondence.

[0022] The game design according to the present invention can be as varied as the conventional instant game tickets 10 that are marketed by lotteries today. For purposes of describing one embodiment of the invention, a game with a golf theme will be described.

[0023] The game may comprise nine holes that the player will play against an opponent with instant game information in the form of the player's score 20 being concealed under a removable and/or scratch-off layer 20 a on the instant ticket 10. Upon purchase, the ticket's bar code 12 is read by the ticket dispensing terminal 14 and transmitted to a central computer 22 for recording and access to interactive game information or remaining play data associated with the ticket's bar code 12, i.e., the opponent's scores for the nine holes. The interactive game information may include the opponent's scores, a transaction serial number, an internet access code, web site address and/or applicable security data which, in one embodiment, are then transmitted to the point of sale terminal or ITVM 14, where the interactive game information is printed on the ticket 10 in an interactive game information portion 21 or elsewhere to complete the transaction. One way to accomplish this is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,772,510 issued Jun. 30, 1998 and hereby incorporated by reference. Alternatively, the interactive game information 21 may be already printed on the ticket 10 and activated upon receipt of the bar code 12 information at the central computer system 22.

[0024] Hence, according to one aspect of the present invention, the hybrid instant ticket 10 is in two parts: 1) the instant game 20 and, 2) the interactive or internet game 21. The player removes the layer 20 a from the ticket 10 to reveal the instant game information 20 and matches the player's score with the opponent's score to determine if the ticket 10 is a winner. Winning tickets 10 can be cashed immediately as with other instant game tickets, possibly resulting in the player purchasing more tickets. Win or lose, the player subsequently continues to play the game via the internet 18 in an interactive mode.

[0025] Either in the retail location 16, if the ITVM 14 or other unit is suitably equipped with a personal computer (PC) with internet access/capability or the like 14 a incorporated therein for customer use, or a PC 15 remote from the ITVM 14, the player will log on to the web site printed on the ticket 10. Upon access to the website, an interactive and graphically exciting golf game will be downloaded to the PC 15 or ITVM 14 a for the player to play once the internet access code, which is printed on the ticket 10, is entered. The player can now play the nine holes of golf in an interactive manner via the internet 18 for an extended period of time at his or her leisure. The objective being to beat the opponent's score printed originally on the ticket 10 and now displayed also on the PC 15 or ITVM 14 a monitor as part of the game's graphics. Although the game will appear to require an element of skill, in one embodiment of this invention, the game's result will be purely based on a random result. Like most lottery games, the game could be designed to provide a high frequency of winners, and the player will be able to play additional games using some or all of the prize winnings to pay for the additional games. Remaining prize money can be collected by presentation of the original ticket 10 at any lottery retailer, by submitting a form over the internet, or having the money deposited for future use in a loyalty program deposit account.

[0026] Referring to FIG. 5, a flow chart of one embodiment of the lottery gaming system and associated method according to this invention is shown. The lottery game is initiated by a player purchasing one or more tickets 10 from a typical ITVM 14 as shown by block 110 of FIG. 5. The ITVM 14 may include tickets 10 from a variety of different games or game types and the player must select the appropriate game(s) 112. After the game(s) is/are selected, the bar code 12 is read from each ticket 10 in the ITVM 14 as shown by block 114. The information of the bar code 12 is then transmitted to a central computer 116. The remaining pay data 21 is generated 118. The remaining play date generation 118 may be accomplished by the central computer at which time the remaining play data is added to the tickets 120. Alternatively, the remaining play data may be pre-printed on the ticket(s) 10 and merely initialized once the associated bar code information 12 is received by the central computer 116. In another embodiment, the remaining play data added to the tickets 120 may be accomplished by printing the information received from the central computer actually onto the ticket. Subsequently, the ticket(s) is/are dispensed to the player 122. Instant game data 20 is included on the ticket and the player uncovers the layer 20 a to determine whether the ticket is an instant winner 124. Once the determination of whether the ticket is an instant winner 126 is made, winning tickets may be redeemed for cash and/or more tickets 128 as is customary with many instant game lottery transactions. If the player decides to play the instant game again 130, additional games are selected by the player 112 and the process repeats itself. If the ticket 10 is not an instant winner 126, the player accesses the internet with the access code and website printed on the ticket(s) 132. With such information, interactive play via the internet 134 commences at the conclusion of which the player determines whether continued internet play is desired 136. If the player wishes to end the interactive play via the internet, the game is over 138.

[0027] The above described concept is but one presently preferred embodiment of the present invention. The invention addresses and provides solutions for the issues facing lottery authorities wishing to move forward with an internet product offering. The invention in various aspects uses an instant game type format which will enable a player to adapt to the new play format without extensive player education. The initial purchase of the ticket 10 can be made from an established lottery retailer, which requires cash and thereby does not require legislative change to allow credit payment. Payment in cash to the lottery retailer reduces the potential abuse of payments made by credit, even if credit payments are available. Because the retailer is involved in the transaction, a retailer commission is generated and the retailer is supportive of the lottery's program. Whereas, if removed from the transaction, the retailer may stop selling the lottery products. Additional lottery products provide the retailer with additional opportunities to earn increased commissions. Importantly, the purchase of the initial ticket 10 from the retailer provides safeguards and controls with respect to play by minors. Purchasing the initial ticket for cash and allowing extended and additional play against prize winnings avoids the need for payment using credit. Purchasing the original ticket at an authorized lottery retailer eliminates the issue of jurisdiction control while allowing the player access via the internet, for example, even if the player resides in a different jurisdiction from where the ticket was purchased.

[0028] The present invention, as previously stated, can utilize existing instant game themes with which players are accustomed while allowing the internet capabilities to provide additional and extended play to those themes. Entertaining and graphically exciting card games, slot machines and sports games, to list a few examples, are downloaded and these games can be priced to provide extensive and prolonged play value. For example, nine holes of golf on a par 3 course could provide up to 15 minutes of extended internet-based play value, with a small number of higher value prizes. While a blackjack card game would provide fast action and could provide the player with 20 hands for an initial $1 purchase. Preferably, prizes would be smaller but large enough to fund additional play.

[0029] Furthermore, although most prizes would be small to facilitate extended play, a progressive jackpot can be included to further enhance the excitement of play. In the golf game previously described, for example, if each hole had the possibility of between 1 and 6 strokes and the objective to win the jackpot prize were to match exactly the opponent's score for each hole, the odds of winning the jackpot prize are 1 in 10,077,696. While these are long odds, the power of a progressive jackpot prize downloaded to each game participant's PC and the excitement of potentially winning the jackpot prize as each hole is played, in addition to winning a smaller prize are significant features of the invention. One such jackpot prize system is disclosed in the above-identified '643 U.S. patent application.

[0030] This invention includes play utilizing the internet which will appeal to the new generation of lottery players, those who have been brought up with a mouse (or joy stick) in their hand. This next generation of computer savvy players is looking for the thrill and entertainment value offered by interactive games. Membership in a loyalty program, especially if such membership provides additional benefits through competitive challenges, also offers significant advantages. For example, using the golf game as a vehicle, players playing a golf game over the internet could elect to have a particular game entered into a separate competition open only to loyalty program members. During the days of play of a major professional golf tournament, the player could nominate one of his games to be entered. The best score would receive points and at the end of the golf season the players with the most points would win a prize or prizes, which could be a golf vacation, a round of golf with a professional, golf lessons or golfing/lottery merchandise.

[0031] With the present invention, the possibilities are endless and the utilization of the internet brings lottery products into the home for the enjoyment and pleasure of the player in a secure and controlled manner, and within the current legal framework of most lottery jurisdictions.

[0032] The game design and distribution concepts of this invention provide a new category of interactive lottery products to appeal to the enormous appetite the public at large has for professional sports and other cultural events. While the lottery products are games of chance and not sports betting, the perception of the lottery player, the dreams and the aspirations of playing and competing with the best athletes or performers has tremendous marketing appeal.

[0033] Again using the above-described golf game, the invention allows a player when, upon accessing the web site, to select the course he/she wishes to play from a selection of the world's top courses, and then the player selects an opponent to play from a list of the world's leading players. Although make believe, the thought of playing and the bragging rights that the player beat Tiger Woods at Pebble Beach™ has tremendous entertainment value.

[0034] While golf has been used extensively to describe the present invention to enhance the lottery product line by utilization of the internet and the convergence of various technologies according to aspects of this invention, the possibilities for licensing sports personalities and their respective sport authorities and cross-promotion for all sports are another aspect of this invention (i.e., baseball, basketball, football, hockey, soccer, pool and tennis). For example, playing and beating the Wimbledon champion would have significant appeal. The marketing power of the images of such celebrities on the initial instant lottery tickets will provide lottery products with phenomenal appeal as the product mix.

[0035] From the above disclosure of the general principles of the present invention and the preceding detailed description of at least one preferred embodiment, those skilled in the art will readily comprehend the various modifications to which this invention is susceptible. Therefore, I desire to be limited only by the scope of the following claims and equivalents thereof.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification463/17
International ClassificationG07C15/00, A63F9/24, G07F17/32
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/32, A63F2003/088, A63F3/0665, G07F17/3248, A63F2009/242, A63F3/0615, G07C15/006, G07F17/329
European ClassificationA63F3/06F2, G07F17/32, G07F17/32K4, G07F17/32P4, A63F3/06A6, G07C15/00E
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Oct 7, 2004ASAssignment
Owner name: GTECH CORPORATION, RHODE ISLAND
Free format text: MERGER;ASSIGNOR:INTERLOTT TECHNOLOGIES, INC.;REEL/FRAME:015862/0617
Effective date: 20031201
Sep 6, 2002ASAssignment
Owner name: INTERLOTT TECHNOLOGIES, INC., OHIO
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:ROBERTS, BRIAN J.;REEL/FRAME:013275/0288
Effective date: 20020906