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Publication numberUS20030083126 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/003,921
Publication dateMay 1, 2003
Filing dateOct 31, 2001
Priority dateOct 31, 2001
Publication number003921, 10003921, US 2003/0083126 A1, US 2003/083126 A1, US 20030083126 A1, US 20030083126A1, US 2003083126 A1, US 2003083126A1, US-A1-20030083126, US-A1-2003083126, US2003/0083126A1, US2003/083126A1, US20030083126 A1, US20030083126A1, US2003083126 A1, US2003083126A1
InventorsCraig Paulsen
Original AssigneeInternational Game Technology
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Gaming machine with electronic tax form filing function
US 20030083126 A1
Abstract
A gaming machine including a gaming controller designed or configured to control the outcome of one or more games played on the gaming machine, and an electronic form generation device coupled to the game controller. The form generation device is adapted to generate an electronic form intended for a game user or patron of the gaming machine when the game user receives a payout award which is at least equivalent to a predetermined amount.
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Claims(33)
What is claimed is:
1. A gaming machine comprising:
a gaming controller designed or configured to control the outcome of one or more games played on the gaming machine; and
an electronic form generation device coupled to said game controller, and adapted to generate an electronic form intended for a game user of the gaming machine when the game user receives a payout award which is at least equivalent to a predetermined amount.
2. The gaming machine of claim 1, wherein
the electronic form is a tax form.
3. The gaming machine of claim 2, wherein
said tax form is a W2G tax form.
4. The gaming machine of claim 2, wherein
the predetermined amount is equivalent to an amount set by a government entity which requires reporting.
5. The gaming machine of claim 1, further including:
an input device coupled to the form generation device which enables the game user to provide or input personal identification or profile data identifying the game user.
6. The gaming machine of claim 5, wherein
the input device includes a player tracking interface device for a player tracking unit.
7. The gaming machine of claim 6, wherein
the player tracking interface device is one or more of the following: a card reader, a bonus button, a microphone, a sound projection device, a camera, a wireless interface device, a proximity sensor, a key pad, a touch pad, a bar-code reader, an illumination device, a retina scan reader and a finger print reader.
8. The gaming machine of claim 6, wherein
the player tracking interface device includes a card reader and a player tracking card providing at least a portion of the personal identification or profile data identifying the game user to be inserted in the electronic form.
9. The gaming machine of claim 5, wherein
the input device is a portable wireless device.
10. The gaming machine of claim 9, wherein
the portable wireless device is a personal digital assistant.
11. The gaming machine of claim 1, further including:
a display for displaying the electronic form.
12. The gaming machine of claim 11, further including:
an input device coupled to the form generation device which enables the game user to provide or input personal identification data identifying the game user for insertion into the electronic form.
13. The gaming machine of claim 12, wherein
the input device includes a touch screen mounted over the display, and a logic device generating a key pad interface on the display and receiving input signals from the touch screen corresponding to input buttons on the key pad interface.
14. The gaming machine of claim 13, wherein
the touch screen further includes:
a touch screen sensor;
a touch screen assembly enclosing the touch screen sensor; and
a touch screen controller integrated into said touch screen assembly.
15. The gaming machine of claim 11, wherein
the display is further coupled to the game controller for displaying the outcome of the game.
16. The gaming machine of claim 15, wherein
the display is at least one of a LED display, a LCD display, a plasma display and a CRT.
17. A method of providing one or more game services on a gaming machine comprising:
providing a gaming controller designed or configured to control the outcome of one or more games played on the gaming machine; and
automatically generating an electronic form intended for a game user of the gaming machine when the game user receives a payout award from the game controller which is at least equivalent to a predetermined amount.
18. The method of claim 17, further comprising:
displaying the electronic form on a display.
19. The method of claim 18, further comprising:
displaying the outcome of the game on the display.
20. The method of claim 17, wherein
the electronic form is a tax form.
21. The method of claim 20, wherein
said tax form is a W2G tax form.
22. The method of claim 17, further comprising:
providing an input device coupled to the form generation device which enables the game user to provide or input personal identification or profile data identifying the game user.
23. The method of claim 22, wherein
the input device includes a player tracking interface device for a player tracking unit.
24. The method of claim 23, wherein
the player tracking interface device is one or more of the following: a card reader, a bonus button, a microphone, a sound projection device, a camera, a wireless interface device, a proximity sensor, a key pad, a touch pad, a bar-code reader, an illumination device, a retina scan reader and a finger print reader.
25. The method of claim 22, further comprising:
automatically inputting at least a portion of the personal identification or profile data identifying the game user through the player tracking interface device.
26. The method of claim 25, wherein
the player tracking interface device is one or more of the following: a card reader, a bonus button, a microphone, a sound projection device, a camera, a wireless interface device, a proximity sensor, a key pad, a touch pad, a bar-code reader, an illumination device, a retina scan reader and a finger print reader.
27. The method of claim 25, further comprising:
providing the at least a portion of the personal identification or profile data identifying the game user is provided on a player tracking card.
28. The method of claim 18, further comprising:
inputting at least a portion of the personal identification or profile data identifying the game user through a touch screen mounted over the display.
29. The method of claim 18, further comprising:
displaying a key pad interface with a plurality of input buttons to the touch screen on the display.
30. The method of claim 29, wherein
the input buttons are selected from the group consisting of alphabetic symbols, numeric symbols and functional symbols.
31. The method of claim 23, further comprising:
validating an identity of the game user of the player tracking unit.
32. The method of claim 17, further comprising:
displaying a hand-writing interface to the touch screen display.
33. The method of claim 17, further comprising:
providing a receipt.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] This invention relates to gaming machines such as video slot machines and video poker machines, and more particularly relates to gaming services and apparatus provided with the gaming machines.

[0002] As technology in the gaming industry progresses, the once traditional mechanically-driven reel slot machines have been replaced with electronic counterparts having CRT video displays or the like. These video/electronic gaming advancements enable the operation of more complex gambling games which would not otherwise be possible on mechanical-driven gambling machines. For example, in addition to reel slot machines, it is now common to observe stand alone or multiple platform video electronic games including Keno, Blackjack, Poker, Pai Gow, and all the variations thereof, in even the smallest gaming establishments.

[0003] More recently, networked gaming and multiple game platforms have been developed which provide access to multiple electronic games through a single stand alone gaming machine, such as International Game Technology's (IGT) “Game King Machine”. Typically, a game selection menu may be provided on the video display which offers the patron the choice of at least two video/electronic games. The gaming patron, thus, may select a gambling game of their choice without having to search the gaming establishment for the location of a desired game.

[0004] Not only have the play of the games increased in sophistication, but so have many other aspects of the game such as the methodologies and schemes employed to award a winning gaming patron. Moreover, the average size of the awards have increased as well.

[0005] While these increased award amounts are certainly well embraced by the gaming machine player, the number of reported gaming awards to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has likewise increased. IRS regulations require that any machine awards of $1,200.00 or more be reported by the casino to the IRS through W-2G illustrated in FIG. 3.

[0006] Currently, when a gaming patron is awarded an amount which requires reporting to the IRS, the gaming machine electronically locks and prevents any further operation until a gaming attendant arrives. This allows the attendant to present the W-2G form to the gaming patron so that they may complete the document prior to payment of the award. Subsequently, the gaming machine is reset by the gaming attendant for continued operation.

[0007] Not only is this procedure labor intensive but a substantial amount of time is expended waiting for the attendant to arrive as well as the time required to complete the W-2G form. Both the gaming operator and the gaming patron, thus, waste valuable gaming time which could be better applied toward gaming.

[0008] In view of the above, it would be desirable to provide a gaming apparatus and service method which offered electronic form presentation and completion to a gaming patron when such forms are required.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0009] The present invention provides a gaming machine including a gaming controller designed or configured to control the outcome of one or more games played on the gaming machine, and an electronic form generation device coupled to the game controller. The form generation device is adapted to generate an electronic form intended for a game user of the gaming machine when the game user receives a payout award which is at least equivalent to a predetermined amount.

[0010] Accordingly, when form completion is required prior to payout of the awarded winnings, the form is automatically presented and submitted to the patron. This saves time and effort for both the gaming patron and the casino operator. Consequently, gaming by the patron can continue substantially faster than the current, more labor intensive technique.

[0011] In one embodiment, the electronic form is a tax form such as a W-2G or Form 5754. Thus, the predetermined amount is set at $1,200 by the federal government.

[0012] In another embodiment, an input device is coupled to the form generation device to enable the game user to provide or input personal identification or profile data identifying the game user. In one configuration, the input device includes a player tracking interface device of a player tracking unit such as a card reader, a bonus button, a microphone, a sound projection device, a camera, a wireless interface device, a proximity sensor, a key pad, a bar-code reader, an illumination device, a retina scan reader and a finger print reader.

[0013] Another embodiment includes a display for displaying the electronic form. This display may be the same display upon which the gaming devices are displayed. Further, the input device may include a touch screen mounted over the display, and a logic device generating a key pad interface on the display and receiving input signals from the touch screen corresponding to input buttons on the key pad interface.

[0014] In particular embodiments, the touch screen sensor is at least one of a capacitive touch screen sensor, a resistive touch screen sensor and an acoustic wave touch screen sensor. The touch screen may be activated using a finger or a stylus. The display used with the touch screen may be at least one of a LED display, a LCD display, such as a color LCD, a plasma display, a CRT or any other conventional display technology. In one embodiment, the resolution of the display may be 320 pixels by 240 pixels. However, the resolution of the display may be higher or lower than 320 by 240 pixels.

[0015] In other embodiments, the input buttons on the key pad interface may be selected from the group consisting of alphabetic symbols, numeric symbols and functional The input buttons on the key pad interface may be used to input player tracking identification information such as PIN number or may be used to order a drink. The input buttons may be rendered in 3-D, animated, shaded in color and combinations thereof. The alphabetic symbols may be selected from one or more alphabets. The functional symbols may be animated. Further, when one of the player tracking interface devices is a sound projection device and when the input signals for at least one of the input buttons is received, a sound may be emitted from a sound projection device.

[0016] In another aspect of the present invention, a method of providing one or more game services on a gaming machine including providing a gaming controller designed or configured to control the outcome of one or more games played on the gaming machine; and automatically generating an electronic form intended for a game user of the gaming machine when the game user receives a payout award from the game controller which is at least equivalent to a predetermined amount.

[0017] In one configuration, the method includes displaying the electronic form on a display which may also display the outcome of the game on the display. In yet another embodiment, the method includes providing an input device coupled to the form generation device to enable the game user to provide or input personal identification or profile data identifying the game user.

[0018] In still another arrangement, the method includes automatically inputting at least a portion of the personal identification or profile data identifying the game user through the player tracking interface device such as a player tracking card.

[0019] These and other features and advantages of the invention will be spelled out in more detail below with reference to the associated drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0020]FIG. 1 is a flow diagram of a player tracking system incorporating the form filing function designed in accordance with the present invention.

[0021]FIG. 2 is a block diagram of a number of gaming machines with player tracking units connected to servers providing the electronic form filing function of FIG. 1

[0022]FIG. 3 is a diagrammatic screen shot of a W-2G Form shown on a display of the gaming machine in accordance with the present invention.

[0023]FIG. 4 is a top perspective view of a video gaming machine of the present invention.

[0024]FIG. 5 is a block diagram of a game service interface display for one embodiment of the present invention.

[0025]FIG. 6 is a block diagram of a two part touch screen display in a player tracking unit for one embodiment of the present invention.

[0026]FIG. 7 is a flow chart of a method for providing electronic form filing services in accordance with the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0027] While the present invention will be described with reference to a few specific embodiments, the description is illustrative of the invention and is not to be construed as limiting the invention. Various modifications to the present invention can be made to the preferred embodiments by those skilled in the art without departing from the true spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims. It will be noted here that for a better understanding, like components are designated by like reference numerals throughout the various figures.

[0028] Attention is now directed to FIGS. 1 and 2 where a gaming machine, generally designated 20, is provided including a gaming controller 21 designed or configured to control the outcome of one or more games played on the gaming machine. An electronic form generation device, generally designated 22, is also included coupled to the game controller. The form generation device 22 is adapted to generate an electronic form intended for a game user or patron of the gaming machine when the game user receives a payout award which is at least equivalent to a predetermined amount.

[0029] Accordingly, when federal law requires a patron to report significant gaming machine winnings to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) prior to payout, the gaming machine automatically generates, displays and presents an electronic form directly to the patron so that they can provide or verify their profile information. This form presentation saves time and effort for both the gaming patron and the casino operator. Consequently, gaming by the patron can continue gaming substantially faster than the current, more labor intensive technique of manual form completion.

[0030] For instance, should a game user be awarded a jackpot or the like of $1,200 or more, which is currently the amount required by federal law to report to the IRS, the gaming machine 20 will automatically display an electronic form (e.g., a W-2G tax form 23 shown on display 25 in FIG. 3. A lockout device 27, coupled to the master gaming controller 21, will lock out or prevent further gaming play operation on that gaming machine 20 until the electronic form is completed by the patron. Preferably, the gaming patron will be required to either input and/or verify their profile information to complete the form. More preferably, as will be described below, their profile information will be automatically retrieved from a player tracking card or from the central server 28.

[0031] Briefly, referring now to FIG. 4, a typical video gaming machine is illustrated including a main cabinet 30, which generally surrounds the machine interior (not shown) and is viewable by users. The main cabinet includes a main door 31 on the front of the machine, which opens to provide access to the interior of the machine. Attached to the main door are player-input switches or buttons 32, a coin acceptor 33, and a bill validator 35, a coin tray 36, and a belly glass 37. Viewable through the main door is a video display monitor 25 and an information panel 38. The display monitor 25 will typically be a cathode ray tube, high resolution flat-panel LCD, or other conventional electronically controlled video monitor. The information panel 38 may be a back-lit, silk screened glass panel with lettering to indicate general game information including, for example, the number of coins played. The bill validator 35, player-input switches 32, video display monitor 25, and information panel are devices used to play a game on the game machine 20. Typical of such games offered by these gaming machines include traditional slot games, video slot games, video poker, video black jack, video keno, video pachinko, lottery games and other games of chance as well as bonus games may be provided with gaming machines of this invention.

[0032] The described gaming machine 20 is but one example from a wide range of gaming machine designs on which the present invention may be implemented. For example, some gaming machines have two or more game displays—mechanical and/or video. Other gaming machines are designed for bar tables and have displays that face upwards. Still further, some machines may be designed entirely for cashless systems. Such machines may not include such features as bill validators, coin acceptors and coin trays. Instead, they may have only ticket readers, card readers and ticket dispensers. As another example, a game may be generated in on a host computer and may be displayed on a remote terminal or a remote computer. The remote computer may be connected to the host computer via a network of some type such as the Internet. Those of skill in the art will understand that the present invention, as described below, can be deployed on most any gaming machine now available or hereafter developed.

[0033] More recently, the gaming machines are networked, and include integrated player tracking systems. Referring back to FIG. 2, briefly, a player tracking system 40 integrating an embodiment of the present invention is described. However, the example is presented for illustrated purposes only as the present invention is not limited to the following example. FIG. 2 is a block diagram of a number of gaming machines 20, 20 a, 20 b and 20 c with player tracking units connected to server 28 providing player tracking services and servers providing other gaming services. In casino 41, by way of example, gaming machines 20, 20 a, 20 b and 20 c are connected, via the data collection unit (DCU) 42 to the player tracking/accounting server 28. The DCU 42, which may be connected to up to thirty-two (32) player tracking units as part of a local network in a particular example, consolidates the information gathered from player tracking units in gaming machines 20, 20 a, 20 b and 20 c and forwards the information to the player tracking account server 28. The player tracking account server is designed 1) to store player tracking account information, such as information regarding a player's previous game play, and 2) to calculate player tracking points based on a player's game play. The player tracking points may be used as basis for providing rewards to the player

[0034] In gaming machine 20 of casino 41, a player tracking unit 43 and slot machine interface board (SMIB) 45 are mounted within a main cabinet 30 of the gaming machine. A top box 46 is mounted on top of the main cabinet 30 of the gaming machine. In many types of gaming machines, the player tracking unit is mounted within the top box 46. The player tracking unit 43 may also be mounted on the side of a gaming machine such as on the side of main cabinet 30. Usually, player tracking units, such as 43, and SMIBs, such as 45, are manufactured as separate units before installation into a gaming machine, such as 20.

[0035] Typically, the player tracking unit 43 include at least two peripheral devices, a card reader 47, and a screen display 25, all mounted within the unit. In some embodiments of the present invention, the peripheral devices within the player tracking unit are controlled by a processor located within the player tracking unit. In other embodiments, one or more peripheral devices may be directly controlled by the master gaming controller 21. In yet other embodiments, the processor in the player tracking unit 43 may be used as a slave controller by the master gaming controller 21 to operate one or more peripheral devices in the player tracking unit 43. Details of player tracking units with peripheral devices operated by a master gaming controller are described in co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/838,033, filed Apr. 19, 2001, by Criss-Puskiewicz, et al, titled “Universal Player Tracking System,” which is incorporated herein in its entirety and for all purposes and co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/642,192, filed Aug. 18, 2000, by LeMay, et al, titled “Gaming Machine Virtual Player Tracking Services,” which is incorporated herein in its entirety and for all purposes.

[0036] In one specific embodiment, the electronic form generation device 22 may be resident in each individual gaming machine for access by the game controller 21 (not shown). In another specific embodiment, when the gaming machines are connected through a central network such as with a player tracking system, the electronic form generation component or device 22 may be located in or communicably coupled to the player tracking/account server 28 for central access thereof. Thus, when form generation or completion is necessary, a connection, via the network, with the player tracking/account server 28 may be established to commence input or verification of the proper profile information prior to payout and the resumption of gaming. In one example, the form generation device 22 provides an electronic version of a W-2G form 25 for display on game display 25 (FIG. 3). An input device 48 (e.g., FIG. 5) coupled to the form generation device 22 and the game controller 21 enables the patron to input or verify their relevant profile information (e.g., name, address, social security number, etc.) to complete the electronic W-2G form.

[0037] In accordance with the present invention, when a winning gaming patron has been awarded a jackpot of $1,200 or more, as currently required by law, the lockout device 27 of the game controller 21 will prevent any further gaming play on that gaming machine until the electronic form is completed or verified. The form generation device 22 may then prompt the winning patron, on the main display 25, to commence form completion. For example, the form generation device 22 may prompt the patron with a simple set queries such as “Please enter your full name”.

[0038] As indicated-above, an input device 48 may be provided at the gaming machine which enables the winning patron to input their profile information or identification data to complete the W-2G form. Through this input interface, the patron can manually enter their profile information using any conventional technique. Such manual input devices include conventional key pads, bar-code readers, card readers and wireless interface devices.

[0039] More particularly, in one embodiment, the input device 48 may be provided by a push button key pad (not shown) provided on or near the gaming machine 20. This would enable the gaming patron to easily “key-in” the proper information as the queries for the information are displayed on the gaming display 25. While a fill letter key pad could be provided, this may not be practical given the space limitations and costs involved. More preferably, a twelve button key pad interface would be provided similar to a telephone key pad which would include alpha-numerics on the button faces.

[0040] In another specific embodiment, as shown in FIG. 5, a multi-purpose touch screen display 55 may be used as an input interface to enable the player to input the pertinent profile information when required. As will be described in greater detail below, this multi-purpose display may further provide player tracking services and other game services to a player operating a gaming machine. More specifically, the touch screen display 55 may be used as an interface by a player to: 1) input player profile information to complete the W-2G form; 2) input player tracking identification information; 3) view account information and perform account transactions for accounts such as player tracking accounts and bank accounts; 4) receive operating instructions related to the player tracking unit and the gaming machine; 5) redeem prizes or comps including using player tracking points to redeem the prize or comp; 6) make entertainment service reservations; 7) transfer credits to cashless instruments and other player accounts; 8) participate in casino promotions; 9) select entertainment choices for output via video and audio output mechanisms on the player tracking unit and the gaming machine; 10) play games and bonus games; 11) request gaming services such as a drink orders; 12) communicate with other players or casino service personnel; 13) play progressive games; and 14) register a player for a loyalty program such as a player tracking club. In addition, the touch screen display 55 may be used as an interface by casino service personnel to: a) access diagnostic menus; b) display player tracking unit status information and gaming machine status information; c) access gaming machine metering information; and d) display player status information.

[0041] As shown in FIG. 6, in one particular embodiment, the player tracking system includes two display screens: a narrow display screen 50 and a display screen 51 with a length to height ratio of about 4 to 3. Traditionally, display screens on player tracking units have used LED's to display a single row of alphanumeric text such as a sixteen (16) character display resulting in a narrow display such as 50. A touch screen may be used with an LED display screen to eliminate a key pad on the player tracking unit. However, a color LCD display screen may be preferred over an LED screen to allow for the display of symbols as well as alphanumeric characters. For example, a color LCD display screen with a 3.5 inch diagonal and a resolution of 320 pixels by 240 pixels may be used with a touch screen as a touch screen display. In addition to LCD's and LED's, a touch screen may be used with a plasma display screen, a CRT display as well as with other conventional display technology.

[0042] Briefly, three different types of touch screens are contemplated: a resistive based touch screen, a capacitive based touch screen, and a surface acoustic wave touch screen. These screens are better described in U.S. Pending patent application Ser. No. ______, filed ______, by Paulsen et al., titled “GAME SERVICE INTERFACES FOR PLAYER TRACKING TOUCH SCREEN DISPLAY” which is incorporated herein in its entirety and for all purposes.

[0043]FIG. 5 best illustrates an exemplary component layout for a game service interface. For example, the buttons may be rendered with surface shading and textures to appear three-dimensional and may be animated. Hence, when a button is touched on the touch screen, it may appear to move into the screen. Further, the symbols on the buttons may appear to be animated in 2-D or 3-D. For instance, text on the buttons may appear to flash or move or characters and symbols on the buttons may appear to move.

[0044] As mentioned above, another form of input device to input the patron profile information may be provided by a player tracking system 40 coupled to the machine, should the player be participating in the program. In this manner, the pertinent profile information can be stored on the player tracking card 52 (FIG. 4) issued to the player, and/or retrieved from the database 53 (FIG. 2) of the player tracking server 28 when the identification of the winning patron is verified. Thus, in this embodiment, the patron may only be required to verify that the information displayed on the screen to complete the electronic forms are correct.

[0045] By way of example, typically, when a game player wants to play a game on a gaming machine and utilize the player tracking services available through the player tracking unit, a game player inserts a player tracking card, such as a magnetic striped card, into the card reader 47. After the magnetic striped card has been so inserted, the player tracking unit 43 may detect this event and receive certain identification information contained on the card. For example, a player's name, address, social security number and player tracking account number encoded on the magnetic striped card, may be received by the player tracking unit 43. In general, a player must provide identification information of some type to utilize player tracking services available on a gaming machine. For current player tracking programs, the most common approach for providing identification information is to issue a magnetic-striped card storing the necessary identification information to each player that wishes to participate in a given player tracking program.

[0046] After a player has inserted her or his player tracking card into the card reader 47, the player tracking unit 43 may command the touch screen display 55 to display the game player's name on the touch screen display 55 and also, may optionally display a message requesting the game player to validate their identity by entering an identification PIN code using a game service interface with an alpha-numeric key pad displayed on touch screen display 55 or through a player tracking input keypad. For example, the player may use their finger, a stylus or combinations thereof to enter their identification information using the touch screen sensor. Once the game player's identity has been validated, the player tracking information is relayed to the player tracking server 28. Typically, the player tracking server 28 stores player tracking account records including the number of player tracking points previously accumulated by the player.

[0047] Accordingly, when a registered player tracking patron has received a jackpot sufficient to commence the electronic form generation device, the player profile information may be retrieved directly from the magnetic strip of the player's player tracking card.

[0048] In still another specific embodiment, the casino may provide a W-2G registration program where a patron may pre-register to use the electronic from filing program. In this manner, a patron may pre-register at a Kiosk 54 or booth, or through an attendant. Accordingly, when a winning patron is participating in this function, and has properly identified themselves, the form generation device 22 may retrieve the pertinent profile information or identification data from the central server 28 to commence completion of the form.

[0049] Alternatively, a loyalty program registration interface such as that shown in FIG. 5 may be displayed on a touch screen peripheral device 55 in which a player that is not a member of a loyalty program, such as a W-2G electronic form filing program or a player tracking program, may use the input interface to join the program at the gaming machine as part of a “point of play” registration. In one embodiment, the player may obtain a “blank” magnetic striped card or another type of loyalty program instrument excepted by the card reader on the gaming machine such as a smart card. Next at the gaming machine, the player may request a “point of play” registration on the gaming machine from a menu of game services available on the gaming machine. A “point of play” registration on the gaming machine may be initiated before game play session has begun on the gaming machine (e.g. the player registers and then plays one or more games on the gaming machine), during a game play session on the gaming machine (e.g. game play by the player occurs prior to the registration and after the registration), when the electronic form generation device has commenced, and at the end of a game play session (e.g. the player registers but does not continue to play).

[0050] After the “point of play” registration has been initiated on the gaming machine, a logic device on the player tracking unit or the gaming machine may instruct the player to insert the “blank” magnetic striped card into the card reader and display the loyalty program registration interface 56 on the touch screen display. Using a finger or stylus, a player may enter their name, address and other identification information required for registration. Different combinations of registration information may be used and are not limited to a name and address. The required identification information may be entered using the numeric input buttons 57 and the alphabetic input buttons 57. The required information may be input in different languages and is not limited to English or other Romance languages. Thus, the input buttons 57 may be adapted for languages using alphabets other than a Roman alphabet.

[0051] In some embodiments, the touch screen display may be used with hand writing recognition software located on a logic device on the player tracking unit, player tracking server or the gaming machine to allow a player to write information on the display screen, such as their name and address, as a means of inputting this information. The “written” information may be converted to text by the hand-writing recognition software and stored electronically. For example, as shown in FIG. 5, a player name “JOE” 58 is written in a writing template area 60. The name may be recognized using hand-writing recognition software and converted to text. The required registration information may be written in languages other than English and using an alphabet different than the Roman alphabet such as a Kanji alphabet which is used in Japan.

[0052] Moreover, the player may sign their name in the writing template area 60. The player's signature may be recorded and stored so that it may be later used for identification purposes. For example, prior to the initiation of a player tracking session or another game service, a signature recorded from the writing template area 60 may be compared with a stored signature using comparison software. When the signatures compare, the player tracking session or other game service is allowed to proceed. When the signatures do not compare, the player tracking session or game service may be terminated or additional identification information may be required from the player before the player tracking session is allowed. Alphabetic input buttons and writing template areas with hand writing recognition and feature recognition software are not limited to the loyalty program registration interface 56 and may be used with any of the other game service interfaces of the present invention.

[0053] In addition to a signature, other biometric information may be recorded from the player as part of the registration process. For instance, a camera may be used to record a picture of player's face. As another example, a finger print reader may be used to record a player's finger print. A microphone may be used to record a player's voice. In one embodiment, the biometric information may be used for auditing purposes to identify that a player has actually registered. In another embodiment, the biometric information entered during the registration process may be used to validate a player's identity to initiate a loyalty program session. For instance, a recorded player's finger print may be used to validate the player's identity when they initiate a loyalty program session using a loyalty program instrument. The biometric input devices used in the registration process, such as a camera, finger print reader, a microphone may be located on a player tracking unit, a gaming machine, a casino Kiosk 54 or any other gaming device used to register a player. Other less conventional input devices may include sound projection devices, cameras, illumination devices, and retina scan readers.

[0054] After registration, the magnetic striped card, or other loyalty point instrument used in the registration process, may be used by the player to initiate a player tracking session on other gaming machines or participate in other loyalty program activities available to the player through the loyal program using the magnetic striped card.

[0055] In yet another player profile information input example, the casino service representative may enter the player's player tracking or W-2G registration information on touch screen display located on a hand-held wireless device carried by the casino service representative and obtain card information from a card reader attached to the hand-held device. After entering the required information, a registration request message may be sent through a wireless interface on the player tracking unit to the player tracking server through a wireless interface on the gaming machine to the player tracking server or directly to the player tracking server from the hand held-device. After receiving a registration confirmation from the player tracking server, the player may be presented with an activated player tracking card which may be used to initiate a player tracking session on the gaming machine. An example of hand-held wireless device that may be used to provide the “point of play” player tracking registration is described in co-pending U.S. application Ser. No. 09/544,844, by Rowe, filed Apr. 7, 2000, tilted “Wireless Gaming Environment,” which is incorporated herein in its entirety and for all purposes.

[0056] In accordance with the present invention, once the proper profile or identification information is input or verified through the above-indicated techniques, and the electronic form is determined to be completed, the form generation device 22, operably coupled to the networked gaming machines 20-20 c, can electronically file the W-2G form with the IRS. Hence, a paperless transaction has occurred which is substantially more efficient than the current manual techniques. A receipt 61 or printout of the W-2G form, of course, may be provided to document the electronic filing from the printer at each gaming machine (e.g., an EZ Pay Ticket printer 62 (FIG. 2)), from the printer at a central Kiosk, by hand delivery to the winning patron by the Casino personnel, etc.

[0057] Referring now to FIG. 7, a flow chart is illustrated of one exemplary method for providing gaming services on a touch screen display of the present invention. After the start at 100, a gaming patron may register with a Casino to use the electronic tax form filing function at 102. By way of example, such registration may be performed through an input device, mentioned above, located at a designated Kiosk, booth or gaming machine. Such registration may further be performed at through a casino attendant.

[0058] When a player wins $1,200 or more at a gaming machine at 104, the lockout device 27 locks out further gaming play from that machine. At 106, the game controller 21 of the gaming machine 20 establishes a connection with the casino network. Once the connection is made, the Player Tracking/Accounting Server 28 retrieves the player profile or identification data from the database. The Server than queries whether the player is registered for the W-2G electronic form filing function at 108. If the winning patron is not registered, then either the program ends at 110 or offers the patron to register at the “point-of-play” (not shown).

[0059] If the winning patron is registered, then the Player Tracking/Accounting Server 28 will transmit the W-2G and the profile information to the gaming machine 20 for display thereof on the main display 25 at 112. The player profile or identification data is pre-filled on the electronic form shown on the display.

[0060] At 114, the winning player or a casino operator may then enter identification information, via a touch screen display, to properly identify the patron. For instance, a PIN number may be entered via a key pad displayed on the touch screen display, a player may “sign-in” by providing a signature via the touch screen display or combinations thereof. Other positive identification procedures, as above-mentioned, include a retinal scan, a fingerprint read, video image capture, etc.

[0061] Should the positive identification procedure at 114 be satisfied, the patron may be prompted to input any changes or to verify that the pre-filled information is correct at 116. If the winning patron does not accept the information, the electronic filing function ends at 118; otherwise, the player is prompted whether to print-out the W-2G as a receipt, at 120.

[0062] In the event that the winning patron elects not to print the electronic forms, the transaction information is transmitted back to the Player Tracking/Accounting Server 28 for storage in the database 53, at 122, and then the filing function ends at 124. The patron will then be permitted to selectively print the forms at a later time.

[0063] If the winning patron elects to print-out the W-2G, at 120, the player is prompted whether to print-out the win amount on an EZ Pay Ticket as a receipt, at 126.

[0064] Should the winning patron elect not to print the win amount, the transaction information is transmitted back to the Player Tracking/Accounting Server 28 for storage in the database 53, at 128, in the player's account. This credit can then be used as a later time. The form filing function then ends at 130.

[0065] If the winning patron elects to print-out the win amount on an EZ Pay Ticket, then the player could cash-in ticket for currency. The form filing function then ends at 132.

[0066] Although the foregoing invention has been described in some detail for purposes of clarity of understanding, it will be apparent that certain changes and modifications may be practiced within the scope of the appended claims. For instance, while the gaming machines of this invention have been depicted as upright models having top box mounted on top of the main gaming machine cabinet, the use of gaming devices in accordance with this invention is not so limited. For example, gaming machine may be provided without a top box or the gaming machine may be of a slant-top or table top design.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification463/25
International ClassificationG07F17/32
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/3248, G07F17/32, G07F17/323
European ClassificationG07F17/32, G07F17/32E4, G07F17/32K4
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Feb 10, 2003ASAssignment
Owner name: IGT, NEVADA
Free format text: CHANGE OF NAME;ASSIGNOR:INTERNATIONAL GAME TECHNOLOGY;REEL/FRAME:013728/0785
Effective date: 20021014
Oct 31, 2001ASAssignment
Owner name: INTERNATIONAL GAME TECHNOLOGY, NEVADA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:PAULSEN, CRAIG A.;REEL/FRAME:012359/0849
Effective date: 20011023