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Publication numberUS20050059472 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/659,878
Publication dateMar 17, 2005
Filing dateSep 11, 2003
Priority dateSep 11, 2003
Also published asUS8460083, US20050059481
Publication number10659878, 659878, US 2005/0059472 A1, US 2005/059472 A1, US 20050059472 A1, US 20050059472A1, US 2005059472 A1, US 2005059472A1, US-A1-20050059472, US-A1-2005059472, US2005/0059472A1, US2005/059472A1, US20050059472 A1, US20050059472A1, US2005059472 A1, US2005059472A1
InventorsShridhar Joshi, Alfred Thomas
Original AssigneeJoshi Shridhar P., Alfred Thomas
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Gaming machine with multi-level progressive jackpot
US 20050059472 A1
Abstract
A gaming system for playing a wagering game having a special payout with a first payout and a second payout. The gaming system includes a gaming terminal for playing a basic game having a randomly selected outcome. The gaming terminal includes a side-wager input device for allowing a player to be eligible to win the special payout. In response to activation of the side-wager input device, the gaming terminal credits the player the first payout when a first randomly selected outcome is achieved in the basic game. When a second randomly selected outcome is achieved in the basic game, the gaming terminal credits the player the second payout.
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Claims(27)
1. A method for playing a wagering game having a special payout with a first payout and a second payout, the method comprising:
conducting a basic game having a randomly selected outcome;
presenting a side-wager option for a player to be eligible for the special payout; and
in response to the player selecting the option to be eligible for the special payout, crediting the player the first payout when a first randomly selected outcome occurs in the basic game and crediting the player the second payout when a second randomly selected outcome occurs in the basic game.
2. The method of claim 1, further comprising crediting the player a third payout when a third randomly selected outcome occurs in the basic game.
3. The method of claim 1, wherein the special payout is a progressive payout.
4. The method of claim 1, wherein the first payout is a bonus game.
5. The method of claim 1, wherein the randomly selected outcome comprises a plurality of symbols.
6. The method of claim 5, wherein each of the plurality of symbols is a card from a deck of playing cards.
7. The method of claim 5, wherein the wagering game is a slot machine and each of the plurality of symbols is a reel symbol.
8. A method for playing a wagering game on a gaming terminal, the wagering game having a progressive payout with a first payout and a second payout, the method comprising:
conducting a basic game having a plurality of symbols that indicate a randomly selected outcome of the basic game;
presenting an option for a player to be eligible for the progressive payout; and
in response to the player selecting the option to be eligible for the progressive payout, awarding the first payout when a first randomly selected outcome is achieved in the basic game and awarding the second payout when a second randomly selected outcome is achieved in the basic game.
9. The method of claim 8, wherein the conducting step comprises choosing at least one of a plurality of paylines to play and choosing a wager amount for each of the plurality of paylines chosen.
10. The method of claim 9, wherein the presenting step only occurs if all of the plurality of paylines are chosen.
11. The method of claim 8, wherein the awarding step is performed by a controller in the gaming terminal.
12. A gaming system for playing a wagering game having a special payout with a first payout and a second payout, the gaming system comprising a gaming terminal for playing a basic game having a randomly selected outcome, the gaming terminal having a side-wager input device for allowing a player to be eligible to win the special payout wherein, in response to activation of the side-wager input device, the gaming terminal credits the player the first payout when a first randomly selected outcome is achieved in the basic game and the gaming terminal credits the player the second payout when a second randomly selected outcome is achieved in the basic game.
13. The system of claim 12, wherein the special payout is a progressive jackpot.
14. The system of claim 12, wherein the first payout is a bonus game jackpot.
15. The system of claim 12, wherein the side-wager input device is a button or a key.
16. The system of claim 12, wherein the first and second randomly selected outcomes comprise a plurality of symbols.
17. The system of claim 16, wherein each of the plurality of symbols is a card from a deck of playing cards.
18. The system of claim 16, wherein the gaming terminal is a slot machine and each of the plurality of symbols is a standard slot machine symbol.
19. The gaming system of claim 12, further comprising a plurality of gaming terminals for conducting wagering games, each of the plurality of gaming terminals having the side-wager input device.
20. The gaming system of claim 19, further comprising signage located above and coupled to the plurality of gaming terminals, the signage displaying the special payout and for receiving a signal from one of the plurality of gaming terminals that it is eligible to win a special payout.
21. The gaming system of claim 20, wherein the signage includes a signage controller for controlling an outcome of the special payout on one of the plurality of gaming terminals.
22. The gaming system of claim 21, wherein each of the plurality of gaming terminals includes a gaming terminal controller, the gaming terminal controller being in communication with the signage controller.
23. The gaming system of claim 19, wherein each of the plurality of gaming terminals are identical machines.
24. The gaming system of claim 19, wherein the special payout is a progressive payout.
25. The gaming system of claim 19, wherein the first payout is a bonus game payout.
26. A gaming terminal for playing a wagering game, comprising:
a basic game having a plurality of symbols that indicate a randomly selected outcome of the basic game;
a progressive payout having a first payout and a second payout; and
an input device for allowing a player to become eligible for the progressive payout;
wherein, in response to the input device being activated, the gaming terminal awards the player the first payout when a first randomly selected outcome is achieved and awards the player the second payout when a second randomly selected outcome is achieved.
27. The gaming terminal of claim 26, wherein in response to the input device being activated, the gaming terminal awards the player a third payout when a third randomly selected outcome is achieved.
Description
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to gaming machines and, more particularly, to a gaming machine and a gaming machine network having an enhanced progressive game.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Gaming machines, such as slot machines, video poker machines, and the like, have been a cornerstone of the gaming industry for several years. Generally, the popularity of such machines with players is dependent on the likelihood (or perceived likelihood) of winning money at the machine and the intrinsic entertainment value of the machine relative to other available gaming options. Where the available gaming options include a number of competing machines and the expectation of winning each machine is roughly the same (or believed to be the same), players are most likely to be attracted to the most entertaining and exciting of the machines.

Consequently, shrewd operators strive to employ the most entertaining and exciting machines available because such machines attract frequent play and, hence, increase profitability to the operator. In the competitive gaming machine industry, there is a continuing need for gaming machine manufacturers to produce new types of games, or enhancements to existing games, which will attract frequent play by enhancing the entertainment value and excitement associated with the game.

One concept that has been successfully employed to enhance the entertainment value of a game is that of a “secondary” or “bonus” game which may be played in conjunction with a “basic” game. The bonus game may comprise any type of game, either similar to or completely different from the basic game, and is entered upon the occurrence of a selected event or outcome of the basic game. Such a bonus game produces a significantly higher level of player excitement than the basic game because it provides a greater expectation of winning than the basic game.

Another concept that has been employed is the use of a progressive jackpot. In the gaming industry, a “progressive” involves collecting coin-in data from participating gaming device(s) (e.g., slot machines), contributing a percentage of that coin-in data to a jackpot amount, and awarding that jackpot amount to a player upon the occurrence of a certain jackpot-won event. A jackpot-won event typically occurs when a “progressive winning position” is achieved at a participating gaming device. If the gaming device is a slot machine, a progressive winning position may, for example, correspond to alignment of progressive jackpot reel symbols along a certain payline. The initial progressive jackpot is a predetermined minimum amount. That jackpot amount, however, progressively increases as players continue to play the gaming machine without winning the jackpot. Further, when several gaming machines are linked together such that several players at several gaming machines compete for the same jackpot, the jackpot progressively increases at a much faster rate, which leads to further player excitement. In existing progressive jackpots, the progressive jackpot may not be directly linked to the basic game. Also, players do not interact at all with the progressive jackpot.

Thus, there is a need for increasing player excitement by intertwining the progressive jackpot with the basic game.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, there is provided a gaming system having a special payout with a first payout and a second payout. The gaming system includes a gaming terminal for playing a basic game having a randomly selected outcome. The gaming terminal has a side-wager input device for allowing a player to be eligible to win the special payout. In response to activation of the activation device, the gaming terminal credits the player the first payout when a first randomly selected outcome is achieved in the basic game and the gaming terminal credits the player the second payout when a second randomly selected outcome is achieved in the basic game.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a gaming system including a plurality of gaming terminals that conduct wagering games. Located above and coupled to the plurality of gaming terminals is signage. The signage includes a signage controller which controls the special payout for players at the gaming terminals.

The above summary of the present invention is not intended to represent each embodiment, or every aspect, of the present invention. This is the purpose of the Figures and the detailed description which follow.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The foregoing and other advantages of the invention will become apparent upon reading the following detailed description and upon reference to the drawings.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a video gaming machine according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a block diagram of the gaming machine of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a gaming system of interconnected video gaming machines and signage according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is an illustration of a pay table on the gaming machine of FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is a flowchart describing the operation of the gaming machines and the signage of FIG. 3.

FIG. 6 is an illustration of a progressive payout screen which may be implemented on the gaming machine achieving the progressive payout at step 74 of FIG. 5.

While the invention is susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, specific embodiments have been shown by way of example in the drawings and will be described in detail herein. It should be understood, however, that the invention is not intended to be limited to the particular forms disclosed. Rather, the invention is to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.

DESCRIPTION OF ILLUSTRATIVE EMBODIMENTS

Turning now to the drawings and referring initially to FIG. 1, a video gaming machine 10 is depicted that may be used to implement the enhanced progressive game according to the present invention. The gaming machine 10 includes a video display 12 that may comprise a CRT, LCD, plasma, LED, electro-luminescent display, or generally any type of video display known in the art. In the illustrated embodiment, the gaming machine 10 is an “upright” version in which the video display 12 includes a touch screen and is oriented vertically relative to the player. It will be appreciated, however, that any of several other models of gaming machines are within the scope of the present invention, including, for example, a “slant-top” version in which the video display is slanted at about a 300 angle toward the player, or gaming machines that include mechanical, rather than video, displays.

In one embodiment, the gaming machine 10 is operable to play a game entitled WHO DUNNIT?™ having a mystery theme. The WHO DUNNIT?™ game features a basic game in the form of a slot machine having a randomly selected outcome. In the WHO DUNNIT?™ game, the outcome is determined by five simulated spinning reels featuring a variety of symbols. Such a gaming machine is disclosed in detail in U.S. Publication No. US 2002/0090990 A1, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. It will be appreciated, however, that the gaming machine 10 may be implemented with games other than the WHO DUNNIT?™ game and/or with several alternative game themes.

FIG. 2 is a block diagram of a control system suitable for operating the gaming machine 10. Coin/credit detector 14 signals a CPU 16 when a player has inserted a number of coins or played a number of credits. Then, the CPU 16 executes a game program which causes the video display 12 to display the basic game that includes simulated reels with symbols displayed thereon. The player may select the number of paylines to play and the amount to wager via touch screen input keys 17.

The touch screen input keys 17 include a side-wager input device, such as an option key, button, or switch 18 (hereinafter “option key 18”), also shown in FIG. 1. The option key 18 allows the player to be eligible to enter to win a progressive payout which is described in more detail below.

The basic game commences in response to the player activating a switch 20 in a lever or push button, causing the CPU 16 to set the reels in motion, randomly select a game outcome, and then stop the reels to display symbols corresponding to the pre-selected game outcome. Preferably, certain basic game outcomes cause the CPU 16 to enter a bonus mode, which causes the video display 12 to show a bonus game, as is known in the art. Other outcomes cause the player to win a progressive game jackpot, which is described below with reference to FIG. 5.

A system memory 22 stores control software, operational instructions, and data associated with the gaming machine 10. In one embodiment, the system memory 22 comprises a separate read-only memory (ROM) and battery-backed random-access memory (RAM). It will be appreciated, however, that the system memory 22 may be implemented on any of several alternative types of memory structures or may be implemented on a single memory structure. A payoff mechanism 24 is operable in response to instructions from the CPU 16 to award a payoff of coins or credits to the player in response to certain winning outcomes which may occur in the basic game or bonus game. The payoff amounts corresponding to certain combinations of symbols in the basic game are predetermined according to a pay table stored in the system memory 22. The payoff amounts corresponding to certain outcomes of the bonus game are also stored in the system memory 22.

The gaming machine 10 of FIGS. 1 and 2 is a gaming terminal that receives inputs and randomly selects outputs and displays outputs, as controlled by the internal CPU 16. It will be appreciated, however, that the present invention can be used by gaming terminals controlled by external CPUs.

While the gaming machine 10 of FIGS. 1 and 2 has been described with respect to providing a player a basic game and a bonus game, the gaming machine 10 can be connected to a progressive payout to which several gaming machines are linked. The progressive payout, or jackpot, includes multiple payouts or jackpots that are awarded to the player. This gaming network and, in particular, the novel wagering feature that allows the player of the gaming machine 10 to enter play for the progressive jackpot will be described below with reference to FIGS. 3-6.

Referring now to FIG. 3, a gaming system 28 of gaming machines 10 a, 10 b, 10 c, 10 d is shown. The four gaming machines 10 a, 10 b, 10 c, 10 d are of the type described above in relation to FIGS. 1 and 2. The four gaming machines 10 a, 10 b, 10 c, 10 d are interconnected and included under signage 30. The signage 30 includes at least one jackpot screen 34 displaying a plurality of dollar amounts for a multi-level progressive payout or progressive jackpot. In this embodiment, there are three dollar amount levels: a Mini Jackpot, a Maxi Jackpot, and a Mega Jackpot. In other embodiments, there may be any number of progressive jackpots.

The signage 30 includes a signage controller 36 that is connected to each of the four gaming machines 10 a, 10 b, 10 c, 10 d. The signage controller 36 transmits information to and receives information from the CPU 16 (FIG. 2) in each of the four gaming machines 10 a, 10 b, 10 c, 10 d throughout the game. The gaming system 28 allows for various aspects of the gaming machines 10 a, 10 b, 10 c, 10 d, such as updating the progressive jackpots to be controlled through the signage controller 36 in the signage 30. Thus, all of the gaming machines 10 a, 10 b, 10 c, 10 d are linked to the progressive game.

Turning now to FIG. 4, a pay table 38 will be described. The pay table 38 illustrates to players of the gaming machines 10 a, 10 b, 10 c, 10 d what the wining combination of symbols are and how many credits the player is awarded for achieving a winning outcome. The pay table 38 includes a first column 40 indicating the winning combinations of symbols. A second column 42 defines the amount that the player is awarded in a basic game for achieving one of these outcomes. All of the outcomes listed in the first column 40 have a corresponding payout amount in the second column 42. A third column 44 identifies which of the outcomes in the first column 40 trigger payout of the progressive jackpots and which progressive jackpots are won.

Turning now to FIG. 5, the operation of entering and awarding the progressive jackpots of the gaming system 28 will be described. Reference to FIG. 6 will be made to best describe this operation. In step 60, a player at the gaming machine 10 begins a game by any conventional method (e.g., inserting coins or using credits). Each gaming machine 10 a, 10 b, 10 c, 10 d has a basic game that involves a player choosing a number of paylines to play and choosing a wager to place on each payline. In some embodiments, there are a maximum of nine paylines. After choosing how many paylines to play, the player selects how many credits (e.g., 1-5) to wager on each payline. At step 62, the player is then given the option to make an additional wager, which would make the player eligible to win one of the progressive jackpots. The player makes the wager by pressing the option key 18 shown on FIGS. 1 and 2.

At step 64, the player operates the game by causing the reels to spin, generating an outcome of various symbols. At step 64, it is determined if any of the outcomes (i.e., arrangement of symbols) shown in the pay table 38 (FIG. 4) are achieved. If the answer is “no,” then the gaming system returns to step 60, allowing the player to play again.

If any of the lines match an outcome shown in the pay table 38, the system next determines if that outcome corresponds to an outcome which triggers the jackpot payout at step 68. If the answer is “no,” then the player is awarded the amount of credits shown in the second column 42 of the pay table 38 (FIG. 4) as corresponding to that particular outcome at step 70. If the answer is “yes,” the gaming device must next determine, at step 72, if the player activated the option key 18 for the progressive jackpot. If the player did not select to play for the progressive jackpot by activating the option key 18, then the gaming system proceeds to step 70 and pays the amount shown in the second column of the pay table of FIG. 4.

If the player did activate the option key 18 at the start of the game, then the gaming machine proceeds to step 74 and pays out to the player the appropriate progressive jackpot from the third column 44 of the pay table 38 (FIG. 4). The progressive payout is awarded when a progressive outcome, e.g., a combination of basic game symbols, occurs on the screen. The level of the progressive jackpot that is awarded is dependant upon which combination of characters the player has hit in the basic game. For example, as shown in FIG. 4, in an embodiment having three levels of progressive jackpots, three sevens in a line may pay out the lowest or mini jackpot; four sevens may pay out the mid-level or maxi jackpot, and five sevens may pay out the highest or maxi jackpot. As shown in FIG. 4, the player is notified which of the combinations achieve which progressive payout. The player is notified that a progressive jackpot has been awarded (as shown in FIG. 6).

Once one of the levels of a progressive game has been paid out, that level resets itself to the base amount, at step 76. The other progressives that did not pay out keep increasing until someone wins that progressive jackpot. The progressive jackpots are created by a base amount being put into the pot (e.g., $1,000 for the mini, $3,000 for the maxi, and $5,000 for the mega). Then, every time one of the gaming machines 10 a, 10 b, 10 c, 10 d in the system 28 is played, a percentage of the amount wagered is placed into each of the progressives. In some embodiments, 1% may go to the mini progressive, ½% to the maxi progressive, and ¼% to the mega progressive. Because the maxi progressive and the mega progressive pay out less often than the mini progressive, less money needs to go to fund these progressives.

After the credits are all awarded and the progressive jackpot has been reset, the program goes back to step 60.

In some embodiments, the option to enter the progressive jackpot is only presented if the player chooses to play all of the paylines.

In another embodiment, this invention is utilized in a video poker machine. The game is played the same as conventional poker games, however, at the beginning of the game, the player activates the option key as described above. Once the player decides how many credits to bet, a hand is dealt, and the player chooses which cards to hold and is dealt new cards. After the hand is over, the player wins a certain amount of credits if their hand corresponds to a poker hand listed in a pay table. Some of the hands will also correspond to the progressive payouts, which are also listed in the pay table. As above, if the player ends the round with a hand (combination of cards or symbols) that corresponds to a winning outcome and if the player has activated the option key, then the player wins that progressive jackpot.

In another embodiment, instead of triggering the mini jackpot, a particular combination of symbols, e.g., three sevens, triggers a bonus game. The bonus game may be any of those known in the art.

In another embodiment, the signage controller 36 also controls the outcome of the progressive payout.

While the present invention has been described with reference to one or more particular embodiments, those skilled in the art will recognize that many changes may be made thereto without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. Each of these embodiments and obvious variations thereof is contemplated as falling within the spirit and scope of the claimed invention, which is set forth in the following claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7931530May 1, 2006Apr 26, 2011Wms Gaming Inc.Wagering game with time-based bonus
US8202160Apr 16, 2007Jun 19, 2012Wms Gaming Inc.Wagering game with multi-level progressive game
US8251804Apr 18, 2008Aug 28, 2012Wms Gaming Inc.Gaming system having progressive jackpots flexibly linked with common progressive pool
US8317585Oct 10, 2007Nov 27, 2012Wms Gaming Inc.Wagering game triggering mechanism for use with multi-level progressive game
US8342956 *May 30, 2006Jan 1, 2013Wms Gaming Inc.Progressive wagering game with funding distribution feature
US8388437 *Jul 7, 2011Mar 5, 2013IgtGaming system, gaming device and method for providing an award based on an outcome counter
US8414379 *Jul 7, 2011Apr 9, 2013IgtGaming device providing an award based on a count of outcomes which meets a condition
US8480485May 21, 2012Jul 9, 2013Wms Gaming Inc.Wagering game with multi-level progressive game
US8535147Jun 13, 2012Sep 17, 2013Wms Gaming Inc.Gaming system having progressive jackpots flexibly linked with common progressive pool
US8602882 *Feb 22, 2005Dec 10, 2013IgtJackpot interfaces and services on a gaming machine
US8608554Jun 15, 2010Dec 17, 2013Patent Investment & Licensing CompanyDelayed bonus win determination
US8641499Oct 25, 2012Feb 4, 2014Wms Gaming Inc.Wagering game triggering mechanism for use with multi-level progressive game
US8747219Feb 14, 2013Jun 10, 2014Wms Gaming, Inc.Community game with player-configurable parameters
US8758120Feb 14, 2013Jun 24, 2014Wms Gaming, Inc.Community game having online and land-based game play
US8827793Nov 4, 2008Sep 9, 2014Universal Entertainment CorporationGaming machine
US8851982Jun 9, 2013Oct 7, 2014Wms Gaming Inc.Wagering game with multi-level progressive game
US20060073888 *Feb 22, 2005Apr 6, 2006IgtJackpot interfaces and services on a gaming machine
US20100323780 *Jun 15, 2010Dec 23, 2010Acres John FGaming device having increased award frequency
US20110269522 *Jul 7, 2011Nov 3, 2011IgtGaming device providing an award based on a count of outcomes which meets a condition
US20110269523 *Jul 7, 2011Nov 3, 2011IgtGaming system, gaming device and method for providing an award based on an outcome counter
US20140113711 *Dec 13, 2013Apr 24, 2014Patent Investment & Licensing CompanyDelayed bonus win determinaton
Classifications
U.S. Classification463/20
International ClassificationA63F9/24, A63F13/00, A63F13/12, G07F17/32, G07F17/34, G06F17/00, G06F19/00
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/3267, G07F17/3244, G07F17/3211
European ClassificationG07F17/32K, G07F17/32M4, G07F17/32C2F
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jan 9, 2004ASAssignment
Owner name: WMS GAMING INC., ILLINOIS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:JOSHI, SHRIDHAR P.;THOMAS, ALFRED;REEL/FRAME:014876/0827
Effective date: 20030908
Sep 11, 2003ASAssignment
Owner name: WMS GAMING INC., ILLINOIS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:JOSHI, SHRIDHAR P.;THOMAS, ALFRED;REEL/FRAME:014492/0995
Effective date: 20030908