US 20050282614 A1
In one embodiment, the invention is incorporated in a video gaming machine that emulates the spinning and random stopping of reels, where awards are granted based on symbol combinations across one or more activated paylines. In one embodiment, during a time when the virtual reels are spinning or at other times, a pop-up advertisement or other offer appears on the screen either obscuring or not obscuring the reels. In one embodiment, the player is rewarded in any one of various ways for viewing the various advertisements in the pop-up window. Offers made in the pop-up window may be printed on a ticket by the gaming machine. Other features are described.
1. A method performed by a gaming machine for use in a casino comprising:
receiving a wager by the gaming machine for playing a game;
displaying a game by the gaming machine;
displaying, upon detecting a triggering event, a pop-up window on a video display displaying information unrelated to the game being displayed; and
canceling the pop-up window after a certain period of time.
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21. A gaming device for being installed in a casino comprising:
a video display:
one or more processors for carrying out a game, the one or more processors also displaying on the video display, upon detection of a triggering event, a pop-up window on the video display displaying information unrelated to the game being displayed; and
canceling the pop-up window after a certain period of time.
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This invention relates to gaming machines, also referred to as slot machines, and, in particular, to an advertising technique using a video screen in a gaming machine.
Gaming machines that incorporate a video display are extremely common in casinos. Thousands of people may be viewing video screens at any single time in a casino while watching virtual reels spin and randomly stop and while watching between games when new bets are wagered. Video displays are also incorporated in motor-driven reel-type slot machines for displaying information such as the logo of the game, the winning symbol combinations, and other game-related information.
Disclosed herein is an advertising technique that may be used to convey information to thousands of people at a great benefit to the casino and yet not reduce the casino's revenue from players playing the gaming machines. In one embodiment, the invention is incorporated in a video gaming machine that emulates the spinning and random stopping of reels, where awards are granted based on symbol combinations across one or more activated paylines. In one embodiment, during a time when the virtual reels are spinning, a pop-up advertisement or other offer (referred to herein as a pop-up window) appears on the screen either obscuring or not obscuring the spinning reels. The pop-up window may arise at any other time during play of the gaming machine in a way that is not irritating to the player, such as between games, after a win, or at any other time.
The pop-up window may also appear on a video screen in a motor-driven reel-type slot machine, where the video screen is typically used for displaying game-related information.
In one embodiment, the player is rewarded in any one of various ways for viewing the various pop-up advertisements. The player may even have the ability to disable the advertisement feature, thus foregoing any rewards for having the advertisement feature enabled. Such rewards may be a small percentage of the player's wagers being paid back to the player after the player's playing session, or may constitute free games, free gifts, or other offers.
It is now popular for gaming machines to print tickets rather than issuing cash to the player. Such tickets have a barcode printed on them that is used to identify the number of credits or monetary value stored in the machine when the player cashes out. The ticket may be inserted into any suitable gaming machine, and the credits represented by the barcode are loaded into the new machine. In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, instead of printing on the ticket a code representing the credits on the gaming machine, the ticket is printed to provide the player with a tangible record of the offer made by the pop-up window. For example, the pop-up window may display that the player has won a $5.00 gift certificate at the casino's gift store or restaurant. A ticket would then be printed documenting this $5.00 certificate. A barcode on the ticket may also be scanned at the restaurant to verify the authenticity of the ticket.
The invention may be applied to gaming machines in casinos other than those that display rotating reels.
Other features are described.
The present invention may be implemented using any gaming machine having a video display. One example of such a video gaming machine is shown in
A coin slot 22 accepts coins or tokens in one or more denominations to generate credits within machine 10 for playing games. A slot 24 for an optical reader and printer receives machine readable printed tickets and outputs printed tickets for use in cashless gaming. A bill acceptor 26 accepts various denominations of banknotes.
A coin tray 32 receives coins or tokens from a hopper upon a win or upon the player cashing out.
A card reader slot 34 accepts any of various types of cards, such as smart cards, magnetic strip cards, or other types of cards conveying machine readable information. The card reader reads the inserted card for player and credit information for cashless gaming. The card reader may also include an optical reader and printer for reading and printing coded barcodes and other information on a paper ticket. The card reader may also be used to read player tracking cards.
A keypad 36 accepts player input, such as a personal identification number (PIN) or any other player information. A display 38 above keypad 36 displays a menu for instructions and other information and provides visual feedback of the keys pressed.
Player control buttons 39 include any buttons needed for the play of the particular game or games offered by machine 10 including, for example, a bet button, a repeat bet button, a play two-ways button, a spin reels button, a deal button, hold cards buttons, a draw button, a maximum bet button, a cash-out button, a display paylines button, a display payout tables button, select icon buttons, and any other suitable button. In other embodiments, buttons 39 are replaced by a touch screen with virtual buttons.
In the examples given below, the invention is incorporated in a video gaming machine that emulates the spinning and random stopping of reels, where awards are granted based on symbol combinations across one or more activated paylines.
Additionally, instead of advertisements or offers, jokes, cartoons, stories, questions to be answered, or other entertaining statements may be displayed. If the pop-up window is a question to be answered, such as multiple choice question that the player may answer by touching a button or an area of the touch screen, the player may be provided awards for a correct answer.
The player may receive a mystery win each time the pop-up window appears, or may receive credits every second or third time the pop-up window appears.
The player may be offered the opportunity to disable the pop-up window feature by simply pressing one of the control buttons 39 or pressing an area on screen 12 if screen 12 is a touch screen. The player may be offered an incentive to not disable the pop-up window feature, such as by being given a gift certificate, or being given an additional monetary award at any time, or being given free games or other additional opportunities to win, such as additional value symbols, additional winning combinations, etc. Offers made by the pop-up windows themselves may provide sufficient incentive for the player to not disable the pop-up window feature.
There are some jurisdictions where the delay time for the reel spins has to be, for example, ten seconds. This delay time may seem long for a player who seeks heightened excitement. Displaying a pop-up ad provides such excitement during the ten second delay while the reels are spinning. The window 46 would typically be extinguished shortly before the reels stop spinning.
In normal use, after each game, the display of the stopped reels remains fixed until the player wagers a certain amount and initiates the rotation of the reels for the next game. During this time between games, the pop-up window 46 may appear. In other embodiments, the pop-up window 46 may appear any time, such as randomly, or may be triggered by time, date, after a certain number of games, or on a regular basis.
In step 52, upon a certain event, which may be between games, or while the reels are spinning, or randomly, the pop-up window is presented on the video screen. This window may or may not obscure the reels or other game being displayed. For example, the pop-up window may appear beneath the display of the reels or may appear on a separate screen, such as screen 14 in
In step 54, if applicable, a printer within the gaming machine prints a coupon or other tangible evidence of the offer made so that the player may present the coupon for redemption. Such a ticket is dispensed through slot 24 in
In one embodiment, the player is presented with the option to accept or decline an offer made by the pop-up window, such as an offer to receive a coupon for a $5.00 credit at the restaurant. The player then presses an accept button for the offer to be printed on the ticket. A barcode on the ticket may be scanned at the restaurant to verify the authenticity of the ticket.
In step 56, the pop-up window is canceled and disappears at the appropriate time, such as when the reels stop spinning or after a win presentation is made.
Since, typically, offers and ads will be updated on a timely basis, it is beneficial for the gaming machine to be connected via a communications link to a central server that may be programmed to present a series of ads or offers for the various gaming machines in the casino.
The player has incentive to watch the pop-up ads since they may lead to immediate prizes. The ad could be linked to the bet of the player. For example, the player may only get a particular ad if the player makes a maximum bet. Further, the value of the ad or offer may be directly related to the size of the player's bet. Therefore, the ads may provide incentive for the player to increase her bets.
The game controller board 64 contains memory and a processor for carrying out programs stored in the memory and for providing any information requested by the network. The game controller board 64 primarily carries out the game routines and controls the display of the pop-up window 46.
Peripheral devices/boards communicate with the game controller board 64 via a bus 66 using, for example, an RS-232 interface. Such peripherals may include a bill validator 67, a coin detector 68, a smart card reader or other type of credit card reader 69, and player control inputs 70 (such as buttons or a touch screen). An audio board 71 converts coded signals into analog signals for driving speakers. A display controller 72, which typically requires a high data transfer rate, converts coded signals to pixel signals for the display 73. Display controller 72 and audio board 71 may be directly connected to parallel ports on the game controller board 64.
The electronics on the various boards may be combined onto a single board. The software used to carry out the present invention may be written without undue experimentation.
Although the invention has been described as being employed in a pure video gaming machine, the pop-up ad or offer may also be displayed on a video screen in a motor-driven reel-type slot machine, as shown in
Like the embodiment described with respect to
Although the invention has been described in the context of a gaming machine that displays rotating reels, the game played may be a draw poker game, or any other type of video game.
Having described the invention in detail, those skilled in the art will appreciate that given the present disclosure, modifications may be made to the invention without departing from the spirit and inventive concepts described herein. Therefore, it is not intended that the scope of the invention be limited to the specific embodiments illustrated and described.