|Publication number||US20060019736 A1|
|Application number||US 11/190,541|
|Publication date||Jan 26, 2006|
|Filing date||Jul 26, 2005|
|Priority date||Jul 26, 2004|
|Publication number||11190541, 190541, US 2006/0019736 A1, US 2006/019736 A1, US 20060019736 A1, US 20060019736A1, US 2006019736 A1, US 2006019736A1, US-A1-20060019736, US-A1-2006019736, US2006/0019736A1, US2006/019736A1, US20060019736 A1, US20060019736A1, US2006019736 A1, US2006019736A1|
|Original Assignee||Amada Andrew R|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (13), Referenced by (21), Classifications (5), Legal Events (1)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application is based on and claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/591,384 filed on Jul. 26, 2004, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein in its entirety by this reference.
Portions of this patent application include materials that are subject to copyright protection. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent document itself, or of the patent application as it appears in the files of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, but otherwise reserves all copyright rights whatsoever in such included copyrighted materials.
This invention pertains generally to systems and methods for selling lottery tickets. More particularly, it relates to a method and system for selling tickets for state lotteries, collecting payments, paying winnings and providing players with more options in order to better attract, service and retain lottery players.
Many state and provincial lotteries at one time or another have tried to attract, service and retain lottery players by providing subscription play and advanced play purchases at lottery terminals. Subscription play services are typically closed-ended, meaning they involve signing up with a state lottery to receive continuous lottery play for a fixed period of time. With these types of subscriptions, the ownership of the tickets are known by the state. In addition, since the subscription contains all required ownership information, the tickets are monitored by the state for winnings and any winnings are paid to the subscriber, so the subscriber does not have to concern themselves with losing tickets or missing out on winnings. Advanced play services involve the purchase of a lottery ticket that spans many drawings. With these tickets it is the obligation of the purchaser not to lose the ticket and to check their own winnings. Some have been moderately successful, but lotteries have suffered from several major drawbacks. First, in most cases it has been costly to attract, service and retain subscription players, even after discounting the overall price. In most instances this discount has been minimal (e.g., about 4%), but subscription play has not produced the overall sales gain for which the lotteries had been hoping. Second, historical and current subscription and advanced play programs restrict the flexibility of the lottery operator to make changes to the lottery game for which subscriptions have been sold, restrict changes by the player, limit the method of paying for tickets, limit the options for how winnings are to be handled and limit a player's ownership options. In addition, state lotteries have never offered open-ended subscription play, i.e., state lotteries have not offered a form of subscription wherein no fixed time period has been established for the subscription, thereby allowing the player to place an order for a continuous purchase of tickets until cancelled by the player. In some instances, there may be a revalidation of the order required in order to have the ticket purchases continue. This form of subscription also allows the player to make changes at will so that the tickets sold to the player by the lottery would reflect the player's most recent preferences.
There is a need, therefore, for an improved method and system to enable lotteries to attract, service and retain lottery players by providing lottery players with more options plus greater convenience and flexibility while simultaneously providing the lottery operator with the flexibility to manage these expanded play features and to be able to easily and quickly change lottery games for which subscriptions have been sold. It is an object and feature of the present invention to provide such a system and method.
It is another object and feature of the present invention to provide such a method and system that is more profitable for the lottery operator than previous subscription methods and systems.
It is yet another object and feature of the present invention to provide such a method and system that includes features to assure security, control and integrity of the method and system.
Additional objects and advantages of the invention will be set forth in the description that follows, and in part will be apparent from the description, or may be learned by practice of the invention. The objects and advantages of the invention may be realized and obtained by means of the methods and apparatus pointed out in the appended claims.
To achieve the foregoing objects, and in accordance with the purposes of the invention as embodied and broadly described in this document, there is provided a method and system for providing subscription services for a lottery operated by a state lottery operator. The method includes the steps of: receiving a subscription application from a lottery player, wherein the subscription application includes player information and information for a subscription order to purchase at least one lottery ticket for at least one game selection over a plurality of subscription drawings, unless sooner terminated; receiving instructions for which lottery ticket numbers to purchase for the subscription order; storing on a subscription computer system subscription information including the information from the subscription application, the information for the subscription order and the instructions for which lottery ticket numbers to purchase; and collecting funds for paying for one or more tickets to be purchased from the state lottery operator based on the subscription order. The collected funds can be in an amount less than the amount required to purchase all of the lottery tickets for the plurality of subscription drawings. The subscription application can include a paper transmittal form and wherein the lottery player submits the paper transmittal form with one or more game play slips identifying one or more lottery tickets to be purchased by the lottery player. The subscription order information can include one or more selected jackpot levels for one or more games and the purchase of additional tickets under the subscription order for a given game of the one or more games can be conditioned upon reaching the selected game jackpot levels for the given game. Funds can be collected by maintaining a reserve account for the lottery player and charging the reserve account to pay for tickets or by using an automated payment method, such as a credit or debit charge or an ACH transfer. The lottery player can be placed into one or more of the lottery pools defined in the subscription computer system. The subscription application can be for an open-ended subscription.
According to other aspects of the invention, the method can include the step of using the stored subscription information to submit to the state lottery computer system information to purchase one or more lottery tickets for less than the plurality of the subscription drawings included in the subscription order. The method can include charging the lottery player one or more fees for services associated with the subscription application. The method also can include the step of requiring the lottery player to agree to procedures to be used in the event that the lottery operator makes changes to the lottery game before all of the plurality of subscription drawings are completed. Moreover, the method can include the step of posting the lottery ticket numbers and highlighting each of the lottery ticket numbers that match the numbers drawn by the state lottery operator whether or not the lottery ticket numbers are included in winning number combinations. The method also can include the step of only paying winnings to the lottery player when the lottery player's unpaid winnings are at or above a predefined level.
A system according to the invention includes a computer system programmed to perform the method described above.
The method and system of the invention make it possible to track, act and revise a player's choices that have been put in play for up to a year or more in advance when there are changes in the lottery game. This is done through specialized system controlled review of player accounts based upon the lottery game in use at the time of initiation of play and forward comparison of intended plays against lottery changes. It also involves controls and customer service acting in a pro-active manner to contact players and resolve the play issues promptly. The system also accommodates game changes as they become identified and planned by the participating lottery operator. Most game changes are planned at least ten weeks in advance of the change. This time is more than adequate to contact the game subscription players, allow them to make new choices in numbers (if needed), and be prepared for the first drawing of the new game matrix or play concept. The lottery and the online vendor do not need to worry about these subscription plays when considering any game change or addition. From the player's point of view, the subscription service provider can handle all required action through player communication, personnel, software design and pre-defined automated action rules for invalid play sets when the Lottery has not heard back from the players prior to the first drawing of the new game or matrix. From the point of view of the lottery and online vendor no change is necessary in their systems because under the current invention, the numbers to be played on behalf of the player are not submitted to the lottery and online vendor until approximately one day prior to the drawing.
Also, the method and system of the invention facilitate a robust customer club service program that actively works to entertain, support and create fun activities for all subscription players. The club service provides an internet account review, quarterly newsletter discussing numerous subjects about the lottery, game services, play options, contests to enter for free, and promoting other game alternatives. The telephone service does not rely on any automated service menu requiring players to “touch one for a new service”, etc. When a player calls they get a “real person” willing to respond to their questions on any issue regarding subscription club play, their accounts, or game options and other games offered by the Lottery. Mr. Amada has found, through nine years of club service operations, that players like getting someone in person on the phone rather than a recorded voice with a series of “menu options” that can be confusing and frustrating to navigate through. The only time an operator is not “on hand” is during non-office hours and on weekends.
In addition, the method and system of the invention also allow players to change their subscription plays and will provide more opportunities for players to win a jackpot when jackpots are higher with pre-defined additional individual ticket purchases and additional tickets through lottery pools. Signing up for subscriptions is also more convenient and affordable for players since the method and system can accommodate monthly payments.
The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and constitute a part of the specification, illustrate the presently preferred embodiments of the invention and, together with the general description given above and the detailed description of the preferred methods and embodiments given below, serve to explain the principles of the invention.
In the following description, methods and embodiments of the invention has been shown and described simply by way of illustration of the best mode contemplated by the inventor of carrying out the invention. As will be realized, the invention is capable of modification in various respects, all without departing from the invention. Accordingly, the drawings and description are to be regarded as illustrative in nature, and not restrictive.
According to one novel aspect of the invention, the lottery player 12 can register for the subscription service using a subscription application form 100 along with standard “game play slips” 110 to indicate the games and numbers to which the person wishes to subscribe.
According to another aspect of the invention, a player 12 can optionally register for subscription play online, such as via the Internet 30, using a credit card, debit card or direct charge to the person's checking account via the ACH system. In this way, the system can be used to sell subscription services online by accepting a player's application submission, numbers to be played and payment information online, which can be used to automatically populate the database 102 described below. Until the present invention there has not been any method or system in place by which sellers of state lottery tickets (only state governments can legally sell such lottery tickets) have been able to use the Internet to sell tickets in the manner of the present invention.
Referring again to
When the subscription service operator 10 receives the subscriber registration information, the operator enters this information into the subscription computer system 16 (step 22). The information from the registration form 100 and numbers on the game play slips 110 can be entered manually or scanned. The subscription computer system 16 then validates the information. It confirms the integrity of subscriber numbers and start date requests and confirms that all numbers entered the database meet the criteria of the game design as part of the entry process. The system also sets the start date depending on: (a) the system's pre-defined start date for subscriptions entered on that day; (b) any special start date requests by the subscriber; (c) and any built in delay days that are a function of the method of payment—for example, additional days may added to the pre-defined start date if payment is being made by check to allow sufficient time for monies to be collected; and (d) whether the order is placed by mail or Internet will also affect the start date.
Use of the subscription application form 100 according to the invention provides a number of benefits. It allows the player 12 to play many different lottery games without requiring the cumbersome forms previously used by lottery operators. Previously, state lottery operators that have offered subscriptions using paper forms have used a separate form for players to submit their numbers. They have never used the states “game play slips” to submit their numbers for subscription plays. The paper forms used by all current and previous state lottery operators only allow subscriptions for one or two of their lottery games due to the amount of paper that is required to offer more than one lottery game. Other benefits are that the lottery operator's then current “game play slips” (1) are familiar to the player; (2) are already in place; (3) do not require any new forms or additional forms; (4) do not require special inventories or deliveries to the retail outlets; and (5) can be easily scanned by the same scanning devices that are built into the lottery terminals 11, such as those currently located at retail outlets, to allow for more accurate entry into the subscription computer system 16 to record the player's preferences. In addition, because the numbers to be played are submitted on a separate form (play slips 110), the application form 100 is small enough that it can be made part of a standard brochure that preferably can be made available at lottery sales outlets or counters. For example, the application form 100 can fit onto just one of the panels in a 9″×3⅞″ brochure having 3 or 4 panels. Including the application form 100 as part of such a brochure also can enhance the marketing of the subscription service.
Still referring to
Appendix A summarizes preferred security and control features of a subscription system according to the invention. These features help ensure the security, control and integrity of the subscription computer system 16. The subscribing player 12 can be set up as either an Internet or non-Internet subscriber. If the player is a non-Internet subscriber, then all requests must be submitted in writing on forms provided by the lottery operator and no change in plays can take place in less than seven days, or some other time period from when the request is received to allow time for a new confirmation certificate (described below) to be received by the subscriber. If the subscriber is an Internet subscriber then all requests must be made through the internet and no change in plays can take place in less than three days or some other time period from when the request is received to allow time for the back-up system to capture all changes and to send the new requests to the lottery's on-line vendor for processing. Subscribers may call the lottery's subscription department to ask questions, but preferably all requests must be submitted as previously described. Subscribers can be allowed to switch from Internet to non-Internet, or vice-versa by requesting the change. In some cases, there may be a hybrid of Internet and Non-Internet service. For example, some states may not allow orders to be taken over the Internet, but they may allow a player to sign up and provide demographic information over the Internet, then have the player print out forms for ordering tickets and returning those forms by mail along with payment information. In addition, the electronic file to be sent to the lottery's on-line vendor for any drawing will be created and provided to the lottery most likely the day previous to the drawing. Building in a one day time period allows for situations when electronic transmission may not be available and overnight or other physical delivery may be necessary. A cut off time period for player changes also is preferably set to be two days (or some other suitable time period) before the actual drawing date to allow sufficient time for back-ups prior to the creation of the file to be sent to the lottery's on-line vendor. Additional features include the classification of every subscription invoice into types and statuses and the controls that accompany such classifications, per Appendix A.
All subscribing players 12, whether they subscribe online via the Internet 30 or otherwise, can view their results on the web, as described below. The main difference between the Internet and non-Internet subscribers is that only the Internet subscribers can submit their plays and make changes on the Internet. Non-Internet subscribers can only view their information and results on-line. In addition, Internet subscribers preferably will receive most correspondence via the Internet, whereas non-Internet subscribers will receive their correspondence through a mail service such as the U.S. Postal Service. Once registered in the subscription computer system 16, the player 12 also has the option of viewing his or her play subscription and numbers from the secured web site of the subscription computer system 16, which can be operated by the subscription service operator 10 or third party web hosting company.
According another novel aspect of the invention, the lottery operator 14 preferably charges a small fee to the player 12 for subscription play. Using a small fee is a better marketing technique because it creates perceived value in the minds of the subscribers and provides funding to help perpetuate the subscription service through services and communication. Previously, no state lottery has implemented a method or system that charges a fee for a subscription service. On the contrary, state lotteries have given discounts to attract subscription players.
According to still another novel aspect, the method and system of the invention enable players to pay electronically each month, making playing the lottery more convenient and affordable. Before the present invention, the state lotteries have always collected, and they continue to collect, 100% of all amounts due from the player up front. According to the present invention, however, the US banking system's ACH (Automated Clearing House) and credit and debit cards can be used with state lottery plays to allow subscribers to have monthly or other periodic charges to their bank card or withdrawals from their bank account. Players can also submit full payment with their orders by check or money order. To the inventor's knowledge, no state, current or previously, allows periodic charges to pay for numbers that have been assigned to the person for longer periods of time than the period interval (e.g., paying monthly for a six month subscription). Thus, with the present invention a player can sign up for one year and receive a confirmation certificate of his or her numbers for the year, but only pay a partial amount each month.
According to another aspect of the invention, subscribers can indicate in advance within the system how many extra tickets they would like to purchase each drawing night based on jackpot levels. This advanced play service is an automated system feature that sells additional tickets to a subscriber upon the occurrence of a defined condition, such as the jackpot for a particular game reaching $50,000,000. The advance plays can be paid for by charges to a debit or credit card as needed, but a preferred system as reflected in
The reserve account is also an advantageous feature for open-ended subscription play. An open-ended subscription play does not require the subscriber to commit to a fixed time period like that is required under the historical and current subscription programs where a person typically signs up for 3, 6 or 12 months. The open-ended program allows the player to place an order for a continuous purchase of tickets until cancelled by the player. In some instances, there may be a revalidation of the order required in order to have the ticket purchases continue. This form of subscription also allows the player to make changes at will so that the tickets sold to the player by the lottery would reflect the player's most recent preferences. A player wishing to participate in open-ended subscription play can do so without missing any drawings and without having to be continually bothered to buy tickets. Thus, the player may want the lottery operator to sell him or her lottery tickets continually every drawing until further notice and to take the funds out of the reserve account to pay for those tickets. The player can sign up for open-ended lottery play on the web or by mail. The system can include a reserve account to hold the money. The reserve account can be drawn down each drawing night as the tickets are sold to the player. This method of open-ended subscription play saves the player and lottery operator from having to continually charge a payment source, such as a credit card, for small purchases. By having a minimum in the reserve account, it also ensures that the funds are already collected and available for use. By maintaining a minimum level and automatic amount to be replenished there also will be time for a player to be contacted if more funds cannot be obtained before the reserve runs out. This is particularly important if the payment source to replenish the reserve is by ACH, which can take up to a week before verification of funds can be made.
According to another novel aspect of the invention, subscribers can join one or more lottery pools each drawing night based on jackpot levels, and pay for the participation just like they might do with advance plays for individual tickets described previously. In some cases, subscribers will want to be in a lottery pool all the time and increase their participation in more pools as the jackpot rises. Previously, no state lottery has created lottery pools and placed players into those pools as a standalone service or as part of its subscription service. Purchasing services that act as agents for players have offered pooling, but “purchases on behalf of others” is a legally distinct and separate business from the “selling” of lottery tickets. Only state governments can legally sell or authorize the sale of lottery tickets and no state government has ever created lottery pools and sold interests in those pools. Not only does the pooling feature according to the invention offer more benefits to the players by giving each person more chances to win, but as an added benefit, it helps the lottery operator to entice people to take part in the lottery operator's subscription service. It can be used as a reward for the player's loyalty.
Referring again to
As shown in
The system can incorporate a cut off time for new subscriptions, changes to a subscription, or funds collections for entry into a drawing based on a pre-defined period agreed to between the lottery operator 14 and the subscription services operator 10. Thus, for example, if a game has a scheduled drawing on Wednesday at 9 PM, the cut off time for new subscription play, changes or funds collections might be 12 noon on Monday, two days prior. This cut off time would not affect advance play tickets, however, which have been pre-arranged prior to the cut off time, but whose trigger point may be after the cut off time. For example, the jackpot results for a Monday nights drawing, which are required to determine whether or not advance play tickets should be sold to players for the Wednesday's drawing, will not be known until after this cut off time in this example.
Referring again to
Upon identification and verification by the lottery operator of the numbers drawn for each game, the subscription service operator can enter those validated numbers into the subscription system, which information can be used to determine winning tickets and players. This process of verification of drawn numbers is done by the state and is the same process the state lottery operators currently perform, however, before making any announcement to the public regarding winners, the lottery operator 14 would first provide the drawn numbers to the subscription service operator 10 so that certain reconciliations can be made. This action triggers a search for all winning tickets on the subscription computer system 16. The system can then print a recap totals report indicating the number of winning tickets in each category and the prize amounts in total for all tickets.
The lottery back office internal control system of the lottery operator 14 can perform its winner determination process and provide winning information reports to the subscription services operator 10 for each lottery game drawing for the tickets that were to be purchased according to the electronic file that was provided by the subscription services operator 10. This is a separate process to measure the lottery operator's liability to the subscribing players and is done by the state lottery back office internal control system.
The on-line lottery system vendor can also complete a winner determination and provide similar or the same winning information reports to the subscription service operator. The information would be validated against the system information to make sure that all parties identify and agree with the same winning tickets
The subscription service operator 10 can reconcile results with the lottery operator 14, including both the state lottery back office internal control system and the lottery on-line processing system. The subscription service operator can visually as well as electronically balance the winning tickets and amounts to the numbers provided by the lottery and lottery's on-line vendor. Any discrepancies would have to be reconciled as soon as possible so that the lottery could proceed with the release of winning information and amounts to the public.
The subscription service operator credits each player's accounts for amounts. For all winning tickets, each person's account balance would be updated. Automated deductions, provided by the lottery, will be made for taxes, government obligations, child support, etc. pending final verification and approval by the lottery.
According to another novel feature of the present invention, the subscription service operator can post to its website the results for each person.
State lottery and on-line vendor can reconcile and balance the game liability files on each of their systems. The subscription system operator would send an electronic file back to the State lottery back office system and the online gaming vendor with a record of all winnings amounts credited to player's account. This process can allow the state lottery and the online vendor system to reconcile and balance the game liability files on each system and to mark those tickets as PAID.
According to yet another novel aspect of the invention, the subscription service operator can oversee total or partial winnings distributions per a player's requests. Based on IRS guidelines, actual payments to the player over $600 preferably will be paid by the state and amounts of $600 and less will be paid by the subscription service operator. Subscribing players will also have the option of having the subscription service operator hold all winnings and only disburse checks based on a specific threshold levels so they don't receive small “nuisance” checks. This service of holding money for players has never been offered by any state. All previous and current state lotteries that do offer subscriptions send checks to winners no matter how small the check or they give them extended plays for the small winnings. This feature of the invention also can include a transfer option where the subscribers can have their winnings transferred to their reserve account to be used for purchasing additional tickets. The system also includes paying players by electronic payments to the players banking account rather than by mail. For winnings over $600, the lottery operator can process the list of winners and mail checks to each winner as directed through their normal payment process.
The system can cash reconcile and process an electronic funds transfer weekly to the state lottery back office system for the amount of money owed to the State for ticket sales, less any agreed upon fees less any commission due on all tickets sold, less any amounts of winnings credited to player accounts that would be held by the subscription service operator on behalf of the Subscribers. In addition, each week the system can provide a report both via paper and electronic versions, of all sales for that previous week for each game, the prize payouts from all drawings, the amounts due to the subscription service operator, the balance of subscription plays for all upcoming drawings, total play for each drawing, and other pertinent reconciling information.
The lottery operator can process the EFT in the same manner as it does for all retail locations.
Each week the system can purge from their files, after a six-month period, or other specified time period, all ticket records including payments made to winning tickets. This purge process can produce a written and electronic report of all records purged to provide an audit control document.
With the present invention, the marketing and advertising of the subscription service can be provided by the participating lottery at a very low cost and the role of the subscription system operator would be that of a backroom service provider. The advertising can be as simple as adding a “tag line” on all current advertising for the games, placement of subscription play brochure/application forms at all retail locations along side all other lottery game brochures, lottery web site advertising, advertising on tickets that are printed out or similar paper that is printed along with each ticket, and public relations. The subscription service operator will be doing on-going promotions through the Newsletter and other communications to players, but the primary responsibility for subscription play advertising would remain with the lottery operator. The subscription service operator has experience in this advertising arena and would be willing to share its knowledge with the lottery operator and their marketing agency.
Operation of the system will now be described in more detail with reference to the flowchart shown in
As shown in
From the foregoing, it can be seen that the present invention provides a number of advantages over the previously known art. For participating lotteries, there are a number of benefits. The invention will increase sales for all games with minimal to no cost to the lottery operator. The subscription service attracts former players, homebound players, busy people, intermittent players, and new players. It also provides a service to existing players who go on vacation, but don't want to miss playing for any drawing of the game, who want to spend more money to add pools to their lottery play, or who want to have tickets automatically sold to them through an automatic payment arrangement. The subscription service can be made available to all online games, not just jackpot games. (Some exceptions might be games that are played every five minutes and Video Lottery games.) Players like the flexibility and control that the method and system of the invention can provide to them in selecting and maintaining their play choices. Another advantage of the method and system is that it keeps players “in the game” regardless of the jackpot size. This increases the play level for the lottery operator when the base jackpot is in play following a major Jackpot win. Thus, it helps to grow the next jackpot for future draws faster for more play. Further, the method and system of the invention provide an anchor for the lottery operator in getting players attached to the ongoing lottery play. They provide the lottery operator with the ability to monitor play levels for those players signed up for the service. This is critical in assuring no inappropriate play issues arise. The method and system of the invention can even be used to limit the amount players place on their credit card per use or per time period. Moreover, the method and system of the invention can provide the lottery operator with a robust player research base to conduct game research, look for “nitch” products, and get solid player feedback on likes and dislikes on all games. This is critical in maintaining enjoyable and entertaining gaming options for all players, not just the subscription players.
The invention also provides benefits to lottery players, which in turn translates to more sales for the lottery. The players get much more than just a subscription for the upcoming game drawings. While the obvious benefits include no more standing in line for tickets, no more last minute dashes to the store, and no more missed drawings or unclaimed winners, they get much more. The method and system of the invention allow players to sign up for automatic additional plays for both individual and pooling tickets during large jackpot runs. They can participate in pools of any size, e.g. 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 250, 500 and even 1000 tickets for only a dollar. The subscription services operator forms these pools and all tickets are sold to the players with full accounting and reconciliation on their accounts. The players can also purchase their subscription with monthly payments making their lottery playing more convenient and affordable. They can view their pool plays online if they desire. Not only do they receive a confirmation certificate for their subscription play, they also get a winning statement at the end of their play, they get quarterly statements on actions with their accounts, a complete reconciliation of their account balances and transactions, and renewal notices before their play runs out. Players also get the feeling of a club relationship through a club newsletter, jackpot alert notices, and special offers made available through the club. These special offers include free ticket give-a-ways, free dinners, and much more. Thus, the invention allows helps create a fun experience for the players and keeps up their interest in the lottery. This activity creates excitement and entertainment for the players and allows the lottery operator to communicate a winning message to all players.
The subscription services operator also can send out a personalized gift message to all players who receive a gift subscription from anyone. The method and system of the invention allow players to accumulate small winnings in their accounts, yet produce a winning check only when the prize is significant according to the player's wishes. Moreover, the method and system of the invention allow players to access their accounts and play numbers over the Internet. This allows players to track their play and winnings after each drawing and see when their subscription play will end, etc. They can also sign up for more plays online, if they desire.
Players will benefit from the service and fun activities provided by the method and system of the invention. If a player is ever dissatisfied with the service for any reason a full refund can be provided for all “remaining play” activity, no questions asked. It's their money and they have control over how it is to be spent.
The cost to the lottery operator is less than what the lottery operator pays as commission to the normal retailer selling any of their on-line game tickets. The lottery operator must also agree to provide some amount of subscription play promotion and advertising over the course of a year, but this is minimal, especially considering the increased sales achieved with the method and system of the invention. Initial estimates of play level increase are in the range of 10 to 20 percent from the current base, when jackpots are at their lowest level. Placement of brochure/subscription order forms at all retail locations should be handled by the lottery operator.
The cost to the player for this robust service is minimal. For non-internet users the cost is anticipated to be about $2 a month and varies from $1.75 per month one year subscriptions, $2 a month for six month subscriptions and $2.50 per month for three month subscriptions. For Internet users, the cost is anticipated to be $1 per month regardless of the time period, but may vary slightly to encourage longer plays.
The invention in its broader aspects is not limited to the specific details, representative devices, and illustrative examples shown and described. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that numerous changes and modifications may be made to the preferred embodiments of the invention and that such changes and modifications may be made without departing from the spirit of the invention.
Software Security and Control Features Charges to Appear Change in Certificate on New Games/Numbers/Time Type Purpose/Comment Subscription Period New New - not dependent on a prior Service Fee + Certificate. Set-Up fee if first time subscribing. Renewal Starts when old Certificate expires Service Fee All changes allowed. Sub Subscription Replacement - Refers Service Fee + All changes allowed. Replacement to the replacement of any Certificate Subscription that has been provided to the Replacement Fee. recipient, which includes any changes in the games, numbers, or date ranges of the main play. The System will change the Active Status of the Certificate being replaced to Replaced. Advance Advance Replacement - Refers to the There are no charges Only changes in Advance Replacement replacement of any Certificate that the first time. Plays are allowed. has been provided to the recipient, The Advance which only includes changes to the Replacement Fee is Advance Plays. only charged if the The System will change the Active person already had Status of the Certificate being advance plays and are replaced to Replaced. now adding or making changes. Inactive Inactive Replacement - Refers to the Service Fee + The time period will be Replacement replacement of any Certificate that Inactive Replacement extended to make up for had a status of Inactive. Fee. missed drawings. No The System will change the Inactive other changes are Status of the Certificate being allowed. replaced to Replaced. Deposit Records Deposit details. Deposit Only Automatic Charge for Status Change to Certificate appear on Account Status Status Purpose/Comment Summary Assignment Pending Refers to any Certificate which has $ -0- Assigned by system not yet been printed. The only change that can be made to a Pending Certificate without causing a new certificate to be created are changes in the number sets of the main play or any changes to the advanced plays. Pending Once a Pending Certificate has been $ -0- Locked printed its status changes from Pending to Pending Locked and no changes may be made. Active A Certificate become Active when the $ -0- Assigned by system. file is first sent to the lottery for ticket purchases for that particular Certificate. There can be more than one Active Certificate. Inactive When funds cannot be collected. This Inactive Pending Fee - Manual Assignment Pending status is assigned when funds are first Equals same amount as is required for denied by the bank. Denied funds can Cancellation fee since checks. come from either ACH or Bank Cards. we have to set that Automated entries The Certificate is not yet Inactive amount aside should the will be made for because funds have been collected in payment never be Credit Card or advance and funds may become collected. Debit Card denials. available prior to running out. This fee reduces the Inactive Credit amount left for tickets. Adjustments are If the funds become manual entries. available prior to running out, then an Inactive Credit Adjustment will be made. Inactive Funds not available by State cut off Inactive Fee Assigned by system. date forcing a drawing to be missed. The certificate is classified as Inactive and can not be reactivated. It can only be replaced. Cancelled Active Certificate was cancelled. Cancellation Fee. The Manual Assignment amount should be set to zero if the person has already been charged an Inactive Pending Fee. Expired Active Certificate expired normally. $ -0- Assigned by system Changed Changes to a Pending Certificate are No Charge Assigned by system classified as “Changes” rather than “Replacements,” since they are internal only. Only Pending can have “Changes.” Replacement Replacement is a status that is assigned Sub. Replacement Fee Assigned by system to any Certificate that was provided Adv. Replacement Fee to the customer upon creating a if changing. new Certificate. Inact. Replacement Fee Hold With a status of “Hold” all activity No Charge Manual Assignment will cease until released. Deposit Deposit Deposit Status Purpose/Comment Charges Process Pending All Initial Payments and Automated Charges are Automatic by system. other Deposits start out as set by the system. In Pending unless the source is those cases where the Cash. status is manually set or changed, charges, if any, will be entered manually. Collected Once the Default Delay Same as Pending. Automatic by system Period has expired on funds when Default Delay collection Period has expired. It must be changed manually if the previous status is Denied. Denied If collection is Denied. Same as Pending. Manual Entry
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|Aug 17, 2005||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: POWERPICK AMERICA, LLC, ARIZONA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:AMADA, ANDREW R.;REEL/FRAME:016645/0339
Effective date: 20050809