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Publication numberUS20060079331 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/221,074
Publication dateApr 13, 2006
Filing dateSep 6, 2005
Priority dateOct 2, 2003
Also published asCA2541085A1, EP1673149A2, EP1673149A4, US7867091, US20060084499, WO2005033825A2, WO2005033825A3
Publication number11221074, 221074, US 2006/0079331 A1, US 2006/079331 A1, US 20060079331 A1, US 20060079331A1, US 2006079331 A1, US 2006079331A1, US-A1-20060079331, US-A1-2006079331, US2006/0079331A1, US2006/079331A1, US20060079331 A1, US20060079331A1, US2006079331 A1, US2006079331A1
InventorsMartin Moshal
Original AssigneeWaterleaf Limited
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Electronic gaming environment with display of multiple instances of single-player games
US 20060079331 A1
Abstract
A multiplayer gaming system facilitates play of a single-player game having a plurality of possible results. The system includes a gaming server communicable with the workstation. The server is operable to transmit data to the workstation comprising the outcome of multiple instances of a single-player game, including the game being played on the instant workstation as well as an instance of the game being played simultaneously on another workstation. The workstation may then display the outcome of multiple instances of the single-player game. Ordinarily, the display of the other instances is for presentation purposes only and the player does not wager on the other instances. Rather, the display of the other instances is provided to simulate a land-based casino experience. In one embodiment, it facilitates a play of a multiplayer game based on the outcomes of separate instances of a single-player game.
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Claims(39)
1. A method of facilitating play of a single-player game on a workstation having a display, comprising the steps of:
(a) sending data from a central server to the workstation comprising the outcome of a first instance of a single-player game, the first instance comprising an instance of play of the single-player game being engaged in via the workstation; and
(b) sending data from the central server to the workstation comprising the outcome of a second instance of the single-player game, the second instance being an instance of play of the single-player game being engaged in via a second workstation other than the first workstation;
whereby the workstation may simultaneously display on its display the outcomes of play of the instances of the single-player game being engaged in by both the workstation and the second workstation.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein the first workstation and the second workstation comprise computing devices connected to the central server over a computer network.
3. The method of claim 1, wherein the first and second instances of the single-player game occur substantially simultaneously and the results of play are determined by the central server.
4. The method of claim 3, wherein the game is selected from the group of single-player games consisting of slots, a single-player card game and roulette.
5. The method of claim 1, wherein the method comprises the further step of sending data from the central server to the workstation comprising the outcome of a third instance of the single-player game, the third instance being an instance of play of the single-player game being engaged in by a third workstation other than the first workstation and the second workstation whereby the workstation may display the outcomes of the first, second and third instances of the single-player game.
6. The method of claim 1, wherein the method further comprises transmitting data to the workstation associated with sound effects intended to be played on the workstation.
7. The method of claim 6, wherein the sound effects include at least one of: a) sound simulating casino background noise; b) sound simulating operation of a gaming machine; c) sound simulating play of at least one of the single-player games; and d) sound simulating a voice reaction related to an outcome of the play of the single-player game being engaged in via the second workstation.
8. The method of claim 1, further comprising the steps of c) receiving an instant message from the second workstation intended for the first workstation at the central server and d) transmitting the instant message from the central server to the workstation for display at the workstation.
9. The method of claim 3, further comprising the step of grouping the first and second workstations into a grouping where the single-player game is played, and
wherein data representing the outcome of the play occurring on the workstation and the second workstation is transmitted to the first and second workstations whereby both the workstation and the second workstation may both display substantially simultaneously the outcome of play of the first and second instances of the single-player game.
10. The method of claim 1, wherein the workstations comprise video gaming terminals.
11. The method of claim 3, wherein the first and second instances of the single-player game are combined into a multiplayer game composed, at least in part, of the outcomes of the first and second instances of the single-player game.
12. The method of claim 11, wherein the single-player game comprises slots.
13. The method of claim 1, wherein the data in step b) further comprises a name associated with the instance of play engaged in by the second workstation.
14. The method of claim 1, wherein the first and second instances of play occur substantially simultaneously, and wherein the method further comprises the step of:
c) sending data comprising the outcome of the first and second instances of the single-player game to the second workstation, whereby both the workstation and the second workstation may both display the results of play of the instances of the single-player game occurring on both the workstation and the second workstation.
15. A central gaming server facilitating play of a single-player game on a workstation, comprising:
a processor and a software process coded as a set of instructions for execution by the processor, the software process causing the gaming server to perform the following functions:
(a) sending data to the workstation comprising the outcome of a first instance of a single-player game, the first instance comprising an instance of play of the single-player game being engaged in via the workstation;
(b) sending data to the workstation comprising the outcome of a second instance of the single-player game, the second instance being an instance of play being engaged in via a second workstation other than the first workstation;
whereby the workstation may simultaneously display the results of play of the instances of the single-player game being engaged in by the workstation and the second workstation.
16. The server of claim 15, wherein the first workstation and the second workstation comprise computing devices connected to the central server over a computer network.
17. The server of claim 15, wherein the first and second instances of the single-player game occur substantially simultaneously.
18. The server of claim 17, wherein the game is selected from the group of single-player games consisting of slots, a single-player card game, and roulette.
19. The server of claim 15, wherein the software further causes the server to send data to the workstation comprising the outcome of a third instance of the single-player game, the third instance being engaged in by a third workstation other than the first workstation and the second workstation, whereby the workstation may simultaneously display the outcomes of the first, second and third instances of the single-player game.
20. The server of claim 15, wherein the server further transmits data to the workstation associated with sound effects to be played on the workstation.
21. The server of claim 15, wherein the sound effects include at least one of: a) sound simulating casino background noise; b) sound simulating operation of a gaming machine; c) sound simulating play of at least one of the single-player games; and d) sound simulating a voice reaction related to the outcome of play of the second single-player game.
22. The server of claim 15, wherein the server receives an instant message from the second workstation and transmits the instant message to the workstation.
23. The server of claim 17, wherein the server operates to group the first and second workstations into a virtual game room where the single-player game is played, and
wherein data representing the outcome of the play occurring on the workstation and the second workstation is transmitted to the first and second workstations whereby both the workstation and the second workstation may both display substantially simultaneously the outcome of play of the first and second instances of the single-player game.
24. The server of claim 15, wherein the workstations comprise video gaming terminals.
25. The server of claim 17, wherein the instances of the first and second single-player games are combined into a multiplayer game composed, at least in part, of the first and second instances of the single-player game.
26. The server of claim 25, wherein the single-player game comprises slots.
27. The server of claim 25, wherein the data associated with the play of the second workstation further comprises a name associated with the instance of play engaged in by the second workstation.
28. The server of claim 25, wherein the server operates to send data comprising the outcome of the first and second instances of the single-player games to the second workstation, whereby both the workstation and the second workstation may both display the results of play of the instances of the single-player game occurring on both the workstation and the second workstation.
29. A gaming workstation comprising:
1) a display:
2) a processing unit;
3) a memory storing a gaming application for execution by the processing unit,
wherein the application causes the display to display:
a) the outcome of a play of a first instance of a single-player game being engaged in by the gaming workstation; and
b) simultaneously with the display a), the outcome of play of a second instance of the single-player game being engaged in by a second workstation; and
4) a communications interface for receiving datagrams from a central server containing data indicating the outcome of play of the first and second instances of the single-player game.
30. The apparatus of claim 29, wherein the communications interface comprises an Internet connection and wherein the gaming workstation comprises a general purpose computing device.
31. The apparatus of claim 29, wherein the communications interface comprises a local area network connection and wherein the gaming workstation comprises a video gaming terminal.
32. The apparatus of claim 29, wherein the single-player game is selected from the group of single-player games consisting of slots, a single-player card game, and roulette.
33. The apparatus of claim 29, wherein the instances of the first and second single-player games are combined into a multiplayer game composed at least in part of the first and second instances of the single-player game.
34. The apparatus of claim 29, wherein the datagrams further comprise data associated with sound effects intended to be played on the workstation.
35. The apparatus of 34, wherein the sound effects include at least one of: a) sound simulating casino background noise; b) sound simulating operation of a gaming machine; c) sound simulating play of at least one of the single-player games; and d) sound simulating a voice reaction related to an outcome of the play of the single-player game being engaged in via the second workstation.
36. The apparatus of claim 29, wherein the gaming application includes a facility allowing the user of the workstation to enter an instant message and transmit the instant message to the central server, the central server sending the instant message to the second workstation for display.
37. The apparatus of claim 36, wherein the workstation is grouped in a virtual group of workstations each playing an instance of the single-player game, and wherein the instant message is transmitted by the central server to all the workstations in the group.
38. The method of claim 1, further comprising the step of sending data to the workstation comprising an outcome of an instance of a second single-player game, wherein the second single-player game is a different game from the single-player game of step a) and step b), whereby the workstation may further display the outcome of the instance of the second single-player game.
39. The server of claim 15, wherein the gaming server software process is configured to send data to the workstation comprising an outcome of an instance of a second single-player game, wherein the second single-player game is a different game from the single-player game of function a) and function b), whereby the workstation may further display the outcome of the instance of the second single-player game.
Description
    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • [0001]
    This is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/545,213 filed Aug. 11, 2005, which claims priority under 35 U.S.C. 365 to PCT application PCT/IB2004/003179 filed Sep. 30, 2004, and to British applications GB 0323072.9 filed Oct. 2, 2003 and GB 0325312.7 filed Oct. 30, 2003. The entire content of the above-referenced documents are incorporated by reference herein.
  • STATEMENT OF FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH
  • [0002]
    Not applicable.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • [0003]
    This disclosure relates generally to electronic gaming systems enabling a player to play a single-player game on a gaming workstation such as a general purpose computer or a video gaming terminal. The disclosure further relates to an electronic gaming system including a central gaming server providing data to gaming workstation indicating the outcome of play of multiple instances of a single-player game occurring simultaneously.
  • RELATED ART
  • [0004]
    The game of poker is a multiplayer game that is widely played in many jurisdictions, particularly in the United States of America. In order to illustrate various advantageous features of multiplayer games, the basic rules of poker will be outlined briefly in the description that follows.
  • [0005]
    A traditional game of poker generally accommodates a minimum of 4 and a maximum of between 8 and 10 players. In a turn of the game, one of the participating players assumes the role of a dealer and deals five cards (an “initial hand”), from a conventional deck of 52 playing cards, to each participating player, inclusive of the dealer. The playing cards in the initial hand are dealt face down to each player who does not, at this stage of the game, disclose the playing cards that have been dealt to him.
  • [0006]
    Each one of the players is then required to decide, in turn, whether to continue with his participation in the turn of the game (that is, to “play”), or to terminate his participation in the turn (that is, to “fold”), as a function of the playing cards in his initial hand. Any player who decides to fold does not participate any longer in the turn of the game. If all participating players decide to fold, the turn of the game terminates. The first player to decide to play is required to make an opening wager on the turn of the game. Any other player who subsequently also decides to play in the turn of the game is required to match or to increase (“raise”) the size of the opening wager. When the size of the opening wager is raised, players who have made prior opening wagers are required to top up their wagers to match the size of the largest opening wager made by any player who has elected to play in the turn of the game. This phase of the turn of the game continues until every player who desires to play in that turn has made an equivalent opening wager.
  • [0007]
    All the wagers made by each of the players are accumulated in a single jackpot (“the pot”).
  • [0008]
    At this stage of the game, each player who has decided to play may, in turn, then decide to retain (that is, to “hold”) any number of the cards in his initial hand. Once a player has decided which, if any, of the five cards to hold, the player may then “draw”, in which the remaining cards of the initial hand are discarded and are replaced by an equivalent number of further cards dealt by the dealer from the deck of playing cards. This phase of the game will be referred to, for convenience, as the drawing phase. If the player does not hold any of the cards, in his initial hand, he is then effectively dealt an entirely new hand of five cards at the drawing phase of the game. On the other hand, if a particular player holds all of the five cards in his initial hand, he does not participate in the drawing phase, but still continues to play in the turn of the game.
  • [0009]
    Once the drawing phase of the game has been completed, each player evaluates the five cards he has accumulated in the manner described above in order to determine whether they contain any one of a number of desirable combinations of playing cards. The desirability of any combination of playing cards is inversely proportional to the probability of being dealt that particular combination of cards.
  • [0010]
    After completion of the drawing phase of a turn of the game and evaluation of the playing cards, all of the players who have previously decided to play in the particular turn of the game are then again required to decide, in turn, as a function of the playing cards they have accumulated in the manner described above, whether to continue playing or to fold. Any player who decides to fold does not participate any further in the particular turn of the game and forfeits all wagers he has made in that turn. The first player who makes an opening wager may, if he decides to play, make a supplementary wager on the turn of the game. Any other player who also decides to play is required to match or to raise the size of the supplementary wager. Players who have previously made supplementary wagers are required to top up their supplementary wagers to match the size of the largest supplementary wager. This phase of the particular turn of the game continues until every player who has not folded has made an equivalent supplementary wager. This stage of the game will be referred to, for convenience, as the supplementary wagering stage.
  • [0011]
    The supplementary wagers made by each of the players who have decided to continue playing in the particular turn of the game are added to the pot.
  • [0012]
    Once the supplementary wagering stage of the turn of the game has been completed, the players who remain in the game reveal the playing cards in their hands. The hands are compared, and the player with the highest-ranking desirable hand wins the accumulated pot.
  • [0013]
    The rules of the game of poker have been described with particular reference to a variation of the game known as “draw poker”. There are many other variations of the game of poker that are not germane to the essence of the invention and that will not, for this reason, be described here in detail.
  • [0014]
    It will be appreciated by those skilled in that art that the game of poker is a zero-sum game insofar as, in each turn of the game, a gain of the winner is equal to accumulated losses of the other players in the game. It is, however, also known for a party who arranges or hosts a game of poker to levy a commission (“a rake”) on the players or on the accumulated jackpot in order to obtain revenue.
  • [0015]
    The game of poker is played at both land-based venues and on-line, in the latter instance by means of the Internet. Where the game is played on-line, a software program spawns multiple instances of the game, each instance being known as a “poker room”, to accommodate players wishing to participate in the game. Thus, any instance of the game, or poker room, accommodates participating players who may be geographically remote from each other. The software program offers the participating players with various artifices such as, for example, a chat facility, which allow the players to interact with each other, thereby establishing a sense of community such as would be found at a game being played at a land-based venue.
  • [0016]
    The game of slots is probably the most popular and widely played single-player casino game available to players. The most common game of slots is found in a simple three-reel slot machine. Each reel of the slot machine has, say, 30 indexed positions, some or all of which may display a corresponding indicium. A player of the slot machine is required to place a wager on an outcome of the casino game by introducing coins, tokens or credit into the slot machine, which then enables each of the three reels to be spun and to come to rest at any of the indexed positions. An outcome of the game is determined as a function of a combination of the three resulting indexed rest positions. Several outcomes of the game usually result in the player being awarded corresponding prizes, one particular outcome causing the player to win a jackpot prize. A slot machine with the particular characteristics described above has a jackpot cycle of 27,000, which means that, on average, 27,000 outcomes of the game must be determined in order for the jackpot to be won by the player.
  • [0017]
    The three reel slot machine described above may be a free-standing electro-mechanical or electronic machine suitable for use in a land-based venue, or may, alternatively, be an on-line implementation, where the three reels of the slot machine are simulated on a display monitor, while an outcome of the game is derived from a random number generator implemented in software. It will be appreciated that the game of slots is a single-player game, unlike the game of poker described above. Although banks of slot machines may be found in land-based casinos, each player at such a bank of machines is playing the game individually for himself. An advantage of such single-player games is that of rapid play and the immediacy of a result in a turn of a game.
  • SUMMARY
  • [0018]
    In a first aspect, a method is disclosed for facilitating play of a single-player game on a workstation having a display. The method includes the steps of:
  • [0019]
    (a) sending data from a central server to the workstation comprising the outcome of a first instance of a single-player game, the first instance comprising an instance of play of the single-player game being engaged in via the workstation; and
  • [0020]
    (b) sending data from the central server to the workstation comprising the outcome of a second instance of the single-player game, the second instance being an instance of play of the single-player game being engaged in via a second workstation other than the first workstation;
  • [0021]
    whereby the workstation may simultaneously display on its display the outcomes of play of the instances of the single-player game being engaged in by both the workstation and the second workstation.
  • [0022]
    As an example, the player at the workstation plays a single-player game such as video slots. Simultaneously, a player at another workstation is also playing the same single-player game, video slots. The central server operates to determine the outcome of play for both workstations, and sends to the workstation a datagram including the outcome of play of both workstations. Thus, the workstation may display both the results of their own instance of the game (e.g., a set of slot machine reels in a given position), but also a second slot machine reel showing the outcome of the second instance of play occurring on the workstation of another player. In preferred embodiments, the player does not wager on the outcomes of the instances of play other than their own. Rather, such other instances of play are displayed for presentation purposes only.
  • [0023]
    The display of multiple instances of single-player games serves to simulate a real casino experience and enhance a player's gaming experience. To further simulate the casino experience, additional features can be provided such as sound effects playable on the workstation (casino background noise, gaming sounds, machine sounds, celebratory sounds when another player wins, etc.), described in detail below, as well as a facility by which the players may exchange instant messages with each other.
  • [0024]
    The method can be extended to displaying the instances of play of all the workstations in a group of workstations, such as eight workstations used by eight players. The grouping of the workstations essentially forms a virtual slot machine bank. Preferably, datagrams indicating the results of all the instances of the single-player game in the group are sent to all the workstations, so that each player may see the results of play of all the other players in the group, including their own results.
  • [0025]
    In one embodiment, the workstations are general purpose computing devices which are connected to the central server over a computer network such as the Internet. In other embodiments, such as a casino or entertainment center embodiment, the workstations could be video gaming terminals connected to a central server over a local area network.
  • [0026]
    In one embodiment, the play of all the instances of the single-player game occurring in a group of workstations is combined into a multiplayer game, as described in detail below. In other embodiments, the play is not so combined into a multiplayer game.
  • [0027]
    In another aspect, a central gaming server facilitating play of a single-player game on a workstation is disclosed. The central gaming server comprises a processor and a software process coded as a set of instructions for execution by the processor. The software process causes the gaming server to perform the following functions:
  • [0028]
    (a) sending data to the workstation comprising the outcome of a first instance of a single-player game, the first instance comprising an instance of play of the single-player game being engaged in via the workstation;
  • [0029]
    (b) sending data to the workstation comprising the outcome of a second instance of the single-player game, the second instance being an instance of play being engaged in via a second workstation other than the workstation;
  • [0030]
    whereby the workstation may simultaneously display the results of play of the instances of the single-player game being engaged in by the workstation and the second workstation.
  • [0031]
    In still a further aspect, a gaming workstation (e.g., general purpose computer or video gaming terminal) is disclosed comprising
  • [0032]
    1) a display:
  • [0033]
    2) a processing unit;
  • [0034]
    3) a memory storing a gaming application for execution by the processing unit,
  • [0035]
    wherein the application causes the display to display:
  • [0036]
    a) the outcome of a play of a first instance of a single-player game being engaged in by the gaming workstation; and
  • [0037]
    b) simultaneously with the display a), the outcome of play of a second instance of the single-player game being engaged in by a second workstation; and
  • [0038]
    4) a communications interface for receiving datagrams from a central server containing data indicating the outcome of play of the first and second instances of the single-player game.
  • [0039]
    In addition to the exemplary aspects and embodiments described above, further aspects and embodiments will become apparent by reference to the drawings and by study of the following detailed descriptions.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0040]
    Embodiments of the invention are described below, by way of example only, and with reference to the abovementioned drawings, in which:
  • [0041]
    FIG. 1 is functional diagram of a multiplayer gaming system;
  • [0042]
    FIG. 2 is a flow diagram of the steps required for a player to participate in a multiplayer game in the multiplayer gaming system of FIG. 1;
  • [0043]
    FIG. 3 is a flow diagram of the steps required for a participating player to leave an instance of the multiplayer game in the multiplayer gaming system of FIG. 1; and
  • [0044]
    FIG. 4 is a flow diagram of the steps required to settle wagers placed by participating players in the gaming system of FIG. 1;
  • [0045]
    FIG. 5 is a flow diagram of a “Pot Slot” variation of a multiplayer game playable on the multiplayer gaming system of FIG. 1;
  • [0046]
    FIG. 6 is a flow diagram of a “Pot Slot with Community Feature” variation of a multiplayer game playable on the multiplayer gaming system of FIG. 1;
  • [0047]
    FIG. 7 is a flow diagram of a “Winner Take All” variation of a multiplayer game playable on the multiplayer gaming system of FIG. 1;
  • [0048]
    FIG. 8 is a flow diagram of a “Community Slot” variation of a multiplayer game playable on the multiplayer gaming system of FIG. 1;
  • [0049]
    FIG. 9 is a flow diagram of a “Community Slot—Even Distribution” variation of a multiplayer game playable on the multiplayer gaming system of FIG. 1;
  • [0050]
    FIG. 10 is a flow diagram of a “Community Slot—50/50” variation of a multiplayer game playable on the multiplayer gaming system of FIG. 1;
  • [0051]
    FIG. 11 is a flow diagram of a “Community Slot—50 Pooled” variation of a multiplayer game playable on the multiplayer gaming system of FIG. 1; and
  • [0052]
    FIG. 12 is a flow diagram of a “Best of 5” variation of a multiplayer game playable on the multiplayer gaming system of FIG. 1;
  • [0053]
    FIG. 13 is a flow diagram of a “Chicken” variation of a multiplayer game playable on the multiplayer gaming system of FIG. 1.
  • [0054]
    FIG. 14 is a screen shot displayed on a gaming workstation showing a listing of available banks of video slots which the player can join.
  • [0055]
    FIG. 15 is a screen shot of the play in one of the video slot banks, wherein two players are currently active. The display on the workstation shows not only the player's own slot machine game instance (located in the bottom center of the game area of the display), but also simultaneously a display of the outcome of a second instance of the single-player game (slot machine reels on the right hand of the screen) showing play occurring at a different workstation. FIG. 16 also illustrates a scrolling display of the results of the instances of the single-player game and a chat feature whereby the players may exchange instant messages.
  • [0056]
    FIG. 16 is a screen shot of the play in the video slot bank of FIG. 15, wherein two additional players have joined the slot bank and there are now four players which are currently active. The display on the workstation shows not only the player's own slot machine game instance (located in the bottom center of the game area of the display), but also simultaneously a display of the outcome of second, third and fourth instances of the single-player game occurring on the three other gaming workstations.
  • [0057]
    FIG. 17 is an illustration of a screen shot showing multiple instances of a single-player game in the form of Roulette being displayed on a gaming workstation.
  • [0058]
    FIG. 18 is an illustration of a screen shot showing multiple instances of a single-player game in the form of Twenty One being displayed on a gaming workstation; the display also illustrates other instances being played on the same virtual card table and on other virtual card tables. The display also shows multiple instances of other types of single-player games, including slots and roulette, which may be occurring simultaneously with the play of the Twenty One games.
  • [0059]
    FIG. 19 is an illustration of a datagram generated by the central gaming server of FIG. 1 and sent to a workstation, the datagram including the outcomes of multiple instances of single-player games including instances occurring on other workstations. In the embodiment of FIG. 19, the datagram includes sound effects data which is intended to be played on the workstation to add sound effects to the gaming experience.
  • [0060]
    FIG. 20 is an illustration of another form of the datagram of FIG. 19, showing an alternative form of transmitting sound effect data.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • [0061]
    Overview
  • [0062]
    A multiplayer gaming system is described which facilitates a number of players to each play a separate instance of a single-player game having a plurality of possible results. The system includes a central gaming server communicable with each one of the plurality of gaming workstations. The server is operable to send data to each workstation whereby the workstation may display outcomes of multiple instances of the single-player game, including the game instance being played on the instant workstation as well as instances of the games currently being played on workstations used by other players. Examples of such single-player games include video slots, video roulette, and single-player card games.
  • [0063]
    Published PCT application WO 03/093921 A2, published Nov. 13, 2003, which is assigned to the assignee of the present invention, discloses a system whereby multiple distributed gaming workstations may engage in gaming activity via a central gaming server over a computer network such as the Internet. The entire contents of WO 03/093921 A2 are incorporated by reference herein. In one embodiment, the methods are implemented in a system of the type disclosed in the '921 published application.
  • [0064]
    One embodiment will be described where the displayed multiple instances of a single-player game are combined or grouped in order to allow the players to collectively play a multiplayer game based on the outcomes of the individual instances of the single-player game. In other embodiments, the display of other instances of single-player games are provided for presentation purposes only, and to further simulate a casino environment, and no grouping of play into a multiplayer game occurs. The concept of displaying multiple instances of a single-player game on a gaming workstation is applicable generally, as will be explained in detail hereinafter.
  • [0065]
    The display of the plurality of instances of single-player games, including those of other players, emulates a land-based casino experience, for example the experience one has when in Las Vegas playing slots in a slot machine bank where one can look over at other players' slot machines and observe their action. The display of other instances allows the player to see and participate vicariously in the gaming action of other players (albeit without the risk or potential reward), just as in a land-based casino. In the present disclosure, the display of the multiple instances of the single-player game may be accompanied by sound effects, such as casino background noise, machine sounds (e.g., sounds produced by a slot machine), playing sounds (such as a spinning roulette wheel, cards being dealt, etc.) and voice sounds including celebratory sounds when one of the other instances of the game produces a winning result. As such, the simulated casino experience is further enhanced.
  • [0066]
    Embodiment with Single Player Games Combined into Multiplayer Game
  • [0067]
    Embodiments will be described initially with particular reference to a multiplayer game that is based on multiple separate instances of a single-player game of video slots. Later, examples will be provided where the each player plays their own instance of the single-player game but there is no grouping of results into a multiplayer game.
  • [0068]
    Referring to FIG. 1, a multiplayer gaming system is indicated generally by reference numeral (1). The multiplayer gaming system (1) includes a central gaming server (2), and a number of portals (3 a, 3 b) in the form of portal websites on the World Wide Web of the Internet. In this embodiment, each one of the portal websites is an online casino website hosted on a corresponding casino web server (not shown). For convenience, this particular embodiment of the invention will be described with particular reference to only two such online casino websites (3 a, 3 b). Each one of the online casino websites (3 a, 3 b) is accessible by a would-be video slots player (not shown) through a player gaming workstation (4) in the form of an Internet-enabled computer workstation having a display monitor (5) and an associated pointing device (5 a) such as a mouse or, alternatively, a touchpad. In this embodiment, online casino website (3 a) is shown as having one computer workstation (4) logically connected thereto, whereas casino website (3 b) is shown as being logically connected to two computer workstations (4). It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that such online casino websites (3 a, 3 b) can be logically connected to any desired number of such computer workstations (4) simultaneously, which number is physically limited only by considerations of processing power and Internet access bandwidth.
  • [0069]
    The apparatus (1) includes, further, an administration facility (12) in the form of an application web server, which is communicable with the gaming server (2) along a communication network (9). The detailed operation of the application web server (12) will be outlined in the description that follows.
  • [0070]
    The gaming server (2), the online casino web servers (not shown) corresponding to the online casino websites (3 a, 3 b), the computer workstations (4) and the application web server (12) are capable of communicating with each other by means of an open communication network that is, in this embodiment, the Internet. The Internet is represented in FIG. 1 as separate logical communication networks (6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11). The particular networking topology used and presence of intermediate networks or switching equipment is not important, and may for example make use of intervening communications network such as the public switched telephone network, cable networks, cellular wireless networks, WiFi, etc.
  • [0071]
    The application web server (12) operates a clearing account facility (13) that has a clearing account corresponding to each one of the online casino websites (3 a, 3 b). Analogously, each online casino website (3 a, 3 b) includes a corresponding credit account facility (14 a, 14 b) with a credit account corresponding to each player who participates in a game offered by the online casino. In the illustrated embodiment, therefore, the credit account facility (14 a) has one player credit account associated with it, while credit account facility (14 b) has two associated, but separate, player credit accounts.
  • [0072]
    The gaming server (2) operates under control of a stored server program (not shown) capable of enabling a predetermined number, say 8, of players to play an instance of a multiplayer game that will be referred to, for convenience, as “multiplayer slots”. When the number of players reaches this predetermined maximum number, the server program causes a further instance of the game of multiplayer slots to be initiated, the new instance of the multiplayer slots game also being capable of accommodating a further 8 players. In this manner, the gaming server is capable, under stored server program control, to spawn as many separate instances of the game of multiplayer slots as required in order to accommodate a pool of players who desire to play the multiplayer slots game, in groups of a maximum of 8. Each instance of the multiplayer slots game spawned in this manner is treated as totally independent of the other instances of the game.
  • [0073]
    The online casino websites (3 a, 3 b) enable a player who desires to join the game of multiplayer slots to request, by means of one of the computer workstations (4), participation in the game and, once admitted to an instance of the multiplayer slots game, to place a wager on a turn of that instance of the game. Each participating player in an instance of the game is presented with an identical graphical user interface (“GUI”) on his respective computer workstation (4) by a separate stored program (not shown) in the workstation. The GUI presents to the player, on the display monitor (5), a display of the reels of a three-reel video slots game. It will be appreciated that the game of video slots is, as is well known in the art, essentially a single-player game. The GUI also presents to the player a display of up to seven further sets of reels of a three-reel video slots game. These further sets of reels correspond to the instances of the single-player video slots game played by the other participating players in the particular instance of the multiplayer slots game. The other players in the same instance of the multiplayer game use these additional sets of reels only for presentation purposes in order that each participating player can follow the progress of all the instances of the video slots games played. The GUI clearly distinguishes a player's own set of reels, i.e., instance of the single-player game, from those of the other participating players. Each set of reels is identified by a corresponding name, which might be a name assumed by the participating player for participation in the multiplayer slots game, or the participating player's own name.
  • [0074]
    The stored workstation program (not shown) also enables a participating player to place a wager on a turn of the multiplayer slots game, while the application web server (12) is capable of determining whether any wager placed by any participating player on a turn of the game is successful or unsuccessful according to the rules of the multiplayer game. The stored program in the gaming server (2) also maintains a dynamic register (16) of all players admitted to, and actively participating in, all the spawned instances of the multiplayer slots game from time to time, together with data representative of a corresponding portal (3 a, 3 b) through which each participating player accessed the multiplayer slots game. The dynamic register (16) also contains data representative of an instance of the multiplayer game in which the player is participating. The application web server (12) also settles the wagers of the participating players after completion of every turn of any instance of the multiplayer game.
  • [0075]
    Each computer workstation (4) may take the form of a conventional personal computer operating under a Windows XP, ME, 2000 or other operating system, which is well known and commercially available from the Microsoft Corporation of Redmond, Wash., USA., or other operating system such as provided by Apple Computer or a Linux operating system. The gaming server (2) operates for example under the Windows NT operating system. The stored workstation program (not shown) and the corresponding stored server program will be referred to, for convenience, as a client process and a server process, respectively. The server process generates one or more random events that determine the outcome of the multiplayer slots game, such as determining the outcomes of spins of the reels in the various single-player video slots games of the participating players. The client process of any particular computer workstation (4) obtains the result of the random events from the gaming server (2), along the communication network (9) and displays the outcome of the game on the display monitor (5) of the workstation in an intelligible manner, by causing the player's set of slots reels to spin and to come to rest at a position corresponding to the outcome. In order to play the game of multiplayer slots from any particular computer workstation (4), the client process (not shown) must first be downloaded to that computer workstation from the gaming server (2) or, alternatively from a separate web server (not shown), and then installed on the workstation.
  • [0076]
    In use, a player wishing to participate in the game of multiplayer slots uses a computer workstation (4) to access an online casino website (3 a, 3 b) of his choice. A flow diagram outlining the steps required in order for a player to participate in an instance of the game is indicated in FIG. 2. The player is presented with an icon (not shown) on the GUI on his computer workstation (4), which the user can activate in order to request participation in the multiplayer slots game. The user's request for participation (100) is passed by the online casino website (3 a, 3 b) to the gaming server (2), which adjudicates and processes the request in the following manner:
      • 1. if all existing instances of the multiplayer slots game are currently being played by 8 players, the existing instances of the game are all fully occupied and the would-be player cannot be admitted to any instance of the game (101). The user is notified of the situation and prompted to join a waiting list of would-be players (102);
      • 2. if any one of the existing instances of the multiplayer slots game does have a vacancy, the would-be player is admitted to that instance of the game (103) or, if previously on the waiting list, is removed therefrom and admitted to that instance of the game. An appropriate multiplayer slots GUI is presented to the newly-admitted player (at 104) to allow him to play the game and to place wagers thereon;
      • 3. the register of active participating players is updated (at 105) to include the details of the newly-admitted player, together with data representative of the online casino from which the player was admitted to the game, as well as the particular instance of the game to which he has been admitted;
      • 4. when the waiting list of would-be players has grown sufficiently large, say 4 or 5 would-be players (106), the gaming server spawns a new instance of the game (107) to accommodate the would-be players in the waiting list, and the list is flushed (108); and
      • 5. the register of active participating players is updated (105) to include the details of all the newly-admitted players in the newly-spawned instance of the game, together with data representative of the online casino from which the players were admitted to the instance of the game, as well as the particular instance of the game to which the players have been admitted.
  • [0082]
    Any player is able to leave the instance of the multiplayer slots game in which he is participating at any time upon completion of a turn of that instance of the game. A flow diagram outlining the steps required for a player to leave an existing instance of the game is outlined in FIG. 3. When a participating player leaves an instance of the multiplayer slots game (200), the player's departure results in the system (1) undertaking the following actions:
      • 1. the GUI corresponding to the multiplayer slots game on the computer workstation is replaced by one allowing the player to select another casino game to play (201);
      • 2. the departing player's details are removed from the register of active participating players (202); and
      • 3. the remaining instances of the game are analyzed in order to collapse any sparsely populated instances of the game and to consolidate the participating players in these instances into a single more densely-populated instance of the game (203).
  • [0086]
    The participating players in any instance of the game all place wagers on a turn of the multiplayer slots game, as described above. Once the turn of the multiplayer slots game has been completed, the application web server (12) determines which of the participating players is the winner of the turn according to the rules of the game and settles the wagers placed by the participating players on that turn of the instance of the game as follows, as indicated in FIG. 4:
      • 1. an online casino website (3 a, 3 b) associated with each participating player who has made a wager on the turn of the multiplayer game notifies the gaming server (2), at (300). Each of the online casino websites (3 a, 3 b) then debits the individual credit account of its associated player by an amount equivalent to the magnitude of that player's wager (301);
      • 2. the clearing account of an online casino website (3 a, 3 b) associated with each player who has made a wager on the turn of the game is then debited by an amount equivalent to the magnitude of that player's corresponding wager (302);
      • 3. the clearing account of an online casino website (3 a, 3 b) associated with the player who has made the successful wager (303) on the turn of the game is credited by an amount equivalent to the total of all the wagers inclusive of the successful wager (304); and
      • 4. the gaming server (2) also notifies the online casino website (3 a, 3 b) associated with the successful player (305) and that online casino website credits the individual credit account of the successful player by an amount equivalent to the total of all the wagers inclusive of the successful wager (306).
  • [0091]
    The rules of the multiplayer game are outlined below, according to different variations of the game:
  • [0092]
    1. “Pot Slot” Variation
      • a flow diagram outlining the steps of this variation of the multiplayer game is outlined in FIG. 5;
      • each player wagers a same amount, say $x, on a turn of the multiplayer game. All the player wagers are accumulated in an accumulation account (“the pot”). With eight participating players, the pot will be $8x;
      • once the participating players have all wagered, the sets of slot reels of all the participating players in the instance of the game spin in sequence, while being visible to all players;
  • [0096]
    successful results of a reel spin are awarded the following points values:
    Result Points
    3 Blue 7 1000
    3 Red 7 80
    3 Any 7 40
    3 Bar3 30
    3 Bar2 20
    3 Bar1 10
    3 Cherry 10
    3 Any Bar 5
    Any 2 Cherry 5
    Any 1 Cherry 2
      • the participating player whose result corresponds to the highest points value wins the pot;
      • if there are two or more participating players whose results correspond to the highest points value, the outcome of the turn of the multiplayer game is a tie. Similarly, if there is no participating player who obtains a successful result, the outcome of the turn of the multiplayer game is a tie;
      • in the event of a tie, the pot is carried over (“carryover”) to the next turn of the multiplayer game;
      • in the event of a carryover, each participating player is required to wager a further $x, which is added to the pot;
      • the participating player whose result corresponds to the highest points value wins the pot;
      • the pot is carried over a maximum of five times;
      • after the fifth carryover, in the event of a further tie, the pot is shared equally between the players whose results correspond to the highest points values.
  • [0104]
    2. “Pot Slot with Community Feature” Variation
      • a flow diagram outlining the steps of this variation of the multiplayer game is outlined in FIG. 6;
  • [0106]
    this variation is the same as the Pot Slot variation of the multiplayer game outlined above with the exception that, in the event of any player obtaining a successful result that is one of the top three outcomes, each participating player unconditionally wins a payout according to the following pay table:
    Result Winning Player Remaining Players
    3 Blue 7 $3000 $500 each
    3 Red 7 $500 $50 each
    3 Any 7 $50 $5 each
      • the contest for the pot continues independently of the above payouts, as described above.
  • [0108]
    3. “Winner Take All” Variation
      • a flow diagram outlining the steps of this variation of the multiplayer game is outlined in FIG. 7;
      • each player wagers a same amount, say $x, on a turn of the multiplayer game. All the player wagers are accumulated in a remuneration pool. With eight participating players, the remuneration pool will be $8x;
      • once the participating players have all wagered, the set of slot reels of all the participating players in the instance of the game spin in sequence, while being visible to all players;
  • [0112]
    successful results of a reel spin are awarded the following payouts:
    Result Payout
    3 Blue 7 $1000
    3 Red 7 $80
    3 Any 7 $40
    3 Bar3 $30
    3 Bar2 $20
    3 Bar1 $10
    3 Cherry $10
    3 Any Bar $5
    Any 2 Cherry $5
    Any 1 Cherry $2
      • the payouts corresponding to all successful results are accumulated in a prize pool and the participating player with the highest-paying successful result wins the prize pool;
      • if there are two or more participating players with the same highest-paying successful results, the outcome of the turn of the multiplayer game is a tie. Similarly, if there is no participating player who obtains a successful result, the outcome of the turn of the multiplayer game is a tie;
      • in the event of a tie, the prize pool is carried over to the next turn of the multiplayer game;
      • in the event of a carryover, each participating player is required to wager a further $x, which is added to the remuneration pool, and payouts of all successful results in the carryover spin are accumulated in the prize pool;
      • the participating player with the highest-paying successful result in the carryover spin wins the prize pool;
      • there is a maximum of five consecutive carryovers;
      • after the fifth carryover, in the event of a further tie, the prize pool is shared equally between the players with the highest paying successful results;
      • the remuneration pool is paid over to an operator of the multiplayer gaming apparatus in order to fund the payouts won by the participating players.
  • [0121]
    4. “Community Slot” Variation
      • a flow diagram outlining the steps of this variation of the multiplayer game is outlined in FIG. 8;
      • each player wagers a same amount, say $x, on a turn of the multiplayer game. All the player wagers are accumulated in a remuneration pool. With eight participating players, the remuneration pool will be $8x;
      • once the participating players have all wagered, the sets of slot reels of all the participating players in the instance of the game spin in sequence, while being visible to all players;
  • [0125]
    successful results of a reel spin are awarded the following payouts:
    Result Payout
    3 Blue 7 $10000
    3 Red 7 $80
    3 Any 7 $40
    3 Bar3 $30
    3 Bar2 $20
    3 Bar1 $10
    3 Cherry $10
    3 Any Bar $5
    Any 2 Cherry $5
    Any 1 Cherry $2
      • any player obtaining a successful result wins the corresponding payout, with the exception of the maximum payout, which is divided equally among all the participating players.
      • the remuneration pool is paid over to an operator of the multiplayer gaming apparatus in order to fund the payouts won by the participating players.
  • [0128]
    5. “Community Slot—Even Distribution” Variation
      • a flow diagram outlining the steps of this variation of the multiplayer game is outlined in FIG. 9;
      • each player wagers a same amount, say $x, on a turn of the multiplayer game. All the player wagers are accumulated in a remuneration pool. With eight participating players, the remuneration pool will be $8x;
      • once the participating players have all wagered, the sets of slot reels of all the participating players in the instance of the game spin in sequence, while being visible to all players;
  • [0132]
    successful results of a reel spin are awarded the following payouts:
    Result Payout
    3 Blue 7 $10000
    3 Red 7 $80
    3 Any 7 $40
    3 Bar3 $30
    3 Bar2 $20
    3 Bar1 $10
    3 Cherry $10
    3 Any Bar $5
    Any 2 Cherry $5
    Any 1 Cherry $2
      • the payouts corresponding to all successful results are accumulated in a prize pool and the prize pool is divided equally among the participating players;
      • the remuneration pool is paid over to an operator of the multiplayer gaming apparatus in order to fund the payouts won by the participating players.
  • [0135]
    6. “Community Slots—50/50” Variation
      • a flow diagram outlining the steps of this variation of the multiplayer game is outlined in FIG. 10;
      • each player wagers a same amount, say $x, on a turn of the multiplayer game. All the player wagers are accumulated in a remuneration pool. With eight participating players, the remuneration pool will be $8x;
      • once the participating players have all wagered, the sets of slot reels of all the participating players in the instance of the game spin in sequence, while being visible to all players;
  • [0139]
    successful results of a reel spin are awarded the following payouts:
    Results Payout
    3 Blue 7 $10000
    3 Red 7 $80
    3 Any 7 $40
    3 Bar3 $30
    3 Bar2 $20
    3 Bar1 $10
    3 Cherry $10
    3 Any Bar $5
    Any 2 Cherry $5
    Any 1 Cherry $2
      • the payouts corresponding to all successful results are accumulated in a prize pool. If there is only one participating player with a successful result, that player wins 50% of the prize pool, while the balance is divided equally between the remaining participating players. If there are two participating players with successful results, those players each win 35% of the prize pool, while the remaining 30% of the pool is divided equally between the remaining participating players. If there are three or more participating players with successful results, the prize pool is divided equally between the winning players only;
      • the remuneration pool is paid over to an operator of the multiplayer gaming apparatus in order to fund the payouts won by the participating players.
  • [0142]
    7. “Community Slot—50 Pooled” Variation
      • a flow diagram outlining the steps of this variation of the multiplayer game is outlined in FIG. 11;
      • each player wagers a same amount, say $x, on a turn of the multiplayer game. All the player wagers are accumulated in a remuneration pool. With eight participating players, the remuneration pool will be $8x;
      • once the participating players have all wagered, the sets of slot reels of all the participating players in the instance of the game spin in sequence, while being visible to all players;
  • [0146]
    successful results of a reel spin are awarded the following payouts:
    Result Payout
    3 Blue 7 $10000
    3 Red 7 $80
    3 Any 7 $40
    3 Bar3 $30
    3 Bar2 $20
    3 Bar1 $10
    3 Cherry $10
    3 Any Bar $5
    Any 2 Cherry $5
    Any 1 Cherry $2
      • half the payout attributable to a successful result is awarded to the corresponding participating player, while the balance is accumulated in a prize pool, which is divided equally among all the participating players;
      • the remuneration pool is paid over to an operator of the multiplayer gaming apparatus in order to fund the payouts won by the participating players.
  • [0149]
    8. “Best of 5” Variation
      • a flow diagram outlining the steps of this variation of the multiplayer game is outlined in FIG. 12;
      • each player wagers a same amount, say $x, on a turn of the multiplayer game. All the player wagers are accumulated in a pot. With eight participating players, the pot will be $8x;
      • once the participating players have all wagered, the sets of slot reels of all the participating players in the instance of the game spin in sequence, while being visible to all players;
  • [0153]
    successful results of a reel spin are awarded the following point values:
    Result Points
    3 Blue 7 1000
    3 Red 7 80
    3 Any 7 40
    3 Bar3 30
    3 Bar2 20
    3 Bar1 10
    3 Cherry 10
    3 Any Bar 5
    Any 2 Cherry 5
    Any 1 Cherry 2
      • each participating player is entitled to five turns of the single-player slots game;
      • a player accumulates points corresponding to all successful results obtained during the five turns of the single-player slots game;
      • when each participating player has completed their respective five turns, the player with the highest accumulated points value wins the pot;
      • if there are two or more participating players with the same highest accumulated points value, the outcome of the turn of the multiplayer game is a tie;
      • in the event of a tie, the pot is shared equally between the players with the highest accumulated points values.
  • [0159]
    9. “Chicken” Variation
      • a flow diagram outlining the steps of this variation of the multiplayer game is outlined in FIG. 13;
      • each player wagers a same amount, say $x, on a turn of the multiplayer game. All the player wagers are accumulated in a pot. With eight participating players, the pot will be $8x;
      • each participating player is entitled to three turns of the single-player slots game, which make up a single turn of the multiplayer game;
      • once the participating players have all wagered, the sets of slot reels of all the participating players spin simultaneously in the first turn of the single-player game, while not being visible to all players;
  • [0164]
    successful results of a reel spin are awarded the following points values:
    Result Points
    3 Blue 7 1000
    3 Red 7 80
    3 Any 7 40
    3 Bar3 30
    3 Bar2 20
    3 Bar1 10
    3 Cherry 10
    3 Any Bar 5
    Any 2 Cherry 5
    Any 1 Cherry 2
      • in the second turn of the single-player game, each player is required to take one of three actions, namely to “Quit”, or to “Bet”, as follows:
        • “Quit”—the participating player withdraws from the game and forfeits his prior wager;
        • “Bet”—the participating player survives and makes an additional wager of $1.50, and re-spins his reel set;
      • in the third turn of the single-player game, each player who has not previously Quit is again required to Quit or to Bet, as described above;
      • the surviving player with a highest-ranking successful result wins the pot;
      • if there are two or more surviving players with the same highest-ranking successful results, the outcome of the turn of the multiplayer game is a tie;
      • in the event of a tie, the pot is shared equally between surviving players with the same highest-ranking successful result.
  • [0172]
    10. “Free Spins” Variation
      • each reel of the single-player slots game contains an indicium referred to as a “free spins” symbol (not shown);
      • when this indicium occurs in a result of a player's turn of the multiplayer slots game, the result is deemed to be a bonus result and the player is permitted to enter the next turn of the multiplayer game free of charge, without the necessity of first placing a wager. Alternatively, that participating player's wager on the next turn of the multiplayer game is funded by the operator of the multiplayer gaming apparatus.
  • [0175]
    The wagers placed by the players participating in the multiplayer slots game are made with credit purchased by such players prior to their participation in the game. For this purpose, each online casino (3 a, 3 b) includes credit-dispensing means (not shown) capable of dispensing credit to any player who wishes to participate in the game. The player may purchase credit by means of conventional credit or debit card payment facilities that are well known in the art and which will not be described here in detail. Whenever a player purchases credit from the credit-dispensing means, the corresponding online casino (3 a, 3 b) credits that player's credit account with an amount equivalent to the quantity of credit purchased by the player.
  • [0176]
    The above embodiment of the invention does not provide any compensation for an operator of the multiplayer gaming system (1) who provides the participating players with a facility to play the multiplayer slots game, or for the online casino websites (3 a, 3 b) that make their players available to the gaming server (2) for establishment of the multiplayer slots game. In a variation of the above embodiment, the application web server (12) withholds a portion of the pot or, alternatively, a fixed amount, on each turn of the multiplayer slots game as a rake for the benefit of the operator of the gaming server (2) and the online casino websites (3 a, 3 b). A portion of the rake is credited to the clearing account of each online casino (3 a, 3 b) as a function of the proportion of players participating in the instance of the multiplayer game through that particular casino website. In this variation of the embodiment, the clearing account of the casino (3 a, 3 b) associated with the player who has made a successful wager on the turn of the game is credited with an amount equivalent to the total of all the wagers inclusive of the successful wager, less the amount of the rake. Analogously, the credit account of the player who has made the successful wager is credited by an amount equivalent to the total of all the wagers inclusive of the successful wager, less the rake.
  • [0177]
    It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the above embodiments permits implementation of a multiplayer game out of separate instances of a traditionally single-player game played by each one of a plurality of players. This is achieved by combining an adjudication process together with the separate instances of the single-player game that provides for the determination of a winner, or joint winners, of the multiplayer game as a function of the individual outcomes of the multiple separate instances of the single-player game.
  • [0178]
    The resulting multiplayer game is an exciting one that can cause emotions of the participating players to swing widely. For example, when a player obtains a high-ranking successful outcome during a turn of the multiplayer game, his desire is that all subsequent players obtain unsuccessful or lower-ranking outcomes that will not affect that player's chance of winning the turn of the multiplayer game. If, on the other hand, a subsequent participating player obtains a better outcome, then the preceding player's desire will change to one that another player will obtain a matching result, thereby resulting in a carryover that will provide the first player with another chance of winning the turn of the multiplayer game.
  • [0179]
    It will be further appreciated that such an arrangement where players from several online casino websites (3 a, 3 b) are pooled for the purpose of establishing a multiplayer game requires the use of a clearing account facility to manage and process the flow of credit between the various online casinos from which the pool of players are drawn.
  • [0180]
    Numerous modifications are possible to this embodiment. Foremost, the single-player game on which the multiplayer game is based may be a different game, such as video poker, for example, or roulette. The single-player game of video poker has a hierarchy of successful outcomes and may be used in place of video slots without any substantial changes to the rules of the multiplayer game described above. Every participating player starts an instance of the single-player video poker game with an identical hand and each player is required to decide which cards to hold in his own hand. Roulette is different in that there is no hierarchy of outcomes but can, nevertheless, be used as the underlying single-player game by providing each participating player with a same initial stake, and selecting the winner of the multiplayer game to be the player who registers the greatest increase, or smallest loss, of initial stake in a turn of the game of roulette. Each player views the outcomes of the other instances of the single-player game that the player is grouped with.
  • [0181]
    Further, other variations to the rules of the multiplayer game are possible, other than those described above. For example, the “Community Slot” variation can be altered to provide that the payouts corresponding to the three highest-ranking successful results are divided equally among all the participating players, instead of only the maximum payout. Additionally, the “Best of 5” variation may be modified to provide that a winner of a turn of the multiplayer slots game is not the player with a highest accumulated points value over five turns of the single-player slots game, but rather the winner who obtains a highest-ranking successful result in any of the five turns of the single-player slots game. Finally, the “Chicken” variation may be modified to provide a player with three choices in the second and third turns of the single-player game, namely Quit, Bet and Raise. Under the Bet option, the participating player survives by making an additional wager of $1.50, but does not re-spin his reel set. In the Raise option, the participating player survives by making an additional wager of $3.00 and is entitled to re-spin his reel set.
  • [0182]
    Still further, the multiplayer gaming system (1) need not be an on-line embodiment as described above, but may, for example, be an embodiment suitable for deployment in a land-based establishment such as a casino. In this instance, the multiplayer gaming system (1) may be deployed as a bank of adjacent player stations, such as in the form of video terminals, each linked to the administration facility (12) by means of a local area network.
  • [0183]
    Yet further, it is also possible to determine the winner or winners of a turn of the multiplayer game in a different manner to that described above. For instance, the gaming server (2) generates a first random number between 1 and 8, which represents a number of winners of the turn of the multiplayer game. This is followed by a random selection from among the participating players, of a group of players equal in number to the first random number generated by the gaming server (2). This group of participating players constitutes the individuals who are the winners of the particular turn of the game. Although this method of selecting a winner or winners of the turn of the game is not based strictly on the results of separate instances of a game of video slots, the user interface and simulation presented to the participating players may still be in the form of a video slots game as described above. For variations of the multiplayer game that involve carryovers, the gaming server (2) can generate a second random number which represents the number of ties in the particular turn of the multiplayer game that will occur in the simulations of the participating players. As an alternative, the winner or winners may be determined by reversing the above procedure, namely by first randomly selecting the number of ties and then randomly selecting the number of winners in each turn of the multiplayer game.
  • [0184]
    It is not necessary or essential that the gaming server (2) maintain a waiting list of would-be players from which players are admitted to vacant playing positions in existing instances of the multiplayer game, and according to which new instances of the multiplayer game are spawned when all existing instances are fully occupied. As an alternative, a desired number of instances of the game may be spawned ab initio, with players able to enter and leave any instance of the multiplayer game at will, thereby dispensing with the waiting list altogether. It is also not necessary for separate sparsely-populated instances of the multiplayer game to be collapsed to consolidate participating players in these instances of the game into a single more densely-populated instance of the multiplayer game. Sparsely populated instances of the multiplayer game function as effectively as fully populated ones. The online casino websites (3 a, 3 b) need not offer the players other casino games for play.
  • [0185]
    Additionally, each spawned instance of the multiplayer game, or slots room, may be uniquely named, with naming rights being awarded to participating players who are deemed to be high rollers, thus increasing the attractiveness of the system (1) to prospective players. A high roller may also rent one or more slots rooms from an operator of the multiplayer gaming system (1), with revenue arising from the slots rooms being shared between the operator and the high roller. This mode of operation provides an incentive to the high roller to promote his slots rooms and to create virtual slots communities in order to maximise revenue therefrom.
  • [0186]
    It is also possible for the highest-ranking outcome of the single-player game to be linked to a payout that is a progressive jackpot, incremented by a proportion of each player wager.
  • [0187]
    Still further, the functions of the gaming server (2) and the application web server (12) may be consolidated and performed by a single processor. The application web server (12) can be arranged to monitor the individual credit account balances of the participating players at the online casino websites (3 a and 3 b) and to cause the gaming server (2) to terminate participation in the game of any player whose credit account balance drops below a predetermined minimum threshold. Yet further, the administration facility may also require each clearing account associated with an on-line casino website to exceed a prescribed minimum balance at all times, and for the administration facility (12) to terminate participation in the game of all players who have accessed the game through an online casino website whose associated account balance falls below the prescribed minimum balance. Yet further, the credit dispensing means (not shown) may be a centralized credit dispensing means, instead of a distributed one available through each online casino website (3 a, 3 b). Finally, a portal need not be an online casino website where a variety of different games are offered to a player, but rather a slots room where multiplayer slots is the only game available to would-be players.
  • [0188]
    The embodiment disclosed above enables implementation of multiplayer games, such as those mentioned above, which are based on traditionally single-player games, drawing and pooling players from different, possibly competing, entities such as online casinos or other groups such as sports betting organizations and the like. The illustrated embodiment performs dynamic load management by spawning new instances of the multiplayer game and collapsing and merging sparsely populated instances of the game to accommodate changing levels of player demand.
  • [0189]
    The above embodiment therefore provides a novel apparatus and method for establishing and conducting the progress of a multiplayer game that is based on multiple instances of a traditionally single-player game played by each one of a plurality of players.
  • [0190]
    Examples, Including Examples without Grouping of Instances into a Multiplayer Game
  • [0191]
    FIG. 14 is a screen shot displayed on the display (400) of a gaming workstation (4) when they have logged into a casino website (3)(FIG. 1). The display shows two tabs (402) and (404). The tab (402) contains a listing of virtual card tables. When the user clicks on tab (402) the display changes to display a list of virtual card tables currently active and one can select table wherein the player can join other players at a virtual card table and play a single-player game in the form of the Black Jack, also known as Twenty One.
  • [0192]
    Tab (404) has been selected in FIG. 14. Tab (404) contains a listing of the names of banks of video slots wherein multiple players are grouped together and play video slots. Each bank of slots (406) has it own name and statistics, such as chip size (minimum wager), number of current players in the bank, and whether any players are waiting to join the bank. In the example of FIG. 14, there are twelve available banks of slots (406) displayed, each one displayed on a separate line. Each bank consists of a virtual grouping of instances of play occurring on up to eight different workstations. In other words, each workstation plays a separate instance of a video slots game, but all the players are grouped together such that each player views the action occurring on each of the other instances in the group (up to eight in this example). The action of the players can be grouped together such that the outcomes are combined into a multiplayer game as described above. Alternatively, the players can simply play their own slot machine and not have their play grouped with others to play a multiplayer game; however, the reels of the other players are presented anyhow to simulate a casino experience.
  • [0193]
    The STANDARD, COMMUNITY and POT fields in the left hand side of the display denote different categories of games that are available for play. The STANDARD field contains three flavours of a slot game, namely Double Magic, Fantastic 7s, and High 5, all of which are played as a single player game, but in which each workstation displays the play of other independent instances of the single player game by other players at other workstations, as explained herein. The COMMUNITY category has the same three flavours of the slot game, but the independent instances of the single player game are combined, displayed and played as multiplayer games according to the “Community Slot” variation described above. The POT category has the same three flavours of the slot game, played as multiplayer games according to the “Pot Slot” variation described above.
  • [0194]
    In the present example of FIG. 14, the player has placed their cursor over the slot bank (408) given the title “Tom Keane.” The upper right potion of the display (410) shows the aliases of the five players that are currently playing in the “Tom Keane” slot bank. Each player is operating a separate computer gaming workstation. The players need not all be registered with the same casino web site. In particular, they could be registered via any casino web site that communicates with the central gaming server (2) and can be logically grouped by the central gaming server into players playing at a given slot bank.
  • [0195]
    The icons in the lower portion of the display (412) include a LOGIN icon (414) by which a user may register their workstation with the central gaming server so as to be able to play. The GO TO TABLE ICON (416) when activated, allows a registered user to join the play in the selected slot bank. The WAITING LIST icon (418), when activated, places the user on the waiting list to join a selected slot bank.
  • [0196]
    Consider the situation where the user selects the BONNIE slot bank of FIG. 14 with their cursor and activates the GO TO TABLE ICON (416). FIG. 15 shows the resulting display. As shown in FIG. 15, the display (400) includes a display of eight total slot machine reels (420). Six of them are shown as being “greyed out”, meaning that they are currently not being used. There are two slot machines that are currently active, the reels (422) in the bottom row, center column of the display (the slot machine for the subject player using the workstation), and the reels (424) in the middle row on the right, which depicts the outcome of play in a separate instance of the single-player game. Reels (424) represents action occurring on a separate workstation. The display of action in reels (424) is for presentation purposes only and the player operating the instant workstation does not wager on the outcome of play on the reels (424). Alternatively, the play at reels (424) and (424) could be combined into an instance of a multiplayer game as explained in detail previously in conjunction with FIGS. 5-13.
  • [0197]
    Each active slot machine reels set has the player's name (or screen name) appearing next to the reels. The reels 422 of the present player includes the player's screen name (“Swimmer12”). The other active player has a screen name of “LadieLuck”. Adjacent to their name is a number which indicates the balance of the player's credit account, which is debited by the amount of any wager that the player makes, and credited by the amount of any payout that the player receives. LadieLuck has a current credit balance of 880 units.
  • [0198]
    The icons at the bottom of the screen provide several functions.
  • [0199]
    The autoplay icon (430) indicates that the game will automatically spin the slot machine reel after each play without requiring specific user action. This feature speeds up the action.
  • [0200]
    The icons (432) collectively illustrate the paytable for the game, i.e., the payout that occurs if any one of the reels (or more than one reel) has the illustrated winning icon, such as HIGH 5, 7, BAR 7, etc.
  • [0201]
    The icons (434) constitute gaming controls whereby one can adjust the size of the wager. The SPIN icon (436), when activated, allows the player to manually control the spin of their slot machine. The STAND UP icon (438), when activated, allows the player to leave the slot bank, whereupon their screen reverts to a home page of the casino they are currently registered with, and their account is updated to reflect their winnings or losses.
  • [0202]
    As each player in the slot machine bank plays, the central server (2) sends update datagrams indicating the outcome of play, i.e., of each spin of the slot machine. This is true not only for the instance of the game being engaged in via the workstation (the action reflected in slot machine reel (422)); but also for the reels of the other player(s) currently active in the video slots bank. Thus, in the example of FIG. 15, the central gaming server sends data to the workstation comprising the outcome of a second instance of the single-player game (the result of play of reels (424), played by LadieLuck), the second instance being an instance of play of the single-player game being engaged in substantially simultaneously via a second workstation (workstation used by LadieLuck). Consequently, as play progresses, the workstation may simultaneously display on its display the outcomes of play of the instances of the single-player game being engaged in by both the instant workstation and the other workstations, as indicated in FIG. 15.
  • [0203]
    In a preferred embodiment, LadieLuck's workstation also displays her own gaming action as well as the gaming action of Swimmer12's workstation. In other words, all players in the given video slots bank view the results of play of their own instance of the game, as well as the results of play of all the other instances of the single-player game in the grouping of workstations forming the video slots bank. Thus, all the players enjoy the same casino-like experience of watching all the play occurring in the video slots bank. To achieve this result, the server process executing in the central gaming server (2) sends datagrams containing the results of play of all the instances of single-player games in the group of workstations, and the local client applications resident on the workstations use such results in the datagram to present virtual slot machine reels on the display of the workstation displaying the results.
  • [0204]
    FIG. 15 shows another feature of this embodiment—a running text listing of the results of play. The display includes a window (450) wherein the results of each spin of a currently active slot machine are displayed. In the illustrated embodiment, the display is in a scrolling text form, but other formats are possible. As will be appreciated from the preceding discussion, the central gaming server (or the application web server) determines the results of each turn of all the currently active instances of single-player games. The players (instances) are grouped into slot banks, and a list is maintained at the server (2) of each player (instance) active at each slot bank. It is therefore a simple matter to construct a datagram that consists of the outcomes of play each time a player in the group presses SPIN (or uses the autoplay function to play again) and a new outcome of the instance of the game is determined. When that happens, datagrams reflecting the new outcome of play are sent to all the workstations in the slot bank. The datagrams include the text file with the updated text for display in the window (450). The datagrams are interpreted by the client application running locally on the workstation and the result of play is translated into a graphical display of a virtual slot machine (reel (424) showing the outcome (464) (e.g., Space, Space, Space in the case of reels (424)). The text file is presented in the window (450).
  • [0205]
    FIG. 15 further illustrates a chat or instant messaging feature that is provided in the display. Any time a player wishes to send a comment or message to the other players in their slot bank, they move their cursor to a text dialog box (462) and click, and type in a message and then hit <ENTER>. The client application encapsulates the comment in a datagram and then transmits the datagram to the central gaming server. The central gaming server inserts the comment into the scrolling text file that contains the results of play. The datagram with the scrolling text file is transmitted to all the workstations in the slots bank. The local client application displays the text file (including the instant message) in the text listing window (450). For example, Swimmer12 entered the comment “Nice Play!” (464). Of course, instant messages could be displayed in another format or in another window, such as a window directed solely to instant messages, if desired.
  • [0206]
    To further simulate a casino environment, in addition to seeing the play of the other slot machines and provide a facility for chatting back and forth, the illustrated embodiment further may optionally provide for sound effects. In particular, the server process transmits data to the workstations associated with sound effects that are intended to be played on the workstation. The sound effects can consist of sound files, such as .wav files (or some other compressed or uncompressed sound file format, the details of which are not important), or as one or more bits or flags that indicate which of previously stored available sound effects files should be played on the workstation. In the latter example, at some prior point in time the workstation will have downloaded a set of sound files and stored them locally on the hard disk memory of the workstation. Then, when a given flag is received, the gaming application executing on the workstation will select a specific audio file from the set and have it played by a media application present on the workstation.
  • [0207]
    There are a variety of possible sound effects that can be provided to the workstations. These include sound simulating casino background noise (e.g., faint music, talking, game sounds, etc.,) which could be recorded from an actual casino. Another sound could be sound simulating operation of a gaming machine, such as spinning or other machine sounds that are made by a typical slot machine in a land-based casino, or the sound of a roulette wheel spinning, etc. As a further example, the sound could consist of background sounds associated with the play of the games, such as the sounds of cards hitting a table, sounds of game play occurring at adjacent tables or of other players speaking at the same table or a distant table, e.g., “raise”, “hit me”, “fold”. As a further example, the sound could simulate a voice reaction related to an outcome of the play of the single-player game being engaged in at one of the other workstations. For example, if a player won at slots, the central server could send a datagram containing celebratory sounds, hooting and hollering, cheers, etc. The voice reaction could be commensurate with the amount of the win, for example. The vocal sound effects could be in either male or female voice, depending on the sex of the player that won.
  • [0208]
    Considering the total cumulative effect of the sound effects, the instant messaging feature, and the visual display of multiple player's gaming activity simultaneous with the player's own game playing, the total gaming experience provided in this disclosure is significantly enhanced.
  • [0209]
    FIG. 16 is a screen shot of games occurring in the video slot banks, wherein two additional players have joined the slot bank of FIG. 15 and there are now four players which are currently active. Each player's slot machine reel is lit up and their screen name is presented immediately above the slot machine reels—Swimmer 12, Patty 66, Ganbade, and GailM. The display on the workstation shows not only the player's own slot machine game instance 422 (located in the bottom right of the game area of the display), but also simultaneously a display of the outcome of second, third and fourth instances of the single-player game occurring on the three other gaming workstations, as indicated by the reels (470), (472) and (474). As before, the window (450) on the right hand side of the display shows the results of each instance of the single-player game, e.g., in a scrolling text format.
  • [0210]
    Note further that when any of the players has a winning event, that event is shown superimposed over that player's reel. For example GailM (reel (470)) won 60 units. When the central gaming server sent the datagram to the instant workstation to show this result, the datagram may have also included a bit that prompts the local application program to execute a .wav file for celebratory cheers since there was a winner. The win is also reflected on the scrolling game results display at (476).
  • [0211]
    As noted above, the above concepts of display of multiple instances of single-player games can be extended to other single-player games. FIG. 17 is an illustration of a screen shot showing multiple instances of a single-player game in the form of Roulette being displayed on a gaming workstation. Each instance is shown by a separate Roulette wheel (500), with wheel 502 being the wheel for the play on the instant workstation. When one of the wheels has a winning event, the central server can include data to reflect the winning event, such as superimposing the size of the win (an example of which is shown in FIG. 16), or, in this instance, causing the winning roulette wheel (500A) to flash. In the example of FIG. 17, each instance of Roulette takes the form of a separate wheel. In a less preferred embodiment, it is possible to combine each separate instance of play of Roulette into a single wheel and to “spin the wheel” (determine the outcome) when all bets are placed. The embodiment of separate wheels as shown in FIG. 17 would allow the game to proceed at each player's own pace without waiting. As in the case of the other embodiment of FIG. 15, this example includes the chat/instant message box (462) and the scrolling results display window (450).
  • [0212]
    FIG. 18 is an illustration of a screen shot showing multiple instances of a single-player card game in the form of Twenty One being displayed on a gaming workstation. In the example of FIG. 18, there are a total of six play positions (602), (604), (606), (608), (610) and (612) at the virtual card table 600. The positions correspond to the gaming activity of, from left to right, player 1, player 2, the instant player using the workstation in the Figure, and player 3, player 4 and player 5, respectively. Each player is dealt virtual cards (620) and plays against the dealer according to the rules of the game. The display includes control icons (432), the running results display window (450) and the chat/instant message entry box (462).
  • [0213]
    In this embodiment, the workstation also displays other instances of single-player games being played on other virtual card tables. These card tables are shown at (630). The display also shows multiple instances of other types of single-player games, including slots being played in a slot bank (632), and roulette (634). Such play occurs substantially simultaneously on other workstations at the same time the player is playing Twenty One on the virtual card table (600). The screen preferably provides icons (such as the names of the slot bank, virtual table, or roulette wheel), by which the player can toggle over to get details on the play in the other card tables and join the play.
  • [0214]
    The inclusion of a variety of different types of single-player games, along with pertinent background sounds, machine sounds, game play sounds, voice reactions to wins, etc., further simulates the casino environment and generates player interest. The simultaneous display of outcome of play in the other types of single-player games may stimulate the player to experiment and play other types of games. For example, if one of the slot machines in the slot machine bank (632) gets “hot”, the player may exit from the Twenty One table and proceed to the slot machine bank (632) and start playing slots.
  • [0215]
    The display of FIG. 18 may further include icons for hiding one or more of the other instances of single-player games in the event that the player finds them of no interest or a distraction.
  • [0216]
    FIG. 19 is an illustration of a datagram (700) generated by the central gaming server (2) of FIG. 1 and sent to a workstation to facilitate the display of outcomes from multiple instances of single-player games. The datagram includes a field (702) for headers (such as network address headers, UDP, TCP/IP headers, etc.) related to network transmission functionality and identifying the type or content of the datagram. The datagram further includes a field (704) results for the instance of play associated with the workstation which is receiving the datagram (Swimmer12's workstation in the example of FIG. 15). The results in field (704), e.g., data indicating that the turn of the game produced a Space, Bar and a Cherry, are passed to the local client application executing on the workstation which then causes the GUI to display the results, as explained above.
  • [0217]
    The datagram further includes the field (706) for results of play of a second player's workstation. Such information is displayed on the display of the workstation, e.g., in the example of LadieLuck's slot machine reels in FIG. 16. Additional fields (708) are provided as necessary for containing the results of play of other instances of the single-player game that are presented on the display.
  • [0218]
    Field (710) contains a .wav file that indicates sound effects to be played on the workstation.
  • [0219]
    Field (712) contains a text file containing the content of the scroll field in FIGS. 15-18.
  • [0220]
    Field (714) is used for other data, if necessary.
  • [0221]
    FIG. 20 is an illustration of another form of the datagram of FIG. 19, showing an alternative form of transmitting sound effect data. Whereas in FIG. 19 individual .wav files were sent for play locally, the embodiment of FIG. 20 includes a field (710) wherein a bit or flag is set indicating which of previously stored sound files should be provided to the media player application for presentation on the workstation. More than one bit or flag could be set, indicating that more than one type of sound effect is intended to be generated. For example, the bits may dictate that the media application is prompted to play both the casino sound effects sound file plus a celebratory sound file due to data in the field (706) indicating that that game instance had a winning result.
  • [0222]
    From the above discussion, it will be appreciated that a method of facilitating play of a single-player game on a workstation having a display has been described. The method comprises the steps of:
  • [0223]
    (a) sending data (e.g., via the datagram of FIG. 19 or 20) from a central server (2) to the workstation (4) comprising the outcome of a first instance of a single-player game, the first instance comprising an instance of play of the single-player game being engaged in via the workstation (4)(e.g. the results shown in reel 422 of FIG. 16); and
  • [0224]
    (b) sending data (e.g. via the datagram of FIG. 19 or 20) from the central server (2) to the workstation comprising the outcome of a second instance of the single-player game, the second instance being an instance of play of the single-player game being engaged in via a second workstation other than the first workstation (e.g., the results shown in LadieLuck's reel (424) in FIG. 15);
  • [0225]
    whereby the workstation (4) may simultaneously display on its display the outcomes of play of the instances of the single-player game being engaged in by both the workstation and the second workstation (e.g., as shown in FIGS. 15-18).
  • [0226]
    In the illustrated embodiment, first workstation and the second workstation comprise computing devices connected to the central server over a computer network, as shown in FIG. 1. However, in other embodiments the workstations could comprise video gaming terminals at a site such as a land-based casino, and the central gaming server could supply data to the workstations over a local area network.
  • [0227]
    In the illustrated embodiments, the first and second instances of the single-player game occur substantially simultaneously, albeit on different workstations. The workstations are in communication with the central gaming server (2) and the results of play are determined by the central gaming server.
  • [0228]
    While FIG. 15 shows an example of a workstation GUI showing the outcomes of two instances of play, the method can be extended to additional instances, in which case the method further comprises the step of sending data from the central server to the workstation comprising the outcome of a third instance of the single-player game, the third instance being an instance of play of the single-player game being engaged in by a third workstation other than the first workstation and the second workstation whereby the workstation may display the outcomes of the first, second and third instances of the single-player game. For example, as shown in FIG. 16, the central server sends a datagram to the workstation including the results of play of third and fourth instances of single-player games (video slots), and such results are displayed on the workstation.
  • [0229]
    As noted above, the first and second workstations can be grouped into a virtual game room (e.g., slots bank, roulette bank, card table, etc.) where the single-player game is played. In such embodiment, datagrams representing the outcome of the play occurring on the workstation and the second (or further) workstations are transmitted to all of the workstations. Such workstations may display substantially simultaneously the outcome of play of all the instances of the single-player game being grouped in the virtual game room.
  • [0230]
    As explained in conjunction with FIGS. 5-13, the first and second instances of the single-player game can be combined into a multiplayer game composed, at least in part, of the outcomes of the first and second instances of the single-player game. As explained in conjunction with FIGS. 14-16, this is not necessary in other embodiments. The display of other instances of the single-player game is preferably provided for display purposes only to simulate a casino experience. In the situation where the players are grouped into a multiplayer game based on multiple instances of a single-player game, the display of the other instances helps the player track the results of play and fully participate in the multiplayer game.
  • [0231]
    In the preferred embodiments, the first and second instances of play occur substantially simultaneously, and the method further comprises the step of sending data comprising the outcome of the first and second instances of the single-player game to the second workstation, whereby both the workstation and the second workstation may both display the results of play of the instances of the single-player game occurring on both the workstation and the second workstation.
  • [0232]
    Gaming Server Embodiment
  • [0233]
    In the illustrated embodiments, a central server (2) is provided for facilitating play of a single-player game on a workstation (4). The server (2) includes a processor and a software process coded as a set of instructions for execution by the processor. The software process has been described herein in terms of the functions performed by the gaming server. In particular, the gaming server performs the following functions:
  • [0234]
    (a) sending data to the workstation (4) comprising the outcome of a first instance of a single-player game, the first instance comprising an instance of play of the single-player game being engaged in via the workstation (see FIG. 15, reel (422));
  • [0235]
    (b) sending data to the workstation comprising the outcome of a second instance of the single-player game (FIG. 15, reel (424)), the second instance being an instance of play being engaged in via a second workstation other than the first workstation;
  • [0236]
    whereby the workstation (4) may simultaneously display the results of play of the instances of the single-player game being engaged in by the workstation and the second workstation.
  • [0237]
    The term “central gaming server” is intended to be broadly construed as any computing platform that is in communication with workstations (either directly or indirectly), which functions to send data to workstations providing the outcomes of single-player games for the purpose of facilitating the workstations to generate appropriate displays. The central gaming server may incorporate functionality of an administrative server performing account clearing functions, or other functions, such as a web page server, registration functions, authorization functions, random event generation for determining outcomes of games, etc.
  • [0238]
    Gaming Workstation
  • [0239]
    In a still further aspect, a gaming workstation (4) has been described comprising:
  • [0240]
    1) a display (5)(FIG. 1):
  • [0241]
    2) a processing unit (not shown, conventional CPU); and
  • [0242]
    3) a memory (e.g., hard disk) storing a gaming application (e.g., client application disclosed herein) for execution by the processing unit. The gaming application causes the display to display a) the outcome of a play of a first instance of a single-player game being engaged in by the gaming workstation; and b) simultaneously with the display a), the outcome of play of a second instance of the single-player game being engaged in by a second workstation, as shown in FIGS. 15-18.
  • [0243]
    The gaming workstation further comprises 4) a communications interface for receiving datagrams from a central server (2) containing data indicating the outcome of play of the first and second instances of the single-player game. The communications interface in one embodiment comprises an Internet connection and the gaming workstation comprises a general purpose computing device. In another embodiment, the communications interface comprises a local area network connection and wherein the gaming workstation comprises a video gaming terminal.
  • [0244]
    While a number of exemplary aspects and embodiments have been discussed above, those of skill in the art will recognize certain modifications, permutations, additions and sub-combinations thereof. It is therefore intended that the following appended claims and claims hereafter introduced are interpreted to include all such modifications, permutations, additions and sub-combinations as are within their true spirit and scope.
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Classifications
U.S. Classification463/42
International ClassificationA63F9/24, G06F
European ClassificationG07F17/32D
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Oct 7, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: WATERLEAF LIMITED, GREAT BRITAIN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:MOSHAL, MARTIN;REEL/FRAME:017074/0765
Effective date: 20050921
Nov 21, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: WATERLEAF LIMITED, GREAT BRITAIN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:MOSHAL, MARTIN;REEL/FRAME:017245/0075
Effective date: 20050921