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Publication numberUS20060205491 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/354,492
Publication dateSep 14, 2006
Filing dateFeb 15, 2006
Priority dateFeb 25, 2005
Publication number11354492, 354492, US 2006/0205491 A1, US 2006/205491 A1, US 20060205491 A1, US 20060205491A1, US 2006205491 A1, US 2006205491A1, US-A1-20060205491, US-A1-2006205491, US2006/0205491A1, US2006/205491A1, US20060205491 A1, US20060205491A1, US2006205491 A1, US2006205491A1
InventorsKeiran Daley
Original AssigneeKeiran Daley
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Electronic gaming machine and method of playing thereof
US 20060205491 A1
Abstract
A gaming machine is provided comprising: a display; and a game controller arranged to control images of a predetermined set of symbols selectively displayed on the display. The game controller is arranged to play a game wherein symbols from said set of symbols are displayed on the display, the symbols being randomly selected and/or located on the display to display at least one random event, and if a predefined winning event occurs, the gaming machine awards a prize. At least two symbols or combinations of symbols each represent two different predetermined trigger events, the occurrence of which triggers the award of a features prize. The machine further comprises bet apportioning function which operates under the control of a player to allow the player to apportion a total credit bet across two or more possible trigger events. The feature prize associated with the occurrence of a particular trigger event is dependant upon the amount of the credit apportioned to the respective trigger event. A method of playing the gaming machine is also provided comprising; displaying a plurality of trigger events for a game to be played on the gaming machine, providing a player interface via which the player chooses bet amounts to apportion to the displayed trigger events, displaying feature prize values associated with each of the displayed trigger events after the player has apportioned his bet between the displayed trigger events, in response to player initiation displaying a game sequence and a game outcome on the display, and if the game outcome is one of the trigger events awarding the associated feature prize value to the player.
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Claims(33)
1. A gaming machine comprising:
i. a display; and
ii. a game controller arranged to control images of a predetermined set of symbols selectively displayed on the display; the game controller being arranged to play a game wherein symbols from said set of symbols are displayed on the display, the symbols being randomly selected and/or located on the display to display at least one random event, and if a predefined winning event occurs, the gaming machine awards a value;
wherein at least two symbols or combinations of symbols each represent two different predetermined trigger events, the occurrence of which triggers the award of a features prize value, and the machine further comprises bet apportioning means operated under the control of a player to allow the player to apportion a total credit bet across two or more possible trigger events whereby the feature prize value associated with the occurrence of a particular trigger event is dependant upon the amount of the credit apportioned to the respective trigger event.
2. The gaming machine of claim 1, wherein the apportioning means allows a zero bet value to be apportioned to one or more trigger events by the player.
3. The gaming machine of claim 2, wherein the apportioning means allocates a minimum bet value to triggering events that have had a zero bet value allocated by a player.
4. The gaming machine of claim 3, wherein the minimum bet value allocated to a trigger event to which the player has allocated a zero bet value is the same value for each trigger event.
5. The gaming machine of claim 3, wherein the minimum bet value allocated to a trigger event to which the player has allocated a zero bet value is a different value for each trigger event in a game.
6. The gaming machine of claim 5, wherein the minimum bet value allocated to a trigger event to which the player has allocated a zero bet value is a different value for each play of the same game.
7. The gaming machine of claim 6 wherein the minimum bet value allocated to a trigger event to which the player has allocated a zero bet value is allocated randomly by the apportioning means at the start of each game.
8. The gaming machine of claim 1 wherein one of the trigger events is associated with a progressive prize value which increments with each play of the game and is awarded if the trigger event occurs.
9. The gaming machine of claim 8 wherein at least two of the trigger events are associated with two different progressive prize values which are derived from a value or values which are incremented with each play of the game and each of which is awarded if the respective trigger event occurs.
10. The gaming machine of claim 8 wherein a system interface is provided to connect the gaming machine to a link progressive system network, and the progressive prize is accumulated by the link progressive system from contributions from a plurality of gaming machines connected to the system.
11. The gaming machine of claim 1, wherein the game is a primary game in which a plurality of spinning reels are displayed, each of the reels having a plurality of symbols thereon.
12. The gaming machine of claim 11 wherein a plurality of secondary games are provided each of which are associated with a different one of the reels.
13. The gaming machine of claim 12 wherein at least one display device is provided to display the secondary games.
14. The gaming machine of claim 1, wherein the game is a keno, lotto or bingo game in which symbols carrying indicia are randomly selected in sequence to create a winning indicia set.
15. The gaming machine of claim 14, wherein the indicia each comprise a number from a set of numbers.
16. A method of operation for a gaming machine comprising:
i. a display;
ii. a game controller arranged to play a game wherein it controls images on the display, to display at least one random event, and if a predefined winning event occurs, the gaming machine awards a value, wherein at least two possible random events each represent two different predetermined trigger events, the occurrence of which triggers the award of a bonus prize value; and
iii. bet apportioning means operated by the game controller under the control of a player to allow the player to apportion a total credit bet across two or more possible trigger events whereby the feature prize value associated with the occurrence of a particular trigger event is dependant upon the amount of the credit apportioned to the respective trigger event:
the method comprising;
a. displaying a plurality of trigger events for a game to be played on the gaming machine;
b. providing a player interface via which the player chooses bet amounts to apportion to the displayed trigger events;
c. displaying feature prize values associated with each of the displayed trigger events after the player has apportioned his bet between the displayed trigger events;
d. in response to player initiation displaying a game sequence and a game outcome on the display; and
e. if the game outcome is one of the trigger events awarding the associated feature prize value to the player.
17. The method of claim 16, wherein the player interface permits the player to apportion a zero bet value to one or more of the trigger events.
18. The method of claim 17, wherein after the player apportions the bet value, the apportioning means allocates a minimum bet value to triggering events that have had a zero bet value allocated by a player.
19. The method of claim 18, wherein after the player apportions the bet value, the apportioning means allocates the same minimum bet value for each trigger event to which the player has allocated a zero bet value.
20. The method of claim 18, wherein after the player apportions the bet value, the apportioning means allocates a different minimum bet value for each trigger event to which the player has allocated a zero bet value.
21. The method of claim 20, wherein the apportioning means allocates a different minimum bet value to a given trigger event for each play of the same game, if the player apportions a zero bet value to that trigger event.
22. The method of claim 21 wherein the apportioning means randomly allocates a minimum bet value to a given at the start of each game if the player has allocated a zero bet value to that trigger event.
23. The method of claim 16 wherein one of the trigger events is associated with a progressive prize value and the method includes incrementing the prize value with each play of the game and awarding the current prize value if the trigger event occurs.
24. The method of claim 23 wherein at least two of the trigger events are associated with two different progressive prize values and the method includes incrementing a progressive prize register with each play of the game, deriving the two different progressive prize values from the progressive prize register awarding the current prize value of each of the two different progressive prize values if the respective trigger event occurs.
25. The method of claim 23 wherein a system interface is provided to connect the gaming machine to a link progressive system network, and the method includes the link progressive system accumulating the progressive prize from contributions from a plurality of gaming machines connected to the system.
26. The method of claim 16, including displaying a primary game sequence in which a plurality of spinning reels are displayed, each of the reels having a plurality of symbols thereon.
27. The method of claim 26 including awarding one of a plurality of secondary games, each of which are associated with a different one of the reels, if a predetermined triggering event occurs and displaying a game sequence of the awarded secondary game.
28. The method of claim 16, comprising displaying a game sequence of a game selected from keno, lotto or bingo, in which symbols carrying indicia are randomly selected in sequence to create a winning indicia set.
29. The method of claim 28, wherein selecting step comprises selecting a number from a set of numbers.
30. A gaming device comprising:
a primary game;
a plurality of spinning reels in the primary game, each said reels having a plurality of symbols thereon including at least one predetermined trigger event;
a plurality of secondary games which are each associated with a different one of said reels;
at least one display device for displaying the secondary games;
a processor in communication with the reels and for controlling the display device and the secondary games;
wherein, the machine further comprises means to allow a player to apportion a total credit bet across two or more said trigger events.
31. A gaming device of claim 30 wherein, the trigger events, across which the apportioning means allows a player to allocate a portion of an available total bet, include at least two progressive prize triggers.
32. A method of claim 16 wherein the gaming machine includes:
a plurality of spinning reels in the primary game, each said reels having a plurality of symbols thereon including at least one predetermined trigger event;
the method further comprising;
a) before playing the primary game, deciding how much to bet on the primary game;
b) placing a bet on at least two trigger events such that one bet on a first trigger event is a portion of a total available credit bet for a trigger event and another bet on at least a second trigger event is a portion of the total available credit bet for the trigger event;
c) initiating play of the gaming device;
d) in the event that a trigger event occurs, awarding to the player a reward for a trigger event commensurate with the proportion of the total of the available credit bet for a trigger event.
33. A method of claim 32 further comprising:
a) before play of the primary game assigning a zero bet value to one or more trigger events in a multi trigger progressive prize game;
b) allowing a player to decide how much to bet on the primary game, and to place a bet on at least two trigger events such that one bet on a first trigger event is a portion of a total available credit bet for a trigger event and another bet on at least a second trigger event is a portion of the total available credit bet for the trigger event;
c) initiating play of the gaming device;
in the event that a trigger event occurs, awarding to the player a reward for a trigger event commensurate with the proportion of the total of the available credit bet for a trigger event and in the event of a zero bet on one or more triggers, allowing a player to win on a trigger based on the zero bet value assigned for that trigger.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application claims priority from Australian Provisional Patent 2005900855 filed on Feb. 25, 2005, the content of which is incorporated herein by reference.

INTRODUCTION

The present invention relates to electronic gaming machines and more particularly the invention relates to an alternative method of playing a game on such a gaming machine.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

There are already in existence a wide variety of games for use in gaming machines, such as the types commonly referred to as slot machines, fruit machines, poker machines, and keno machines. In order to achieve an edge over competitors, gaming machine producers provide special game features which provide players with novel alternatives. In gaming, it is usually those features associated with jackpots, a perceived or actual increased probability of winning or with other player options which are likely to attract player interest.

An electronic gaming machine display will often include a number of spinning reels which display symbols in numerous lines across the screen. The player can activate multiple lines according to a player wager with the chances of winning increasing according to the lines selected. In addition to the symbols display, the typical electronic machine display will include indicia for the benefit of the player relating to the number of credit units the player has, the amount wagered and periodic instructions which tell the player what the status of play is or what the player is to do next. The player typically does not have control over the jackpots or trigger conditions for feature game play but can wager bets on outcomes.

Within this framework, game providers have sought ways to make games more attractive to the player which ensure that player interest will be maintained and to increase at least the perceived chance of a win.

One mechanism in conventional gaming machines to achieve at least the perceived increased chance of a win involves providing features which award a player a number of bonus games during which prizes may be set at bonus levels.

Conventional gaming machine features may initiate when a trigger is activated. Known game features are activated randomly and the player does not know when the game feature will be available. Therefore in relation to known game features the player has no control over the timing of the feature and a player's luck becomes completely dependent upon the next few spins after the feature is awarded.

There are also some prior art machines or jackpot systems which allow a player the same probability to achieve a jackpot by betting a single bet unit per line as by betting multiple bet units per line. Such machines or systems do not recognise that it is desirable for players to have an increased chance or at least a perception of an increased probability of a win when they increase their bet (or alternatively the prize should increase).

There is also a need to increase the versatility of credit betting by allowing a player an option of apportionment of credits bet to one or more trigger events. In the known games a player may vary a bet during play in the hope of hitting a feature when the bet is high. This may or may not happen but in any case the player will have no control over the initiation of the feature game. Feature play is currently determined by the individual gaming machine or linked gaming machines. The known feature plays are according to current methods triggered by such events which occur as outcomes of machine plays (e.g. reel spins of a spinning reel game). The triggering is random and different features may be triggered by different events (which might be the appearance of a symbol or set of symbols after a reel spin). At present a player is able to lay a total bet on an outcome but cannot wager a portion of the total bet on one trigger and another portion of that same total on another trigger. Also, players may be able to win part or all of the available progressive prize depending upon the credits bet.

There are in existence a wide variety of known gaming machines which include a primary or main game and one or more feature games. The main games typically enable a player to generate one or more symbols using a symbol generator. The traditional symbol generator is a set of reels, where each reel displays a plurality of symbols. If the player reaches a predetermined combination of symbols, the player wins a prize or “value”. In addition, if the player reaches a bonus triggering event, the gaming device may advance the player to a bonus round where the player can accumulate additional values. A traditional bonus triggering event occurs when the player reaches a predetermined combination of symbols on a plurality of reels (or some other predetermined state on a non-reel type game).

The existing primary games provide players with values and bonus triggering events based upon symbols that a player reaches using a symbol generator. A secondary game may also provide the player with values, bonus triggering events or other awards. An award may be a credit, bonus value or the triggering of a bonus round where the player can accumulate additional bonus value or credits.

To increase player enjoyment and excitement, it is desirable to provide players with new game schemes for gaming devices. Progressive Prize Gaming machines are well known in the prior art. These machines offer players a chance to win a progressively increasing prize once a player has reached a predetermined game event during game play.

When this predetermined event occurs, a player can win a value shown on the machine display. The predetermined event might be a predetermined combination of symbols termed the trigger event. According to the prior art when this event occurred the value display was wound back to what was called a start value from which the value would progressively increase until the predetermined trigger event occurred again. This cycle was repeated after each trigger event.

The incrementing process was based on a tax on the amount bet each time the game was played. For instance the machine system might be set to tax or increase by 2.5% of the value of each bet. Thus if a $1 bet was made for a play the value on the dynamic display would increase by 2.5 c. The value would continue to increase at the tax or increment rate until won. The display in the known progressives was never wound back to zero. Rather a reserve or minimum start up value would be assigned to the dynamic display.

When multi line gaming was introduced, progressive game design became more complicated. Progressive games depend upon a number of parameters:

  • 1 a probability of an occurrence of a win event;
  • 2 game denomination (bet value per play);
  • 3 the taxed value of each bet as previously described (the progressive prize increment rate; and
  • 4 the assigned value per win, (for instance, a progressive jackpot might be worth an average of $50,000 per win).

Examples of progressive jackpots are disclosed in various Australian and United States patents which are identified below and incorporated by reference herein.

1. AU 589,158 Frankovic, Boris Random 1986
Fazzolare, John Progressives
2. AU 721,968 Oldfield, Lynne Symbol 1998
Replication
3. AU 748,263 Acres, John F Bonus 1998
Progressive
4. U.S. Pat. No. 5,280,909 Tracy, Dan Mystery 1994
Progressive
5. U.S. Pat. No. 4,964,638 Ishida N Double 1990
Progressive
6. U.S. Pat. No. 5,116,055 Tracy, Dan Buy-in 1992
Progressive
7. U.S. Pat. No. 6,312,332 Walker, Jay S Team-play 2001
Progressive
8. U.S. Pat. No. 5,580,309 Piechowiak R J Bonus Link 1996
gaming
9. U.S. Pat. No. 5,116,055 Tracy, Dan Mixed denom. 1992
Progressive
10. U.S. Pat. No. 5,885,158 Torango L J Multiple 1999
Progressives
11. U.S. Pat. No. 4,837,728 Barrie R P Two-phase 1989
Progressives
12. U.S. Pat. No. 5,645,486 Yuji N Progressive 1997
bonus
13. AU 716,299 Gauselmann M Shared 1997
Progressive
wins
14. U.S. Pat. No. 5,564,700 Celona, A P Proportional 1996
Progressives
15. AU 633,469 Bennett, N Link two-phase 1992
bonus win
16. AU-754,689 Olive, Scott Per cent bet 1998
trigger

Since the design of progressive prize games depends much on the probability factor, the probability is calculated with reference to the parameters 2, 3 and 4 above. In simple terms, the calculation of probability is determined according to the following formula: Desired average win value ( $ ) denomination × increment value

Using specific values as an example the calculation of probability becomes: 50 , 000 0.1 × 0.025

This equals 20,000,000. Thus the game is designed with a 1 chance in 20 million of winning.

Advances in technology of gaming machines resulted in consequential changes in the design of progressive games. A first major advance in technology was the design of multi line gaming which allowed players to simultaneously play more than one line. If a player was able to play 2 lines, both lines were able to result in winning combinations. In very simple terms, this gave the player twice the chance of winning a prize for the one play. The player however, paid double the price for the increased probability, but this was offset by the actual or perceived increase in chance of a win.

In a further development, termed the multiplier, players were able to bet more than one coin or credit on a single play line. ‘Economic balance” was easily preserved in this case by simply multiplying the single coin prize value by the number of coins played. Progressive prize values, however, could not be multiplied in this way. The progressive prize value is as previously described, derived from the increment or ‘tax’ rate on the value of bets made. They differ markedly in this way from other set-value prizes available on slot games. Two solutions were proposed to overcome the inability to multiply progressive prize values.

Australian patent 754,689 (Olive) disclosed a solution to the probability problem that multi-line/multiplier developments had caused. Olive described a progressive prize win trigger, not by reference to symbols as was the normal way, but by a random number trigger. To understand how this solved the problem, the actual problem must be understood.

As an illustrative example, if the probability of winning the progressive prize is 1 in 1 million and the average prize value (comprising the sum of the start up value and the average of the value of increments that will occur before the prize is won) is expected to be $25,000, without any other changes Table 1 shows the win values achievable on a single play line:—

TABLE 1
Coins Bet Chance Win Value per coin bet
1 1: 1M $25,000
2 1: 1M $12,500
3 1: 1M $8,333.33

As seen in Table 1 the return to the player diminishes in proportion to the number of coins bet.

A machine game participating in a progressive prize system is electronically connected to a system that managed the network. The Olive solution to the diminishing win value per coin bet essentially involved setting the system by randomly picking a master number within a set range of numbers. Every time a play was made, the game generated a random number within the same range as the master and the game number was compared to the master—if the two numbers equaled, a win occurred. If they didn't equal, then no win occurred. If a player played 2 coins, the machine generated 2 numbers, each of which was compared to the master. In short, the more coins played for a game, the more chances the player had of winning.

Instead of the results shown in Table 1, Table 2 shows the win values achievable with the Olive regime:—

TABLE 2
Coins Bet Chance Value per coin bet
1 1: 1M $25,000
2 2: 1M $25,000
3 3: 1M $25,000

Thus there are no diminishing returns. The patented method had the added advantage that multi-line play became irrelevant. It solved any commixture of problems caused by the multiplier/multi-line play.

Australian patent 721,968 to IGT solved exactly the same problem by replicating symbols in proportion to the number of coins bet rather than by using random number selections.

Thus patents 754,689 and 721968 both addressed the same problem with entirely different solutions.

In a further development, the prior art also taught the virtual reel which enabled game designers to put hundreds of symbols on to a reel that only had 22 actual symbols. This enabled link progressive games that offered very large prize progressives worth millions of dollars. The prior art also teaches cascading win progressive prizes in varying portions to the player whose game triggers the win and lesser proportions to other players on the same network who qualify to share. Other systems offer more than one progressive prize on a single game. The prior art also teaches a system known as a two phased progressive in which a predefined trigger occurs on games and players are alerted to the approaching prospect of a win occurrence.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An alternative is provided to known gaming systems by providing a gaming system, a gaming machine and method of playing a game which allows a player an option of assigning a portion of a total credit bet to a selected game trigger and assignment to a player of part or all of the available progressive prize. In a preferred form the a Progressive Prize system gaming machine and method is provided that provides a large number of options for players, operators, and game designers that have previously not been available.

Although the embodiments described herein are primarily described with reference to use with slot machines and the like it will be appreciated that the system and methodology described is also applicable to lottery style games such as Keno, Lotto and Bingo. Bet apportioning according to the described method is applicable to both stand alone gaming devices and linked progressive systems involving a potentially unlimited number of linked machines.

In a first inventive aspect, a gaming machine comprises:

i. a display; and

ii. a game controller arranged to control images of a predetermined set of symbols selectively displayed on the display,

the game controller being arranged to play a game wherein symbols from said set of symbols are displayed on the display, the symbols being randomly selected and/or located on the display to display at least one random event, and if a predefined winning event occurs, the gaming machine awards a value,

wherein at least two symbols or combinations of symbols each represent two different predetermined trigger events, the occurrence of which triggers the award of a features prize value, and the machine further comprises bet apportioning means operated under the control of a player to allow the player to apportion a total credit bet across two or more possible trigger events whereby the feature prize value associated with the occurrence of a particular trigger event is dependant upon the amount of the credit apportioned to the respective trigger event.

According to a second inventive aspect, a method of operation of a gaming machine is provided, the gaming machine comprising:

i. a display; and

ii. a game controller arranged to play a game wherein it controls images on the display, to display at least one random event, and if a predefined winning event occurs, the gaming machine awards a value, wherein at least two possible random events each represent two different predetermined trigger events, the occurrence of which triggers the award of a bonus prize value; and

iii. bet apportioning means operated by the game controller under the control of a player to allow the player to apportion a total credit bet across two or more possible trigger events whereby the feature prize value associated with the occurrence of a particular trigger event is dependant upon the amount of the credit apportioned to the respective trigger event,

the method comprising the steps of;

a. displaying a plurality of trigger events for a game to be played on the gaming machine;

b. providing a player interface via which the player chooses bet amounts to apportion to the displayed trigger events;

c. displaying feature prize values associated with each of the displayed trigger events after the player has apportioned his bet between the displayed trigger events;

d. in response to player initiation displaying a game sequence and a game outcome on the display;

e. if the game outcome is one of the trigger events awarding the associated feature prize value to the player.

Preferably the apportioning means allows a zero bet value to be apportioned to one or more trigger events by the player, and in particular the apportioning means preferably allocates a minimum bet value to trigger events that have had a zero bet value allocated by a player. The minimum bet value allocated to a trigger event to which the player has allocated a zero bet value may be the same value or may be a different value for each trigger event in a game. The minimum bet value may also be a different value for each play of the same game, and may be allocated randomly by the apportioning means at the start of each game.

Preferably also the trigger event, or triggering events, are associated with a progressive prize value which increments with each play of the game and is awarded if the trigger event occurs. Two or more trigger events may also be associated with two different progressive prize values which are derived from a value or values which are incremented with each play of the game and each of which is awarded if the respective trigger event occurs.

A gaming system may be implemented by providing a system interface in each gaming machine to connect the gaming machine to a link progressive system network. In such a network, the progressive prize is accumulated by a progressive jackpot controller of the link progressive system from contributions from a plurality of gaming machines connected to the system.

Gaming machines sometimes have secondary games in addition to their primary game. In one embodiment at least one trigger event is associated with a primary game in which a plurality of spinning reels are displayed, each of the reels having a plurality of symbols thereon. The gaming machine may also have a plurality of secondary games are provided each of which are associated with a different one of the reels. In some embodiments at least one display device is provided to display the secondary games. The primary and/or secondary game may also be a keno, lotto or bingo game in which symbols carrying indicia are randomly selected in sequence to create a winning indicia set, in which case the indicia may each comprise a number from a set of numbers.

In a third aspect a gaming device is provided comprising:

a primary game;

a plurality of spinning reels in the primary game, each said reels having a plurality of symbols thereon, the game including at least one predetermined trigger event;

a plurality of secondary games which are each associated with a different one of said reels;

at least one display device for displaying the secondary games;

a processor in communication with the reels and for controlling the display device and the secondary games;

wherein, the machine further comprises means to allow a player to apportion a total credit bet across two or more said trigger events.

In a fourth aspect, a gaming device is provided comprising:

a primary game;

a plurality of spinning reels in the primary game, each said reels having a plurality of symbols thereon, the primary game including at least one predetermined trigger event;

a plurality of secondary games which are each associated with a different one of said reels;

at least one display device for displaying the secondary games;

a processor in communication with the reels and for controlling the display device and the secondary games;

wherein, the machine further comprises means to allow a player to allocate a portion of an available total bet on at least two progressive prize triggers.

According to a preferred embodiment the machine further comprises: dependent on the player choices made in allocating the total game bet to the available triggers, means allowing a player to be able to win part or all of an available progressive prize.

In a fifth aspect, a gaming device is provided comprising:

a primary game;

a plurality of spinning reels in the primary game, each said reels having a plurality of symbols thereon, the primary game including at least one predetermined trigger event;

wherein, the machine further comprises means to allow a player to bet a portion of a total credit bet across two or more said trigger events. According to one embodiment, the trigger event may be indicated by a symbol.

According to one embodiment, the gaming machine further comprises a zero bet option value (ZBOV) wherein a zero bet is optionally allocated by a player to a defined trigger for a game. Preferably, a default value is automatically assigned if a player allocates zero bet units on a defined trigger. The resultant value payable for a win on the base of such a defined trigger is calculated as if the value of the credit units have been bet.

In a sixth aspect, a method of playing a gaming device is provided, the gaming device comprising:

a primary game;

a plurality of spinning reels in the primary game, each said reels having a plurality of symbols thereon, the primary game including at least one predetermined trigger event;

the method comprising the steps of;

a) before playing the primary game, deciding how much to bet on the primary game;

b) placing a bet on at least two trigger events such that one bet on a first trigger event is a portion of a total available credit bet for a trigger event and another bet on at least a second trigger event is a portion of the total available credit bet for the trigger event;

c) initiating play of the gaming device;

d) playing the game until at least one trigger event occurs;

e) awarding to the player a reward for a trigger event commensurate with the proportion of the total of the available credit bet for a trigger event.

According to a seventh aspect, a method of playing a progressive prize game on a gaming device is provided, the gaming device comprising: a primary game;

a plurality of spinning reels in the primary game, each said reels having a plurality of symbols thereon, the primary game including at least one predetermined trigger event;

the method comprising the steps of;

a) before play of the primary game assigning a zero bet value to one or more trigger events in a multi trigger progressive prize game;

b) allowing a player to decide how much to bet on the primary game;

c) placing a bet on at least two trigger events such that one bet on a first trigger event is a portion of a total available credit bet for a trigger event and another bet on at least a second trigger event is a portion of the total available credit bet for the trigger event;

d) initiating play of the gaming device;

e) playing the game until at least one trigger event occurs;

f) awarding to the player a reward for a trigger event commensurate with the proportion of the total of the available credit bet for a trigger event and in the event of a zero bet on one or more triggers, allowing a player to win on a trigger based on the zero bet value assigned for that trigger.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Embodiments of the invention will now be described, by way of example with reference to the drawings in which:

FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of a first style of gaming machine, suitable for use in systems implementing embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 2 shows a detail of gaming machine of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 shows a perspective view of a second style of gaming machine, suitable for use in systems implementing embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 4 shows a block diagram of a control circuit of the gaming machines of FIGS. 1 and 3;

FIG. 5 schematically illustrates an example of a player interface for apportioning credits between trigger events in a gaming machine such as that of FIG. 3 having a touch sensitive screen;

FIG. 6 shows a zero bet option value (0.6) set for the whole link and for each trigger of each game on the link for a gaming device according to one embodiment.

FIG. 7 shows a zero bet option value arrangement as for FIG. 1 with a ZBOV of (1.2) set for the whole link and for each trigger of each game on the link for a gaming device according to one embodiment.

FIG. 8 shows unequal zero bet option value arrangement with different zero bet option values for each trigger (i.e. 0.6, 0.8, 2.4), for a gaming device according to one embodiment.

FIG. 9 shows unequal zero bet option value arrangement with different zero bet option values for each trigger (i.e. 2.4, 0.8, 0.6), for a gaming device according to one embodiment.

FIG. 10 shows an illustration of playing the odds of occurrence of a trigger with the facility available to allocate the total game bet across a number of available defined triggers where betting is heavier on the more frequently occurring defined trigger.

FIG. 11 shows another illustration of playing the odds of occurrence of a trigger with the facility available to allocate the total game bet across a number of available defined triggers where betting is less on the more probable defined trigger.

FIG. 12 shows another illustration of playing the odds of occurrence of a multi trigger arrangement with the facility available to enable the player to elect to try to equalize the possible prize win values given the inter-relating influences of probabilities and ZBOV settings.

FIG. 13 shows another illustration of playing the odds of occurrence of a multi trigger arrangement with the zero bet option value set to zero.

FIG. 14 shows another illustration of a multi trigger arrangement where no ZBOV factor is defined and there is allocation of the total game bet to only one defined trigger.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Embodiments of a system, gaming machine and method of playing a game are described below, which allows a player an option of assigning a portion of a total bet to a selected game trigger and assignment to a player of part or all of the available progressive prize.

Referring to FIG. 1 a typical gaming machine is illustrated of a type to which the present game method can be applied. The machine illustrated in FIG. 1 is of a type that allows credit input by insertion of coins or bills but the method can also be applied to machines that only allow credit input by transfer of credit from a central cashier or from another gaming machine. In FIG. 1, reference numeral 10 generally designates a gaming machine, including a game or games to be played by a player of the machine. The machine 10 includes a console 12 having a display means in the form of a video display unit 14 on which a game 16 is played. The video display unit 14 may be implemented as a cathode ray screen device, a liquid crystal display, a plasma screen, or the like. The game 16 as illustrated in FIG. 1 is a spinning reel game which simulates the rotation of a number of spinning reels 18, however many other styles of game are also possible.

A mid-trim 20 of the machine 10 optionally houses a keypad 22 (shown in greater detail in FIG. 2) for enabling a player to play the game 16. The mid-trim 20 also houses credit input mechanisms including a coin input chute 96 and a bill Acceptor 97. As illustrated in FIG. 3, some gaming machines use a touch screen for player input, in which case the keypad 22 would not be required on the mid-trim in those machines. Instead the keys of the keypad 22 of the FIG. 1 machine would be replaced by screen touch sensors on the machine of FIG. 3 where the keypad is represented as a graphic image 29 on the screen 14 and touch sensors 38 (refer to FIG. 4) located adjacent the screen surface would detect touching of the screen to record player selections. In all other respects the machines of FIGS. 1 and 2 are essentially functionally identical.

A coin tray 30 is mounted beneath the console 12 for cash payouts from the machine 10 and the housing 12 may include one or more audio speakers 95. The audio speakers 95 may generate audio representing sounds such as the noise of spinning slot machine reels, a dealer's voice, music, announcements or any other audio related to a casino game.

In machines employing the present invention the machine may also be connected via a computer network to other gaming machines and a system controller in which case player profiles may be saved on the system controller and credits can be applied to and cleared from the machine via the network. The credits can either be established at a cashier's station and transferred to the machine or alternatively a player might already have credits in another machine in the network and which they may wish to transfer to a new machine that they wish to play.

To enable the secure transfer of cash to a machine, each machine is provided with a card reader 98 and the player is issued with a player tracking card 27 either when entering the premises or when establishing credit in the system. This tracking card 27 is inserted into the card reader 98 of a machine by the player after the player has established a credit on the system and has had the credit transferred to the desired machine.

The gaming unit 10 may also be provided with a ticket reader/printer 41 which may be used to read and/or print or otherwise encode ticket vouchers 94. The ticket vouchers 94 may be composed of paper or another printable or encodable material and may have one or more of the following informational items printed or encoded thereon: the casino name, the type of ticket voucher, a validation number, a bar code with control and/or security data labelled user check-boxes, labelled user write-in boxes, the date and time of issuance of the ticket voucher, redemption instructions and restrictions, a description of an award, and any other information that may be necessary or desirable. Different types of ticket vouchers 94 could be used, such as bonus ticket vouchers, cash-redemption ticket vouchers, casino chip ticket vouchers, extra game play ticket vouchers, merchandise ticket vouchers, restaurant ticket vouchers, show ticket vouchers, etc. The ticket vouchers 94 could be printed with an optically readable material such as ink, or data on the ticket vouchers 94 could be magnetically encoded. The ticket reader/printer 41 may be provided with the ability to both read and print ticket vouchers 94, or it may be provided with the ability to only read or only print or encode ticket vouchers 94. In the latter case, for example, some of the gaming units 10 may have ticket printers 41 that may be used to print ticket vouchers 94, which could then be used by a player in other gaming units 10 that have ticket readers.

If provided, the card reader 98 may include any type of card reading device, such as a magnetic card reader or an optical card reader, and may be used to read data from a card offered by a player, such as a credit card or a player tracking card. If provided for player tracking purposes, the card reader 58 may be used to read data from, and/or write data to, player tracking cards that are capable of storing data representing the identity of a player, the identity of a casino, the player's gaming habits, etc.

A value input device may include any device that can accept value from a customer, and may include ticket and card readers, coin slots and bill acceptors. As used herein, the term “value” may encompass gaming tokens, coins, paper currency, ticket vouchers, credit or debit cards, smart cards, and any other object representative of value.

FIG. 2 illustrates one possible embodiment of the control panel 22, which may be used where the gaming unit 10 is a slot machine having a plurality of mechanical or “virtual” reels. Referring to FIG. 2, the control panel 22 may include a “See Pays” button 72 that, when activated, causes the display unit 14 to generate one or more display screens showing the odds or payout information for the game or games provided by the gaming unit 10. As used herein, the term “button” is intended to encompass any device that allows a player to make an input, such as an input device that must be depressed to make an input selection or a display area that a player may simply touch. The control panel 22 may include a “Cash Out” button 74 that may be activated when a player decides to terminate play on the gaming unit 10, in which case the gaming unit 10 may return value to the player, such as by returning a number of coins to the player via the payout tray 30.

If the gaming unit 10 provides a slots game having a plurality of reels and a plurality of paylines which define winning combinations of reel symbols, the control panel 22 may be provided with a plurality of selection buttons 76, each of which allows the player to select a different number of paylines prior to spinning the reels. For example, five buttons 76 may be provided, each of which may allow a player to select one, three, five, seven or nine paylines.

If the gaming unit 10 provides a slots game having a plurality of reels, the control panel 22 may be provided with a plurality of selection buttons 78 each of which allows a player to specify a wager amount for each payline selected. For example, if the smallest wager accepted by the gaming unit 10 is a quarter ($0.25), the gaming unit 10 may be provided with five selection buttons 78, each of which may allow a player to select one, two, three, four or five quarters to wager for each payline selected. In that case, if a player were to activate the “5” button 76 (meaning that five paylines were to be played on the next spin of the reels) and then activate the “3” button 78 (meaning. that three coins per payline were to be wagered), the total wager would be $3.75.

The control panel 22 may include a “Max Bet” button 80 to allow a player to make the maximum wager allowable for a game. In the above example, where up to nine paylines were provided and up to five quarters could be wagered for each payline selected, the maximum wager would be 45 quarters, or $11.25. The control panel 22 may include a spin button 82 to allow the player to initiate spinning of the reels of a slots game after a wager has been made.

In FIG. 2, a rectangle is shown around the buttons 72, 74, 76, 78, 80, 82. It should be understood that that rectangle simply designates, for ease of reference, an area in which the buttons 72, 74, 76, 78, 80, 82 may be located. Consequently, the term “control panel” should not be construed to imply that a panel or plate separate from the housing 12 of the gaming unit 10 is required, and the term “control panel” may encompass a plurality or grouping of player activatable buttons.

Although one possible control panel 22 is described above, it should be understood that different buttons could be utilized in the control panel 22, and that the particular buttons used may depend on the game or games that could be played on the gaming unit 10.

Referring to FIG. 4 of the drawings, a control means or control circuit 32 is illustrated. A program which implements the game and player interface, including the bet apportioning means, is run on a processor 34 of the control circuit 32. The processor 34 forms part of a controller 36 that drives the screen of the video display unit 14 and that receives input signals from player inputs such as the optional keypad 22 (see FIG. 1) or the optional sensors 38 associated with the pseudo-keypad 29. The sensors 38, if used, include touch sensors mounted in the screen of the video display unit 14 and associated with the representation of pseudo-buttons of the keypad 29, displayed on the display 16, thereby replacing the buttons of the keypad 22 and replicating their function. The controller 36 also receives input pulses from the mechanism 24 to determine whether or not a player has provided sufficient credit to commence playing. Slot machines typically have several credit input devices such as a coin input chute 96, a bill collector 97, and a card reader 98 or any suitable other type of currency or credit validation device. In some embodiments of the present invention a player tracking input device is provided, such as the card reader 98, that can be used to associate a particular player with a particular player profile and optionally a credit held in the system (either as data held in a machine or in the system controller or possibly in a further controller reserved for financial information). Note that player tracking does not require knowing the actual identity of the player but is only used to associate the player with a particular player profile and/or credit. This is achieved in the preferred embodiment by using a player tracking card 27, which is a simple magnetic stripe card encoded with a unique code, that may be issued to the player either when they enter the establishment or when they establish a credit in the system and is read by the card reader 98. However other methods of player identification can be employed in tracking systems such as pin numbers, scannable tags of various known types such as magnetic stripe cards, smart cards, etc, iris recognition, finger prints or other bio-sensor systems.

Finally, the controller 36 optionally drives a payout mechanism which, for example, may be ticket printer 41, or a coin hopper 40 for feeding coins to the coin tray 30 to make a pay out to a player when the player wishes to redeem his or her credit. Again however, in embodiments of the present invention, a payout mechanism is not essential as the player may remove the credit held in the machine by transferring it to another machine or to a cashier.

In the typical slot machine a player decides how much to bet usually by activating a play button and awaiting the win or lose outcome.

Previously the player had no choices to make about how the bet is directed to all the possible outcomes—that is, there was no ‘playing-the-odds’ as in alternative forms of gambling. Slot games, including progressive prize slot games, did not have the element of skill in relation to playing odds in the same way as a poker game has.

It is now proposed to introduce a secondary decision element to a progressive prize slot game. Playing a progressive game according to the proposed method requires a player to firstly decide how much to bet on a game, and secondly, to decide how that bet is to be allocated to each possible progressive prize trigger.

For example, a game offering a progressive prize may have three types of triggers that relate to winning the prize. The player decides to bet 10 units for a play and then decides to allocate that bet by staking 3 of the 10 units on trigger 1, 5 on trigger 2, and 2 on the remaining trigger. If, following this play, the progressive prize is ‘hit’ with the occurrence of trigger 3 on which 2 of the 10 units bet had been allocated by the player, a proportion of the progressive prize value would be won.

This choice based betting enables the player to play the odds in a way that was not previously available in embodiments of progressive prize games. These new options can all be included in the currently proposed progressive prize methods gaming machines and systems. There are collateral opportunities that they open such as multi-denominational interlinking of games, the interlinking of games with different statistical bases such as game cycles, the number of reels, and the return settings to name a few.

In one embodiment employing the proposed method, a multi progressive gaming machine is provided which has a primary game display including a plurality of spinning reels in the primary game and a processor in communication with the reels and for controlling the display device and secondary games. Each of the reels preferably has a plurality of symbols thereon including at least one predetermined trigger event symbol. Thus, there may be multiple triggers available to a player in the primary or in secondary games. The triggers in a primary game may result in secondary games which are each associated with a different one of the reels. The secondary game may be played on a primary game screen or on a second screen. The machine further comprises betting means such as but not limited to a button which allows a player to select how much credit to bet on a game. Additionally, the machine comprises means to allow a player to decide how much of the total bet is allocated to, or bet on, the available progressive prize triggers. There are always at least two triggers but due to the potential for apportionment, there may be a plurality of triggers allowing a player to apportion a total bet across two or more triggers. The triggers may be progressive prize trigger events. The player therefore has wide choice according to the system and method of the invention to apportion dependent on the player choices the total game bet to the available progressive prize triggers.

The player can operate a bet apportionment to a particular prize triggers using a player interface that may involve use of the buttons in the panel 22 of FIG. 1 or the touch screen panel 29 of FIGS. 3 and 4 or alternatively a custom touch screen interface displayed specifically to allow bet apportionment input.

An example of a player interface for apportioning credits between trigger events is schematically illustrated in FIG. 5 from which it will be seen that the game is played on a video style screen display 14. On the display 14, a game area 16 is provided to display the pseudo-reels 18 which present the game outcome. Above the reel display 16 there are:—

i. a credit meter 67, which holds the value of credit available for the player to wager at any given time;

ii. a win meter 68 which indicated the value won on a game. Once the win value is displayed for a predetermined time, the value is transferred to the credit meter and the win meter is cleared for the next game;

iii. an active line indicator 61, which indicated how many lines the player has selected to play in the present game;

iv. a trigger event display 63 for each trigger event (in this case two), each of which display the graphic of one of the trigger events that will be required to occur (such as the winning symbol combination in a spinning reel slot machine—e.g. ‘7.7.7.7.7’) to win an associated progressive jackpot prize.;

v. a bet allocation field 62, which is variable by the player to allocate a portion of the total bet to each progressive jackpot prize displayed progressive prize indicators 64;

vi. a progressive prize indicator 64 for each trigger event 63 where the current progressive prize for each trigger event is displayed;

vii. a total bet indicator field 65 which shows the total credit bet on the current game; and

viii. a bet allocation adjustment control 66 for each trigger value indicator 62, which is a touch sensitive pair of up down buttons which allow adjustment of the respective trigger bet allocation field by touching the up or down bet incrementing buttons.

In use, the player before initiating play of a primary game in which there are a plurality of symbols thereon including at least one predetermined trigger event symbol will apportion a total credit bet to a particular trigger.

Note that game designers or operators may choose to allow different options, so for example a player may be forced to bet on more than one trigger or may be allowed to apply a zero bet to all triggers, or may have options between these extremes depending on the rules in use at the particular establishment or dictated by a particular game type. They may also be permitted, for example to allocate 100% of the credit bet on the game to one trigger event, depending on the rules set up for the particular machine or system

In the following example one possible embodiment is described. Referring to FIG. 5, in this example, the player, before playing the primary game, will decide how much to bet on the primary game and then place a bet on at least two trigger events such that one bet on a first trigger event is a portion of a total available credit bet for a trigger event. The player will also be able to place at least one other bet which is a portion of the total available credit bet on at least a second trigger event. Once the betting regime has been selected by the player, the player initiates play and plays the game. In the event that a trigger event occurs as an outcome of the game, the player is awarded a reward for a trigger event commensurate with the proportion of the total of the available credit bet for a trigger event which the player has bet. Part payments of the value of the progressive prize may be made to a player, dependent on the player choices made in allocating the portion of the total game bet to the available triggers. Players may be able to win part or all of the available progressive prize depending upon this player allocation. However, winning all or part of the prize can be achieved by any one of the available triggers designed into the game. Only one progressive prize is accumulated. Zero bet wins i.e. When the player has allocated nothing to a particular trigger, are still available in the event that a player elects not to allocate a portion of the total bet. If a trigger event occurs in a play and no bet has been made on that trigger, the player still receives a win of a portion of the current progressive value if the ZBOV setting is greater than zero. Thus the present trigger bet allocation method may be used with existing progressive facilities but may be provided as an additional option for players as multiple probability triggers. Such games must have at least two progressive prize triggers. There may therefore be a plurality of triggers having the same probability of occurrence or a plurality of triggers each having a different probability of occurrence.

As indicated above a zero bet option may be made available in embodiments of the present trigger bet allocation method. What follows is an outline of the nature and purpose of the zero bet option and how that might work in a multiple trigger progressive environment.

The Zero Bet Option Value (ZBOV) is a quantum that applies where a zero bet is allocated by a player to a defined trigger for a game. The assigned value is optional. That is, it may be set to a value of zero which would disable its effect and, for all practical purposes, be the equivalent of there being no ZBOV factor. The meaning of the ZBOV can be illustrated by understanding, for example, that a value of 0.4 means that if a play has an allocation of zero credit units bet on a defined trigger, the game will assume that 0.4 credits have been allocated by default. The resultant value payable for a win on the base of such a defined trigger is calculated as if 0.4 credit units have been bet. Where a non-zero ZBOV is configured, a zero bet allocation will always result in the applicable ZBOV being applied to the calculation of the prizes able to be won on all of the defined triggers active for the game involved.

There are a number of non limiting ways that a ZBOV can be assigned; for example these may be:

1. A set value may be pre-assigned to all defined triggers of all games configured on a link.

2. A set value may be pre-assigned to all the defined triggers of each game configured on a link but with each game being separately assigned a zero bet option value. This could result in games on the same link having different ZBOV factors.

3. A value may be pre-assigned to all defined triggers of all games configured on a link such that it would randomly change periodically and a factor within a defined range would be applied until the next change period. This may also be applied in bulk for all defined triggers for all linked games, or applied separately to each of the games.

4. A separate factor for each separate defined trigger for each game separately may be assigned. This may also be pre-assigned, randomly assigned periodically, operator settable, or even player selectable.

The above four embodiments may be further varied conditionally. In essence the ZBOV may be a variable and because of this, it may be implemented in any manner that can be quantified either with set values by game design, operator management decision, player choice, or within definable constraints. It may additionally or separately be quantified randomly through game design, operator management decision or by player choice.

EXAMPLES OF ZERO BET OPTION VALUE

ZBOV Equalities

In the following examples the accumulated prize pool is 98,000. This can be an expression of credit units or dollars. The prizes able to be won per trigger are calculated using a geometric method.

With the ZBOV set for the whole link and for each trigger of each game on the link (0.6) the win values for each trigger are as shown in FIG. 5.

However, if the ZBOV in FIG. 6 was set at 1.2 instead of 0.6, the win values are altered to those shown in FIG. 7.

The change would increase marginally the values of the prize able to be won on the two triggers with a zero bet allocated. At the same time, the value of the prize able to be won on the trigger for which a bet was allocated would decrease by a total equal to the total increases for the other two triggers.

Where a bet is allocated to each trigger, the ZBOV value becomes irrelevant. It applies only when a zero bet has been allocated.

Zero Bet Option Value Inequalities

It is possible for each defined trigger to have different Zero Bet Option Values as illustrated in the following tables shown in FIGS. 8 and 9. For the gaming device operator, this opens up link management options not otherwise available.

Playing the Odds

Players are able to ‘play the odds’ of occurrence of a trigger with the facility available to allocate the total game bet across a number of available defined triggers. This is even clearer with an activated ZBOV factor. Three examples illustrate this as shown in FIGS. 10, 11 and 12.

In the example of FIG. 10, the player has staked the maximum bet of 10 units. The player has tended to bet more heavily on the more frequently occurring defined trigger and is able to win the values as shown. Had the player chosen a contrary strategy with emphasis on the less probable defined trigger, FIG. 11 shows a win value for the bet allocation shown.

However, given that there are options and a number of variables that can affect prize values, the result shown in FIG. 12 illustrates the effect of a different bet allocation. In this example, the player has chosen to try to equalize the possible prize win values given the inter-relating influences of probabilities and ZBOV settings. An important issue is that the player can see the effect of bet allocation choices before committing the total bet to an actual game play.

This ‘playing the odds’ property is curtailed if the ZBOV factor is disabled (that is, it is set to zero). This is illustrated in the example of FIG. 13.

In the example of FIG. 13, no prize can be won if defined trigger No. 1 occurs because there is no ZBOV factor set and because a zero bet value was allocated to that particular defined trigger. Additionally, where no ZBOV factor is defined, allocating the total game bet to only one defined trigger will result in the total prize pool being available as a win if the maximum possible bet is allocated to only one defined trigger as shown in FIG. 14.

The example of FIG. 14 illustrates the importance of the ZBOV setting to the management of the progressive system. If the ZBOV factor is disabled, the player would sensibly allocate the total bet to the most frequently occurring trigger thereby removing much of the interest in playing the odds.

It will be appreciated by persons skilled in the art that numerous variations and/or modifications may be made to the invention as shown in the specific embodiments without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention as broadly described. The present embodiments are, therefore, to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8177646Feb 9, 2009May 15, 2012Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty LimitedSystem and method for secondary promotion gaming in a gaming system
US8333650May 13, 2009Dec 18, 2012Wms Gaming Inc.Gaming system having symbol promotion features
US8419530 *Mar 8, 2010Apr 16, 2013Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty LimitedMethod of gaming, a game controller and a gaming system
US8550902Aug 13, 2008Oct 8, 2013Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty LimitedGaming system and a method of gaming
US20100234098 *Mar 8, 2010Sep 16, 2010Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty LimitedMethod of gaming, a game controller and a gaming system
WO2009100416A1 *Feb 9, 2009Aug 13, 2009Aristocrat Technologies AuSystem and method for secondary promotion gaming in a gaming system
Classifications
U.S. Classification463/29
International ClassificationA63F9/24
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/3267, G07F17/32
European ClassificationG07F17/32M4, G07F17/32