US 20060229121 A1
Aircraft gaming machines, systems, and methods are presented. The gaming machines execute gaming applications and receive power from the aircraft. The gaming systems may include gaming stations interfaced to gaming servers within the aircraft, portable gaming machines capable of downloading gaming applications from gaming servers within the aircraft, gaming displays and controls interfaced to gaming servers within the aircraft, and kiosks adapted to dispense a gaming application on removable storage media. The removable storage media later interfaced to processing devices within the aircraft for purposes of wagering on gaming applications that execute off the storage media. The methods acquire value from players within an aircraft, execute gaming applications within the aircraft, and dispense value based on outcomes of the gaming applications.
1. A gaming machine, comprising:
a processor adapted to execute wagering gaming applications, wherein the processor is interfaced to the display; and
a power supply, which is supplied from an aircraft to the display and the processor.
2. The gaming machine of
a value input device adapted to accept player-provided value; and
a value output device adapted to dispense gaming-provided value.
3. The gaming machine of
4. The gaming machine of
5. The gaming machine of
6. The gaming machine of
7. A gaming system, comprising:
one or more processors for executing wagering gaming applications within an aircraft, wherein the one or more processors are integrated into or accessible from a video system of the aircraft;
a plurality of displays, wherein each display is accessible from a selective location within the aircraft; and
a plurality of remote control devices for interacting with the wagering gaming applications and for viewing results of the wagering gaming applications, wherein each remote control device is associated with one of the plurality of displays.
8. The gaming system of
9. The gaming system of
10. The gaming system of
11. The gaming system of
12. The gaming system of
13. The gaming system of
14. The gaming system of
15. The gaming system of
16. A method, comprising:
simultaneously presenting a game of chance to selective displays within an aircraft;
collecting wagers for the game of chance from players interacting with controls which are interfaced to the selective displays;
acquiring a value from each of the players;
determining an outcome for the game of chance; and
crediting one or more accounts associated with one or more of the players who win the game of chance in response to the outcome.
17. The method of
18. The method of
19. The method of
20. The method of
debiting the value from a selective one of the accounts;
acquiring the value as loyalty points from a loyalty account of a selective one of the players;
acquiring the value as a reward certificate inputted by a selective one of the players via the controls;
acquiring the value as currency via a value input device from a selective one of the players;
acquiring the value from a credit card account associated with a selective one of the players; and
acquiring the value from a selective on of the accounts in response to a key inputted by a selective one of the players via the controls.
The present application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. 119(e) to U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/669,669, filed on Apr. 8, 2005, and entitled “Aircraft Gaming;” the disclosure of which is incorporated by reference herein.
A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material to which the claim of copyright protection is made. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by any person of the patent document or the patent disclosure, as it appears in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office file or records, but reserves all other rights whatsoever. Copyright 2006, WMS Gaming, Inc.
The invention relates generally to gaming and more particularly to aircraft gaming.
The gaming industry has been popular on land via casinos and on water via cruise ships or gambling boats. Only the air lacks any significant gaming presence. A variety of circumstances have contributed to the lack of gaming capabilities within an aircraft. For example, in an aircraft space and weight factors of any gaming equipment must be considered carefully. Additionally, unlike maritime law, the laws with respect to airspace are often determined by the government associated with the land that lies directly underneath the airspace of an aircraft. This means that wagering may be permissible during some points of a flight but not lawful during other points of the flight. In fact, within the United States, the laws of gambling vary by state and are determined largely by the individual states.
In addition, electronic devices within aircraft have always raised concerns about safety and are still restricted during certain portions of a flight, such as during takeoff and during landing. Advances in this area have recently revealed that most of these concerns about operating electronic devices are not the problems that they were believed to be. Moreover, aircraft are more modern today with more advanced electronics and safety mechanisms.
Therefore, there is a need for aircraft gaming devices, machines, systems, and/or techniques.
In various embodiments, aircraft gaming machines, gaming systems, and methods for gaming within an aircraft are provided. In an embodiment, a gaming machine includes a display, a processor, and a 115 volt power supply. The processor is adapted to execute gaming applications and is interfaced to the display. The power supply is acquired from the aircraft as 400 Hz of Alternating Current (AC).
In an embodiment, a gaming system includes a plurality of gaming stations situated within an aircraft, a gaming server, and a network. Each gaming station includes a player seat, a player-provided input device, a gaming-provided value output device, a display, and one or more player controls. The gaming server is interfaced to each of the gaming stations via the network and the gaming server is adapted to execute gaming applications.
In still another embodiment, a gaming system includes a kiosk adapted to dispense a gaming application on a removable storage medium. The removable storage medium is adapted to interface with a processing device for purposes of uploading the gaming application to the processing device and executing the gaming application on the processing device.
In yet another embodiment, value for wagering on a gaming application is acquired from a player within an aircraft. The gaming application is executed on a processing device and an amount associated with the value is modified in response to results obtained from executing the gaming application.
The machine 100 includes a display 101, a processor 102A, and a 115 volt power supply 103. In some embodiments, the machine 100 may also include a value input device 104, a value output device 105, controls 106A or 106B, and/or a network 107. In an embodiment, the machine 100 may also include an audio device (not shown in
The display 101 presents multimedia (e.g., images, videos, graphics, text, etc.) and is interfaced to the processor 102A. In some embodiments, the display 101 is also integrated with the player controls 106A. Thus, the display 101 may include a touch screen, such that a player interacts with programs or applications of the processor 102A by touching sensitive areas of the display 101. The sensitive areas are the integrated controls 106A.
The processor 102A includes memory and/or storage and executes gaming applications 102B associated with wagering. Wagers are received from players that interface via the controls 106B. The results of playing the gaming applications are presented on the display 101.
A commercial airliner generates or is capable of supplying 115 volts of power, the machine 100 includes a 115 volt power supply to which the machine 100 connects to or is coupled to within the aircraft. Thus, the machine 100 is adapted to power the processor 102A, the controls 106A and/or 106B, and the display 101 via a 115 volt power supply 103 acquired from a commercial airline.
The machine 100 may also include a value input device 104. The value input device 104 is adapted to receive a wager from a player situated in proximity to the display 101. The wager may be expressed in a variety of value types, such as loyalty points, reward certificates, winning credits, currency, etc. In an embodiment, the value input device 104 is a magnetic card reader or optical scanner adapted to read credit cards, loyalty cards, gift cards, reward certificates, or winning tickets. The value input device 104 may also include a currency accepter capable of receiving and counting currency. Some example loyalty points may include frequent flier miles associated with a player's frequent flier account. Gift cards may include currency deposited on a magnetic card or deposited on paper and identified by a key; the key may identify a temporary account that includes a set amount of currency.
The machine 100 may also have a value output device 105. The value output device 105 is adapted to dispense value to the player. This may mean that the value output device 105 writes to magnetic cards to dispense value or dispenses paper tickets with a currency value, reward certificate, or loyalty points. In some embodiments, the value input device 104 and the value output device 105 are integrated and provided as a single combined device. In this manner, a single integrated device 104-105 can read and write from and to common media.
In an embodiment, the display 101, the value input device 104, the value output device 105, and/or controls 106A or 106B are situated together and affixed to the rear of airline seats. The components are accessible to a player or passenger sitting behind the rear of the seat in much the same way the tray and phones are available on commercial aircraft today to passengers. The processor 102A is remote from the display 101 and is accessible over a network 107.
In another embodiment, the display 101, the processor 102A, the value input device 104, the value output device 105, and/or controls 106A or 106B are integrated together and accessible from designated locations within the aircraft. The components may be standalone stations for gaming or areas within a lounge. In some cases, the machine 100 is affixed to a bar that passengers sit at during a flight. For example, a large table within the aircraft may be designed for passengers to sit at and receive drinks, similar to a conventional bar; at the aircraft bar the machine may be affixed to the top surface of the bar and situated in front of some seats at the bar. In other cases, the processor 102A communicates with a plurality of displays 101 and controls 106A and/or 106B, such that a single processor 102A can be accessed from a variety of locations within the aircraft.
In still another embodiment, the display 101, the processor 102A, the value input device 104, the value output device 105, and/or controls 106A or 106B are provided as a portable machine 100 and distributed to passengers that desire to gamble within the aircraft. The passengers then plug the machine 100 into the 115 volt power supply of the aircraft to start the machine 100 and begin to play gaming applications 102B.
The gaming system 200 includes one or more processors 201A, a plurality of displays 202, and a plurality of remote control devices 203. The gaming system 200 is integrated and implemented within an aircraft. In some embodiments, the gaming system 200 may also include a portable device 204. Each of these will now be discussed in turn.
The one or more processors 201A execute gaming applications 201B. The gaming applications 201B provide gaming or wagering opportunities to passengers identified as players. The processors are accessible through and integrated within the aircraft's video system. Thus, passengers access and play the gaming applications 201B via the video system of the aircraft 210.
The gaming system 200 also includes a plurality of displays 202; each display 202 is accessible from a selective location within the aircraft 210. In some cases, the display 202 is affixed to the arm rest of selective seats. In other cases, the display 202 is affixed to the rear of selective seats. In yet other cases, the display is associated with a portable device that is networked to the one or more processors 201A. The displays 202 may plug into a network connection to interact and interface with the processors 201A. In some embodiments, the displays 202 are preconfigured and hardwired directly to the processors 201A. In other embodiments, the displays 202 have network wires that plug into network connections throughout the aircraft 210 for purposes of communicating with the processors 201A. In yet another embodiment, the displays 202 include wireless network capabilities for purposes of wirelessly communicating with the processors 201A.
The remote control devices 203 interact with the one or more processors 201A to control and communicate information to the gaming applications 201B executing on the processors 201A. The remote control devices 203 are proximate to the displays 202. In an embodiment, the remote control devices 203 are coupled to the displays 202, such that the remote control devices 203 and the displays 202 are inseparable. This may prevent a passenger from removing or losing a remote control device 203. In other cases, based on the seat of location of a passenger, who desires to wager and play gaming applications, a specific remote control device 203 may be distributed and may be tied to a specific display 202. In this manner, the remote control devices 203 may be sold or distributed only to passengers that demonstrate that they are old enough to gamble.
The gaming system 200 acquires power through the aircraft 210. For example, the gaming system 200 may be powered by a 115 volt Alternating Current (AC) power supply generated and provided by the aircraft 210 at 400 Hz. Moreover, the gaming system 200 permits client-server architecture within the aircraft and delivers the gaming applications to individual displays 202 via the aircraft's video system. The arrangement of where and how the displays 202 and remote control devices 203 are deployed throughout the aircraft 210 is configurable. The displays 202 and the remote control devices 203 are networked to the processors 201A and the gaming applications 201B.
According to an embodiment, the gaming system 200 may also include a portable device 204. The portable device 204 is adapted to wireless communicate with the one or more processors 201A for purposes of wirelessly playing the wagering gaming applications 201B within the aircraft 210. That is, a portable and wireless device 204 may interface to the processors 201A and access and play the gaming applications 201B. In some embodiments, the portable and wireless device 204 may continue to interface and interact with the one or more processors 201A for purposes of continuing to play the gaming applications 201B even outside the aircraft 210. So as one example, a player may deplane with the portable device 204 into the airport and continue to play the gaming applications 201B.
In still another embodiment, the portable device 204 may initiate playing gaming applications from a service external to the aircraft 210 with the portable device 204 and then continue to play those gaming applications once boarding the aircraft 210. In this scenario, the external gaming service with respect to the aircraft 210 may synchronize a state with gaming applications 201B within the aircraft to continue play; alternatively, the portable device 204 may keep communication with the external service while within the aircraft to continue game play.
The gaming system 300 includes a plurality of gaming stations 310, a gaming network 315, and a gaming server 320. Each gaming station 310 includes a seat 301, a value input device 302, a value output device 303, a display 304, and one or more player controls 305. In some embodiments, each gaming station may also include a comfort device 306 and/or a noise canceling device 307.
The network 315 connects each gaming station 310 to the gaming server 320. In an embodiment, the network 315 is Ethernet based and hardwired to connect each gaming station 310 to the gaming server 320.
The gaming server 320 includes one or more processors that execute gaming applications and determine game outcomes for games of chance associated with the gaming applications. The gaming server 320 may also be adapted to perform global operations or selective administrative operations against all or some of the gaming stations 310. For example, the gaming server 320 may be equipped with a Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) receiver or interface as well as policies that permit the gaming server 320 to determine when the aircraft has entered airspace that does not permit gambling. In these situations the gaming server 320 may temporarily suspend or lock game play of the gaming applications. As another example, the pilot or flight attendant may activate an override or the override may be detected based on normal emergency procedures taken by a pilot or a flight attendant, during the override the game play may be automatically locked, paused, or suspended. In still another example, administrator overrides may permit flight attendants to temporarily or permanently disable/pause game play. This may be useful when a player becomes unruly or is determined to be ineligible to wager.
The gaming station 310 provides a booth or area with which a player/passenger may sit and gamble. The gaming station 310 permits the player to sit in the seat 301. The player supplies value (e.g., currency, loyalty points (frequent flier miles), reward certificates, etc.) via a player-provided value input device 302. Examples of value input devices 302 were provided above with respect to the gaming machine 100 of
The display 304 presents the game play associated with gaming applications that execute remotely over the network 315 on the gaming server 320. In some cases, the display 304 has a touch screen that also integrates some or the entire player controls 305. The display 304 may also include an integrated audio device (not shown in
In an embodiment, the gaming station 310 may also include a headphone jack and a set of headphones (not shown in
The player controls 305 are accessed by the player within the gaming station 310 to interact with the gaming server 320 and the gaming applications. Some controls 305 may be independently integrated within the gaming station 310 while other ones of the controls may be integrated within the display 304.
In an embodiment, the gaming system 300 also includes a player comfort device 306. The player comfort device 306 may permit the player to adjust the lighting (lighting level) of the gaming station 310, adjust the temperature (temperature level) of the gaming station 310, and/or adjust the sound volume (volume level) within the gaming station 310.
According to another embodiment, the gaming system 300 includes a noise canceling device 307. The noise canceling device 307 may prevent noise external from the gaming station 310 from penetrating the gaming station 310 and/or may prevent the noise originating from the gaming station 310 as a result of game play from adding to the noise external to the gaming station 310. In this manner, the player seated on a seat 301 of the gaming station 310 may experience game play without being distracted from noises outside the gaming station 310 and a passenger outside the gaming station 310 may not be disturbed by the game play of the player within the gaming station 310.
The gaming system 400 includes a portable gaming machine 401 and a gaming server 402. The gaming server 402 includes a plurality of gaming applications 403.
The portable gaming machine 401 is adapted to be networked within the aircraft with the gaming server 402. Once connected to the gaming server 402, the portable gaming machine 401 downloads one or more gaming applications 403. The gaming applications 403 are then loaded and executed on the portable gaming machine 401. Thus, the gaming system 400 permits gaming applications 403 to be offloaded from the aircraft's gaming server 402 and independently processed on portable gaming machines 401.
The portable gaming machine 401 may also network via a hard wire that connects to an aircraft wide network and which provides access to the gaming server 402. Alternatively, the portable gaming machine may include a wireless interface to communicate with the gaming server 402.
In an embodiment, the portable gaming machine 401 is adapted to communicate periodically with the gaming server 402 such that the gaming server 402 may maintain account information associated with a specific player. The account information may be based on an identity associated with the player or based on an identity associated with the portable gaming machine 401.
The gaming server 402 may be used to collect value from a player that interacts with the portable gaming machine 401, such as by collecting loyalty points, reward certificates, credit card payments, debit card payments, etc. In an embodiment, the portable gaming machine 401 may include a value input device that permits a loyalty card, debit card, and/or credit card to be scanned. The value input device may also read a key or winning ticket to supply value. Additionally, the portable gaming machine 401 may dispense value via a printout, by writing to loyalty cards, by crediting bank accounts, by crediting credit card accounts, etc.
The portable gaming machine 401 may be battery powered, such that it receives power via a Direct Current (DC) power supply 404 which is rechargeable. Alternatively, the portable gaming machine 401 may receive power via a 115 volt aircraft power supply 405, by plugging into the 115 volt power supply 405.
The gaming system 500 includes a kiosk 501A and a removable storage medium 502. The kiosk 501A includes a display 501B, controls 501C, a value input device 501D and a value output device 501E. In some embodiments, the kiosk 501A may also include a storage media bay 501F and a storage media dispenser 50G. In some embodiments, the display 501B may include integrated controls 501B1, such as when the display supports touch screen controls 501B1 which are integrated into the display 501B.
The kiosk 501A may be located within an airport or may be located within an aircraft at a central location. The kiosk 501A dispenses gaming applications on the removable storage medium 502. The removable storage medium 502 may be subsequently interfaced to a processing device, such as one of the gaming machines or gaming systems presented above in
A player interacts with the kiosk 501A to acquire gaming applications for wagering. The gaming applications are dispensed on the storage medium 502. In some embodiments, a player may also dispense value on the storage medium 502 which can be used for wagering on the gaming applications once the player is on the aircraft and interfaces the storage medium 502 to a processing device for purposes of gambling.
For example, a player may access the controls 501C of the kiosk 501A and supply a frequent flier card or a credit card to the value input device 501D. The player views the display and makes selections using the controls 501C. The kiosk 501A either writes the value received (e.g., frequent flier miles or currency) and the desired gaming applications to the removable storage medium 502 via a storage media bay 501F or the kiosk 501A dispenses a new removable storage medium 502 via a storage media dispenser 501G which has the value received and the desired gaming applications.
Continuing with the present example, the player enters an aircraft and interfaces the storage medium 502 to his laptop computer and processes the gaming applications to gamble or wager while in flight. At the player's destination, he removes the storage medium 502 from his laptop computer and exits the aircraft into the airport. Once there, the player locates another kiosk 501A and inserts the storage medium 502. The kiosk 501A then provides value to the player (assuming he has won or has value left). Value may be distributed as loyalty points to an account or as currency via the value output device 501E.
Thus, the kiosk 501A may read and write to existing storage media 502 via the storage media bay 501F or may dispense new storage media 502 to players via the storage media dispenser 501G. Value may be received as reward certificates, currency, loyalty points, etc. via the value input device 501F. Furthermore, value may be dispensed in the same manner via the value output device 501E.
In an embodiment, other passenger related or travel related services may be added to the kiosk 501A. For example, the kiosk 501A may be adapted to sell travel insurance, sell or redeem travel or airline goods and services, and the like. Thus, a winning player may use money or loyalty points to acquire a free stay at a hotel, acquire a rental car, or acquire an upgrade to first class on an airline.
At 610, the aircraft gaming service acquires value for wagering on a gaming application. The value may be acquired from a variety of techniques. For example, the value may be identified as an amount of loyalty points associated with a frequent flier account. Alternatively, the value may be acquired as a reward certificate or as currency from a credit card or an account. Accordingly, at 611, an inputted and player-supplied value type may be identified when the value is acquired. The value type may be used to restrict the wagering to the same value type provided by a player. Thus, a player may not be permitted to input frequent flier miles as a value type and then request currency with winnings. Although, in some cases, such mismatching of value types may be permissible.
At 612, the value is acquired from an account, a card, a currency accepter, reward certificate, etc. A card may identify a loyalty account, a debit account, a bank account, a credit card account, and the like. A card reader may be used to accept the card and to acquire the account information. In other cases, a player may simply supply a key or input an account number that may be used to acquire the value. An input device provides a mechanism for the player to supply the account or the card. In an embodiment, the input device may also be a currency acceptor. Examples of value input devices were provided above with the gaming machines and gaming systems depicted and described in
In an embodiment, at 601, the aircraft gaming service may also employ a variety of security mechanisms to verify that a player is old enough to wager or to require that any player is in fact a registered player. In some cases, this may be acquired via a fingerprint or biometric device. In other cases, the aircraft gaming service may alert a flight attendant to verify an age of a player. In still other cases, this may be done by cross checking the age of a passenger registered in a specific seat within the aircraft. In yet more cases, this may be done by asking the player to identify and confirm his/her age. It is recognized that processing to verify the age or the proper registration of a player may precede the processing of 610 where a wager is acquired. In other words, the verification of age or registration may be viewed as a prerequisite for providing a wager.
At 620, the aircraft gaming service executes a gaming application on a processing device upon the instruction of a player. This game play occurs within an aircraft. In some embodiments, at 621, the game play may be paused or suspended based on a variety of configurable policies or conditions, such as geographic location of the aircraft, security situations, or administrative overrides.
At 630, the aircraft gaming service modifies an amount associated with the value supplied initially by the player in response to results or game outcomes associated with the gaming application. The modified amount may be an increase or a decrease. The aircraft gaming service maintains a balance for the player associated with game play. Positive balances may be dispensed via value output devices, such as the value output devices presented above with respect to
In an embodiment, at 631, the aircraft gaming service may present results associated with executing the gaming applications on a display that is integrated within the video system of an aircraft. In other embodiments, the display may be associated with a player's device, such as a laptop computer or an airline supplied device such as a gaming machine or gaming station as described herein and above.
According to an embodiment, at 632, the aircraft gaming service may also manage and track play associated with a player and a gaming application for purposes of providing loyalty points to a player that is wagering on an aircraft with the aircraft gaming service. For example, a player may get slot points or casino points for wagering on certain gaming applications via the aircraft gaming service. These loyalty points are tracked and managed by the aircraft gaming service.
The aircraft gaming service may process, at 640 on a portable gaming machine within the aircraft or may process, at 650, on a gaming machine, gaming system, and/or gaming station that is integrated or coupled to equipment within the aircraft.
At 710, the group airline gaming service simultaneously presents a game of chance to selective displays within an aircraft. The specific displays participating in the game of chance may be resolved in advance of a flight or may be activated by passengers at their seats via remote control devices to opt into the game of chance. In some embodiments, at 701, as a prerequisite to receiving the game of chance via the selective displays, the group airline gaming service may verify the age or proper registration of the players.
At 720, the group airline gaming service collects wagers for the game from the players situated in proximity to the selective displays which present the game of chance. The wagers are collected via controls and/or value input devices which are also located in proximity to the selective displays and accessed by the players. In some embodiments, at 721, the wagers are received via controls that are integrated within the displays, such as when the displays have touch screen capabilities. In other embodiments, at 722, the wagers are received from remote control devices, such as the remote control devices described above with respect to
Once the wagers are known, at 730, the group airline gaming service acquires a value from each of the players participating in the game of chance; these are the players that supplied wagers at 720. At 731, the values are debited from an account associated with each of the players. The account may be a loyalty account, a reward certificate, a credit card, actual currency acquired from a currency accepter device, or a key account that identifies value for a reserved account.
At 740, the group airline gaming service determines the game outcome. This results in one or more of the players being a winner. Correspondingly, at 750, the group airline gaming service credits accounts of players that win based on the determined outcome. The accounts are temporary and maintained by the group airline gaming service until a player checks out. Moreover, in some cases, at 751, the accounts may actually be maintained by the group airline gaming service based on identifiers associated with a display that a particular player is using. In this manner, the group airline gaming service may not even need to know the identity of a particular player during game play for purposes of maintaining account balances during game play.
When a particular player checks out, any positive balance within a player account may be credited to a permanent account of a player, if permitted by the player and if known by the group airline gaming service. Alternatively, the group airline gaming service may output the positive balance via a value output device. Examples of value output devices were provided above with respect to
It has now been demonstrated how a variety of machines, systems, and techniques are implemented to provide novel airline gaming.
The above description is illustrative, and not restrictive. Many other embodiments will be apparent to those of skill in the art upon reviewing the above description. The scope of embodiments should therefore be determined with reference to the appended claims, along with the full scope of equivalents to which such claims are entitled.
The Abstract is provided to comply with 37 C.F.R. § 1.72(b) and will allow the reader to quickly ascertain the nature and gist of the technical disclosure. It is submitted with the understanding that it will not be used to interpret or limit the scope or meaning of the claims.
In the foregoing description of the embodiments, various features are grouped together in a single embodiment for the purpose of streamlining the disclosure. This method of disclosure is not to be interpreted as reflecting that the claimed embodiments have more features than are expressly recited in each claim. Rather, as the following claims reflect, inventive subject matter lies in less than all features of a single disclosed embodiment. Thus the following claims are hereby incorporated into the Description of the Embodiments, with each claim standing on its own as a separate exemplary embodiment.