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Publication numberUS20060229122 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/390,021
Publication dateOct 12, 2006
Filing dateMar 27, 2006
Priority dateApr 12, 2005
Publication number11390021, 390021, US 2006/0229122 A1, US 2006/229122 A1, US 20060229122 A1, US 20060229122A1, US 2006229122 A1, US 2006229122A1, US-A1-20060229122, US-A1-2006229122, US2006/0229122A1, US2006/229122A1, US20060229122 A1, US20060229122A1, US2006229122 A1, US2006229122A1
InventorsMichael Macke
Original AssigneeMacke Michael M
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Gaming machine system with shared display of game events
US 20060229122 A1
Abstract
Systems and methods for providing shared display of game events between a gaming machine and a secondary display server. Game events are initially displayed on a primary display of the gaming machine and, on the occurrence of a triggering event during play of the game on the gaming machine, a connection is established via a network protocol between the gaming machine and a secondary display server remotely located from the gaming machine. Display data is then transferred across the connection causing the game events to be displayed on the secondary display as well as the primary display.
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Claims(20)
1. A gaming machine system for providing shared display of game events comprising:
a gaming machine that includes:
a primary display,
a processor, wherein the processor controls a plurality of game events of a game displayed on the primary display using a software program stored in a memory storage device associated with the gaming machine, and
a secondary display server in communication with the gaming machine over a network, wherein the secondary display server is remotely located from the gaming machine and wherein upon the occurrence of a triggering event during play of the game events on the gaming machine, data is transferred between the gaming machine and the secondary display server; and
a secondary display in communication with the secondary display server, wherein upon the occurrence of the triggering event, the secondary display receives data from the secondary display server and displays the game events displayed on the primary display of the gaming machine.
2. The gaming machine system of claim 1, wherein the secondary display displays a plurality of attract graphics prior to displaying the game events displayed on the primary display of the gaming machine.
3. The gaming machine system of claim 2, wherein one or more of the plurality of attract graphics are selected from the group consisting of advertisements, progressive jackpot information and graphics associated with a game displayed on the primary display.
4. The gaming machine of claim 1, wherein the secondary display server replays the games events on the secondary display pending occurrence of the next triggering event.
5. The gaming machine system of claim 1, wherein the secondary display is a large screen monitor.
6. The gaming machine system of claim 1, wherein the game played on the gaming machine is selected from the group consisting of video bingo, video Blackjack, video poker, video keno and video slots.
7. The gaming machine system of claim 1, further comprising at least one interface including a series of electromechanical buttons to control game events on the primary display of the gaming machine.
8. The gaming machine system of claim 1, further comprising at least one touch screen interface on the primary display of the gaming machine, wherein the touch screen interface accepts commands to alter at least one game event.
9. The gaming machine system of claim 1, wherein the gaming machine further includes a wager input interface selected from the group consisting of a bill acceptor, a ticket reader and a magnetic card reader.
10. The gaming machine system of claim 1, wherein the data transferred between the gaming machine and the secondary display server is in Extensible Markup Language (XML) format.
11. The gaming machine system of claim 1 wherein the network operates according to a network protocol selected from the group consisting of Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and User Datagram Protocol (UDP).
12. A method of providing shared display of game events between a gaming machine and a secondary display server comprising
accepting a wager at a gaming machine via a wager input interface;
displaying a plurality of game events on a primary display of the gaming machine in response to the initiation of game play via at least one user interface;
upon the occurrence of a triggering event during play of the game on the gaming machine, establishing a connection via a network protocol between the gaming machine and a secondary display server remotely located from the gaming machine;
transferring data across the connection, wherein the data includes the plurality of game events; and
displaying the plurality of game events on a secondary display.
13. The method of claim 12, wherein the secondary display displays a plurality of attract graphics prior to displaying the game events displayed on the primary display of the gaming machine.
14. The method of claim 13, wherein one or more of the plurality of attract graphics are selected from the group consisting of advertisements, progressive jackpot information and graphics associated with a game displayed on the primary display.
15. The method of claim 12, wherein the secondary display server replays the games events on the secondary display pending occurrence of the next triggering event.
16. The method of claim 12, wherein the game displayed on the primary display is selected from the group consisting of video bingo, video Blackjack, video poker, video keno and video slots.
17. The method of claim 12, wherein displaying a plurality of game events on a primary display of the gaming machine in response to the initiation of game play via at least one user interface includes providing at least one interface that includes a plurality of electromechanical buttons.
18. The method of claim 12, wherein displaying a plurality of game events on a primary display of the gaming machine in response to the initiation of game play via at least one user interface includes providing at least one interface that includes a touch screen on the primary display.
19. The method of claim 12, wherein the wager input interface accepting a wager is selected from the group consisting of a bill acceptor, a ticket reader and a magnetic card reader.
20. The method of claim 12, wherein the data transferred across the connection is in XML format.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of priority to U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/670,448 entitled Shared Display of Game Events, which was filed in the United States Patent and Trademark Office on Apr. 12, 2005, the specification of which is hereby incorporated by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to electronic gaming machines and, more particularly, to gaming machines displaying certain game events on both a primary and secondary display.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Gaming machines such as mechanically driven slot machines have been a staple of the gaming and entertainment industries for years. With the advent of computers, electronic forms of gaming machines such as video slots, video bingo, video poker, video keno and video blackjack have emerged and become increasingly popular. Such electronic devices continue to grow in popularity with the development of enhanced computer-generated graphics and sounds, making them more attractive to a wider audience of participants.

With the recent growth in the electronic gaming machine market, competition between manufacturers to place their equipment in available venues has become fierce. When selecting which machines to put into their facilities, the operators of gaming establishments give paramount consideration to their patrons' perception of a game as entertaining and exciting. To this end, manufacturers and designers of video gaming machines have recently added secondary or bonus games to the base game which are typically triggered by an event during base game play. For example, in a video slot machine, a certain alignment of symbols may take the player to a bonus round where he or she can select one of several race cars appearing on a track. After the selection has been made, a computer generated race is displayed on the display screen. Depending upon the position the selected race finishes, the player is given a bonus such as a cash payout or additional game credits. Such bonus game plays are exciting to the player because the player is provided with a new level of competition that is not part of the base game.

Other systems provide networked gaming machines functionality with a secondary game displayed on a large screen. For instance, U.S. Pat. No. 6,375,567 discloses a system where a group of gaming machines is interconnected by a network and a primary game is played on the individual gaming machines. When an operating parameter of the gaming machines reaches a threshold value (e.g., total coins played) a secondary game is initiated form one of the gaming machines. The secondary game is displayed on a second screen above the gaming machines and is common to the group of gaming machines. In the embodiment disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,375,567 the primary game is a slot machine and the secondary game is a spinning wheel. While the secondary game is displayed on the screen that is common to all gaming machines, the primary game is not. As such, in the system disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,375,567 the secondary game is common to all the gaming machines, which limits the variety of events on the display common to the gaming machines to entice spectators to become new players. Further, in the system disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,375,567, it is the secondary game that shown to the players at the networked gaming machines through the common display, not the primary game, which is the game played the most at the gaming machines.

Such approaches are of minimal effectiveness to entice potential players to play the primary game and to continue to play for an extended period of time due to the limited exposure of the primary game that individual game devices offer spectators who represent potential players of the games. For example, a typical video gaming machine has a display that can only be viewed by the player and a few individuals standing directly behind the player. Such limitations not only can lessen the effectiveness of attracting new players but can also lessen the effectiveness of retaining current players whose motivation and enthusiasm can be influenced by the viewing and reactions of spectators.

Accordingly, there is a need in the art for new approaches to attract and retain players of gaming machines. Such approaches should, among other things, provide exposure of gaming events associated with a primary game to a large number of spectators to facilitate more effective attraction and retention of players to the game devices.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to systems and methods for providing shared display of game events between a gaming machine and a secondary display server. Game events are initially displayed on a primary display of the gaming machine and, on the occurrence of a triggering event during play of the game on the gaming machine, a connection is established via a network protocol between the gaming machine and a secondary display server remotely located from the gaming machine. Display data is then transferred across the connection causing the game events to be displayed on the secondary display as well as the primary display.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, there is disclosed a gaming machine system for providing shared display of game events which includes a gaming machine having a primary display, a processor for controlling the game events displayed on the primary display using a software program stored in a memory storage device associated with the gaming machine and a secondary display server in communication with the gaming machine over a network and remotely located from the gaming machine. Upon the occurrence of a triggering event during play of the game played on the gaming machine, data is transferred between the gaming machine and the secondary display server. Upon the occurrence of the triggering event, the secondary display receives data from the secondary display server and displays the game events displayed on the primary display of the gaming machine.

In another embodiment of the present invention, the secondary display displays a attract graphics prior to displaying the game events displayed on the primary display of the gaming machine. The attract graphics can include advertisements, progressive jackpot information and graphics associated with a game displayed on the primary display.

In yet another embodiment of the present invention, the gaming machine and the secondary display server are in communication via an Ethernet connection.

In yet another embodiment of the present invention, the secondary display is a large screen monitor

In yet another embodiment of the present invention, the game played on the gaming machine includes video bingo, video Blackjack, video poker, video keno and video slots.

In yet another embodiment of the present invention, the gaming machine includes at least one interface including a series of electromechanical buttons to control game events on the primary display of the gaming machine.

In yet another embodiment of the present invention, the primary display of the gaming machine includes at least one touch screen interface, wherein the touch screen interface accepts commands to alter game events occurring on the gaming machine.

In yet another embodiment of the present invention, the gaming machine includes a wager input interface such as a bill acceptor, a ticket reader or a magnetic card reader.

In yet another embodiment of the present invention, the data transferred between the gaming machine and the secondary display server is in Extensible Markup Language (XML) format.

In yet another embodiment of the present invention, the network operates according to a network protocol selected from the group consisting of Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) or User Datagram Protocol (UDP).

According to another embodiment of the present invention, there is disclosed a method of providing shared display of game events between a gaming machine and a secondary display server which includes the steps of accepting a wager at a gaming machine via a wager input interface and displaying a certain game events on the primary display of the gaming machine in response to the initiation of game play via the interface. Upon the occurrence of a triggering event occurring during play of the game on the gaming machine, the additional step of establishing a connection via a network protocol between the gaming machine and a secondary display server remotely located from the gaming machine is performed in which data, including the game events, is transferred across the connection, and the game events displayed on the primary display are simultaneously displayed on the secondary display.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

Having thus described the invention in general terms, reference will now be made to the accompanying drawings, which are not necessarily drawn to scale, and wherein:

FIG. 1 shows a block diagram of a gaming machine in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 2. shows an exemplary gaming machine for playing an electronic game in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 3 shows a block diagram of the secondary display server in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 4. shows a schematic diagram showing a gaming system embodying the principles of the present invention.

FIG. 5. shows an exemplary flowchart of a gaming machine system having a shared display of game events in accordance with the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to a system for displaying shared images of game events on multiple displays. The system includes one or more gaming machines networked to a secondary display server that controls a secondary display. In accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the invention, each of the gaming machines comprises a cabinet for housing electronic components necessary for operation of game play and a primary video display for displaying game events, and the secondary display server comprises a standard PC and a secondary display. The secondary display is located remote from the gaming machines and positioned in such a manner as to allow it to be viewed by a large audience of spectators. Prior to receiving input from one of the gaming machines, the PC associated with the secondary display runs a script causing the secondary display to display attraction graphics such as advertisements or progressive jackpot information.

During play of the one or more gaming machines, a triggering event, such as a winning combination (or hand) or the entry into a bonus round, causes a Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) or User Datagram Protocol (UDP) connection to be established with the secondary display server allowing the secondary display to mirror the images presented on the primary video display. Alternatively, the secondary display may alter the images presented by adding attract graphics to the display of the game events on the secondary display, or show the game events in an instant replay, slow motion, or otherwise manipulate the secondary display of the events to add to the excitement and interest of spectators as well as the player. This process of displaying the game events on the secondary display may continue until the end of the triggering event, the end of the round of the game being displayed or other length of time, whereupon the secondary display of the secondary display server reverts to the display of the attraction graphics until the next signal is received from one of the gaming machines.

In accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the invention, during play of a game on the one or more gaming machines, the occurrence of a triggering event associated with the primary game, such as a winning combination or hand or entry into a bonus round, causes as signal to be sent to the secondary display server whereupon the secondary display will mirror the images presented on the primary display. Upon termination of the triggering event, the secondary display ceases the display of the game events displayed on the primary display and awaits the next triggering event from a networked gaming machine.

The present invention now will be described more fully hereinafter with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which some, but not all embodiments of the invention are shown. Indeed, these inventions may be embodied in many different forms and should not be construed as limited to the embodiments set forth herein; rather, these embodiments are provided so that this disclosure will satisfy applicable legal requirements.

The present invention is described below with reference to block diagrams and a flowchart according to an embodiment of the invention. It will be understood that each block of the block diagrams, and combinations of blocks in the block diagrams, respectively, can be implemented by computer program instructions. These computer program instructions may be loaded onto a general purpose computer, special purpose computer, or other programmable data processing apparatus to produce a machine, such that the instructions which execute on the computer or other programmable data processing apparatus create means for implementing the functionality of each block of the block diagrams, or combinations of blocks in the block diagrams discussed in detail in the descriptions below.

These computer program instructions may also be stored in a computer-readable memory that can direct a computer or other programmable data processing apparatus to function in a particular manner, such that the instructions stored in the computer-readable memory produce an article of manufacture including instruction means that implement the function specified in the block or blocks. The computer program instructions may also be loaded onto a computer or other programmable data processing apparatus to cause a series of operational steps to be performed on the computer or other programmable apparatus to produce a computer implemented process such that the instructions that execute on the computer or other programmable apparatus provide steps for implementing the functions specified in the block or blocks.

Accordingly, blocks of the block diagrams support combinations of means for performing the specified functions, combinations of steps for performing the specified functions and program instruction means for performing the specified functions. It will also be understood that each block of the block diagrams, and combinations of blocks in the block diagrams, can be implemented by special purpose hardware-based computer systems that perform the specified functions or steps, or combinations of special purpose hardware and computer instructions.

The inventions may be implemented through an application program running on an operating system of a computer. The inventions also may be practiced with other computer system configurations, including hand-held devices, multiprocessor systems, microprocessor based or programmable consumer electronics, mini-computers, mainframe computers, etc.

Application programs that are components of the invention may include routines, programs, components, data structures, etc. that implement certain abstract data types or perform certain tasks, actions, or tasks. In a distributed computing environment, the application program (in whole or in part) may be located in local memory, or in other storage. In addition, or in the alternative, the application program (in whole or in part) may be located in remote memory or in storage to allow for the practice of the inventions where tasks are performed by remote processing devices linked through a communications network. Exemplary embodiments of the present invention will hereinafter be described with reference to the figures, in which like numerals indicate like elements throughout the several drawings.

FIG. 1 shows a block diagram of a gaming machine 100 for playing an electronic game in accordance with the present invention. In the exemplary embodiment of FIG. 1, the gaming machine 100 includes various electronic components necessary for operation of the gaming machine 100. These components may include a memory storage device 102 such as a flash memory card or hard drive, a computer processor 104, I/O interfaces 106 and a network interface 108. The various functions of the gaming machine 100 discussed herein are controlled by the processor 104 utilizing various software programs stored in the memory storage device 102.

The gaming machine 100 contains one or more I/O interfaces 106. These interfaces may include a display, touch-screen display, microphones, speakers, buttons, mouse, joystick, a keyboard or other user interfaces appreciable by one of ordinary skill in the art. In an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the gaming machine 100 also includes a wager input interface as part of its I/O interfaces 106 through the use of which a player receives game credits available to wager. In an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the wager input interface is a bill acceptor into which a player inserts paper currency and receives credit on the gaming machine 100 for the amount deposited. In an alternate embodiment of the present invention, the wager input interface is a magnetic card reader into which the player places a plastic card magnetically encoded with a monetary value purchased from a cashier's station or vending machine. In still another alternate embodiment of the present invention, the wager input interface is a ticket reader into which the player places a paper ticket bearing an encoded monetary value into the wager input interface and is credited with the monetary value. The wager input interface may also be a coin slot, credit card reader or other means known in the art. Further, the I/O interfaces 106 may also include printers, coin dispensers, ticket dispenser and other such I/O interfaces appreciated by one of ordinary skill capable of dispensing a player's remaining credits and/or winnings (i.e., “cashing out”).

Also included in the gaming machine 100 is a memory storage device 102 where various game data such as winning bingo card patterns or winning poker or blackjack hands and the corresponding pay schedule (i.e., pay tables, which are utilized to determine the value of the awards payable for such patterns or hands) are stored. The memory storage device 102 also stores game software 110 necessary to play a game on the gaming machine 100 and an operating system 112 for use by the computer processor 104 in controlling the various functions of the gaming machine 100, such as the calling of various software routines and operating various system hardware and interfaces such as the I/O interfaces 106 and network interfaces 108.

The memory storage device 102 resides within the gaming machine 100, or, in an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the memory storage device 102 may reside remote from the gaming machine 100. For example, the memory storage device 102, and some or all of its stored content, may reside on a central machine or server where two or more gaming machines 100 are networked together. In such a case, the gaming machine communicates with the central machine or server through a network interface 108. The network interface 108 allows the gaming machine 100 to simply communicate with a transmission portal such as a server or router, and the necessary software program functions could be run remote from the gaming machine 100 all together.

In an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a user may enter wager information utilizing the gaming machine's I/O interface 106. The wager information is stored in the memory storage device 102. Next, the computer processor 104 utilizes an operating system which in turn calls the game program to run the game on the gaming machine 100 as discussed in further detail below in reference to FIGS. 4 and 5.

When a game is over, the user's winnings are determined by the processor 104 running applicable game software. The user may continue to play a new game or the player may “cash out.” When “cashing out,” the processor 104 operates the dispensing of the user's remaining credits and/or winnings. After one user ends his or her play, the gaming machine 100 is reset for another user to begin play.

In an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a number of gaming machines 100 may be in communication with to a server through a network. The network can be a dedicated private network including a LAN, WAN, TI connection, or a public network such as the Internet. The network can also be one which supports any networking protocol including Internet Protocol, FTP, Telnet, TCP/IP, UDP, Point to Point Protocol (PPP), Challenge Handshake Authentication Protocol (CHAP), or other public or private networking protocol. Secured or encrypted network protocols such as secured HTTPS protocol and other secure methods of data transfer over public networks appreciable by one of ordinary skill in the art and/or user ID and password protected log-in security features may also be utilized. In an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the use of a dedicated server allows the gaming machines 100 to be remotely accessed through the Internet or some other network such as a private Intranet, LAN, WAN, TI connection, or other networking configurations appreciable by one of ordinary skill in the art. The requisite architecture for networking a series of games is well known in the art and is not discussed further herein.

In an embodiment of the present invention that utilizes the above described network configuration, a plurality of machines may be networked together in which case a processor and the operational software that implements one or more aspects of the game played on the gaming machine 100 may reside on a central computer or server and control each individual gaming machine 100 in the network.

FIG. 2. depicts a video gaming machine 100 in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. It is noted that the term “gaming machine” may refer to any device, activity or mode of play for gaming (i.e., gambling or redemption), amusement, competition, or other purposes. Additionally, “gaming machine” may refer to a “stand alone” player station or console in which case the outcome of game play is determined locally or part of a server-based network of gaming machines in which case the outcome of game play is centrally determined. The gaming machine 100 includes a cabinet 202 housing a primary display 204 for displaying game events. The primary display 204 may be a mechanical display such as used in traditional slot machines or a video display such as a flat panel LCD as used in electronic games such as video bingo, video slots, video poker, video keno or video blackjack. In one embodiment of the present invention, the gaming machine 100 includes a progressive display 205 for displaying the value of any progressive jackpot that may be available in the case where the gaming machine 100 is part of a network. The gaming machine 100 may also include top glass 207 and belly glass 209 for displaying various information such as game rules or graphics designed to attract players to participate.

Proximate to the primary display 204 are a series of electromechanical buttons 206 positioned on the cabinet for use as a user interface for controlling game play such as selecting a bet amount, commencing play and cashing out. The specific arrangement and function of each of the electromechanical buttons 206 is dependent upon the type of game being played on the gaming machine 100. For example, for a Blackjack game, the electromechanical buttons 206 may include options for placing a bet, cashing out, hitting or standing, doubling down, purchasing insurance and/or splitting. Alternatively, in a poker game, the electromechanical buttons 206 may include options for placing a bet, cashing out and/or designating which cards to keep and which to discard. In one embodiment of the present invention, the primary display 204 is a “touch screen” upon which icons corresponding to some or all of the electromechanical buttons 206 appear. The user can activate the functions associated with the icons by simply touching the appropriate area of the primary display 204 rather than depressing the electromechanical buttons 206.

In one embodiment of the present invention, the gaming machine 100 includes a wager input interface 208, such as a bill acceptor into which a player inserts paper currency and receives credit on the gaming machine 100 for the amount deposited. In alternate embodiments of the present invention, the wager input interface 208 can be a ticket reader or a magnetic card reader into which the player places a ticket or magnetic card encoded with a monetary value purchased from a cashier's station or vending machine.

During play of the gaming machine 100, one of a predefined set of triggering events, such as winning combination (or hand) or a bonus round, may occur, causing the display of said game event on both the display of the gaming machine 100 as well as on a secondary display which is positioned to be viewable by a wide audience of spectators. A trigger event may be predefined to be the occurrence of a particular gaming event during the play of the associated game. For example, a trigger event may be predefined as when a play has a “pocket-pair” combination in a hand of “Texas Hold'em Poker,” or when a player receives an “Ace” during a game of Blackjack. Other events of interest associated with a particular game may be a predefined trigger event. Alternatively, a trigger event may be a win by the player. For example, when the player wins a hand in video poker or another game of skill, a trigger event may be created to show the winning hand (or move). Multiple trigger events may be predefined to allow for multiple captures of gaming events which may be displayed at a later time. For example an instant replay of the winning hand (or move) may require the detection of multiple trigger events (e.g., one to initiate recording of the event and one to indicate a stopping of the recording to show the recorded event).

The components necessary to for the secondary display of the game events shall be referred to herein as the “secondary display server.” FIG. 3 is a block diagram of the secondary display server 300 in accordance with the present invention. In an exemplary embodiment, the secondary display server 300 comprises a secondary display 302 and a standard PC 304. The PC includes a motherboard 306 having a graphics card 308, a network card 310, a computer processor 312 and a memory storage device 314 such as a flash memory card or hard drive. The secondary display 302 is connected to the video output of PC 304 via a standard video cable 316. In an exemplary embodiment, the secondary display 302 is a large screen plasma monitor. Such monitors are extremely thin making them particularly suitable for mounting at an elevation above the gaming machines allowing the secondary display 302 to be viewed by a large audience of individuals. However, the secondary display 302 could, in the alternative, be a CRT, LCD or any other type of display known in the art.

FIG. 4 is a block diagram of a game system 400 providing shared display of game events in accordance with the present invention. The system 400 includes one or more gaming machines 100 networked with the secondary display server 300 through an Ethernet connection 402. Each gaming machine 100 may be located locally or remotely with respect to one another.

During normal play of the gaming machines 100, the computer processor 312 runs a script stored on the memory storage device 314 causing the secondary display 302 to display “attract graphics.” The attract graphics may include, for example, the value of a progressive jackpot, advertisements or graphics from the games played on the gaming machines 100. In an alternative embodiment of the invention, attract graphics may be used in conjunction with the display of the gaming events on the secondary display upon the occurrence of particular triggering events. For example, “fireworks” may be displayed during the display of a winning slot machine combination shown on the secondary display.

Upon some triggering event occurring during play of one of the gaming machines 100, such as a player reaching a bonus round or obtaining a certain hand in a poker or blackjack game, the gaming machine 100 attempts to initiate a connection with the secondary display server 300 using a network protocol such as TCP or UDP. If the secondary display server 300 is not already in the process of displaying a game event from one of the other gaming machines 100, the connection with the secondary display server 300 will succeed indicating that the gaming machine 100 as been “selected” for the display of its game events on the secondary display 302. If the secondary display server 300 is already in the process of displaying a game event from another gaming machine 100, the connection will be rejected.

Upon receiving the acknowledgement of connection from the secondary display server 300 that it has been selected, the gaming machine 100 sends a “start display” message to the secondary display server 300 causing the secondary display server 300 to stop generating the attract graphics on the secondary display 302 and wait for the parameters to be fed across the connection established with the gaming machine 100. In an exemplary embodiment, all data messages sent from the gaming machine 100 to the secondary display server 300 are well-formed Extensible Markup Language (XML) data, although other data formats may be used.

At this point, the gaming machine 100 begins sending XML data to the secondary display server 300, instructing the secondary display server 300 as to which images to display on the secondary display 302. In an exemplary embodiment, the images to be displayed on the secondary display server 300 are stored on the memory storage device 314 of the secondary display server 300 and are generated on the secondary display 302 in accordance with instructions contained in the XML data fragments received from the gaming machine 100. This results in the secondary display 302 mirroring the images displayed on the primary display 204.

Upon the conclusion of the triggering event, the gaming machine 100 sends and “end display” message to the secondary display server 300 causing the secondary display 302 to cease mirroring the game events displayed on the primary display 204. At this point, secondary display server 300 again causes the secondary display 302 to display the attract graphics until the next request for connection is received from a gaming machine 100. In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, game events displayed on the secondary display can be replayed on the secondary display pending receipt by the secondary display server of the nest request for connection from a gaming machine 100.

FIG. 5 shows an exemplary flowchart of the various functions of a gaming machine system in accordance with the present invention. As described with reference to FIG. 5, the player invokes step 501 to initiate game play. First, the player places a wager by inputting currency or a ticket or magnetic card bearing game credits into wager input interface 208 of the gaming machine 100. In an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the gaming machine indicates the amount of money or credit available for the player to bet during play. The player then proceeds indicate the amount to be wagered on a particular play of the game, up to the lesser of the available game credits or the maximum allowable bet on the gaming machine. The player starts play of the game by selecting the appropriate choice among the electromechanical buttons 208.

At the same time the player initiates play of the gaming machine 100 in accordance with step 501, step 502 is invoked in which the computer processor 312 of the secondary display server 300 runs a script stored on the memory storage device 314 causing the secondary display 302 to run in an attract mode, as described above. According to step 504, the secondary display server 300 continues to run in an attract mode until receiving a signal from one of the gaming machines 100 that a bonus round has been triggered.

After the placing of a wager and commencing play of the gaming machine 100, the player interacts with the game in accordance with step 501. For example, if the game being played on the gaming machine 100 is blackjack, the player is dealt cards and subsequently makes decisions whether to stand, hit, double down, split or purchase insurance. Alternatively, if the game is poker, the player is dealt cards and makes decisions to try to achieve the best hand.

According to step 503, if the play of the game on gaming machine 100 initiates a bonus round, step 505 is invoked whereupon the graphics associated with the bonus round are displayed on the primary display 204. Simultaneously, step 507 is invoked in which the gaming machine 100 initiates a connection with the secondary display server 300 as described above. If the secondary display server 300 is not already in the process of displaying a game event from one of the other gaming machines 100, the connection with the secondary display server 300 will succeed indicating that the gaming machine 100 as been “selected” for the display of its game events on the secondary display 302. If the secondary display server 300 is already in the process of displaying a game event from another gaming machine 100, the connection will be rejected and the secondary display 302 of the secondary display server 300 will continue displaying the game events from the other gaming machine 100.

Regardless of whether the connection with the secondary display server 300 succeeds or fails, upon initiation of the bonus round in accordance with step 503 and the display of the bonus round on the primary display 204 in accordance with step 505, the player participates in the bonus round in accordance with step 509. In the event that the connection with the secondary display server 300 has been established in accordance with steps 507 and 504, step 511 is invoked in which the gaming machine 100 sends XML game event packets across the TCP/IP (or UDP) connection established with the secondary display server 300. The secondary display server 300 then processes the XML game packets in accordance with step 506, causing the secondary display 302 to mirror the images being displayed on the primary display 204 of the gaming machine 100.

This process continues until the bonus round terminates in accordance with step 513. This occurrence triggers two events. First, the game played on the gaming machine 100 terminates in accordance with step 515 and the player may begin a new game in accordance with step 501. Second, the gaming machine 100 sends and XML packet to the secondary display server 300 in accordance with step 517, instructing the secondary display server 300 that the bonus round is complete as indicated by step 508. The secondary display server 300 then terminates display of the bonus round on the secondary display 302 in accordance with step 510. The secondary display 302 of the secondary display server 300 then reverts back to the display of the attract mode in accordance with step 502 until the next request for connection is received by a gaming machine 100.

It should be understood that the foregoing descriptions merely relate to illustrative, exemplary embodiments of the invention. Therefore, it should also be understood that various modifications may be made to the exemplary embodiments described herein within the scope of the invention, which will be recognized by one of ordinary skill in the art in light of the disclosure herein. Moreover, it should be understood that exemplary embodiments of the invention, such as those discussed above, can be implemented in various manners and with various techniques, such as but not limited to, manually, automatically, by execution of computer software, by implementation of electronic and/or discrete components, etc., which will also be recognized by one of ordinary skill in the art in light of the disclosure herein.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8795062Aug 26, 2008Aug 5, 2014Aristocrat Technologies Pty LimitedGaming system, a group game controller, a method of displaying an outcome of a group game and a group game display
US20100190549 *Jan 21, 2010Jul 29, 2010Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.Method of executing video game in mobile terminal and system for performing the same
US20100285868 *Feb 20, 2007Nov 11, 2010Wms Gaming Inc.Wagering games with attract package scheduling
WO2008154433A1 *Jun 6, 2008Dec 18, 2008Igt Reno NevDisplaying and using 3d graphics on multiple displays provided for gaming environments
WO2009091444A1 *Nov 21, 2008Jul 23, 2009Lee AmaitisGame with interim betting
Classifications
U.S. Classification463/16, 463/40
International ClassificationA63F9/24
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/32, G07F17/3211
European ClassificationG07F17/32, G07F17/32C2F