Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS20060258426 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/128,993
Publication dateNov 16, 2006
Filing dateMay 13, 2005
Priority dateMay 13, 2005
Publication number11128993, 128993, US 2006/0258426 A1, US 2006/258426 A1, US 20060258426 A1, US 20060258426A1, US 2006258426 A1, US 2006258426A1, US-A1-20060258426, US-A1-2006258426, US2006/0258426A1, US2006/258426A1, US20060258426 A1, US20060258426A1, US2006258426 A1, US2006258426A1
InventorsJerald Seelig, Lawrence Henshaw
Original AssigneeAtlantic City Coin & Slot Service Company, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Gaming device and method of use
US 20060258426 A1
Abstract
The present invention relates to a gaming device and gaming method. The method includes allowing a player to place a wager and play a game of chance. A game outcome is determined. The game outcome can include awarding a prize. If the game outcome includes awarding a prize, a display is activated. A variable prize is determined. The prize is shown on the display to the player. The prize is a multiple of the player's salary. The player's salary is verified and the multiple of the player's salary is awarded to the player. In another embodiment, the prize is substantially equal to the amount of one of the player's debts. The player's debt is verified and the player's debt is paid.
Images(8)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(20)
1. A gaming device comprising:
(A) a housing;
(B) a wager acceptor mounted in the housing, the wager acceptor adapted to accept a wager from a game player;
(C) a display mounted in the housing, the display being configured to communicate a game outcome; and
(D) a controller in communication with the wager acceptor and the display, the controller being adapted to determine the game outcome and to show the game outcome to the game player on the display, the game outcome chosen from the group consisting of:
a. paying a multiple of the game player's salary;
b. paying a game player's debt; and
c. no payout.
2. The gaming device of claim 1 wherein the game player's salary is determined prior to the start of a game.
3. The gaming device of claim 1 further comprising: verifying the game player's salary or debt.
4. The gaming device of claim 1, wherein the game outcome is less than a maximum payout amount.
5. The gaming device of claim 1, wherein the game player is allowed to choose the game outcome from a plurality of possible game outcomes.
6. The gaming device of claim 1, wherein the game player's debt is chosen from the group consisting of:
a. credit card debt;
b. mortgage debt;
c. student loan debt;
d. auto loan debt;
e. boat loan debt;
f. recreational vehicle loan debt;
g. medical debt; and
h. another debt of the players choice.
7. A gaming method comprising, but not necessarily in the order shown:
(A) allowing a player to place a wager and play a game of chance;
(B) determining a game outcome;
(C) if the game outcome comprises awarding a prize:
(a) activating a display;
(b) determining a variable prize;
(c) showing the prize on the display to the player, the prize being a multiple of the player's salary;
(d) verifying the player's salary; and
(e) awarding the prize to the player.
8. The gaming method of claim 7, wherein the prize is less than a predetermined maximum amount.
9. The gaming method claim 7, wherein the game of chance is a bonus game.
10. A gaming method comprising, but not necessarily in the order shown:
(A) allowing a player to place a wager and play a game of chance;
(B) determining a game outcome;
(C) if the game outcome comprises awarding a prize:
(a) determining an amount of at least one of the player's debts; and
(b) awarding the prize to the player, the prize being substantially equal to the amount of the player's debt.
11. The gaming method of claim 10, wherein the prize is less than a predetermined maximum amount.
12. The gaming method of claim 10, wherein the player's debt is chosen from the group consisting of:
a. credit card debt;
b. mortgage debt;
c. student loan debt;
d. auto loan debt;
e. boat loan debt;
f. recreational vehicle loan debt;
g. medical debt; and
h. another debt of the players choice.
13. A gaming method comprising, but not necessarily in the order shown:
(A) allowing a player to place a wager and play a first game of chance;
(B) determining a first game outcome, the first game outcome comprising a prize qualifying event;
(C) if the first game outcome comprises the prize qualifying event:
(a) determining the player's salary; and
(b) awarding a multiple of the player's salary to the player.
14. The gaming method of claim 13, wherein the prize is less than a pre-determined maximum amount.
15. A gaming method comprising, but not necessarily in the order shown:
(A) allowing a player to place a wager and play a first game of chance;
(B) determining a first game outcome;
(c) if the first game outcome comprises the prize qualifying event:
(a) activating a display;
(b) determining a prize, the prize being substantially equal to the amount of at least one of the player's debts;
(c) showing the prize to the player;
(d) verifying at least one of the player's debts; and
(e) paying at least one of the player's debts.
16. The gaming method of claim 15, wherein the prize is less than a pre-determined maximum amount.
17. The gaming method of claim 15, wherein the player's debts are chosen from the group consisting of:
a. credit card debt;
b. mortgage debt;
c. student loan debt;
d. auto loan debt;
e. boat loan debt;
f. recreational vehicle loan debt;
g. medical debt; and
h. another debt of the players choice.
18. The gaming method of claim 15, wherein the player is allowed to choose one of the debts to be paid.
19. The gaming method of claim 15, wherein the player is allowed to choose a plurality of debts to be paid.
20. The gaming method of claim 15, wherein the player selects and registers a debt to be paid before the start of the game.
Description
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to gaming devices, and methods of use. More specifically, the gaming device awards a large variable prize such as paying a multiple of the game player's salary or a multiple of the game player's debt. The game may require verification of the amount to be paid.

BACKGROUND

Gaming Devices

Gaming devices are well known in the art and a large variety of gaming devices have been developed. In general, gaming devices allow users or players to play a game. In many casino-type gaming devices, the outcome of the game depends, at least in part, on a randomly generated event. For example, a gaming device may use a random number generator to generate a random or pseudo-random number. The random number may then be compared to a predefined table to determine the outcome of the event. If the random number falls within a certain range of numbers on the table, the player may win a predefined prize. The table may also contain display information that allows the gaming device to generate a display that corresponds to the outcome of the game. The gaming device may present the outcome of the game on a large variety of display devices, such as mechanical spinning reels or video screens.

One problem with a typical mechanical reel slot machine is that in general they all look the same. Typically, the only difference between mechanical reels from one gaming machine to another is the look of the indicia that are mounted on the perimeter of the reels. This similarity between gaming machines can lead to these machines being ignored by game players and to player boredom, resulting in less revenue to the casino operator.

Bonus Prizes

Some gaming devices award bonuses in addition to prizes that are awarded in the primary game. A bonus can be defined as an additional prize that is awarded to the player when a predefined event occurs. An example of a bonus game can be found in U.S. Pat. No. 5,848,932 issued to Adams. One of the gaming devices described in this document comprises three spinning reels and a spinning wheel bonus display. When predetermined indicia are displayed on the spinning reels of the primary game, the wheel can be activated to indicate a bonus prize. The bonus prize is awarded in addition to any prizes awarded in the primary game.

Generally, bonus prizes are offered in such games in order to increase the excitement and enjoyment experienced by players. This attracts more players to the game and encourages players to play longer. When gaming devices attract more players and the players play longer, they tend to be more commercially successful relative to other gaming devices.

Gaming devices that are a well-known theme or that an average game player can readily relate to tend to be more commercially successful relative to other gaming devices.

Payoff Amounts

Generally, gaming devices have payouts that are in the range of 1 to 1000 units of the player's wager. For example, if a player placed a $2 dollar wager a game winning payout amount could be $50. Unfortunately, gaming devices often have payouts that are relatively low. For example, a $2 dollar wager may only result in a game winning payout amount of $4 dollars. Such low payout amounts can lead to player boredom and reduced playing time. Therefore resulting in lower revenue for the game operator.

What is needed is a gaming device that can provide large payout amounts and that can provide the payout amount in a manner that a game player can readily associate with in a desirable manner.

SUMMARY OF ONE EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION

Advantages of One or More Embodiments of the Present Invention

The various embodiments of the present invention may, but do not necessarily, achieve one or more of the following advantages:

the ability to provide game players with a more exciting and desirable gaming experience;

the ability to attract more patrons to play a game;

provide longer play times and a greater payout possibility for a player;

provide greater revenues for gaming operators;

provide a gaming device that utilizes a visually appealing and highly visible display device;

provide a gaming device that may allow a player to payoff a mortgage;

provide a gaming device that may allow a player to payoff a debt;

provide a gaming device that may allow a player to collect a multiple of their salary; and

provide a variety of ways to indicate a game outcome.

These and other advantages may be realized by reference to the remaining portions of the specification, claims, and abstract.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF ONE EMBODIMENT OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

In certain embodiments, the present invention relates to a gaming device that includes a housing having a wager acceptor. The wager acceptor accepts a wager from a game player. A display is mounted in the housing. The display is configured to communicate a game outcome. A controller is in communication with the wager acceptor and the display. The controller is adapted to determine the game outcome and to show the game outcome to the game player on the display. The game outcome is chosen from the group of paying a multiple of the game player's salary, paying a game player's debt and no payout.

In other embodiments, the present invention relates to a gaming method. The method includes allowing a player to place a wager and play a game of chance. A game outcome is determined. The game outcome includes awarding a prize. If the game outcome includes awarding a prize, a display is activated. A variable prize is determined. The prize is shown on the display to the player. The prize is a multiple of the player's salary. The player's salary is verified and the prize is awarded to the player.

In other embodiments, the present invention relates to a gaming method. The method includes allowing a player to place a wager and play a game of chance. A game outcome is determined. The game outcome includes awarding a prize. If the game outcome includes awarding a prize, a display is activated. A variable prize is determined. The prize is shown on the display to the player. The prize is substantially equal to the amount of at least one of the player's debts. The player's debt is verified and the prize is awarded to the player.

The above description sets forth, rather broadly, a summary of one embodiment of the present invention so that the detailed description that follows may be better understood and contributions of the present invention to the art may be better appreciated. Some of the embodiments of the present invention may not include all of the features or characteristics listed in the above summary. There are, of course, additional features of the invention that will be described below and will form the subject matter of claims. In this respect, before explaining at least one preferred embodiment of the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of the construction and to the arrangement of the components set forth in the following description or as illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein are for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is substantially a front view of a gaming device of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is substantially a schematic diagram of the gaming device of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is substantially a flowchart of a gaming method of the present invention using the gaming device of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is substantially a front view of an alternative embodiment of a gaming device of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is substantially a schematic diagram of the gaming device of FIG. 4.

FIG. 6 is substantially a flowchart of a gaming method of the present invention using the gaming device of FIG. 4.

FIG. 7 is substantially a flowchart of an alternative gaming method of the present invention using the gaming device of FIG. 4.

DESCRIPTION OF CERTAIN EMBODIMENTS OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

In the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments, reference is made to the accompanying drawings, which form a part of this application. The drawings show, by way of illustration, specific embodiments in which the invention may be practiced. It is to be understood that other embodiments may be utilized and structural changes may be made without departing from the scope of the present invention.

In the Detailed Description below, the applicants utilize various spatially orienting terms such as “upper,” “lower,” “horizontal,” and “vertical.” It is to be understood that these terms are used for ease of description of the preferred embodiments with respect to the drawings but are not necessarily in themselves limiting or requiring of an orientation as thereby described in the following Detailed Description.

Game Apparatus

Referring to FIG. 1, one embodiment disclosed herein comprises a gaming device, generally indicated by reference number 10. Gaming device 10 comprises a primary game apparatus 20 and a bonus game apparatus 40. Bonus game 40 may comprise a display device 50. Game apparatus 20 may be any of a large number of devices that are adapted to allow players to play a game. For example, game apparatus 20 may utilize reel displays, such as spinning reels 22-24 and a pay-line 29 or a video display (not shown), to display outcomes of the game. Means may also be provided for accepting wagers or a wager acceptor, such as a coin slot 21 or card reader 25, and for awarding prizes, such as a coin dispenser 27. A handle 26 and button 28 are provided for activating game apparatus 20 to begin a game. In at least one preferred embodiment, game apparatus 20 may be an S2000 model gaming device manufactured by International Game Technology in Reno, Nev.

Game apparatus 20 is preferably controlled by an electronic controller 82 (see FIG. 2) that utilizes a random number generator. The random number generator produces a random or pseudo random number for each game. The outcome of the game may be determined by comparing the random number to a table of outcomes stored in a memory and accessed by controller 82. A number of different tables of outcomes may be used and different tables may be used for different games. The tables can be designed so that different prizes have different probabilities of being awarded. Such design techniques are well known in gaming. Examples of such designs are shown in U.S. Pat. No. 4,448,419, issued to Telnaes, and U.S. Pat. No. 5,456,465, issued to Durham. Controller 82 causes spinning reels 22-24 of the video display to show the outcome of the game that corresponds to the outcome of the random number generator. It is recognized that game apparatus 20 may operate in many other ways and still achieve the objects of the present invention.

Game apparatus 20 may also be capable of producing a bonus-activating event. This event may be many different types of events. For example, a bonus-activating event may comprise displaying a particular symbol, such as a “bonus” symbol, or combination of symbols, such as three “7” symbols, on reels 22-24. If the game being played is poker based, the bonus-activating event may be occurrence of a certain hand, such as a royal flush. Furthermore, a bonus-activating event may occur when a player accumulates a number of symbols or game outcomes over a number of separate game plays. For example, a bonus-activating event may occur when the player receives three “bonus” symbols during a period of time. The bonus-activating event may be based on an external event. For example, a bonus-activating event may occur when a group of players obtain a certain result.

Salary Prize

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, bonus game apparatus 40 is shown. Bonus game apparatus 40 is adapted to display and award a variable prize. Bonus game apparatus 40 is adapted to display and award a prize that is a multiple of the game player's wages or salary. Bonus game apparatus 40 is mounted on top of gaming device 20. Bonus game apparatus 40 can also be mounted in other locations, such as beside or below gaming device 20. While game apparatus 40 is shown as a bonus game, game apparatus 40 can also be played as a primary game and award a salary related prize as the primary prize.

Bonus game apparatus 40 has a housing 42 with an interior cavity 43. A front panel 44 covers the front of housing 42. Front panel 44 can have attractive and entertaining graphics applied thereon. Housing 42 can be made from many different materials such as metal or plastic and can include decorative coverings or attachments and lights. A player input device 38 can be mounted in housing 42. Player input device 38 can be a button or handle or rotary knob. Player input device 38 can allow a game player to control some aspect of bonus game apparatus 40. A display 110 can be used to display prizes won on bonus game apparatus 40.

Bonus game apparatus 40 can have a display device 50. Display device 50 may utilize a conventional reel display, such as spinning reels 52, 54 and 56 to display outcomes of the game. Display device 50 can utilize any suitable display, such as video displays or rotating wheels and pointers or prize balls in order to show the outcome of the game.

Reels 52-56 can have prize symbols or indicia 90 mounted thereon. A pay-line 60 can be used to indicate which indicia 90 show a prize. Prize symbols 90 can indicate the game outcome of bonus game apparatus 40. When three of the same symbols 90 are aligned with pay-line 60, a prize can be awarded to the player.

Prize symbol 90 can be a variety of indicia. For example, prize symbol 90 can indicate a player's salary multiplier amount such as two times their salary (2×), five times their salary (5×) or ten times their salary (10×). For example, if all three reels 52-56 were the same or matched to show 5× aligned with payline 60, then the game player would win an amount equal to 5 times their annual salary. The game player's prize can be displayed on display 110. In another example, if none of the symbols 90 on the reels 52-56 matched, then no prize would be awarded.

In another embodiment the prize awarded could be combination of a fixed monetary award and a variable award that is a multiple of the game player's salary. In another embodiment the prize awarded could be combination of a randomly determined award and a variable award that is a multiple of the game player's salary. For example, a game prize could combine a progressive jackpot payout along with a multiple of the game player's salary.

Of course, the player's salary would have to be verified or confirmed before the prize or award was paid. The player's salary can be verified by any means possible. For example, the player may be required to produce a paycheck or pay stub from their employer. The player could also be required to produce payroll records, such as federal W2 statements. In the case of self employed individuals, the player could be required to provide IRS tax records such as an income tax return form 1040 in order to verify the amount of their salary. In the case of retired individuals, the player could be required to provide pension or annuity records or social security payment records in order to verify the amount of their salary.

After the player's salary has been verified, the prize can be awarded or paid. Since determining and verifying the player's salary would typically require a time period, it is contemplated that any prizes would be paid several days or weeks after the prize has been displayed by bonus game apparatus 40.

In order to define a game operator's maximum payout and satisfy regulatory requirements, a maximum payout for bonus game 40 would be pre-determined. In an embodiment, this maximum payout amount can be posted on the bonus gaming apparatus. In FIG. 1, the maximum payout 92 is shown as 1 million dollars.

Turning now to FIG. 2, bonus game apparatus 40 comprises a controller 76 that is adapted to control the operation of the game apparatus. Controller 76 may be one or more computers or processor boards. For example, in the presently implemented embodiment, controller 76 comprises a bonus controller and stepper motor controller, a sound board which may be obtained from Cleverdevices in Syosset, N.Y. Other, equally suitable devices may be purchased from other manufacturers. It is recognized that controller 76 may be a single processor or processor board. Furthermore, it is also recognized that controller 76 and controller 82 may be combined in a single processor or processor board.

Controller 76 is adapted to detect when a bonus activating event occurs in game apparatus 20. This may be accomplished by game apparatus controller 82 transmitting a signal to controller 76 that a bonus event has occurred. For example, controller 82 may determine the outcome of each game and when a bonus-activating outcome occurs, it transmits a signal to controller 76. Alternatively, controller 76 may periodically interrogate controller 82. In another embodiment, one or more sensors may be provided for determining if a bonus activating event has occurred. For example, sensors 84-86 may sense the positions of reels 22-24. When reels 22-24 are in a bonus activating position, controller 76 would sense this position and begin a bonus sequence (described below). Sensors may also be provided external to gaming device 10 to detect external bonus-activating events.

Controller 82 may also transmit a variety of information to controller 76. For example, controller 82 may signal when coins or currency have been inserted, when a game starts, when an error has occurred, and when a sensor detects tampering.

When controller 76 detects a bonus-activating event, it may begin a bonus sequence by activating display 110. Display 110 may comprise many different kinds of display devices, such as video screens, lights, light emitting diodes, etc. Display 110 may comprise its own controller that is adapted to generate a variety of displays.

Display 110 may indicate that a player has qualified for a bonus round and prompt the player to perform an action. In an embodiment, the player is prompted to activate the bonus sequence by pressing input device 38. Input device 38 may be a simple button, a keyboard, or a touch screen display. In the embodiment in which the player must accumulate a number of bonus symbols to qualify for a bonus, display 110 may indicate the number of symbols the player has received.

When controller 76 detects input device 38 being activated, the controller would activate reels 52, 54 and 56 causing them to begin to rotate or spin. Reels 52, 54, and 56 would be rotated, controlled and stopped by stepper motors (not shown) as is known in the art.

Alternatively, reels 52-56 may begin to rotate automatically after the detection of a bonus qualifying event. In another embodiment, controller 76 may wait a predetermined time period for the player to activate input device 38. If the player does not activate input device 38 in that time period, controller 76 would automatically activate display device 50 and initiate the display sequence.

Controller 76 performs a routine to determine which prize symbols 90 will be displayed. This may be performed by a number of methods that are well known in the art.

In one embodiment, prize symbols 90 are randomly selected. Controller 76 generates a random number and then compares the random number to a pay table similar to that described for game apparatus 20 or as described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,823,874, issued to Adams. A simple pay table may appear as follows:

TABLE 1
Random Amount
Number Prize Paid
0.00 to 0.95 No Prize $0.00
0.95 to 0.98 1X 1 times
players salary
0.99 to 0.995 2X 2 times
players salary
0.996 to 1.00 5X 5 times
players salary

For example, if the random number generator produced 0.65, reels 52-56 would display different prize symbols 90 on pay-line 60 and no prize would be awarded to the player. If the random number generator produced 0.97, reels 52-56 would display prize symbols showing 1× on pay-line 60.

This embodiment is not necessarily limited to the example pay table shown. A greater number of prizes may be used. Furthermore, different kinds of prizes, besides monetary prizes, may be awarded. For example, a player could be awarded a percentage of their salary. As an example a player could be awarded 25% of their salary and a vacation. At least a portion of the prizes may be goods, services, or additional games. The goods and services may be awarded in the form of physical objects, tickets, vouchers, coupons, etc. Additional games may be presented in the form of tickets, such as scratch off lottery tickets. In the embodiments in which tickets, vouchers, and coupons are used, the objects are dispensed using an internally or externally mounted dispenser 111. Such dispensers are well known in the art.

Once controller 76 determines the prize symbol 90 to be displayed on reels 52-54 and the prize to be awarded, the controller 76 moves reels 52-54 to the proper position where they are stopped. Any prizes won are indicated by pay-line 60 and displayed on display 110.

Sensors 62, 64 and 66 may be provided for sensing the positions of reels 52, 54 and 56. Sensors 62-66 may also monitor the position of reels 52-56. If the reels 52-56 are out of position, controller 76 may enter an error mode. Sensors 62-66 may be any suitable type of sensor.

Controller 76 may then cause display 110 to display the prize, if any, that the player has won. Other effects may also be presented, such as pre-recorded sound from speakers or flashing lights. If the actual prize is a multiple of the player's salary, an attendant would be summoned and further verification and confirmation of the player's salary would occur prior to payment of the prize.

It is also possible to replace the primary display of a gaming device with display device 50. Game apparatus 20 may be entirely replaced by display device 50. In other words bonus gaming apparatus 40 can be used as a primary or base game apparatus.

It is also possible to network or link several gaming machines 10 into an array or progressive combination of multiple gaming devices. This may allow for higher payouts on bonus game apparatus 40.

Game Play Flow Chart

Referring now to FIG. 3, a flowchart of a game play 200 is shown using gaming device 10 is shown. At step 202, a player preferably initiates game play 200 by placing a wager on gaming device 10. The wager may be in form of cash or credit from actual domestic or foreign currency, vouchers, coupons, tickets, electronic cards, and other sources or forms of wagers known in the art. Once the player initiates game play 200, the player may play a base game on the gaming apparatus at step 204. At step 206, the controller (not shown) detects the occurrence of a bonus-activating event. If the controller does not detect a bonus-activating event, then the controller notifies the player of the game outcome from the base game at step 208. The player may place a wager again and repeat steps 204 and 206 to continue playing a game on the base gaming apparatus.

If the controller detects a bonus-activating event, the controller activates bonus game apparatus 40 at step 210. Alternatively, the controller may wait until button 38 is depressed before starting bonus game apparatus 40. The controller then randomly determines the outcome of the bonus game at step 212. The controller detects the occurrence of the game outcome at step 214. If the game outcome is not a prize winning outcome, then the controller displays the game outcome on reels 52-54 and display 110 at step 216. The outcome of the base game is shown to the player at step 208. The player may place a wager again and repeat steps 204 and 206 to continue playing a game on the base gaming apparatus.

If the game outcome is a prize winning outcome, the controller displays the game outcome on reels 52-56 and display 110 at step 218. A prize winning outcome would be shown as three identical symbols 90 aligned along pay-line 60 of reels 52-56. The player's salary or wages are confirmed or verified at step 220. The player's salary or wages can be confirmed or verified by any suitable means possible. For example, the player may have to present a paycheck or income tax return. It is contemplated that no prizes would be paid until after income verification has been completed.

The multiple amount of the game player's salary is awarded at step 222. In an embodiment, the payment of the multiple amount of the game player's salary can be made by check. Alternatively, the payment of the multiple amount of the game player's salary could be made by wire transfer or by cash.

In an embodiment, the game player may be required to register with the game operator prior to playing the game. The registration process can include the game player providing documentation of their salary or earnings. The salary can be confirmed or verified prior to the start of game play. Registering players before commencement of a game is desirable for play during a tournament. Registration can also speed up the award payment process and allow the game operator to calculate possible prize amounts that may be awarded.

The steps shown in the flowchart do not necessarily imply that the steps have to take place in a particular order. The order of steps may be varied; some steps may be eliminated; and, some steps may be replaced with other steps. Such variations still fall within the scope of the invention.

Loan Payoff

Referring to FIGS. 4 and 5, a gaming device, generally indicated by reference number 300 is shown. Gaming device 300 comprises a primary game apparatus 20 and a bonus game apparatus 340. Bonus game 340 may comprise a display device 350.

Game apparatus 20 is the same as game apparatus 20 previously shown and described in FIGS. 1 and 2.

Bonus game apparatus 340 is adapted to display and award a variable prize. Bonus game apparatus 340 is adapted to display and award a variable prize that is a payoff of one or more of a game player's debts. The debts paid off can be any debts that the game player has.

While game apparatus 340 is shown as a bonus game, game apparatus 340 can also be played as a stand alone primary game and award a loan or debt related prize as the primary prize.

Bonus game apparatus 340 is mounted on top of gaming device 20. Bonus game apparatus 340 can also be mounted in other locations, such as beside or below gaming device 20.

Bonus game apparatus 340 has a housing 42 with an interior cavity 43. A front panel 44 covers the front of housing 42. Front panel 44 can have attractive and entertaining graphics applied thereon. Housing 42 can be made from many different materials such as metal or plastic and can include decorative coverings or attachments and lights. A player input device 38 can be mounted in housing 42. Player input device 38 can be a button or handle or rotary knob. Player input device 38 can allow a game player to control some aspect of bonus game apparatus 340. A display 110 can be used to display prizes won on bonus game apparatus 340.

Bonus game apparatus 340 can have a display device 350. Display device 350 may utilize a conventional reel display, such as spinning reels 352, 354 and 356 to display outcomes of the game. Display device 350 can utilize any suitable display, such as video displays or rotating wheels and pointers or prize balls in order to show the outcome of the game.

Reels 352-356 can have prize symbols or indicia 390 mounted thereon. A pay-line 60 can be used to indicate which indicia 390 show a prize. Prize symbols 390 can indicate the game outcome of bonus game apparatus 340. When three of the same symbols 390 are aligned with pay-line 60, a prize can be awarded to the player.

Prize symbols 390 can be a variety of indicia. For example, prize symbol 391 shown as a house can indicate a player's mortgage or home loan debt is to be paid off for the player. Prize symbol 392 shown as a car can indicate a player's car loan or car debt is to be paid off for the player. Prize symbol 393 shown as a credit card can indicate a player's credit card balance or credit card debt is to be paid off for the player. Prize symbol 394 shown as a student loan can indicate a player's student loan balance or student loan debt is to be paid off for the player.

Prize symbol 395 shown as bills can indicate other player loans or debts to be paid off for the player. For example, prize symbol 395 could indicate payment of medical bills or other debts that the game player may have.

Prize symbol 396 shown as pick your debt can indicate the game player would be allowed to pick one or more of their debts to be paid on their behalf. For example, the game player could choose to have their auto loan and credit card debts paid for them.

For example, as shown in FIG. 4, if all three reels 352-356 were the same or matched to show prize symbols 391 aligned with payline 60, then the game player would win a prize that pays off their home mortgage. The game player's prize can be displayed on display 110. In another example, if none of the symbols 390 on the reels 352-356 matched, then no prize would be awarded.

Of course, the amount of the player's debt would have to be verified or confirmed before the prize or award was paid. The player's debt can be verified by any means possible. For example, if the prize is a mortgage payoff, the player may be required to produce a statement or certificate from their bank showing the remaining balance on their house mortgage. The mortgage payoff prize could be paid directly to the mortgage or loan institution or could be paid directly to the game player.

If the prize is a car loan payoff, the player may be required to produce a statement or certificate from their bank showing the remaining balance on their car loan. The car loan payoff prize could be paid directly to the loan institution or could be paid directly to the game player.

If the prize is a credit card balance payoff, the player may be required to produce a statement or certificate from their credit card company showing the remaining balance on their credit cards. The credit card payoff prize could be paid directly to the credit card institution or could be paid directly to the game player

Similarly, for any other debts that the game player could have paid for them, the player may be required to produce a statement or certificate verifying the amount of the debt to be paid.

In the example where the game player is allowed to select the debt to be paid, the player would be required to produce a statement or certificate from their debt holder showing the remaining balance of their loan or debt. Examples of other types of debt may be student loans, boat loans, medical bills and recreational vehicle loans.

The game operator may directly contact the debt holder to verify the debt.

After the player's debt has been verified, the prize can be awarded or paid. Since determining and verifying the player's debt would typically require a period of time, it is contemplated that any prizes would be paid several days or weeks after the prize has been displayed by bonus game apparatus 340.

In order to define a game operator's maximum payout and satisfy regulatory requirements, a maximum payout for bonus game 340 would be pre-determined. In an embodiment this maximum payout amount can be posted on the bonus gaming apparatus. In FIG. 1, the maximum payout 92 is shown as 1 million dollars.

Turning now to FIG. 5, bonus game apparatus 340 comprises a controller 76 that is adapted to control the operation of the game apparatus. Controller 76 may be one or more computers or processor boards. For example, in the presently implemented embodiment, controller 76 comprises a bonus controller and stepper motor controller, a sound board which may be obtained from Cleverdevices in Syosset, N.Y. Other, equally suitable devices may be purchased from other manufacturers. It is recognized that controller 76 may be a single processor or processor board. Furthermore, it is also recognized that controller 76 and controller 82 may be combined in a single processor or processor board.

Controller 76 is adapted to detect when a bonus activating event occurs in game apparatus 20. This may be accomplished by game apparatus controller 82 transmitting a signal to controller 76 that a bonus event has occurred. For example, controller 82 may determine the outcome of each game and when a bonus-activating outcome occurs, it transmits a signal to controller 76. Alternatively, controller 76 may periodically interrogate controller 82. In another embodiment, one or more sensors may be provided for determining if a bonus activating event has occurred. For example, sensors 84-86 may sense the positions of reels 22-24. When reels 22-24 are in a bonus activating position, controller 76 would sense this position and begin a bonus sequence (described below). Sensors may also be provided external to gaming device 10 to detect external bonus-activating events.

Controller 82 may also transmit a variety of information to controller 76. For example, controller 82 may signal when coins or currency have been inserted, when a game starts, when an error has occurred, and when a sensor detects tampering.

When controller 76 detects a bonus-activating event, it may begin a bonus sequence by activating display 110. Display 110 may comprise many different kinds of display devices, such as video screens, lights, light emitting diodes, etc. Display 110 may comprise its own controller that is adapted to generate a variety of displays.

Display 110 may indicate that a player has qualified for a bonus round and prompt the player to perform an action. In one embodiment, the player is prompted to activate the bonus sequence by pressing input device 38. Input device 38 may be a simple button, a keyboard, or a touch screen display. In the embodiment in which the player must accumulate a number of bonus symbols to qualify for a bonus, display 110 may indicate the number of symbols the player has received.

When controller 76 detects input device 38 being activated, the controller would activate reels 352, 354 and 356 causing them to begin to rotate or spin. Reels 352, 354, and 356 would be rotated, controlled and stopped by stepper motors (not shown) as is known in the art.

Alternatively, reels 352-356 may begin to rotate automatically after the detection of a bonus qualifying event. In another embodiment, controller 76 may wait a predetermined time period for the player to activate input device 38. If the player does not activate input device 38 in that time period, controller 76 would automatically activate display device 350 and initiate the display sequence.

Controller 76 performs a routine to determine which prize symbols 390 will be displayed. This may be performed by a number of methods that are well known in the art.

In one embodiment, prize symbols 390 are randomly selected. Controller 76 generates a random number and then compares the random number to a pay table similar to that described for game apparatus 20 or as described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,823,874, issued to Adams. A simple pay table may appear as follows:

TABLE 1
Random Amount
Number Prize Paid
0.00 to 0.95 No Prize $0.00
0.95 to 0.98 Credit Card Credit Card
Payoff Balance
0.99 to 0.995 Car Loan Amount of
Payoff Car Loan
0.996 to 1.00 Mortgage Amount of
Payoff Mortgage

For example, if the random number generator produced 0.65, reels 352-356 would display different prize symbols 390 on pay-line 60 and no prize would be awarded to the player. If the random number generator produced 0.97, reels 352-356 would display prize symbols 393 showing credit cards on pay-line 60.

This embodiment is not necessarily limited to the example pay table shown. A greater number of prizes may be used. Furthermore, different kinds of prizes may be awarded. For example, a player could be awarded a percentage of their debt. As an example a player could be awarded 25% of their debt and a vacation. At least a portion of the prizes may be goods, services, or additional games. The goods and services may be awarded in the form of physical objects, tickets, vouchers, coupons, etc. Additional games may be presented in the form of tickets, such as scratch off lottery tickets. In the embodiments in which tickets, vouchers, and coupons are used, the objects are dispensed using an internally or externally mounted dispenser 111. Such dispensers are well known in the art.

Once controller 76 determines the prize symbol 390 to be displayed on reels 352-356 and the prize to be awarded, the controller 76 moves reels 352-356 to the proper position where they are stopped. Any prizes won are indicated by pay-line 60 and displayed on display 110.

Sensors 62, 64 and 66 may be provided for sensing the positions of reels 352, 354 and 356. Sensors 62-66 may also monitor the position of reels 352-356. If the reels 352-356 are out of position, controller 76 may enter an error mode. Sensors 62-66 may be any suitable type of sensor.

Controller 76 may then cause display 110 to display the prize, if any, that the player has won. Other effects may also be presented, such as pre-recorded sound from speakers or flashing lights. If the actual prize is the amount of the player's debt, an attendant would be summoned and further verification and confirmation of the player's debt would occur prior to payment of the prize.

It is also possible to replace the primary display of a gaming device with display device 350. Game apparatus 20 may be entirely replaced by display device 350. In other words bonus gaming apparatus 340 can be used as a primary or base game apparatus.

It is also possible to network or link several gaming machines 300 into an array or progressive combination of multiple gaming devices. This may allow for higher payouts on bonus game apparatus 340.

Game Play Flow Chart

Referring now to FIG. 6, a flowchart of a game play 400 is shown using gaming device 300. At step 402, a player preferably initiates game play 400 by placing a wager on gaming device 300. The wager may be in form of cash or credit from actual domestic or foreign currency, vouchers, coupons, tickets, electronic cards, and other sources or forms of wagers known in the art. Once the player initiates game play 400, the player may play a base game on the gaming apparatus at step 404. At step 406, the controller (not shown) detects the occurrence of a bonus-activating event. If the controller does not detect a bonus-activating event, then the controller notifies the player of the game outcome from the base game at step 408. The player may place a wager again and repeat steps 404 and 406 to continue playing a game on the base gaming apparatus.

If the controller detects a bonus-activating event, the controller activates bonus game apparatus 340 at step 410. Alternatively, the controller may wait until button 38 is depressed before starting bonus game apparatus 340. The controller then randomly determines the outcome of the bonus game at step 412. The controller detects the occurrence of the game outcome at step 414. If the game outcome is not a prize winning outcome, then the controller displays the game outcome on reels 352-356 and display 110 at step 416. The outcome of the base game is shown to the player at step 408. The player may place a wager again and repeat steps 404 and 406 to continue playing a game on the base gaming apparatus.

If the game outcome is a prize winning outcome, then the controller displays the game outcome on reels 352-356 and display 10 at step 418. A prize winning outcome would be shown as three identical symbols 390 aligned along pay-line 60 of reels 352-356. The player's debts or debts are confirmed or verified at step 420. The player's debts can be confirmed or verified by any suitable means possible. For example, the player may have to present documentation from their bank or Credit Card Company. It is contemplated that no prizes would be paid until after debt verification has been completed.

The amount of the game player's debt is awarded at step 422. In an embodiment, the payment of the game player's debt can be made by check or wire transfer to the holder of the game players debt. Alternatively, the payment of the amount of the game player's debt could be made directly to the game player.

In one embodiment, the game player may be required to register with the game operator prior to playing the game. The registration process can include the game player providing a listing of their debts and appropriate documentation. The debts can be confirmed or verified prior to the start of game play. Registering players before commencement of a game is desirable for play during a tournament. Registration can also speed up the award payment process and allow the game operator to calculate possible prize amounts that may be awarded.

The steps shown in the flowchart do not necessarily imply that the steps have to take place in a particular order. The order of steps may be varied; some steps may be eliminated; and, some steps may be replaced with other steps. Such variations still fall within the scope of the invention.

Alternative Game Play Flow Chart

Referring now to FIG. 7, a flowchart of an alternative game play 500 is shown using gaming device 300. Game play 500 allows a game player to choose which debt they want to have paid. At step 502, a player preferably initiates game play 500 by placing a wager on gaming device 300. The wager may be in form of cash or credit from actual domestic or foreign currency, vouchers, coupons, tickets, electronic cards, and other sources or forms of wagers known in the art. Once the player initiates game play 500, the player may play a base game on the gaming apparatus at step 504. At step 506, the controller (not shown) detects the occurrence of a bonus-activating event. If the controller does not detect a bonus-activating event, then the controller notifies the player of the game outcome from the base game at step 508. The player may place a wager again and repeat steps 504 and 506 to continue playing a game on the base gaming apparatus.

If the controller detects a bonus-activating event, the controller activates bonus game apparatus 340 at step 510. Alternatively, the controller may wait until button 38 is depressed before starting bonus game apparatus 340. The controller then randomly determines the outcome of the bonus game at step 512. The controller detects the occurrence of the game outcome at step 514. If the game outcome is not a prize winning outcome, then the controller displays the game outcome on reels 352-356 and display 110 at step 516. The outcome of the base game is shown to the player at step 508. The player may place a wager again and repeat steps 504 and 506 to continue playing a game on the base gaming apparatus.

If the game outcome is a prize winning outcome, then the controller displays the game outcome on reels 352-356 and display 110 at step 518. A prize winning outcome would be shown as three identical symbols 390 aligned along pay-line 60 of reels 352-356. Reels 352-356 would show that the game player can select which debt they would like to be paid. For example, reels 352-356 may display three prize symbols 396 aligned with pay-line 60. The player is allowed to select which one or more of their debts are to be paid at step 520. The player's debt or debts are confirmed or verified at step 522. The player's debts can be confirmed or verified by any suitable means possible. For example, the player may have to present documentation from their bank or Credit Card Company. It is contemplated that no prizes would be paid until after debt verification has been completed.

The amount of the game player's debt is awarded at step 524. In an embodiment, the payment of the game player's debt can be made by check or wire transfer to the holder of the game players debt. Alternatively, the payment of the amount of the game player's debt could be made directly to the game player.

The steps shown in the flowchart do not necessarily imply that the steps have to take place in a particular order. The order of steps may be varied; some steps may be eliminated; and, some steps may be replaced with other steps. Such variations still fall within the scope of the invention.

Although the description above contains many specifications, these should not be construed as limiting the scope of the invention but as merely providing illustrations of some of the presently preferred embodiments of this invention. This specification above, for instance, makes reference to bonus prizes. However, the present invention is not thereby intended to be limited to providing bonus prizes. Rather it is intended that the present invention can, in certain embodiments, be used independently as a stand-alone game without necessarily including bonusing. Thus, the scope of the invention should be determined by the claims as issued and their legal equivalents rather than by the preferred examples given.

CONCLUSION

Accordingly, the present invention provides a gaming device that may provide exciting and attractive game to game players and may provide a number of game play possibilities for game designers. The invention increases player interest and attention by providing the possibility of a large payout that the game player can directly relate to through personal experience. The invention provides a gaming device that may convey a game outcome that is a multiple of the game player's salary. The invention also provides a gaming device that may convey a game outcome that is equal to the amount of at least one of the game player's debts.

Although the description above contains many specifications, these should not be construed as limiting the scope of the invention but as merely providing illustrations of some of presently preferred embodiments of this invention. Thus, the scope of the invention should be determined by the appended claims and their legal equivalents rather than by the examples given.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7963840 *Sep 11, 2007Jun 21, 2011Eric Matthew BosargeLottery method and system
US20080287184 *May 9, 2008Nov 20, 2008Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty LtdGaming system and a method of gaming
US20130054345 *Aug 24, 2011Feb 28, 2013Bank Of America CorporationData mining
Classifications
U.S. Classification463/16
International ClassificationA63F9/24
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/32
European ClassificationG07F17/32
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Apr 28, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: WACHOVIA BANK F/K/A FIRST UNION NATIONAL BANK, NEW
Free format text: SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNOR:ATLANTIC CITY COIN & SLOT SERVICE COMPANY, INC.;REEL/FRAME:017537/0671
Effective date: 20060322
Owner name: WACHOVIA BANK F/K/A FIRST UNION NATIONAL BANK,NEW
Free format text: SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNOR:ATLANTIC CITY COIN & SLOT SERVICE COMPANY, INC.;REEL/FRAME:17537/671
Mar 30, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: ATLANTIC CITY COIN & SLOT SERVICE COMPANY, INC., N
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:SEELIG, JERALD C.;HENSHAW, LAWRENCE M.;REEL/FRAME:017405/0923
Effective date: 20050714
Aug 11, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: ATLANTIC CITY COIN & SLOT SERVICE COMPANY, INC., N
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:SEELIG, JERAL C.;HENSHAW, LAWRENCE M.;REEL/FRAME:016632/0431
Effective date: 20050714
Jul 19, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: ATLANTIC CITY COIN & SLOT SERVICE COMPANY, INC., N
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:SEELIG, JERAL C.;HENSHAW, LAWRENCE M.;REEL/FRAME:016545/0215
Effective date: 20050714