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Publication numberUS20060258432 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/430,203
Publication dateNov 16, 2006
Filing dateMay 9, 2006
Priority dateMay 10, 2005
Also published asEP1904194A2, WO2006122145A2, WO2006122145A3
Publication number11430203, 430203, US 2006/0258432 A1, US 2006/258432 A1, US 20060258432 A1, US 20060258432A1, US 2006258432 A1, US 2006258432A1, US-A1-20060258432, US-A1-2006258432, US2006/0258432A1, US2006/258432A1, US20060258432 A1, US20060258432A1, US2006258432 A1, US2006258432A1
InventorsElliot Packer, Claire Packer
Original AssigneePacker Elliot L, Claire Packer
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
System, method, and computer program product for networked pari-mutuel gaming
US 20060258432 A1
Abstract
In an exemplary embodiment, an online gaming server uses a pari-mutuel betting format to generate periodic gaming events over a network for players at a variety of locations using a simple browser interface that supports devices used by players, such as personal computers, pocket PCs, Personal Digital Assistants, mobile telephones that have Internet access, Palm® computers, and Blackberry® devices. After the outcome of a game is determined such as by random selection in the server, the outcome is broadcast from the server to each player device participating in the game. Depending on the outcome and device capabilities, the player's device may then select a clip simulating a race or other game on which the player wagered, and display that clip for the player.
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Claims(41)
1. A method of wagering, comprising the steps of:
receiving data at a computing device using at least one communications network, the data defining a plurality of possible outcomes of a computer-generated event and odds applying to each outcome, the odds defining a variable payoff based on the number and amount of wagers placed on each outcome;
displaying the data defining outcomes and odds on the computing device;
using the computing device, selecting one of the outcomes as a wagered outcome and transmitting a wager on the wagered outcome over at least one communications network; and
receiving outcome data at the computing device via at least one communications network, indicating that the computer-generated event has occurred and communicating the outcome of the event; and
displaying the outcome of the event and the result of the wager on the computing device.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein the event is a computer-simulated race.
3. The method of claim 1, wherein the event is a computer-simulated roulette game.
4. The method of claim 3, wherein the computer-simulated roulette game has a defined set of possible outcomes that is a reduced subset of possible outcomes of a standard roulette game.
5. The method of claim 4, wherein there are ten possible outcomes of the computer-simulated roulette game.
6. The method of claim 1, wherein the event is a computer-simulated card game.
7. The method of claim 1, wherein the event is a computer-simulated craps game.
8. The method of claim 1, wherein the event is a computer-simulated slot machine game.
9. The method of claim 1, comprising the further step of using the computing device to select one of a plurality of available events on which to wager.
10. The method of claim 1, wherein the step of receiving odds data includes the step of updating an odds display on the computing device in response to the receipt of new odds data.
11. The method of claim 10, wherein the odds display is updated at predetermined update intervals.
12. The method of claim 1, wherein the step of receiving outcome data is repeated periodically in response to computer-generated events occurring at predetermined intervals.
13. The method of claim 12, wherein the computer-generated event occurs approximately every six minutes.
14. The method of claim 12, including the further step of limiting the transmission of wagers to a defined time period ending before a pending computer-generated event.
15. The method of claim 1, wherein the computing device is a portable device.
16. The method of claim 15, wherein the computing device has an internet browser interface.
17. The method of claim 15, wherein the computing device is connected to at least one wireless network.
18. The method of claim 15, including the further step of loading a program into the computing device that operates to receive outcomes and odds over the one or more communications networks, display outcome and odds data on the computing device, receive wagers, transmit wagers over the communications network, and receive outcomes and display outcomes on the computing device.
19. The method of claim 15, wherein the computing device is a cellular telephone device.
20. The method of claim 15, wherein the computing device is a personal digital assistant.
21. The method of claim 1, wherein the step of displaying the outcome comprises the further step of playing at least one of an audio and a visual clip, selected in response to the outcome of the event.
22. The method of claim 21, wherein the selected clip is a visual simulation of the event including a representation of the outcome of the event.
23. A method of wagering, comprising the steps of:
receiving data at a computing device using a communications network selected from at least one available communications network, the data defining a plurality of possible outcomes of a computer-generated event and odds applying to each outcome, the odds defining a variable payoff based on the number and amount of wagers placed on each outcome and with a portion of the total wagers going to the operator of the computer-generated event;
displaying the data defining outcomes and odds on the computing device;
updating an odds display on the computing device in response to received changes in odds;
using the computing device, selecting one of the outcomes as a wagered outcome and transmitting a wager on the wagered outcome over a communications network selected from among said at least one available communications network; and
receiving outcome data at the computing device via at least one communications network, indicating that the computer-generated event has occurred and identifying the outcome of the event; and
playing a visual clip, selected in response to the received outcome of the event, to visually simulate the computer-generated event and its outcome, and displaying the results of the wager.
24. The method of claim 23, wherein the event is a computer-simulated race.
25. The method of claim 23, wherein the event is a computer-simulated roulette game.
26. The method of claim 23, wherein the computer-simulated roulette game has a defined set of possible outcomes that is a reduced subset of possible outcomes of a standard roulette game.
27. The method of claim 26, wherein there are ten possible outcomes of the computer-simulated roulette game.
28. The method of claim 23, wherein the event is a computer-simulated card game.
29. The method of claim 23, wherein the event is a computer-simulated craps game.
30. The method of claim 23, wherein the event is a computer-simulated slot machine game.
31. The method of claim 23, comprising the further step of using the computing device to select one of a plurality of available events on which to wager.
32. The method of claim 23, wherein the odds display is updated at predetermined update intervals.
33. The method of claim 23, wherein the step of receiving outcome data is repeated periodically in response to computer-generated events occurring at predetermined intervals.
34. The method of claim 33, wherein the computer-generated event occurs approximately every six minutes.
35. The method of claim 33, including the further step of limiting the transmission of wagers to a defined time period ending before a pending computer-generated event.
36. The method of claim 23, wherein the computing device is a portable device.
37. The method of claim 36, wherein the computing device has an internet browser interface.
38. The method of claim 36, wherein the computing device is connected to at least one wireless network.
39. The method of claim 36, including the further step of loading a program into the computing device that operates to receive outcomes and odds over the one or more communications networks, display outcome and odds data on the computing device, receive wagers, transmit wagers over the communications network, and receive outcomes and display outcomes on the computing device.
40. The method of claim 36, wherein the computing device is a cellular telephone device.
41. The method of claim 36, wherein the computing device is a personal digital assistant.
Description

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/679,236 filed May 10, 2005, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The invention relates generally to electronic pari-mutuel gaming systems. In particular embodiments, the invention provides improvements in the field of networked gaming.

2. Related Art

Games of chance, and wagering on such games, continues to be a popular activity worldwide. Players might bet on casino games, racing and other sporting event outcomes, and might play lotteries, “instant win” lotteries, and other number selection games. Traditionally, most of these games have been played in person. More recently, widespread access to the Internet and the availability of gaming on the Internet has made it possible to play classic casino table games such as roulette, blackjack, craps, baccarat, poker, and slot machines.

The inventor has noted that the probability of making a profitable wager ranges from low to extremely low in Keno and other lottery-type games, traditional casino table games, and sports betting. The inventor has also noted that networked casino games, such as Internet casinos, involves risk to the operator in that it is possible for a large bet placed against high odds to “break the bank.” Therefore, there is a need for improvements in online gaming, whether one views online gaming from the player's or the operator's perspective.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is to be understood that both the following summary and the detailed description are exemplary and explanatory and are intended to provide further explanation of the invention as claimed. Neither the summary nor the description that follows is intended to define or limit the scope of the invention to the particular features mentioned in the summary or in the description.

In an embodiment, an online gaming system uses a pari-mutuel betting format that cannot “break the bank” and produces variable, “money-line” odds before each event occurs. The events may occur regularly, such as every six minutes, and in preferred embodiments the system uses the Internet communications infrastructure to maximize the number of bettors at each event and minimize transaction costs.

The games included in the scope of the invention are unlimited, and a variety of games may be offered in the context of particular embodiments. Examples include simulated racing and modified versions of roulette, craps, poker, and slot machine games. In a preferred embodiment, for each game, an arbitrary number of possible outcomes are selected (for example, 10 outcomes) with an equal chance of obtaining each outcome. Variable payoff odds on each outcome are determined and displayed in real time for players, based on the number of wagers placed on each outcome and the total amount wagered. The operator takes a predetermined percentage of the betting pool for each game (for example, 2.5%) and the remainder of the pool is distributed to winners based on the pari-mutuel odds calculated for the game. The use of a pari-mutuel payoff method for games of chance is a unique feature of certain embodiments.

In some embodiments, the games are operated on an Internet server that provides a simple browser interface for players worldwide. The interface preferably supports a variety of devices used by players to participate in the regularly recurring games and place bets. For example, personal computers, pocket PCs, Personal Digital Assistants, mobile telephones that have Internet access, Palm® computers, and Blackberry® devices may all be supported by the server. In some embodiments these devices are supported via a browser interface.

In an embodiment, after the outcome of a game is determined such as by random selection in the server, the outcome is broadcast from the server to each player device participating in the game. Based on the outcome, and depending on its capabilities, the player device may then select an audio, video, animation, or other multimedia clip simulating a race or other game on which the player wagered, and display that clip for the player, allowing the player to watch the simulated event or game and to experience the same suspense and excitement found when one is present at actual sporting events or casino games before seeing the outcome.

Additional features and advantages of the invention will be set forth in the description which follows, and in part will be apparent from the description, or may be learned by practice of the invention. The advantages of the invention will be realized and attained by the structure particularly pointed out in the written description and claims hereof as well as the appended drawings.

BREIF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWNGS

The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated herein and form a part of the specification, illustrate the present invention and, together with the description, further serve to explain the principles of the invention and to enable a person skilled in the pertinent art to make and use the invention.

FIG. 1 is a block schematic diagram showing an embodiment of a novel pari-mutuel gaming system;

FIG. 2 is a flow chart showing operation of an electronic pari-mutuel gaming system;

FIG. 3 is a flow chart showing operation of a player terminal in an electronic pari-mutuel gaming system;

FIGS. 4A through 4G are screen displays representing a virtual online horse race according to one exemplary embodiment of the invention;

FIGS. 5A and 5B are screen displays representing a virtual online roulette game according to one exemplary embodiment of the invention;

FIGS. 6A-6C are screen displays representing a virtual online slot machine game according to one exemplary embodiment of the invention; and

FIG. 7 is a block diagram illustration of an exemplary computer system on which elements of the present invention can be practiced.

The present invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawings. In the drawings, some like reference numbers indicate identical or functionally similar elements. Additionally, the left-most digit(s) of most reference numbers identify the drawing in which the reference numbers first appear.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention will now be explained in terms of exemplary embodiments. This specification discloses one or more embodiments that incorporate the features of this invention. The embodiment(s) described, and references in the specification to “one embodiment”, “an embodiment”, “an example embodiment”, etc., indicate that the embodiment(s) described may include a particular feature, structure, or characteristic, but every embodiment may not necessarily include the particular feature, structure, or characteristic. Moreover, such phrases are not necessarily referring to the same embodiment. Further, when a particular feature, structure, or characteristic is described in connection with an embodiment, persons skilled in the art may effect such feature, structure, or characteristic in connection with other embodiments whether or not explicitly described.

Embodiments of the invention may be implemented in hardware, firmware, software, or any combination thereof. Embodiments of the invention may also be implemented as instructions stored on a machine-readable medium, which may be read and executed by one or more processors. A machine-readable medium may include any mechanism for storing or transmitting information in a form readable by a machine (e.g. a computing device). For example, a machine-readable medium may include read only memory (ROM); random access memory (RAM); magnetic disk storage media; optical storage media; flash memory devices; electrical, optical, acoustical, or other forms of propagated signals (e.g. carrier waves, infrared signals, digital signals, etc.), and others. Further, firmware, software, routines, instructions, may be described herein as performing certain actions. However, it should be appreciated that such descriptions are merely for convenience and that such actions in fact result from computing devices, processors, controllers or other devices executing the firmware, software, routines, instructions, etc.

Referring first to FIG. 1, in an embodiment, a gaming system 100 comprises server 102, network 104, a plurality of terminals 106, and one or more wireless interfaces 108 providing wireless links between network 104 and devices such as mobile phone 110, Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) 112, and mobile PC 114. Thus, network 104 connects server 102 to terminals 106 and various other devices such as mobile phone 110, PDA 112, and mobile PC 114. Network 104 may be any communications network, such as a private network, a virtual private network, or a public network. In one preferred embodiment, network 104 is the Internet. Terminals 106 may be any Internet-capable device, for example, personal computers, computer terminals, WebTV®, other types of computers, or any other device that can connect to the Internet. Mobile phone 110 may be a portable voice device that can obtain and/or transmit data over a data network, such as the Internet or a proprietary network that provides an interface to the Internet. Similarly, PDA 112 and mobile PC 114 have wireless data capabilities. Mobile phone 110, PDA 112, and mobile PC 114 may use the same wireless interface 108 to send and receive data wirelessly, or may use separate wireless interfaces 108.

In various embodiments, server 102 runs software providing a novel method that will now be described in more detail. Selected features of the invention will be disclosed in terms of an example using a system where games run on a server. This configuration is merely an example, and the invention may be implemented using a plurality of servers, in a non-client/server configuration, or in any other configuration that includes one or more novel features of the invention.

In a preferred embodiment, an online gaming method operating in server 102 uses a parimutuel betting format that produces variable, “money-line” odds before each event occurs. Parimutuel betting is a system of cooperative wagering in which the holders of winning tickets divide the total amount of money bet on a race (the pool), after deductions for operating expenses. The uniqueness of parimutuel betting lies in the fact that the gambling public itself determines the payoff odds (e.g., if many people have bet on the actual winner of a contest then the payoff will be low, simply because many winners will divide the pool). Parimutuel wagering is the accepted betting procedure at major horse-racing tracks throughout the world. Greyhound tracks and jai alai games also use the system. Considered a major deterrent to illegal bookmaking in the world of in-person gaming, parimutuel systems at horse tracks depends on high-speed electronic calculators, known as tote boards, to record and display up-to-the-minute betting patterns. Insofar as the inventor is aware, however, the parimutuel approach has not been applied to the field of networked or Internet gaming.

In an embodiment, the operator of the present system takes a predetermined percentage of the betting pool for each game (for example, 2.5% for expenses and profit) and the remainder of the pool is distributed to winners based on the parimutuel odds calculated for the game. Variable payoff odds on each outcome are determined and displayed in real time for players, based on the number of wagers placed on each outcome and the total amount wagered. This method provides significant advantages for both the operator and the players. The players benefit from higher returns and a high probability of experiencing regular wins during repeat play. The operator benefits because a parimutuel method of determining payoffs prevents “breaking the bank,” i.e. avoids the possibility that the operator may have to pay out more than he has taken in the course of the game, and provides some assurance to players that the game is not rigged.

The games, simulated races, and other events on which bets may be placed are limited only by the imagination. A variety of games may be offered in different embodiments of the invention, depending on the desires of the players and the operator. Examples include simulated horse racing, auto racing, dog racing, and other races. Simulated versions of roulette, craps, poker, and slot machine games may also be provided. In a preferred embodiment, for each game, an arbitrary number of possible outcomes are selected (for example, 10 outcomes) with an equal chance of obtaining each outcome. To simplify betting and visual displays, as well as to increase the odds of picking the winning number, the number of choices in simulations of casino games such as roulette, craps, poker, and slot machines may be reduced. For example, a roulette game with an arbitrarily reduced number of choices, such as 10 numbers, may be provided.

The events on which wagers are placed by the players may occur irregularly or regularly, and at any desired time interval. In one exemplary embodiment, a game runs every six minutes, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In this embodiment, for example, five minutes are allowed to place bets and the event on which wagers have been made is simulated in the final minute of the betting event.

The use of the Internet communications infrastructure, while not required within the scope of the invention, tends to maximize the number of bettors for each event and minimize transaction costs. The provision by the server of a browser interface to the player devices is also not required within the scope of the invention, but the use of a browser interface will support a variety of devices used by players to participate in the regularly recurring games and place bets. For example, personal computers, pocket PCs, Personal Digital Assistants, mobile telephones that have Internet access, Palm® computers, and Blackberry® devices may all be supported by the server. In a preferred embodiment these devices and others are supported via a browser interface. However, proprietary interfaces may also be provided. For example, the server may offer proprietary interface software for download by players. Such software may either be required for all devices, may be offered as an optional alternative to a browser interface, or may be provided for devices that do not have browser capability.

FIG. 2 shows a flow chart of a method performed in an exemplary embodiment of the invention. For example, this method may be performed using server 102 (shown in FIG. 1) or another computing device or devices. Method 200 begins at step 202 where a gaming event is initiated. The event to be initiated is determined by the operator, or in some cases by player request. As an example, a simulated horse race may be initiated every six minutes. In step 204, the method determines whether a betting period is complete. The betting period may be of any desired length. For example, if a simulated horse race is run every six minutes, the betting period may be five minutes, leaving one minute for simulated play of the race prior to the start of the next race. The duration of betting may be set by the operator or in some cases, may be determined by player actions. For example, the last minute placement of one or more substantial bets that would materially affect odds calculations may cause a modification of operations, such as a delay in closing of the betting period until the players have had time to consider the new odds and react to them.

In step 204, if betting is not complete the method accepts bets in step 214, and in step 216 the method updates the odds in real time based on bets accepted in step 214. Control then passes back to step 204 and the processing of bets continues until the betting period is complete.

When the betting period is found to be complete in step 204, control passes to step 206, where a random result is selected for the event. In a preferred embodiment, the possible outcomes of the event (for example, in a horse race, any of ten horses) are given an equal probability of being selected.

In step 208, the result is broadcast to the devices of players participating in wagering on the event. In the case of an Internet-based embodiment, this broadcast may occur through individual packet transmissions by a server to each of the player devices connected to the event. Alternatively, the player devices may pull outcome information from one or more distributed servers, or may receive it through another broadcast medium such as a radio broadcast. Based on the outcome, and depending on its capabilities, the player device may then select a video clip or animation clip simulating a race or other game on which the player wagered, and display that clip for the player, allowing the player to watch the simulated event or game and to experience the same suspense and excitement found when one is present at actual sporting events or casino games before seeing the outcome.

In step 210, payoffs are calculated using the pari-mutuel formula and in step 212 the individual player accounts are updated in accordance with the amount won or lost during the bet. Control then returns to step 202 so that another event can be initiated at the appropriate time.

FIG. 3 shows an example of a method of operation for a player terminal. The various features and steps shown in this exemplary process are optional and may be modified within the scope of the invention as disclosed herein. The example process begins with step 302, where the player logs in to an account maintained for the player in another computing device such as a server. In step 304, account information and a menu may be displayed to allow the player to select a desired game. Selection of a pari-mutuel game will result in display of a “tote board” in step 306, providing real time odds based on betting by the players participating in the game. For example, the odds may be recalculated every eight seconds. In step 308, the pari-mutuel odds display is updated to provide the latest available odds. For example, step 308 may be performed every eight seconds.

The tote board may be displayed either vertically or horizontally, and may be selectively displayed in a different format depending on the display capabilities of the device used by the player. For example, a mobile phone may have a vertically oriented screen while a personal computer may have a more horizontally oriented screen.

In step 310, the method determines whether the betting period is complete. If not, control passes to step 312 and one or more wagers may be accepted from the player and transmitted to the server for inclusion in the next update of the odds display. If the player does not make a wager within the predetermined period for an odds update, control passes back to step 308 and the display is updated.

When the betting period is found to be complete in step 310, control passes to step 314 and the event result is obtained. The result may be transmitted in a packet from the server, may be broadcast using IP or other networks, or may be broadcast in another manner such as by radio.

The event result may be displayed immediately if desired, but in a preferred embodiment, for improved entertainment of the player, a clip is played in step 316. For example, for a horse race the clip may be a recorded video clip of a horse race. The clip may be video only, audio only, or audiovisual. The clip may be an actual recording of an event, a simulated event, or an animation. In the case of horse racing, if there are ten horses in the race, at least 10 clips will be available to the player device, representing each possible outcome. Preferably, there is more than one clip for each possible outcome, such as at least four clips for each outcome, and the player device selects one of the clips that matches the outcome for display. The clip is then played and the player can enjoy the suspense of watching the race and awaiting the outcome.

An appropriate set of clips that will support the possible event outcomes may be downloaded from the server, obtained via the Internet from another source, or may be provided to the player in the form of a DVD or other media. What is important is that the clips, if they are to be played, are accessible to the player device at the time it receives the results of the event. They may have been obtained in advance or may be obtained in real time. Clips can be obtained from local storage on demand, downloaded, or broadcast in a digital data, television, radio, or other transmission signal. The clips preferably include announcer audio and may be provided in the native language of the player.

Following the display of any desired clip, control passes to step 318 and the result of the event is displayed. For example, for a horse race, the winning horse is indicated. Payoffs are then displayed in step 320. In step 322 the player determines whether he or she wishes to play again. If so, control passes back to block 308.

FIGS. 4A through 4G are screen displays representing exemplary display and input screens for a virtual online horse race according to one embodiment of the invention. FIG. 4A shows a log in screen. FIG. 4B shows a bet placement screen. FIG. 4C shows a tote board display showing a single bet placed. FIG. 4D shows a tote board with a large number of bets placed by many players. FIGS. 4E and 4F show exemplary race results. FIG. 4G is a spreadsheet showing exemplary operational records maintained by the system for a series of races.

FIGS. 5A and 5B are screen displays representing a virtual online roulette game according to one exemplary embodiment of the invention. The virtual roulette wheel has only ten numbers, so that ten possible outcomes can be selected for wagering.

FIGS. 6A-6C are screen displays representing a virtual online slot machine game according to one exemplary embodiment of the invention. FIG. 6A is a log in screen. FIG. 6B is a screen showing ten possible “pocket slot” outcomes, for which bets will be accepted. This is an example of the manner in which the many outcomes of a casino game can be reduced to a desired number, such as ten outcomes, thus simplifying the game and increasing the chances that a player will bet on a winning outcome. FIG. 6C shows an exemplary tote board for this embodiment of the slot machine game.

The following description of a general purpose computer system is provided for completeness. The present invention can be implemented as software, in hardware, or as a combination of software and hardware. Consequently, the invention may be implemented in the environment of a computer system or other processing system. In one exemplary embodiment, the gaming server 102 shown in FIG. 1 may be a personal computer or other computing system. An example of such a computer system is shown at reference number 800 in FIG. 7. In the present invention, all of the elements depicted in FIGS. 1-6, for example, can execute on one or more distinct computer systems 800, to implement the various methods of the present invention. The computer system 800 includes one or more processors, such as a processor 804. The processor 804 can be a special purpose or a general purpose digital signal processor. The processor 804 is connected to a communication infrastructure 806 (for example, a bus or network). Various software implementations are described in terms of this exemplary computer system. After reading this description, it will become apparent to a person skilled in the relevant art how to implement the invention using other computer systems and/or computer architectures.

The computer system 800 also includes a main memory 808, preferably random access memory (RAM), and may also include a secondary memory 810. The secondary memory 810 may include, for example, a hard disk drive 812 and/or a removable storage drive 814, representing a floppy disk drive, a magnetic tape drive, an optical disk drive, etc. The removable storage drive 814 reads from and/or writes to a removable storage unit 818 in a well known manner. The removable storage unit 818, represents a floppy disk, magnetic tape, optical disk, etc. which is read by and written to by the removable storage drive 814. As will be appreciated, the removable storage unit 818 includes a computer usable storage medium having stored therein computer software and/or data.

In alternative implementations, the secondary memory 810 may include other similar means for allowing computer programs or other instructions to be loaded into the computer system 800. Such means may include, for example, a removable storage unit 822 and an interface 820. Examples of such means may include a program cartridge and cartridge interface (such as that found in video game devices), a removable memory chip (such as an EPROM, or PROM) and associated socket, and other removable storage units 822 and interfaces 820 which allow software and data to be transferred from the removable storage unit 822 to the computer system 800.

Computer system 800 may also include a communications interface 824. Communications interface 824 allows software and data to be transferred between the computer system 800 and external devices. Examples of communications interface 824 may include a modem, a network interface (such as an Ethernet card), a communications port, a PCMCIA slot and card, or other communications path interface devices. Software and data transferred via the communications interface 824 are in the form of signals 828 which may be electronic, electromagnetic, optical or other signals capable of being received by communications interface 824. These signals 828 are provided to communications interface 824 via a communications path 826. Communications path 826 carries signals 828 and may be implemented using wire or cable, fiber optics, a phone line, a cellular phone link, an RF link and other communications channels.

In this document, the terms computer program medium and computer readable medium are used to generally refer to media such as the removable storage drive 814, a hard disk installed in hard disk drive 812, and the signals 828. These computer program products are means for providing software to the computer system 800.

Computer programs (also called computer control logic) are stored in the main memory 808 and/or the secondary memory 810. Computer programs may also be received via the communications interface 824. Such computer programs, when executed, enable the computer system 800 to implement the present invention as discussed herein. In particular, the computer programs, when executed, enable the processor 804 to implement the processes of the present invention. Accordingly, such computer programs operate to control computer system 800. By way of example, in the embodiments of the invention, the processes/methods performed by signal processing blocks of encoders and/or decoders can be performed by computer control logic. Where the invention is implemented using software, the software may be stored in a computer program product and loaded into the computer system 800 using the removable storage drive 814, the hard drive 812 communications interface 824, or any other known method of transferring digital information into a computer system.

In another embodiment, features of the invention are implemented primarily in hardware using, for example, hardware components such as Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) and gate arrays. Implementation of a hardware state machine so as to perform the functions described herein will also be apparent to persons skilled in the relevant art(s).

While various embodiments of the present invention have been described above, it should be understood that they have been presented by way of example only, and not limitation. Thus, the breadth and scope of the present invention should not be limited by any of the above-described exemplary embodiments, but should be defined only in accordance with the following claims and their equivalents.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8147321 *Feb 8, 2008Apr 3, 2012Rite-Solutions, Inc.Method and apparatus for electronic random prize distribution with fixed prize inventory and unknown participant count
US8795046Feb 25, 2008Aug 5, 2014Intralot S.A.—Integrated Lottery Systems and ServicesMethod for displaying a draw result along with customized information
WO2011088547A1 *Dec 23, 2010Jul 28, 2011Long Phi TranCasino-style game incorporating multiple wagering options at multiple intervals during the game
Classifications
U.S. Classification463/16
International ClassificationA63F9/24
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/32, G07F17/3288
European ClassificationG07F17/32, G07F17/32P2
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jul 18, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: BETTORS FAVORITE LLC, FLORIDA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:PARKER, ELLIOTT LEROY;REEL/FRAME:018113/0180
Effective date: 20060713