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Publication numberUS20060279044 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/454,084
Publication dateDec 14, 2006
Filing dateJun 14, 2006
Priority dateJun 14, 2005
Publication number11454084, 454084, US 2006/0279044 A1, US 2006/279044 A1, US 20060279044 A1, US 20060279044A1, US 2006279044 A1, US 2006279044A1, US-A1-20060279044, US-A1-2006279044, US2006/0279044A1, US2006/279044A1, US20060279044 A1, US20060279044A1, US2006279044 A1, US2006279044A1
InventorsLarry Pacey
Original AssigneeWms Gaming, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Wagering game with variable wager denominations
US 20060279044 A1
Abstract
According to one aspect of the present invention, a gaming machine is disclosed comprising a wager-indication element for receiving a wager from a player. The wager-indication element has a plurality of wager amounts arranged along a continuous wager scale. The wager-indication element also has an indicator adapted to visually represent the one of the plurality of wager amounts received from the player.
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Claims(20)
1. A gaming machine, comprising:
a wager-indication element for receiving a wager from a player, the wager-indication element having a plurality of wager amounts arranged along a continuous wager scale, the wager-indication element further having an indicator adapted to visually represent the one of the plurality of wager amounts received from the player.
2. The gaming machine of claim 1, wherein the wager-indication element further includes an input device, the input device being adapted to select one of the plurality of wager amounts upon player actuation of the input device.
3. The gaming machine of claim 2, wherein the input device includes a slider adapted to visually move along the wager scale in response to the slider being engaged by the player, the slider being further adapted to be stopped at any one of the plurality of wager amounts.
4. The gaming machine of claim 3, wherein the slider is a mechanical slider provided on a button panel of the gaming machine.
5. The gaming machine of claim 2, wherein the input device includes a plurality of soft touch keys located along the wager scale, the indicator being visually represented at one of the plurality of soft touch keys in response to the actuation of the one of the plurality of soft touch keys.
6. The gaming machine of claim 1, wherein the wager-indication element is included within a slots game having a plurality of payliries, the wager being divided equally over the plurality of paylines selected by the player resulting in a fractional-credit wager being placed on each of the plurality of paylines.
7. A method of conducting a wagering game on a gaming machine, comprising:
receiving a wager from a player to play the wagering game; and
visually representing the wager on a wager-indication element having a wager scale and an indicator, the wager scale including a plurality of wager amounts between a minimum wager and a maximum wager, the indicator being used to visually represent the wager.
8. A computer readable storage medium encoded with instructions for directing a gaming machine to perform the method of claim 7.
9. The method of claim 7, the wager-indication element further includeing a decrease-wager button and an increase-wager button, and further including moving the indicator by an increment in response to the decrease-wager button or the increase-wager button being actuated.
10. The method of claim 7, wherein the wagering game is a slots game having a plurality of paylines, the wager being divided equally over the plurality of paylines selected by the player.
11. The method of claim 10, wherein the wager being divided equally over the plurality of paylines results in a fractional-credit wager being placed on each of the plurality of paylines.
12. The method of claim 7, wherein the wagering game is a card game having a plurality of hands, the wager being divided equally over the plurality of hands.
13. A gaming machine for conducting a wagering game, comprising:
one or more displays for displaying the wagering game;
a wager-indication element visually represented on the one or more display, the wager-indication element including a wager scale and an indicator, the wager scale including a plurality of wager amounts between a minimum wager and a maximum wager, the indicator being used to visually represent the wager;
an input device adapted to allow one or more of the plurality of wager amounts to be selected; and
a controller operative to adjust the position of the indicator along the wager scale of the wager-indication element in response to inputs from the input device.
14. The gaming machine of claim 13, wherein a portion of the wager-indication element is provided on a button panel of the gaming machine.
15. The gaming machine of claim 14, wherein a second portion of the wager-indication element is displayed on the one or more displays.
16. The gaming machine of claim 13, wherein the input device includes a decrease-wager button and an increase-wager button, the decrease-wager button being adapted to decrease the wager by one increment upon actuation, the increase-wager button being adapted to increase the wager by one increment upon actuation.
17. The gaming machine of claim 13, wherein the wagering game is a slots game having a plurality of activated paylines, the wager being divided equally over the plurality of activated paylines.
18. The gaming machine of claim 17, wherein the wager being divided equally over the plurality of activated paylines results in a fractional-credit wager being placed on each of the plurality of activated paylines.
19. The gaming machine of claim 13, wherein the input device includes a slider adapted to visually move along the wager scale in response to the slider being directly engaged.
20. The gaming machine of claim 13, wherein the input device includes a plurality of soft touch keys located along the wager scale, the indicator being visually represented at one of the plurality of soft touch keys in response to the actuation of the one of the plurality of soft touch keys.
Description
    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • [0001]
    This application claims the benefit of priority of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/690,362, filed Jun. 14, 2005, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.
  • COPYRIGHT
  • [0002]
    A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material which is subject to copyright protection. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent disclosure, as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent files or records, but otherwise reserves all copyright rights whatsoever.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • [0003]
    The present invention relates generally to gaming machines, and methods for playing wagering games, and more particularly, to a gaming machine having a wager-indication element having a plurality of wager amounts arranged along a continuous wager scale.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0004]
    Gaming machines, such as slot machines, video poker machines, and the like, have been a cornerstone of the gaming industry for several years. Generally, the popularity of such machines with players is dependent on the likelihood (or perceived likelihood) of winning money at the machine and the intrinsic entertainment value of the machine relative to other available gaming options. Where the available gaming options include a number of competing machines and the expectation of winning at each machine is roughly the same (or believed to be the same), players are likely to be attracted to the most entertaining and exciting machines. Shrewd operators consequently strive to employ the most entertaining and exciting machines, features, and enhancements available because such machines attract frequent play and hence increase profitability to the operator. Therefore, there is a continuing need for gaming machine manufacturers to continuously develop new games and improved gaming enhancements that will attract frequent play through enhanced entertainment value to the player.
  • [0005]
    In addition, ease-of-use and customer adaptability contribute to the entertainment value and attraction of the gaming machines. By developing a gaming machine that adapts to a particular user's wagering style or game-play desires, a user may be persuaded to select such a gaming machine over the competing machines. The user may also remain on a gaming machine longer when the gaming machine meets these needs. As such, a new gaming machine and method are required to meet one or more of these needs.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0006]
    According to one aspect of the present invention, a gaming machine is disclosed comprising a wager-indication element for receiving a wager from a player. The wager-indication element has a plurality of wager amounts arranged along a continuous wager scale. The wager-indication element also has an indicator adapted to visually represent the one of the plurality of wager amounts received from the player.
  • [0007]
    According to another aspect of the invention, a method of conducting a wagering game on a gaming machine is disclosed. The method comprises receiving a wager from a player to play the wagering game and visually representing the wager on a wager-indication element. The wager-indication element has a wager scale and an indicator. The wager scale includes a plurality of wager amounts between a minimum wager and a maximum wager. The indicator is used to visually represent the wager.
  • [0008]
    According to yet another aspect of the invention, a gaming machine for conducting a wagering game is disclosed. The gaming machine comprises one or more displays for displaying the wagering game, a wager-indication element, an input device, and a controller. The wager-indication element is visually represented on the one or more display. The wager-indication element includes a wager scale and an indicator. The wager scale includes a plurality of wager amounts between a minimum wager and a maximum wager. The indicator is used to visually represent the wager. The input device is adapted to allow one or more of the plurality of wager amounts to be selected. The controller is operative to adjust the position of the indicator along the wager scale of the wager-indication element in response to inputs from the input device.
  • [0009]
    Additional aspects of the invention will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art in view of the detailed description of various embodiments, which is made with reference to the drawings, a brief description of which is provided below.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0010]
    FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a gaming machine embodying the present invention.
  • [0011]
    FIG. 2 is a block diagram of a control system suitable for operating the gaming machine.
  • [0012]
    FIG. 3 is an image of a main game screen that is displayed on the gaming machine of FIG. 1, according to one embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0013]
    FIG. 4 is a hypothetical pay table that may be utilized in the gaming machine of FIG. 1.
  • [0014]
    FIGS. 5 a and 5 b are images of a main game screen according to another embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0015]
    Additional aspects of the invention will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art in view of the detailed description of various embodiments, which is made with reference to the drawings, a brief description of which is provided below.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • [0016]
    While this invention is susceptible of embodiment in many different forms, there is shown in the drawings and will herein be described in detail preferred embodiments of the invention with the understanding that the present disclosure is to be considered as an exemplification of the principles of the invention and is not intended to limit the broad aspect of the invention to the embodiments illustrated.
  • [0017]
    Referring to FIG. 1, a gaming machine 10 is used in gaming establishments such as casinos. With regard to the present invention, the gaming machine 10 may be any type of gaming machine and may have varying structures and methods of operation. For example, the gaming machine 10 may be an electromechanical gaming machine configured to play mechanical slots, or it may be an electronic gaming machine configured to play a video casino game, such as blackjack, slots, keno, poker, roulette, etc.
  • [0018]
    The gaming machine 10 comprises a housing 12 and includes input devices, including a value input device 18 and a player input device 24. For output the gaming machine 10 includes a primary display 14 for displaying information about the basic wagering game. The primary display 14 can also display information about a bonus wagering game and a progressive wagering game. The gaming machine 10 may also include a secondary display 16 for displaying game events, game outcomes, and/or signage information. While these typical components found in the gaming machine 10 are described below, it should be understood that numerous other elements may exist and may be used in any number of combinations to create various forms of a gaming machine 10.
  • [0019]
    The value input device 18 may be provided in many forms, individually or in combination, and is preferably located on the front of the housing 12. The value input device 18 receives currency and/or credits that are inserted by a player. The value input device 18 may include a coin acceptor 20 for receiving coin currency (see FIG. 1). Alternatively, or in addition, the value input device 18 may include a bill acceptor 22 for receiving paper currency. Furthermore, the value input device 18 may include a ticket reader, or barcode scanner, for reading information stored on a credit ticket, a card, or other tangible portable credit storage device. The credit ticket or card may also authorize access to a central account, which can transfer money to the gaming machine 10.
  • [0020]
    The player input device 24 comprises a plurality of push buttons 26 on a button panel for operating the gaming machine 10. In addition, or alternatively, the player input device 24 may comprise a touch screen 28 mounted by adhesive, tape, or the like over the primary display 14 and/or secondary display 16. The touch screen 28 contains soft touch keys 30 denoted by graphics on the underlying primary display 14 and used to operate the gaming machine 10. The touch screen 28 provides players with an alternative method of input. A player enables a desired function either by touching the touch screen 28 at an appropriate touch key 30 or by pressing an appropriate push button 26 on the button panel. The touch keys 30 may be used to implement the same functions as push buttons 26. Alternatively, the push buttons 26 may provide inputs for one aspect of the operating the game, while the touch keys 30 may allow for input needed for another aspect of the game.
  • [0021]
    The various components of the gaming machine 10 may be connected directly to, or contained within, the housing 12, as seen in FIG. 1, or may be located outboard of the housing 12 and connected to the housing 12 via a variety of different wired or wireless connection methods. Thus, the gaming machine 10 comprises these components whether housed in the housing 12, or outboard of the housing 12 and connected remotely.
  • [0022]
    The operation of the basic wagering game is displayed to the player on the primary display 14. The primary display 14 can also display the bonus game associated with the basic wagering game. The primary display 14 may take the form of a cathode ray tube (CRT), a high resolution LCD, a plasma display, an LED, or any other type of display suitable for use in the gaming machine 10. As shown, the primary display 14 includes the touch screen 28 overlaying the entire monitor (or a portion thereof) to allow players to make game-related selections. Alternatively, the primary display 14 of the gaming machine 10 may include a number of mechanical reels to display the outcome in visual associated to at least one active payline 32. In the illustrated embodiment, the gaming machine 10 is an “upright” version in which the primary display 14 is oriented vertically relative to the player. Alternatively, the gaming machine may be a “slant-top” version in which the primary display 14 is slanted at about a thirty-degree angle toward the player of the gaming machine 10.
  • [0023]
    A player begins play of the basic wagering game by making a wager via the value input device 18 of the gaming machine 10. A player can select play by using the player input device 24, via the buttons 26 or the touch screen keys 30. The basic game consists of a plurality of symbols arranged in an array, and includes at least one active payline 32 that indicates one or more outcomes of the basic game. Such outcomes are randomly selected in response to the wagering input by the player. At least one of the plurality of randomly-selected outcomes may be a start-bonus outcome, which can include any variations of symbols or symbol combinations triggering a bonus game.
  • [0024]
    In some embodiments, the gaming machine 10 may also include a player information reader 52 that allows for identification of a player by reading a card with information indicating his or her true identity. The player information reader 52 is shown in FIG. 1 as a card reader, but may take on many forms including a ticket reader, bar code scanner, RFID transceiver or computer readable storage medium interface. Currently, identification is generally used by casinos for rewarding certain players with complimentary services or special offers. For example, a player may be enrolled in the gaming establishment's loyalty club and may be awarded certain complimentary services as that player collects points in his or her player-tracking account. The player inserts his or her card into the player information reader 52, which allows the casino's computers to register that player's wagering at the gaming machine 10. The gaming machine 10 may use the secondary display 16 or other dedicated player-tracking display for providing the player with information about his or her account or other player-specific information. Also, in some embodiments, the information reader 52 may be used to restore game assets that the player achieved and saved during a previous game session.
  • [0025]
    Turning now to FIG. 2, the various components of the gaming machine 10 are controlled by a central processing unit (CPU) 34, also referred to herein as a controller or processor (such as a microcontroller or microprocessor). To provide gaming functions, the controller 34 executes one or more game programs stored in a computer readable storage medium, in the form of memory 36. The controller 34 performs the random selection (using a random number generator (RNG)) of an outcome from the plurality of possible outcomes of the wagering game. Alternatively, the random event may be determined at a remote controller. The remote controller may use either an RNG or pooling scheme for its central determination of a game outcome. It should be appreciated that the controller 34 may include one or more microprocessors, including but not limited to a master processor, a slave processor, and a secondary or parallel processor.
  • [0026]
    The controller 34 is also coupled to the system memory 36 and a money/credit detector 38. The system memory 36 may comprise a volatile memory (e.g., a random-access memory (RAM)) and a non-volatile memory (e.g., an EEPROM). The system memory 36 may include multiple RAM and multiple program memories. The money/credit detector 38 signals the processor that money and/or credits have been input via the value input device 18. Preferably, these components are located within the housing 12 of the gaming machine 10. However, as explained above, these components may be located outboard of the housing 12 and connected to the remainder of the components of the gaming machine 10 via a variety of different wired or wireless connection methods.
  • [0027]
    As seen in FIG. 2, the controller 34 is also connected to, and controls, the primary display 14, the player input device 24, and a payoff mechanism 40. The payoff mechanism 40 is operable in response to instructions from the controller 34 to award a payoff to the player in response to certain winning outcomes that might occur in the basic game or the bonus game(s). The payoff may be provided in the form of points, bills, tickets, coupons, cards, etc. For example, in FIG. 1, the payoff mechanism 40 includes both a ticket printer 42 and a coin outlet 44. However, any of a variety of payoff mechanisms 40 well known in the art may be implemented, including cards, coins, tickets, smartcards, cash, etc. The payoff amounts distributed by the payoff mechanism 40 are determined by one or more pay tables stored in the system memory 36.
  • [0028]
    Communications between the controller 34 and both the peripheral components of the gaming machine 10 and external systems 50 occur through input/output (I/O) circuits 46, 48. More specifically, the controller 34 controls and receives inputs from the peripheral components of the gaming machine 10 through the I/O circuits 46. Further, the controller 34 communicates with the external systems 50 via the I/O circuits 48 and a communication path (e.g., serial, parallel, IR, RC; 10bT, etc.). The external systems 50 may include a gaming network, other gaming machines, a gaming server, communications hardware, or a variety of other interfaced systems or components. Although the I/O circuits 46, 48 may be shown as a single block, it should be appreciated that each of the I/O circuits 46, 48 may include a number of different types of I/O circuits.
  • [0029]
    Controller 34, as used herein, comprises any combination of hardware, software, and/or firmware that may be disposed or resident inside and/or outside of the gaming machine 10 that may communicate with and/or control the transfer of data between the gaming machine 10 and a bus, another computer, processor, or device and/or a service and/or a network. The controller 34 may comprise one or more controllers or processors. In FIG. 2, the controller 34 in the gaming machine 10 is depicted as comprising a CPU, but the controller 34 may alternatively comprise a CPU in combination with other components, such as the I/O circuits 46, 48 and the system memory 36.
  • [0030]
    Turning now to FIG. 3, an image of a main game screen 60 is adapted to be displayed on the primary display 14 (FIG. 1). A player begins play of the basic wagering game by inserting a wager input into the value input device 18 of the gaming machine 10. A player can select play by either using the touch screen 28 or push buttons 26. The CPU 34, or the external systems 50 in alternative embodiments, operates to execute a wagering game program causing the primary display 14 to display the main game screen 60 that includes a plurality of reels 62 a-e. Each of the reels 62 a-e is adapted to display a plurality of symbols thereon. The main game screen 60 also displays game-session meters and various buttons selectable by a player.
  • [0031]
    As illustrated in FIG. 3, the game-session meters include: a “credits” meter 70 for displaying a number of credits available for play on the machine; a “paid” meter 74 for displaying an amount to be awarded based on the results of the particular rounds outcome; and a “total bet” meter for displaying the total number of credits being wagered. The player-selectable buttons include a “main menu” button 80 for allowing a player to access a main menu; a “help” button 82 for viewing instructions on how to play the wagering game; a “pay table” button 84 for viewing a pay table associated with the basic wagering game; a “spin reels” button 90 for moving the reels 62 a-e; and a “max bet spin” button 92 for wagering a maximum number of credits and moving the reels 62 a-e of the basic wagering game. While the gaming machine 10 allows for these types of player inputs, the present invention does not require them and can be used on gaming machines having more, less, or different player inputs.
  • [0032]
    In addition to the above meters and buttons, the main game screen 60 also includes a wager-indication element 76 for allowing a player to select the number of credits they decide to wager for the particular game. The wager-indication element 76 may be used to select the number of credits to wager on a basic game (i.e., primary game), a bonus game (i.e., secondary game), or both. The wager-indication element 76, or alternatively a second wager-indication element, may be used to allow a player to place a variable “side-bet” wager on the outcome for a particular game.
  • [0033]
    The wager-indication element 76 includes an indicator, such as slider 88, to display the level of the wager to a player. The slider 88 is adapted to be moved (or displayed as moving) along a wager scale 86 by the player. To move the slider 88 in the illustrated embodiment, a player engages the slider 88 on the primary display 14 (e.g., with his or her finger) and slides the slider 88 to the left or right (e.g., by dragging his or her finger along the wager scale 86 displayed on the primary display 14). The wager scale 86 represents the number of credits between a minimum wager 72 a and a maximum wager 72 b from which the player can select. The slider 88 may indicate to the player the wager that he or she has selected. Alternatively, a light array or other visual representation may be used to indicate the amount of the wager to the player along the wager scale 86. By moving the slider 88 to the left and the right (in the illustrated embodiment) the player can decrease and increase his or her wager respectively. The selected wager from the wager-indication element 76 is displayed in the total-bet meter 78.
  • [0034]
    According to one embodiment of the present invention, the minimum wager 72 a and the maximum wager 72 b from which a player can select are predetermined. In another embodiment of the present invention, however, the maximum wager 72 b is variable so that the maximum wager 72 b is always the number of credits the player has available in the credit meter 70. In other embodiments, the maximum wager 72 b is variable up to a predetermined limit.
  • [0035]
    The number of credits represented on the wager scale 86 are integer values. In some embodiments, however, the wager scale 86 represents both integer and factional credits (e.g., one-tenth credit, one-quarter credit, one-half credit, one credit, one and one-half credit, etc.).
  • [0036]
    In FIG. 3, the five depicted reels 62 a-e have a plurality of symbols displayed thereon and at least one active payline extending from one of the payline indicators 94 a-i on the left side of the main game screen 60 to a corresponding one of the payline indicators 96 a-i on the right side of the main game screen 60. The plurality of symbols displayed on the plurality of reels 62 a-e are used to indicate a plurality of possible outcomes along each of the activated paylines. The depicted symbols all correspond to a MONOPOLYŽ theme and include: “WATER WORKS” symbols 98; “HOUSE” symbols 100; “ELECTRIC COMPANY” symbols 112; “CAR” symbols 102; “HOTEL” symbols 104; “FREE PARKING” symbols 106; “RAILROAD” symbols 108; and “WILD CARD” symbols 110. Other MONOPOLYŽ-themed symbols may also be depicted. In other embodiments of the present invention, the gaming machine 10 may portray other themes with corresponding like-themed reel symbols. Further, standard gaming symbols such as “1-BAR” symbols, “2-BAR” symbols, “3-BAR” symbols, “CHERRY” symbols, “SEVEN” symbols, and “BELL” symbols may be depicted on the reels 62 a-e in other embodiments.
  • [0037]
    A winning “line pay” combination occurs when the symbols along an active payline 32 (FIG. 1) across the reels 62 a-e correspond to one of the winning symbol combinations listed in a pay table stored in the memory 36 of the gaming machine 10. The pay table may also be displayed on the secondary display 16, the primary display 14, or both, and can be either displayed constantly, intermittently, or upon request by a player (e.g., by selecting the pay-table button 84). Such winning combinations are displayed relative to one or more paylines 32. The active paylines 32 extend between activated pairs of payline indicators 94 a-i, 96 a-i such as, for example, the payline 32 (FIG. 1) that extends between payline indicators 94 e and 96 e. Winning line-pay combinations listed in the pay table can include three like-symbols appearing on a payline yielding a first payout, four like-symbols appearing on a payline yielding a second, larger payout, and five like-symbols appearing on a payline yielding a third, even larger payout. In addition, a winning spin could be the result of a predetermined symbol or group of symbols appearing either on or off of a payline.
  • [0038]
    Referring also to FIG. 4, a hypothetical pay table 120 is illustrated according to one embodiment of the present invention. The hypothetical pay table 120 represents a pay table for a five-reel, nine-payline slot game (such as the slots game depicted in FIG. 1) having a fruit theme. The hypothetical pay table 120 provides an award value for winning line-pay combinations, such as five-symbol wins 122 a-f, four-symbol wins, 124 a-f, three-symbol wins 126 a-f, and two-symbol wins 128 a-e. The associated payout value for each of the winning combinations is provided in the “payouts” column 130. The associated payout value is multiplied by the number of credits wagered on the winning payline. As illustrated, the award values associated with the five-symbol wins 122 a-f are higher than the award values associated with the four-symbol wins 124 a-f and so on. In addition, the award values for the different wins vary depending on the symbol type. For example, the five-cherry win 122 a has a higher award value than the five-mixed win 122 f.
  • [0039]
    The award values contained in the hypothetical pay table 120 illustrated in FIG. 4 may represent the awards associated the winning combinations when a single-credit wager is placed by a player on the winning payline. However, the player may choose to wager more than—and in some embodiments less than—a single credit on each payline. Thus, the present invention can modify the associated award values from the pay table based on the number of credits wagered by a player on each payline. For example, if the player utilizes the wager identifier 76 to wager fifteen credits per payline and the player earns a four-plum win 124 b during the wagering game, the player is awarded a 7500 credit payout (i.e., 15×500). Similarly, if the player were to wager one-half credit per payline and earn the four-plum win 124 b, the player would be awarded a 250 credit payout (i.e., 0.5×500).
  • [0040]
    The reels 62 a-e may be either traditional mechanical reels or they may be computer-generated images of reels as shown in FIG. 1. The payline indicators 94 a-i, 96 a-i indicate a randomly selected outcome for each payline 32. While an embodiment with nine paylines is shown, a gaming machine 10 with a single payline, or multiple paylines will also work with the present invention. Additionally, though an embodiment with five reels is shown, a gaming machine 10 with any plurality of reels may also be used in accordance with the present invention.
  • [0041]
    In a slots game, a player may play multiple paylines 32 (e.g., by selecting a select-lines button until the desired number of paylines 32—up to nine in the illustrated embodiment are displayed). The present invention can be used to replace or supplement the typical “select lines” and “bet per line” buttons or any other wager input system used to indicate a wager the player wishes to make. In embodiments where a select-lines button 198 (FIGS. 5 a-b) is provided to allow the player to select a desired number of paylines to play, the player's wager is divided over the selected number of paylines. Alternatively, the player's wager is applied to each of the selected paylines. Where a select-lines button is not provided, the player's wager is divided over the predetermined number of paylines provided by the wagering game. The wager-indication element 76 can also be utilized in gaming machines 10 where the slots game awards a scatter payout in which one or more of a certain type of symbol appears anywhere on the primary display 14 of the gaming machine 10, regardless of whether it is located on an active payline. The award value associated with a scatter payout is preferably multiplied by the total number of credits wagered.
  • [0042]
    As discussed above, the wager-indication element 76 of present invention allows the player to select the desired number of credits that he or she wishes to wager. As noted above, the desired number of credits may either be applied to each activated payline or be divided among the activated paylines. By moving the slider 88 the player may increase or decrease the number of credits they will wager for the upcoming game. The wager-indication element 76 can also be incorporated into a gaming machine 10 featuring blackjack, slots, keno, poker, roulette, or any other type of wagering game. For example, the wager-indication element 76 may be utilized in a wagering game featuring a card game having a plurality of hands; the selected wager being divided equally among the plurality of hands.
  • [0043]
    The wager-indication element 76 may additionally or alternatively be a physical slider located on the player input device 24 (FIG. 1). In still other embodiments, a portion of the wager-indication element 76 is located on the primary display 14 while a second portion of the wager-indication element 76 is located on the player input device 24. In these embodiments, the second portion of the wager-indication element 76 is located sufficiently close to the primary display 14 such that a slider, rollerball, dial, or similar input device located on the player input device 24 can be utilized to select one of the wager amounts represented on the primary display 14.
  • [0044]
    For example, a touchpad can be incorporated into the player input device 24. The touchpad senses a player's finger movement across the touchpad due to the downward pressure exerted by the player. A typical touchpad includes a plurality of layers of material. A top layer is a pad that is directly engaged by the player. Beneath the pad are layers (separated by very thin insulation) containing horizontal and vertical rows of electrodes that form a grid. Beneath these layers is a circuit board to which the electrode layers are connected. The circuit board is connected to one or more of the I/O circuits 46. The electrode layers are charged with a constant alternating current. As the finger approaches the electrode grid, the current is interrupted and the interruption is detected by the circuit board. The initial location where the finger touches the pad is registered such that subsequent finger movement can be related to that initial point. Some touch pads contain two special locations where applied pressure corresponds to clicking a left or right mouse button. Other touch pads sense single or double taps of the finger at any point on the touch pad.
  • [0045]
    Referring now to FIGS. 5 a-b, a wager-indication element 176 is illustrated according to another embodiment of the present invention. The wager-indication element 176 is located on the main game screen 60 and similar to the wager-indication element 76 (FIG. 3) in that the wager-indication element 176 is adapted to allow a player to select the number of credits they decide to wager on the upcoming wagering game. The wager-indication element 176 includes an indicator positioned along a wager scale 186. The wager scale 186 displays the number of credits (or partial credits) between a minimum wager 172 a and a maximum wager 172 b that the player can select from.
  • [0046]
    The wager-indication element 176 is overlayed with a plurality of soft touch keys 30 to allow a player to select their desired wager by touching the primary display 14 along the portion of the wager scale 186 that represents their wager. Once a player touches one of the plurality of soft touch keys 30, the indicator 188 is displayed in that region of the wager scale 186. Unlike the wager-indication element 76 (FIG. 3) where the slider 88 is engaged directly by the player and moved, the wager-indication element 176 is adapted to allow the player to select from the plurality of wager amounts arranged along the wager scale 186 by actuating one of the plurality of soft touch keys 30 along the scale itself. Thus, in the embodiment in FIGS. 5 a-b, a player does not directly engage the indicator 188 but instead engages the wager scale 186 directly.
  • [0047]
    The wager-indication element 176 may also be used in conjunction with a decrease-wager button 190 and an increase-wager button 192. The decrease-wager button 190 and the increase-wager button 192 may be used by the player to decrease or increase the indicated wager by a single increment (e.g., credit or partial credit). The decrease-wager button 190 and the increase-wager button 192 facilitate minor variations in wager amounts without requiring the player to retouch the primary display 14 along the wager scale 186. This is especially helpful where the wager scale 186 represents a large volume of wager possibilities and/or where the player's dexterity (i.e., hand-eye coordination) is poor.
  • [0048]
    As illustrated in FIG. 5 a, a player has selected to wager eleven total credits on the upcoming wagering game. The player can then modify his or her wager prior to the start of the upcoming wagering game or can modify his or her wager prior to each subsequent wagering game session. As illustrated in FIG. 5 b, the player has modified their wager so as to now wager eighteen total credits on the upcoming wagering game. Thus, the position of the indicator 188 has been moved along the wager scale 186 to accurately reflect the player's current wager. The player may have modified their wager by touching the wager scale 186, by utilizing the decrease-wager button 190 and the increase-wager button 192, or a combination of both.
  • [0049]
    As should be apparent from the above description, by incorporating a wager-indication element into a wagering game, a player is easily able to adjust the amount of their wager from session to session. The player is constantly able to see where the amount of their wager falls between the minimum and maximum wager for the particular gaming machine 10. Additionally, large changes in the amount of a wager can be facilitated quickly by moving a slider along a wager scale or by touching a position along the wager scale. Thus, the player is not required to repeatedly press an increase or decrease wager button. This is especially helpful where the range of the wager is rather large and/or the wager increments are relatively small.
  • [0050]
    Each of these embodiments and obvious variations thereof is contemplated as falling within the spirit and scope of the claimed invention, which is set forth in the following claims.
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Classifications
U.S. Classification273/292, 463/20
International ClassificationA63F1/00
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/32, G07F17/3202
European ClassificationG07F17/32C, G07F17/32
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jun 14, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: WMS GAMING INC., ILLINOIS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:PACEY, LARRY J.;REEL/FRAME:018007/0661
Effective date: 20060425
Jul 29, 2015ASAssignment
Owner name: BALLY GAMING, INC., NEVADA
Free format text: MERGER;ASSIGNOR:WMS GAMING INC.;REEL/FRAME:036225/0201
Effective date: 20150629