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Publication numberUS20070021191 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/276,147
Publication dateJan 25, 2007
Filing dateFeb 15, 2006
Priority dateFeb 15, 2005
Publication number11276147, 276147, US 2007/0021191 A1, US 2007/021191 A1, US 20070021191 A1, US 20070021191A1, US 2007021191 A1, US 2007021191A1, US-A1-20070021191, US-A1-2007021191, US2007/0021191A1, US2007/021191A1, US20070021191 A1, US20070021191A1, US2007021191 A1, US2007021191A1
InventorsMichael White, Victor Mercado
Original AssigneeWhite Michael L, Victor Mercado
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method and apparatus for storing information on a wager gaming voucher
US 20070021191 A1
Abstract
Methods and apparatuses for processing and storing information on a wager gaming voucher are described herein. In one embodiment, a wager gaming voucher includes a single machine-readable indicium. The single machine-readable indicium includes a remote database index associated with a set of one or more fields in a remote database and a portable voucher database to store information.
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Claims(30)
1. A wager gaming voucher comprising:
a single machine-readable indicium including,
a remote database index associated with a set of one or more tables in a remote database; and
a portable voucher database to store voucher information.
2. The wager gaming voucher of claim 1, wherein the portable voucher database includes a monetary value of the wager gaming voucher.
3. The wager gaming voucher of claim 1, wherein the monetary value can be accessed without accessing the remote database.
4. The wager gaming voucher of claim 1, wherein the voucher information can be accessed without accessing the remote database.
5. The wager gaming voucher of claim 1, wherein the portable voucher database includes information selected from the group consisting of a player identifier, a set of player preferences, a validation number, non-monetary awards, game entry data, lottery entry, and a game state.
6. The wager gaming voucher of claim 1, wherein the single indicium is a two-dimensional barcode.
7. The wager gaming voucher of claim 1, wherein the portable voucher database includes validation information that can be used to validate the wager gaming voucher without accessing a network.
8. The wager gaming voucher of claim 1, wherein the voucher information is encrypted.
9. The method of claim 1, wherein the wager gaming voucher further includes unencrypted voucher information in the indicium needed for decryption.
10. A method comprising:
reading a single wager gaming voucher indicium, wherein the single wager gaming voucher indicium includes,
a portable voucher database including a monetary value; and
an index into a remote database; and
accessing the monetary value without accessing the remote database.
11. The method of claim 10, wherein the accessing the monetary value is performed without accessing a network.
12. The method of claim 10, wherein the portable voucher database also includes voucher information, wherein the accessing step includes accessing the voucher information without accessing a network.
13. The method of claim 10, wherein the portable voucher database is encrypted, and wherein the accessing includes decrypting the portable voucher database.
14. The method of claim 13, wherein a public key is used to encrypt and a private key is used to decrypt the portable voucher database.
15. The method of claim 13, wherein symmetric keys are used to encrypt and decrypt the portable voucher database.
16. The method of claim 13, wherein the wager gaming voucher further includes unencrypted voucher information in the indicium.
17. The method of claim 16, wherein the unencrypted voucher information enables the decrypting of the encrypted portable voucher database.
18. The method of claim 10, wherein the single wager gaming voucher indicium resides on a wager gaming voucher, and wherein the portable voucher database includes a first random validation identifier, the method further including,
receiving a second random validation identifier;
validating the wager gaming voucher without communicating with any remote computer, wherein the wager gaming voucher is valid if the first random validation identifier matches the second random validation identifier; and
if the wager gaming voucher is valid, dispensing cash in an amount of the monetary value.
19. The method of claim 18, wherein the first and second random validation identifiers are created by a first and a second random number generator, each random number generator having the same output for a given seed value.
20. The method of claim 19, wherein the seed used to generate the first random validation identifier is used in the validating step to determine the second validation number.
21. The method of claim 10, further comprising:
using indicium validation rules to determine whether the single wager gaming voucher indicium is valid.
22. The wager gaming voucher of claim 10, wherein the single indicium is a two-dimensional barcode.
23. The method of claim 10, further including redeeming the wager gaming voucher for the monetary value wherein the accessing the monetary value is performed without accessing a network.
24. A machine-readable medium that provides instructions which when executed by a machine cause the machine to perform operations comprising:
receiving an indication to generate a wager gaming voucher;
generating a portable voucher database;
determining an index for accessing data in a remote database, wherein the data is associated with the wager gaming voucher;
creating an indicium that includes the portable voucher database and the index; and
generating a voucher that includes the indicium.
25. The machine-readable medium of claim 24, the operations further comprising:
encrypting the portable voucher database.
26. The machine-readable medium of claim 24, wherein the indicium is a single two-dimensional barcode.
27. The machine-readable medium of claim 24, wherein the portable database includes information selected from the group consisting of a player identifier, a set of player preferences, a validation number, a non-monetary award, a monetary award, game entry data, a lottery entry, and a game state.
28. A double-sided wager gaming voucher comprising:
a first machine-readable indicium including game-specific information, the game-specific information usable by one of a set of wagering game types;
a second machine-readable indicium including a voucher identifier, the voucher identifier associated with data in a remote database, the voucher identifier usable by all of the set of wagering game types.
29. The wager gaming voucher of claim 28, wherein the game-specific information is selected from the set consisting of a player identifier, a set of player preferences, a set of bonus awards, and a game state.
30. The wager gaming voucher of claim 28, wherein the first and second machine-readable indicium are selected from the group of linear barcodes or two-dimensional barcodes.
Description
RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. 119(e) from U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/652,999 filed Feb. 15, 2005, which application is incorporated herein by reference.

LIMITED COPYRIGHT WAIVER

A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material to which the claim of copyright protection is made. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by any person of the patent document or the patent disclosure, as it appears in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office file or records, but reserves all other rights whatsoever. Copyright 2006, WMS Gaming, Inc.

FIELD

This invention relates generally to the field of wagering games and more particularly to the field of wager gaming vouchers.

DESCRIPTION OF RELATED ART

Wager gaming machines often accept, process, and dispense wager gaming vouchers. Wager gaming vouchers are often associated with a monetary value and/or game state information. Some wager gaming vouchers include one-dimensional barcodes that represent indexes into remote databases, which store monetary values and/or game state information associated with the vouchers.

Players can typically redeem wager gaming vouchers for game credits. Wager gaming vouchers may also be used to store non-monetary award information that allows players to redeem the voucher for products or services. Wager gaming vouchers may also be used to store game play status. This allows a player to terminate a game prior to its completion and return to that game at a later time to resume game play at the same point (and with the same status) that the game was previously terminated. Wager gaming vouchers may be redeemed for credit or for the resumption of the game play by inserting the wager gaming voucher back into the wagering game, typically through a bill acceptor. The wager gaming machine traps the wager gaming voucher inside the wager gaming machine and is manually retrieved by the gaming establishment at periodic service intervals.

After a wager gaming machine receives a voucher, the machine typically uses the voucher index to look-up in a remote database the voucher's monetary value and/or other voucher information. After performing the look-up, the wager gaming machine can provide gaming credits on the wagering game equivalent to the monetary value and restore game status in accordance the with information associated with the voucher index in the remote database.

Players can also redeem wager gaming vouchers for cash by presenting the vouchers to cashiers. Cashiers can typically verify each voucher's monetary value before dispensing cash. For example, a cashier can use a computer for reading a voucher's one-dimensional bar code and determining an associated index into a remote database. Based on the index, the computer can look-up in the remote database the voucher's monetary value and provide the cashier with verification of the voucher's monetary value. After a cashier verifies the voucher's monetary value, the cashier can dispense cash to a player.

After the wager gaming vouchers have been redeemed for cash or gaming credits, they are typically sent to a counting room, where workers verify their authenticity and value. Typically, because of tight security, counting room workers do not have access to remote databases.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

The present invention is illustrated by way of example and not limitation in the Figures of the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a wagering game network, according to exemplary embodiments of the invention;

FIG. 2 is an orthogonal view of a wager gaming machine, according to exemplary embodiments of the invention;

FIG. 3 is a diagram illustrating a wager gaming voucher, according to exemplary embodiments of the invention;

FIG. 4 is a diagram illustrating the reverse side of the wager gaming voucher of FIG. 3 to create a double-sided wager gaming voucher, according to exemplary embodiments of the invention;

FIG. 5 is a flow diagram illustrating operations for generating a wager gaming voucher including a portable database and an index into a remote database, according to exemplary embodiments of the invention;

FIG. 6 is a flow diagram illustrating operations for processing a wager gaming voucher that has a portable database and index into a remote database, according to exemplary embodiments of the invention;

FIG. 7 is a flow diagram illustrating operations for processing a double sided wager gaming voucher that includes game-specific information, according to exemplary embodiments of the invention; and

FIG. 8 is a flow diagram illustrating operations for processing a double-sided wager gaming voucher that includes game-specific information, according to exemplary embodiments of the invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS

Method and apparatus for storing information on a wager gaming voucher are described herein. This description of the embodiments is divided into four sections. The first section describes an exemplary operating environment and system architecture. The second section describes system operations and the third section provides some general comments.

Operating Environment and System Architecture

This section describes a wagering game network, wager gaming machine, and wager gaming vouchers, according to exemplary embodiments of the invention. Operations of the wagering game network's components will be described in the next section.

Wagering Game Network

FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a wagering game network, according to exemplary embodiments of the invention. Operations of the wagering game network's components are described in greater detail in the next section.

FIG. 1 shows devices distributed throughout several rooms including a counting room 110, casino room 102, and cashier room 106. In one embodiment, the rooms are in the same building, while in another embodiment, the rooms are in separate buildings. The counting room 110 includes a counting room computer 112 which can be used for tracking and processing wager gaming vouchers using the machine-readable indicia imprinted on the voucher. Machine-readable indicia may be any marking discernible and readable by a machine, but which is unintelligible and cannot be directly read by a human.

Although the counting room computer 112 may not be connected to the wagering game network 100, the counting room computer 112 can verify and process wager gaming vouchers using the information in the portable voucher database as encoded in the machine-readable indicium.

The wagering game network 100 includes a plurality of wager gaming machines 104 located in the casino room 102. Additionally, the network 100 includes a cashier computer 108 located in the cashier room 106. The wager gaming machines 104 and the cashier computer 108 are connected to a remote database 114. The remote database 114 can store monetary value information and other game specific information for a plurality of wager gaming vouchers. Generally, the remote database 114 is located within the gaming establishment itself, but could be located off site. Gaming regulations would generally prohibit the remote database from being located (or at least accessed) inside the counting room 110.

The wager gaming machines 104, counting room computer 112, and cashier computer 108 are capable of receiving and processing wager gaming vouchers. In one embodiment, the wager gaming machines 104, counting room computer 112, and cashier computer 108 include two-dimensional barcode scanners and/or other optical readers for reading indicia imprinted on wager gaming vouchers. In one embodiment, based on information read from vouchers, the wager gaming machines 104 and cashier computer 108 can request data from the remote database 114. In one embodiment, the wager gaming machine 104, the cashier computer 108, and the counting room computer 112, can read all information associated with the voucher directly from the voucher.

According to embodiments, the components of the wagering game network 100 can communicate over wired and/or wireless connections. The network components can be connected to the wagering game network 100 using any suitable connection technology, such as Bluetooth, 802.11x, Ethernet, DSL, etc. According to some embodiments, each room has a different number of network components than that shown in FIG. 1.

The wager gaming machines 104, cashier computer 108, and counting room computer 112 can include machine readable-media for performing operations described herein. Machine-readable media includes any mechanism that provides (i.e., stores and/or transmits) information in a form readable by a machine (e.g., a computer). For example, a machine-readable medium includes 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.).

While FIG. 1 describes a wagering game network, FIG. 2 describes wager gaming machines in greater detail.

The wager gaming machines described below can employ any of the techniques for processing wager gaming vouchers described herein. Before discussing details related to wager gaming vouchers, FIG. 2 will describe some general features of wager gaming machines that generate and redeem wager gaming vouchers.

FIG. 2 is an orthogonal view of a wager gaming machine, according to exemplary embodiments of the invention. As shown in FIG. 2, the wager gaming machine 200 can be a video slot machine, or an electromechanical slot machine

The wager gaming machine 200 can be operated while players are standing or seated. The wager gaming machine 200 is preferably mounted on a stand. However, the wager gaming machine 200 can be constructed as a pub-style tabletop game (not shown), which a player can operate while sitting. Furthermore, the wager gaming machine 200 can be constructed with varying cabinet and display designs. The wager gaming machine 200 can incorporate any primary game such as slots, poker, or keno, and additional bonus games. The symbols and indicia used on and in the wager gaming machine 200 can take mechanical, electrical, or video form.

As illustrated in FIG. 2, the wager gaming machine 200 includes a coin slot 202 and bill acceptor 224. Players can place coins in the coin slot 202 and paper money or wager gaming vouchers in the bill acceptor 224. Other devices can be used for accepting payment. For example, credit/debit card readers/validators can be used for accepting payment. Additionally, the wager gaming machine 200 can perform electronic funds transfers and financial transfers to procure monies from various financial accounts. When a player inserts vouchers or money into the wager gaming machine 200, a number of credits corresponding to the value deposited are shown in a credit display 206. After depositing money or a voucher, a player can begin playing the game by pushing the play button 208. The play button 208 can be any play activator used for starting a wagering game or sequence of events in the wager gaming machine 200.

As shown in FIG. 2, the wager gaming machine 200 also includes a bet display 212 and a “bet one” button 216. The player places a bet by pushing the bet one button 216. The player can increase the bet by one credit each time the player pushes the bet one button 216. When the player pushes the bet one button 216, the number of credits shown in the credit display 206 decreases by one credit, while the number of credits shown in the bet display 212 increases by one credit.

A player may “cash out” by pressing a cash out button 218. When a player cashes out, the wager gaming machine 200 dispenses a wager gaming voucher or currency corresponding to the number of remaining credits. The wager gaming machine 200 may employ other payout mechanisms such as electronically recordable cards (which track player credits).

The wager gaming machine also includes a primary display unit 204 and a secondary display unit 210 (also known as a “top box” when positioned over the base game). In one embodiment, the primary display unit 204 displays a plurality of video reels 220. According to embodiments, the display units 204 and 210 can include any visual representation or exhibition, including moving physical objects (e.g., mechanical reels and wheels), dynamic lighting, and video images. In one embodiment, each reel 220 includes a plurality of symbols such as bells, hearts, fruits, numbers, letters, bars, or other images, which correspond to a theme associated with the wager gaming machine 200. Furthermore, as shown in FIG. 2, the wager gaming machine 200 includes an audio presentation unit 228. The audio presentation unit 228 can include audio speakers or other suitable sound projection devices.

In one embodiment, a plurality of wager gaming machines can be connected together with other computers to form a gaming network, as described above. In one embodiment, the wager gaming machine can receive and process wager gaming vouchers, as described below. The discussion of FIGS. 3 and 4 will describe wager gaming vouchers, according to embodiments of the invention.

FIG. 3 is a diagram illustrating a wager gaming voucher, according to exemplary embodiments of the invention. In FIG. 3, the wager gaming voucher 300 includes a value indicator 302, which indicates a monetary value associated with the wager gaming voucher 300. Typically, players can redeem wager gaming vouchers for the value indicated by the value indicator 302. For example, a player could redeem the wager gaming voucher 300 for $45.00. Alternatively, players can receive gaming credit for the value indicated by the value indicator 302 by reinserting the wager gaming voucher back into the bill validator of a wager gaming machine.

The wager gaming voucher 300 also includes alphanumeric information 304 to assist players with the identification of the wager gaming voucher without requiring electronic scanners or other devices necessary, as is the case with machine-readable indicia. The alphanumeric information 304 includes information identifying the wager gaming machine that dispensed the wager gaming voucher, information about when the wager gaming voucher was dispensed, and the wager gaming voucher's value. The alphanumeric information 304 can also include other information, such as machine configuration information.

Additionally, the wager gaming voucher 300 includes a machine-readable indicium 306. In one embodiment, the machine-readable indicium 306 can include a portable database. The portable database can include monetary-specific or game-specific information associated with the voucher 300. The portable database may also contain comp-specific information such as the player's accumulated award level, complementary awards, or bonus awards level. The portable database may also include player-specific information. Player-specific information includes player tracking number, biometric information, or any other information that can be used to identify a player. Additionally, the portable database can include configuration information describing the wager gaming that issued the voucher.

In one embodiment, the machine-readable indicium 306 can include all the information represented by the alphanumeric information 304 and any other information about a player, game, wager gaming machine configuration, or monetary value. Monetary-specific, game-specific, comp-specific, player-specific, and any other information imprinted on the wager gaming voucher may generally be referred to (either collectively or individually) as voucher information.

The game-specific information can include a player identifier, a game-type identifier, a set of player preferences (e.g., a player's preferred music, color scheme, volume settings, etc.), a set of bonus awards (e.g., awards that entitle a player to extra bonus events), or a game state (e.g., information that can enable a wager gaming machine to restart a game from the point where a previous game was terminated by the player). The game-specific information may also include an index into a database to allow the storage and retrieval of game specific information. The game-specific information may also include security codes, or other information necessary to secure the game-specific information from fraudulent use such as a validation number.

Monetary-specific information may include any information relating to the monetary value encoded on the wager gaming voucher including machine ID number, validation number, index number, or any other information generated by the wager gaming machine or the network and communicated to the wager gaming machine related to the monetary value represented by the wager gaming voucher, or security to ensure the voucher in not fraudulently used. (e.g., player tacking number).

Wager gaming machine configuration information can include machine settings, game settings, software settings, and any other information about how the wager gaming machine is configured. For example, the configuration information can indicate the wager gaming machine's processor type, peripheral device types, amount of memory, operating system type, pay tables, wagering game type, etc. In one embodiment, the wager gaming voucher 300 can be used to transfer wager gaming machine configuration information from one wager gaming machine to other wager gaming machines, as disclosed in US Publication No. 2005/0197191, which is hereby incorporated by reference.

In one embodiment, the machine-readable indicium 306 also includes an index into a remote database. The index (also referred to as a voucher identifier) can be used as a key into one or more tables of a relational database, such as the remote database 114 (see FIG. 1).

In one embodiment, the machine-readable indicium 306 is a two-dimensional bar code. In other embodiments, the machine-readable indicium 306 can be any suitable machine-readable indicium capable of representing a monetary value, or any other general voucher information used in association with a wager gaming voucher.

FIG. 3 shows the “top side” of the wager gaming voucher 300. In one embodiment, the voucher's “bottom side” is blank. However, in another embodiment, the bottom side of the wager gaming voucher 300 includes additional indicia, which are described in FIG. 4. Alternatively, data may be categorized, and dependent on that characterization, placed on one of the two sides of the wager gaming voucher. In this description, the terms “top side” and “bottom side” are merely used to distinguish between different sides of a wager gaming voucher.

FIG. 4 is a diagram illustrating a bottom side of a double-sided wager gaming voucher, according to exemplary embodiments of the invention. On the bottom side, the voucher 300 includes a machine-readable indicium 402 that can include game-specific or machine-specific information. The top side of the wager gaming voucher may contain only information related to the credit value of the voucher (i.e., the monetary value stored in indicium 306).

Many wager gaming machines may not be able to read indicia from two sides of a wager gaming voucher, so the voucher 300 may work only with certain machines. Moreover, the machine-readable indicium 402 may store machine or game-specific information that is relevant to only one particular game type. For example, the machine-readable indicium 402 can include bonus awards, game state information, and other information specific to a Monopoly™ slot game available from WMS Gaming of Chicago, Ill. As a result, the voucher 300 can be used with only wager gaming machines featuring the appropriate Monopoly™ slot game.

In those cases where the wager gaming machine is only able to read a single side of a double-sided wager gaming voucher, the voucher acceptor may be programmed to read the game specific information on the wager gaming voucher first. The voucher acceptor may then be programmed to dispense the same ticket back to the player to allow the player to reinsert the ticket to read the credit value of the voucher imprinted on the opposite side of the wager gaming voucher. The wager gaming machine then credits the player for the face value of the voucher, cues the wager gaming machine to the game status imprinted on the voucher, and captures the voucher inside the wager gaming machine for accounting purposes.

The indicium on the credit side of the wager gaming voucher may include a signal to the wager gaming machine that the wager gaming voucher has an imprinted reverse side. If the player does not wish to resume play at the same wager gaming machine, but desires to use the credits on the wager gaming voucher, the player may override the wager gaming machine and force the credit portion of the wager gaming voucher to be accepted—potentially losing the game status contained in the game specific information imprinted on the back of the wager gaming voucher. The game status might be preserved in the database and recoverable if a player tracking number is associated with each stored game status.

Operations for processing information from the bottom side of wager gaming vouchers are described in the next section.

System Operations

This section describes operations performed by embodiments of the invention. In certain embodiments, the operations are performed by instructions (e.g., software) residing on machine-readable media, while in other embodiments, the methods are performed by hardware or other logic (e.g., digital logic).

In this section, FIGS. 5-8 will be discussed. In particular, FIGS. 5 and 6 describe operations for processing wager gaming vouchers that include a portable voucher database. FIGS. 7 and 8 describe operations for processing double-sided wager gaming vouchers that include game-specific information.

FIG. 5 is a flow diagram illustrating operations for generating a wager gaming voucher including a portable database and an index into a remote database, according to exemplary embodiments of the invention. The flow diagram 500 will be described with reference to FIGS. 1 and 3. The flow diagram 500 commences at block 502.

At block 502, an indication to generate a wager gaming voucher is received. For example, a wager gaming machine 104 receives a “cash out” request from a player. The flow continues at block 504.

At block 504, a portable database is generated. For example, a wager gaming machine 104 generates a portable database. In one embodiment, the portable database includes a monetary value associated with the voucher. The monetary value can be based on the number of game credits remaining on the wager gaming machine 104. In one embodiment, the portable database also includes game-specific or monetary-specific information associated with the voucher. Game-specific information can include information about the game's state at the time a player cashes out; including, for example, the bonus state of the game at the time of termination, the features or tools acquired during the game, etc. Monetary-specific information may include the wager gaming machine ID number, and any other information generated by the wager gaming machine for security purposes such as encryption codes, time and date the voucher is printed, random number generator version, validation number, seed generation, etc. Player-specific information includes player tracking number, biometric information, etc. The flow continues at block 506.

At block 506, an index into a remote database is determined. For example, a wager gaming machine 104 requests and receives from the remote database 114 an index that can serve as a pointer into a table of the remote database 114. In one embodiment, the wager gaming machine 104 can use the index for storing the portable database information and game-specific information into the remote database 114 location determined by the index. In one embodiment, the wager gaming machine 104 can encrypt the index and portable database using a key such as a public or private encryption key. If desired, the index, or any other information, may be left unencrypted to facilitate the manual retrieval of information. Unencrypted data may also be available in the portable database to provide information necessary to other machines, either on or off the network, to allow the decryption of secure wager gaming voucher information. This information includes sufficient information to allow the determination of a key or the identification of a random number generator necessary to decrypt the wager gaming voucher information.

In addition to the encryption of the data, the wager gaming machine may include a unique validation number for each wager gaming voucher. This unique validation number may be generated based on a mathematical function. This mathematical function may resemble, for example, a random number generator. Rather than continuously rolling the random number generator, the random number generator would be initiated with a specific number and only roll to the next generated number with a request to generate a new wager gaming voucher. The range and identity of each possible validation number from a given wager gaming machine is available to the cashier computer and the counting room computer, allowing these computers to provide a validation and authentication function. To minimize the range of numbers that a cashier or counting room computer would need to identify, the cashier/counting room computers may search only those numbers that can be reasonably obtained based on normal wager gaming machine usage. These validation numbers can be further secured by using a validation number that is a function of the time and/or date that it was issued.

The time the ticket is printed can become part of the vouchers database and that time can be used to generate the expected validation number of a particular wager gaming machine at that point in time. Furthermore if desired, rather than limiting a single wager gaming machine to a single random number generator algorithm, multiple random number generators may be available for use by the wager gaming machine.

Alternately, different initialization seeds may be used in the same random number generator. Introducing a new seed in the same random number generator creates a new set of validation numbers and makes the entire system more secure. The new seeds may be introduced based on time and date or they may be randomly changed by the wager gaming machine. An indicator can be placed in the voucher database to indicate the seed generation used to generate the validation number.

For a more detailed analysis and discussion of encryption techniques, validation, and authentication, refer to “Applied Cryptography: Protocols, Algorithms, and Source Code in C,” authored by Bruce Schneier, published by John Wiley & Sons (second edition, 1996), which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety. The flow continues at block 508.

At block 508, an indicium that includes the portable database and the index is generated. For example, a wager gaming machine 104 generates in memory an indicium that includes the portable database and index. In one embodiment, the portable database and index are encrypted, as noted above. The flow continues at block 510.

At block 510, a voucher that includes the indicium is generated. For example, a wager gaming machine 104 generates a wager gaming voucher that includes the indicium. In one embodiment, the wager gaming machine 110 prints the indicium on a wager gaming voucher. In one embodiment, the wager gaming machine 110 employs a thermal imaging printer to imprint the indicium on the wager gaming voucher. Alternatively, the wager gaming machine 110 can imprint the indicium onto the voucher using any suitable imprinting technique. In one embodiment, the indicium can be a two-dimensional bar code, similar that shown in FIG. 3. As noted above, the indicium includes the portable database and the index into the remote database 114. In one embodiment, the voucher generated at block 510 is identical to that shown in FIG. 3. From block 510, the flow ends.

While FIG. 5 describes operations for generating a wager gaming voucher that has a portable database and index into a remote database, FIG. 6 describes operations for receiving and processing such a wager gaming voucher.

FIG. 6 is a flow diagram illustrating operations for processing a wager gaming voucher that has a portable database and index into a remote database, according to exemplary embodiments of the invention. The flow diagram 600 will be described with reference to FIGS. 1 and 3. The flow diagram 600 commences at block 602.

At block 602, a single indicium, which includes a portable database and an index into a remote database, is read from a wager gaming voucher. For example, the counting room computer 112 reads (e.g., using a barcode scanner, document scanner, or other visual imaging device) a wager gaming voucher's machine-readable indicium. In one embodiment, the machine-readable indicium is a two-dimensional bar code (see FIG. 3). In one embodiment, the machine-readable indicium includes a portable database and index into a remote database. The portable database may include a monetary value associated with the wager gaming voucher. As described with reference to FIG. 3, the portable database can also include additional information, such as game state information, player information, player tracking number, validation number, wager gaming machine ID number, time and date, etc. The flow diagram continues at block 604.

At block 604, the index and the portable voucher database's information are determined. For example, the counting room computer 112 performs operations for determining the index and the portable database information from the indicium. In one embodiment, after reading the voucher's indicium (see block 602), the counting room computer 112 decodes and parses the indicium data to determine the index value, the portable database information, and any validation number present. In one embodiment, the counting room computer 112 accesses information in the portable database without accessing the remote database 114. In one embodiment, the counting room computer 112 determines the voucher's monetary value by accessing the portable database. After determining the voucher's monetary value, the counting room computer 112 can display the monetary value on a display device.

In one embodiment, the counting room computer 112 can employ an error checking algorithm or a redundancy algorithm for determining whether the wager gaming voucher includes any errors. The counting room computer 112 can use the error checking and/or redundancy algorithms to correct the errors.

A validation number may be evaluated to determine the wager gaming voucher's validity with respect to the wager gaming machine that generated the wager gaming voucher as well as the time of day and date it was generated. This validation in the counting room provides an additional degree of security that might not otherwise be obtainable because of the inability to access the remote database. In one embodiment, when determining the index value, validation number, and portable database information, the counting room computer 112 decrypts indicium data using a decryption key such as a private key. The flow continues at block 606.

At block 606, a determination is made about whether the wager gaming voucher is valid. For example, the counting room computer 112 determines whether the voucher is valid. In one embodiment, the validation number imprinted on the voucher can be extracted from the encrypted barcode and evaluated against the machine ID from which it was purportedly generated to verify that the validation number could have been generated by that wager gaming machine. This validation number may be further bounded by the time and date on which the voucher was imprinted. Furthermore, the cashier computer 108 and/or the counting room computer 112 may be periodically updated with the current random validation number generated by each wager gaming machine 104 via the network or other wireless communications. This is particularly important in cases where the network or the remote database becomes unavailable.

In situations where the network, and in particular, the database is unavailable, gaming patrons who would otherwise not be able to redeem their wager gaming vouchers for credit, could use the validation system embedded in the portable voucher database to cash their wager gaming vouchers at the cashier computer 108. As discussed above, the system could be bounded to redeem only those wager gaming vouchers expected to be generated within a period of time around the network outage. Alternatively, the wager gaming machine itself might be used as a cash out device—allowing the player to reinsert a wager gaming voucher back into the same wager gaming machine that originally issued the voucher. With this mechanism, the game machine could identify the wager gaming voucher as one that it has generated and provide the player cash for its face value. Such a redemption requires the wager gaming machine to match the voucher's index and/or validation number and credit amount against an identical entry in its own internal database. Barring the storage of the transaction, the validation number on the wager gaming voucher could be examined by the wager gaming machine to verify that such a validation number is a possible result of the wager gaming machine's random number generator. Once a redemption is made using the unique validation number generated by the wager gaming machine, this validation number is no longer available for any further redemption activity or for further use in the issuance of wager gaming vouchers at that wager gaming machine.

If the wager gaming voucher is not valid, the flow continues at block 608. Otherwise, the flow continues at block 610.

At block 608, an error indication is presented. For example, the counting room computer 112 presents an indication that the wager gaming voucher is not valid. In one embodiment, the counting room computer 112 presents the indication on a display device. From block 608, the flow ends.

At block 610, the operations are performed based on the portable database information. For example, the counting room computer performs operations based on the portable database information, such as updating records to reflect that the wager gaming voucher was redeemed and/or money was paid. From block 610, the flow ends.

While FIGS. 5 and 6 describe operations for generating and processing wager gaming voucher that include a portable database and index into a remote database, FIGS. 7 and 8 describe operations for generating and processing double-sided wager gaming vouchers that include game-specific information.

FIG. 7 is a flow diagram illustrating operations for processing a double-sided wager gaming voucher that includes game-specific information, according to exemplary embodiments of the invention. The flow diagram 700 will be described with reference to FIGS. 1, 3, and 4. The flow diagram 700 commences at block 702.

At block 702, an indication to print a wager gaming voucher is received. For example, a wager gaming machine 104 receives an indication that a player wants to cash out. The flow continues at block 704.

At block 704, general voucher information is imprinted on one surface of the wager gaming voucher. For example, the wager gaming machine 104 prints general voucher information on the top side of a wager gaming voucher. This general voucher information may be limited to credit related data. For example, the general voucher information can include the index into a remote database and a portable database (see discussion of FIG. 3). The flow continues at block 706.

At block 706, game-specific information is imprinted on another surface of the wager gaming voucher. This game-specific information may relate to the status of the game including the state of the game at the point at which it was previously terminated, allowing the player to resume play at that point. The game-specific information may not be directly related to the credit value of the voucher imprinted on the opposite side of the voucher. For example, the wager gaming machine 104 prints game-specific information on the bottom side of the wager gaming voucher. In one embodiment, the game-specific information is included in a machine-readable indicium. In one embodiment, the machine-readable indicium stores the game-specific information in a two-dimensional barcode (see FIG. 4). The flow continues at block 708.

At block 708, the double-sided wager gaming voucher is presented. For example, the wager gaming machine 104 presents the double-sided wager gaming voucher to a player. In one embodiment, the top side of the wager gaming voucher is identical to that shown in FIG. 3, while the voucher's bottom side is identical to that shown in FIG. 4. From block 708, the flow ends.

While FIG. 7 describes operations for presenting a wager gaming voucher that includes game-specific information, FIG. 8 describes operations performed in response to receiving such a voucher.

FIG. 8 is a flow diagram illustrating operations for processing a double-sided wager gaming voucher that includes game-specific information, according to exemplary embodiments of the invention. The flow diagram 800 will be described with reference to FIGS. 1 and 3. The flow diagram 800 commences at block 802.

At block 802, a double-sided wager gaming voucher that includes general voucher information and game-specific information is received. For example, a wager gaming machine 104 receives a double-sided voucher that includes general voucher information on one side and game-specific information on the other side. The flow continues at block 804.

At block 804, the general voucher information and game-specific information are determined. The wager gaming machine 104 performs operations for determining the general voucher information and game-specific information. Such operations can include reading and decoding indicia (e.g., a two-dimensional barcode) on the voucher's top and bottom sides. Such operations can also include reading the alphanumeric information 304 (e.g., using an OCR device) from the wager gaming voucher. The reading and/or decoding operations can reveal the game-specific information, wager gaming configuration, and general voucher information. In one embodiment, the wager gaming machine 104 determines the general voucher information and the game-specific information without accessing the remote database 114. In another embodiment, the wager gaming machine 104 determines the game-specific information without accessing the remote database and the general voucher information from the remote database 114.

The wager gaming machine 104 may use a validation number imprinted in the game-specific information to verify that the voucher is valid, allowing the player, for example, to retrieve a game status. This validation number can be created as discussed above using a random number generator specific to that wager gaming machine or to the type of game offered on that wager gaming machine. This random number generator starts with a specific known seed and can create a predetermined set of validation numbers that could potentially be used to gain access to specific game features available in a single wager gaming machine, or wager gaming machines located in a bank controlled by a central server. These validation numbers can be used once and thereafter invalidated for any further use. The flow continues at block 806.

At block 806, operations are performed based on the general voucher information. For example, based on the general voucher information, the wager gaming machine 104 performs operations, such as providing game credits in an amount corresponding to a monetary value represented in the general voucher information. The flow continues at block 808.

At block 808, operations are performed based on the game-specific information. For example, based on the game-specific information, the wager gaming machine 104 configures the state of a new game according to game state information included in the game-specific information. From block 808, the flow ends.

Although not shown in the flow 800, the wager gaming machine 104 can also perform operations based on the wager gaming machine configuration information stored on the wager gaming voucher. For example, the wager gaming machine could reconfigure its machine settings, pay tables, etc. based on the voucher's configuration information.

General Comments

In this description, numerous specific details are set forth. However, it is understood that embodiments of the invention may be practiced without these specific details. In other instances, well-known circuits, structures, and techniques have not been shown in detail in order not to obscure the understanding of this description. Note that in this description, references to “one embodiment” or “an embodiment” mean that the feature being referred to is included in at least one embodiment of the invention. Further, separate references to “one embodiment” in this description do not necessarily refer to the same embodiment; however, neither are such embodiments mutually exclusive, unless so stated and except as will be readily apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art. Thus, the present invention can include any variety of combinations and/or integrations of the embodiments described herein. Each claim, as may be amended, constitutes an embodiment of the invention, incorporated by reference into the detailed description. Moreover, in this description, the phrase “exemplary embodiment” means that the embodiment being referred to serves as an example or illustration.

Herein, block diagrams illustrate exemplary embodiments of the invention. Also herein, flow diagrams illustrate operations of the exemplary embodiments of the invention. The operations of the flow diagrams are described with reference to the exemplary embodiments shown in the block diagrams. However, it should be understood that the operations of the flow diagrams could be performed by embodiments of the invention other than those discussed with reference to the block diagrams, and embodiments discussed with references to the block diagrams could perform operations different from those discussed with reference to the flow diagrams. Additionally, some embodiments may not perform all the operations shown in a flow diagram. Moreover, it should be understood that although the flow diagrams depict serial operations, certain embodiments could perform certain of those operations in parallel.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7611411 *Nov 21, 2007Nov 3, 2009IgtPlayer tracking instruments having multiple communication modes
US8135648 *Nov 3, 2008Mar 13, 2012Gtech CorporationAuthentication of lottery tickets, game machine credit vouchers, and other items
US8267766Jan 29, 2009Sep 18, 2012Gtech Printing CorporationSecurity system and method for lottery tickets
US20090117997 *Nov 3, 2008May 7, 2009Oram Thomas KAuthentication of lottery tickets, game machine credit vouchers, and other items
US20100022291 *Jul 28, 2009Jan 28, 2010Stefano Frank SegretoSystem and Method for Providing Promotional Play of a Wagering Game
WO2010087905A1 *Dec 14, 2009Aug 5, 2010Gtech Printing CorporationSecurity system and method for lottery tickets
Classifications
U.S. Classification463/25
International ClassificationA63F9/24
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/32, G07F17/3248
European ClassificationG07F17/32, G07F17/32K4
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Aug 1, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: WMS GAMING INC. (ASSIGNEE ONLY), ILLINOIS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:WHITE, MICHAEL L.;MERCADO, VICTOR;REEL/FRAME:018045/0245;SIGNING DATES FROM 20060313 TO 20060613