US 20070026930 A1
A gaming table in which the outcome of the game is determined manually, and in which players place bets electronically and wins or losses are calculated electronically. The gaming system is applicable to any suitable game including roulette.
1. A gaming table, comprising:
at least one game outcome determining device, exclusive of a card game, and configured for determination of a random outcome for a game, said at least one game outcome determining device being physically located adjacent a dealer position such that a dealer at said dealer position is able to directly physically interact with said device, said device having a manual operation initiated by at least one direct physical interaction by a dealer, said manual operation causing said device to produce said random outcome without intervening automation following initiation by said dealer;
a plurality of player terminals located at said gaming table, each of said terminals being physically located with respect to said at least one game outcome determining device such that a player positioned at a terminal is unable to directly physically interact with said device, each terminal including a player user interface to permit a player to select at least one possible outcome of the game, occurring at said gaming table, and to make wagers on said at least one possible outcome; and
at least one processor for comparing said wagers to said random outcome for determining winning ones of said wagers, and for crediting winning proceeds directly to said player terminals.
2. The gaming table according to
3. The gaming table according to
4. The gaming table according to
5. A method for operating a gaming table, comprising:
receiving at a plurality of player terminals, located at said gaming table, respective player selections of a possible game outcome, occurring at said gaming table, and player wagers on said respective player selections of said possible game outcome;
determining a random outcome for a game, said random outcome being produced by a game outcome determining device having a manual operation, said manual operation being initiated by at least one direct physical interaction by a dealer with said device, said manual operation causing said device to produce said random outcome without intervening automation following initiation by said dealer;
comparing automatically said random outcome to said respective player selections; and,
determining winning ones of said wagers responsive to said comparing step, and crediting winning proceeds directly to said player terminals based on said player wagers.
6. The method according to
7. The method according to
8. The gaming table according to
9. The gaming table according to
10. The method according to
11. The method according to
12. The method according to
This invention relates to table games such as roulette, traditionally played in casinos and similar gaming establishments.
Games of chance have been part of many societies for centuries and are ever present today. Casinos exist to provide gambling entertainment to the community in the form of many different games.
These games can generally be divided into two categories. The first is automatic games, such as poker machines, in which a player bets on various outcomes being generated. These outcomes are generated automatically, using sophisticated random (all pseudo random) number generators. The player wins or loses depending upon the outcome of a particular game.
The second category of games is know as a table game, in which a human operator, known as a dealer or a croupier, determines the outcome of the game and pays betting players accordingly. Such table games include roulette and blackjack. In the case of blackjack, players are dealt a number of cards by a dealer, who also deals him or herself some cards. The cards themselves determine the outcome of a particular game, directed by the dealer, and influenced by individual players' choices of various parts of the game.
Simplistically, in roulette, players bet on where they think a ball, spun within a wheel divided into thirty seven regions marked from 0-36, will land. After bets are placed, the wheel is spun and the ball is dropped onto the spinning wheel and is allowed to move freely until coming to rest in one of the thirty seven regions of the wheel. Those players who bet on the correct number win, while those who did not, lose.
In both scenarios of the table games described above, all actions, including players betting, game outcome determination, calculation of winners and losers and subsequent settlement, are conducted manually.
This presents a number of problems. Firstly, mistakes can be made by the player in placing a bet, resulting in an invalid bet, while mistakes may be made by the croupier in determining winners and more particularly, in calculating and paying out wins. Furthermore, it is not uncommon for some players to attempt to cheat by surreptitiously increasing or decreasing a bet while the croupier is not looking once the outcome of a game is known.
Another problem lies with the comfort and confidence of the players. One of the attractions of automatic gaming machines is that the player does not need to deal with other people, which is an advantage if the player is not entirely familiar with or confident about the rules of the game and may be intimidated by other people observing this.
Another disadvantage of traditional gaming tables is that generally, only six players can play at a table at any one time. This is an inefficient use of space. Furthermore, their number within a given establishment is limited by legislation. Due to the limited number of tables, it is often difficult for players to find a place available at a table.
Further, due to the requirement of the croupier having to maintain full control including supervising players, taking bets, determining the outcome of the game, calculating and paying winnings, collecting losses and all the while trying to be aware of any instances of cheating, the number of players per table must be limited so as not to overtax the croupier. Accordingly, the overall profit of the casino derived from the game is limited because the ratio between the croupier's salary and the income generated from the players is not high.
It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a table game which improves security and increases profit to the casino
In broad terms the present invention provides a casino gaming table, in which the game itself is conducted using traditional, manual systems, and the players place bets and wins or losses are calculated using electronic means.
The core advantage of such an arrangement is that the croupier need only physically conduct the game elements—for example, spinning a roulette wheel. The croupier need not watch for irregularities or calculate wins and losses. As a result, play can proceed more rapidly, and more players can be accommodated simultaneously.
According to one aspect, the present invention provides a gaming table system including;
a gaming surface, at least one manual random game outcome determinator, game outcome data capturing means and one or more electronic player terminals to allow one or more players to place bets electronically.
According to a further aspect, the present invention provides a method for operating a casino gaming table, said table including player terminals for players to electronically place bets on the outcome of a game, said method including the steps of:
electronically receiving a betting amount from a player;
manually determining a game outcome;
calculating win/loss data in accordance with the outcome of the game; and
electronically updating player terminals in accordance with said win/loss data.
Preferably, the system will include processing means for calculating win/loss data in accordance with the outcome of the game.
Preferably, the system also includes updating means for updating customer credit values in accordance with the win/loss data.
The system may also provide a countdown to inform the players of the time remaining before all bets must be placed.
The invention will now be described in more detail with reference to the following figures.
As can be seen from
Situated close to the gaming table where the outcome is determined, is Central Controller (CC) 4 (not shown in
The arrangement of the present invention may also include a “display tree” 6, which is used to display the outcome of the game. Optionally, the display tree may also display the outcome of any number of the preceding games.
The CC 4 acts as an interface between the player terminals 2 and the SGC 5. The CC 4 monitors and processes payment amounts, buy-in amounts, winning results and bet positions.
The SGC 5 communicates with the CC 4 and can also be used to provide data and statistical information to Casino databases. The dedicated gambling table dealer operates the SGC to register buy-in amounts and allocates these to individual player terminals and processes winning and losing results. It also maintains transaction records and communicates winning result information to the CC 4, and provides information to the gaming table operator and CC 4 regarding cash out amounts when players finish playing.
A schematic diagram of a typical layout of the invention is shown in
Casino management databases 9 are connected to the SGC 5 via dedicated application server software. Furthermore, peripheral elements may include a Note Acceptor 7 that is connected to the SGC 5 via a serial interface and is responsible for processing all local currency. Under control of the croupier, notes fed into the Notes Acceptor will result in a credit being issued to the corresponding player's terminal for use throughout the game.
The SGC 5 controls game execution. While the croupier spins the roulette wheel to generate the game outcome, it is the SGC 5 that is responsible for handling buy-in and collect amounts, maintaining transaction history, processing patron ratings and generally administering the game.
Before the commencement of a game, the SGC 5 sends a new game request to the central controller which then confirms that all terminals are synchronised. The SGC 5 then initiates the countdown by sending the Central Controller 4 a “Start Game” command, with the associated time limit which is then relayed to the player terminal screens and acknowledged.
The countdown time is the time allowed for players to place their bets. At the completion of the countdown period, the player terminals 2 will send respective betting information to the Central Controller 4. If no bet is placed for a particular terminal within this time, the terminal 2 sends a “zerobet” packet to Central Controller 4.
At the completion of the countdown, the Central Controller 4 sends a message to the SGC 5 that the countdown has expired and polls for the acknowledgement from each terminal. All associated bet details are then passed to the SGC 5 via the Central Controller 4. At this time, bets can no longer be placed, and the amount bet is deducted from the account balances stored on'the respective player terminals 2. The croupier then calls “No More Bets”, and spins the wheel to determine the winning number. The winning number is then confirmed by the croupier, as is discussed in more detail below, and is sent to the Central Controller 4. The SGC 5 then calculates win/loss data for each player terminal 2, and each is then updated accordingly through the Central Controller 4.
The countdown feature is also particularly advantageous to both players nd the casino. The countdown allows players to be aware of the remaining time before having to place their bet. In traditional systems, there is no systematic way f knowing when the “end of bets time” is approaching. The croupier may call “last bets”, but the final time is variable within limits. It is possible that the croupier will call “no more bets” just before a player decides where and in what amount to place the bet. When this happens, the player misses out on participating in that game and the casino misses out on the opportunity of winning the player's money.
With the countdown feature, this situation is avoided because the player can see that the final time for placing a bet is approaching, and knows exactly how much time remains in which to place the bet. Accordingly, if the player intends to place the bet for that particular game, he or she is more likely to do this before the betting time expires. In this way, the player will not be excluded from the given game for having missed out on placing the bet, and the casino is able to have bets placed in a more consistent manner, contributing to the increased profits provided by the system of the present invention.
The CC is a multi-line user system running several processes needed to co-ordinate the game. The CC's role includes:
The player terminals are employed as the interface between the player and the system of the present invention. The main components of the player terminal include:
Associated peripherals include, but are not limited to, bill acceptor, attendant key, accounting key, door sensors and player. terminal specific software.
The operation of the player terminal 2 and screen display will now be described with reference to
As described above, before the commencement of a game, the SGC 5 sends a “Start Game” signal to the Central Controller 4, which in turn ensures that all player terminals are synchronised so that each player is given the same time in which to place their bets. During the countdown, bets can be placed by dragging the selected denomination chip (202-207) over the betting layout 208 to the desired location.
Chips can be placed over existing chips on the layout to increase the bet at hat location. Once the chip is placed on the layout, the size of the chip will reduce y about 20-30% so as to best fit on the layout area. It will then change to a standard colour and the number value in the middle of the chip will display the total bet amount on the layout at that particular location. For example, if two $5 chips, two $2 chips and a $1 chip are placed on a single location on the layout, the image of the chip at that spot will display a value of $15. To remove a bet, the chip is selected and dragged off the layout to reduce the amount of the bet. This dragging may be done via a conventional mouse device, or may be done simply by dragging a finger across the screen of the touch screen terminal.
The display on the terminal will also indicate the time remaining for betting (209), the current balance (210), the current amount bet (211) and the win amount (212). The current balance is updated at the completion of each game cycle and is equal to the previous cash balance plus any wins for that game minus the cash bet in that game.
At the completion of the countdown, the Central Controller 4 will poll all the active player terminals, and then send all of the bet details and balances to the SGC 5. If the amount bet does meet the minimum requirement of the table and is greater than zero, then a message will be displayed on the player terminal status bar 213, and an “invalid bet” message will be displayed on the player terminal and also sent to the SGC 5.
After the winning number and winning wages information is received from the SGC 5, the Central Controller 4 passes the information to each player terminal, and the player terminal will flash the winning combinations of only those chips on the betting layout that have won. When the gaming cycle begins again, the layout display will be cleared of all bets placed in the previous game.
A number of other options are available and may be controlled by buttons on the display screen:
An optional display on the terminal screen might also allow the player to view bets placed by other players. This may take the form of other players' chips being displayed in different colours on the display of the board layout.
The function of the SGC 5 will now be described in more detail with reference to
Block 515 will initiate a “New Game”, which initiates a command to the Central Controller 4 to commence the game clock for setting on all active player terminals. The “New Game” button will be disabled when game countdown has commenced, or when the game is in pause mode, and will be re-enabled once the winning number is confirmed. The ““Winning Number” button 516 will display the winning number, and will need to be confirmed by the croupier, who views the actual outcome of the game by observing the actual position of the ball on the roulette wheel 3, and verifying that the actual winning number is the same as that displayed in box 516. This confirmation is done by the croupier touching box 516. If the number displayed in box 516 is incorrect, confirmation will be declined, and the SGC 5 will advance the croupier into a ‘winning number input and confirmation” screen. This will allow the number to be manually input and confirmed. The “winning number” box 516 will also display a message to direct the croupier to spin the ball on the roulette wheel. This message is displayed once the SGC 5 is informed by the Central Controller that all transactions have been completed.
Alternatively, the system will not read the winning number at all. Rather, the croupier will observe the outcome of the game and enter the winning number into the system. The system then processes the input information as previously described.
Administration box 517 allows the croupier to control a number of specific functions, such as pausing a current game, configuring min/max bets and opening and closing the table.
The system described above accordingly provides many advantages over current table games. In particular, the system improves security in that it is far more difficult for a player to attempt to cheat, and reduces the risks of miscalculations being made by the croupier. Furthermore, the system allows more players to play per table, is more attractive to players who may be otherwise intimidated, provides greater flexibility in betting options and improves the ratio of earnings to outgoings for the casino in terms of croupier salary per number of players.
While the above description has been focussed on the game of roulette, it will be understood that the principles of the invention may be equally applied to any suitable gaming table, to provide the above advantages. Such suitable table games include Sic Bo, Big Wheel, Two Up and Mini Baccarat.
It will also be appreciated that the above description has been given in relation to a preferred embodiment only, and is not meant to be limited to the specifics of the disclosure, which may vary in many ways as would be understood by the person skilled in the art, within the scope of the present invention.