US 20070087840 A1
A gaming voucher is printed with first and second machine readable indicia. The first machine readable indicia represents a unique gaming voucher number. The monetary value of the gaming voucher and additional information about the gaming voucher is stored in a database remote from the gaming machine in association with the unique gaming voucher number. The second machine readable indicia represents the asset number of the gaming machine that produced the gaming voucher, the value of the gaming voucher, and a portion of the unique gaming voucher number. The gaming voucher is self-validating during a counting process in a count room, and thus no access to the remote database is required to initially verify the authenticity of the gaming voucher. The information encoded in the first and second machine readable indicia may also be used in conjunction with the data in the remote database during a voucher redemption process to verify the authenticity of the gaming voucher.
1. A gaming voucher output from a gaming machine, the gaming voucher comprising:
(a) a first machine readable indicia representing a unique gaining voucher number and not including data representing the value of the gaming voucher, the value of the gaming voucher being stored in a database remote from the gaming machine in association with the unique gaming voucher number; and
(b) a second machine readable indicia representing at least
(i) the asset number of the gaming machine that produced the gaming voucher,
(ii) the value of the gaming voucher, and
(iii) a portion of the unique gaming voucher number,
wherein the data in the second machine readable indicia are used to obtain the asset number of the gaming machine that produced the gaming voucher and the value of the gaming voucher during a voucher counting process, and the data in the first and second machine readable indicia are used to verify the authenticity of the gaming voucher during the voucher counting process, without accessing the remote database.
This application is a continuation of U.S. application Ser. No. 10/255,160, filed Sep. 25, 2002, now U.S. Pat. No. 7,118,478.
The present invention relates to gaming machines, and more particularly to gaming vouchers output from gaming machines.
Slot machines with cashless (coinless) capabilities have been widely introduced throughout the casino gaming industry. Some slot machines output only gaming vouchers (also referred to as “ticket vouchers”) in lieu of cash, whereas other slot machines output coins and/or gaming vouchers, depending upon the patron's request and/or the algorithms programmed into the slot machines. The gaming vouchers may be redeemed for cash, or may be fed back into a special slot machine gaming voucher acceptor or even a specially adapted bill validator to establish credit for subsequent game play.
One widely known cashless slot machine system is called EZ Payer™ Ticket System, available from International Game Technology, Reno, Nev. The EZ Pay system is generally described in U.S. Published Application No. 2001/0044337 (Rowe et al.), incorporated herein by reference. Each gaming voucher in the EZ Pay system contains a unique identification number (serial number) which is physically applied to the gaming voucher as a bar code.
When an EZ Pay gaming voucher is generated by a gaming machine, a record is simultaneously created in a remote database that correlates to the gaming voucher. The remote database contains all of the necessary information about the gaming voucher to ensure proper accounting of gaming machine payouts and to allow for accurate gaming voucher redemptions. The information that may be included in the remote database for each voucher includes:
1. monetary value of gaming voucher
2. gaming machine (i.e., asset) that produced the gaming voucher
3. date and time of issuance of the gaming voucher
4. redemption status of the gaming voucher (i.e., redeemed, not yet redeemed)
When a patron presents a gaming voucher for redemption, either by feeding it into a gaming voucher acceptor or bill validator at a gaming machine, or presenting it at a cash window (e.g., casino cage) or other authorized paying entity, the monetary value printed on the gaming voucher is not relied upon as the actual value of the gaming voucher. Instead, the bar code of the gaming voucher is read by a bar code scanner and the information in the remote database is used to obtain the value of the gaming voucher and to determine if the gaming voucher has been previously redeemed. The information in the remote database is also used in other ways to check the likely authenticity of the gaming voucher. For example, the machine number that generated the gaming voucher and time/date values may be checked against other information in the remote database to determine if the ticket is authentic. These extra security measures reduce the likelihood of fraud in the printing and redemption of gaming vouchers.
Notwithstanding the relatively simple redemption process used in cashless systems, such as EZ Pay, there are still unmet needs associated with such systems, and casino operators still face numerous problems with such systems, some of which are outlined below:
1. There is no way to independently account for the gaming vouchers without accessing the gaming voucher redemption system that ties into the remote database.
2. Casinos are required by regulations to count all revenue producing documents without allowing any of the collected information to go outside of the room where the count is taking place. Accessing the gaming voucher redemption system may require electronic transmissions to occur in and out of the count room. (A count room is a secure room where drop boxes and slot cash storage boxes are opened and cash is counted. Gaming vouchers, such as EZ Pay gaming vouchers, that are redeemed by being fed back into a gaming voucher acceptor or bill validator at a gaming machine end up in a drop box or slot cash storage box.)
3. Casino accounting systems and/or count rooms may not have access to the gaming voucher redemption system.
4. Counting equipment runs significantly slower when access to a database since identifying each gaming voucher is required.
5. The count room must identify the asset number of the gaming machine that produced each gaming voucher. This information is stored in the remote database and may not be printed on a gaming voucher in either human readable or machine readable form. Accordingly, access to the remote database of the gaming voucher redemption system may be required to obtain this information. As noted above, such access may not be available, or may even be prohibited by regulations.
6. A convention gaming voucher, such as an EZ Pay gaming voucher, may indicate the value and asset number of the gaming that produced the gaming voucher in human readable form. However, it is easy for casino patrons and/or casino employees to fraudulently alter human readable indicia. If access to the gaming voucher redemption system is not available in the count room, the human readable indicia will be relied upon in the count room and such alterations will not be detected during the counting process.
7. Gaming voucher acceptors or bill validators at gaming machines, as well as cage window attendants, have access to the remote database of the gaming voucher redemption system so that the value and authenticity of gaming vouchers presented for redemption can be verified. Nonetheless, it may still be possible to defeat present security measures designed to ensure that gaming vouchers are not fraudulently created and/or redeemed.
The present invention addresses these problems and unmet needs.
A second machine readable indicia, such as a secondary bar code, is printed on the gaming voucher which contains at least the following information coded therein:
1. Identification of the asset that produced that gaming voucher.
2. Amount or value of the gaming voucher.
3. Identification code that associates the physical gaming voucher to the EZ Pay serial number represented by the conventionally printed EZ Pay bar code. In one example, the identification code is a portion of the EZ Pay serial number, such as the last two digits.
The second machine readable indicia allows count room employees to use machine readable scanning equipment, such as a bar code reader, identify the asset that produced the gaming voucher and the value of the gaming voucher. Count room employees thus do not need to rely upon tamper-prone human readable indicia, if any exists on such gaming vouchers, for such information. Furthermore, the identification code portion of the second machine readable indicia allows the count room employees to verify the integrity of the gaming voucher without requiring any communication with the EZ Pay gaming voucher redemption system. That is, the gaming voucher becomes “self-verifying.” This process provides a higher level of security than existing verification procedures for EZ Pay gaming vouchers because the EZ Pay serial number does not become exposed during the count process to any systems external to the count room.
In addition to providing improved count room procedures, the second machine readable indicia increases the integrity of the process for redeeming gaming vouchers via gaming voucher acceptors or bill validators at gaming machines, or at cage windows. During such redemptions, the remote database of the gaming voucher redemption system is accessed so that the value and authenticity of gaming vouchers presented for redemption can be verified. However, if the security measures associated with the conventional EZ Pay serial number and associated remote database information were defeated, the second machine readable indicia provides an additional source of verification. For example, the asset number, gaming voucher value, and identification code of the EZ Pay serial number, as obtained from the second machine readable indicia, may be compared to the information obtained by scanning the conventional EZ Pay bar code (which is a unique serial number) and accessing the corresponding database record for the serial number which contains the asset number and value of the gaming voucher.
During either count room processing or redemption at cage windows, human readable indicia may also be used as a further check against fraudulent redemptions. For example, gaming vouchers typically include the value of the gaming voucher in human readable form for the convenience of the patron. However, one object of the present invention is to reduce or eliminate the necessity to rely upon such human readable indicia when redeeming gaming vouchers.
The foregoing summary, as well as the following detailed description of preferred embodiments of the invention, will be better understood when read in conjunction with the appended drawings. For the purpose of illustrating the invention, there is shown in the drawings embodiments which are presently preferred. It should be understood, however, that the invention is not limited to the precise arrangements and instrumentalities shown.
In the drawings:
Certain terminology is used herein for convenience only and is not to be taken as a limitation on the present invention. In the drawings, the same reference letters are employed for designating the same elements throughout the several figures.
The bar code symbol in one embodiment of the EZ Pay gaming voucher is a USS-I 2/5 type bar code.
If the gaming voucher 10 has a magnetic strip, then the first machine readable indicia will be the unique gaming voucher number encoded onto the magnetic strip. In this example, there may not be any human readable value printed on the gaming voucher 10.
1. monetary value of gaming voucher
2. gaming machine (i.e., asset) that produced the gaming voucher
3. date and time of issuance of the gaming voucher
4. redemption status of the gaming voucher (i.e, redeemed, not yet redeemed)
1. the asset number of the gaming machine that produced the gaming voucher 20
2. the monetary value of the gaming voucher 20
3. a portion of the unique gaming voucher number 12.
In one embodiment of the present invention, the portion of the unique gaming voucher number is the last two digits of the gaming voucher number. However, any portion may be used. The second or top bar code symbol in one embodiment of the gaming voucher 20 is a USS Code 128 bar code symbol.
The gaming voucher 20 may also use one or more magnetic strips in place of the bar codes. If so, then the first machine readable indicia will be the unique gaming voucher number encoded onto the magnetic strip and the second machine readable indicia will be the number represented by the secondary bar code symbol 22. Thus, whether the gaming voucher 20 uses bar codes or magnetic strips, the same information will be contained on the gaming voucher 20. The examples described hereafter refer only to the bar code embodiment. The equipment for printing, scanning and decoding bar codes, and for encoding and decoding magnetic strips is well-known and thus is not described in detail herein.
In addition to the three data items referred to above, the gaming voucher 20 includes additional data items in accordance with internal control procedures described in the Appendix.
An important feature of the present invention is that the secondary bar code symbol 22 allows the gaming voucher 20 to be self-validating when counted in a count room, while also providing additional security against fraud (e.g., counterfeiting) when validating gaming vouchers using data in the gaming voucher redemption system.
The self-validation process 30 begins by reading the two bar codes and extracting and parsing the read data to obtain the unique gaming voucher number from the center bar code symbol 12, and the asset number, monetary value, and portion of the unique gaming voucher number from the secondary bar code 22 (steps 32, 34).
Next, the portion of the unique gaming voucher number extracted from the secondary bar code 22 is compared to the corresponding digits of the entire unique gaming voucher number (step 36). If the numbers match, then the monetary value of the gaming voucher 20 extracted from the secondary bar code 22 is compared to the value printed in human readable form (step 38). If the monetary values match, then the gaming voucher is initially presumed to be valid and counted accordingly (step 40). These two steps may be performed in either order. Also, while it is preferred to perform the monetary value check, this step is optional. If either of these tests fail (step 42), then the gaming voucher must be further investigated. It may be initially counted as being invalid, or handled in accordance with established internal control procedures.
Additional checks may be performed on the gaming vouchers 20 which are not shown in
The redemption process 50 begins by reading the two bar codes and extracting and parsing the read data to obtain the unique gaming voucher number from the center bar code symbol 12, and the asset number, monetary value, and portion of the unique gaming voucher number from the secondary bar code 22 (steps 52, 54). The unique gaming voucher number is then used to access the corresponding record in the remote database (step 56,
The presence of the secondary bar code 22 does not preclude a gaming operator from using the center bar code 12 in the conventional (prior art) manner for gaming voucher redemptions. That is, the secondary bar code 22 may be used only for the count room procedures, and not for independent verification during patron redemption of gaming vouchers 22.
The Appendix includes excerpts of internal control procedures that are used by gaming establishments owned by Park Place Entertainment in the State of New Jersey. The internal control procedures allows the present invention to be implemented in gaming jurisdictions that have established additional requirements for use of EZ Pay gaming vouchers and similar types of gaming vouchers.
The present invention may be implemented with any combination of hardware and software. If implemented as a computer-implemented apparatus, the present invention is implemented using means for performing all of the steps and functions described above.
It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that changes could be made to the embodiments described above without departing from the broad inventive concept thereof. It is understood, therefore, that this invention is not limited to the particular embodiments disclosed, but it is intended to cover modifications within the spirit and scope of the present invention as defined by the appended claims.
(a) In conjunction with the requirements of N.J.A.C. 19:45-1.36 for a hopper and either a slot drop bucket or slot drop box, Bally's Atlantic City may issue a Gaming Voucher to automatically pay the amount on a credit meter, which gaming voucher shall be dispensed automatically from a slot machine to a patron, provided that:
1. The slot machine satisfies the requirements of N.J.A.C. 19:45-1.37(b)5 and (e)4, and such slot machine is connected to the EZ Pay Ticket System, a computerized gaming voucher system that satisfies the requirements of N.J.A.C. 19:45-1.55;
2. The design specifications of the gaming voucher are submitted to and approved by the Commission prior to issuance, which specifications shall comply with the requirements of (b) below;
3. Each gaming voucher is redeemable only in accordance with the requirements of (c) through (e) below and shall not expire; however Park Place and Wild West will restrict the redemption of a gaming voucher at a slot machine to a period of 90 days.
4. No gaming voucher results in a deduction from gross revenue unless the voucher is redeemed, the EZ Pay Ticket System is used to verify the validity of the serial number and value of the voucher, which verification will be performed upon redemption except as provided in (d) 6 below and the voucher is forwarded to the casino accounting department in accordance with section 1.35C of this submission. For redemption of gaming vouchers at the slot booths see 1.35C of this submission. For gaming vouchers accepted through bill changers see Exhibit B to section 1.33;
5. In addition to the requirements of (a)4 above, no gaming voucher redeemed at a slot machine results in a deduction from gross revenue unless the gaming voucher is counted in the count room in accordance with the requirements of N.J.A.C. 19:45-1.33 and Exhibit B to 1.33 of this submission; and
6. Bally's Park Place and Wild West have approved internal controls in accordance with the requirements of this chapter.
(b) Each Gaming Voucher shall be designed and manufactured with sufficient graphics or other security measures, so as to permit to the greatest extent possible, the proper verification of the gaming voucher, and shall contain, the following information:
1. The name “Bally's A C” as printed by the EZ Pay System;
2. The date and time of issuance;
3. The value of the voucher, in both numbers and words;
4. The CVT id number (CCID:);
5. The sequential number of the gaming voucher issued by the slot machine (Ticket #);
6. A unique serial number, referenced to as the “validation code”, which shall appear under the center bar code and on the top side of the gaming voucher and shall:
7. The asset number of the slot machine that issued the gaming voucher is located on the gaming voucher in the five digit numerical field located next to the text “Machine ID”. The last three digits of this field represent the position of the slot machine on the fiber loop to the CVT. The asset number is also encoded in the top barcode number;
8. The asset # of the slot machine that printed the gaming voucher (five digit field), the dollar value of the gaming voucher (8 digit field) and the last two digits of the serial number will be printed on the side of the gaming voucher.
9. Have an anti-counterfeiting measure on the gaming voucher as approved by the Commission;
10. The locations where the voucher may be redeemed and notice that redemption of a gaming voucher at a slot machine is restricted to a period of 90 days; and
11. A center bar code which shall enable the system to identify the numeric information in (b) 1 through 5 above when the voucher is subsequently presented for redemption. A top barcode which shall enable the SDS system via the Multiscan to identify the value and asset number of the slot machine that printed the gaming voucher when counted in the count room in accordance with Exhibit B to 1.33 or at the slot cage in accordance with 1.35C.
(c) Each gaming voucher shall be redeemed by a patron for a specific value of cash, coin or slot tokens in the amount of the gaming voucher surrendered, gaming voucher credits, or slot tokens, which value shall not exceed $3,000. Bally's Park Place and Wild West will not redeem a gaming voucher if:
1. The gaming voucher presented for redemption is materially different from the sample of the gaming voucher approved by the Commission pursuant to this section; or
2. The gaming voucher was previously redeemed.
(d) Park Place and Wild West shall follow a system of internal controls for the issuance and redemption of gaming vouchers, as follows:
1. Upon the presentation of a gaming voucher for redemption, the slot cashier, or slot machine shall use the EZ Pay system to verify the validity of the serial number and value of the voucher, and if valid, the EZ Pay system shall immediately cancel the voucher electronically and permit the redemption of such voucher for the value printed thereon as follows.
Each EZ Pay slot machine is connected to a Clerk Validation Terminal (CVT). The slot machine communicates to the CVT using the IGT Slot Accounting System (SAS) protocol. Up to 50 slot machines communicate with one CVT through a daisy chained fiber optic loop. The CVT in turn communicates with a Front End Processor (CFE) and the Front End Processor in turn communicates with the EZ Pay server (XVU). From the server, a network of cashier, auditor, Soft Count, and administration computers are connected.
When an EZ Pay slot machine prints a gaming voucher, the information is delivered to the CVT and redundantly stored in the CVT's battery backed memory. Approximately 19,000 unpaid gaming vouchers can exist in the CVT at one time. If the CVT is approaching 19,000 unpaid gaming vouchers the CVT sends the information from the oldest gaming voucher to the XVU. These tickets can then only be redeemed by a cashier. Paid voucher transactions are stored only in the system XVU and are purged from the CVT. The following information is printed by the slot machine and sent to the CVT using the SAS protocol as explained further in Section 1.55(d) of this submission:
2. Park Place and Wild West shall maintain a record of all transactions in the system XVU until such time that the Commission approves a revised internal control submission that permits the removal of records from the system and specifies procedures for the storage and control of such records;
3. Park Place and Wild West shall maintain all information required by (b)1 through 5 above for gaming vouchers that have been issued but not yet redeemed, which shall be stored in the system XVU until such time that the Commission approves a revised internal control submission that permits the removal of the information from the system and specifies procedures for the storage and control of such information. Access to this information is addressed in Section 1.55 of this submission.
4. At the end of each gaming day, a casino accounting representative shall generate from the EZ Pay System the following reports for purposes of the reconciliation required by (g) below and shall thereafter be maintained in accordance with the provisions of N.J.A.C. 19:45-1.8. For purposes of the 19:45 regulations the gaming day for the EZ Pay reports listed below is the “Bus Day Begin”.