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Publication numberUS20080076571 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/516,270
Publication dateMar 27, 2008
Filing dateSep 6, 2006
Priority dateSep 6, 2006
Also published asEP2059314A2, EP2059314A4, WO2008030955A2, WO2008030955A3
Publication number11516270, 516270, US 2008/0076571 A1, US 2008/076571 A1, US 20080076571 A1, US 20080076571A1, US 2008076571 A1, US 2008076571A1, US-A1-20080076571, US-A1-2008076571, US2008/0076571A1, US2008/076571A1, US20080076571 A1, US20080076571A1, US2008076571 A1, US2008076571A1
InventorsGary Frerking
Original AssigneeGary Frerking
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Player tracking module system and method
US 20080076571 A1
Abstract
A system and method are set forth for providing a configurable player tracking module display for a gaming device which is controlled to change colors/text/graphics to indicate the condition of (1) the gaming device, (2) the interface between the player of the gaming device or (3) the player tracking system.
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Claims(15)
1. A system for use with a plurality of gaming devices comprising:
a central system;
a color display housed within each one of said plurality of gaming devices, said color display controllable by said central system;
a communication network connecting each of said plurality of gaming devices to said central system for communicating display control data from said central system to said plurality of gaming devices; and
said central system for controlling a said color display in a selected one of said gaming devices to display a predominant first color to indicate a first condition and for controlling said color display in said selected one of said gaming devices to display a predominant second color to indicate a second condition.
2. The system of claim 1 wherein said central system commands display of at least one of said first and said second colors in combination with a text message on said color display.
3. A system for use with a plurality of gaming devices comprising:
a central system;
a color display housed within each one of said plurality of gaming devices, said color display controllable by said central system;
a communication network connecting each of said plurality of gaming devices to said central system for communicating display control data from said central system to said plurality of gaming devices; and
said central system for controlling a said color display in a selected one of said gaming devices to display a first color image to indicate a first condition and for controlling said color display in said selected one of said gaming devices to display a second color image to indicate a second condition.
4. The system of claim 1 wherein said central system commands display of at least one of said images in combination with a text message on said color display.
5. The system of claim 4 wherein said central system displays at least one of said images as a background for said text message.
6. The system of claim 4 wherein said central system displays at least one of said images so as to circumscribe said text message.
7. The system of claim 3 wherein said central system commands display of an infrared display on said color display.
8. The system of claim 3 wherein said central system commands display of an ultraviolet display on said color display.
9. The system of claim 3 wherein said one gaming device includes a player interface for the player to interface with the central system, said player interface transmitting first data to said central system when said interface is enabled and transmitting second data to said central system when said interface is disabled; and wherein said central system commands display of said first color image in response to said first data and commands display of said second color image in response to said second data.
10. The system of claim 3 and further including a data structure storing data corresponding to a plurality of device display modes including a graphic display mode, said central system recalling data from said data structure to control said display to display said graphic display mode.
11. The system of claim 10 wherein said central system recalls data from said data structure to control said display to simultaneously display a plurality of said device display modes.
12. The system of claim 3 wherein said color display is an LCD display; and wherein said central system controls said LCD display to display images selected from a group consisting of: (i) a plurality of varied color panels to convey information, (ii) graphically changing images to convey information, (iii) text to convey information, (iv) graphic skins to convey information, or (v) flashing colors, text or images to convey information.
13. A system for a plurality of game devices, the system including a central processor, a communication network for communication of data between the central processor and each game device and a data structure storing player data corresponding to each player to be tracked, the improvement comprising:
said central processor configured to access said data structure;
a color display associated with a game device;
an interface between the player and said central processor for communication of data, said interface having a first state in which communication between the player and said central processor is enabled, and having a second state in which communication between the player and said central processor is disabled; and
wherein said data structure storing data corresponding to a video display mode Xi and a video display mode X2, said video display mode Xi configuring said display to display at least one of color, text, or graphics to indicate said first state and said video display mode X2 for configuring said display to display at least one of color text or graphics to indicate said second state.
14. In a system for a plurality of gaming devices, said system including a central processor, an operator-system interface for each gaming device and a communication network providing communication between the central processor and each interface, a method comprising:
providing a digital color display associated with each interface;
processing data from said device and interface at said processor to determine one or more system communication states X1-Xn and
controlling the display to display in one or more visual modes.
15. The method of claim 14 wherein said step of controlling the display to display in one or more visual modes includes displaying one or more from a group consisting of: (i) a plurality of varied color panels, ii) graphically changing images, (iii) text, (iv) graphic skins, or (v) flashing colors, text or images.
Description
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a player tracking system for tracking the play of customers (e.g., players of game devices) at casinos, and more particularly relates to a player tracking system, method and apparatus which provides an interface between the player (and/or Casino staff) and a central computer system, or the like.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In the casino industry, player tracking and slot machine accounting systems are known. To facilitate player tracking, a player tracking module (PTM) is housed in a gaming machine. The PTM typically includes a card reader, a keypad and a display. The card reader receives a player card and reads the player information coded on the card. A card receiving slot of the card reader has a bezel which surrounds the slot. The bezel is lighted and provides a color indication of the operation of the card reader. Such a module is described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,162,122.

When a player inserts his/her issued player tracking card (sometimes also referred to as a player loyalty card) into the reader slot, the reader reads a code (magnetic, photo-optic, or the like) from the card and then communicates with a computer having a player tracking system in order to access the player's account information. As the player plays the slot machine, loyalty “points” are accumulated into the player's account which can be redeemed or used for various purposes including promotions, player “comps”, cash back and the like.

The '122 patent describes a lighted bezel which can be lighted in a limited number of colors, e.g. two primary colors and a combination color such as red and yellow with the combination color being orange to denote various states including the operation of the card reader, e.g. card read or card not read.

In U.S. Pat. No. 6,908,387, a player tracking mechanism housed in a gaming machine includes lights adjacent to the display and the card reader slot. A controller activates the lights (or portions thereof) in particular colors to convey information. The gaming machine of the '387 patent also includes a speaker.

A drawback of these prior systems is that the amount and variety of information which can be conveyed by the bezel or display “framing” lights is limited, and thus limits the utility of such features. The variety of colors which may be used to convey information is also limited by a variety of factors. For example, the physical size of these lights may not provide colors which can easily be interpreted from a distance, particularly where pale shades of colored light or pastel shades of colored light are used. If different colors are desired then different colored glass for the bezels may have to be produced.

Providing LED clusters at the bezels may also not be a suitable design choice based upon the intensities, colors and reliability, given the fact that the surface area of the lights is relatively small. Further, using bezels requires the manufacturer or customer to maintain an inventory of replacement bezels and lights. Still further, circuitry and controls for the lights are required, which (1) competes for already precious space in the gaming machine and (2) provide additional points for failure or defects. Reconfiguration of the LED clusters or lights or bezels would require many components and man-hours of time.

A drawback to reliance upon a speaker to convey information is that a casino floor tends to be a noisy environment. Raising the volume of the player tracking system based speaker above the casino floor din, can annoy surrounding players. Lowering the volume can result in the audio messages not being heard.

It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide an improved player tracking module display, system and method which can produce a variety of colors or patterns of light.

It is also an object of the present invention to provide a player tracking module light display of a size which can easily be read by floor personnel as well as by security via security cameras.

It is also an object of the present invention to provide a player tracking module display, which eliminates the need for an inventory of lighted bezels or lights/diodes therefor.

It is also an object of the present invention to provide a player tracking module display, system and method which is able to convey more and differing information heretofore, to casino personnel and to the player.

It is a further object of the invention to provide a player tracking module display which is easily and remotely configurable.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

These and other objects of the invention are achieved in a light display which may be used in connection with a player tracking and slot accounting system for gaming devices. Such gaming devices may be gaming machines such as slot machines, video Poker machines, Keno or Bingo machines or any other electronic gaming device or terminal or multi-terminal gaming device. Such gaming devices may also include live table games, such as Blackjack, which may be interfaced with a player tracking and/or slot accounting system. The player tracking and/or slot accounting system may be connected to a central processor or computer which may be (1) a single processor dedicated to player tracking and/or slot accounting or (2) a shared processor or (3) a processor separate from any player tracking and/or slot accounting computer processor.

The light display includes a color video display viewable at each gaming device. The color video display may be controlled by the central processor. A gaming device and/or another processor may also have some control of the video display. Preferably the video display is mounted on the housing of a gaming device.

The video display may also be defined as a portion of the game display used to display the components of the game being played by the player. This portion (or portions) may be, for example, a border defined about the portion of the game display used for gaming content. Also, the video display may be a margin or “window” continuously displayed or intermittently displayed in a timed fashion or in response to predetermined criteria. Also, the video display may be defined as a portion of a second game display such as a bonus or game graphics display. The video display may be embodied as a small, color active matrix LCD, OLED, or similar display (hereafter referred to as LCD display) mounted on the device apart from the gaming content display and formed as a part of a player tracking module.

A communications network is provided for communication of data from each gaming device to the central processor. The network may be wired or wireless. The central processor is adapted to configure at least a portion of the color video display to display a first color image in response to a first condition and to display a second color image in response to a second condition. For example, via the communications network, conditions may be determined wherein it would be desirable to control the display to display text, color, indicia or graphics in order to denote or indicate such conditions. These conditions may include a fault condition, a device “open door” condition, a jackpot condition, a downloading/uploading data condition, a loss of network communications, one or more failure modes or other conditions where a visual display would assist or inform the player, casino personnel, security, hostess or the like.

As a specific example, the video display may change color based upon player gaming activity or special promotion, may flash in a red or orange color adapted to draw the attention of security during certain conditions, show graphics related to the player's participation in the casino loyalty club, show different colors and text in response to sensing the state of the interface between the player and the system, e.g. failure to read the player's loyalty card, indicate which games are included in a tournament, to confirm or disaffirm the uploading or downloading of game credits or promotional points, to change color to indicate a special event such as birthdays or holidays or for any other purpose where a visual display is desired apart from the game content display. Broadly the video display may be controlled to display images selected from a from a group consisting of: (i) a plurality of varied color panels to convey information, (ii) graphically changing images to convey information, (iii) text to convey information, (iv) graphic skins or backgrounds to convey information, or (v) flashing or sequencing colors, text or images to convey information as desired. The information conveyed may be system generated information or may be information specific to the player or the game they are playing. For example, the information may be to flash in a color (and text message) to indicate that a new game is being loaded into the player's gaming device from a source such as a central computer.

The method of the present invention is directed to a player tracking and slot accounting system or a downloadable gaming system for a plurality of gaming devices wherein the system is of the type including a central processor, an operator-system interface for each device and a communication network providing communication between the central processor and each interface. The method includes providing a digital color display associated with certain information, processing the information and to determine one or more system communication/data states X1-XN and controlling the display to display in one or more visual modes.

These and other objects will become better appreciated with reference to the description, claims and drawings wherein:

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a gaming device connected to several processors;

FIG. 2 is a block diagram of one gaming device connected with several other gaming devices, within a system;

FIGS. 3 and 4 are front views of several visual displays appearing on the display of the one gaming device of FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a block diagram of a gaming device connected to a system processor; and

FIG. 6 is a logic flow diagram of the method and operation of an illustrative example of the system of FIG. 5.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

As shown in FIG. 1, a prior art gaming device 10 is, for example, a well known stepper-type slot machine having three reels 14 for presenting a game content display 16. To operate device 10, the player enters a wager (money wager, wager of accumulated credits, etc.) and prompts device 10 to generate and display an outcome at the content display 16. If the outcome is a winning outcome, the player is awarded credits or coins/tokens/vouchers are dispensed. If the outcome is a losing outcome the player receives no award.

Device 10 operates under control of a game control processor unit 18 disposed within housing 20 of device 10. Game control processor unit 18 accounts for the wager input, randomly selects the outcome of the game and controls the content display 16 to display the selected outcome. Thus, data is generated which is indicative of game operational play parameters such as wagers, outcomes, payouts, and the like.

Other data also may be generated for other parameters such as security (door to machine is opened, tampering or a “tilt” condition) or other malfunction of the device or a component thereof, a need for service, hopper or cash validator conditions, e.g. full, out or service condition, placing of the machine in a “hold” condition to lock it against further play such as, for example, to hold it while the player has a meal, participation in tournament gaming, participation in a promotion, that the device is a new game to the floor, or the like. Some of these aforesaid parameters may be reflected in data generated by the game control processor unit 18 or a related processor, or may be generated by operator input or may be system generated.

In a casino environment many, e.g. several thousand, gaming devices 10 are in communication with a slot accounting system or processor 24. Slot accounting processor 24 receives operational parameter data (and security or other operational data) and assembles the data for analysis and operation and security oversight by casino personnel.

In addition, many casinos operate a loyalty program through which players are issued cards and the player's personal data is entered into a player tracking system data structure. Such systems are known in the art with examples such as those in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,429,361; 6,511,377; 5,655,961 and 6,162,122. Gaming device 10 includes a player tracking module 12 to aid in identifying the player playing gaming machine 10.

Players having player cards insert the card into a card reader 28. Reader 28 is in communication with a player tracking system or processor 22 which can access the player's account to store and accumulate loyalty points, to transfer funds, and the like.

Card reader 28 includes a lighted bezel 30. LED clusters (not shown) are disposed behind bezel 30 and are controlled to change the color of bezel 30 to indicate an operational mode of device 10 or the system. For example, the colors may indicate the following:

Red Game is idle
Flashing Red Card insertion error
Green Card inserted
Orange Game in play with no card
Blue Hot player
Purple Cashless Transaction in progress

Card reader 28 and bezel 30 are mounted in module 12 and disposed on the front face 32 of housing 20. Face 32 may be fashioned from resilient plastic or from metal, and may have a height of approximately two inches and span across device 10. A drawback to bezel 30 is that the bezel is relatively small, being in the range of approximately two inches by one inch thus providing approximately only two square inches of surface area. This small surface restricts the range and types of colors which can be used since wide shade differences must be used to distinguish one color from another, and thus a plurality of operational modes cannot be simultaneously displayed. A further drawback is that circuitry, logic and hardware must be provided to control the bezel 30 and lighting of LED clusters. This creates additional failure points and necessitates additional inventory for repair and replacement.

Also disposed on face 32, is a keypad 34. Keypad 34 provides a communication interface to permit the player and/or casino staff to interface with the game device, or with a slot accounting system processor 24 and/or player tracking system processor 22. For example, casino staff may enter a password or coded numbers into keypad 34 in order to override an alarm prior to opening housing 20, or to register a jackpot, or to put the device on standby for a player, or the like. In addition, a player may enter his or her personal identification number (PIN number) to further identification or to gain access to promotional benefits.

Module 12 also includes a small display 36. Display 36 may be formed from LEDs or a flat touch screen display such as described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,712,698. A central control processor 26, or a portion thereof, controls the display of text onto display 36, and in some cases, a secondary game may be displayed onto display 36.

While gaming device 10 is shown as an electro-mechanical reel-type slot machine, it should be understood that device 10 may also be any type of gaming device or terminal. For example, gaming device 10 may be a video slot machine, video Poker or Keno machine, a smart or “dumb” terminal for server based gaming, a multi-player terminal game and may include table games where a player tracking system interface is provided.

Player tracking module 12 may also include a pair of speakers 40, 42. Speakers 40, 42 may provide audio information to the player or casino personnel.

Referring now to FIG. 2, a gaming system 300 includes gaming machines or gaming devices 10 a, 10 b, and 10 c. Each gaming device includes a player tracking module 48. Module 48 includes a high resolution, touch screen color video display 50, employing LCD, TFT, OLED or similar display technology. Display 50 provides rich color depth capabilities, typically 15-16 bit color. Display 50 may be a color LCD display, for example, and serves as a display for module 12.

A card reader 52 presents a slot 54 to the player so as to receive a player's card. A single color bezel 56, e.g. lighted in a yellow color, may be provided surrounding slot 54 to visually highlight slot 54 for the convenience of the player. Display 50 is relatively large, compared to the bezel 56. For example, display 50 is rectangular in shape, having dimensions of approximately two and one quarter (2.25) inches in height by six (6) inches in length.

System 300 also includes a system processor 302 which may be a slot accounting system processor, a player tracking system processor, or both, or one or more dedicated processors. Processor 302 is in two-way communication with each of a plurality of gaming devices 10 a-c. This communication may be wired or wireless, or a combination thereof.

Each gaming device 10 a-10 c includes a game processor 58 which controls operation of the game, e.g., movement of the reels. Game processor 58 and player tracking module 48 are in direct or indirect two-way communication with the system processor 302. As shown, indirect communication is provided through a communication board 60. Processor 302 is also in direct or indirect communication with the display 50 for control of the display by processor 302. As shown, processor 302 indirectly communicates with display 50 through communication board 60. For example, display 50 may have its own programmed microprocessor 62 for controlling the display 50 according to instructions received from system processor 302. Intermediate polling or signal processing may also occur between the processor 302 and communication board 60.

Communication board 60 is a known component in player tracking systems, and may include its own processor (not shown). See for example, U.S. application Ser. No. 10/938,103, and published on May 26, 2005 as Publication No. US 2005/0113172Ais incorporated herein by reference, and describes such a communication board 60, i.e., a “smart communication interface” (SCI).

Display 50 is located on the front face of housing 64 of the gaming device 10 a, and positioned thereon for direct visual communication to the player, as well as casino personnel in the area of game device 10 a. Because of the size of display 50 and its color capabilities, display colors can be easily seen by casino personnel, even from a significant distance.

Processor 302 is configured to receive input from an operator 301, via a keyboard (not shown)) or a tape, intranet, internet or the like (also not shown). Special instructions input by operator 301 may trigger certain display modes via display 50, e.g., Holiday, promotional displays, or a special greeting. The operator may provide other instructions such as allocating game devices for tournament play.

As shown in FIG. 3, a “Happy Anniversary” greeting 66 is displayed on display 50. Additionally, the greeting is personalized by the display portion 68 naming the player, here “John.” System processor 302 causes greeting 66 with its display portion 68 to appear on display 50.

As shown in FIG. 4, an initial greeting 71 is displayed on display 50. Greeting 71 instructs the player to insert his or her player card.

Referring again to FIG. 2, processor 302 also receives data from communication board 60. Device data, such as the operational and security mode of the device 10, wagering activity (e.g. coin in), pay outs and the like, may be transmitted from game processor 58 to system processor 302. Likewise, data from module 48, including data from card reader 48, or from an interface where the player is identified, for example, through radio-frequency identification (RFID), biometric input device, data input via a data entry point such as keypad or a touch screen interface defined by the display 22 may be transmitted to system processor 302. As shown in FIG. 3, a touch screen keypad 70 is displayed on display 50 for use by the player to enter information such as the player's PIN. As will suggest itself, the display area next to keypad 70 may be used to provide text instructions to the player, e.g., PLEASE ENTER YOUR PIN.

Referring now to FIG. 5, processor 302 communicates with display 50 along an electrical link 303, so as to control the operation of display 50. Microprocessor 62 may be separate from game processor 58 and may be dedicated solely to display 50. Microprocessor 62 controls an image generator 72 which generates a video signal 74. Video signal 74 may be digital or analog, and is sent to a video controller 76 which controls the display appearing on display 50. As will be understood, other types of display circuitry may be utilized for control by microprocessor 62 to form a display on display 50. For example, the video display on display 50 may be created by the programmatic display of preloaded graphical elements created with graphical software such as Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop software. Alternatively, the video displayed may be generated through the use of graphical drawing commands.

Video signal 74 is generated from prestored data in image generator 72. Such prestored data may be downloaded to image generator 72 from system processor 302. System processor 302 may select the particular prestored data in image generator 72 by sending display command data to microprocessor 62 via communication board 60. For example, keypad 70 (FIG. 3) may be prestored in image generator 72 and retrievable by microprocessor 62.

Processor 302 also has access to a data structure 304 which stores data such as player account information for each player enrolled in the property's loyalty program. Data structure 304 may be incorporated into the processor 302 or may be retained in a separate system. For each player, data structure 304 retains file information such as loyalty points earned/awarded to the player, as well as personal information (e.g. name, address, spouse's name, birthdate). Any information that the venue thinks important for marketing, convenience or servicing of the player may be retained in the player's account information.

During or before play, the player inserts his/her player card into the slot 54 and the module card reader 52 reads the card. A signal indicating that a card has been inserted into slot 54 is sent to microprocessor 62. Microprocessor 62 may responsively present a touch keypad 70 (FIG. 3) onto display 50 to permit the player to enter his or her personal identification number (PIN) into the keypad. The data retrieved by microprocessor 62 from the card together with the PIN is forwarded by communication board 60 to system processor 302 for identification of the player. System processor 302 may then download instructions to communication board 60 which in turn provides the downloaded instructions to microprocessor 62 for controlling display 50. For example, a prestored greeting such as 66 (FIG. 3) may be requested by system processor 302, and the name JOHN may be transmitted in data form from processor 302 for display at 68 (FIG. 3) on display 50. As understood, the communication between communication board 60 and system processor 302 may take on different forms and protocols.

As game device 10 a is played, information is sent to processor 302 and assigned to the player's account in data structure 304. Typically, data may be accumulated in device 10 and sent intermittently to processor 302. The player's account is updated by accumulating loyalty points, time of play, etc. Player “win” information may also be stored for future reference.

If desired, system processor 302 may control display 50 to display account information on display 50 to the player such as the player's current amount of loyalty points. This may occur after card insertion and player identification has been made. In addition, the player may request his or her current account information via a player interface 78.

Player interface 78 may include an account request button, for example. In addition, player interface 78 may include a call button which the player may activate to signal casino personnel for assistance. Microprocessor 62 responds to player activation of player interface 78 so as to provide messages on display 50. For example, the message on display 50 may read “PLEASE WAIT FOR ASSISTANCE,” which is displayed after the call button is activated. Also, casino personnel, who may be a distance from the particular gaming device 10, are able to send a message to display 50 of the particular gaming device via system processor 302.

When system processor 302 receives a message from player interface 78, via communication board 60, system processor 302 relays a message to a casino operator device (not shown), which may be a terminal where casino personnel are stationed or may be a handheld device, for example. The message to the casino operator device includes a locator code identifying the particular gaming device 10 a, 10 b, or 10 c, which has caused the message to be sent via its player interface 78. Any reply back by the casino operator device will return the locator code with the reply to system processor 302, so that system processor 302 will send the reply to the correct game device 10 a, 10 b, or 10 c. The reply may be a text message which is displayed on display 50.

Referring to FIG. 6, at step 400, data from game device 10 including from card reader 52, display 50 (e.g., from keypad 70 of FIG. 3), player interface 78 (FIG. 5) or data from other sources, is accessed and processed by processor 302. Other sources of data to be processed by processor 302 may come from a remote computer, a gaming content system for downloading games to gaming terminals, regulators and content providers such as advertisers.

In the example of FIG. 6, it is assumed that the player has inserted his or her player tracking card into card reader 52 (FIG. 3) to obtain an interface with the system. Initially, the display 71 (FIG. 4) is caused to be presented on display 50 by processor 302. The display 71 (FIG. 4) will be of a predominant color. For example, display 71 will be predominantly red in color. The visual effect to a viewer will be similar to that achieved by looking at the video screen through a red color photographic filter. Thus, “predominant color” means that the display generates one color of light that is more dominant in appearance than any other color of light generated by the display, such that that color of light is the chief color observed. Thus, the display 171 conveys desired information at a glance even from a significant distance. The information conveyed by the predominantly red color is that the player tracking is not in use.

However, once player tracking is initiated by the player being identified via player card insertion and PIN entry, processor 302 changes the video display 50 to “Greeting” display 66 (FIG. 2). The “Greeting” display 66 (FIG. 2) will be of a predominant color different than the predominant color of display 71 (FIG. 4). For example, “Greeting” display 66 will be predominantly blue in color. The visual effect to a viewer will be similar to that achieved by looking at the video screen through a blue color photographic filter. Thus, display 68, in addition to information of a greeting, conveys desired information at a glance i.e., that player tracking is in use.

Thus, the overall hue of the video display as a whole varies in response to a particular operating condition. Such a hue (or predominant color) may be changed despite the fact that the text does not change.

The previous description provides an example of two separate conditions (player tracking in use and player tracking not in use) that are visually indicated by a glance at the display 50, even from a significant distance. Likewise, other conditions may be visually indicated by providing a dominant color or hue of the overall display 50.

In another embodiment, the color of a particular screen element on display 50 may be varied to signify a condition, such as player status. As shown in FIG. 4, a border 73 circumscribes the rectangular display area where text is located. Border 73 may be lighted gold for one condition and lighted silver for another condition. Thus, a visual element common to all screens, such as a border, or such as a keyboard, text, a logo or the background, may be varied in color to signify a condition.

For example, at step 400, processor 302 accesses player account data structure 304 to determine, at step 410, whether the player's commercial activities with the casino, e.g. gaming and other purchase data stored in data structure 304, has resulted in the player reaching a “Gold Star” player rating status. Players may be grouped into classes for purposes of promotions, for example, a gold star class, a silver star class, a bronze star class, etc.

Once the player's account is accessed, processor 302 controls display 50 to display a greeting such as the player's name as well as graphic information such as, for example, a star 412 (FIG. 6) to indicate the player's classification. Display 50 may also display a text panel 414 which may display the player's points or other information. As discussed previously, with reference to FIG. 3, display 50 also may be controlled to display a special greeting to the player.

Once the player has established communication with processor 302, display 50 may display colors to indicate various information to staff and the player. For example, the display 50 may be controlled by processor 302 to display one color of a background 411 when the player is playing a certain denomination at the machine and another color for background 411 when the player is playing a different denomination, e.g. green for 25¢ and gold for $1 denomination. Display 50 may display another color or a color pattern as background 411 for a machine malfunction, e.g. red and white stripes. Display 50 may be controlled to display a certain color or pattern as background 411 based upon the machine's expected performance, e.g. 99% payback machines may be identified by display 50 having a blue background.

Referring again to FIG. 6, processor 302 may also control the display 50 to display color panels 416, 418 to denote that the player and/gaming device is entitled to participate in a special promotion. These panels may be yellow or some other distinguishing color such that casino personnel can easily determine participation in the promotion.

At step 420, processor 302 determines player and/or gaming device eligibility to participate in the promotion and prompts the player with a text message in area 414 of display 50 if the player wishes to participate. In connection with this prompt, processor 302 controls display 50 to display and enable a touch screen keypad 70 (FIG. 3) defined by a plurality of alpha-numeric or symbol based keys. To participate, the player responds and may be prompted to enter a PIN number which identifies the player. The responsive inputs by the player control processor 302 to enter the player/gaming device in the promotion and may, at step 422 (FIG. 6), control display 50 to display a transitional routine of images and control display 50 to signify that the player/gaming device is enrolled as by displaying panels 416, 418.

At step 424, processor 302 may control display 50 to display other information such as a greeting with text and graphics as shown in FIG. 3 or a standby display 71 as shown in FIG. 4. These displays are controlled to display colors and or text which can signify at a glance the state of the gaming device, e.g. idle or in play, malfunctioning, or in need of service, or enrolled as part of a special promotion or for tournament play, the state of the player's interface with the system 300, e.g. player card read or not read or any other condition deemed appropriate.

In certain conditions, display 50 is controlled to display colors, such as red, which can be easily identified by security cameras. For example, if a door to the gaming device is not fully closed, display 50 may be controlled to display red and white stripes such that the security cameras can easily identify the machine. In addition, display 50 may be controlled to display ultraviolet light display or an infrared light display which may be picked up (monitored) by electronic devices, for example.

In the above described embodiments, color or hue is used as the variable to denote different player, session, or system parameters, but it should be noted that any visually distinguishable effect, such as flashing, alternating colors, fading, or chase-light like effects, may also be employed to achieve desired results. The colored frame discussed in the above embodiment may be animated in a chase-light like manner to indicate that a cashless fund transfer operation is in progress, for example.

In another embodiment the player, session, or system parameters may dictate the actual images being displayed as well. Again referring to the example where players may be placed in tiers according with their level of play at a specific property (or group of properties), silver players may be shown advertising images for the property's buffet restaurant, for example, while gold players may be shown advertisements for the property's higher-end steakhouse restaurant.

In yet another embodiment, a dramatic visual effect such as flashing or screen shaking may be employed to attract the player's attention following a significant player, session, or system event such as advancing to the next tier in the player club, qualifying for a special bonus or prize, or winning a system-based mystery jackpot. A method similar to the screen shaking simulation for the main game screen as taught by U.S. Pat. No. 6,837,790 (Kaminkow), for example, may be useful in this situation.

While certain embodiments of the present invention have been described, it should be understood that these embodiments are subject to many modifications and changes without departing from the spirit and scope of the appended claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8641518Sep 30, 2011Feb 4, 2014IgtTicket-based trial account
US20110014984 *Sep 9, 2009Jan 20, 2011Douglas PenmanSystem and Method for Personality Adoption by Online Game Peripherals
Classifications
U.S. Classification463/42
International ClassificationA63F9/24
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/3255, G07F17/3239, G07F17/32
European ClassificationG07F17/32K10, G07F17/32E6D2, G07F17/32