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Publication numberUS20080090654 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/723,265
Publication dateApr 17, 2008
Filing dateMar 19, 2007
Priority dateOct 17, 2006
Publication number11723265, 723265, US 2008/0090654 A1, US 2008/090654 A1, US 20080090654 A1, US 20080090654A1, US 2008090654 A1, US 2008090654A1, US-A1-20080090654, US-A1-2008090654, US2008/0090654A1, US2008/090654A1, US20080090654 A1, US20080090654A1, US2008090654 A1, US2008090654A1
InventorsKazuo Okada
Original AssigneeAruze Gaming America, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Server for gaming system and control method thereof
US 20080090654 A1
Abstract
A gaming terminal and a gaming system server are connected via a network. When the gaming system server receives download request together with player identifying information from the gaming terminal, the server reads game software specified in the download request from a first memory and transmits it to the gaming terminal. Download history information is stored together with the player identifying information into a second memory of the server. When the end of the game being executed by the downloaded game software is notified to the server from the gaming terminal, billing information for the player is generated in the server based on the download history information stored in the second memory together with the player identifying information. The generated billing information is output to a settlement organization or the like outside the server.
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Claims(18)
1. A gaming system server comprising:
a first memory for storing a plurality of types of game software in relation to software identifying information for identifying the type of the game software;
a second memory for storing download history information relating to the history of downloading the game software stored in the first memory by a gaming terminal connected via a network, in relation to player identifying information for identifying a player of the gaming terminal, the player identifying information having been given from an external to the gaming terminal; and
a controller operable to:
(a) transmit the game software stored in the first memory to the gaming terminal via a network in relation to the software identifying information, based on a download request which has been input from the gaming terminal via the network together with the player identifying information and the software identifying information,
(b) store the download history information relating to the transmitted game software into the second memory in relation to the player identifying information which is input via the network together with the download request, and
(c) generate billing information for each player based on the download history information stored in the second memory in relation to the player identifying information which has been input together with the download request and output the billing information to an external, when an end-of-game notification is input from the gaming terminal via the network upon completion of the game.
2. The gaming system server according to claim 1, wherein
the player identifying information includes,
an ID code which has been read from a player-specific card by a contact or a non-contact reader of the gaming terminal, or
biometrics information of the player which has been read from the player's body by a scanner of the gaming terminal.
3. The gaming system server according to claim 1, wherein
the player identifying information includes an ID code and card issuance company identifying information which have been read from the player's credit card by the gaming terminal, and
the controller is operable to:
(a) output the billing information for each player to the settlement processing server of the credit card issuance company indicated by the card issuance company identifying information, and
(b) output settlement information via the network to the gaming terminal in order to present the settlement result to the player on the gaming terminal, the settlement information indicating the settlement result for the billing information and having been input from the settlement processing server based on the billing information.
4. A gaming system comprising a first server and a second server,
wherein the first server comprises:
a first memory for storing a plurality of types of game software in relation to software identifying information for identifying the type of the game software; and
a first controller operable to transmit the game software stored in the first memory via a network to a gaming terminal in relation to the software identifying information, based on a download request which has been input from the gaming terminal via the network together with the software identifying information of the game software requested to be downloaded and the player identifying information for identifying the player given from an external to the gaming terminal; and
wherein the second server comprises:
a second memory for storing download history information relating to the history of downloading of the game software stored in the first memory from the first server by the gaming terminal in relation to the player identifying information, the player identifying information having been given from an external to the gaming terminal; and
a second controller operable to:
(a) store the download history information relating to transmitted game software into the second memory in relation to the player identifying information which is input via the net work together with the download request, and
(b) generate billing information for each player based on the download history information stored in the second memory in relation to the player identifying information which has been input into the first server together with the download request and output the billing information to an external, when an end-of-game notification which is input from the gaming terminal via the network upon completion of the game.
5. The gaming system according to claim 4, wherein
the player identifying information includes,
an ID code which has been read from a player-specific card by a contact or a non-contact reader of the gaming terminal, or
biometrics information of the player which has been read from the player's body by a scanner of the gaming terminal.
6. The gaming system according to claim 4, wherein
the player identifying information includes an ID code and card issuance company identifying information which have been read from the player's credit card by the gaming terminal, and
the second controller is operable to:
(a) output the billing information for each player to the settlement processing server of the credit card issuance company indicated by the card issuance company identifying information, and
(b) output settlement information via the network to the gaming terminal in order to present the settlement result to the player on the gaming terminal, the settlement information indicating the settlement result for the billing information and having been input from the settlement processing server based on the billing information.
7. A gaming system comprising a server and a gaming terminal, wherein the server comprises:
a first memory for storing a plurality of types of game software in relation to software identifying information for identifying the type of the game software;
a second memory for storing download history information relating to the history of downloading the game software stored in the first memory by a gaming terminal connected via a network, in relation to player identifying information for identifying the player of the gaming terminal, the player identifying information having been given from an external to the gaming terminal; and
a server controller operable to:
(a) transmit the game software stored in the first memory to the gaming terminal via a network in relation to the software identifying information, based on a download request which has been input from the gaming terminal via the network together with the player identifying information and the software identifying information,
(b) store the download history information relating to the transmitted game software into the second memory in relation to the player identifying information which is input via the network together with the download request, and
(c) generate billing information for each player based on the download history information stored in the second memory in relation to the player identifying information which has been input together with the download request and output the billing information to an external, when an end-of-game notification is input from the gaming terminal via the network upon completion of the game,
wherein the gaming terminal comprises:
a third memory for storing the player identifying information input from an external for identifying the player;
a fourth memory for storing game software downloaded from the server connected via the network; and
a terminal controller operable to:
(a) output the download request stored in the first memory to the server via the network together with the software identifying information of the game software requested to be downloaded and the player identifying information given from an external,
(b) store the game software transmitted from the server via the network into the fourth memory based on the download request,
(c) execute a game based on the game software stored in the fourth memory, and
(d) output the end-of-game notification to the server via the network upon receiving an input of an instruction to stop the execution of the game from an external.
8. The gaming system according to claim 7, wherein
the player identifying information includes,
an ID code which has been read from a player-specific card by a contact or a non-contact reader of the gaming terminal, or
biometrics information of the player which has been read from the player's body by a scanner of the gaming terminal.
9. The gaming system according to claim 7, wherein
the gaming terminal further comprises a display,
the player identifying information includes an ID code and card issuance company identifying information which have been read from the player's credit card by the gaming terminal, and
the server controller is operable to:
(a) output the billing information for each player to the settlement processing server of the credit card issuance company indicated by the card issuance company identifying information, and
(b) output settlement information via the network to the gaming terminal, the settlement information indicating the settlement result for the billing information and having been input from the settlement processing server based on the billing information, and
the terminal controller is operable to display the settlement result indicated by the settlement information on the display, the settlement information having been input from the server via the network.
10. A game control method executed on a gaming system server, comprising:
transmitting a game software related to software identifying information to a gaming terminal via a network, among a plurality of game software stored in a first memory, based on a download request of the game software which has been input from the gaming terminal, together with player identifying information having been given from an external to the gaming terminal connected via the network and the software identifying information for identifying the type of the game software;
storing download history information relating to the history of downloading the game software into a second memory by the gaming terminal via the network in relation to the player identifying information; and
generating billing information for each player based on the download history information stored in the second memory in relation to the player identifying information which has been input together with the download request and outputting the billing information to an external, when an end-of-game notification which is input from the gaming terminal via the network upon completion of the game.
11. The game control method executed in a gaming system server according to claim 10, wherein
the player identifying information includes,
an ID code which has been read from a player-specific card by a contact or a non-contact reader of the gaming terminal, or
biometrics information of the player which has been read from the player's body by a scanner of the gaming terminal.
12. The gaming system server according to claim 10, wherein
the player identifying information includes an ID code and card issuance company identifying information which have been read from the player's credit card by the gaming terminal, and
the gaming system server further comprising:
outputting the billing information for each player to the settlement processing server of the credit card issuance company indicated by the card issuance company identifying information, and
outputting settlement information via the network to the gaming terminal in order to present the settlement result to the player on the gaming terminal, the settlement information indicating the settlement result for the billing information and having been input from the settlement processing server based on the billing information.
13. A game control method executed in a gaming system comprising a first server having a first memory and a second server having a second memory, the method comprising:
transmitting, with the first server, a game software related to software identifying information to a gaming terminal via a network, among a plurality of game software stored in the first memory, based on a download request of the game software which has been input from the gaming terminal, together with player identifying information having been given from an external to the gaming terminal connected via the network and the software identifying information for identifying the type of the game software,
storing, with the second server, download history information relating to the history of downloading the game software from the first server into a second memory by the gaming terminal via the network in relation to the player identifying information which has been input into the first server, and
generating, with the second server, billing information for each player based on the download history information stored in the second memory in relation to the player identifying information which has been input into the first server together with the download request and outputting the billing information to an external, when an end-of-game notification which is input from the gaming terminal via the network upon completion of the game.
14. The game control method executed in a gaming system server according to claim 13, wherein
the player identifying information includes,
an ID code which has been read from a player-specific card by a contact or a non-contact reader of the gaming terminal, or
biometrics information of the player which has been read from the player's body by a scanner of the gaming terminal.
15. The game control method executed in a gaming system server according to claim 13, wherein
the player identifying information includes an ID code and card issuance company identifying information which have been read from the player's credit card by the gaming terminal, and
the method further comprising:
outputting, with the second server, the billing information for each player to the settlement processing server of the credit card issuance company indicated by the card issuance company identifying information, and
outputting, with the second server, settlement information via the network to the gaming terminal in order to present the settlement result to the player on the gaming terminal, the settlement information indicating the settlement result for the billing information and having been input from the settlement processing server based on the billing information.
16. A game control method executed in a gaming system comprising a server having a first memory and a second memory, and a gaming terminal having a third memory and a fourth memory, the method comprising:
storing, with the gaming terminal, player identifying information having been given from an external into the third memory;
outputting, with the gaming terminal, download request of game software to the server together with the player identifying information and software identifying information for identifying the type of the game software,
transmitting, with the server, the game software stored in the first memory to the gaming terminal via a network in relation to the software identifying information,
storing, with the server, download history information relating to the history of downloading the game software into the second memory by the gaming terminal via the network in relation to the player identifying information,
storing, with the gaming terminal, the game software downloaded from the server via the network into the fourth memory,
executing, with the gaming terminal, a game based on the game software stored in the fourth memory,
outputting, with the gaming terminal, the end-of-game notification to the server via the network upon receiving an input of an instruction to stop the execution of the game from an external, and
generating, with the server, billing information for each player based on the download history information stored in the second memory in relation to the player identifying information and outputting the billing information to an external.
17. The game control method executed in a gaming system according to claim 16, wherein
the player identifying information includes,
an ID code which has been read from a player-specific card by a contact or a non-contact reader of the gaming terminal, or
biometrics information of the player which has been read from the player's body by a scanner of the gaming terminal.
18. The game control method executed in a gaming system according to claim 16, wherein
the gaming terminal further comprises a display,
the player identifying information includes an ID code and card issuance company identifying information which have been read from the player's credit card by the gaming terminal, and
the method further comprising:
outputting, with the server, the billing information for each player to the settlement processing server of the credit card issuance company indicated by the card issuance company identifying information;
outputting, with the server, settlement information via the network to the gaming terminal, the settlement information indicating the settlement result for the billing information and having been input from the settlement processing server; and
displaying, with the gaming terminal, the settlement result indicated by the settlement information to the player with the display, the settlement information having been input from the server via the network.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application is based upon and claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/852,000, filed on Oct. 17, 2006; the entire contents of which are incorporated herein by reference for all purposes.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a server for use in a gaming system which transmits game programs to a gaming terminal connected via a network and a control method thereof.

2. Description of Related Art

U.S. Pat. No. 6,645,077, US patent application publication No. 2005/0054448 and US patent application publication No. 2006/0035713 disclose gaming systems which use download technique of game programs via a network. In the gaming system, multiple types of games can be executed in a single gaming terminal, and game contents executable on the gaming terminal in the network can be changed.

In the above-mentioned gaming system, game software components are downloaded from the server into respective gaming terminals, and the downloaded game software components are then used to execute games in respective gaming terminals.

Such a gaming system is disclosed in US patent application publication No. 2004/0002385, US patent application publication No. 2004/0106452 and US patent application publication No. 2005/0192099.

It is an object of the present invention to bring about new entertainment characteristics by providing a game environment preferred by the player.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The gaming system server according to a first aspect of the present invention comprises a first memory, a second memory and a controller. The first memory stores a plurality of types of game software in relation to software identifying information for identifying the type of the game software. The second memory stores download history information relating to the history of downloading the game software stored in the first memory by a gaming terminal connected via a network, in relation to player identifying information for identifying a player of the gaming terminal. Here, the player identifying information has been given from an external to the gaming terminal The controller is operable to transmit the game software stored in the first memory to the gaming terminal via a network in relation to the software identifying information, based on a download request which has been input from the gaming terminal via the network together with the player identifying information and the software identifying information. And the controller is operable to store the download history information relating to the transmitted game software into the second memory in relation to the player identifying information which is input via the network together with the download request. Further the controller is operable to generate billing information for each player based on the download history information stored in the second memory in relation to the player identifying information which has been input together with the download request and output the billing information to an external, when an end-of-game notification is input from the gaming terminal via the network upon completion of the game.

The gaming system according to a second aspect of the present invention comprises a first server and a second server. The first server comprises a first memory and a first controller. The first memory stores a plurality of types of game software in relation to software identifying information for identifying the type of the game software. The first controller is operable to transmit the game software stored in the first memory via a network to a gaming terminal in relation to the software identifying information, based on a download request which has been input from the gaming terminal via the network together with the software identifying information of the game software requested to be downloaded and the player identifying information for identifying the player given from an external to the gaming terminal.

The gaming system according to a third aspect of the present invention comprises a server and a gaming terminal. The server comprises a first memory, a second memory and a server controller. The first memory stores a plurality of types of game software in relation to software identifying information for identifying the type of the game software. The second memory stores download history information relating to the history of downloading the game software stored in the first memory by a gaming terminal connected via a network, in relation to player identifying information for identifying the player of the gaming terminal. Here, the player identifying information has been given from an external to the gaming terminal. The server controller is operable to transmit the game software stored in the first memory to the gaming terminal via a network in relation to the software identifying information, based on a download request which has been input from the gaming terminal via the network together with the player identifying information and the software identifying information. And the server controller is operable to store the download history information relating to the transmitted game software into the second memory in relation to the player identifying information which is input via the network together with the download request. Further, the server controller is operable to generate billing information for each player based on the download history information stored in the second memory in relation to the player identifying information which has been input together with the download request and output the billing information to an external, when an end-of-game notification is input from the gaming terminal via the network upon completion of the game. The gaming terminal comprises a third memory, a fourth memory and a terminal controller. The third memory stores the player identifying information input from an external for identifying the player. The fourth memory stores game software downloaded from the server connected via the network. The terminal controller is operable to output the download request stored in the first memory to the server via the network together with the software identifying information of the game software requested to be downloaded and the player identifying information given from an external. And the terminal controller is operable to store the game software transmitted from the server via the network into the fourth memory based on the download request. Further, the terminal controller is operable to execute a game based on the game software stored in the fourth memory. Further, the terminal controller is operable to output the end-of-game notification to the server via the network upon receiving an input of an instruction to stop the execution of the game from an external.

With the game control method according to a fourth aspect of the present invention, a game software related to software identifying information is transmitted to a gaming terminal via a network, among a plurality of game software stored in a first memory, based on a download request of the game software which has been input from the gaming terminal, together with player identifying information having been given from an external to the gaming terminal connected via the network and the software identifying information for identifying the type of the game software. Download history information relating to the history of downloading the game software is stored into a second memory by the gaming terminal via the network in relation to the player identifying information. Billing information for each player is generated based on the download history information stored in the second memory in relation to the player identifying information which has been input together with the download request and outputted to an external, when an end-of-game notification which is input from the gaming terminal via the network upon completion of the game.

The game control method according to a fifth aspect of the present invention is executed in a gaming system comprising a first server having a first memory and a second server having a second memory. With the first server, a game software related to software identifying information is transmitted to a gaming terminal via a network, among a plurality of game software stored in the first memory, based on a download request of the game software which has been input from the gaming terminal, together with player identifying information having been given from an external to the gaming terminal connected via the network and the software identifying information for identifying the type of the game software. With the second server, download history information relating to the history of downloading the game software from the first server is stored into a second memory by the gaming terminal via the network in relation to the player identifying information which has been input into the first server. With the second server, billing information for each player is generated based on the download history information stored in the second memory in relation to the player identifying information which has been input into the first server together with the download request and outputted to an external, when an end-of-game notification which is input from the gaming terminal via the network upon completion of the game.

The game control method according to a sixth aspect of the present invention is executed in a gaming system comprising a server having a first memory and a second memory, and a gaming terminal having a third memory and a fourth memory. With the gaming terminal, player identifying information having been given from an external is stored into the third memory. With the gaming terminal, download request of game software is outputted to the server together with the player identifying information and software identifying information for identifying the type of the game software. With the server, the game software stored in the first memory is transmitted to the gaming terminal via a network in relation to the software identifying information. With the server, download history information relating to the history of downloading the game software is stored into the second memory by the gaming terminal via the network in relation to the player identifying information. With the gaming terminal, the game software downloaded from the server via the network is stored into the fourth memory. With the gaming terminal, a game is executed based on the game software stored in the fourth memory.

With the gaming terminal, the end-of-game notification is outputted to the server via the network upon receiving an input of an instruction to stop the execution of the game from an external. With the server, billing information for each player is generated based on the download history information stored in the second memory in relation to the player identifying information and outputted to an external.

There may be one or more gaming terminals connected to the server via the network. The gaming terminals are not particularly limited and, thus, gaming machines such as slot machines, personal computers, personal digital assistants, for example, may be included as gaming terminals. In addition, the games to be executed in the gaming terminal are not particularly limited, but may include video bingo games, video lottery games, video blackjack games, video slot games, mechanical slot games, video poker games, video keno games, video pachinko games, video card game, video games of chance and the like.

Hardware configuration of the server is not particularly limited provided that it functions as the server of the present invention. A general purpose server may be employed as the above-mentioned server. In addition, the server may have a firewall and a modem. The server may comprise a single device or a plurality of devices. Any of the above-mentioned gaming terminals having a firewall and a modem may be configured to function as the server.

In addition, the server may be configured to further comprise a network interface. The network interface is not particularly limited provided that it can communicate with the server and, thus, the network interface may be either a wireless network interface or a wired network interface. In addition, the network between the server and the plurality of gaming terminals may be the Internet or an intranet. The intranet is not particularly limited and, thus, a cashless system network, a progressive game network, an accounting network, a bonus game network, and the like, may be used. The above-mentioned first memory is not particularly limited and, thus, nonvolatile memory, a hard disk drive, a CD-RW drive, a DVD-RAM drive, and the like, may be included as the first memory. The same applies to the second to fourth memories.

The game software comprises a combination of game software components. The game software components are data, programs, modules or the like which are used when executing a game on the gaming terminal. The game software components may include, for example, game system components, payout tables, game bonusing programs, game progressive programs, graphical data, image display control data, sound data, light emission pattern data, game jurisdiction information, game network components. The gaming terminal can execute a game using the game software (combination of game software components).

The player identifying information may be an ID code magnetically or electrically stored in a player-specific card such as a credit card, a member card or the like. In addition, data relating to the player's gaming history corresponding to the ID code may be stored in either of the card and the server. Also, the player identifying information may include the player's biometrics information such as finger print, vein pattern or the like. In this case, data relating to the player's gaming history can be managed by relating the data directly to the biometrics information, or to the ID code corresponding to the biometrics information.

Additionally, with the above-mentioned gaming terminal, a game may be executed using only the game software components downloaded from the server. Also, with the gaming machine, a game may be executed using the game software components downloaded from the server in combination with the game software components preliminarily stored in the memory of gaming machine.

With the gaming system, the following game processing data may be generated in respective gaming terminals and transmitted to the server. The game processing data may include, for example, game version data, game data, gaming terminal data, player data, route data, venue data or the like. The player data may include consumed gaming media or number of times of the game played, or points given during the game. The game processing data may be stored in the database being partitioned from the game software components.

The server may be configured to execute the following processes 1) to 4) when transmitting the game software (game software components).

1) establishing communication with the gaming terminal

2) selecting game software components to be updated

3) bundling the selected game software components

4) transmitting the bundled game software components to the gaming terminal

In addition, the processor may execute the following processes 1) to 11) when transmitting the game software (game software components).

1) contacting a local ISP (Internet service provider) before starting transmission of the game software components to transmit the game software components via the local ISP

2) checking the IP address of the gaming terminal

3) dividing the game software components into a plurality of packets

4) encrypting the game software components

5) generating instructions as to setting of the game software components to transmit the instructions together with the game software components

6) requesting version information of the game software components to the gaming terminal

7) receiving the version information of the game software components from the gaming terminal

8) receiving game processing information from the gaming terminal to store the game processing information according to game data category (e.g., game version data, game data, gaming terminal data, player data, route data, venue data, etc.)

9) determining access right for game processing information before storing the game processing information

10) determining, from among a plurality of data storage partitions corresponding to respective entities, a suitable data storage partition

11) checking the updating trigger (updating time of day, updating date, updating week, updating event, predefined input by a player, game result or game history)

The gaming terminal may execute the following processes 1) to 5) when downloading the game software (game software component).

1) establishing communication with the server

2) receiving gaming terminal components from the server

3) unbundling the game software components

4) generating a combination of game software components including the game software components received from the server

5) executing a game using the combination of the game software components

In addition, the gaming system may employ any of the following arrangements a) to c).

a) A game is executed in the server and the result of the game is displayed on the gaming terminal.

b) A game is executed in the gaming terminal, the result of the game is determined in the server, and the result of the game is displayed on the gaming terminal.

c) A game is executed and the result of the game is displayed on the gaming terminal, and the game software components are transmitted to the gaming terminal from the server.

In the present invention, it is possible to transmit the game software (game software components) for use in the gaming terminal from the server to the gaming terminal, with any of the above-mentioned arrangements a) to c). Also, it is possible to download an authenticating program together when downloading the game software (game software components).

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a flow chart schematically illustrating a game control method by a gaming system according to the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a schematic view of the network of a gaming system according to a first embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a block diagram illustrating the internal configuration of the server according to the first embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view schematically illustrating a slot machine (gaming terminal) according to the first embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a block diagram illustrating the internal configuration of the slot machine shown in FIG. 4.

FIG. 6 is a flow chart illustrating a process executed in the server and the slot machine according to the first embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7 is a flow chart illustrating a process executed in the server and the slot machine according to the first embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 8 is a flow chart illustrating a process executed in the server and the slot machine according to the first embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 9 is a flow chart illustrating a process executed in the server and the slot machine according to the first embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 10 is diagram illustrating an image displayed on a lower display of the slot machine.

FIG. 11 is diagram illustrating an image displayed on the lower display of the slot machine.

FIG. 12A and FIG. 12B are diagram illustrating an image displayed on the lower display of the slot machine.

FIG. 13 is a flow chart illustrating a game execution processing.

FIG. 14 is diagram illustrating an image displayed on the lower display of the slot machine.

FIG. 15 is a schematic view of a network of a gaming system according to a second embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 16 is a block diagram illustrating an internal arrangement of a settlement server shown in FIG. 15.

FIG. 17 is a block diagram illustrating an internal configuration of the program distribution server shown in FIG. 15.

FIG. 18 is a flow chart illustrating processes executed in a slot machine, a program distribution server and a settlement server according to the second embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 19 is a flow chart illustrating processes executed in the slot machine, the program distribution server and the settlement server according to the second embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 20 is a flow chart illustrating processes executed in the slot machine, the program distribution server and the settlement server according to the second embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 21 is a flow chart illustrating processes executed in the slot machine, the program distribution server and the settlement server according to the second embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 22 is a flow chart illustrating processes executed in the slot machine, the program distribution server and the settlement server according to the second embodiment of the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

FIG. 1 is a flow chart schematically illustrating the game control method executed in a gaming system server according to the present invention. In the following, the overall operation of the game control method executed in the gaming system server according to the present invention will be described using the flow chart shown in FIG. 1, also with reference to the schematic view shown in FIG. 2, the block diagram shown in FIG. 3 and the perspective view shown in FIG. 4.

First, a server 100 according to the present invention waits for a download request of the game software from a gaming terminal 10 connected via a network such as a LAN 6 shown in the schematic view of FIG. 2 (step S100). When the download request is input, player identifying information for identifying a player of the gaming terminal 10 and software identifying information for identifying the type of the game software requested from the gaming terminal 10 are input together. The player identifying information and software identifying information are generated based on an operation from an external of the gaming terminal 10.

The player identifying information includes a player-specific ID code. Content of the player identifying information stored in a player-specific card (credit card, member card, etc) is magnetically or electrically read by a card reader 39 (see FIG. 4) of the gaming terminal 10.

Here, the player identifying information may include biometrics information such as the player's finger print, vein pattern, or the like. In this case, the player identifying information is obtained by scanning the player's finger print or vein pattern (e.g., vein pattern on the palm) using a scanner connected to the gaming terminal 10.

The software identifying information is generated by the player's touching operation on a touch screen 69.

After a download request from the gaming terminal 100 is input, the server 100 according to the present invention transmits, among a plurality of game software 110 (111-114) stored in a data base 106 shown in the block diagram of FIG. 3 (a first memory of the claims), a game software corresponding to the software identifying information which has been input together with the download request, to the gaming terminal 10 via a network such as the LAN 6 (step S200).

Then, the server 100 according to the present invention stores the download history information relating to the history of transmission of the game software to the gaming terminal 10 via a network such as the LAN 6 into the data base 106 as a player data 133, in relation to the player identifying information which has been input together with the download request (step S300).

Next, the server 100 according to the present invention waits for an end-of-game notification from the gaming terminal 10 connected via a network such as the LAN 6 (step S400). Upon input of the end-of-game notification, billing information for each player is generated (step S500) in relation to the player identifying information, using the download history information stored in the data base 106 as the player data 133, and is output (step S600) to the external of the server 100 (e.g., settlement processing server of the credit card issuance company).

Here, if the output of the billing information is directed to the settlement processing server of the above-mentioned credit card issuance company, the ID code of the credit card which has been magnetically or electrically read by the card reader 39 can be processed as follows, provided that it is included in the player identifying information. First, the settlement processing server sends back the settlement information indicating the result of settlement executed in the settlement processing server using the identification code to the server 100. The settlement information sent back is input to the gaming terminal 10 via a network such as the LAN 6. The gaming terminal 10 presents the settlement result to the player with sound and display.

Thus, with the server for the gaming system according to the present invention, any of the games that the player desires can be selectively played in a single gaming terminal 100, and the billing for the play can also be settled.

Next, the configuration of the gaming system according to the first embodiment of the present invention will be described referring to the schematic view shown in FIG. 2.

FIG. 2 is a schematic view of the network of the gaming system according to one embodiment of the present invention. A gaming system 1 has a server 100 and a plurality of slot machines 10 installed in a casino 2. The server 100 is installed in a computer room 3 within the casino 2. The plurality of slot machines 10 are provided on a casino floor 5. The server 10 and the plurality of slot machines 100 are connected by the LAN 6 via a Hub 4. A portable terminal 200, capable of wireless communication with the server 100, is carried by a clerk in the casino 2. Therefore, communication with the server 100 using the portable terminal 200 is possible even if the clerk is in the computer room 3 or casino floor 5.

In addition, the server 100 is authorized to establish communication with a settlement processing server 310 of a credit card company 300 via a router 7 and a modem 8 connected upstream of the hub 4. The communication is executed via a VPN (virtual private network) 9.

The server 100 manages information relating to particular slot machine 10 or a group of slot machines 10, as well as having an administrative tool and a download tool which is necessary for access control to user data. The operator of the server 100 having appropriate access right can define various parameters which will be a trigger to transmit information such as game software components and programs to the slot machine 10. Here, the server 100 may be connected to legacy systems such as the cashless system in the casino 2, or may be directly connected to the slot machine 10. In addition, these configuration may be used together to facilitate information transmission and data collection.

In addition, the server 100 relays billing processing for the play performed by the player on the slot machine 10. In other words, the cost to be imposed on the player's play is summed up, which will be output as billing information to the settlement processing server 310 of the credit card company 300 via the VPN 9. In addition, the server 100 receives settlement information for the billing information from the settlement processing server 310 via the VPN 9, and outputs the settlement information to the slot machine 10 via the LAN 6.

Here, it is assumed that a router and a modem are also installed in the settlement processing server 310 side of the credit card company 300.

The slot machine 10 is equivalent to the gaming terminal in the present invention. In the present invention, however, the gaming terminal, not limited to this example, may be a video slot machine, a mechanical slot machine, or a gaming terminal capable of executing bingo games, keno games, lottery games, and the like.

The slot machine 10 is installed on the casino floor 5. In the present invention, however, the venue having gaming terminals installed therein is not particularly limited and may be a casino, a store, a restaurant, a bar, a ship, and the like. In addition, the venue may be owned and/or administered by a plurality of entities. In addition, the gaming system of the present invention may constructed by a plurality of different types of venues.

Each slot machine 10 transmits game processing information (e.g., number of coins inserted, number of payouts), game software component information (e.g., software version information), player tracking information (e.g., ID code of the player) to the server 100. In addition, each slot machine 10, capable of transmitting and receiving information to and from the server 100, communicates with the server 100 via the hub 4. The slot machine 10 may communicate with the server 100 via the legacy system. Here, each slot machine 10 is not authorized to communicate with the settlement processing server 310 via the VPN 9.

FIG. 3 is a block diagram illustrating the internal configuration of the server according to one embodiment of the present invention. The server 100 comprises a processor 101 (equivalent to the controller of the server and the server controller in the claims). To the processor 101 are connected a memory 102, a data base 106 and a display 103. Furthermore, a network interface 104 is connected to the processor 101 via a firewall 105. The server 100 can be communicated with the slot machine (gaming terminal) 10 and a remote terminal 200 via the network interface 104.

The network interface 104 may be a wired network interface or a wireless network interface, or may include both. The server 100 comprises a firewall 105, which prohibits unauthorized access to data within the server 100.

The data base 106 is recorded on a hard disk drive. For example, game information such as game processing information, game software components, game software component information are stored in the data base 106. In the present embodiment, data within the data base 106 is partitioned according to respective entities such as “company A” 107, “company B” 108, and “company C” 109.

In the present invention, the number of partitions is not particularly limited and can be changed as appropriate. In addition, the data base 106 may be recorded on a known storage medium such as a hard disk drive or a CD-RW drive, for example, or combination thereof.

Data for respective entities within the data base 106 is described, using the data of “company C” 109 as an example. As shown in FIG. 3, the data of “company C” 109 includes a game 110, an authentication program 120, data 130, and an analysis tool 140.

The game 110 includes the game software for game A 111, game B 112, game C 113, and game D 114. The game software comprises, respectively, game system components, payout tables, game bonusing programs, game progressive programs, graphical data, image display control data, sound data, light emission pattern data, game jurisdiction information, game network components, or the like. The region of the data base 106 in which the game 110 is stored is equivalent to the first memory in the present invention.

The game system components of the game software used in the slot machine 10 include, for example, a symbol selection program. The symbol selection program is a program for determining the symbols to be rearranged on a symbol matrix (see FIG. 4). The symbol selection program includes symbol weighting data which corresponds to each of the plural types of payout rates (e.g., 80%, 84% or 88%). The symbol weighting data is data which indicates the correspondence between respective symbols and one or more random number values within a predefined number range (0-255). The payout rate is defined based on game jurisdiction information. Symbols to be rearranged as a symbol matrix are determined based on the symbol weighting data corresponding to the payout rate.

In the present invention, game software components refer to the components that constitute the game software. The game software may be arranged such that game software components are either exchangeable or unexchangeable with other game software components.

The authentication program 120 includes a program 121 for game A, a program 122 for game B, a program 123 for game C, and a program 124 for game D. The authentication program is created for respective game software components. The authentication program includes a hash value generated from legitimate game software components and a program which generates a hash value using a hash function from a game software component to be authenticated.

The hash function is not particularly limited and may employ, for example, SHA (SHA-1, SHA-256, SHA-384 and SHA-512), MD5 or the like. Here, in the present embodiment, a program which detects the falsification using a hash function will be described as the authentication program. In the present invention, however, the authentication program is not particularly limited and any known authentication programs may be employed.

Data 130 includes game data 131, gaming terminal data 132, player data 133, route data 134 and venue data 135.

The game data 131 includes, for example, number of coins inserted, number of coins paid out, number of bets per game, or the like. The gaming terminal data 132 includes, for example, data relating to the gaming history for respective slot machines 10. This data is stored in relation to the ID code of respective slot machines 10. The player data 133 includes data relating to the gaming history (gaming history data) for respective players. This data is stored in relation to the ID codes of respective players. The route data 134 includes, for example, information relating to a gaming terminal which belongs to a gaming terminal group existing in a route composed of a plurality of venues. The venue data 135 includes, for example, information relating to the gaming terminal belonging to respective venues.

In the present embodiment, the player data 133 is equivalent to the download history information in the claims. In addition, the region of the data base 106 in which the player data 133 is stored is equivalent to the second memory in the present invention. Although the present embodiment describes a case in which the first and the second memories are the same (i.e., the data base 106), the first and the second memories may be separate in the present invention.

The analysis tool 140 includes applications such as data analysis 141 for defining category of data 130 or relationship between respective categories, or software version management 142 for managing the version of the game software components in respective gaming terminals and version of game software components to be downloaded. The processor 101 manages and analyzes the data 109 of the entity “company C” by executing these applications.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view schematically illustrating a slot machine according to one embodiment of the present invention. The slot machine 10 comprises a cabinet 11, a top box 12 provided on top of the cabinet 11, and a main door 13 provided on the front face of the cabinet 11. A lower display 16 is provided in front of the main door 13. The lower display 16 comprises a liquid crystal panel, on which is displayed a 5-column×3-row symbol matrix composed of 15 symbols.

Furthermore, a touch screen (see FIG. 5) is provided on the front face of the lower display 16, so that the player can input various instructions via the touch screen 69. Additionally, on the bottom of the lower display 16 is provided various input buttons 23 for inputting the player's instructions relating to progression of the game, a coin acceptor 21 for accepting coins, and a bill validator 22 for identifying the validity of bills and accepting legitimate bills. Here, the bill validator 22 may be configured to be able to read a bar-coded ticket 39.

On the bottom front face of the main door 13 is provided a foot display 34. Predefined images are displayed on the foot display 34, based on image display control data included in the game software which is being executed. As such images, for example, characters of the slot machine 10 and the like are included.

On both sides of the foot display 34 is provided a lamp 47. The lamp 47 emits light in a pattern according to the light emission pattern data included in the game software being executed. On the front face of the top box 12 is provided an upper display 33. The upper display 33 has a liquid crystal panel. A payout table or the like is displayed on the upper display 33.

In addition, a speaker 29 is provided in the top box 12. On the bottom of the upper display 33 are provided a ticket printer 35, a card reader 36, a data display 37 and a key pad 38. The ticket printer 35 prints a bar-coded ticket having coded data thereon such as the number of credits, time and date, or identification number of the slot machine 10, and outputs it as a bar-coded ticket 39. The player can use another slot machine to read the bar-coded ticket 39 and play the game on the slot machine, or exchange the bar-coded ticket 39 with bills or the like at a predetermined site of the gaming facility (e.g., cashier in the casino).

The card reader 36 can have a smart card inserted therein, and read data from or write data into the inserted smart card. The smart card is a card carried by the player, to which corresponds a player-specific member card or credit card.

The smart card has data relating to the history of the games played by the player (gaming history data) as well as data for identifying the player (equivalent to the player identifying information in the claims) stored therein. The gaming history data includes game type information relating to games which have been played, or points added at games played in the past. The smart card may have data corresponding to coins, bills or credits stored therein. As data read/write method for the smart card, either of a contact and a non-contact (RFID) type may be employed. Additionally, a magnetic stripe card may be employed in place of the smart card. The data display 37, comprising a fluorescent display or the like, displays data being read by the card reader 36, or data input by the player via the key pad 38, for example. The key pad 38 is used for inputting instructions and data relating to issuance of tickets. The smart card is equivalent to the card of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a block diagram illustrating the internal configuration of the slot machine shown in FIG. 4. The slot machine 10 comprises a controller 40 including a CPU 41 and a memory 42. Various input buttons 23, a bill validator 22 and a coin acceptor 21 are connected to the controller 40. Also a network interface 45 is connected to the controller 40 via a firewall 46. Furthermore, a card reader 36, a key pad 38 and a touch screen 69 are connected to the controller 40.

In addition, an upper display 33, a lower display 16, a foot display 34, a lamp 47, a speaker 29, a ticket printer 35, a data display 36, a hard disk drive 43 and a CD-drive 44 are connected to the controller 40. The game software components downloaded from the server 100 are stored in the hard disk drive 43 or the like. The controller 40 executes, for example, various programs included in the game software components stored in the hard disk drive 43 or the like. In addition, the controller 40 executes the processes of displaying images on the upper display 33, the lower display 16 and the foot display 34, outputting sound from the speaker 29, and controlling light emission of the lamp 47.

The hard disk drive 43 is equivalent to the third memory in the present invention. In addition, the hard disk drive 43 is equivalent to the fourth memory in the present invention. Although the present embodiment describes a case in which the third and the fourth memories are the same (i.e., the hard disk drive 43), the third and fourth memories may be separate in the present invention. The controller 40 is equivalent to the controller of the gaming terminal and the terminal controller in the present invention.

FIGS. 6 to 8 are flow charts illustrating the processes executed in the server 100 and the slot machine 10 according to the first embodiment.

In the present embodiment, game A is preliminarily stored in the hard disk drive 43 as the current game.

First, the controller 40 of each slot machine 10 (gaming terminal) accepts insertion of the smart card (step S201).

Next, the controller 40 reads gaming history data from the smart card step (S202) and stores it into the hard disk drive 43 (step S203). In the present embodiment, it is assumed that the smart card is the player's credit card, and the card number of the credit card is read together with the card company identifying information and the player identifying information, when reading the gaming history data.

The gaming history data includes game type information relating to games which have been played, or points added at games played in the past. Points are added depending on the number of coins consumed or the number of times of games played. For example, if 100 coins have been consumed or if 100 games have been played, one point is added.

Next, in step S204, the controller 40 determines whether or not the points included in the gaming history data have exceeded a predefined value. If it is determined that the points have exceeded a predefined value, the process proceeds to step S205. If, otherwise, it is determined that the points have not exceeded a predefined value, the process proceeds to step S225.

In step S205, the controller 40 determines the game software (combination of game components) which can be downloaded according to the points. Next, the controller 40 displays a selection image for changing the game (step S206).

FIG. 10 shows an image displayed on the lower display of the slot machine. As shown in FIG. 10, an image is displayed at the top of the lower display 16, indicating that current points are 123.

Additionally, selectable games (game A (Normal), game B (High roller 1), game C (High roller 2)) are displayed as images on the center of the lower display 16. These images indicate the game software determined to be selected. Numbers of points required to play the game are displayed to the right of the game names, respectively. In step S206, the player can select a game by touching the touch screen 69. Selection of the game by the player is not limited to the above-mentioned example which uses the touch screen 69, and may be performed, for example, by using various input buttons 23 or a keypad 38, or by using a separately provided input unit specific to game selection.

Next, the controller 40 determines whether or not a game other than the current game (game A) has been selected. If a game other than the current game has been selected, the controller 40 displays an image (see FIG. 11) indicating that the game software is being downloaded (step S208) on the lower display 16, and the process proceeds to step S209. If, otherwise, the current game has been selected in step S207, the process proceeds to step S225.

FIG. 11 is a diagram illustrating an image displayed on the lower display of the slot machine. As shown in FIG. 11, an image indicating that “now downloading . . . ” is displayed on the lower display 16.

In step S209, the controller 40 subtracts from the points a number according to the selected game. For example, 50 points are subtracted if game B has been selected.

Next, in step S210, the controller 40 executes a process to establish connection with the server 100. At this time, the processor 101 of the server 100 executes a process to establish connection with the slot machine 10 (step S101).

Next, in step S211, the controller 40 transmits game software component information to the server 100. The game software component information includes, for example, game type information (equivalent to software identifying information in the claims) indicating the game selected by the input from the touch screen 69, a list of game software components and version information of the game software components stored in the hard disk drive 43 or the like, and the ID code for identifying the slot machine 10 which is a source of the transmission. The game software component information is equivalent to the download request in the present invention.

Upon receiving the game software component information (download request) from respective slot machines 10, the processor 101 stores it in the data base 106 (step S111). Next, based on the game type information within the received game software component information, the processor 101 selects, as the game software components to be downloaded, the game which has been selected by the player's input via the touch screen 69 (step S112).

Next, the processor 101 reads the selected game software components from the data base 106 and bundles them so that they can be transmitted to the slot machine 10 which is the source of the transmission of the game software component information (step S113). The processes of step S113 include, for example, encrypting the game software components, compressing the game software components, dividing the game software components into a plurality of packets, and the like.

Next, an authentication program according to the game software components selected in step S113 is selected (step S114). In step S114, the processor 101 also bundles the selected authentication program. Here, the process of step S114 may be executed together with step S113. In other words, the selected game software components and authentication program may be bundled after the authentication program has been selected.

Next, the processor 101 transmits the game components and the authentication program to the slot machine 10 which is the source of the transmission of the game software component information (step S115). At this time, the controller 40 of the slot machine 10 which is the destination of the downloading downloads the game components and the authentication program from the server 100, and stores them into the hard disk drive 43 (step S212).

The controller 40 unbundles the downloaded game software components (step S220). The processes of step S220 include, for example, decoding the game software components, uncompressing the game software components, combining packets, virus checking, and the like. Here, in step S220, the controller 40 also unbundles the authentication program.

Next, the controller 40 executes the authentication program (step S221). In step S220, a hash value is generated for each of the game software components by executing a hash function, and compared with the hash value preliminarily stored in the authentication program, and thereby presence of falsification is examined. If there is no falsification, the components are authenticated as legitimate. If there exists any falsification, an error occurs.

Next, the controller 40 determines whether or not all of the game software components have been authenticated normally (step S222). The case in which it is determined that not all of the game software components have been authenticated normally (an error has occurred) will be described in detail below, using FIG. 9.

When, in step S222, it is determined that all of the game software components have been authenticated normally, the controller 40 transmits the authentication result to the server 100 (step S223). The authentication result includes a list of game software components authenticated normally, version information of the game software components, the ID code of the gaming terminal (slot machine 10) or the like. In this occasion, the processor 101 receives the authentication result (step S120).

After the processes of step S223, the controller 40 determines a new combination of game software components, using the downloaded game software components (step S224). In this occasion, the new combination of game software components may be determined using only the downloaded game software components. Alternatively, the new combination of game software components may be determined using existing game software components and the downloaded game software components.

Next, the controller 40 executes the game execution process (step S225), using the combination of game software components determined in step S224. The game execution process will be described in detail below using FIG. 13. In the present embodiment, the game execution process is a process of executing a game in the slot machine. In the present invention, however, the game execution process is executed according to the game which is executed in the gaming terminal.

Next, in response to the end-of-game command which is input by the player's operation of the touch screen 69, the controller 40 generates game processing data including the player data 133 and transmits it to the server 100 (step S226). The processor 101 in turn receives the game processing data from the slot machine 10 (step S121). The player data 133 of the game processing data includes gaming history data such as number of coins consumed, number of times of games played, number of points added, or the like. The game processing data including the above information is stored into the data base 106, in relation to the player's ID code (credit card number read from the smart card) (step S122). In the present embodiment, the game processing data which is transmitted to the server 100 from the slot machine 10 in step S226 is equivalent to the end-of-game notification in the claims.

Next, the processor 101 generates billing information for the player, based on the gaming history data within the game processing data stored in the data base 106. Together with this, the processor 101 establishes communication between the settlement processing server 310 via the VPN 9. Then, the processor 101 outputs, via the VPN 9, the generated billing information, together with the player's ID code (credit card number) stored in the data base 106 in relation to the player data 133, to the settlement processing server 310 (step S123).

Upon receiving the billing information, the settlement processing server 310 executes the settlement process, based on the billing information. The settlement process is a process of identifying the player by the player's ID code (credit card number) which has been input in relation to the billing information, settling the settlement content by the input billing information, and matching the settlement content with a predefined credit information.

In this manner, the result of the settlement process executed in the settlement processing server 310 is sent back to the server 100 from the settlement processing server 310 via the VPN 9. Thus, after outputting the billing information to the settlement processing server 310, the processor 101 of the server 100 waits for input of settlement information indicating the settlement result from the settlement processing server 310 (step S124).

When the settlement information is input, the processor 101 sends the settlement information back to the slot machine 10 (step S125) and completes the process. The controller 40, upon receiving the settlement information from the server 100 (step S227), displays the settlement result of the settlement information (see FIG. 12) on the lower display 16 for presentation to the player (step S228).

FIGS. 12A and 12B illustrate images to be displayed on the lower display 16 of the slot machine 10. When settlement is approved in the settlement processing server 310, characters such as “settlement completed” indicating completion of the settlement are displayed on the lower display 16, as shown in FIG. 12A. If the settlement is not approved, characters such as “settlement rejected” are displayed on the lower display 16, as shown in FIG. 12B.

After the process of step S228, the controller 40 writes gaming history data into the smart card (step S229) and completes the process.

Next, a case in which it is determined that not all of the game software components have been authenticated normally in step S222 of FIG. 8 will be described referring to FIG. 9.

First, the controller 40 erases, from the hard disk drive 43, the game software components which have not been authenticated normally (step S230). Next, the controller 40 transmits a download request signal to the server 100 (step S231). The request signal includes data for specifying the erased game software components. In this occasion, the processor 101 receives the request signal from the slot machine 10 (step S130).

Subsequently, the processor 101 selects game software components specified by the data included in the request signal (step S131), bundles the game software components (step S132), and selects an authentication program according to the game software components (step S133). Then, the processor 101 transmits the game software components and the authentication program to the slot machine 10 (step S134). The controller 40 downloads the game software components and the authentication program from the server 100 (step S232).

Since the processes of steps S131 to S134 and S203 are similar to steps S112 to S115 and S212 and already described, duplicate explanation will be omitted here. After completion of processes of steps S134 and S232, a process shown in FIG. 7 is executed.

FIG. 13 is a flow chart illustrating the game execution processing in step S225 of FIG. 8. First, the controller 40 advances the game (step S301). In this process, the controller 40 adds points according to the number of coins inserted or number of times of games played.

Next, the controller 40 determines whether or not the points have exceeded a predefined number (step S302). If it is determined that the points have exceeded a predefined number, a selection image for changing the game is displayed (step S303). In this process, the controller 40 displays the image shown in FIG. 14 on the lower display 16, accepts an input indicating whether or not to change the game, and, if there is an input requesting to change the game, displays an image similar to that in FIG. 10. This allows the player to select a game by touching the touch screen 69.

FIG. 14 illustrates an image to be displayed on the lower display of the slot machine. As shown in FIG. 14, a sentence such as “You are allowed to change the game. Do you want to change?” is displayed on the lower display 16. In addition, an image presenting “YES” and “NO” for choosing whether or not to change the game is displayed. The player can choose whether or not to change the game by touching the touch screen 69.

Next, the controller 40 determines whether or not the game will be changed (step S304). In this process, the controller 40 determines whether or not a request to change the game has been input. If it is determined to change the game, the process returns to step S208.

If it is determined in step S302 that the points have not exceeded a predefined number or if it is determined in step S304 not to change the game, the controller 40 determines whether or not to terminate the game (step S305). If it is determined not to terminate the game, the controller 40 puts the process back to step S301. If, otherwise, it is determined to terminate the game, the controller 40 terminates this subroutine.

As thus described, in the gaming system 1 according to the first embodiment, the server 100 reads, in response to reception of game software component information from the slot machine 10, game software components corresponding to the game type information (software identifying information) included in the game software component information from the data base 106, and transmits it to the slot machine 10 as the source of the transmission of the game software component information.

Then, when the game processing data is transmitted to the server 100 from the slot machine 10 upon termination of the game in the slot machine 10, billing information for the player of the slot machine 10 is generated based on the gaming history data within the game processing data. Subsequently, the billing information is output to the settlement processing server 310 as settlement information, and a settlement process for the billing information is executed in the settlement processing server 310.

The result of the settlement process in the settlement processing server 310 is transmitted to the server 100 from the settlement processing server 310 as settlement information. The server 100 outputs the received settlement information to the slot machine 10. The slot machine 10 displays, on the lower display 16 for presentation to the player, the settlement result of the settlement information (see FIG. 12) which has been input from the server 100.

Thus, according to the gaming system 1 of the first embodiment, an environment can be reasonably provided in which the player can play a plurality of games on a single slot machine 10 (gaming terminal) by billing the cost to the player on the slot machine 10 (gaming terminal).

Note that, with the gaming system 1 according to the first embodiment, a case has been described in which management of the game software components to be transmitted to the slot machine 10 in response to reception of the game software component information from the slot machine 10, and management of generating the billing information for the player and settling the billing in cooperation with the settlement processing server 310 of the credit card company 300 are both executed by the server 100 in the casino 2.

However, management of game software components transmitted to the slot machine 10 and management of billing settlement processes can be individually executed by separately managed servers.

In the following, a gaming system according to a second embodiment of the present invention will be described on the aforementioned discussion.

FIG. 15 is a schematic view of the network of the gaming system according to the second embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 16 is a block diagram illustrating the internal configuration of the settlement server shown in FIG. 15. FIG. 17 is a block diagram illustrating the internal configuration of the program distribution server shown in FIG. 15.

As shown in FIG. 15, a gaming system 1000 comprises a settlement server 1001 (equivalent to the second server in the claims) connected by the LAN 6 via the hub 4, a slot machine 10 (gaming terminal), and a portable terminal 200 capable of wireless communication with the settlement server 1001. The settlement server 1001 is installed in the computer room 3 within the casino 2. Additionally, a plurality of slot machines 10 are installed on the casino floor 5.

The settlement server 1001 comprises, as shown in FIG. 16, a processor 101 (equivalent to the second controller in the claims) similar to the server 100 (FIG. 3) of the first embodiment, a memory 102, a display 103, a network interface 104, and a firewall 105. In addition, the settlement server 1001 comprises a database 106-1 (equivalent to the second memory in the claims) storing data for respective entities of “company A” 417, “company B” 418, and “company C” 419. Here, the database 160-1 is composed of only a data region 130 of the data for respective entities of “company A” 107, “company B” 108, and “company C” 109, which constitutes the database 106 of the server 100 of the first embodiment.

Here, the processes executed by the processor 101 of the settlement server 1001 are different from those executed by the processor 101 of the server 100 of the gaming system 1 of the first embodiment. The processes will be described below.

Note that the settlement server 1001 of the second embodiment is authorized to establish communication with the settlement processing server 310 of the credit card company 300 via a router 7 (with terminal adapter functionality) connected to the upstream of the hub 4 and via a modem 8, similarly with the server 100 of the gaming system 1 of the first embodiment. The communication is executed via the VPN 9.

Although the hardware configuration of the slot machine 10 is as described referring to FIGS. 4 and 5 in the first embodiment, processes executed by the controller 40 are partly different from those executed by the slot machine 10 in the gaming system 1 of the first embodiment. Such processes will be described below.

In addition, the slot machine 10 is authorized to establish communication with a program distribution server 410 (equivalent to the first server in the claims) of the game software company 400 via a router 7-1 connected to the upstream of a hub 4 and via a modem 8-1. The communication is executed via a VPN 9-1.

Similarly with the processor 101 (equivalent to the first controller in the claims), the memory 102, the display 103, the network interface 104 and the firewall 105 of the server 100 (FIG. 5) of the first embodiment, the program distribution server 410 comprises a processor 411, a memory 412, a display 413, a network interface 414 and a firewall 415, and also a data base 416 (equivalent to the first memory in the claims), as shown in FIG. 17. Here, the data base 416 is arranged such that the data region 130 is eliminated from the data for respective entities of “company A” 107, “company B” 108, and “company C” 109 which constitute the data base 106 of the server 100 of the first embodiment.

FIGS. 18 to 22 are flow charts illustrating the processes executed in the settlement server 1001, the slot machine 10 and the program distribution server 410 according to the second embodiment.

First, in the gaming system 1000 of the second embodiment, the processor 411 of the program distribution server 410 and the controller 40 of the slot machine 10 (gaming terminal) respectively execute, as shown in FIGS. 18 to 20, the same processes (steps S101 to S120, and steps S201 to S225 of FIGS. 6 to 8) as those executed by the processor 101 of the server 100 and the controller 40 of the slot machine 10 (gaming terminal) in the gaming system 1 of the first embodiment, until the controller 40 of the slot machine 10 (gaming terminal) executes the game execution processing (step S225 of FIG. 20). During the above processes, the processor 101 of the settlement server 1001 does not execute any process.

In addition, even if it is determined in step S222 of FIG. 20 that not all of the game software components have been authenticated normally (an error occurred), the processor 411 of the program distribution server 410 and the controller 40 of the slot machine 10 (gaming terminal) respectively execute, as shown in FIG. 22, the same processes (steps S130 to S134 and steps S230 to S232 of FIG. 9) as those executed by the processor 101 of the server 100 and the controller 40 of the slot machine 10 (gaming terminal) in the gaming system 1 of the first embodiment. During the above processes, the processor 101 of the settlement server 1001 does not execute any process.

When the controller 40 of the slot machine 10 (gaming terminal) executes the game execution processing (step S225 of FIG. 20), the controller 40 subsequently establishes connection with the settlement server 1001 in step S225-1, as shown in FIG. 21. In this occasion, the processor 101 of the settlement server 1001 executes a process to establish connection with the slot machine 10 (step S310).

Subsequently, the controller 40 of the slot machine 10 (gaming terminal) executes the processes (steps S226 to S229 of FIG. 8) just like they are executed by the controller 40 of the slot machine 10 (gaming terminal) in the gaming system 1 of the first embodiment. In addition, the processor 101 of the settlement server 1001 executes the processes (steps S121 to S125 of FIG. 8) just like they are executed by the processor 101 of the server 100 in the gaming system 1 of the first embodiment.

As thus described, in the gaming system 1000 according to the second embodiment, the program distribution server 410 reads, in response to reception of game software component information from the slot machine 10, game software components corresponding to the game type information (software identifying information) included in the game software component information from the data base 416, and transmits it to the slot machine 10 as the source of transmission of the game software component information.

Then, when the game processing data is transmitted to the settlement server 1001 from the slot machine 10 upon termination of the game in the slot machine 10, billing information for the player of the slot machine 10 is generated in the settlement server 1001 based on the gaming history data within the game processing data. Subsequently, the billing information is output to the settlement processing server 310 as settlement information, and a settlement process for the billing information is executed in the settlement processing server 310.

The result of the settlement process in the settlement processing server 310 is transmitted to the settlement server 1001 from the settlement processing server 310 as settlement information. The settlement server 1001 outputs the received settlement information to the slot machine 10. The slot machine 10 displays, on the lower display 16 for presentation to the player, the settlement result of the settlement information (see FIG. 12) which has been input from the settlement server 1001.

Thus, according to the gaming system 1000 of the second embodiment too, an environment can be reasonably provided in which the player can play a plurality of games on a single slot machine 10 (gaming terminal) by billing the cost to the player on the slot machine 10 (gaming terminal).

Additionally, according to a gaming system 1000 of the second embodiment, management of the game software (game software components) is executed in the game software company 400 in which the program distribution server 410 is installed. Also, management of relaying the billing process for the plays performed by the player on the slot machine 10 is executed in the casino 2 in which the settlement server 1001 is installed. Therefore, security measures can be enhanced by distributed information management. In addition, since the game software (game software components) can be managed by the game software company 400, eliminating the necessity of management by the casino 2, maintainability of the game software (game software components) can be enhanced.

In the second embodiment, although a case for a single casino 2 has been described, respective slot machines 10 (gaming terminals) for a plurality of casinos 2 may download game software (game software components) from program distribution servers 410 of the same game software company 400. Similarly, settlement servers 1001 of a plurality of casinos 2 may transmit billing information to settlement processing servers 310 of the same credit card company 300 and receive the returned settlement information indicating the settlement result.

Additionally, in the first and the second embodiments, explanation has been given with the gaming systems 1 and 1000 taken as examples, wherein only the slot machine 10 is managed by the server 100 and the settlement server 1001. However, the present invention can also be applied to gaming systems further including elements to be managed other than the slot machine 10 such as terminals, systems or cashiers for other games such as keno games, lottery games or bingo games, for example.

Although embodiments of the present invention have been described as above, they are only presented as concrete examples, without particularly limiting the present invention. Concrete arrangements of respective units may be changed in design as appropriate. In addition, the effects set forth in the embodiments of the present invention are merely an enumeration of the most preferred effect which occurs from the present invention, and the effects by the present invention is not limited to those set forth in the embodiments of the present invention.

In the above detailed description, mainly characteristic portions have been set forth so that the present invention can be understood more easily. The present invention is not limited to the embodiments set forth in the above detailed description and can be applied to other embodiments, with a wide range of applications. In addition, terms and wordings used in the present specification are used to precisely explain the present invention and are not intended to limit the interpretation of the present invention. Also, those skilled in the art will easily conceive, from the concept of the invention set forth in the present specification, other arrangements, systems or methods included in the concept of the present invention. Therefore, it should be appreciated that the scope of the claims includes equivalent arrangements without deviating from the scope of technical ideas of the present invention. In addition, the purpose of the abstract is to facilitate the Patent Office and general public institutions, or engineers in the technological field who are not familiar with patent and legal terms or specific terms to quickly evaluate technical contents and the essence of this application by simple investigation. Therefore, the abstract is not intended to limit the scope of the invention, which should be evaluated by descriptions of the scope of the claims. Furthermore, it is desirable to take into consideration the already disclosed literatures sufficiently in order to completely understand the objects and specific effects of the present invention.

The above detailed description includes processes executed by a computer. The aforementioned descriptions and expressions are described with a purpose that those skilled in the art will understand them most efficiently. In the present specification, each step used for deriving one result should be understood as a self-consistent process. Also, transmission, reception and recording of electric or magnetic signals are executed in each step. In the processes in respective steps, although such signals are expressed as bits, values, symbols, characters, terms or numerals, it should be noted that these are merely used for convenience of explanation. Additionally, although the processes in respective steps may be described using an expression common to human activities, the processes described in the present specification is executed, in principle, by a variety of devices. Furthermore, other arrangements required to execute respective steps are self-evident from the aforementioned description.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7836162 *May 23, 2007Nov 16, 2010Nec CorporationTransaction processing system and transaction processing method
US7887420 *Sep 12, 2005Feb 15, 2011IgtMethod and system for instant-on game download
US8419548 *Nov 11, 2009Apr 16, 2013Wms Gaming, Inc.Optical machine-readable data representation image
US8651956 *Jan 7, 2011Feb 18, 2014IgtMethod and system for instant-on game download
US8721447 *Mar 19, 2007May 13, 2014Aruze Gaming America, Inc.Game delivery server, gaming system, and controlling method for game delivery server
US20110105234 *Jan 7, 2011May 5, 2011IgtMethod and System for Instant-On Game Dowload
US20110207531 *Nov 11, 2009Aug 25, 2011Wms Gaming, Inc.Optical machine-readable data representation image
Classifications
U.S. Classification463/29, 463/42
International ClassificationA63F9/24
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/3206, G07F17/32, G07F17/323
European ClassificationG07F17/32C2B, G07F17/32E4, G07F17/32
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Nov 2, 2007ASAssignment
Owner name: ARUZE GAMING AMERICA, INC., NEVADA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:OKADA, KAZUO;REEL/FRAME:020065/0668
Effective date: 20071017