BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
This application is related to co-pending application Ser. No. ______, filed on the same date as the present application, and assigned attorney docket No. PA1653.ap.US. The content of this application is incorporated by reference in its entirety.
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to the field of wagering, casino wagering, and wagering by individuals not seated at a gaming machine. The present invention also relates to the provision of security controls on hand-held devices used to enable players to place wagers on games and equipment at different locations within a wagering facility.
2. Background of the Art
Gaming facilities can have widely varying degrees of use by players over the course of time. Weekends tend to be heavily played, and casinos tend to have reduced patronage between 4 a.m. and noon on most days. It is necessary to build the casino structures so that there will be space for players at peak hours, yet it is wasteful to have casinos at less than 10% capacity for most of the time. This sizing of casino capacity is particularly critical for smaller venue wagering establishments that cannot afford to maintain staffing the entire day or whose patronage fluctuates greatly because of trade shows, and other special events that can fill the casino to capacity and keep players away from tables because of overcrowding.
Certain games lend themselves to small space/player utilization, such as keno and bingo, in which a large display board can be viewed by many players carrying individual or multiple playing cards with the selected numbers thereon. Other games require more floor space, such as poker rooms, card pits and dice games, requiring gaming tables and areas designated for pit personnel, etc. Slot machines also require floor space.
Efforts have been made to enable players to wager on typical casino wagering games and machines while not physically seated at the table or machine. Some early efforts had cameras on wagering activities and data entry devices in hotel rooms that displayed the games in real time, so that players could electronically place wagers on the games or machines from a hotel room. This can add some incremental revenue to the casinos' bottom line, but most players enjoy the physical ambiance and the presence of other players in the casino as part of the enjoyment of wagering. Hotel room wagering does not approach that desirable environment for play at casinos.
Other efforts have been made to provide wagering through hand-held devices such as cell phones, Blackberry™ transmitters, PDAs, radio transmitting devices and the like. These suffer from a high degree of security risk, at least for the reason that once the device has been activated, anyone in possession of the device can wager, collect winnings, and even transfer funds on casino accounts.
Published U.S. Patent Application 2002/0198052 (Soltys) describes a process and hardware enabling remote and local wagering. Remote wagers may be placed on hand-held devices (paragraph ). A primary wager is placed by a primary player regarding an outcome of a gaming event, and a secondary wager is placed by a secondary player regarding an outcome of the primary wager. The outcome of the gaming event is determined. The outcome of the primary wager is determined based on the determined outcome of the gaming event. The outcome of the secondary wager is determined based on the determined outcome of the primary wager. Winnings and losses are paid and collected, respectively. Statistics and/or odds can be generated and displayed. The system may use standard PDA, pager or BLUETOOTH configured devices. These devices may include player applications such as instructions for handling security such as password or other access protection and communications encryption.
Published U.S. Patent Application 2004/0142750 (Glisson et al.) describes a system through which a casino receives wagering activity from a player, both in-house and on-line.
Published U.S. Patent Application No. 2004/0111369 (Lane et al.) describes a method to associate the geographic location of a participant in a communications session, such as a phone call or an email transmission, with the identity of the participant. The method may enable shopping on a virtual retail store or virtual point of sale, and may further comprise a virtual repository of information relating to transmitted messages, transactions and/or transaction requests. The participant is provided with a communications device, e.g., a cell phone, a personal digital assistant, or a personal computer, the device being optionally coupled with a GPS receiving circuit. The participant may use a password, an account number, a voice tag and/or an electronic signature as a record to confirm the participant's identity and co-location with the communications device substantially simultaneous with the communications session. The record may be stored for later review in the virtual repository. Alternatively, the location of a wireless communications device may be determined by radio signal direction finding equipment. There is disclosure of wagering through a mobile device.
Published U.S. Patent Application No. 2005/0059485 (Paulsen et al.) describes a method of operating a gaming system comprising a plurality of gaming apparatuses. The method may include the step of receiving position data relating to a position of a player from a wireless device carried by the player. The method may include retrieving stored player data that relates to the player. The method may also include displaying a first video image relating to a video game and determining a payout based on an outcome of the video game, the first video image and the payout not being based on the player data. Additionally, the method may include providing according to the player position data a personalized operation based on the player data. The personalized operation may be selected from the group of personalized operations consisting of displaying a second video images relating to a video game, displaying a third video image unrelated to a video game, and providing a payout independent of the outcome of a video game. A system including a gaming apparatus and a computer is programmed to operate the gaming apparatus according to the method. The system may also have a gaming apparatus having a controller that is programmed to operate the gaming apparatus according to the method.
Published U.S. Application No. 2005/0130728 (Nguyen et al.) describes a mobile game device for selective display of one or more pre-purchased games of chance thereon. The game device includes a removable communication interface adapted to communicate with a central gaming system to selectively receive gaming data controlling the play and outcome of the pre-purchased game of chance, generated at a first time. The game device further includes a display screen, and one or more input mechanisms. A game device microprocessor device is provided which is configured to: commence play, selectively activated by operation of the one or more input mechanisms, using the gaming data at a selected second time after the first time; and selectively display on the display screen the generated outcome of the game of chance. The personal gaming device may also include a fingerprint scanner. A player's scanned fingerprint information may be used for authentication purposes. The personal gaming device may include a card reader located in a side of the body of the device, such as a magnetic stripe reader for reading information from a magnetic strip of a card.
Published U.S. Application No. 20040192422 and U.S. Pat. No. 6,846,238 (Wells et al.) describes a system wherein in a method of facilitating the playing of a game via a gaming apparatus, a wager may be received via a value input device. Biometric data associated with a game play selection of a game may be received, and permission to play the game may be granted based on the received biometric data. A video image relating to the game may be displayed on a display unit, and a value payout associated with an outcome of the game may be determined. The technology relates to accessing games in a network.
U.S. Pat. No. 6,402,614 (Wiltshire) describes an off-line remote lottery system which enables players to purchase instant-type lottery game outcomes from a randomized prize data stream in a central computer, and view the outcomes on remotely disposed gaming computers which do not require an on-line connection during play. The method operates by transmitting a financial account identifier and a request for at least one lottery game outcome on a numeric keypad of a telephone to a remote computer; receiving an encoded message containing at least one lottery game outcome from said remote computer; inputting (by a user) said encoded message to a gaming computer, said gaming computer being off-line with respect to said remote computer; and receiving said at least one lottery outcome from said off-line gaming computer.
U.S. Pat. No. 6,270,410 (De Mar) describes a portable controller comprising a remote control to remotely play a game on a slot machine. The portable controller can be a battery-operated remote control, a cable-connected hand-held remote control, or a movable laptop keyboard, which is hard wired to the slot machine. The portable controller can simultaneously operate two or three slot machines to enhance the entertainment of customers. The slot machine may have a display to view the game and a coin-input slot to receive one or more coins to activate the game. The slot machine can also have at least one button and/or a manual pull arm to play the game.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
It would be desirable to provide a wireless security system that is capable of verifying the identity of a player on request or periodically to confirm the hand-held device has not fallen into the hands of a person not associated with the financial accounts funding play.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES
A security effecting device (SED) is provided to individual players that enables secure wagering through a wireless communication device. The SED may itself communicate with the hand-held wagering device as opposed to having to physically engage the hand-held wagering device and the wirelessly SED. Codes may be provided on the SEDs that may be entered into the hand-held wagering device to assure authorization between distinct SED and a distinct hand-held wagering device. Waters are placed through the hand-held wagering device in communication with a server using a thin client technology, with the game being generated on the server and visual observation of the game progression and wager entry being performed on the hand-held wagering device. The security system of the present technology authorizes and enables the hand-held device user to enter wagers on a game played on the server. The game on the server may be an independent game played uniquely by the user of the hand-held security device, or may be a game reported to the server from a live physical wagering system and in which the user selects a position on the live game and the results on the server are reported to the user as the game results.
FIG. 1 shows a schematic diagram of a secured wager-communication system according to the technology disclosed herein.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
FIG. 2 is a schematic diagram of one embodiment of the present invention.
Conventional hand-held devices (PDA's, Blackberries, etc.) lack sufficient security to be used to place wagers electronically within casinos. Mere possession of the device enables any user, authorized or not, to use the device. Where wagering is enabled on the device, anyone possessing the device may be able to place a wager, particularly where the device has been activated and associated with an existing account.
The present technology includes at least a distinct security effecting device (SED) that is provided to individual players that enables the individual player to use a hand-held remote wagering device that can place wagers through a wireless communication transmission. The SED may itself have a wireless communication to the hand-held wagering device as opposed to having to physically engage the hand-held wagering device. Codes may be provided on the SEDs that may be entered into the hand-held wagering device to assure authorization between distinct SED and a distinct hand-held wagering device. The SED is preferably attachable or securely attached to a player or a separate device controlled by the player (other than the hand-held wagering device). For example, the SED may be worn on the wrist (in the manner of a watch), worn on a necklace or neck chain, clipped into a pocket, carried in a pocket, carried in a wallet in a pocket, worn as a ring or other jewelry item, and the like. The SED may have a limited range of broadcast, e.g., less than 25 meters, to reduce environment chatter by such devices, needing only to communicate with the hand-held device, also held by the player.
The hand-held security device may interact with the gaming systems in a relatively normal or common manner once the hand-held device has been enabled or otherwise cleared for communication with the electronic gaming system. For example, the game play hand-held wagering device or player interface may be portable devices, such as electronic tokens, cell phones, smart cards, tablet PC's and PDA's. The network hardware architecture is enabled to support communications between wireless mobile devices and other gaming devices in gaming system.
The gaming system may use a number of trusted information sources, such as one or more servers, that provide information used to authenticate/activate other pieces of information. Values used to authenticate software, license tokens used to allow the use of software or product activation codes used to activate software are examples of trusted information that might be provided from a trusted information source. Trusted information sources may be a memory device, such as an EPROM, that includes trusted information used to authenticate other information.
For example, a game play interface may store a private encryption key in a trusted memory device that is used in a private key-public key encryption scheme to authenticate information from another gaming device. When a trusted information source is in communication with a remote device via a network, the remote device will employ a verification scheme to verify the identity of the trusted information source, even if the SED device has established an approved wagering connection to the gaming system. For example, the trusted information source and the remote device may exchange information using public and private encryption keys to verify each other's identities. In another embodiment of the present invention, the remote device and the trusted information source may engage in methods using zero knowledge proofs to authenticate each of their respective identities. Details of zero knowledge proofs that may be used with the present invention are described in U.S. Patent Application No. 2003/0203756, by Jackson, filed on Apr. 25, 2002 and entitled, “Authentication in a Secure Computerized Gaming System,” which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety and for all purposes.
Gaming devices storing trusted information might utilize apparatus or methods to detect and prevent tampering. For instance, trusted information stored in a trusted memory device may be encrypted to prevent its misuse. In addition, the trusted memory device may be secured behind a locked door. Further, one or more sensors may be coupled to the memory device to detect tampering with the memory device and provide some record of the tampering. In yet another example, the memory device storing trusted information might be designed to detect tampering attempts and clear or erase itself when an attempt at tampering has been detected. The gaming system of the present invention may include devices that provide authorization to download software from a first device to a second device and devices that provide activation codes or information that allow downloaded software to be activated. The devices may be remote servers and may also be trusted information sources. One example of a method of providing product activation codes is described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,264,561.
A method, apparatus and system for verifying the identity of a person (or an anonymous account controlled by an unnamed person) who has been authorized to play a wagering game in wireless communication with a server using a hand-held wagering device to wager and exercise controls in a game is disclosed. The system, apparatus and method provides an item personally controlled by a patron (such as a wristband, belt, necklace, pendant, bar code, etc.) that either communicates via wireless communication to the hand-held device, is connected via wired or insertable connection to the hand-held device, or is read by a reader incorporated into the wireless device.
One of the obstacles in using hand-held portable gaming devices (such as a PDA or Blackberry, for example) is that such devices must be made secure (especially from a casino accounting consideration as well as a user/purchaser's desire to protect funds that can be wagered through the device) so that only authorized people may use the device, and there must be a way of verifying that the device is in the possession of a person authorized to gamble through the device. Although gaming agencies may require one or more levels of security in a gaming apparatus, the existing security that has been proposed for wireless devices and game servers does not offer as great a level of protection for the players and the casinos as it does for the game content. Even though the communication between the hand-held wagering device (HWD) may be in full compliance with gaming regulations, the device may be stolen and funds may be wagered without authorization by the actual account owner.
In addition, to avoid the risk of having to void losses generated by minors, the system should periodically authenticate the actual user/holder of the HWD. Authorization information of the holder/user is given to the HWD, and the HWD transmits the authorization and/or authorization information to the game server. The HWD is then authorized to accept wagers placed from the authenticated user on the particular HWD. The authorization technique must be periodic, rather than a one-time authorization for the continued use of the HWD. The required verification supplied may be approximately continuous, with a verification signal entered into the HWD on a repeating basis, or the verification signal may need to be entered at specific and reasonable intervals, such as between 10 minutes and 60 minutes. The verification may be entered by biometric identification systems (e.g., fingerprints, retinal scan, facial recognition, etc.), manual entry of data, card swiping, card reading using ID or 2D bar codes, optical image recognition, near IR scanning, card insertion, BUS data key insertion, electronic connection data entry (e.g., through pins or plugs), wireless communication data or signal entry such as RFID or Bluetooth, combinations or equivalents of these technologies.
The wireless entry of signals or communication may be accomplished through a separate article that is easily controlled and separately maintained by the user. Such a wireless communication may automatically send out signals to the HWD, may automatically respond to a wireless request from the HWD, may periodically send out a signal to the HWD, or may send out a signal when initiated by the user. This separate wireless communication may be a distinct and easily controlled article such as a bracelet, wristband, necklace, belt, pocket-insertable device, brooch, or any other article that can be separated from the HWD so that theft or loss of the HWD will not automatically cause loss of the security device. In one preferred form of the invention, a wristband equipped with an RFID circuit is affixed to the user such that only destructive methods can be used for its removal. These individually controllable security devices are herein generally referred to as “Wristbands” that are provided to individuals who wish to play wagering games on hand-held personal wagering devices, whether or not the device is worn exclusively on the wrist. The wagering device or HWD must communicate with an electronic component or physical “key” in the Wristband to verify the authority of the person to play the game.
Alternatively, the hand-held device could be equipped with a biometric key system, such as a finger print reader or retina scanner. This would eliminate the need for an additional wristband device.
The present invention relates to systems and methods for checking and verifying for the authorized usage of a hand-held gaming device. Preferably, the systems and methods of the present invention incorporate a series of redundant authorization checks using similar or dissimilar authentication methods, or double checks, so that the integrity of the verification is increased. Preferably, one or more of the authorization checks described herein are automatically activated or required by the gaming device at the time the hand-held device is checked out, on an intermittent basis while the device remains in use by a player or both. The authorization checks are intended to provide initial, periodic and/or continuous verification of authorized usage, but are preferably executed without being overly intrusive or disruptive to the player. In one embodiment, players are provided with a verification device that can be secured or even locked onto the player. One such exemplary device is a wristband or watchband that may be worn by the authorized individual. The wristband may be secured onto the individual by casino personnel, with a lock or other secure attachment so that it may not be easily (and without authorization) be removed from the player. The exemplary wristband can be implanted with an electronic signaling capability, RFID tag, wireless device capable of either being read or emitting a signal that can be used for verifying that the player is authorized to make wagers on the hand-held device, or any other signaling format (e.g., optically piped signal, chirping, responsive encryption communication and the like). The wristband can also be configured so that cutting the wristband to remove it deactivates the player verification circuit.
The hand-held device preferably additionally includes a sensor for detecting the close proximity of the wristband, as well as additional sensors for receiving content communication/signaling. In the event of any or a specific time interval in which the security device has not been sensed by the sensor, (especially where the time interval may be shorter than or much shorter than the required repeating authorization interval, such as a few seconds or a few minutes, e.g., at least 5 second, at least 0 seconds, at last 30 seconds, at least one minute, at least 2 minutes, at least 5 minutes or at least 10 minutes, as compared to the at least 15 minutes,) the hand-held device becomes locked down. The form of data authentication can be read only or read/write transmitted via any transmission link, with wireless transmission examples including, but not limited to Bluetooth, RFID, WIFI or other wireless communication, or the wristband can include features that allow it to be connected directly into the hand-held device, via a pin connection, plug connection, cable connection, uniquely designed physical connection and the like. A code is read off of or sent by the wristband to verify that the original recipient of the security key device is in control of the security key device and/or has loaned possession of the security key device to another authorized player that (a) is not a minor, (b) has been cleared to play using other criteria besides age, such as financial information, and the like.
The above embodiments of a wristband may be used by themselves or in conjunction with other verification methods, such as those provided herein below. Similarly, the embodiments below may be used by themselves or in conjunction with other verification methods.
Another verification embodiment within the generic method described herein includes a readable or information containing physical card, preferably very much like a credit card or smart card that contains a two-dimensional (2D) magnetic bar code, chip, optical markings or other machine readable information content. It should be noted that the bar code is preferably in such a magnetic form because this form has proven to be difficult to forge. However, other forms of data storage for identification purposes may be used, so long as it is in a form which would be difficult to replicate by unauthorized means, such as holographic optically readable data or sophisticated (non-electrophotographically copyable) printed formats, such as those used on secure currencies throughout the world. In these embodiments, it would be desirable to have a code reader integrated with the hand-held wagering device for reading the code on the card. The reader component then preferably includes a card swiping or plug-in receptor for receiving and reading the card as it is swiped or inserted by the device user.
Alternatively, the device may include camera technology for performing the code reading function. The hand-held device is preferably programmed to seek verification using the card and/or other authorization checking methods such as those discussed herein, before allowing game play and possibly at intermittent intervals during game play. For example, the display of the hand-held device provides a request in the form of an alphanumeric message to re-scan a coded card. If the one or more authorization checks are not passed, the device either remains in an inactive (non-wagering capability) state, or is rendered inoperable so that the device cannot be used for further game play without returning the device to the cage for reprogramming. This format of verification/authentication information is highly desirable because of the speed of data entry, as compared to manual entry of data and codes. The card may also be provided in a secure device that may be worn by the user and which may not be easily removed For example, a pendant card on a necklace or a bracelet would be convenient.
It is envisioned that the Wristband and/or card with the bar code and/or other security device may be given to the player upon receipt of the hand-held gaming device, which hand-held wagering device is specific to one or more wagering accounts with the casino or the casino organization (with wagering capability in multiple casinos). The accounts must usually be actually funded to the satisfaction of the casinos, as by cash, accepted check, credit card, debit card, or access to a bank account for withdrawal or debiting.
An alternative security format within the scope of this generically herein disclosed solution could be embedded entirely in the hand-held device. The hand-held device can be equipped with any biometric identification system, such as a secure finger print solution either with or without a dedicated scanner. Alternatively the device could have built-in a retina scanner. In either case, the casino personnel would perform the initial scan for either of a finger or retina and lock the image or processed data inside the hand-device or on the game server, accessible by the hand-held device. The player would activate the hand-held device by performing a verification scan.
The handheld wagering device (HWD) can also come with a password protection and/or a player activation switch incorporated into the hand-held device or the wristband (also reducing the time required for data entry), or other embodiments described above, to ensure the player to whom the wristband was issued, is in fact the individual placing the wager. One preferred authentication method includes player input of a user name and assigned pin number. This information is inputted on a keyboard of the HWD.
As shown in FIG. 1, in any of the embodiments described above, it is preferred to integrate the data acquisition/transmitting security device controller 1 with the hand-held gaming device microprocessor 2 (even if additional information, device or signals need to be sent to the security device, as through a card or distal Wristband), whether the data acquisition device is a bar code swipe, a bar code scanner, a camera, a Blue Tooth data receiver or a biometric (e.g., retinal or finger print) reader. The data read by acquisition device 1 may be sent to the hand-held device without any encryption since the hand-held device includes a microprocessor 2 which can be hard wired to the data acquisition device controller. Alternatively, the data may be encrypted. The read data is also sent (by wireless transmission) to the game server 3 which is connected to the finance server 4. Preferably, the data exchange between the hand-held gaming device and server(s) involves data which is securely encrypted using a rigorous encryption technology, such as elliptic encryption based on public and private key exchange method. It should be readily apparent that other components, such as memory, user interfaces or communication connections may also be employed in the hand-held device of the present invention.
One way of assuring that hand-held games are played only by pre-approved players is to require the players to pass one or more authorization checks. The authorization checks thus verify authorized usage. After a hand, device may shut down and require retransmission of security code authorization. Card swipe benefit is that it is much easier. Wireless transmission must include transmission with encryption if it is desired to prevent interception. Any format of public key or private key encryption, including even Zero Knowledge Proofs may be used for encryption. One embodiment involves providing authorized players with Wristbands bearing a code. The Wristband may be provided in a format (as with locks) that may be removed only by the casino. The wristband could also be constructed so that destruction is the only method of removal.
The signal or composite of signals sent from the HWD to the gaming server is the basis on which all game determinations, rules and functions are authorized. The server then sends gaming images, results and information to the HWD. This format may be referred to as server based wagering accessed by wireless transmission from personal wagering devices.
Although the various security methods described in this specification are discussed individually, more secure forms of the invention utilize more than one security device in a single wireless device.
For example, a hand-held device may be equipped to accept user name and a pin, as well as either an ID barcode or a wired or wireless wristband player authentication device. The redundant security devices assure the identity and legitimacy of the player.
Operation from a thin-client format is often required by some gaming jurisdictions. This type of server communicator interaction is understood in the art, as disclosed by Published US Patent Application No. 20060084502 filed October 2004, which application is incorporated herein in its entirety by reference.
A wagering game or wagering table that has electronic reporting capability is used as an object of wagering by distal players, that is players who are not seated directly at a table, specific seat at a table, or wagering device (e.g., video slot game). The underlying game itself may be any casino wagering game that has electronic reportage, such as gaming tables with electronic data collection configured to monitor live or electronic games such as blackjack, poker, poker variants (e.g., Let It Ride® poker, Three-Card Poker® games), baccarat, Pai Gow poker, roulette, Casino War™ games, craps, and the like). Data may be provided electronically in a wide variety of ways. A simplest format is as an entirely electronic system, with no physical dealer, cards, chips, balls, dice or the like, so that the distal player is in wireless communication through a hand-held wagering device to the physical gaming apparatus, such as the game controller (processor or computer), main controller (processor or computer). The simplest example of this would be video slot machines, video poker games, and other automated wagering devices, including video roulette systems, video craps systems, etc. Other formats of game systems may include a combination of electronic events and live and physical activity. For example, there may be a dealer delivering physical cards to each player at a table and the players are making only electronic wagers on the underlying game. The dealer may input winning results with respect to the individual player positions, or there may be electronic reading and computing systems that read playing cards, roulette ball positions, dice results, and the like. In some manner, however, electronic information regarding event outcomes in the games must be provided.
Electronic information on the play of a physical game, even where all elements are live and physical may also be used as the game data for the play of wireless games. Technologies that support such data acquisition are described in whole or in part in U.S. Pat. Nos. 7,114,718; 7,073,791; 7,029,009; 7,011,309; 6,588,751; 6,460,848; 6,685,568; 6,409,595; 6,403,908; 6,346,044; 6,313,871; and 6,039,650, and Published U.S. Patent Applications 20050242500; 2005288083; 20060063577; 20060084502 and 20060183540. Each of these references, as well as each and every reference cited in this Patent are incorporated herein by reference for their technical disclosure.
In the play of these systems, the amounts of wagers, the location of the wagers, the nature of the wagers (e.g., ante, play wager, side bet wager, jackpot wager, segment wager, raise wager, and the like), player position of the wager, general outcomes for a round of play (e.g., a dealer blackjack, a seven-out at craps, etc.), specific outcomes at individual player positions (player blackjacks, ranked hand for player, player surrender of a wager, player raise, etc.), and all other events and activities that are useful, if not essential, for the determination of events and outcomes at every player position and every wager position are determined in a manner such that they can be communicated in electronic form to a processor. Playing cards can be read in shufflers, before insertion into dealer shoes, within dealer shoes, as cards are removed from dealer shoes, as cards are slid to player positions after removal of cards from shoes, when cards are turned up on the table when the cards are delivered to player and/or dealer positions or when cards are placed in a discard tray. This can be accomplished by cameras, optical scanners, magnetic scanners, bar code scanners, and a variety of other devices known in the art.
The amounts, locations, types and sizes of wagers may or must also be determined. This can be done by various techniques including video cameras, scanners, RFID (radio frequency identification) systems, and the like, each of which can provide electronic data and information to a processor for evaluation of the game events and results of wagers.
There is a wide range of detection that occurs in patent literature for elements on a casino table card game, and especially for blackjack. Chips, placement of chips, cards, card values, player movements, dealer actions, and the like are observed, recorded and evaluated in casinos. These observations may be direct personal observations (e.g., with video cameras), mechanical video observations (e.g., cameras recording the visual data and making interpretations, reader-scanners, card sensors, bar code readers, etc.), or other sensory observations without video or image reading functionality (e.g., proximity detectors, optical sensors, metal detectors and the like). There are known systems that read cards before dealing, read cards after dealing, track chip movement, evaluate player activities, and count the numbers of hands and the numbers of rounds of play at casino gaming tables, especially blackjack tables.
The processor that receives game data must be in a data communication pathway that enables ultimate access from the hand-held wagering device. It is preferred that the hand-held wagering device is unique or uniquely authorized for play by a single casino or casino management group. In one example, where multiple casinos are run by one controlling organization (e.g., Stations Casino, MGM Entertainment Group, Trump, Inc., and the like), a single hand-held-device, when authorized by one casino within the group may be used in any of the casinos, rather than only the casino where the hand-held device was assigned to a player.
The hand-held wagering device may also comprise a cell phone, PDA notebook computer or Blackberry® messaging system, although association with the security system of the present technology can be more complex. For example, the security system may have to be configured to receive call information from the PDA, phone or Blackberry® messaging system as opposed to the hand-held device being able to communicate directly with the casino system.
- Other Security Features of a Wireless System
In one form of the invention, the hand-held device communicates locally to a receiver on an individual machine or table, rather than to a central receiving system. In other forms of the invention, all wireless devices communicate authorization data to a central system. Thus, individual tables should have receivers thereon. The individual hand-held devices may wager on specific player positions at multiplayer position tables, may wager on specific wagers at multi-wager tables, and/or may wager on specific apparatus, with wager event outcomes being dependent upon wager event outcomes at the table or machine.
A device that monitors a plurality of gaming devices to determine adherence of the devices to gaming jurisdictional rules may be included as part of the system. In one embodiment, a gaming jurisdictional rule server may scan game software on a number of gaming devices and/or wireless game servers in communication with the gaming rule server to determine whether the game software is valid for use in the gaming jurisdiction where the gaming device is located. For example, the gaming rule server may request a digital signature, such as a CRC, of particular software components and compare them with an approved digital signature value stored on the gaming jurisdictional rule server. Further, the gaming jurisdictional rule server may scan the hand-held gaming device to determine whether the software is configured in a manner that is acceptable to the gaming jurisdiction where the gaming device is located. For example, a maximum bet limit may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and the rule enforcement server may scan a gaming device to determine its current software configuration and its location and then compare the configuration on the gaming device with approved parameters for its location.
A gaming jurisdiction may include rules that describe how game software may be downloaded and licensed. The gaming jurisdictional rule server may scan download transaction records and licensing records on a gaming device to determine whether the download and licensing was carried out in a manner that is acceptable to the gaming jurisdiction in which the gaming device is located. In general, the game jurisdictional rule server may be utilized to confirm compliance to any gaming rules passed by a gaming jurisdiction when the information needed to determine rule compliance is remotely accessible to the server. Game software, firmware or hardware residing on a particular gaming device may also be used to check for compliance with local gaming jurisdictional rules. In one embodiment, when a gaming device is installed in a particular gaming jurisdiction, a software program including jurisdiction rule information may be downloaded to a secure memory location on a gaming machine or the jurisdiction rule information may be downloaded as data and utilized by a program on the gaming machine. The software program and/or jurisdiction rule information may be used to check the gaming device software and software configurations for compliance with local gaming jurisdictional rules. In another embodiment, the software program for ensuring compliance and jurisdictional information may be installed in the gaming machine prior to its shipping, such as at the factory where the gaming machine is manufactured.
- Player Tracking
The gaming devices in a game system may utilize trusted software and/or trusted firmware. Trusted firmware/software is trusted in the sense that it is used with the assumption that it has not been tampered with. For instance, trusted software/firmware may be used to authenticate other game software or processes executing on a gaming device. As an example, trusted encryption programs and authentication programs may be stored on an EPROM on the gaming machine or encoded into a specialized encryption chip. As another example, trusted game software, i.e., game software approved for use on gaming devices by a local gaming jurisdiction may be required on gaming devices on the gaming machine. The devices may be connected by a network with different types of hardware using different hardware architectures. Game software can be quite large and frequent downloads can place a significant burden on a network, which may slow information transfer speeds on the network. For game-on-demand services that require frequent downloads of game software in a network, efficient downloading is essential for the service to viable. Thus, network efficient devices may be used to actively monitor and maintain network efficiency. For instance, software locators may be used to locate nearby locations of game software for peer-to-peer transfers of game software. In another example, network traffic may be monitored and downloads may be actively rerouted to maintain network efficiency.
Wireless communications capabilities to the electronic gaming table can be integrated with player tracking services, such as the system described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,908,387. For instance, a gaming system may have a plurality of gaming machines with tracking units with wireless interfaces. Each gaming machine in the system may include a wireless interface, enabling wireless communication with that gaming machine. The wireless interface can be coupled to and controlled by master gaming controller. In one embodiment, the wireless interface may be constructed as a component of a player tracking unit. The wireless interface may be used to allow the player tracking unit and possibly the master gaming controller to communicate with portable wireless devices or stationary devices using a wireless communication standard. In some embodiments, the wireless interface may be incorporated into a communication board. The wireless interface may also be connected to an antenna.
- Wireless Communication Methods
Through wireless interfaces, a gaming machine can communicate with a player wireless interface, a host wireless interface, and a server wireless interface. The host and server interfaces can be implemented on gaming servers of the gaming network to enable communications with those devices. The player wireless interface may be implemented in a mobile device. The wireless interface may be used to communicate with the mobile device carried by a player, a casino service representative or maintenance technician. In one embodiment, when the player is near the machine, the wireless interface device and the wireless device carried by the player automatically detect each other and establish communications, allowing gaming information to be transferred between the wireless devices. As another example, the wireless interface may be accessed by the mobile device for a point of play registration of a game player at the gaming machine.
- Initiating Play After User Authorization
In one example, the wireless interface device uses a wireless communication standard such as Bluetooth™ to communicate with portable wireless devices, although other wireless communication protocols such as IrDA (Infrared Direct Access), IEEE 802.11a, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11x(e.g. other IEE802.11 standards), hiperlan/2, and HomeRF may also be used. Bluetooth devices communicate on a frequency of 2.45 Gigahertz. Typically, Bluetooth devices send out signals in the range of 1 milliwatt. The signal strength limits the range of the devices to about 10 meters and also limits potential interference sources. Interference is also limited by using spread-spectrum frequency hopping. For instance, a device may use 79 or more randomly chosen frequencies within a designated range that change on a regular basis up to 1,600 times a second. Thus, even if interference occurs, it is likely only to occur for a short period of time. When Bluetooth-capable devices come within range of one another, an electronic conversation takes place to determine whether they have data to share or whether one needs to control the other. The connection process is performed automatically. Once a conversation between the devices has occurred, the devices form a network. Bluetooth systems create Personal-Area Networks (PAN) or “piconets”. While the two or more devices in a piconet remain in range of one another, the distances between the communications devices may vary as the wireless devices are moved about. Once a piconet is established, such as between the wireless interface device and a portable wireless device, the members of the piconet randomly hop frequencies in unison so they remain in touch with another and avoid other piconets that may be operating in proximity to the established piconet. When Bluetooth is applied in a casino environment, many such piconets may be operating simultaneously. Details of the Bluetooth™ standard and the Bluetooth™ special interest group may be found at www.Bluetooth.com.
After clearing the hand-held device through enablement with the SED, through a user interface on the mobile device or gaming machine, a player sends a request message to initiate remote game play. A process of identifying and approving the player for game play then follows. The approval process generally includes at least one of: a) player approval, including checking player ID information and authentication information, b) location approval, for instance, approving the geographic location of the mobile device or particular location within a gaming environment, and c) device approval, for instance, identifying and authenticating the mobile device to prevent unauthorized devices from accessing a private network including the gaming machines. When the player is identified and approved for remote game play, a gaming session is established between the mobile device and the gaming machine.
As described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,846,238 in greater detail, an exemplary method of wireless play may include one or more of the following: a) reserving a gaming machine for wireless game play, b) receiving a request from the wireless game player to select a game of chance to be played on the wireless game player, c) prior to establishing communications with the wireless game player, selecting a game of chance on the gaming machine, d) receiving a message containing a wager amount for the game of chance, e) receiving a message containing information from input signals generated on one or more input mechanisms located on the wireless game player, e) generating an encrypted message and sending the encrypted message to the wireless game player, f) receiving an encrypted message from the wireless game player and decrypting the encrypted message, g) initiating a player tracking session, h) adding credits to the gaming machine, i) storing a game history of games played on the wireless game player during the wireless game play session, j) generating a bonus game outcome and sending operating instructions to wireless game player used to present the bonus game outcome on the wireless game player, k) sending metering information generated during the wireless game play session to a player tracking server, l) authenticating the identity of a player using the wireless game player where the identity of the player is authenticated using biometric information received from the player and k) terminating the wireless game play session.
In addition, the method may comprise sending entertainment content to the wireless game player where the entertainment content is selected from the group consisting of an advertisement, news, stock quotes, electronic mail, a web page, a message service, a locator service or a hotel/casino service, a movie, a musical selection, a casino promotion, a broadcast event, a player tracking service, a drink menu and a snack menu.
From the perspective of the mobile device, the method may be characterized as comprising: 1) establishing communications with the gaming machine; 2) receiving an input signal to initiate a game of chance from an input mechanism located on the wireless game player; 3) sending a message to the gaming machine indicating a game of chance has been initiated on the wireless game player; and 4) displaying a game outcome for the game of chance. The method may also comprise displaying entertainment content on the wireless game player wherein the entertainment content is selected from the group consisting of an advertisement, news, stock quotes, electronic mail, a web page, a message service, a locator service or a hotel/casino service, a movie, a musical selection, a casino promotion, a broadcast event, a player tracking service, a drink menu and a snack menu.
- Examples of Security Features to Authorize Play
The method also may include one or more of the following: a) receiving a message containing the game outcome generated on the gaming machine, b) generating a graphical representation of the game outcome for the game of chance, c) booting the wireless game player, d) enabling game play on the wireless game player, d) receiving a game selection and sending the game selection to the gaming machine, e) receiving a wager amount for the game of chance and sending the wager amount to the gaming machine, f) receiving input signals from one or more input mechanisms located on the wireless game player and sending information from the input signals to the gaming machine, g) generating an encrypted message and sending the encrypted message to the gaming machine, h) receiving an encrypted message from the gaming machine and decrypting the encrypted message, i) receiving authentication information for a player using the wireless game player such as biometric information, a PIN number and a password, j) sending the authentication information to the gaming machine, k) receiving a message containing a bonus game outcome generated on the gaming machine and l) generating a graphical presentation of the bonus game outcome and displaying the graphical presentation of the bonus game outcome.
The security enablement between the SED and the hand-held player interface can now be described in greater detail. There are a number of formats by which the security effecting device may operate to enable the hand-held device to engage in wireless wagering with the gaming systems in the casino. The SED may operate in a single step that enables the hand-held device for a continuous play session, for a timed play session, or for a fixed limit on an amount that can be wagered or lost. This may be done by swiping an authorization card into the hand-held device, inserting a key, inserting a BUSS memory key, or using some other physical object to communicate with the hand-held device to authorize it to communicate with the gaming system or provide authorization through the hand-held device for enabling communication with the gaming system. There does not have to be a physical connection between the SED and the hand-held wagering device (as with a key or card), but purely wireless communication may effect this full mode, one-step wagering authorization.
The SED may also operate in a periodic mode of clearance or enablement of the communication with the gaming systems. In this mode, the SED may communicate with the hand-held device on a regular or periodic basis to enable the hand-held device to wager on the gaming system. The SED repeats its identification, code or other message required to the hand-held device at intervals sufficient to maintain the activity of the hand-held device. In this way, if the hand-held device were purloined and separated from the SED, its wagering capability would terminate when the next reauthorization message needed to be sent to the hand-held device.
The SED may also operate in an essentially continuous mode, either by chirping with the hand-held device (sending innocuous signals to identifying a continuing presence) after initial authorization has occurred, or by continuously and repeatedly communicating a clearance or enablement message to the hand-held device. The SED system may also continually or repeatedly poll the hand-held device or vice versa to enable the communication-wagering between the hand-held device and the gaming tables or apparatus.
A preferred method of operation is for a wireless SED to be retained in a separate (non-contacting) relationship to the hand-held wagering interface, with wireless security interaction between the SED and the hand-held device, in either of the three modes. Within this generic preferred mode of the separate SED, the periodic and continuous (second and third modes) are themselves preferred. The separate SED may be provided in a form that can be securely stored by the user of the hand-held device. Such forms could be as a watch, necklace, pin, ring, brooch, clip-on, bracelet and the like.
A schematic view of an exemplary system is shown in FIG. 2. This figure will help assist in an understanding of additional aspects of the presently described technology. A secure wagering system 5 enabling wireless play on a live casino card game table 10 with electronic data collection is shown. The card table 10 is equipped with an automatic card-reading shuffler 12, dealer card presence identifier 14 and a table processor 16 with wireless communication capability, both within the table and outside of the table. Active sensing capabilities (here, RFID wager sensing areas are shown) are provided at each player position 18, 20, 22, 24, 26 and 28 for reading wager presence/amounts placed within each players wagering area. A hand-held player interface wagering device 6 is shown to be in two-way communication 30 with the wireless processor 16 at the individual table 10. As noted earlier, this communication may be directly to the individual table or to a networked wireless communication system. The security effecting device (SED) 8 is shown as a watch-like element that is worn by the wireless player and is in two-way communication 32 with the hand-held player interface wagering device 6. The communication may be at least one of: a) at the beginning of a wagering session, b) periodically or, c) continuously. After the SED 8 authenticates, clears, enables or activates the communication capability 30 between the hand-held device 6 and the processor 16, the player may use the player input buttons 36 and the view screen 34 on the hand-held device 6 to engage in wagering at one of the desired player positions 18, 20, 22, 24, 26 and 28 on the gaming table 10 that the player (not shown) wishes to enter. The player may enter wager amounts, position locations, specific bets and the like on the hand-held device to play any casino game in the casino that has wireless communication capability to a processor therein (such as 16) that allows for and enables wagers to be placed by an authenticated hand-held device. Information from an individual table processor 16 may be sent by wireless or hardwired communication path 34 to an external processor or computer for storage and/or evaluation. All communication links are shown as two-way links, which has been found to be desirable in a security system so that all elements can be in communication with connected elements.
In the displayed system 5, the SED 8 is preferably in regular, periodic, repeated or nearly continual communication with the hand-held device 6 to provide authentication and establish a security enabling link for use of the hand-held device 6 with the processor on the gaming table. All two way arrows shown in FIG. 1 imply two-way communication between components on the ends of the two-way arrow lines. By nearly continuous communication it is meant that information will repeat itself or new information sent in a relatively short time frame after a first piece or packet or stream of information has been sent to authenticate or enable the hand-held device to the processor or otherwise prove that the system is being securely used. The interval between messages/information in the nearly continuous form extends up to the form of messaging/communication that would be considered periodic, so that all forms of communication are encompassed by the practice of this technology.
The degree of control provided to the players by the present system will vary to some significant degree depending upon the nature of the gaming system with which the hand-held device communicates. For example, if the gaming system were a video slot machine with a wireless interface, the player may be able to enter only wager amounts on each play, and those wager amounts must be entered before a specific time frame on each play of a wagering game, such as before the SPIN button is pushed by a player at the physical machine, or before a first frame/reel stops and a symbol displayed. Even in video poker games, the distal player on the hand-held device may enter only wager amounts (and possibly side bet wagers for large hand ranks), but will not be able to control play decisions in discarding and replacing cards. The distal player will also have little control in the exercise of judgment in blackjack of casino table poker games. A main objective of the technology is to enable distal players to select seated players and their wagering positions with whom the feel comfortable with a displayed level of expertise or with whom they are friends. It is also possible for seated players to engage a lock-out system that would prevent distal players from wagering on their position if that is their desire. The distal player would then likely receive a message on the visual display 34 of the hand-held device 6 that the seated player has locked out distal participants.
The individual hand-held devices may be issued by the casinos in combination with specific or generic SEDs. With respect to a specific combination, each SED would be coded or otherwise authorized for activating communication with only the single hand-held device provided with the SED. This can be done by preceding a set, or by coding a set (of SED and hand-held player interface device) as it is issued by the casino. Account information or authorization to access an account via thin client may be downloaded into the hand-held device or associated with the device to authorize a limit of the amount of wagers that may be placed or charge/credit wagers and winning results to a specific account in the casino or accessed through the main computer in communication with either or both the hand-held device and the table computer 16.
In other embodiments, the wireless device communicates with a wireless game server enabling virtual play, meaning play of games with no corresponding physical gaming device on the gaming floor providing game outcomes.
One perspective of the generic concepts disclosed herein can be presented as a wagering system carried by a player comprising: a wireless data transmission device capable of transmitting wagering instructions; a data receiving device receiving wireless data transmissions relating to wagering instructions; and a security enabling device that interacts with the wireless data transmission device to enable wagers to be placed from the wireless transmission device to a wager accepting processor by the wireless transmission of wagering instructions. The security device may have to remain actively engaged in communication with the wireless transmitting device for the wireless data transmission device to continue wireless transmission or otherwise be periodically engaged in communication with the wireless data transmission device for the wireless data transmission device to continue wireless transmission. The security enabling device may automatically initiate and send signals to the wireless data transmission device to assist in verifying that an appropriate user is in possession of the wireless data transmission device at the time the wager is made. The security enabling device may be physically attached to the wireless data transmission device and data must be entered into the security device before the security device can assist in authenticating that an appropriate user is in possession of the wireless data transmission device. The data may be entered by at least one format selected from the group consisting of card swipe, optical reader/information-containing card or other data storage device, biometric recognition solutions and transmission of stored data from hardware to the security device. Authenticating that an appropriate user is in possession of the wireless data transmission device and subsequent allowance of entry of wagers from the wireless data transmission device to the data receiving device receiving wireless data transmissions relating to wagering instructions should or must be approved by the data receiving device. The data receiving device receives wireless data transmissions relating to wagering instructions and may comprises a game server. The game server can or will close access to wagers from the wireless data transmission device if authentication signals are not received by the game server from the wireless transmission device after a predefined time interval. The game server should close access to wagers only after, and not during, play of a game on which a wager has been accepted.
A further description of the generic technology would include a method of wagering from a wireless, hand-held wagering device comprising: establishing a wireless communication link from the wireless, hand-held wagering device to a data receiving device; the data receiving device operating a wagering game by steps including
- a) receiving wagers on random or pseudo-random outcomes,
- b) determining a random outcome or pseudo-random outcome,
- c) and determining winning outcomes based on placement of the received wagers and the determined random outcome or pseudo-random outcome;
a player providing unique player identification information to the wireless, hand-held wagering device; the wireless, hand-held wagering device transmitting information to the data receiving device based upon receipt of the player identification information by the hand-held wagering device; the data receiving device allowing or refusing to allow placement of wagers from the wireless, hand-held wagering device dependent upon transmitted information based upon receipt of the player identification information.
After the data receiving device has allowed wagers to be placed, the data receiving device may require, after a predefined period of time (or variably determined periods), further transmittal of player identification information from the wireless, hand-held wagering device to continue allowing wagers to be placed. Player identification is input to the wireless, hand-held wagering device as by a user name/pin number, card swipe, biometric solution, optical or magnetic scanner or wireless transmission. The player identification may be input to the wireless, hand-held wagering device by wireless transmission from a distinct component from the wireless, hand-held wagering device, the distinct component having a subcomponent for securing the distinct component to the player. The player identification may be input to a security component integrated into the wireless, hand-held wagering device by data entry from a card containing player identification information, for example.
Although specific examples are provided, the technology is to be viewed in terms of the generic concepts expressed and provided and not to be limited by the examples.