US 20080108433 A1
Various methods of promoting responsible gaming are disclosed herein. According to one method, the gaming device receives player input initiating a gaming session. A timer is then initiated in response to the start of a gaming session, and a responsible gaming message is presented to a player at predetermined time intervals. According to another method, a gaming device receives a player's wager, and a charitable donation pool is funded with a portion of the player wager. During the gaming session, a running total of the monies contributed to the charitable pool is presented on a display to a player.
1. A method, comprising:
receiving player input initiating a gaming session;
initiating a timer when the gaming session is initiated; and
presenting a responsible gaming message to a player at predetermined time intervals.
2. The method of
3. The method of
4. The method of
5. The method of
6. The method of
7. The method of
8. A method, comprising:
receiving player input initiating a gaming session; and
presenting a responsible gaming message to a player in response to a predetermined trigger event, wherein the trigger event is a predefined period of time, cumulative win amount, cumulative loss amount, or a combination thereof.
9. The method of
10. The method of
11. The method of
12. The method of
13. The method of
14. The method of
15. A method, comprising:
receiving a player wager;
funding a charitable donation pool with a portion of the player's wager; and
presenting a running total of all monies allocated to charitable donation pool on a display.
16. The method of
17. The method of
18. The method of
19. The method of
This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/470,606 filed Sep. 6, 2006, which claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/714,754, filed Sep. 7, 2005, entitled SYSTEM GAMING APPARATUS AND METHOD, all of which are hereby incorporated by reference.
This application is related to co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. ______, concurrently filed on ______, 2007, entitled RESPONSIBLE GAMING DEVICES.
A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material that is subject to copyright protection. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by any one of the patent document or the patent disclosure, as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent files or records, but otherwise reserves all copyright rights whatsoever.
Gaming devices have been developed that have various features designed to capture and maintain player interest. For example, the mechanical reels of traditional gaming devices have been replaced with video depictions of spinning reels. These video gaming devices provide a richer gaming experience for players by including graphics or animation as part of the game. Moreover, gaming machines have been developed to provide a greater gaming experience with sound effects, animation, and the like.
In addition to providing a greater gaming experience, gaming devices provide added convenience to allow for longer gaming sessions. For example, multi-denomination gaming machines allow a player to select the wager denomination used in game play. Accordingly, a player does not need to change machines to play different wager denominations. Additionally, most gaming devices include bill and voucher acceptors that allow a player to easily initiate a game. That is, a player does not need to get or to make change to play a particular gaming machine. While these gaming device features both enhance the gaming experience and simplify the gaming experience, what is needed are gaming machines that also promote responsible gaming.
Briefly, and in general terms, various methods of promoting responsible gaming are disclosed herein. According to one method, the gaming device receives player input initiating a gaming session. A timer is then initiated in response to the start of a gaming session, and a responsible gaming message is presented to a player at predetermined time intervals.
According to another method, the gaming device receives player input to initiate a gaming session. A responsible gaming message is presented to a player in response to a predetermined trigger event, wherein the trigger event is a predefined period of time, cumulative win amount, cumulative loss amount, or any combination thereof.
In yet another method, a gaming device receives a player wager, and contributes a portion of the player wager to a charitable donation pool. During the gaming session, a running total of the charitable donation pool is presented on a display to a player.
Other features and advantages will become apparent from the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, which illustrate by way of example, the features of the various embodiments.
Various embodiments are directed to responsible gaming machines. According to one embodiment, the responsible gaming machine presents a message asking if the player would like to pause and/or end a gaming session. In alternate embodiments, the gaming machine may also send a message to a casino employee to visit a player to inquire if the player would like to terminate the gaming session. In yet another embodiment, the gaming machine notifies one or more of the player's contacts that the player has been presented a message to pause and/or end a gaming session. Accordingly, the player's contact then may visit the player and encourage the player to pause and/or end the gaming session. In another embodiment, the gaming machine includes a display that presents the player's performance (number of wins and losses, percentage of wins, or the like) in addition to a message to end a gaming session. Accordingly, the player is able to know his performance in order to decide whether to pause and/or end a gaming session.
In another embodiment, a responsible gaming device contributes a portion of a player's wager to a charity. At the end of the gaming session, the player is given a tax deduction receipt in the amount of the player's contribution to the charity. In one embodiment, the player is given the option to contribute to the charity or alter the percentage of the wager donated to the charity. In one embodiment, the responsible gaming machine matches the player's donation to the charity.
Referring now to the drawings, wherein like reference numerals denote like or corresponding parts throughout the drawings and, more particularly to
Referring back to
As shown in
According to yet another embodiment, the main display 17 is a widescreen display (e.g., 16:9 or 16:10 aspect ratio display). In one embodiment, the display 17 is a flat panel display including by way of example only, and not by way of limitation, liquid crystal, plasma, electroluminescent, vacuum fluorescent, field emission, LCOS (liquid crystal on silicon), and SXRD (Silicon Xtal Reflective display), or any other type of panel display known or developed in the art. These flat panel displays may use panel technologies to provide digital quality images including by way of example only, and not by way of limitation, EDTV, HDTV, or DLP (Digital Light Processing). The widescreen display 17 may be mounted in the gaming cabinet 12 in a portrait or landscape orientation. In another embodiment, the game display 17 may also include a touch screen or touch glass system (not shown). The touch screen system allows a player to input choices without using any electromechanical buttons 13. Alternatively, the touch screen system may be a supplement to the electromechanical buttons 13.
According to one embodiment, the top box 14 is a separate and distinct component that is affixed to the main cabinet 12. In another embodiment, the top box 14 is an area that is partitioned from the main cabinet 12. Alternatively, the top box 14 and the main cabinet 12 may be contiguous areas with the outward appearance of two distinct components. According to one embodiment, the top box 14 includes a display glass. The display glass may include the name of the game, artwork, game instructions, pay table, or other information relating to the game.
According to another embodiment, the top box 14 includes a secondary display for displaying game information (e.g., name of the game, game marquee, animation, one or more pay tables, game information, one or more help menus, one or more secondary games, progressive jackpot information or tournament game information) or non-game related information (e.g., news, advertisements, messages or promotions). The secondary display 16 may be a flat panel display, dot matrix display, cathode ray tube display, display glass, backlit display glass, diorama, three-dimensional relief, pachinko-style secondary game, one or more wheels, one or more mechanical reels, or a combination thereof. The display 16 may have a wide screen aspect ratio (4:3, 16:9, 16:10 or the like) and the display may or may not include a touch screen or other touch device associated therewith. Optionally, the secondary display is movable (e.g., tilted a few degrees downward or upward) so that the display is more easily viewed by a casino patron. The movement of the display may be done manually or automatically (e.g., motor or linear actuator).
Additionally, as shown in
As shown in
In an alternate embodiment, a cellular phone or other input device (e.g., PDA), separate and apart, from the gaming machine 10 may also be used to input various player choices and information to enhance the player's interactive experience with the gaming machine. Furthermore, inputting information via these devices provides an added level of security as any key presses may be hidden from view. In yet another embodiment, a player may call or send a text message or a short message service (SMS) to the gaming machine.
As shown in
Additionally, the gaming device includes a player tracking system (not shown). The player tracking system allows a casino to monitor the gaming activities of various players. Additionally, the player tracking system is able to store data relating to a player's gaming habits. That is, a player can accrue player points that depend upon the amount and frequency of their wagers. Casinos can use these player points to compensate the loyal patronage of players. For example, casinos may award or “comp” a player free meals, room accommodations, tickets to shows, and invitations to casino events and promotional affairs.
Typically, the player tracking system is operatively connected to one or more input components on the gaming machine 10. These input components include, but are not limited to, a slot 27 for receiving a player tracking card, a keypad or equivalent, an electronic button receptor, a touch screen and the like. The player tracking system may also include a database of all qualified players (i.e., those players who have enrolled in a player rating or point accruing program). Generally, the database for the player tracking system is separate from the gaming devices.
In another embodiment, the gaming device 10 includes an internet connection or other known network connections to link one or more gaming devices together. According to one embodiment, the internet connection is used for web browsing, prize redemption, or access to other gaming or non-gaming information. Additionally, with the various gaming devices in communication with one another (or a system host), the gaming device 10 may participate in a gaming tournament. In one embodiment, the gaming tournament is a competitive gaming tournament having one (or a few) winners. Alternatively, the gaming tournament is a cooperative gaming tournament where all eligible gaming devices win a particular award.
One of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that not all gaming devices have all these components and that the gaming devices may have other components in addition to, or in lieu of, those components mentioned here. Furthermore, while these components are viewed and described separately, various components may be integrated into a single unit in some embodiments.
Referring now to
Furthermore, one or more of the gaming devices 10 includes one or more data repositories for storing data. Examples of information stored by the gaming devices 10 include, but are not limited to, accounting data, maintenance history information, short and/or long-term play data, real-time play data, and sound data. The sound data may include, but is not limited to, audio files, sound clips, wav files, mp3 files and sound files saved in various other formats. Furthermore, each gaming machine 10 comprises an audio system (not shown) for outputting sound.
The gaming devices 10 are connected via a network to a network bridge 120, which is used for networking, routing and polling gaming devices, including slot machines. The network bridge 120 connects to a back end system 112. Optionally, the gaming devices 10 may connect to the network via a network rack 122, which provides for a few number of connections to the back end system 112. Both network bridge 120 and network rack 122 may be classified as middleware, and facilitate communications between the back end system 112 and the game management units 126. The network bridges 120 and network rack 122 may comprise data repositories for storing network performance data. Such performance data may be based on network traffic and other network related information. Optionally, the network bridge 120 and the network rack 122 may be interchangeable components. For example, in one embodiment, a casino gaming system may comprise only network bridges and no network racks. Alternatively, in another embodiment, a casino gaming system may comprise only network racks and no network bridges. Additionally, in an alternative embodiment, a casino gaming system may comprise any combination of one or more network bridges and one or more network racks.
The back end system 112 may be configured to comprise one or more servers. The type of server employed is generally determined by the platform and software requirements of the gaming system. In one embodiment, as illustrated in
Overall, the back end system 112 performs several fundamental functions. For example, the back end system 112 can collect data from the slot floor as communicated to it from other network components, and maintain the collected data in its database. The back end system 112 may use slot floor data to generate a report used in casino operation functions. Examples of such reports include, but are not limited to, accounting reports, security reports, and usage reports. The back end system 112 may also pass data to another server for other functions. Alternatively, the back end system 112 may pass data stored on its database to floor hardware for interaction with a game or game player. For example, data such as a game player's name or the amount of a ticket being redeemed at a game may be passed to the floor hardware. Additionally, the back end system 112 may comprise one or more data repositories for storing data. Examples of types of data stored in the system server data repositories include, but are not limited to, information relating to individual player play data, individual game accounting data, gaming machine accounting data, cashable ticket data, and sound data including optimum audio outputs for various casino settings.
Of course, one will appreciate that a gaming system 100 may also comprise other types of components, and the above illustrations are meant only as examples and not as limitations to the types of components or games used in a casino gaming system capable of presenting a responsible gaming message.
The main cabinet 14 of the gaming machine houses a game monitoring unit (not shown) that includes a CPU, circuitry, and software for receiving signals from the player-activated buttons 13 and/or a handle 15, operating the games, and transmitting signals to the respective game display 17 and speakers 19. The game monitoring unit is a device that is connected to the circuitry of the gaming machine that monitors the game, coin status, player winnings, and other functions of the gaming machine. The game monitoring unit also sends the monitored information to a backend server for processing.
In various embodiments, the game program may be stored in a memory (not shown) comprising a read only memory (ROM), volatile or non-volatile random access memory (RAM), a hard drive or flash memory device or any of several alternative types of single or multiple memory devices or structures.
According to one embodiment, the gaming monitoring unit (not shown) includes a responsible gaming module 30. In one embodiment, the responsible gaming module is a software program that presents a message to the player in response to a trigger event such as, but not limited to, a predetermined duration of a gaming session, number of games, amount wagered, or any combination thereof. Generally, the responsible gaming module presents a message to a player on the main display, secondary display, or any combination thereof. For example, as shown in
As a part of the game monitoring unit, the responsible gaming module 30 is able to access information from the game monitoring unit (e.g., coin in and coin out). The responsible gaming module 30 is then able to present a responsible gaming message based upon a particular coin in or coin out value. For example, the responsible gaming module 30 will present a responsible message to the player if the player has won or lost $500 or any other amount of money predetermined by a gaming establishment or the player. That is, the player's win or loss limits may be associated with the player's account or the gaming machine will prompt the player for their win or loss limits prior to initiating the gaming session.
Alternatively, the responsible gaming module 30 accesses the game monitoring unit and presents a “win meter” as shown in
In another embodiment, the responsible gaming module 30 is a combination of hardware and software as shown in
Generally, the timer 32 is initiated once the gaming session has begun, and the responsible gaming message presents a message to a player after a predetermined period(s) of time. For example, a message is presented to a player every sixty minutes. Alternatively, the responsible gaming module 30 increases the frequency (and optionally the urgency) of the messages over time. The responsible gaming module 30 includes programming to stop the timer 32 after periods of inactivity and/or resume once gaming continues. Furthermore, the timer 32 resets after a gaming session has terminated and/or after a predetermined length of time of inactivity. In another embodiment, the timer 32 also is used to countdown the time during a player-initiated break (e.g., a countdown from one minute).
Optionally, the responsible gaming module 30 includes an Ethernet and/or Internet connection 34. According to one embodiment, when a trigger event has occurred, the responsible gaming module 30 sends a message (e.g., text, electronic mail, short message service (SMS), Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)) to a central casino computer or server (not shown) in addition to presenting a responsible gaming message on the gaming machine 10. As a result, the casino employee may visit the player and check on the player. This personal touch may be beneficial to forging a relationship with a casino patron, especially a high roller. Furthermore, the casino employee may also be able to market a promotion or present the player with an award. In another embodiment, one or more contacts on the player's profile are sent a message (e.g., text or SMS). Optionally, the responsible gaming module 30 initiates a call (e.g., VoIP) to one or more of the player's contacts. An automatic voice (message) system or a “live” person may initiate the call to the player's contacts. In yet another embodiment, a casino employee or player contact may initiate a “call” (VoIP) to the gaming machine 10. In this embodiment, the gaming machine 10 includes a microphone (not shown) to facilitate the call.
In another embodiment, the responsible gaming module 30 is in communication with one or more of the displays 16, 17 of the gaming machine 10. The responsible gaming message may be presented on the main video display 17, a secondary display 16 in the main cabinet 12 or top box 14, a display (not shown) associated with a player tracking system, or any combination thereof. According to one embodiment, the responsible gaming module is a component of a user interface display as disclosed in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/943,771 entitled “User Interface System and Method for a Gaming Machine” filed on Sep. 16, 2004, which is hereby incorporated by reference. In this embodiment, the responsible gaming module uses the processor associated with the user interface display to manage the presentation of a responsible gaming message on a gaming machine. Additionally, the processor of the user interface display manages the presentation of responsible gaming message on one or more may be in communication with other user interface displays or other displays on other gaming machines.
In yet another embodiment, the responsible gaming module is a component of a backend system or server such as, but not limited to, a player tracking system or a slot management system. In another embodiment, the responsible gaming module is a separate system that is in communication with one or more backend systems as well as the game monitoring units of one or more gaming machines.
In those embodiments having the responsible gaming module in communication with the player tracking system, the responsible gaming module is able to customize the messages presented to the player by obtaining player information from the player tracking system. For example, the responsible gaming message is customized with the player's name. Alternatively, the trigger event(s) for the presentation of a responsible gaming message to a player is tailored to the player's profile (e.g., high roller or beginning player). For example, a responsible gaming message is presented to the player after one hour of game play whereas the default time for a responsible gaming message is thirty minutes. Alternatively, for example, a responsible gaming message is presented to the player based upon the player's set criteria such as, but not limited to, a win limit of $600 or a loss limit of $200. Accordingly, the responsible gaming message presents messages to the player when the player approaches and/or achieves either win or loss limit.
In addition to various embodiments of a responsible gaming machine, various methods for promoting responsible gaming are disclosed herein. According to one method, as shown in
Optionally, once the responsible gaming message has been presented to the player at step 60, the responsible gaming module 30 provides the player with a choice to pause or to end the gaming session. For example, a message such as “Are you ready for a break? Press the pause button to temporarily stop the game” is presented to the player. At step 64, if the gaming machine does not receive any player input within a specified period of time or declines to take a break, the gaming session continues at step 58. Otherwise, the gaming machine pauses the gaming session at step 66.
The gaming session is then paused for a predefined period of time. Alternatively, the gaming machine 10 provides the player with the option to activate (e.g., push) a pause button or to activate another input means to set the duration of the break (e.g., each time the pause button is activated adds a 30 second break). Furthermore, the responsible gaming module 30 may allow the player to terminate the player-selected break and resume gaming by depressing one or more buttons on the gaming machine. Alternatively, the player ends the gaming session or the break session by cashing out any remaining credits on the gaming machine.
Optionally, at step 62, the responsible gaming module 30 contacts a casino employee and/or a player contact. The casino employee and/or the player contact are notified that a responsible gaming message has been presented to the player.
Additionally, the responsible gaming module 30 may include programming to lock-up or otherwise suspend game play after a predetermined number of responsible gaming messages. The player is then forced to take a break for a predefined period of time as set by a gaming establishment or, alternatively, the player may select the duration of the forced break. Once the break is completed, the gaming session resumes. Alternatively, a gaming establishment employee is required to unlock the gaming machine 10. In yet another embodiment, the responsible gaming module 30 locks-up the gaming machine 10 and cashes out any credits remaining on the gaming machine to the player.
In a different embodiment of a responsible gaming machine 10′, the gaming machine includes a program module (not shown) that manages a charitable donation pool, as shown in
The total contribution amount may be presented on a display 26 of the gaming machine 10′, as shown in
Additionally, the responsible gaming machine 10′, as shown in
In another embodiment, a responsible gaming system (not shown) is adapted to communicate with one or more gaming machines. The responsible gaming system funds and manages the charity pool. For example, the charity pool may be funded with seed money from the casino, bonus points, and/or marketing dollars. Alternatively, the charity pool is funded with a portion of the player's wagers and/or winnings. According to one embodiment, the responsible gaming system is configured so that any contribution by the player is matched by the gaming establishment. The matching amount or matching period of time may be set by the casino temporarily or as a permanent feature of the gaming machines. Alternatively, the matching contributions of the gaming establishment is initiated in response to a triggering event established by the responsible gaming system. In another embodiment, a winning event of a bonus game is the casino operator contributing to the charity.
The various embodiments described above are provided by way of illustration only and should not be construed to limit the claimed invention. Those skilled in the art will readily recognize various modifications and changes that may be made to the claimed invention without following the example embodiments and applications illustrated and described herein, and without departing from the true spirit and scope of the claimed invention, which is set forth in the following claims.