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Publication numberUS20080182651 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/983,462
Publication dateJul 31, 2008
Filing dateNov 9, 2007
Priority dateJul 1, 1999
Also published asCA2378216A1, EP1203358A1, WO2001003088A1
Publication number11983462, 983462, US 2008/0182651 A1, US 2008/182651 A1, US 20080182651 A1, US 20080182651A1, US 2008182651 A1, US 2008182651A1, US-A1-20080182651, US-A1-2008182651, US2008/0182651A1, US2008/182651A1, US20080182651 A1, US20080182651A1, US2008182651 A1, US2008182651A1
InventorsConnie T. Marshall, Masood Garahi
Original AssigneeOds Technologies, L.P.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Interactive wagering systems and methods for recording wagering events
US 20080182651 A1
Abstract
An interactive wagering application is provided that automatically prompts a user to record wagering events based on entered wagers. The recorded wagering events may be stored in a personal archive. The races stored in the personal archive may be listed according to information associated with the stored race, such as the track, race number, and date of the races. The interactive wagering application may also have access to a racing video archive and allow a user to search that archive for videos of prior races based on information associated with those races. The user may view the races from the search results or save the races in the user's personal archive. The wagering application may be implemented using platforms based on set-top boxes, personal computers, handheld computing devices, cellular telephones, or other suitable devices.
Images(37)
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Claims(2)
1-56. (canceled)
57. A method for interactively wagering on races with an interactive wagering application implemented at least in part on user equipment, the method comprising:
creating and placing a wager for a given race;
in response to placing the wager for the given race, automatically prompting the user to record the given race;
after prompting the user to record the given race, receiving a user indication to record the given race; and
scheduling the given race for recording.
Description

This application claims the benefit of U.S. provisional application No. 60/142,174, filed Jul. 1, 1999; which is hereby incorporated by reference herein.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to interactive wagering systems and methods, and particularly to wagering systems and methods that allow users to place wagers on live wagering events, such as thoroughbred races, harness races, dog races, etc., at locations remote from the locations where the wagering events take place, such as the users' homes. More particularly, this invention relates to wagering systems and methods that allow users to conveniently record wagering events based on the wagers placed by the users.

Wagering on live events, such as thoroughbred races, harness races, dog races, etc., is an exciting and increasingly popular leisure activity. However, for many racing enthusiasts, it is difficult or inconvenient to attend wagering events in person. Although off-track betting establishments provide greater access to wagering opportunities, they are still inconvenient in that the users must spend time locating and traveling to such establishments in order to place wagers.

The above-described difficulties that faced wagering enthusiasts were addressed in commonly assigned U.S. Pat. No. 5,830,068 (“the '068 patent”) of Brenner et al. entitled “Interactive Wagering Systems And Processes,” which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety. The '068 patent discloses interactive wagering systems and processes that allow wagering enthusiasts to place wagers on live wagering events, such as horse races, from the convenience of their homes through the use of an in-home wagering terminal. The systems and processes of the '068 patent allow users to place electronic wagers on horse races. It is an object of the invention to provide ways in which to automatically record wagering events based on which wagers are placed by the user.

It is also an object of the invention to provide an improved user interface for accessing and viewing stored videos.

It is another object of the invention to provide systems and methods for allowing a user to search for desired racing videos from a racing archive.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An interactive wagering system is provided that checks to determine if an event on which a user has placed a wager has an associated video that is scheduled to be broadcast. This determination may be made by comparing the selected event to a database of upcoming wagering events. If the interactive wagering system determines that the selected wagering event is scheduled for broadcast, the system may ask the user to decide whether or not the selected event should be recorded. If the user chooses to record the event, the interactive wagering system may direct a recording device to record the selected event at the appropriate time. If desired, the interactive wagering system may actuate the recording device at the appropriate time.

This invention may be used with any suitable recording devices, including analog and digital videotape recorders, optical media recorders, and magnetic media recorders.

The user may set a system parameter in the interactive wagering system that causes the system to record all events the user places wagers on that are broadcast. This approach avoids the need for the user to respond to a prompt after the wager has been created or placed.

The manner by which the interactive wagering system effectuates control over the recording device may be determined in accordance with the particular user's hardware configuration. For example, if the wagering system is implemented in a set-top box, the system may control the recording device through a hard-wired, wireless, or infrared link. Alternatively, the interactive wagering system may be implemented using the same hardware that performs the recording function (e.g., a personal computer), in which case the interactive wagering system can directly control recording of selected wagering events without a data connection to a peripheral device.

If desired, the interactive wagering system may allow the user to easily access the user's stored racing videos. The racing videos may be stored in a personal archive. The user may be able to view or delete any of the stored or saved videos. The user may access lists of the videos that are organized according to criteria such as the track, race number, and date of each race.

The interactive wagering system may include a racing video archive located remotely from the user equipment. The system may allow the user to search the racing archive for desired races. For example, the user may be able to search for desired races based on user-specified criteria such as track, horse, track conditions, trainer, jockey, and weather. Upon completion of the search, the user may be presented with a number of matches. The user may view one or more of the matches or may save one of more of them in the user's personal archive.

The foregoing embodiments may be implemented using user television equipment, user computer equipment, user telephone equipment, or any other suitable platform.

Further features of the invention, its nature and various advantages will be more apparent from the accompanying drawings and the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram of an illustrative interactive wagering system in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a schematic diagram of illustrative user television equipment in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a schematic diagram of additional illustrative user television equipment in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a schematic diagram of illustrative user computer equipment in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a diagram of an illustrative user cellular telephone equipment in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a schematic diagram of illustrative user equipment in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 7 is an illustrative menu screen that may be provided in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 8 is an illustrative Build A Bet track selection screen that may be provided in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 9 is an illustrative Build A Bet race selection screen that may be provided in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 10 is an illustrative Build A Bet wager type selection screen that may be provided in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 11 is an illustrative Build A Bet horse selection screen that may be provided in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 12 is an illustrative Build A Bet wager amount selection screen that may be provided in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 13 is an illustrative Build A Bet player identification screen that may be provided in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 14 is an illustrative Build A Bet screen with a recording prompt that may be provided in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 15 is an illustrative Build A Bet screen with a reminder window that may be provided in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 16 is an illustrative bet queue screen that may be provided in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 17 is an illustrative Build A Bet screen with a pin-entry window that may be provided in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 18 is an illustrative Build A Bet screen with a sending bets window that may be provided in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 19 is an illustrative Build A Bet screen with a bets sent window that may be provided in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 20 is another illustrative bet queue screen that may be provided in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 21 is a flow diagram illustrating a build a bet mode that may be presented in an interactive wagering application implemented with user television equipment, user computer equipment, or user telephone equipment in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 22 is an illustrative Build A Bet screen with a save race in My Videos prompt that may be provided in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 23 is an illustrative My Videos player identification screen that may be provided in accordance with the present invention.

FIGS. 24 and 25 are illustrative My Videos main menu screens that may be provided in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 26 is an illustrative My Videos screen with a race options window that may be provided in accordance with the present invention.

FIGS. 27 a and 27 b are illustrative racing video display screens that may be provided in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 28 is another illustrative My Videos screen with a race options window that may be provided in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 29 is an illustrative My Videos screen with a confirmation window that may be provided in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 30 is an illustrative Search Archives main menu screen that may be provided in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 31 is an illustrative search results screen that may be provided in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 32 is an illustrative Search Archives screen with a race options window that may be provided in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 33 is an illustrative Search Archives screen with a player identification window that may be provided in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 34 is an illustrative racing video display screen that may be provided in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 35 is an illustrative Search Archives screen with a confirmation window that may be provided in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 36 is another illustrative embodiment of a Search Archives main menu screen that may be provided in accordance with the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

An illustrative interactive wagering system 10 in accordance with the present invention is shown in FIG. 1. Aspects of the invention apply to various different types of wagering, but are described herein primarily in the context of interactive wagering on races (e.g., horse races) for specificity and clarity.

Races may be run at racetracks 12, which may be located at various geographic locations. Races run at the racetracks may be simulcast to television viewers. For example, simulcast videos may be provided to users with satellite receivers or to off-track betting establishments via satellite.

System 10 may be used to provide an interactive wagering service to users of various user equipment. An interactive wagering application may be used to provide the wagering service. The interactive wagering application may run locally on the user equipment (e.g., on a set-top box, personal computer, cellular telephone, handheld computing device, etc.) or may run using a client-server or distributed architecture where some of the application is implemented locally on the user equipment in the form of a client process and some of the application is implemented at a remote location (e.g., on a server computer or other such equipment in the system) as a server process. These arrangements are merely illustrative. Other suitable techniques for implementing the interactive wagering application may be used if desired.

Real-time videos from racetracks 12 may also be provided to video production system 14 for distribution to users as part of a television wagering service (i.e., a wagering television channel or similar Internet-delivered service or the like). If desired, multiple simulcast videos may be provided to video production system 14 in real-time. Talent (e.g., commentators who discuss horse races) for the television wagering service provided by the interactive wagering application may be located at studio 16. Studio 16 may provide a video feed containing commentary and the like to video production system 14. Graphic overlays for the television wagering service may be added to the service at video production system 14.

The television wagering service may use video production system 14 to combine selected video segments from desired racing simulcasts with the video feed from studio 16 and suitable graphic overlays. If desired, video production system 14 or a separate facility may be used to reformat simulcasts from racetracks 12. For example, if racetracks 12 provide simulcasts as traditional analog television channels, video production system 14 (or a separate facility) may convert these simulcasts or portions of these simulcasts into digital signals (e.g., digital video signals) or into a different number of analog signals. Digital video signals may require less bandwidth than analog video signals and may be appropriate for situations in which videos are to be transmitted over either high or low bandwidth pathways. Low bandwidth pathways may include telephone lines, the Internet, etc.

Video production system 14 may be used to provide a television wagering service that includes selected simulcast videos, video from studio 16, and graphic overlays to television distribution facilities 18 (for redistribution to user television equipment 22 and user computer equipment 20), to user computer equipment 20, and to user telephone equipment 32 (if user telephone equipment 32 has a display capable of displaying moving images). Television distribution facilities 18 may be any suitable facilities for supplying television to users, such as cable system headends, satellite systems, broadcast television systems, or other suitable systems or combinations of such systems. User computer equipment 20 may be any suitable computer equipment that supports an interactive wagering application. For example, user computer equipment 20 may be a personal computer. User computer equipment 20 may also be based on a mainframe computer, a workstation, a networked computer or computers, a laptop computer, a notebook computer, a handheld computing device such as a personal digital assistant or other small portable computer, etc.

Each of television distribution facilities 18 is typically located at a different geographic location. Users with user television equipment 22 may receive the television wagering service from an associated television distribution facility. User television equipment 22 may include, for example, a television or other suitable monitor. A television may be used to watch the television wagering service on a traditional analog television channel. User television equipment 22 may also include a digital or analog set-top box connected to a television distribution facility 18 by a cable path. A digital set-top box may be used to receive the television wagering service on a digital channel. If desired, user television equipment 22 may contain a satellite receiver, a WebTV box, a personal computer television (PC/TV), or hardware similar to such devices into which set-top box capabilities have been integrated. A recording device such as an analog or digital videotape recorder, optical media recorder, digital video recorder (DVR) which may also known as personal video recorder (PVR), magnetic media recorder (e.g., hard disk drive or the like), or any other type of recording device may be used in user television equipment 22 to store videos such as wagering events. The manner by which the television wagering service exerts control over the recording device may depend whether the recording device is separate from or part of the components of user television equipment 22. If the recording device is separate from the hardware that implements the television wagering application, then the television wagering application can control the recording device to record videos through a hard-wired, wireless, or optical link (e.g., infrared). If the recording device is part of the same hardware that implements the television wagering application, then the television wagering application can directly control the recording device without a data connection to a peripheral device.

Illustrative user television equipment 46 is shown in FIG. 2. Set-top box 50 may receive television programming and data at line or input 48. Set-top box 50 may have analog and digital television tuning circuitry for handling analog and digital television signals. Television signals may be passed to videocassette recorder 54, which is separate from the hardware (i.e., set-top box 50) that implements the television wagering application, for recording. Set-top box 50 may also control the operation of videocassette recorder 54. For example, set-top box 50 may issue infrared commands that are received by videocassette recorder 54 at the same inputs at which standard remote control commands are received.

Videocassette recorder 54 may be connected to television 58. Television programming and graphic display screens generated by applications implemented using set-top box 50 may be passed from set-top box 50 to television 58 through videocassette recorder 54.

Set-top box 50 has memory and processing circuitry. This allows set-top box 50 to be used to implement applications that support an interactive wagering application, television wagering service, interactive television program guide, web browsing and Internet access, and other services such as home shopping, home banking, and video-on-demand services, etc.

A remote control 60 such as an infrared remote control may be used to control set-top box 50, videocassette recorder 54, and television 58. Remote control 60 may have buttons 62 such as a power button, right, left, up, and down arrow keys, an OK or select key, a favorites or fav key, a lock or parental control key, etc.

Illustrative user television equipment 66 based on a digital video recorder 70 is shown in FIG. 3. Digital video recorder 70 may receive television programming and may access interactive services using line or input 68. Digital video recorder 70 may have analog and digital tuning circuitry to receive and process television signals. Digital video recorder 70 may be used to record television programs in any suitable format. For example, digital videos may be stored using the MPEG-2 format.

Recorded videos or real-time videos from input 68 may be displayed on television 74 or any other suitable monitor. A remote control 76 such as an infrared remote control may be used to control digital video recorder 70 and television 74. Remote control 76 may have buttons such as a power button, right, left, up, and down arrow keys, an OK or select key, a favorites or fav key, a lock or parental control key, etc.

Digital video recorder 70 has memory and processing circuitry that allows digital video recorder 70 to be used to implement applications that support an interactive wagering application, television wagering service, interactive television program guide, web browsing and Internet access, and other services such as home shopping, home banking, and video-on-demand services, etc. Television programming and display screens generated by interactive applications may be displayed on television 74.

User computer equipment 20 may receive the television wagering service using a video card or other video-capable equipment to receive analog or digital (e.g., moving picture experts group or MPEG) videos from a television distribution facility. User computer equipment 20 may also receive the television wagering service directly from video production system 14 using, for example, a modem link. If desired, the video for the television wagering service may be compressed (e.g., using MPEG techniques). This may be useful, for example, if the path to user computer equipment 20 is a modem connection using telephone links. If video production system 14 is only used to serve user computer equipment 20 without traditional analog television capabilities, video production system 14 may only need to supply such digitally-compressed video signals and not analog television signals. A recording device such as a magnetic media recorder (e.g., hard disk drive, tape drive, or the like), optical media recorder (e.g., compact disc recorder drive, compact disc rewritable drive, digital video disk recordable drive, or the like), analog or digital videotape recorder, DVR or PVR, or any other type of recording device may be used in user computer equipment 20 to store videos. If the recording device is separate from the hardware that implements the interactive wagering application, then the interactive wagering application can control the recording device to record videos through a hard-wired (e.g., serial port connection, universal serial bus connection, parallel port connection, IEEE-1394 connection, or the like), wireless, or optical link (e.g., infrared link). If the recording device is located within the same hardware that implements the interactive wagering application, then the interactive wagering application can directly control the recording device without a data connection to a peripheral device.

Illustrative user computer equipment 77 is shown in FIG. 4. User computer equipment 77 may be based on a personal computer 80 or any other suitable computing device. Personal computer 80 may receive television programming and information for interactive services using line or input 78. Personal computer 80 may contain a tuner card 82 or other suitable circuitry for handling analog and digital television signals. Personal computer 80 may also contain memory and processing circuitry that allows personal computer 80 to be used to implement applications that support an interactive wagering application, television wagering service, interactive television program guide, web browsing and Internet access, and other services such as home shopping, home banking, video-on-demand services, etc. Personal computer 80 may contain a storage device such as a hard disk drive to store videos.

Television signals and screens generated by interactive applications may be displayed on monitor 84.

The user may interact with personal computer 80 using any suitable user input interface, such as keyboard 86, a pointing device such as a trackball, mouse, or touch pad, a voice recognition system, a handwriting recognition system, etc. If desired, the user may interact with personal computer 80 using a wireless remote control such as remote control 88. Remote control 88 may be, for example, an infrared remote control.

Video clips of races and other simulcast information may be provided to users in the form of a television wagering service or by an interactive wagering service provided by the interactive wagering application. If desired, race-related videos may be provided to the user by using video production system 14 or other suitable equipment to route appropriate video clips from the simulcasts to the user in real-time. Video clips may also be stored for later viewing. For example, one or more video servers located at racetracks 12, video production system 14, television distribution facilities 18, or other suitable locations may be used to store video clips. The stored videos may then be played back in real-time or downloaded for viewing at user television equipment 22, user computer equipment 20, or user telephone equipment 32. The video clips may contain videos of races, commentary, interviews with jockeys, or any other suitable race-related information. If desired, real-time or stored videos may be provided from racetracks 12 directly to user television equipment 22, user computer equipment 20, or user telephone equipment 32 over the Internet or other suitable communications paths without involving video production system 14. Videos may also be provided by routing video signals through equipment located elsewhere in system 10. For example, videos may be routed through transaction processing and subscription management system 24.

Transaction processing and subscription management system 24 may contain computer equipment 26 and other equipment for supporting system functions such as transaction processing (e.g., handling tasks related to wagers, product purchasing, adjusting the amount of funds in user accounts based on the outcomes of wagers, video clip ordering, etc.), data distribution (e.g., for distributing racing data to the users), and subscriber management (e.g., features related to opening an account for a user, closing an account, allowing a user to add or withdraw funds from an account, changing the user's address or personal identification number, etc.). Databases within transaction processing and subscription management system 24 or associated with system 24 may be used to store racing data, wagering data and other transaction data, and subscriber data such as information on the user's current account balance, past wagering history, individual wager limits, personal identification number, billing addresses, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, social security numbers, etc. Using such databases may allow the user to access information more quickly and allows for central administration of the wagering service.

If desired, racing videos and other services may be provided using servers and other equipment located at transaction processing and subscription management system 24. For example, video clips may be provided to the user on-demand. Interactive advertisements may be provided to the user. When the user selects a desired advertisement, transaction processing and subscription management system 24 may provide additional information or other services related to the advertisement to the user.

Product ordering services may be implemented using computer equipment at transaction processing and subscriber management system 24 to handle orders and to assist in adjusting the appropriate account of the user accordingly. Orders may be fulfilled using merchandise fulfillment facilities 34. Merchandise fulfillment facilities 34 may be operated solely to provide merchandise fulfillment or may be associated with independently-operated mail-order or on-line businesses. Similar facilities may be used to allow users to order services.

Statistical racing data such as the post times for each race, jockey names, runner names and the number of races associated with each track, handicapping information (e.g., information on past performances such as the number of wins and losses for the past year, etc.), and weather conditions at various tracks may be provided by racing data collection and processing system 28. Some of the data may be collected from racetracks 12 and some may be provided by third party information sources such as Axcis Pocket Information Network, Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif. or other suitable data sources.

Racing data may also be provided from totalisators 30. Totalisators 30 are the computer systems that may be used to handle wagers made at the racetracks, made at off-track betting establishments, and made using interactive wagering system 10. Totalisators 30 generate wagering odds in real-time. Totalisators 30 generate these odds based on information on which wagers are being placed (e.g., based on information on which wagers are being placed on races at racetracks 12). Totalisators 30 are available from companies such as Amtote International, Inc. of Hunt Valley, Md. Totalisators 30 may be associated with individual racetracks 12 or groups of racetracks 12. Totalisators 30 may communicate with one another using a communication protocol known as the Intertote Track System Protocol (ITSP). This allows totalisators 30 to share wagering pools. Totalisators 30 may provide racing data including information on the current races at racetracks 12, the number of races associated with each racetrack, win, place, and show odds and pool totals for each horse or other runner, and exacta, trifecta, and quinella payoff predictions and pool totals for every possible combination of runners. Totalisators 30 may also provide current odds and other real-time racing data for other types of wagers. Totalisators 30 may provide the time until post time for each race.

Totalisators 30 may provide race results, such as the order-of-finish list for at least the first three positions and payoff values versus a standard wager amount for win, place, and show, for each runner in the finish list. Payoff values may be provided for winning complex wager types such as exacta, trifecta, quinella, pick-n (where n is the number of races involved in the pick-n wager), and daily double. The payoff values may be accompanied by a synopsis of the associated finish list.

Totalisators 30 may also provide program information of the type typically provided in printed racing programs. Such program information may include early odds, early scratches, race descriptions (including the distance of each race and the race surface—grass, dirt, artificial turf, etc.), allowed class ratings (based on a fixed ratio of external criteria), purse value (payoff to winning runner), allowed age range of runners, and the allowed number of wins and starts for each runner.

If desired, some of the information provided to transaction processing and subscription management system 24 by totalisators 30 (such as the program information or other suitable racing data) may be provided by racing data collection and processing system 28. Similarly, some of the information provided to transaction processing and subscription management system 24 by racing data collection and processing system 28 may be provided by totalisators 30. Moreover, the foregoing examples of different suitable types of racing data are merely illustrative. Any suitable data related to racing may be provided to transaction processing and subscription management system if desired.

Transaction processing and subscription management system 24 provides the racing data to users at user television equipment 22, user computer equipment 20, and user telephone equipment 32 for use in following race results and developing wagers. If desired, racing data may be provided to users using paths that do not directly involve transaction processing and subscription management system 24. For example, racing data may be provided from racing data collection and processing system 28 to user television equipment 22, user computer equipment 20, or user telephone equipment 32 using the Internet or other suitable communications paths.

User telephone equipment 32 may be a conventional telephone, a cordless telephone, a cellular telephone or other portable wireless telephone, or any other suitable telephone equipment. Users at user television equipment 22 and user computer equipment 20 may view information on the racing data on a television or other suitable monitor. Users at user telephone equipment 32 may listen to racing data using an interactive voice system. User telephone equipment 32 may be based on cellular telephones or other telephones with displays. Users may view racing data and videos on such displays. A recording device 33 such as a magnetic media recorder (e.g., hard disk drive or the like), memory (e.g. flash memory, EEPROM, or the like), or any other type of recording device may be used in user telephone equipment 32 to store videos such as wagering events.

An illustrative cellular telephone 90 with which the user may use the interactive wagering application is shown in FIG. 5. A portion of the software that is used to implement the interactive wagering service is resident on cellular telephone 90. Cellular telephone 90 may have a recording device for storing software instructions and videos and a processor for executing the instructions and displaying the videos.

Cellular telephone 90 may have an antenna 92 to support wireless communications with transaction processing and subscription management system 24, customer service facility 36, or video production system 14. A power switch 94 may be used to turn on and off cellular telephone 92. A speaker 96 allows the user to hear conversations and to hear audio prompts from transaction processing and subscription management system 24. A microphone 98 allows the user to converse with others. Display 100 may be a liquid crystal display (black and white or color), a plasma display, a light-emitting diode display, an active matrix display, or any other suitable type of small display screen. Keys 102 allow the user to enter inputs. Numeric keys 102 (including the star and pound key) allow the user to respond to interactive voice response system prompts such as “press 3 to select race 3” and allow the user to enter numbers to select numerically identified on-screen menu options and the like that are displayed on display 100. If desired, some of the numeric keys 102 may perform secondary functions if, for example, they are pressed and held for at least a predetermined length of time. Clear key 104 may be used to clear characters from display 100. If the user presses and holds clear key 104, the user may be taken back to the initial screen displayed on display 100 upon power up. Navigation key 106 may be used to access menus, make telephone calls, etc. Scroll keys 108 may be used to scroll through menus and to scroll through other items presented on display screen 100.

A generalized schematic diagram of user equipment (i.e., user television equipment 22, computer equipment 20, and user telephone equipment 32) of FIG. 1 is shown in FIG. 6. Control circuitry 112 and memory and storage 114 may have communications and memory and processing circuitry for supporting functions such as receiving television programming, recording videos in storage, and accessing interactive services over line 110. Line 110 may connect to communications paths such as paths 42, 44 c, 44 d, 44 f-i, 44 m, and 44 n of FIG. 1. Television programming and text, graphics, and video associated with interactive services may be presented to the user with display 116. Display 116 may be a television, a computer monitor, or any other suitable display equipment.

The user may interact with control circuitry 112 using any suitable user input interface 118, such as a remote control, a keyboard, a wireless keyboard, a display remote, a handheld computer, a mouse, a trackball, a touch pad, or any other suitable input device.

Users who wish to place wagers may establish an account at transaction processing and subscription management system 24. An account may also be established at one of totalisators 30. The user and the interactive wagering services may have their own bank accounts at financial institutions 38. A user may set up an account electronically by using user television equipment 22, user computer equipment 20, or user telephone equipment 32 to interact with the subscriber management functions of transaction processing and subscription management system 24. If desired, accounts may be established with the interactive wagering service with the assistance of customer service representatives at customer service facility 36. Customer service facility 36 may be at the same location as transaction processing and subscription management system 24, may be part of system 24, or may be located remote from system 24. Customer service representatives at customer service facility 36 may be reached by telephone. If user telephone equipment 32 is used to access the interactive wagering service, for example, user telephone equipment 32 may be used to reach the customer service representative using communications path 42. If user television equipment 22 or user computer equipment 20 is being used with the service, a telephone at the same location as that equipment may be used to reach the customer service representative.

The user's identity may be checked using social security number information or other identification information with the assistance of subscriber verification facility 40. The services of subscriber verification facility 40 are used to ensure that the user lives in a geographic area in which wagering is legal, that the user is of a legal age, and that the identification information (e.g., the user's social security number) matches the name provided by the user. If the user is using a cellular telephone or handheld computing device, the user's present physical location may be determined by determining which general part of the cellular telephone network is being accessed by the user or by using the cellular network or a handset-based location device such as a global positioning system (GPS) receiver in the body of the cellular telephone to pinpoint the user's location. This location information may be used to verify that the user is located in a geographic area where wagering is legal.

In a typical enrollment process, the user provides personal information to the interactive wagering service and provides funds with a credit card or funds from the user's bank account. The interactive wagering service sets up an account for the user at transaction processing and subscription management system 24 and directs one of totalisators 30 to set up a new account for the user at the totalisator. The totalisator is also directed to credit the user's account to reflect the amount of funds provided by the user. After the user places a wager and wins or loses, the totalisator adjusts the user's totalisator account to reflect the outcome of the wager. The totalisator may periodically inform the interactive wagering service of the adjusted balance in the user's account. This may be accomplished using any suitable technique (e.g., periodically, continuously, on-request, etc.). For example, reports may be collected periodically (e.g., once a day in an end-of-day report) and provided to the interactive wagering service to reconcile the account balances at transaction processing and subscription management system 24 with the account balances at totalisators 30.

If the user makes a balance inquiry, the inquiry may be passed to the appropriate totalisator by transaction processing and subscription management system 24. If the user is charged a fee for subscribing to the service, the service may debit the fee from the user's account at the transaction processing and subscription management system 24.

The accounts at totalisators 30 and transaction processing and subscription management system 24 are typically maintained separately, because the business entities that operate totalisators 30 and transaction processing and subscription management system 24 are independent. If desired, financial functions related to opening and maintaining user accounts and the like may be handled using computer equipment at another location such as one of financial institutions 38 or other locations remote from totalisators 30 and system 24. Such financial functions may also be implemented primarily at a totalisator 30 or primarily at the transaction processing and subscription management system 24 if desired.

Users at user television equipment 22, user computer equipment 20, and user telephone equipment 32 may place wagers by providing wagering data and otherwise interacting with transaction processing and subscription management system 24. The interactive wagering service may provide a user at user television equipment 22, user computer equipment 20, or user telephone equipment 32 that has display capabilities with screens containing various racing data. For example, the user may be presented with screens that allow the user to view the current odds for horses in an upcoming race at a given track.

The service may provide the user with interactive screens containing menus and selectable options that allow the user to specify the type of wager in which the user is interested and the desired wager amount. With a set-top box arrangement, for example, the user may use a remote control or wireless keyboard to navigate the various menus and selectable options. With a personal computer, the user may use a keyboard, mouse, trackball, touch pad, or other suitable input or pointing device. With a cellular telephone with a display, the user may use buttons on the telephone. When the user has made appropriate selections to define a desired wager, the user television equipment, user computer equipment, or user telephone equipment may transmit wagering data for the wager to transaction processing and subscription management system 24.

Users with telephones may also interact with the service using an interactive voice response system located at transaction processing and subscription management system 24. The interactive voice response system may present menu options to the user in the form of audio prompts (e.g., “press 1 to select a $2 wager amount,” etc.). The user may interact with the service be pressing the corresponding buttons on a touch tone telephone. User telephone equipment 32 that is based on cellular telephones allows the user to interact with the wagering service in this way. User telephone equipment 32 that is based on cellular telephones with messaging and display capabilities also allows the user to interact visually with the interactive wagering service.

The components of system 10 may be interconnected using various communications paths 44. Communications paths 44 may include satellite paths, coaxial cable paths, fiber-optic paths, twisted pair paths, other wire or cable-based links, wireless paths through free space, or any other suitable paths or combination of such paths. Communications over paths 44 may involve analog transmissions, digital transmissions, wireless transmissions, microwave transmissions, radio-frequency transmissions, optical transmissions, audio transmissions, or any other suitable type of transmissions or combination of such transmissions. Communications may involve Internet transmissions, private network transmissions, packet-based transmissions, television channel transmissions, transmissions in the vertical blanking interval of a television channel or on a television sideband, MPEG transmissions, etc. Communications may involve wireless pager or other messaging transmissions. Communications paths 44 may include cable connected to cable modems, digital subscriber lines, integrated services digital network (ISDN) lines, or any other suitable paths. Examples of suitable communications paths are described below. Those examples are, however, merely illustrative. Any of the communications path arrangements described above or other suitable arrangements may be used if desired.

Communications paths that carry video and particularly uncompressed analog video or lightly-compressed or full-screen digital video generally use more bandwidth than communications paths that carry only data or that carry partial-screen digital video. For example, if it is desired to transmit high-quality simulcasts of races from racetracks 12 to video production system 14, analog or digital videos may be transmitted from racetracks 12 to video production system 14 over path 44 a using satellite links. Video may be transmitted from studio 16 to video production system 14 over path 44 b using a satellite link or a high-speed terrestrial path such as a fiber-optic path. Studio 16 may also be located at the same site as video production system 14, thereby avoiding the need for a long-haul transmission path. Videos may be transmitted from video production system 14 to user computer equipment 20 over path 14 c using a modem link (using, for example, a digital subscriber line, a telephone network link, a wireless link etc.) The modem link may be made over a private network.

A user with a cable modem may connect a personal computer or other such user computer equipment 20 to an associated cable system headend using path 44 d. (The headend in such an arrangement would be one of the television distribution facilities 18 shown in FIG. 1.) The user may then receive videos from the headend via cable modem. Videos may be provided to the headend over path 44 e using a network link, fiber optic links, cable links, microwave links, satellite links, etc. A user with a set-top box (shown in FIG. 1 as part of user television equipment 22) or similar device may also receive videos from a cable system headend using a cable modem or other such communications device over path 44 f. In addition, a user with user television equipment 22 may receive videos over the Internet or a private network using a telephone-based modem or other such communications device using path 44 g. In a system with distributed processing, interactive wagering services may be provided using a television distribution facility 18 that includes equipment that supplements or replaces at least some of the equipment at transaction processing and subscription management system 24.

If desired, user television equipment 22 or user computer equipment 20 may receive analog or digital videos from an associated television distribution facility over the communications paths normally used to distribute television programming (e.g., paths 44 f and 44 d). For example, videos may be received as part of a wagering television channel. If videos are provided as digital signals (e.g., MPEG signals), 10 or more digital videos may be carried on a single analog channel (or one digital video may be carried on one-tenth of the bandwidth of an analog channel). If the videos are not full-screen videos, even more videos may be simultaneously provided without a loss of image quality.

Racing videos may be provided to user telephone equipment 32 over a partially-wireless telephone Internet link or other telephone link using path 44 n.

If desired, racing data may accompany the racing videos along any of these paths. Moreover, racing videos may be provided by routing them directly from racetracks 12 to user television equipment 22, user computer equipment 20 (e.g., over the Internet or a private network, etc.), or user telephone equipment 32. Racing videos may also be provided by routing them through transaction processing and subscription management system 24. If a cellular telephone or portable computing device has sufficient display capabilities to support moving images, racing videos may be displayed. Such videos may be provided using any suitable path, such as a direct path from racetracks 12, a path through video production system 14 or other suitable video processing equipment, through a hub such as transaction processing and subscription management system 24, etc. Racing videos may be provided in real-time or may be recorded for later distribution. Videos that are not provided in real-time may be downloaded by user television equipment 22, user computer equipment 20, a cellular telephone, or other suitable user equipment at a lower data rate than would otherwise be required and may be downloaded in the background if desired. Such videos may also be provided to the user at real-time video rates for direct viewing by the user.

The interactive wagering service may automatically record or ask a user whether to record racing videos of races that have been wagered upon. The recorded racing videos may contain pre and post race proceedings such as commentaries, interviews, or the like. The racing videos may be recorded locally at user television equipment 22, user computer equipment 20, or user telephone equipment 32. The racing videos may be received by the user equipment in real-time or at a later time. For example, all of the races that are scheduled to be recorded for a particular day may be transmitted overnight to the user equipment in order to be recorded.

Alternatively, the racing videos may be recorded on one or more remote video servers which may be located at racetracks 12, video production system 14, television distribution facilities 18, transaction processing and subscription management system 24, or any other suitable location. The users of the interactive wagering application may be allotted a certain amount of storage on one or more of the remote videos servers. This may be done by creating a specific directory or personal archive for each user. A user may be able to purchase additional space in his or her directory if desired. Users may be able to access their recorded racing videos on-demand from user television equipment 22, user computer equipment 20, or user telephone equipment 32.

The interactive wagering service may archive past races on the one or more remote video servers. The interactive wagering application may allow users to access and search for desired racing videos with the user equipment. A user may able to search for and view racing videos associated with specific tracks, horses, jockeys, trainers, weather conditions, track conditions, etc. There may be a charge associated with viewing or obtaining the archived racing videos. The system may allow a user to save a copy of an archived racing video in his or her specific directory on the remote video servers. In order to conserve disk space, a link to the archived racing video may be saved in the user's directory instead of the entire racing video.

Racing data and other information related to the interactive wagering service may be provided to users over paths connected to transaction processing and subscription management system 24. For example, racing data and other data for the service may be provided to user computer equipment 20 over path 44 h using a modem link. Path 44 h may be a private network path or an Internet path. Path 44 h may use telephone lines, digital subscriber lines, ISDN lines, wireless data paths, or any other suitable type of communications links. User television equipment 22 may receive data for the wagering service over communications path 44 i, which may be a telephone line, digital subscriber line, ISDN line, or other suitable type of communications path and which may use a private network path or an Internet path, etc.

Data for the wagering service may be provided to users of the interactive wagering application via communications path 44 j and paths 44 f and 44 d. Communications path 44 j may be provided over a private network, using the public telephone network, using satellite links, or any other suitable type of links. Data from paths such as path 44 j may be routed to paths such as paths 44 f and 44 d directly by associated television distribution facilities 18, or may be buffered at television distribution facilities 18 if desired. Paths 44 f and 44 d may include coaxial cable and use of paths 44 f and 44 d may involve the use of cable modems or the like. If data is provided over path 44 j and path 44 f or path 44 d using an Internet protocol, a web browser or similar software running on user television equipment 22 or user computer equipment 20 may be used to access the data. Such software may be integrated into the interactive wagering application or may be used separately. Software may also be used to view videos and may be used on other platforms (e.g., advanced cellular telephones) if desired.

The communications paths 44 k that are used to connect various other components of the system typically do not carry high-bandwidth video signals. Accordingly, paths 44 k may be telephone-like paths that are part of the Internet or a private network. Such paths and various other paths 44 may be dedicated connections for security, reliability, and economy.

User telephone equipment 32 may receive information for the wagering service via path 44 m. If user telephone equipment 32 is a standard (non-cellular) telephone, such information may be in the form of audio prompts (“press 1 to place a wager”) and audio racing data (“the current win odds for horse 2 are 5-1”). Transaction data processing and subscription management system 24 may contain interactive voice response equipment that provides such information to the user and that responds to touch-tone signals from the user when the user responds to prompts by pressing buttons on the user's telephone.

If user telephone equipment is a cellular telephone, racing data and other information for the interactive wagering service may be provided to the user by using a cellular wireless connection as part of path 44 m. Users with cellular telephones may be provided with audio prompts using an interactive voice response system located at transaction processing and subscription management system 24 to which the users may respond by pressing cellular telephone buttons to generate touch-tone signals.

Racing data and other information for the interactive wagering service may be provided to cellular telephones in the form of alphanumeric messages. Such messages may be transmitted to the user by using paging or other alphanumeric messaging formats or any other suitable data communications scheme. If desired, data may be provided to the cellular telephones over the voice channel and decoded by the cellular telephone using modem circuitry or other suitable circuitry. Data may also be provided using any other suitable cellular or wireless path. Regardless of the way in which racing data and other information for the interactive wagering service are provided to the cellular telephone, such information may be provided to the user by displaying it on the cellular telephone display screen or by presenting it in audible form through the speaker of the cellular telephone.

Racing data and other interactive wagering service information for the users may be provided in one or more continuous data streams, may be provided periodically (e.g., once per hour or once per day), or may be provided using a client-server arrangement in which data is requested by a client processor (e.g., user television equipment 22, user computer equipment 20, user telephone equipment 32, or any other such equipment) from a server (e.g., a server implemented using computer equipment 26 at transaction processing and subscription management system 24 or computer equipment at another suitable location. Videos may also be provided using any of these techniques.

A return communications path between the user and the interactive wagering service may be used to allow the user to place wagers and otherwise interact with the interactive wagering service. For example, a user with a standard telephone or a cellular telephone may interact with the service by pressing touch-tone keys on the telephone in response to audio prompts provided by an interactive voice response system at transaction processing and subscription management system 24. If desired, users may call customer service representatives at customer service facility 36 and place wagers with manual assistance. The user of a cellular telephone may interact with the wagering service by selecting menu options and otherwise interacting with information displayed on the cellular telephone. When a selection is made, software implemented on the telephone may be used to assist the user in transmitting appropriate data (e.g., wagering data) to the wagering service. Such data may be transmitted using any suitable technique. For example, data may be transmitted using a wireless data link that is separate from the cellular voice channels. Data may also be transmitted over the voice channel (e.g., using a modem built into the cellular telephone, by automatically generating touch-tone signals that may be recognized by the interactive voice response system at transaction processing and subscription management system 24, or using any other suitable arrangement). These approaches may be used even if the user receives racing data and other information for the service using a platform other than a telephone-based platform.

Users with user television equipment 22 may interact with the service by sending data (e.g., wager data) to transaction processing and subscription management system 24 using path 44 i or using paths 44 f and 44 j. Users with user computer equipment 20 may send data (e.g., wager data) to transaction processing and subscription management system 24 via path 44 h or paths 44 d and 44 j. Users at any user equipment may send data for the service to locations other than transaction processing and subscription management system 24. For example, the user may provide information directly to customer service facility 36, etc.

If desired, the user may send data to the service at transaction processing and subscription management system 24 using different paths than those used to receive data from transaction processing and subscription management system 24. For example, racing data may be received at user television equipment 22 via paths 44 j and 44 f, whereas data may be sent by the user from user television equipment 22 to transaction processing and subscription management system 24 using path 44 i, etc. Moreover, the paths used to receive certain video information may be different from those used to receive racing data. For example, user television equipment 22 may receive racing videos using path 44 f, but may receive racing data using path 44 i. These examples are merely illustrative. Any suitable combination of paths may be used to distribute racing data and other information for the interactive wagering service, any suitable combination of paths may be used to receive videos, and any suitable combination of paths may be used to send data to the wagering service.

In order for the interactive wagering service to automatically record or ask a user to record racing videos of races, the service may need to know if the race is available to be recorded. Additionally, the start and end time of the race may need to be known. Therefore, the racing data may include racing video data. The racing video data may contain information on which races are available to be recorded with the interactive wagering service. The racing video data may also contain the television channels and start and end times of the races. Alternatively, if the video is transmitted over the Internet, then the racing video data may contain information to allow the interactive wagering application to download the racing videos. The racing video data may also contain specific information regarding the races. For example, the racing video data may contain the names of the horses, jockeys, trainers, weather conditions, track conditions, start positions, or any other information specific to a given race.

If the system archives past races, then the racing video data may be stored with the archived past races and used to allow a user to easily search and find a desired past race.

If desired, the user may interact with the wagering service using more than one platform. For example, the user may place a wager using a cellular telephone while the user is driving home. When the user arrives home, the user may determine the outcome of the wager by watching a video of the race on user television equipment. Later in the day, the user may check the user's account balance using a personal computer. This is merely an illustrative example. The various wagering platforms may be used in any suitable combination.

Although system 10 has been described in the context of a system that supports multiple wagering platforms, system 10 may support fewer platforms if desired. For example, aspects of the invention may be implemented using a system 10 that only supports cellular telephone wagering or wagering using handheld computer devices. If desired, system 10 may be configured so that it does not support personal computer wagering, wagering with standard telephones, or wagering with user television equipment. The system may support cellular telephones and/or handheld computing devices such as personal digital assistants, palm-sized computers, etc. in combination with any other suitable platform.

The interactive wagering application may be implemented using application software that runs primarily on a set-top box or other such local platform or using a remote server or other computer that is accessed from a local platform. Arrangements in which interactive wagering services are implemented using software on remote computers that is accessed on-demand from local platforms may be referred to as client-server arrangements. Such client-server arrangements may be used to allow client processes on set-top boxes to access server processes running on servers located at cable system headends or other television distribution facilities 18 (FIG. 1). Regardless of the type of system architecture or platform used, the software that supports the interactive wagering service features described herein may be referred to as an interactive wagering application.

An illustrative display screen that may be provided by the interactive wagering application, and particularly by an interactive wagering application implemented using user television equipment 22, is shown in FIG. 7. Screen 700 contains a main menu 702 displayed on top of the video for a television wagering channel. Menu 702 contains menu options 704 that are selectable by the user using highlight region 706. Menu 702 also includes an operator icon 728. Main menu selections and other selections may be made by positioning highlight region 706 on top of an item of interest and pressing a select or enter or OK key on a remote control. Highlight region 706 may be positioned using remote control arrow keys or any other suitable user input arrangement. Main menu 702 may also be presented as a full screen menu that covers the entire screen 700.

Main menu 702 includes a “Probet” option 710, a “Build A Bet” option 712, a “Handicapping” option 714, a “Track Info” option 716, a “Player Info” option 718, a “My Videos” option 720, a “Search Archives” option 722, a “Watch TVG” option 724, and a “Setup” option 726.

If a user selects Build A Bet, the application may present screen 800 to the user as illustrated in FIG. 8. The Build A Bet mode presents an interactive sequence of screens designed to guide a user through the steps of creating a wager. Screen 800 contains a status bar 802 which may display the operator icon, the current menu status which is currently Build A Bet, the current time, and a selectable “Menu” option 804. If the user selects “Menu” option 804, then the application may display main menu 702 as shown in screen 700 of FIG. 7.

In this mode, a ticket window 806 and tab options 808 are displayed. Ticket window 806 shows a simulated wagering ticket that may be updated as the user navigates highlight region 706 and makes his or her selections. Tab options 808 show the information that is required for the user to create a wager. For example, the left-most tab 810 indicates that the user must select a track for the wager. A track is selected by selecting one of track options 814. As with other menu selections, in the Build-A-Bet mode, the user may select an option 814 by positioning the highlight 706 that is shown around the “Gulfstream” option to a desired option and pressing the select key on a remote control, or by any other suitable method. Although only three tab options 808 are illustrated in screen 800, arrow 812 may be presented to indicate that other tab options are available to be selected. To move between tabs, the user may press a right or left arrow key on a remote control (or make any other suitable input) to move the highlight illustrated around “Gulfstream” to other tabs.

Once a user has selected a track from screen 800, the user may be presented with screen 900 as illustrated in FIG. 9. As shown, screen 900 indicates the track selection made by the user in status bar 802 and ticket window 806. Ticket window 806 also displays the race number currently highlighted by highlight region 706. At this point, the user is preferably required to select a race at the selected track. The user may also select Multi-Race Bet option 902. As shown, some races, such as race “1” may be finished (as indicated by “F”) and thus may not be selectable.

Once a user has selected a race, such as race “3”, from screen 900, the user may be presented with screen 1000 as shown in FIG. 10. Ticket window 806 indicates the race selection made by the user and the wager type currently highlighted by highlight 706. Status bar 802 indicates the time remaining until the beginning of the selected race. Arrow 1002 is displayed to indicate that tab options, such as tab 810, which were previously accessed are no longer visible. Screen 1000 prompts the user to select a wager type from the displayed wager types 1004. Wager types 1004 may include “Win”, “Place”, “Show”, “Exacta”, “Exacta Box”, “Quinella”, “Tricfecta”, “Trifecta Box”, “Win-Place”, “Win-Place-Show”, “Place-Show”, and any other suitable wager type.

If a user selects a “Win” wager, the user may be presented with screen 1100 as shown in FIG. 11. The user is prompted in screen 1100 to select a horse from the displayed horses 1102. Depending on the type of wager chosen by the user, the user may be prompted to select more than one horse. For example, if the user selects an exacta wager, then the user would need to select a first and second horse for the wager. Ticket window 806 indicates the wager type selected by the user and the number of the horse currently highlighted by highlight region 706. Arrow 1104 indicates that there are additional horses that are available to be selected. The user may view the additional horses by navigating highlight region 706 down. A user may also access the additional horses by navigating highlight region 706 up or by entering the horse number of one of the additional horses. The horse number may be entered, for example, by pressing number keys on a remote control.

Once a user has selected a horse or horses for the wager, the user may be presented with screen 1200 as illustrated in FIG. 12. Screen 1200 prompts the user to enter a wager amount. Ticket window 706 indicates that horse “4” was selected and displays the wager amount and the total cost of the wager currently highlighted by highlight region 706. In a win bet, the amount of the wager and the total cost may be the same as indicated by ticket window 806. If the interactive wagering system applies an additional fee for placing a wager, then the total cost of the wager may not be equal to the wager amount. The total cost of a wager may differ from the wager amount depending on the type of wager placed. For example, in an exacta box wager, the total cost of the wager is double the wager amount because an exacta box wager is actually two exacta wagers.

If the user selects $5 for the wager amount from screen 1200 and the application is setup for multiple users, then the user may be presented with screen 1300 as shown in FIG. 13. Screen 1300 includes a player identification window 1302. Using window 1302, the user can then identify the desired player's account.

After the user has identified the desired player's account (as shown, Pete's), the user may be presented with screen 1400 as show in FIG. 14. Screen 1400 contains window 1402 which prompts the user to decide if he or she would like to record the race wagered upon. The user may select “Yes” or “No” by positioning hightlight region 706 over the desired choice and pressing the select key on a remote control, or by any other suitable method.

If the user selects “Yes” from window 1402, then the application may display screen 1500 as illustrated in FIG. 15. Screen 1500 is generally displayed when the interactive wagering application is implemented on user television equipment 46 as illustrated in FIG. 2. Screen 1500 includes reminder window 1502 to remind the user to place a videocassette tape in the VCR in order to record the race. Window 1502 also informs the user that the application will automatically tune to the race at post time. Alternatively, the application may tune to the race at the start of the race or prior to the race in order to record race commentaries, interviews, or any other suitable race-related video. The application may also record post race race-related video. Reminder 1502 may time out after a predetermined or user-selectable period of time. Reminder 1502 may also be dismissed if the user presses the OK key on a remote control or by any other suitable method.

Once reminder 1502 is dismissed or if the user selects “No” from window 1402, the user may be presented with screen 1600 as illustrated in FIG. 16. Screen 1600 includes a queue window 1602. Within queue window 1602 are a bet queue 1604, recording icon 1606, and action selections 1608. From bet queue 1604, the user can see all of his or her previously created, but unsent or unplaced bets. Also shown in screen 1600 is an odds window 1600. Using this odds window, the user can monitor the odds for each horse to win. As can be seen, horse “1” is showing 7-to-1 odds to win. By selecting one of action selections 1608, the user can indicate to the user interface how to proceed with the bets shown in the queue. More particularly: by selecting the “Send” selection 1608, the user can send the bets; by selecting the “New” selection 1608, the user can add another bet; by selecting the “View” selection 1608, the user can view bet details; by selecting the “Dup” selection 1608, the user can duplicate a bet; by selecting the “Del” selection 1608, the user can delete a bet. Recording icon 1606 indicates if the race or races involved with each wager are scheduled to be recorded.

If the user selects the “Send” selection 1608 from screen 1600 of FIG. 16, the application then prompts the user for a pin using a pin-entry window 1702 as shown in screen 1700 of FIG. 17. Using window 1702, the user can enter a personal identification number (pin) in pin field 1704.

After the user has properly entered the required pin, a sending bets window 1802 is displayed as illustrated in screen 1800 of FIG. 18. Window 1802 includes a list of the bets to be sent. Once the bets have been sent, the user is presented with a bets sent window 1902 as illustrated in screen 1900 of FIG. 19. After the user is done viewing the bets sent, the viewer may proceed by selecting the next button 1904.

After next button 1904 has been selected, screen 2000 is displayed as shown in FIG. 20 with bet queue 1604 cleared of the bets that were sent. At this point, the user may proceed by selecting one of action selections 1608 as described above in connection with FIG. 16. The user may also select “Menu” option 804 to return to main menu 702 as illustrated in FIG. 7.

It will be understood that the series of Build A Bet screens 800-2000, as illustrated in FIG. 21, are exemplary and that additional screens may be added and some of the screens may be omitted or modified. For example, if the interactive wagering application is setup for a single user, screen 1300 of FIG. 13 which presents player identification window 1302 may be omitted.

If the interactive wagering application is implemented on user television equipment 66 which is based on digital video recorder 70 as shown in FIG. 3, then FIG. 15 may be omitted. With the interactive wagering application implemented on digital video recorder 70, it is not necessary to remind the user to place a videocassette in a VCR since the recording is performed within digital video recorder 70.

While window 1502 of FIG. 15 indicates that the race or races will be automatically tuned to at post time, the races may be provided by the interactive wagering system at a later time. Therefore, the race or races may be tuned to at a time later than the actual time in which the race or races take place. For example, if video clips of races are available on-demand, the application may access and record the desired racing videos when the user is not using user television equipment 22. Alternatively, the desired racing videos may be accessed and recorded at a predetermined time.

While window 1400 of FIG. 14 is presented after the user has defined or created his or her wager. The user may be presented with window 1402 of FIG. 14, which prompts the user whether to record the race wagered upon, after the user has placed his or her wagers (e.g., after FIG. 18 or 19).

If the desired races are stored locally in user television equipment 22, user computer equipment 20, or user telephone equipment 32, or remotely on a remote video server, then the stored races may be accessed from the interactive wagering application. For example, the stored races may be accessible from main menu 702 by selecting My Videos option 720.

An illustrative display screen that may be provided to the user in place of FIGS. 14 and 15 is shown in FIG. 22. Screen 2200 contains window 2202 which prompts the user to decide if he or she would like to save the race wagered upon in My Videos. Window 2202 may also include notification 2204 which informs the user that there is a service charge to save the race in My Videos.

If a user selects My Videos option 720 from main menu 702 in FIG. 7, the user may be presented with screen 2300 as illustrated in FIG. 23. Display screen 2300 may be provided by the interactive wagering application, and particularly by an interactive wagering application implemented using user television equipment 22. Screen 2300 includes status bar 802 and player identification window 2302. Status bar 802 displays the current status of the application which is currently My Videos. Using window 2302, the user can identify the desired player's account. Player selection may be made by positioning highlight region 706 over the desired player and pressing a select, enter, or OK key on a remote control. Highlight region 706 may be positioned using remote control arrow keys or any other suitable user input arrangement.

Upon selecting the player identification (as shown, Pete's), the user is presented with screen 2400 as shown in FIG. 24. Screen 2400 includes Pete's Videos window 2402. Window 2402 includes stored videos 2406. When a desired race is stored in My Videos, it is preferably stored with race information associated with that race. For example, as shown, stored videos 2406 are displayed listing the track, race number, date and winner of each race. This allows a user to easily find a stored video. Highlight region 706 is currently highlighting the track caption. Sort icon 2408 is pointing down. This indicates that the stored videos are sorted alphabetically by track in ascending order. By selecting the track icon with highlight region 706, the sort order can reversed. If the sort order was reversed, then sort icon 2408 would point up instead of down. The stored videos can also be sorted by any of the other captions, such as by race, date, or name of the winner horse. This may be performed by navigating highlight region 706 to the desired caption and selection that caption. In addition, stored videos 2406 may also be listed according to any other race information associated with the races. For example, stored videos 2406 may be listed according to trainer name, jockey name, the horse name wagered upon, or any other suitable race information. The race information may be obtained from the racing data provided to the interactive wagering application. The race information may be stored with each respective stored video 2406 or separately. Arrow 1104 in window 2402 indicates that additional stored videos 2406 are available.

If a user desires to access race “2”, the user may navigate highlight region 706 down to that race as shown in screen 2500 of FIG. 25. By selecting race “2” with highlight region 706, the user may be presented with screen 2600 as illustrated in FIG. 26. Screen 2600 includes window 2602 which indicates options available to the user. As shown, the user may view or delete the desired race. In addition, the user may exit window 2602 in order to select another race or to return to the main menu. Window 2602 indicates that by pressing “Last”, window 2602 may be cancelled or exited. However, window 2602 may be cancelled or exited by another other suitable method. Window 2602 may also include additional race information associated with the selected race. For example, the wager placed and outcome or any other race information not shown in stored videos 2406 may be presented to the user.

If the user decides to view the desired race, the user may select view option 2604. By selecting view option 2604, the user may be presented with the video of the desired race as shown in screen 2700 of FIG. 27 a. Upon completion of the video of the desired race, the user may be presented with screen 2600 of FIG. 26. From screen 2600, the user may view the race again or delete the race. During playback of the desired race, the user may be able to invoke playback window 2752 as illustrated in screen 2750 of FIG. 27 b. This may be done by pressing a menu key or by any other suitable method. Alternatively, by selecting view option 2604 of FIG. 26, the user may initially be presented with the video of the desired race as shown in screen 2750. Screen 2750 includes playback window 2752. Window 2752 allows a user to control the playback of the video. Window 2752 includes rewind option 2754, stop option 2756, pause/play option 2758, and fast-forward option 2760.

By navigating highlight region 706 to and selecting rewind option 2754, the user may rewind the video of the race for a user-specified period of time. For example, the user may want to replay the finish of the race. By selecting stop option 2756, the user may stop the video and return to screen 2600 of FIG. 26. By selecting pause/play option 2758, the user may alternate between playing the video and pausing the video. This may be particularly useful for a close finish. By selecting fast-forward option 2760, the user may speed up or fast-forward the video of the race. These options may also be accessible from a remote control or other user input device with playback window 2752 omitted.

If a user decides to delete a desired race from My Videos, the user may navigate highlight region 706 and select the desired race from window 2400 of FIG. 24. The user may then highlight delete option 2802 from window 2602 as shown in screen 2800 of FIG. 28. By selecting delete option 2802, the user may be presented with screen 2900 as illustrated in FIG. 29. Screen 2900 includes confirmation window 2902. Confirmation window 2902 prompts the user to confirm that the selected race is to be deleted. If the user selects yes, then the selected race is deleted from My Videos and the user may be returned to screen 2400 of FIG. 24. Alternatively, if the user selects no, then the user may be returned to screen 2800 of FIG. 28 or screen 2700 of FIG. 27.

The foregoing My Videos screens 2300-2900 are described in use with user television equipment 22. It will be understood that My Videos screens 2300-2900 may also be implemented on user computer equipment 20 or user telephone equipment 32. For example, a user may place a wager on a race with user telephone equipment 32 on his or her way home from work and save the race wagered upon in My Videos. When the user arrives home after the race has been run, the user may use user computer equipment 20 to view the race results and access My Videos to view the wagered upon race. If the saved races in My Videos are stored on a remote video server, then user television equipment 22, user computer equipment 20, and user telephone equipment 32 may be able to access the remote video server to access the stored videos. There may, however, be more than one remote video server. The remote video server may store more than one format of each stored video. For example, the remote video server may store a high-resolution and a low-resolution format of each stored video. User telephone equipment 32 may be provided with the low-resolution format of each video while user television equipment 22 and user computer equipment 20 may be provided with the high-resolution format.

Alternatively, the system may archive all available races on the remote video server. In this embodiment, if a user decides to save a video in My Videos, a link may actually be saved locally on the user equipment or remotely that allows a user to access the saved video from the archived videos. This may minimize the storage space required on the remote video server by allowing more than one user to access the same stored video.

The system may also allow a user to search through the video archive to find a desired video. This may be done by selecting Search Archives option 722 from main menu 702 of FIG. 7. If a user selects Search Archives option 722, then the user may be presented with screen 3000 as illustrated in FIG. 30. Screen 3000, as illustrated, may be provided by the interactive wagering application, and particularly by an interactive wagering application implemented using user computer equipment 20. Screen 3000 allows the user to search for archived racing videos based on user-defined criteria 3004. As shown, criteria 3004 includes the track, horse, track conditions, trainer, jockey, and weather associated with the archived races. Criteria 3004 are exemplary and may include any other suitable search criteria such as date, day of the week, time of day, race distance, etc. The user may select the search criteria by using cursor 3002 or any other suitable method. For example, the user may click on any of drop down menus 3006 to view and select available criteria or may enter the criteria with a keyboard or any other user input device. As shown in FIG. 30, the user has currently selected the track “Caldor” and the horse “Baby Blue”.

By selecting submit button 3008, the user may be presented with results screen 3100. Screen 3100 includes search results 3102. Search results 3102 show three races from the race archives that match the entered criteria. The results are ordered in descending date order as indicated by sort icon 3104. The user may also sort the race results by any of the other captions by selecting them with cursor 3002.

If the user desires to buy race “2”, then the user may select “Buy” button 3106 which is adjacent to race “2”. Upon selecting button 3106, the user may be presented with screen 3200 as shown in FIG. 32. Screen 3200 includes window 3202 which presents the user with the option to “View Now” or “Save in My Videos”. There may be a fee associated with these options such as $1.95 as shown.

If the user selects “View Now” and the application is setup for multiple users, then the user may be presented with screen 3300 as shown in FIG. 33. Screen 3300 includes player identification window 3302. Using window 3302, the user can then identify the desired player's account. Upon selection of a player, the user may be presented with a screen (not shown) that prompts the user for a personal identification number.

The user may then be presented with the video of the selected race (race “2”) as illustrated in screen 3400 of FIG. 34. Window 3400 includes window 3402 that allows a user to control the playback of the video. Window 3402 includes rewind pause/play option 2758, stop option 2756, rewind option 2754, and fast-forward option 2760 as described in the foregoing. Window 3402 also includes volume control option 3404 and slider 3406. By selecting volume control option 3404, the user may increase or decrease the sound volume. By selecting and dragging slider 3406, the user may rewind, fast-forward, slow down, or stop the video of the race. Slider 3406 also indicates how much of the video has been displayed and how much of the video remains. The application may also save the race selected for “View Now” in My Videos.

If the user selects “Save in My Videos” from window 3202 of FIG. 32, the user may be subsequently presented with a player identification screen (as shown in FIG. 33) and a screen (not shown) that prompts the user for a personal identification number. The user may then be presented with screen 3500 as shown in FIG. 35. Screen 3500 includes confirmation window 3502 which confirms that the selected video has been saved in My Videos. Window 3502 may time out after a period of time or may be dismissed by the user. This may result in the displaying of screen 3100 of FIG. 31. With the selected racing video saved in My Videos, the user may access that video from the My Videos mode of the interactive wagering application.

While the Search Archives mode has been presented in use with user computer equipment 20, it will be understood that the user will be able to access that mode with user television equipment 22 and user telephone equipment 32. For example, screen 3600 of FIG. 36 presents an illustrative display screen of the Search Archives mode accessed through user telephone equipment 32. Display screens on user telephone equipment 32 may be of lower resolution or smaller in size than user television equipment 22 and user computer equipment 20. This may require a more simplified user interface. By using a user input device, such as the keys on illustrative cellular telephone 90, the user may navigate highlight region 706 up and down criteria 3004. The user, for example, may use navigation key 106 on cellular telephone 90 to navigate highlight region 706. The user may use scroll keys 108 to scroll through the available criteria selections as indicated by arrows 3602. The user may also enter the desired criteria selection with the use of any of the keys on cellular telephone 90. When the user has finished entering the desired criteria selections, the user may highlight and select “Submit” button 3604 to search for videos that match the criteria selections from the race archive. User telephone equipment 32 may also present screens similar to screens 3100-3500 as described above.

One skilled in the art will appreciate that the present invention can be practiced by other than the described embodiments, which are presented for purposes of illustration and not limitation, and the present invention is limited only by the claims which follow.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7967682 *Jun 30, 2006Jun 28, 2011Bally Gaming, Inc.Wireless gaming environment
US8905848 *May 14, 2010Dec 9, 2014Bandai Namco Games Inc.Server system, game device, control method, program, and information storage medium
US20090270166 *Apr 22, 2009Oct 29, 2009Churchill Downs Technology Initiatives CompanyPersonalized Transaction Management and Media Delivery System
US20100227693 *May 14, 2010Sep 9, 2010Namco Bandai Games Inc.Server system, game device, control method, program, and information storage medium
Classifications
U.S. Classification463/25
International ClassificationA63F9/24, G07F17/32
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/32, G07F17/3288
European ClassificationG07F17/32, G07F17/32P2
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