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Publication numberUS20080254860 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 12/023,838
Publication dateOct 16, 2008
Filing dateJan 31, 2008
Priority dateApr 13, 2007
Publication number023838, 12023838, US 2008/0254860 A1, US 2008/254860 A1, US 20080254860 A1, US 20080254860A1, US 2008254860 A1, US 2008254860A1, US-A1-20080254860, US-A1-2008254860, US2008/0254860A1, US2008/254860A1, US20080254860 A1, US20080254860A1, US2008254860 A1, US2008254860A1
InventorsJun Fujimoto, Yukinori Inamura
Original AssigneeAruze Corp.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Gaming machine enabling bet for getting insurance-pay and method of playing games using the same
US 20080254860 A1
Abstract
A gaming machine is configured to scroll symbols in three display regions and to execute free game rounds when “7” symbols are stopped in each display region. In addition, the gaming machine executes the free game rounds after passage of 1000 games without any one game having the “7” symbols aligned in the three display regions. Execution of the free game rounds triggered by the passage of 1000 games is termed a rescue pay. To gain the rescue pay, a player makes a bet for the rescue pay. In this betting action, multiple games such as 10 games are defined as one group, and the player can make a bet on a group basis.
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Claims(18)
1. A gaming machine comprising:
a display configured to display an image concerning a unit game for determining whether or not a play result deserves an award;
a counter configured to be reset under a predetermined resetting condition and to increment a count value every time the unit game is executed; and
a controller operable to:
(a) provide a predetermined amount of award when a play result of the unit game satisfies a predetermined play result;
(b) receive a bet, as a prerequisite for getting an insurance-pay, on an arbitrary number of the unit games set as a group; and
(c) execute a plurality of rounds of the unit games without making a bet when the count value reaches a predetermined value in the group of the unit games on each of which the bet as a prerequisite for getting the insurance-pay is made.
2. The gaming machine according to claim 1, wherein the count value is any of the number of the unit games that have been executed, an accumulated amount of bet made on a plurality of the unit games, and an accumulated value of differences between the amount of bet made on the plurality of the unit games and an amount of awards.
3. The gaming machine according to claim 1,
wherein the predetermined condition for resetting is an occurrence of the specific play result in the unit game.
4. A gaming machine comprising:
a display configured to display an image concerning a unit game for determining whether or not a play result deserves an award;
a counter configured to be reset under a predetermined resetting condition and to increment a count value with every execution of the unit game on which a bet as a prerequisite for getting an insurance-pay is made; and
a controller operable to:
(a) provide a predetermined amount of award when a play result of the unit game satisfies a predetermined play result;
(b) receive a bet, as a prerequisite for getting the insurance-pay, made on an arbitrary number of the unit games as a group; and
(c) execute a plurality of rounds of the unit games without making a bet when the count value reaches a predetermined value in the group of the unit games on which the bet as a prerequisite for getting the insurance-pay is made.
5. The gaming machine according to claim 4, wherein the count value is any of the number of the unit games that have been executed, an accumulated amount of bets made on a plurality of the unit games, and an accumulated value of differences between the amount of bets made on the plurality of the unit games and an amount of awards.
6. The gaming machine according to claim 4, wherein the predetermined condition for resetting is an occurrence of the specific play result in the unit game.
7. A gaming machine comprising:
a display configured to display an image concerning a unit game for determining whether or not a play result deserves an award;
a counter configured to be reset under a predetermined resetting condition and to increment a count value every time the unit game is executed; and
a controller operable to:
(a) provide a predetermined amount of award when a play result of the unit game satisfies a predetermined play result;
(b) receive a bet, as a prerequisite for getting an insurance-pay, made on an arbitrary number of the unit games set as a group;
(c) randomly determine the number of the unit games to be executed without making a bet when the count value reaches a predetermined value in the group of the unit games on each of which the bet as a prerequisite for getting the insurance-pay is made; and
(d) execute the determined number of the unit games without making a bet.
8. The gaming machine according to claim 7, wherein the count value is any of the number of the unit games that have been executed, an accumulated amount of bets made on a plurality of the unit games, and an accumulated value of differences between the amount of bets made on the plurality of the unit games and an amount of awards.
9. The gaming machine according to claim 7, wherein the prerequisite for resetting is an occurrence of the specific play result in the unit game.
10. A method of playing games using a gaming machine configured to execute unit games consecutively, the method comprising:
making a bet for the unit games;
providing a predetermined amount of award when a play result of the unit game satisfies a predetermined play result;
making a bet as a prerequisite for getting an insurance-pay on an arbitrary number of the unit games set as a group;
incrementing a count value, which is to be reset under a predetermined resetting condition, every time the unit game is executed; and
executing a plurality of rounds of the unit games without making a bet when the count value reaches a predetermined value in the group of the unit games on each of which the bet as a prerequisite for getting the insurance-pay is made.
11. The method of playing games using a gaming machine according to claim 10, wherein the count value is any of the number of the unit games that have been executed, an accumulated amount of bets made on a plurality of the unit games, and an accumulated value of differences between the amount of bet made on the plurality of the unit games and an amount of awards.
12. The method of playing games using a gaming machine according to claim 10, wherein the predetermined condition for resetting is an occurrence of the specific play result in the unit game.
13. A method of playing games using a gaming machine configured to execute unit games consecutively, the method comprising:
making a bet on the unit games;
providing a predetermined amount of award when a play result of the unit game satisfies a predetermined play result;
making a bet as a prerequisite for getting an insurance-pay on an arbitrary number of the unit games set as a group;
incrementing a count value, which is to be reset under a predetermined resetting condition, with every execution of the unit game on which the bet as a prerequisite for getting the insurance-pay is made; and
executing a plurality of rounds of the unit games without making a bet when the count value reaches a predetermined value in the group of the unit games on each of which the bet as a prerequisite for getting the insurance-pay is made.
14. The method of playing games using a gaming machine according to claim 13, wherein the count value is any of the number of the unit games that have been executed, an accumulated amount of bets made on a plurality of the unit games, and an accumulated value of differences between the amount of bets on the plurality of the unit games and an amount of awards.
15. The method of playing games using a gaming machine according to claim 13, wherein the predetermined condition for resetting is an occurrence of the specific play result in the unit game.
16. A method of playing games using a gaming machine configured to execute unit games consecutively, the method comprising:
making a bet on the unit games;
providing a predetermined amount of award when a play result of the unit game satisfies a predetermined play result;
making a bet as a prerequisite for getting an insurance-pay on an arbitrary number of the unit games set as a group;
incrementing a count value, which is to be reset under a predetermined resetting condition, every time the unit game is executed;
determining randomly the number of the unit games to be executed without making a bet when the count value reaches a predetermined value in the group of the unit games on each of which the bet as a prerequisite for getting the insurance-pay is made; and
executing the determined number of the unit games without making a bet.
17. The method of playing games using a gaming machine according to claim 16, wherein the count value is any of the number of the unit games that have been executed, an accumulated amount of bets on a plurality of the unit games, and an accumulated value of differences between the amount of bets on the plurality of the unit games and an amount of awards.
18. The method of playing games using a gaming machine according to claim 16, wherein the predetermined condition for resetting is an occurrence of the specific play result in the unit game.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application is based upon and claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/907,678, filed on Apr. 13, 2007; the entire contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a gaming machine in which a player can make a bet for getting an insurance-pay and a method of playing games using the gaming machine.

2. Description of the Related Art

Typical gaming machines such as slot machines are disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,820,459, U.S. Pat. No. 6,695,697, US Patent Application Publication No. 2003/0069073, EP Patent Application Publication No. 1192975, U.S. Pat. No. 6,254.483, U.S. Pat. No. 5,611,730, U.S. Pat. No. 5,639,088, U.S. Pat. No. 6,257,981, U.S. Pat. No. 6,234,896, U.S. Pat. No. 6,001,016, U.S. Pat. No. 6,273,820, U.S. Pat. No. 6,224,482, U.S. Pat. No. 4,669,731, U.S. Pat. No. 6,244,957, U.S. Pat. No. 5,910,048, U.S. Pat. No. 5,695,402, U.S. Pat. No. 6,003,013, U.S. Pat. No. 4,283,709, EP Patent Application Publication No. 0631798, German Patent Application Publication No. 4137010, British Patent Application Publication No. 2326830, German Patent Application Publication No. 3712841, U.S. Pat. No. 4,964,638, U.S. Pat. No. 60,89,980, U.S. Pat. No. 5,280,909, U.S. Pat. No. 5,702,303, U.S. Pat. No. 6,270,409, U.S. Pat. No. 5,770,533, U.S. Pat. No. 5,836,817, U.S. Pat. No. 6,932,704, U.S. Pat. No. 6,932,707, U.S. Pat. No. 4,837,728, EP Patent Application Publication No. 1302914, U.S. Pat. No. 4,624,459, U.S. Pat. No. 5,564,700, International Publication W003/083795, German Patent Application Publication No. 3242890, EP Patent Application Publication No. 0840264, German Patent Application Publication No. 10049444, International Publication W004/095383, EP Patent Application Publication No. 1544811, U.S. Pat. No. 5,890,963, EP Patent Application Publication No. 1477947, and EP Patent Application Publication No. 1351180.

In a facility equipped with such gaming machines, a player can play a game offered by a gaming machine by making a bet with coins or credits in the gaming machine.

For example, every time a player makes a bet in a slot machine and presses a start switch, the slot machine executes a unit game for rearranging multiple symbols that are arranged on a display. Then, if a combination of the symbols rearranged on the display matches a predetermined winning combination, the slot machine provides a payout corresponding to the winning combination.

Moreover, the slot machine also performs a payout called a jackpot. That is, the slot machine pools part of the bet in this slot machine as a bet for the jackpot. Then, the slot machine determines to payout or not to payout the pooled bets at a predetermined timing. When the slot machine determines the payout, the slot machine provides a payout of the bets pooled for the jackpot to the player.

In the above-described gaming machines, a value calculated by subtracting the amount of payout that the gaming machine make to the player from the amount of bets that the player makes in the gaming machine becomes equal to an amount of loss of the player. It is likely that the larger the amount of loss becomes, the more anxious the player may become and feel that “it may be unlikely to win with this gaming machine.” Moreover, the player may eventually lose interest in the game as a result of this growing anxiety. Accordingly, there has long been a demand for a gaming machine which can relieve anxiety of a player.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A first aspect of the present invention provides a gaming machine which includes: a display configured to display an image concerning a unit game for determining whether or not a play result deserves an award, a counter configured to be reset under a predetermined resetting condition and to increment a count value every time the unit game is executed, and a controller operable to execute the following procedures (a) to (c). The procedure (a) is to provide a predetermined amount of award when a play result of the unit game satisfies a predetermined play result. The procedure (b) is to receive a bet, as a prerequisite for getting an insurance-pay, made on an arbitrary number of the unit games set as a group. The procedure (c) is to execute multiple rounds of the unit games without making any bet when the count value reaches a predetermined value in the group of the unit games on each of which the bet as a prerequisite for getting the insurance-pay is made.

A second aspect of the present invention provides a gaming machine which includes a display configured to display an image concerning a unit game for determining whether or not a play result deserves an award, a counter configured to be reset under a predetermined resetting condition and to increment a count value with every execution of the unit games on each of which a bet as a prerequisite for getting an insurance-pay is made, and a controller operable to execute the following procedures (a) to (c). The procedure (a) is to provide a predetermined amount of award when a play result of the unit game satisfies a predetermined play result. The procedure (b) is to receive a bet, as a prerequisite for getting the insurance-pay, made on an arbitrary number of the unit games set as a group. The procedure (c) is to execute multiple rounds of the unit games without making any bet when the count value reaches a predetermined value in the group of the unit games on each of which the bet as a prerequisite for getting the insurance-pay is made.

A third aspect of the present invention provides a gaming machine which includes a display configured to display an image concerning a unit game for determining whether or not a play result deserves an award, a counter configured to be reset under a predetermined resetting condition and to increment a count value every time the unit game is executed, and a controller operable to execute the following procedures (a) to (d). The procedure (a) is to provide a predetermined amount of award when a play result of the unit game satisfies a predetermined play result. The procedure (b) is to receive a bet, as a prerequisite for getting an insurance-pay, made on an arbitrary number of the unit games set as a group. The procedure (c) is to randomly determine the number of the unit games to be executed without making any bet when the count value reaches a predetermined value in the group of the unit games on each of which the bet as a prerequisite for getting the insurance-pay is made. The procedure (d) is to execute the determined number of the unit games without making a bet.

A fourth aspect of the present invention provides a method of playing games using a gaming machine configured to execute unit games consecutively. The method includes: making a bet on the unit games; providing a predetermined amount of award when a play result of the unit game satisfies a predetermined play result; making a bet, as a prerequisite for getting an insurance-pay, on an arbitrary number of the unit games set as a group; incrementing a count value, which is to be reset under a predetermined resetting condition, every time the unit game is executed; and executing multiple rounds of the unit games without making a bet when the count value reaches a predetermined value in the group of the unit games on each of which the bet as a prerequisite for getting the insurance-pay is made.

A fifth aspect of the present invention provides a method of playing games using a gaming machine configured to execute unit games consecutively. The method includes: making a bet on the unit games; providing a predetermined amount of award when a play result of the unit game satisfies a predetermined play result; making a bet as a prerequisite for getting an insurance-pay on an arbitrary number of the unit games set as a group; incrementing a count value, which is to be reset under a predetermined resetting condition, with every execution of the unit game on which the bet as a prerequisite for getting the insurance-pay is made; and executing multiple rounds of the unit games without making a bet when the count value reaches a predetermined value in the group of the unit games on each of which the bet as a prerequisite for getting the insurance-pay is made.

A sixth aspect of the present invention provides a method of playing games using a gaming machine configured to execute unit games consecutively. The method includes: making a bet on the unit games; providing a predetermined amount of award when a play result of the unit game satisfies a predetermined play result; making a bet as a prerequisite for getting an insurance-pay on an arbitrary number of the unit games set as a group; incrementing a count value, which is to be reset under a predetermined resetting condition, every time the unit game is executed; randomly determining the number of the unit games to be executed without making a bet when the count value reaches a predetermined value in the group of the unit games on each of which the bet as a prerequisite for getting the insurance-pay is made; executing the determined number of the unit games without making a bet.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a flowchart schematically showing procedures of a slot machine according to a first embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the slot machine according to the first embodiment.

FIG. 3 is a block diagram showing a control circuit of the slot machine according to the first embodiment.

FIG. 4 is a flowchart showing a unit game execution process using the slot machine according to the first embodiment.

FIG. 5 is a flowchart showing detailed procedures of a betting process for a rescue pay shown in Step S32 in FIG. 4.

FIG. 6 is a flowchart showing procedures of a slot game execution process shown in Step S34 in FIG. 4.

FIG. 7 is a flowchart showing procedures of a process to count the unit games shown in Step S35 in FIG. 4.

FIG. 8 is a flowchart showing procedures of a rescue pay execution process shown in Step S36 in FIG. 4.

FIG. 9 is a flowchart showing procedures of a free game round execution process of Step S75 in FIG. 6 and Step S103 in FIG. 8.

FIG. 10 is a flowchart showing procedures of the process to count the unit games (Step S35) according to a modified example of the first embodiment.

FIG. 11 is a flowchart showing procedures of the unit game to be executed by the slot machine serving as a gaming machine according to a second embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 12 is a flowchart showing procedures of a process to count consumed bets shown in Step S155 in FIG. 11.

FIG. 13 is a flowchart showing procedures of the rescue pay execution process shown in Step S156 in FIG. 11.

FIG. 14 is a flowchart showing procedures of the process to count the consumed bets (Step S155) according to a modified example of the second embodiment.

FIG. 15 is a flowchart showing procedures to be executed by the slot machine serving as a gaming machine according to a third embodiment of the present invention, which illustrates details of the process to count the unit game shown in Step S35 of the flowchart in FIG. 4.

FIG. 16 is a flowchart showing procedures of the rescue pay execution process according to the third embodiment, which illustrates details of the rescue pay execution process shown in Step S36 of the flowchart in FIG. 4.

FIG. 17 is a flowchart showing procedures of the process to count the unit games (Step S35) according to a modified example of the third embodiment.

FIG. 18 is a flowchart showing procedures of the unit game execution process using the slot machine according to a fourth embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 19 is a flowchart showing procedures of the process to count the unit games shown in Step S272 in FIG. 18.

FIG. 20 is a flowchart showing procedures of a resetting process shown in Step S277 in FIG. 18.

FIG. 21 is a flowchart showing procedures of the unit game execution process using the slot machine according to a fifth embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 22 is a flowchart showing procedures of the process to count the unit games shown in Step S312 in FIG. 21.

FIG. 23 is a flowchart showing procedures of the resetting process shown in Step S317 in FIG. 21.

FIG. 24 is a payout table showing relations between winning combinations and payouts of the slot machine according to the first embodiment.

FIG. 25A is a view showing a display example of an upper display to be displayed on a liquid crystal display of the slot machine according to the first embodiment, and FIG. 25B is a view showing a display example of a liquid crystal display to be displayed on the liquid crystal display of the slot machine according to the first embodiment.

FIG. 26 is a view showing a display example of an image of an explanation of the rescue pay.

FIG. 27 is a display example of an image for selecting rounds of rescue games.

FIG. 28A is a view showing a display example of the upper display during the rescue games, and FIG. 28B is a view showing a display example of the liquid crystal display during the rescue games.

FIG. 29A is a view showing a display example of the upper display when a count value is coming close to an upper limit value, and FIG. 29B is a view showing a display example of the liquid crystal display when the count value is coming close to the upper limit value.

FIG. 30A is a view showing another display example of the upper display when the count value is coming close to the upper limit value, and FIG. 30B is a view showing another display example of the liquid crystal display when the count value is coming close to the upper limit value.

FIG. 31A is a view showing a display example of the upper display when the count value is equal to the upper limit value and FIG. 31B is a view showing a display example of the liquid crystal display when the count value is equal to the upper limit value.

FIG. 32 is a display example to be displayed on a liquid crystal display 16 after completion of the rescue pay.

DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS First Embodiment

Now, operations of a slot machine representing an example of a gaming machine of the present invention will be described below with reference to a flowchart shown in FIG. 1 and a perspective view of a slot machine 10 shown in FIG. 2.

First, the slot machine 10 according to this embodiment receives a bet on a unit game constituting each round of execution of a slot game (Step S11). To be more precise, the slot machine 10 accepts insertion of medals or coins or receives a bet using value information.

It is to be noted that medals are employed as an example of betting means used for playing the games in the following explanation. However, the form of bet is not limited only to the medals. For instance, it is also possible to use coins, tokens, electronic money, and other electronic value information equivalent to the above.

Subsequently, the slot machine 10 receives a bet as a prerequisite for getting an insurance-pay (hereinafter referred to as a “rescue pay”; both of the “insurance-pay” and the “rescue pay” are trademark pending registrations) (Step S12). Here, the “rescue pay” is provided to suppress the amount of loss of a player and is caused by satisfying three conditions in this embodiment. One of these conditions (a first condition) is satisfied when the player makes a predetermined amount of bet in Step S12. To be more precise, one of the three conditions will be satisfied as a judgment is made as “YES” in Step S17 to be described later.

After Step S12, the slot machine 10 sets the number of rescue games (Step S13). Here, the “rescue game” means a game that indicates a situation where the rescue pay may be possibly caused, and is the game satisfying the above-described first condition. Moreover, the number of the rescue games is equivalent to a number of consecutive rounds of the rescue games. For example, when the number of the rescue games is set to “10” as a consequence of the bet executed in Step S12, the first condition for receiving the rescue pay will be satisfied from present to completion of the tenth unit game.

In the present invention, it is possible to make a bet for getting the rescue pay while setting an arbitrary number of the unit games (such as 10) as one group. Accordingly, the number of the rescue games will be set to “10” games when the bet equivalent to 10 medals is made in Step S12, for example. Meanwhile, the number of the rescue games will be set to “20” games when the bet equivalent to 20 medals is made in Step S12. In this way, it is unnecessary in this embodiment make a bet for getting the rescue pay for each unit game. Instead, it is possible to make a bet for getting the rescue pay for every multiple games.

Subsequently, the slot machine 10 executes the slot games (Step S14). In this process, symbols are scrolled in three display regions Q1 to Q3 as the player presses a start switch 27, and the symbols are stopped later. Then, if the symbols displayed in the regions Q1 to Q3 at this stopped timing, i.e. a play result of the slot game match a winning combination, a payout (award) corresponding to the winning combination is provided.

Thereafter, the slot machine 10 counts the number of the unit games played (Step S15). Subsequently, the slot machine 10 judges whether or not the play result of the slot game satisfies a specific play result (Step S16). Here, the “specific play result” means alignment of one of the symbols “7” in the three regions, for example.

Then, in the case of the judgment that the result is a specific play result (Step S16: YES), the slot machine 10 resets the number of games played (or the number of consumed credits) counted in the procedure in Step S15 (Step S20), and executes free game rounds (Step S21). Here, the “number of consumed credits” means the amount of medals, coins, tokens, electronic money, or other electronic value information equivalent to the above.

On the other hand, a second condition for receiving the rescue pay is satisfied in the case of the judgment that the result is not a specific play result (Step S16: NO). Then, the slot machine 10 judges whether or not the current unit game is the rescue game (Step S17). The process goes to Step S11 when the current unit game is not judged to be the rescue game (Step S17: NO). On the contrary, the above-mentioned first condition is satisfied when the current unit game is judged to be the rescue game (Step S17: YES). Then, the slot machine 10 judges whether or not the number of games played reaches an upper limit game number (a predetermined game number) (Step S18).

The process goes to Step S11 in the case of the judgment that the number of games played does not reach the upper limit game number (Step S18: NO). On the contrary, a third condition is satisfied when the number of games played reaches the upper limit game number (such as 1000 games) (Step S18: YES), and the slot machine 10 executes free game rounds (Step S19). These free game rounds in Step S19 are equivalent to the rescue pay. Note that the free game rounds are multiple rounds of the unit games to be executed without making bets, where payouts (awards) are provided corresponding to play results of the unit games executed for multiple rounds. As described above, in this embodiment, the free game rounds take place (i.e. the rescue pay is caused) in Step S19 even when the specific play results are not qualified in the unit games. Accordingly, the player can reduce loss.

In the example shown in FIG. 1, the number of games played is counted in Step S15 and the judgment is made in Step S18 as to whether or not the number of games played reaches the upper limit game number. However, the present invention is not limited to this configuration. For example, it is possible to count the number of consumed credits in Step S15 and then to judge whether or not the number of consumed credits reaches an upper limit number (such as an amount equivalent to 1000 medals) in Step S18.

In this way, it is possible to set the rescue games for every predetermined number of games (such as every 10 games or 20 games) in this embodiment. Moreover, multiple rounds of the unit games are executed without making a bet when the number of games played reaches the upper limit game number or when the number of consumed credits reaches the upper limit number during the rescue games. Accordingly, if the player makes a bet (Step S12) as a prerequisite for getting the rescue pay, multiple rounds of the unit games are executed without betting, when no specific play results are qualified (Step S16: NO) before the number of games played reaches the upper limit game number (or until the number of consumed credits reaches the predetermined number) (Step S18: YES). Thus, the payouts occur in response to the play results of those games, which can suppress the amount of loss. As a consequence, it is possible to relieve anxiety of the user.

Moreover, the bet for getting the rescue pay is not automatically collected by the slot machine 10. Instead, it is possible to make a bet as a prerequisite for getting the rescue pay for every predetermined number of games. Accordingly, the player can set the rescue games at his or her discretion. In particular, when the predetermined number of games is plural (such as 10 games), it is unnecessary to make a bet as a prerequisite for getting the rescue pay every round of the unit game. Hence, it is possible to improve convenience for making a bet as a prerequisite for getting the rescue pay.

Next, a configuration of the slot machine 10 according to this embodiment will be described in detail. As shown in FIG. 2, the slot machine 10 of this embodiment includes a cabinet 11, a top box 12 to be disposed above the cabinet, and a main door 13. A liquid crystal display (a display) 16 is provided on a face of the cabinet 11 to face a player. Moreover, various component members including a controller 40 (see FIG. 3) for electrically controlling this slot machine 10 and a hopper 44 (see FIG. 3) for controlling insertion, storage, and payouts of medals are disposed inside the cabinet 11.

The main door 13 is openably and closably fitted to the cabinet 11, and the liquid crystal display 16 is disposed approximately in the center of this main door 13. As will be described later, the liquid crystal display 16 displays images concerning various games including the slot games. In a slot game, the symbols located in the three display regions Q1 to Q3 arranged horizontally are moved and rearranged. Then, a predetermined amount of medals are paid out when the symbols rearranged in the regions Q1 to Q3 match any of the winning combinations (see FIG. 24).

A medal insertion slot 21 for inserting the medals used for playing the game and a bill validator 22 for identifying acceptable bills and for accepting authentic bills are provided below the liquid crystal display 16. Moreover, various operation switches are located in the vicinity of the medal insertion slot 21 and the bill validator 22.

A cash-out switch 23, a MAXBET switch 24, a BET switch 25, a spin repeat bet switch 26, and a start switch 27 are provided as the operation switches.

The BET switch 25 is the switch for determining an amount of bet to be made on the slot game executed on the liquid crystal display 16. A bet equivalent to one medal is made every time the BET switch 25 is pressed.

The spin repeat bet switch 26 is the switch for making a bet to play the slot game without changing the amount of bet by use of the BET switch 25 in the previous game.

The start switch 27 is the switch for staring the slot game on the liquid crystal display 16 after making a bet. When this start switch 27 is pressed after inserting medals into the medal insertion slot 21 or making a bet by use of the BET switch 25, the slot game is started in the display regions Q1 to Q3 on the liquid crystal display 16.

The cash-out switch 23 is the switch for paying out the inserted medals. The medals to be paid out are discharged from a medal payout opening 28 located at a lower part on a front face of the main door 13. The medals thus paid out are piled on a medal tray 18.

The MAXBET switch 24 is the switch for making the maximum amount of bet (such as the amount equivalent to 3 medals) that the player can bet in one round of the slot game in a single operation. Here, the maximum amount of bet the player can make in one round of the slot game may be changed by an operation of an administrator.

A foot display 34 is disposed on a lower front face of the main door 13 and is configured to display various images concerning the games of the slot machine 10. The images may include characters and the like of the slot machine 10, for example.

Lamps 47 are located on both sides of the foot display 34, which are configured to emit light based on predetermined light emission patterns in response to the gaming of the slot machine 10. The medal payout opening 28 is located below the foot display 34.

An upper display 33 is disposed on a front face of the top box 12. The upper display 33 is provided with a display panel which is configured to display the number of medals to be paid out corresponding to combinations of the symbols, for example.

Moreover, a speaker 29 is provided on the top box 12. A ticket printer 35, a card reader 36, a data display 37, and a keypad 38 are located below the upper display 33. The ticket printer 35 is configured to print a bar code for coding various data including the number of credits, date and time, an identification number of the slot machine 10, and the like on a ticket, and to output the ticket as a bar-coded ticket 39. Here, the “number of credits” means the amount of medals, coins, tokens, electronic money, or other electronic value information equivalent to the above which are currently owned by the player.

The player is able to play with a different slot machine by allowing the slot machine to read the bar-coded ticket 39, and to exchange the bar-coded ticket 39 with banknotes and the like in a designated position of a gaming facility (such as a cashier in a casino).

The card reader 36 is configured to allow insertion of a smart card, to read data from the inserted smart card, and to write data thereto. The smart card is a card carried by the player, which stores data for identifying the player, data concerning a history of games played by the player, and so forth.

FIG. 3 is a block diagram showing an electric configuration of the controller 40 provided on the slot machine 10 of this embodiment and various instruments to be connected to the controller 40. The controller 40 of the slot machine 10 shown in FIG. 3 is a microcomputer, which includes an interface circuit group 102, an input-output bus 104, a CPU 106, a ROM 108, a RAM 110, a communication interface circuit 111, a random number generating circuit 112, a speaker driving circuit 122, a hopper driving circuit 124, a counter 128, and a display controller 140.

The interface circuit group 102 is connected to the input-output bus 104. This input-output bus 104 executes input and output of data signals or address signals to and from the CPU 106. The start switch 27 is connected to the interface circuit group 102. A start signal outputted from this start switch 27 is converted into a predetermined signal by the interface circuit group 102 and is then transmitted to the CPU 106 through the input-output bus 104.

Moreover, the BET switch 25, the MAXBET switch 24, the spin repeat bet switch 26, and the cash-out switch 23 are connected to the interface circuit group 102. Switching signals outputted from these switches 25, 24, 26, and 23 are supplied to the interface circuit group 102, converted into predetermined signals by this interface circuit group 102, and then transmitted to the CPU 106 through the input-output bus 104.

In addition, a medal sensor 43 is connected to the interface circuit group 102. The medal sensor 43 is the sensor for detecting the medals inserted into the medal insertion slot 21, which is provided in a medal insertion region of the medal insertion slot 21. A detection signal outputted from this medal sensor 43 is supplied to the interface circuit group 102, then converted into a predetermined signal by this interface circuit group 102, and then transmitted to the CPU 106 through the input-output bus 104.

The ROM 108 for storing a system program and the RAM 110 for saving various data are connected to the input-output bus 104. Moreover, the random number generating circuit 112, the communication interface circuit 111, the display controller 140, the hopper driving circuit 124, the speaker driving circuit 122, and the counter 128 are also connected to the input-output bus 104.

The CPU 106 reads a game execution program out of the ROM 108 and executes the slot game on accepting a starting operation of the game by the start switch 27. The game execution program is the program for executing the slot game on the liquid crystal display 16 through the display controller 140.

To be precise, the game execution program is programmed to execute the slot game so as to scroll the symbols in the display regions Q1 to Q3 (see FIG. 2), then to stop the symbols (to rearrange the symbols), and to cause a payout when the stopped symbols match a winning combination.

The communication interface circuit 111 is connected to a hall server or the like and is configured to transmit data such as a history of the gaming executed by the slot machine 10 to the hall server. Moreover, the communication interface circuit 111 receives various data transmitted from the hall server.

The random number generating circuit 112 generates a random number. This random number is used to determine whether or not it is appropriate to cause the winning combination in the slot game executed on the liquid crystal display 16.

The counter 128 has a function to count the number of slot games executed in the display regions Q1 to Q3, a function to count the number of medals inserted in each of the slot games that are consecutively executed, and a function to count the difference between the number of the inserted medals and the number of the medals paid out in each of the slot games that are consecutively executed. Here, the “number of medals inserted in each of the slot games that are consecutively executed” becomes equal to 30 inserted medals when 10 rounds of the slot games are executed while betting 3 medals every time. Meanwhile, the “difference between the number of the inserted medals and the number of the medals paid out in each of the slot games that are consecutively executed” becomes equal to 20 medals assuming that 10 rounds of the slot games are executed while betting 3 medals every time and that a payout equivalent to 10 medals occurs during the 10 rounds of the slot games.

The speaker driving circuit 122 outputs a voice signal to the speaker 29. Specifically, the CPU 106 reads voice data that are stored in the ROM 108 and transmits the voice data to the speaker driving circuit 122 through the input-output bus 104. In this way, predetermined sound effects are outputted from the speaker 29.

The hopper driving circuit 124 outputs a payout signal to the hopper 44 when a cash-out signal is generated by operation of the cash-out switch 23. Specifically, when the cash-out signal is inputted from the cash-out switch 23, the CPU 106 outputs a drive signal to the hopper driving circuit 124 through the input-output bus 104. In this way, the hopper 44 pays out the medals corresponding to the remaining credits at that point, stored in a predetermined memory region of the RAM 110.

The display controller 140 performs display control for executing the slot game on the liquid crystal display 16. Specifically, the CPU 106 generates image display command signals corresponding to a state of a slot game and a result of the slot game and outputs the image display command signals to the display controller 140 through the input-output bus 104. When the image display command signals outputted from the CPU 106 are inputted, the display controller 140 generates drive signals for driving the liquid crystal display 16 based on these image display commands and outputs the generated drive signals to the liquid crystal display 16. In this way, various images including effect images and images for explaining the game are displayed on the liquid crystal display 16.

Moreover, a touch panel sensor 19 is provided on a surface of the liquid crystal display 16. When the player touches this touch panel sensor 19, data representing the touched position on the liquid crystal display 16 are detected and are transmitted to the CPU 106.

Furthermore, the display controller 140 performs control to display various images including effect images and images for explaining the game on the upper display 33.

Next, procedures for executing the unit game constituting each round of execution of the slot game with the slot machine 10 (the gaming machine) according to the first embodiment of the present invention will be described with reference to flowcharts shown in FIG. 4 to FIG. 9.

FIG. 4 is the flowchart showing a unit game execution process using the slot machine 10 of this embodiment. When the unit game is executed, the CPU 106 shown in FIG. 3 first receives a bet (Step S31). To be more precise, when the medals are inserted from the medal insertion slot 21 or when a bet is made by means of pressing the BET switch 25 or the MAXBET switch 24, these operations are detected by the CPU 106.

Subsequently, the CPU 106 carries out a betting process for the rescue pay (Step S32). In this process, the CPU 106 receives a bet for the rescue pay by using the touch panel sensor 19 provided on the liquid crystal display 16. More details will be described with reference to the flowchart shown in FIG. 5.

Thereafter, the CPU 106 judges whether or not the start switch 27 is turned on (Step S33). When the judgment is made that the start switch 27 is not turned on (Step S33: NO), this procedure is repeated until the judgment is made that the start switch 27 is turned on. On the other hand, the process goes to Step S34 when the judgment is made that the start switch 27 is turned on (Step S33: YES).

Then, the CPU 106 carries out an execution process of the slot game (Step S34). In this process, the CPU 106 executes a process for rearranging the symbols located in the three display regions Q1 to Q3. More details will be described with reference to the flowchart shown in FIG. 6.

Subsequently, the CPU 106 carries out a process to count the unit games (Step S35). In this process, the CPU 106 increments the counter 128 every time the unit game is executed. More details will be described with reference to the flowchart shown in FIG. 7.

Thereafter, the CPU 106 carries out a rescue pay execution process (Step S36). In this process, the CPU 106 carries out the free game rounds when the specific play result does not occur consecutively for predetermined times of rounds of the unit games. More details will be described with reference to the flowchart shown in FIG. 8.

Next, the CPU 106 grants a payout (Step S37). In this process, the CPU 106 provides a payout when the symbols qualifying the winning combination stop in the three display regions Q1 to Q3. Thereafter, the process goes to Step S31.

FIG. 5 is the flowchart showing detailed procedures of the betting process for the rescue pay shown in Step S32 in FIG. 4. First, the CPU 106 judges whether or not the current unit game is the rescue game (Step S51). The process shown in FIG. 5 is terminated when the current unit game is judged to be the rescue game (Step S51: YES). On the other hand, the process goes to Step S52 when the current unit game is not judged to be the rescue game (Step S51: NO).

Then, the CPU 106 accepts a bet for the rescue pay for every 10 games (Step S52). Specifically, the bet for the rescue pay is accepted in increments of 10 games such as 10 games, 20 games or 30 games. Thereafter, the CPU 106 displays bet acceptance images for the rescue pay on the upper display 33 and the liquid crystal display 16 (Step S53).

FIG. 25A is an explanatory view showing a display example of the upper display 33 while FIG. 25B is an explanatory view showing a display example of the liquid crystal display 16. As shown in FIG. 25A, an image 200 showing a character string of “RESCUE OFF” is displayed on the upper display 33 in order to indicate a state that no bet is currently made for the rescue pay. Meanwhile, as shown in FIG. 25B, a selection image 210 for selecting a display of detailed explanation of the rescue pay is displayed on the liquid crystal display 16. Moreover, when a player touches this selection screen 210, this touch operation is detected by the touch panel sensor 19 (see FIG. 3).

Here, as shown in FIG. 25B, an image 31 indicating the number of credits currently owned by the user, a payout image 32 indicating the number of credits paid out to the user, and an image 214 indicating a pay line are displayed on the liquid crystal display 16.

Thereafter, an explanation image 220 concerning the rescue pay is displayed as shown in FIG. 26. In this example, sentences such as “What is rescue pay? Bet 10 credits for every 10 games. Free game rounds will be executed when three “7” symbols are not aligned before reaching 1000 games. Turn RESCUE on?” are displayed. In this way, the detailed contents of the rescue pay are notified to the player. At the same time, the player is urged to select either an image 221 indicating “YES” or an image 222 indicating “NO”.

Here, when the image 221 indicating “YES” is selected, the liquid crystal display 16 displays the image 220 for selecting the number of rescue games as shown in FIG. 27. To be more precise, the selection image 220 includes a first selection image 220 a indicating “10 games, 10 credits”, a second selection image 220 b indicating “20 games, 20 credits”, and a third selection image 220 c indicating “30 games, 30 credits”. Moreover, the selection image 220 also includes a fourth selection image 220 d indicating “40 games, 40 credits”, a fifth selection image 220 e indicating “50 games, 50 credits”, and a sixth selection image indicating “60 games, 60 credits”. By displaying these images 220 a to 220 f, the slot machine 10 urges the player to set the rescue games by defining every 10 games as a unit.

Reference is again made to FIG. 5. After displaying the images as described above, the CPU judges as to whether or not the bet for the rescue pay is inputted (Step S54). Specifically, the CPU 106 judges whether or not the player selects any of the selection images 220 a to 220 f shown in FIG. 27. Here, the process is terminated in the case of the judgment that none of the selection images 220 a to 220 f is selected (Step S54: NO).

On the other hand, in the case of the judgment that any one of the selection images 220 a to 220 f is selected by the user (Step S54: YES), the CPU 106 sets the number of games indicated in the image selected from the selection images 220 a to 220 f (Step S55), as the rescue games. For example, when the image 220 b indicating “20 games, 20 credits” is selected out of six pieces of the selection images 220 a to 220 f, the 20 rounds of the unit games starting from the current unit game are set as the rescue games. Moreover, 20 credits are bet by this selection. Thereafter, the process shown in FIG. 5 is terminated.

FIG. 6 is the flowchart showing procedures of the slot game execution process shown in Step S34 in FIG. 4. Now, the slot game execution process will be described with reference to this drawing.

First, the CPU 106 determines the symbols to be stopped in the display regions Q1 to Q3 (Step S71) based on random numbers generated by the random number generating circuit 112 (see FIG. 3). As shown in FIG. 24, the symbols include “7”, “triple BAR”, “double BAR”, “CHERRY”, and “single BAR”. The CPU 106 determines the symbols to be stopped out of these symbols.

Subsequently, the CPU 106 displays the symbols in a scrolling manner in the display regions Q1 to Q3, and the displayed symbols are stopped after a lapse of a predetermined time period (such as 5 seconds) (Step S72). The displayed symbols stopped at this time are the symbols determined in Step S71.

Thereafter, the CPU 106 judges whether or not the specific symbols are aligned (Step S73). Here, the specific symbol is “7”. In the case of the judgment that the specific symbols are aligned (Step S73: YES), the CPU 106 judges whether or not three credits were bet in Step S31 show in FIG. 4 (Step S74). The process shown in FIG. 6 is terminated in the case of the judgment that three credits were not bet. (Step S74: NO).

On the other hand, in the case of the judgment that three credits were bet (Step S74: YES), the CPU 106 carries out a free game round execution process (Step S75). Then, the CPU 106 sets a specific symbol qualification flag to “1” (Step S76). Thereafter, the process shown in FIG. 6 is terminated.

Incidentally, in the case of the judgment that the specific symbols are not aligned (Step S73: NO), the CPU 106 judges whether or not the winning combination consisting of the symbols for causing the payout are stopped in the display regions Q1 to Q3 (Step S77). To be more precise, as shown in FIG. 24, the CPU 106 judges that the winning combination is stopped when three “triple BAR” symbols, three “double BAR” symbols, three “CHERRY” symbols, three “single BAR” symbols, or three of any of the “triple BAR”, “double BAR” and “single BAR” symbols (ANYBAR) are aligned in the display regions Q1 to Q3. Moreover, the CPU 106 also judges that the winning combination is stopped when two “CHERRY” symbols or a single “CHERRY” symbol appear in the display regions Q1 to Q3.

The process shown in FIG. 6 is terminated in the case of the judgment that the winning combination is not stopped (Step S77: NO). On the other hand, in the case of the judgment that the winning combination is stopped (Step S77: YES), the CPU 106 calculates a payout amount as described below. Specifically, the CPU 106 calculates each amount of payout (award) in the following way. That is, by multiplying the number of credits bet on the unit game by 60 when the three “triple BAR” symbols are aligned, by multiplying the number of credits bet on the unit game by 30 when the three “double BAR” symbols are aligned, and by multiplying the number of credits bet on the unit game by 20 when the three “CHERRY” symbols are aligned. Likewise, the CPU 106 calculates the payout by multiplying the number of credits bet on the unit game by 15 when the three “single BAR” symbols are aligned, and calculates the payout by multiplying the number of credits bet on the unit game by 5 when three of any of the “triple BAR”, “double BAR” and “single BAR” symbols are aligned. Further, the CPU 106 calculates the payout by multiplying the number of credits bet on the unit game by 5 when the two “CHERRY” symbols are aligned, and calculates the payout by multiplying the number of credits bet on the unit game by 2 when the single “CHERRY” symbol appears. Thereafter, the process shown in FIG. 6 is terminated.

As described above, in the slot game execution process shown in FIG. 6, the CPU 106 calculates the payout amount when the winning combination is aligned. Meanwhile, the CPU 106 executes the free game rounds and sets the specific symbol qualification flag to “1” when the specific symbols are aligned.

Next, the process to count the unit games shown in Step S35 in FIG. 4 will be described with reference to the flowchart shown in FIG. 7. FIG. 7 is the flowchart showing procedures of the process to count the unit games shown in Step S35 in FIG. 4.

First, the CPU 106 increments a count value Ta of the unit games (Step S91). Specifically, the CPU 106 sets Ta=Ta+1. Here, the count value Ta is initially set to 0, and will be reset in the procedure in Step S93 to be described later. Here, the count value Ta is the calculated value of the executed rounds of the unit games.

Then, the CPU 106 judges whether or not the specific symbol qualification flag is set to “1” (Step S92). Specifically, the judgment is made as to whether or not the specific symbol qualification flag shown in Step S76 in FIG. 6 is set to “1”. When the specific symbol qualification flag is set to “1” (Step S92: YES), the CPU 106 resets the count value Ta (Step S93).

Thereafter, the CPU 106 resets the specific symbol qualification flag (Step S94) and resets the bet for the rescue pay (Step S95). That is, since the player is granted a large benefit when the free game rounds are executed, the count value of the unit games is reset and the bet for the rescue pay executed in Step S32 in FIG. 4 is also reset.

Meanwhile, the process shown in FIG. 7 is terminated when the specific symbol qualification flag is not set to “1” (Step S92: NO). Specifically, when the specific symbol qualification flag is not set to “1”, the next unit game takes place while incrementing the count value Ta. Then the process shown in FIG. 7 is terminated.

Next, procedures of the rescue pay execution process shown in Step S36 in FIG. 4 will be described with reference to the flowchart shown in FIG. 8. FIG. 8 is the flowchart showing the procedures of the rescue pay execution process shown in Step S36 in FIG. 4.

First, the CPU 106 judges whether or not the current unit game is the rescue game (Step S101). Specifically, in the process shown in Step 55 in FIG. 5, the judgment is made as to whether or not the current unit game is the unit game set as the rescue game. Here, the process shown in FIG. 8 is terminated in the case of the judgment that the current unit game is not the rescue game (Step S101: NO).

On the other hand, in the case of the judgment that the current unit game is the rescue game (Step S101: YES), the CPU 106 judges whether or not the count value Ta of the unit games is equal to a preset upper limit value Ta max (Ta max=1000, for example) (Step S102).

The process shown in FIG. 8 is terminated in the case of the judgment that the count value Ta is not equal to Ta max (Step S102: NO). On the other hand, in the case of the judgment that the count value Ta is equal to Ta max (Step S102: YES), the CPU 106 executes the free game round execution process (Step S103). Thereafter, the process shown in FIG. 8 is terminated.

Specifically, if the specific symbols are not qualified consecutively in the number of times equivalent to the upper limit value Ta max (a predetermined game number), or more specifically, if the three “7” symbols are not aligned for consecutive rounds, then the preset rescue pay (the free game rounds) becomes effective.

FIG. 9 is the flowchart showing procedures of the free game round execution process of Step S75 in FIG. 6 and Step S103 in FIG. 8. As shown in FIG. 9, the CPU 106 first determines the number of rounds N of the free game rounds (Step S111). Here, the number of rounds is determined by use of a random number of the random number generating circuit 112, for example.

Thereafter, the CPU 106 determines the symbols to be stopped in the display regions Q1 to Q3 (Step S112) based on a random number generated by the random number generating circuit 112 (see FIG. 3). Subsequently, the CPU 106 displays the symbols in a scrolling manner in the display regions Q1 to Q3, and the displayed symbols are stopped after a lapse of a predetermined time period (such as 5 seconds) (Step S113). The displayed symbols stopped at this time are the symbols determined in Step S112. Note that the symbols qualifying the payout are more easily aligned during the free game rounds.

Then, the CPU 106 judges whether or not the symbols stopped in the display regions Q1 to Q3 satisfy any of the winning combinations for qualifying the payout (Step S114). The process goes to Step S117 in the case of the judgment that the winning combination is not stopped (Step S114: NO). On the other hand, in the case of the judgment that the winning combination is stopped (Step S114: YES), the CPU 106 calculates the payout amount corresponding to the above-mentioned winning combination (Step S115). Then the CPU 106 causes the payout (Step S116). Thereafter, the process goes to Step S117.

In Step S117, the CPU 106 judges whether or not a current number of rounds n reaches the number of rounds N of the free game rounds determined in Step S111. Here, the current number of rounds n is the number of the free game rounds played so far. When the judgment is made that the current number of rounds n does not reach the number of rounds N of the free game rounds (Step S117: NO), the CPU 106 increments the current number of rounds n (Step S118) and then the process goes to Step S112. On the other hand, the process shown in FIG. 9 is terminated in the case of the judgment that the current number of rounds n reaches the number of rounds N of the free game rounds (Step S117: YES).

Next, image display examples of the slot machine 10 of this embodiment will be described. FIGS. 28A and 28B are display examples of the upper display 33 and the liquid crystal display 16 during the rescue games. As shown in FIG. 28A, a character image 302 used for various effects, for example, and an image 230 indicating that the rescue game is currently set are displayed on the upper display 33. Meanwhile, as shown in FIG. 28B, an image 235 indicating that the rescue game is currently set and an image 236 indicating details of the rescue pay are displayed on the liquid crystal display 16. Here, an example of the image 236 indicating details of the rescue pay is a character-string display such as “Free games will be executed if three “7” symbols are not aligned consecutively for 1000 games”.

FIGS. 29A and 29B are display examples of the upper display 33 and the liquid crystal display 16 when the count value Ta is coming close to the upper limit value Ta max. When the count value Ta is equal to “992”, for example, an image 308 for notifying the player that there are 8 games left before the rescue pay becomes effective is displayed as shown in FIG. 29A. Meanwhile, an image 246 of an angel with folded wings is displayed on the liquid crystal display 16 as shown in FIG. 29B.

FIGS. 30A and 30B are second display examples of the upper display 33 and the liquid crystal display 16 when the count value Ta is coming closer to the upper limit value Ta max. When the count value Ta is equal to “999”, an image 315 for notifying the player that there is 1 game left before the rescue pay becomes effective is displayed on the upper display 33 as shown in FIG. 30A. Meanwhile, an image 249 of the angel unfolding the wings is displayed on the liquid crystal display 16 as shown in FIG. 30B.

FIGS. 31A and 31B are display examples of the upper display 33 and the liquid crystal display 16 when the count value Ta is equal to the upper limit value Ta max. When the count value Ta reaches “1000”, images 316 and 416 indicating that the free game rounds are granted are displayed on the upper display 33 and the liquid crystal display 16, respectively.

Moreover, as shown in FIG. 31B, images 252 and 253 indicating that the free game rounds are currently executed are displayed on the liquid crystal display 16. Although not illustrated, the remaining rounds of the free game rounds may also be displayed on the liquid crystal display 16.

FIG. 32 is a display example on the liquid crystal display 16 after completion of the rescue pay. As the free game rounds are executed and completed, an image 255 indicating that the rescue pay is currently turned off is displayed.

In this way, the free game rounds shown in Step S74 in FIG. 6 and Step S103 in FIG. 8 are carried out.

As described above, according to the slot machine 10 serving as the gaming machine and the method of playing games using the slot machine 10, of this embodiment, multiple rounds of the unit games are executed without making a bet when the count value of the unit games reaches the predetermined value. Accordingly, the payouts are granted in response to the play results of those unit games without making a bet, and it is possible to suppress the amount of loss. Hence, it is possible to relieve anxiety of the player.

Moreover, the bet for getting the rescue pay is not automatically collected by the slot machine 10. Instead, it is possible to make a bet as a prerequisite for getting the rescue pay for every predetermined number of games. Accordingly, the player can set the rescue games at his or her discretion.

In particular, when the predetermined number of games is plural (such as 10 games), it is unnecessary to make a bet as a prerequisite for getting the rescue pay every round of the unit game. Hence, it is possible to improve convenience for making a bet as a prerequisite for getting the rescue pay.

Further, since multiple rounds of the unit games are executed without making a bet when the count value of the unit games reaches the predetermined value, the player can surely gain the rescue pay by playing many unit games. Accordingly, it is possible to attract the player to the games with the slot machine 10. Thus, it is possible to improve an operating rate of the slot machine 10.

Moreover, the count value is reset when the specific play result is qualified. Accordingly, it is possible to avoid excessive payouts of medals and the like by execution of the free game rounds to the player, who has already received a large amount of payout.

Furthermore, the number of unit games to be executed without making a bet during the free game rounds is determined at random. Accordingly, the unit games that are executed during the free game rounds become more interesting. In this way, it is possible to further improve the operating rate of the slot machine 10.

Next, a modified example of the above-described first embodiment will be described. In this modified example, only the process to count the unit games shown in Step S35 in FIG. 4 is different from the above-described first embodiment. Now, the process to count the unit games in the modified example will be described with reference to a flowchart shown in FIG. 10. FIG. 10 is the flowchart showing procedures of the process to count the unit games (Step S35) according to the modified example of the first embodiment.

First, the CPU 106 judges whether or not the current unit game is the rescue game (Step S131). Specifically, the judgment is made as to whether or not the current unit game is the unit game set as the rescue game in the procedure in Step S55 in FIG. 5. The process goes to Step S132 when the judgment is made that the current game is set as the rescue game (Step S131: YES). Here, the procedures in Steps S132 to S136 are the same as Steps S91 to S95 in FIG. 7 and detailed explanation of these procedures will therefore be omitted.

On the contrary, when the current unit game is not the rescue game (Step S131: NO), the process shown in FIG. 10 is terminated without incrementing the count value Ta. Specifically, the count value Ta is not incremented in the unit game which is not set as the rescue game. In other words, the count value Ta will be incremented only in the unit games set as the rescue games.

As described above, according to this modified example, the count value Ta is incremented every time the rescue game is executed and the rescue pay is paid out when this count value Ta reaches the upper limit value Ta max. For this reason, it is possible to interest the player in setting the rescue games.

Second Embodiment

Next, a second embodiment of the present invention will be described. FIG. 11 is a flowchart showing procedures of unit games to be executed by the slot machine 10 serving as the gaming machine according to the second embodiment. Here, Steps S151 to 154 and S157 shown in FIG. 11 are the same as Steps S31 to S34 and S37 shown in FIG. 4 and explanation thereof will be omitted.

After the slot game execution process (Step S154), the CPU 106 carries out a process to count consumed bets (Step S155). Now, the process to count consumed bets indicated in Step S155 in FIG. 11 will be described with reference to a flowchart shown in FIG. 12.

FIG. 12 is a flowchart showing the procedures of the process to count consumed bets shown in Step S155 in FIG. 11. First, the CPU 106 adds newly-made bet a to the count value of bets consumed at present Tb (Step S171). That is, the CPU 106 sets Tb=Tb+α. Here, the count value Tb is initially set to 0 and will be reset in the procedure in Step S173 to be described later. Here, the count value Tb is an accumulated value of the bets (the number of medals or the number of credits) invested in each of the unit games. For example, when a bet is made with three medals in one unit game, the value α is equal to 3 and the count value is therefore expressed as Tb=Tb+3.

Thereafter, the CPU 106 judges whether or not the specific symbol qualification flag is set to “1” (Step S172). Specifically, the judgment is made as to whether or not the specific symbol qualification flag shown in Step S76 in FIG. 6 is set to “1”. The process shown in FIG. 12 is terminated when the judgment is made that the specific symbol qualification flag is not set to “1” (Step S172: NO).

On the contrary, the CPU 106 resets the count value Tb (Step S173) when the judgment is made that the specific symbol qualification flag is set to “1” (Step S172: YES). Thereafter, the same procedures as Steps S94 and S95 in FIG. 7 are executed in Steps S174 and S175. Then the process shown in FIG. 12 is terminated.

As described above, in the second embodiment, the count value a indicating the bet made on the current unit game is added to the count value Tb indicating the accumulated value of the consumed bets when the specific symbols are not aligned. Meanwhile, the count value Tb is reset when the specific symbols are aligned.

Next, the procedures of the rescue pay execution process shown in Step S156 in FIG. 11 will be described with reference to a flowchart shown in FIG. 13. FIG. 13 is the flowchart showing the procedures of the rescue pay execution process shown in Step S156 in FIG. 11.

As shown in FIG. 13, the CPU 106 first judges whether or not the current unit game is the rescue game (Step S191). Specifically, in the process shown in Step 55 in FIG. 5, the CPU 106 judges whether or not the current unit game is set as the rescue game.

The process shown in FIG. 13 is terminated in the case of the judgment that the current unit game is not the rescue game (Step S191: NO). On the other hand, when the judgment is made that the current game is the rescue game (Step S191: YES), the CPU 106 judges whether or not the count value Tb of the consumed bets is equal to a preset upper limit value Tb max (Tb max=3000 to 3002, for example). Then, the process shown in FIG. 13 is terminated when the judgment is made that Tb is not equal to Tb max (Step S192: NO).

On the other hand, when the judgment is made that Tb is equal to Tb max (Step S192: YES), the CPU 106 carries out the free game round execution process (Step S193). That is, when the specific symbols are not qualified after insertion of the bet equivalent to the upper value Tb max, or more specifically, when the winning combination of alignment of the “7” symbols does not occur, the free game rounds shown in FIG. 9 are executed.

In this way, according to the slot machine 10 serving as the gaming machine and the method of playing games using the slot machine 10 according to the second embodiment, multiple rounds of the unit games are executed without making a bet when the accumulated value of the bets made on the multiple rounds of the unit games reaches the predetermined value. Hence the player can gain the rescue pay by making more bets on the unit games. Accordingly, it is possible to attract the player to the games with the slot machine 10. Therefore, it is possible to improve the operating rate of the slot machine 10.

Next, a modified example of the above-described second embodiment will be described. In this modified example, only the process to count the consumed bets shown in Step S155 in FIG. 11 is different from the above-described second embodiment. Now, the process to count the consumed bets in the modified example will be described with reference to a flowchart shown in FIG. 14. FIG. 14 is the flowchart showing procedures of the process to count the consumed bets (Step S155) according to the modified example of the second embodiment.

First, the CPU 106 judges whether or not the current unit game is the rescue game (Step S201). Specifically, the judgment is made as to whether or not the current unit game is the unit game set as the rescue game in the procedure in Step S55 in FIG. 5. The process goes to Step S202 when the judgment is made that the current game is set as the rescue game (Step S201: YES). Here, the procedures in Steps S202 to S206 are the same as Steps S91 to S95 in FIG. 7 and detailed explanation of these procedures will therefore be omitted.

On the contrary, when the judgment is made that the current unit game is not the rescue game (Step S201: NO), the process shown in FIG. 14 is terminated without incrementing the count value Tb. Specifically, the count value Tb is not incremented in the unit game which is not set as the rescue game. In other words, the count value Tb will be incremented only in the unit games set as the rescue games.

As described above, in this modified example, the count value Tb is counted every time a bet is made in the unit game set as the rescue game and the rescue pay is paid out when this count value Tb reaches the upper limit value Tb max. Accordingly, it is possible to interest the player in setting the rescue games.

The second embodiment and the modified example thereof have been described according to the example in which the bet made on the unit games is defined as the consumed bet a and this consumed bet a is added to the count value Tb. Instead, it is also possible to add the difference between the bet made on the unit games and the payout provided in the unit games to the count value. For example, if a total of 30 medals are bet on 10 rounds of the unit games and the payout of 10 medals are qualified by alignment of the winning combinations during these 10 rounds of the unit games, 20 medals that represent the difference can be added to the count value Tb.

In this case, the count value Tb is accumulated in response to an actual loss of the bets on the part of the player.

Moreover, the first embodiment has been described according to the example of executing the free game rounds when the count value Ta of the number of the unit games reaches the upper limit value Ta max. Meanwhile, the second embodiment has been described according to the example of executing the free game rounds when the count value Tb of the bets consumed in the consecutive unit games reaches the upper limit value Tb max. It is also possible to set the condition for executing the free game rounds by combining these examples.

Specifically, it is also possible to apply a configuration to execute the free game rounds either when the count value Ta of the number of unit games reaches the upper limit value Ta max or when the count value Tb of the bets consumed in the consecutive unit games reaches the upper limit value Tb max.

Third Embodiment

Next, a third embodiment of the present invention will be described. FIG. 15 is a flowchart showing procedures to be executed by the slot machine 10 serving as the gaming machine according to the third embodiment of the present invention. The flowchart illustrates details of the process to count the unit games shown in Step S35 of the flowchart in FIG. 4.

First, the CPU 106 increments the count value Ta of the unit games (Step S211). Specifically, the CPU 106 sets Ta=Ta+1. Here, the count value Ta is a calculated value of rounds of the executed unit games which is initially set to 0.

Subsequently, the CPU 106 judges whether or not the specific symbol qualification flag is set to “1” (Step S212). The process shown in FIG. 15 is terminated when the judgment is made that the specific symbol qualification flag is not set to “1” (Step S212: NO). On the other hand, when the judgment is made that the specific symbol qualification flag is set to “1” (Step S212: YES), the CPU 106 resets the bets made for the rescue pay (Step S213) and resets the specific symbol qualification flag (Step S214). Then the process shown in FIG. 15 is terminated. As described above, in the third embodiment, the count value Ta is not reset in the process to count the unit games.

Next, procedures of the rescue pay execution process (Step S36 in FIG. 4) according to the third embodiment will be described with reference to a flowchart shown in FIG. 16. FIG. 16 is the flowchart showing the procedures of the rescue pay execution process according to the third embodiment, which illustrates details of the rescue pay execution process shown in Step S36 of the flowchart in FIG. 4.

First, the CPU 106 judges whether or not the current unit game is the rescue game (Step S231). The process shown in FIG. 16 is terminated when the judgment is made that the current unit game is not the rescue game (Step S231: NO).

On the other hand, when the judgment is made that the current unit game is the rescue game (Step S231: YES), the CPU 106 judges whether or not the count value Ta of the unit games is equal to the preset upper limit value Ta max (Ta max=1000, for example) (Step S232). The process shown in FIG. 16 is terminated when the judgment is made that Ta is not equal to Ta max (Step S232: NO).

On the other hand, when the judgment is made that Ta is equal to Ta max (Step S232: YES), the CPU 106 carries out the free game round execution process (Step S233). Thereafter, the CPU 106 resets the count value Ta (Step S234). Then the process shown in FIG. 16 is terminated.

As described above, according to the slot machine 10 serving as the gaming machine and the method of playing games using the slot machine 10, the count value will not be reset unless the count value reaches the predetermined value and the free game rounds are executed. That is, the count value Ta is not reset even if the specific symbols (i.e. the “7” symbols) are aligned in the unit game and the free game rounds are executed. Therefore, the count value Ta is not reset even when the specific symbol qualification flag is set to “1” before the count value Ta reaches the upper limit value Ta max. Accordingly, if the bet is made again for the rescue pay, the payout attributable to the rescue pay is granted when the count value Ta reaches the upper limit value Ta max.

Next, a modified example of the third embodiment will be described. FIG. 17 is a flowchart showing the process to count the unit games according to the modified example of the third embodiment. As shown in FIG. 17, the CPU 106 first judges whether or not the current unit game is the rescue game (Step S251).

The process goes to Step S252 when the judgment is made that the current unit game is the rescue game (Step S251: YES). Here, procedures in Steps S252 to S255 are the same as those in Steps S211 to S214 in FIG. 15 and detailed explanation of these procedures will therefore be omitted.

On the contrary, when the judgment is made that the current unit game is not the rescue game (Step S251: NO), the process is terminated without incrementing the count value Ta. Specifically, the count value Ta is not incremented in the unit game which is not set as the rescue game. In this way, the count value Ta will be incremented only in the unit games set as the rescue games.

Fourth Embodiment

Next, the slot machine serving as the gaming machine according to a fourth embodiment of the present invention will be described. FIG. 18 is a flowchart showing procedures of the unit game execution process with the slot machine according to the fourth embodiment. First, when the unit game is executed, the CPU 106 accepts the bet (Step S271). To be more precise, when the medals are inserted from the medal insertion slot 21 or when the credits are bet by means of pressing the MAXBET switch 24 or the BET switch 25, these operations are detected by the CPU 106.

Subsequently, the CPU 106 carries out the process to count the unit games (Step 272). This process to count the unit games will be described later by using a flowchart shown in FIG. 19.

Thereafter, the CPU 106 judges whether or not the count value Ta counted in the process to count the unit games reaches a preset reference value Ta1 (Ta1=100, for example) (Step S273). The process goes to Step S275 in the case of the judgment that the count value Ta does not reach the reference value Ta1 (Step S273: NO).

On the other hand, when the judgment is made that the count value Ta reaches the reference value Ta1 (Step S273: YES), the CPU 106 carries out the betting process for the rescue pay (Step S274). In this process, the CPU 106 accepts the bet for the rescue pay by using the touch panel sensor 19 provided on the liquid crystal display 16. That is, it is possible to bet for the rescue pay only when the count value Ta reaches the reference value Ta1. Here, detailed procedures of the betting process for the rescue pay are the same as the above-described process shown in the flowchart in FIG. 5, and the explanation will therefore be omitted.

Thereafter, in Steps S275 and S276, the CPU 106 carries out the same processes as Steps S33 and S34 shown in FIG. 4. Then the process goes to Step S277.

In Step S277, the CPU 106 carries out a resetting process. Detailed procedures will be described later with reference to a flowchart shown in FIG. 20. Thereafter, in Steps S278 and S279, the CPU 106 carries out the same processes as Steps S36 and S37 shown in FIG. 4. Then the process shown in FIG. 18 goes to Step S271.

Next, the process to count the unit games shown in Step S272 in FIG. 18 will be described with reference to the flowchart shown in FIG. 19. FIG. 19 is the flowchart showing the procedures of the process to count the unit games shown in Step S272 in FIG. 18.

As shown in FIG. 19, the CPU 106 increments the count value Ta of the unit games (Step S291). Then the process shown in FIG. 19 is terminated. As described above, in the fourth embodiment, only the unit games are counted in the process to count the unit games, and the process is then terminated.

Next, the resetting process shown in Step S277 in FIG. 18 will be described with reference to the flowchart shown in FIG. 20. FIG. 20 is the flowchart showing procedures of the resetting process shown in Step S277 in FIG. 18.

First, the CPU 106 judges whether or not the specific symbol qualification flag is set to “1” (Step S301). Specifically, the judgment is made as to whether or not the specific symbol qualification flag shown Step S76 in FIG. 6 is set to “1”. When the specific symbol qualification flag is set to “1” (Step S301: YES), the CPU 106 resets the count value Ta (Step S302).

Thereafter, the CPU 106 resets the specific symbol qualification flag (Step S303) and resets the bet for the rescue pay (Step S304). Then, the process shown in FIG. 20 is terminated. On the other hand, the process shown in FIG. 20 is terminated when the specific symbol qualification flag is not set to “1” (Step S301: NO).

As described above, according to the slot machine 10 serving as the gaming machine and the method of playing games using the slot machine 10, it is possible to make a bet for the rescue pay when the count value Ta reaches the predetermined reference value Ta1 as a consequence of executing the unit games. In this way, the bet for the rescue pay is not allowed when the count value Ta is small. Accordingly, when the count value Ta cannot possibly reach the upper limit value Ta max as shown in Step S102 in FIG. 8, this slot machine 10 and the method of playing games using this slot machine 10 can prevent the player from making an unnecessary bet on the rescue pay.

Fifth Embodiment

Next, the slot machine serving as the gaming machine according to a fifth embodiment of the present invention will be described. FIG. 21 is a flowchart showing procedures of the unit game execution process with the slot machine according to the fifth embodiment.

First, when the unit game is executed, the CPU 106 receives a bet (Step S311). This process is the same as Step S271 shown in FIG. 18. Subsequently, the CPU 106 carries out the process to count the consumed bets (Step 312). This process will be described later by using a flowchart shown in FIG. 22.

Thereafter, the CPU 106 judges whether or not the count value Tb counted in the process to count the consumed bets reaches a preset reference value Tb1 (Tb1=300 to 302, for example) (Step S313). The process goes to Step S315 when the judgment is made that the count value Tb does not reach Tb1 (Step S313: NO).

On the other hand, when the judgment is made that the count value Tb reaches Tb1 (Step S313: YES), the CPU 106 carries out the betting process for the rescue pay (Step S314). This process is the same as Step S274 shown in FIG. 18.

Thereafter, in Steps S315 and S316, the CPU 106 carries out the same processes as Steps S275 and S276 shown in FIG. 18. Then the process goes to Step S317.

In Step S317, the CPU 106 carries out the resetting process. Detailed procedures will be described later with reference to a flowchart shown in FIG. 23. Thereafter, in Steps S318 and S319, the CPU 106 carries out the same processes as Steps 278 and S279 shown in FIG. 18. Then the process shown in FIG. 21 goes to Step S311.

Next, the process to count the consumed bets shown in Step S312 in FIG. 21 will be described with reference to the flowchart shown in FIG. 22. FIG. 22 is the flowchart showing the procedures of the process to count the consumed bets shown in Step S312 in FIG. 21.

As shown in FIG. 22, the CPU 106 adds an amount of bet a made on the unit game to the count value Tb (Step S331). Then the process shown in FIG. 22 is terminated. As described above, in the fifth embodiment, only the consumed bets are counted in the process to count the consumed bets and then the process is terminated.

Next, the resetting process shown in Step S317 in FIG. 21 will be described with reference to the flowchart shown in FIG. 23. FIG. 23 is the flowchart showing the procedures of the resetting process shown in Step S317 in FIG. 21.

First, the CPU 106 judges whether or not the specific symbol qualification flag is set to “1” (Step S351). Here, when the specific symbol qualification flag is set to “1” (Step S351: YES), the CPU 106 resets the count value Tb (Step S352).

Thereafter, the CPU 106 resets the specific symbol qualification flag (Step S353) and resets the bet for the rescue pay (Step S354). Then, the process shown in FIG. 23 is terminated. The process shown in FIG. 23 is terminated when the judgment is made that the specific symbol qualification flag is not set to “1” (Step S301: NO).

As described above, according to the slot machine 10 serving as the gaming machine and the method of playing games using the slot machine 10, it is possible to make a bet for the rescue pay when the count value Tb reaches the predetermined reference value Tb1 as a consequence of executing the unit games. In this way, when the count value Tb is small, i.e. when the count value Tb cannot possibly reach the upper limit value Tb max as the player does not invest a large amount of bets, this slot machine 10 and the method of playing games using this slot machine 10 can prevent the player from making an unnecessary bet on the rescue pay.

Although the slot machine and the method of playing games using the slot machine of the present invention have been described with reference to certain illustrative embodiments, it is to be understood that the present invention is not limited only to these embodiments and that the concrete configurations of each of the constituents may be changed as appropriate. Moreover, the concrete configurations of each of the constituents may be replaced by other configurations having equivalent functions or combinations of multiple constituents each having partial functions. Alternatively, it is also possible to achieve the present invention by partially using the functions of other constituents that have extensive functions.

For instance, the embodiments have described the example of providing the liquid crystal display 16 with three pieces of the display regions Q1 to Q3 and executing the slot games by use of these display regions Q1 to Q3. However, the present invention is not limited only to this configuration.

Moreover, the embodiments have applied the configuration to select an arbitrary option by allowing the player to touch the touch panel sensor 19. However, it is also possible to select an arbitrary option by a switching operation instead of using the touch panel sensor 19.

Further, the present invention has been described on the slot machine as the typical gaming machine. However, the present invention is not limited only to this configuration. The present invention is also applicable to other gaming machines such as horse racing games.

In addition, the embodiments have applied video reels as an example. However, the present invention is not limited only to this configuration. The present invention may apply mechanical reels instead.

Moreover, it is to be understood that the effects described in conjunction with the respective embodiments of the present invention merely represent the most favorable effects arising from the present invention. In this context, the effects of the present invention shall not be limited only to those expressly stated in the description of the embodiments of the present invention.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US6113493 *Feb 21, 1997Sep 5, 2000Walker Digital, LlcSystem and method for generating and executing insurance policies for gambling losses
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8096870Nov 15, 2007Jan 17, 2012Aruze Gaming America, Inc.Gaming machine capable of bet of monetary value as a condition for acquisition of insurance pay
US8672737 *Oct 28, 2008Mar 18, 2014Aruze Gaming America, Inc.Slot machine with insurance payout proportional to average bet amount
Classifications
U.S. Classification463/20
International ClassificationA63F9/24
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/34, G07F17/3267, G07F17/3244
European ClassificationG07F17/32K, G07F17/32M4, G07F17/34
Legal Events
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Feb 20, 2012ASAssignment
Free format text: CHANGE OF NAME;ASSIGNOR:ARUZE CORP.;REEL/FRAME:027731/0701
Effective date: 20091102
Owner name: UNIVERSAL ENTERTAINMENT CORPORATION, JAPAN
Mar 3, 2008ASAssignment
Owner name: ARUZE CORP., JAPAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:FUJIMOTO, JUN;INAMURA, YUKINORI;REEL/FRAME:020591/0010
Effective date: 20080205