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Publication numberUS20100048283 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 12/514,038
PCT numberPCT/US2007/023503
Publication dateFeb 25, 2010
Filing dateNov 8, 2007
Priority dateNov 10, 2006
Also published asCA2668719A1, WO2008060429A2, WO2008060429A3
Publication number12514038, 514038, PCT/2007/23503, PCT/US/2007/023503, PCT/US/2007/23503, PCT/US/7/023503, PCT/US/7/23503, PCT/US2007/023503, PCT/US2007/23503, PCT/US2007023503, PCT/US200723503, PCT/US7/023503, PCT/US7/23503, PCT/US7023503, PCT/US723503, US 2010/0048283 A1, US 2010/048283 A1, US 20100048283 A1, US 20100048283A1, US 2010048283 A1, US 2010048283A1, US-A1-20100048283, US-A1-2010048283, US2010/0048283A1, US2010/048283A1, US20100048283 A1, US20100048283A1, US2010048283 A1, US2010048283A1
InventorsPeter R. Anderson, Allon Englman
Original AssigneeWms Gaming Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Parameter adjustment in a wagering game
US 20100048283 A1
Abstract
Apparatus, systems, architectures, and methods provide instrumentality to control adjustment of a parameter in a wagering game, where the adjustment is responsive to a playing feature selected for the wagering game and the wagering game is adapted to be initiated from another wagering game.
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Claims(25)
1. A method comprising:
identifying a selected playing feature for a second wagering game, the second wagering game initiated from a first wagering game;
adjusting a parameter in the second wagering game in response to the selected playing feature.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein adjusting a parameter includes adjusting an expected value of the second wagering game.
3. The method of claim 2, wherein adjusting an expected value of the second wagering game includes determining a completion of an additional wager in the first wagering game.
4. The method of claim 1, wherein the method includes initiating the second wagering game after determination of the selected playing feature.
5. The method of claim 1, wherein identifying a selected playing feature for a second wagering game includes identifying a selected number of spins for the second wagering game.
6. The method of claim 1, wherein identifying a selected playing feature for a second wagering game includes identifying a length of time for running the second wagering game.
7. The method of claim 1, wherein identifying a selected playing feature for a second wagering game includes identifying a selected feature for a bonus wagering game, the bonus wagering game initiated from a base wagering game.
8. A machine-readable medium having machine-executable instructions that, when performed by a machine, cause the machine to:
identify a selected playing feature for a second wagering game, the second wagering game initiated from a first wagering game;
adjust a parameter in the second wagering game in response to the selected playing feature.
9. The machine-readable medium of claim 8, wherein to adjust a parameter includes adjusting an expected value of the second wagering game.
10. The machine-readable medium of claim 9, wherein to adjust a parameter includes determining a completion of an additional wager in the first wagering game.
11. The machine-readable medium of claim 8, wherein the instructions include initiating the second wagering game based on a determination of the selected playing feature.
12. The machine-readable medium of claim 8, wherein to identify a selected playing feature for a second wagering game includes identifying a selected number of spins for the second wagering game, identifying a length of time for running the second wagering game, or a combination of identifying the selected number of spins and the length of time for running the second wagering game.
13. The machine-readable medium of claim 8, wherein to identify a selected playing feature for a second wagering game includes identifying a selected feature for a bonus wagering game, the bonus wagering initiated from a base wagering game.
14. An apparatus comprising:
a portal to control adjustment of a parameter in a second wagering game, the second wagering game initiated from a first wagering game, the first wagering game being correlated to a wagering game unit operable to receive a wager, the adjustment of the parameter in the second wagering game being responsive to a selected playing feature for the second wagering game.
15. The apparatus of claim 14, wherein the parameter includes an expected value of the second wagering game.
16. The apparatus of claim 14, wherein selected playing feature includes a selected number of spins for the second wagering game.
17. The apparatus of claim 14, wherein selected playing feature includes a length of time for running the second wagering game.
18. The apparatus of claim 14, wherein the first wagering game includes a base wagering game and the second wagering game includes a bonus wagering game.
19. A system comprising:
a wagering game unit operable to receive a wager in association with a first wagering game;
a portal to control adjustment of a parameter in a second wagering game, the second wagering game initiated from the first wagering game, the adjustment of the parameter in the second wagering game being responsive to a selected playing feature for the second wagering game; and
a communication structure to couple the wagering game unit to the portal.
20. The system of claim 19, wherein the selected playing feature includes a number of spins in the second wagering game.
21. The system of claim 19, wherein the selected playing feature includes a length of time for running the second wagering game.
22. The system of claim 19, wherein the parameter includes an expected value of the second wagering game.
23. The system of claim 19, wherein the first wagering game includes a base wagering game and the second wagering game includes a bonus wagering game.
24. The system of claim 19, wherein the communication structure includes an interface to operate with a wireless network
25. The system of claim 19, wherein the wagering game unit and the portal are remote from each other.
Description
RELATED APPLICATION

This patent application claims the priority benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/865,322 filed Nov. 10, 2006 and entitled “PARAMETER ADJUSTMENT IN A WAGERING GAME”, which application is incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD

Embodiments of the inventive subject matter relate generally to wagering game systems.

LIMITED COPYRIGHT WAIVER

A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material which is subject to copyright protection. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent disclosure, as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent files or records, but otherwise reserves all copyright rights whatsoever. Copyright 2006, 2007 WMS Gaming, Inc.

BACKGROUND

Wagering game machine makers continually provide new and entertaining games. One way of increasing entertainment value associated with casino-style wagering games (e.g., video slots, video poker, video black jack, and the like) includes offering a variety of base games and bonus events. However, despite the variety of base games and bonus events, players often lose interest in repetitive wagering gaming content. In order to maintain player interest, wagering game machine makers frequently update wagering game content with new game themes, game settings, bonus events, game software, and other electronic data. Consequently, there is a need to provide for seamless integration of base wagering games, bonus wager games, game themes, game settings, game software, and other electronic data to ensure an attractive gaming experience.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

Embodiments of the invention are illustrated by way of example and not limitation in the figures of the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 shows a block diagram illustrating an embodiment of a wagering game machine architecture.

FIG. 2 shows a block diagram of features of an embodiment of an architecture for a wagering game system.

FIG. 3 illustrates a block diagram of an embodiment of a relationship for a portal to control a relationship between two wagering games.

FIG. 4 illustrates a block diagram of an embodiment of a relationship for a portal to control a bonus wagering game, whose initiation is correlated to a base wagering game.

FIG. 5 illustrates features of an embodiment of a display correlated to a portal configured to control a relationship between two or more wagering games.

FIG. 6 illustrates a flow diagram of features of an embodiment of a method for a portal to control a relationship between two or more wagering games.

FIG. 7 shows a block diagram illustrating an embodiment of a wagering game network.

FIG. 8 illustrates an example embodiment of a wagering game machine.

FIG. 9 illustrates an example embodiment of a wagering game machine

DESCRIPTION

Various embodiments of the invention are described by way of example and not limitation in the following descriptions:

Example Operating Environment Example Wagering Game Machine Architecture

FIG. 1 shows a block diagram illustrating an embodiment of a wagering game machine architecture 100 having a wagering game machine 106. Wagering game machine 106 may be adapted to receive a wager from a player in association with a wagering game to be presented to the player. Wagering game machine 106 may include a central processing unit (CPU) 126, a main memory 128, a wagering game presentation unit 132, and a portal 134. CPU 126 may be realized using various forms of a processor and/or a controller. Main memory 128 may be coupled through a bus 122 or directly to CPU 126 using a communication medium such as a memory bus. A bus may include command control lines, data lines, address lines, other communication lines, or combinations thereof.

From a player's perspective, a wagering game is a game whose player participation is initiated with the player placing a wager in some manner, in which the occurrence of an event having some probability of happening results in an award to the player tied in some manner to the player's wager. In various wagering games, the reward may be tied to the player's wager merely by placing the wager. A wagering game may include a game in which a wager is made in a different game, but an award is a possible outcome from the wagering game. A bonus wagering game is such a wagering game whose play is correlated to a base wagering game. Each wagering game, whether a base game or bonus game, may include the instrumentality to control or regulate the play of the wagering game, including the flow of signals and data within one or more devices. Such instrumentality may include hardware, software, firmware, or various combinations thereof. A wagering game may be realized using one or more units or modules that manage the play of the wagering game. In an embodiment, such units or modules may be realized using one or more components of wagering game machine architecture 100 or similar architecture.

Wagering game presentation unit 132 may be an independent unit in wagering game machine 106. Wagering game presentation unit 132 may include a processor and/or controller, memory, or combinations thereof. An independent wagering game presentation unit 132 may operate with CPU 126 and/or main memory via bus 122 or via a direct connection. Wagering game presentation unit 132 may be realized as integral to main memory 128. Wagering game presentation unit 132 may be realized having components in CPU 126 and in main memory 128. In various embodiments, wagering game presentation unit 132 may present, in whole or part, wagering games such as video poker, video black jack, video slots, video lottery, video role playing games having wagering content, etc.

A portal is an instrumentality that may provide personalized capabilities, provide a pathway to other content, or combinations thereof. A portal may use distributed applications, different numbers and types of software based components that couple two or more applications to enable data transfer between the applications, hardware to provide services from a number of different sources, and may be realized on a variety of platforms such as servers, content management systems, personal computers (PCs), personal digital assistants (PDAs), mobile phones, stand-alone wagering game machines, distributed wager game machines, or combinations thereof. A portal may include or provide access to subroutine code, code libraries, application program interfaces such as interpreters utilizing Java EE™, Simple DirectMedia Layer™ (SDL) and DirectX™, or combinations thereof. Portal 134 may be realized in a variety of ways including, but not limited to, arranged as an independent component, embedded in wagering game presentation unit 132, embedded in main memory 128, distributed among CPU 126 and wagering game presentation unit 132, distributed among main memory 128 and wagering game presentation unit 132, distributed among CPU 126, main memory 128, and wagering game presentation unit 132, distributed among different components of wagering game machine architecture 100, distributed among different components of wagering game machine architecture 100 and external systems 104, or various combinations thereof. Portal 134 may be physically exterior to wagering game machine 106.

In an embodiment, portal 134 may be adapted to control adjustment of a parameter in a wagering game, where the adjustment is responsive to a playing feature selected for the wagering game. The wagering game may be initiated from another wagering game. A feature in a wagering game may also be a parameter in the wagering game. In addition, a parameter in a wagering game may also be a feature in the wagering game. Some features/parameters associated with wagering games may be known or presented to the player of a wagering game machine. Alternatively, some features/parameters associated with wagering games may be unknown to the player of a wagering game machine. For instance, a set of payouts in a wagering game may be a feature that is presented to a player, while an average payout of the wagering game may be a parameter used in the control of the wagering game. The average payout of the wagering game may or may not be a feature/parameter that is presented to the player in a wagering game, depending on the specific wagering game. Payouts may be handled in terms of a multiplicative scaling of an amount wagered. A playing feature herein is a feature/parameter in game play that is apparent to a player of a game or is presented to the player of the game in some format. A format may include the playing feature being displayed on a video display. A format may include the playing feature being presented as an option of the game play. Other formats may be used to present the playing feature to a player.

CPU 126 may be connected to bus 122 to facilitate communication between the components of wagering game machine 106 and other components and/or systems exterior to wagering game machine 106. Bus 122 may be configured as an input/output (I/O) bus 122. I/O bus 122 may be connected to a payout mechanism 108, primary display 110, secondary display 112, value input device 114, player input device 116, information reader 118, storage unit 130, or combinations thereof. Player input device 116 may include value input device 114 to the extent the player input device 116 may be used to place wagers. I/O bus 122 may also be connected to an external system interface 124, which may be connected to external systems 104 (e.g., wagering game networks). Devices, modules, or systems external to a wagering game machine 106 may be located on a wagering game network, which may be a local area network (LAN) or a wide area network (WAN).

In an embodiment, wagering game machine 106 may include additional peripheral devices and/or more than one of each component shown in FIG. 1. For example, in an embodiment, wagering game machine 106 may include multiple external system interfaces 124 and multiple CPUs 126. In an embodiment, any of the components may be integrated or subdivided. Additionally, in an embodiment, the components of wagering game machine 106 may be interconnected according to any suitable interconnection architecture (e.g., directly connected, hypercube, etc.).

In an embodiment, any of the components of wagering game machine 106 (e.g., wagering game presentation unit 132) may include hardware, firmware, and/or software for performing the operations described herein. Machine-readable media includes any mechanism that provides (i.e., stores and/or transmits) information in a form readable by a machine (e.g., a wagering game machine, computer, etc.). For example, tangible machine-readable media includes read only memory (ROM), random access memory (RAM), magnetic disk storage media, optical storage media, flash memory machines, etc. Machine-readable media also includes any media suitable for transmitting software over a network.

FIG. 2 shows a block diagram of features of an embodiment of an architecture for a wagering game system 200. The wagering game architecture includes a hardware platform 202, a boot program 204, an operating system 206, and a game framework 208 that includes one or more wagering game software components 210. In various embodiments, hardware platform 202 may include a thin-client, thick-client, or some intermediate derivation. A thin client may be a client in client-server architecture networks which has little or no application logic, such that it depends primarily on a central server for processing activities. A thin client may use a small boot image to connect to a network and start up a dedicated web browser. A thin client may load its operating system (OS) and software from a server. A thin client may be a client in which no data is stored and relatively little processing occurs on the client machine. Thick clients may be full-featured computers that are connected to a network. A thick client, which may also be referenced as a heavy client, may be configured as functional machines, whether configured as a standalone machine or connected to a network, unlike typical thin clients that may lack hard drives and other features.

Hardware platform 202 may also be configured to provide a virtual client. Boot program 204 may include a basic input/output system (BIOS) or other initialization program that works in conjunction with operation system 206 to provide a software interface to hardware platform 202. Game framework 208 may include standardized game software components either independent or in combination with specialized or customized game software components that are designed for a particular wagering game. In an embodiment, wagering game software components 210 may include software operative in connection with hardware platform 202 and operating system 206 to present wagering games, in whole or part, such as video poker, video black jack, video slots, video lottery, video role playing games having wagering content, etc. In an embodiment, software components 210 may include software operative to accept a wager from a player. According to an embodiment, game software components 210 include one or more components to control adjustment of a parameter in a wagering game, where the adjustment is responsive to a playing feature selected for the wagering game and the wagering game may be initiated from another wagering game. According to an embodiment, one or more of the software components 210 may be provided as part of the operating system 206 or other software used in the wagering game system 200 (e.g., libraries, daemons, common services, etc.).

FIG. 3 illustrates a block diagram of an embodiment of a portal 310 to control a relationship between two wagering games. Portal 310 may provide instrumentality to control of adjustment control adjustment of a parameter in a second wagering game 330, where the adjustment is responsive to a playing feature selected for second wagering game 330. Portal 310 may be player selectable. First wagering game 320 and/or second wagering game 330 may be played in one or more wagering game machines, examples of which are described herein. The adjusted parameter may be an expected value in the second wagering game 330. An expected value (EV) is the average number of credits a pay or feature pays on average over the long run. It may be calculated as a percentage of the overall payback of a given game and may be provided by multiplying the average pay of the feature times its probability of occurring. The selected features for second wagering game 330 may include, but are not limited to, volatility, a number of spins for second wagering game 330, a number of free spins for second wagering game 330, a length of time for running second wagering game 330, selection of a particular wagering game from a set of wagering games as second wagering game 330, selection of two or more wagering games to be controlled by portal 310, selection of an additional wager to play second wagering game 330. Volatility is a measure of how a player experiences the pay back of a particular game. Some games pay out more often in smaller amounts. This is known as a low volatility game. Some games pay out less often in larger amounts. This is known as a high volatility game.

Selection of features may be conducted in game play of first wagering game 320. Selection of features for second wagering game 330 may include selection of one or more features. Selection of features may be conducted after selection of portal 310 by a player. Selection of portal 310 may be conducted at initiation of game play of first wagering game 320. Selection of portal 310 may be conducted during game play of first wagering game 320.

Second wagering game 330 may be initiated from first wagering game 320. Initiation of second wagering game 330 from first wagering game 320 may occur after selection of the features for second wagering game 330. Initiation of second wagering game 330 from first wagering game 320 may occur concurrent with selection of the features for second wagering game 330. Initiation of game play of second wagering game 330 may result from selection of an option that defines or ties directly to second wagering game 330. Such an initiation may present second wagering game 330 to a player from first wagering game 320, where the player is not provided advanced information regarding second wagering game 330 from game play in first wagering game 320.

First wagering game 320 and second wagering game 330 may be selected by a player concurrently from a presentation of wagering games on a screen in a wagering game machine. Second wagering game 330 may be selected by a player from a presentation of wagering games in a wagering game machine during play of first wagering game 320. Second wagering game 330 may be selected by a player from a presentation of wagering games in a wagering game machine during the initiation of play in first wagering game 320.

Portal 310 may be remote from a wagering game machine in which first wagering game 320 and/or second wagering game 330 are played. Portal 310, first wagering game 320, and second wagering game 330 may each be remote from each other during game play. In an embodiment, first wagering game 320 and second wagering game 330 may be unrelated to each other except for the relationship provided by portal 310.

FIG. 4 illustrates a block diagram of an embodiment of a relationship for a portal 410 to control a bonus wagering game 430, whose initiation is correlated to a base wagering game 420. Portal 410 may provide instrumentality to control adjustment of a parameter in bonus wagering game 430, where the adjustment is responsive to a playing feature selected for bonus wagering game 430. Portal 410 may be player selectable. Base wagering game 420 and/or bonus wagering game 430 may be played in one or more wagering game machines, examples of which are described herein. The adjusted parameter may be an expected value in bonus wagering game 430. The selected features for bonus wagering game 430 include, but are not limited to, volatility, a number of spins for bonus wagering game 430, a number of free spins for bonus wagering game 430, a length of time for running bonus wagering game 430, selection of a particular wagering game from a set of wagering games as bonus wagering game 430, selection of two or more wagering games to be controlled by portal 410, selection of an additional wager to play bonus wagering game 430.

Selection of features may be conducted in game play of base wagering game 420. Selection of features for bonus wagering game 430 may include selection of one or more features. Selection of features may be conducted after selection of portal 410 by a player. Selection of portal 410 may be conducted at initiation of game play of base wagering game 420. Selection of portal 410 may be conducted during game play of base wagering game 420.

Bonus wagering game 430 may be initiated from base wagering game 420. The initiation may be correlated to game play in base wagering game 420 with the occurrence of one or more bonus symbols on a pay line. The initiation may be correlated to game play in base wagering game 420 with the occurrence of one or more bonus symbols scattered among an array of symbols on the game display. The initiation may be correlated to game play in base wagering game 420 with the occurrence of one or more bonus symbols scattered at random locations on a game display. Such initiation of bonus wagering game 430 may occur after selection of the features for bonus wagering game 430. Such initiation of bonus wagering game 430 may include selection of the features for bonus wagering game 430, where the selection options are provided with the appearance of the bonus symbols that initiate bonus wagering game 430. Initiation of game play of bonus wagering game 430 may result from selection of an option that defines or tie directly to bonus wagering game 430. Such an initiation may present bonus wagering game 430 to a player from base wagering game 420, where the player is not provided advanced information regarding bonus wagering game 430 from game play in base wagering game 420.

Base wagering game 420 and bonus wagering game 430 may be selected by a player concurrently from a presentation of base and bonus wagering games on a screen in a wagering game machine. Bonus wagering game 430 may be selected by a player from a presentation of wagering games in a wagering game machine during play of base wagering game 420. Bonus wagering game 430 may be selected by a player from a presentation of wagering games in a wagering game machine during the initiation of play in base wagering game 420.

Portal 410 may be remote from a wagering game machine in which base wagering game 420 and/or bonus wagering game 430 are played. Portal 410, base wagering game 420, and bonus wagering game 430 may each be remote from each other during game play.

FIG. 5 illustrates features of an embodiment of a display 510 correlated to a portal configured to control a relationship between two or more wagering games. The portal may be realized in accordance with embodiments or variations of embodiments for a portal described herein. Display 510 may be realized in a number of various formats. For example, display 510 may be realized as primary display 110 depicted in FIG. 1. Display 510 may be realized, for example, as secondary display 112 depicted in FIG. 1. Display 510 may include a display of bonus games 515 that may be selected by a player.

Bonus game display 515 may be presented on display 510 in response to the initiation of a bonus event in a base wagering game. Bonus game display 515 may be presented on display 510 in response to player activation of a portal. Bonus game display 515 may provide a set of bonus wagering games from which a player may select one or more bonus wagering games. The bonus wagering games may be displayed as a listing of bonus games, a listing of symbols or icons representing the bonus games, or other format recognizable to a player. Bonus wagering game selection and/or portal activation may be provided through activation of a touch screen, activation of one or more buttons on a wagering game device or system, clicking of a computer-like mouse, activation of a screen display using electromagnetic stimulus wirelessly generated, or combinations of various selection actions. Selection of one or more bonus games may be provided to a portal as data or as information calculated or derived in response to a selection event. Upon identification of one or more bonus wagering games to be played with the base wagering game, a portal may operate as discussed above with respect to portals 310, 410, and 510 or in a variation of these portals. The bonus wagering games and their features/parameters may reside in a data library at one or more locations in a wagering game network. Accessibility by a portal to bonus wagering games and/or their features/parameters in the data library may be dynamically set, that is, changed, modified, controlled or otherwise regulated in real-time.

Display 510 may include a display of bonus game options 520 that may be selected by a player. Bonus game options display 520 may include features correlated to one or more bonus games in bonus game display 515. Such features may include, but are not limited to, volatility, a number of spins for a bonus wagering game, a number of free spins for a bonus game, a length of time for running a bonus game, selection of a particular wagering game from a set of a bonus wagering games, selection of two or more bonus wagering games to be controlled by a portal, selection of an additional wager to play a bonus game. Bonus game options display 520 may include options, whose selection provides a path to select one or more bonus wagering games from a set of bonus wagering games. Selection of one or more bonus wagering games by selection of one or more options in bonus game options display 520 may be realized without displaying bonus game display 515 to the player. From the player perspective, the appearance of one or more bonus wagering games by selection of an option or options may be a random occurrence.

Bonus game options display 520 may be presented on display 510 in response to the initiation of a bonus event in a base wagering game. Bonus game options display 520 may be presented on display 510 in response to player activation of a portal. Bonus game options display 520 may provide a set of options from which a player may select one or more options. The options may be displayed as a listing of options, a listing of symbols or icons representing the options, or other format recognizable to a player. As noted above, options may include features. The features/parameters of bonus wagering games may reside in a data library at one or more locations in a wagering game network. Accessibility by a portal to bonus wagering games and/or their features/parameters in the data library may be dynamically set, that is, changed, modified, controlled or otherwise regulated in real-time. Option selection may be provided through activation of a touch screen, activation of one or more buttons on a wagering game device or system, clicking of a computer-like mouse, activation of a screen display using electromagnetic stimulus wirelessly generated, or combinations of various selection actions. Selection of one or more options may be provided to a portal as data or as information calculated or derived in response to a selection event. Upon identification of one or more options to be played in correlation with one or more bonus wagering games, a portal may operate as discussed above with respect to portals 310, 410, and 510 or in a variation of these portals. In an embodiment, operation of bonus game options display 520 and bonus game display 515 is conducted in a coordinated manner. The control and coordination operation of bonus game options display 520 and bonus game display 515 may be regulated by a portal.

In various embodiments, a portal may be triggered in a wagering game by the occurrence of an event or selection of the portal as part of the game play. The triggering event may be the occurrence of symbols on one or more pay lines or the occurrence of symbols at random locations on the playing screen of the wagering game machine. A triggering event in a base wagering game may initiate access to bonus wagering games under the control of the portal. In an embodiment, the triggering event provides a path for player selection of one or more bonus games. Alternatively, various options may be displayed such that the selection of the options generates a bonus game or a set of bonus games. The portal may provide control by generating a request for an additional wager to transition from one game to the other game. The additional wager may be used to adjust the expected value of the bonus wagering game based on the additional wager and/or selection of additional features or modification of features in the bonus wagering game. In various embodiments, transitions between games may include accumulation of credits to be played at a future time, where the portal controls the storage of information that correlates a player to an accumulated amount of credits and one or more wagering games. Credits may be scaled to a monetary unit.

In an embodiment, a portal and associated wagering games may be realized within a wagering network. Use of a portal for a wagering game machine may occur using instrumentality that is distributed among devices or systems that can communicate with the wagering game machine from which activation of the portal occurred. In addition to various embodiments with a portal used in server based gaming (SBG), such portals may be configured on individual wagering game machines. In an embodiment, content used by a portal may be readily movable about a network. In an embodiment, portal content, including selectable features, adjustable parameters, and identification of wagering games to be played in tandem, such as base and bonus wagering games, may be controlled at a manufacturing stage. In an embodiment, portal content, including selectable features, adjustable parameters, and identification of wagering games to be played in tandem, such as base and bonus wagering games, may be controlled at one or more casinos. In an embodiment, portal content, including selectable features, adjustable parameters, and identification of wagering games to be played in tandem, such as base and bonus wagering games, may be controlled at a network control location.

Example Operations

FIG. 6 illustrates a flow diagram of features of an embodiment of a method for a portal to control a relationship between two or more wagering games. At 610, a selected playing feature is identified. The playing feature is selected for a wagering game that may be viewed as a second wagering game as it may be initiated from another wagering game, which may be referred to as a first wagering game. The relationship between the first wagering game and the second wagering game may be controlled by a portal. The first wagering game and the second wagering game may be unrelated except for combined game play caused by the portal. The first wagering game may be a base wagering game with the second wagering game being one or more bonus wagering games, where the relationship being these wagering games is controlled by a portal. An identification event may include receiving data or signals regarding features/parameters of the second wagering game at a portal. Selected features for the second wagering game may include, but are not limited to, volatility, a number of spins for second wagering game, a number of free spins for second wagering game, a length of time for running second wagering game, selection of a particular wagering game from a set of wagering games as second wagering game, selection of two or more wagering games to be controlled by portal, selection of an additional wager to play second wagering game, other options. In addition, the first wagering game may be identified by initiating game play in a specific wagering game machine, by selecting the first wagering game from multiple wagering games available, or a combination thereof. In various embodiments, a player may select a portal, one or more bonus games presented on a display, one or more options presented, or combinations thereof. Various selection events may be provided through activation of a touch screen, activation of one or more buttons on a wagering game device or system, clicking of a computer-like mouse, activation of a screen display using electromagnetic stimulus wirelessly generated, or combinations of various selection actions. The selection actions provide for activation of underlying gaming hardware to provide signals that may be directed to various instruments on a gaming network to provide control signals and/or data. The data provided to a portal may be generated as information calculated or derived in response to a selection event.

At 620, a parameter in the second wagering game may be adjusted in response to the selection of the playing feature. An adjusted parameter may include an expected value in the second wagering game. A portal may control the adjusted of the parameters in the second wagering game based on features of the second wagering game, whose selection is coordinated with initiation of the second wagering game in the first wagering game. The portal may adjust the frequency at which a winning event occurs in one or more of the wagering games in the play combination.

Example Wagering Game Network

FIG. 7 shows a block diagram illustrating an embodiment of a wagering game network 700, according to example embodiments of the invention. Wagering game network 700 may include multiple casinos 712 connected to a communications network 714.

Each casino 712 may include a local area network 716, which may include a wireless access point 704, wagering game machines 702, and a wagering game server 706 that may serve wagering games over the local area network 716. Wireless access point 704 may control routing on both wireless communication channels and wired communication channels. Such a wireless access point 704 may be realized as a router capable of routing signals between and among wired devices, wireless devices, and devices having wired and wireless capability. In a non-wireless environment, wireless access point 704 may be replaced by a routing device. Local area network 716 may include wireless communication links 710 and wired communication links 708. The wired and wireless communication links may employ any suitable connection technology, such as Bluetooth, 802.11, Ethernet, public switched telephone networks, SONET, etc. In an embodiment, the wagering game server 706 may serve wagering games and/or distribute content to devices located in other casinos 712 or at other locations on communications network 714.

Wagering game machines 702 and wagering game server 706 may include hardware and machine-readable media including instructions for performing embodiments of the operations described herein.

Wagering game machines 702 described herein may take any suitable form, such as floor standing models, handheld mobile units, bartop models, workstation-type console models, etc. Further, wagering game machines 702 may be primarily dedicated for use in conducting wagering games, or may include non-dedicated devices, such as mobile phones, personal digital assistants, personal computers, etc. In an embodiment, the wagering game network 700 may include other network devices, such as accounting servers, wide area progressive servers, player tracking servers, and/or other devices suitable for use in connection with embodiments of the invention.

In various embodiments, wagering game machines 702 and wagering game servers 706 work together such that wagering game machine 702 may be operated as a thin, thick, or intermediate client. For example, one or more elements of game play may be controlled by wagering game machine 702 (client) or the wagering game server 706 (server). Game play elements may include executable game code, lookup tables, configuration files, game outcome, audio or visual representations of the game, game assets or the like. In a thin-client example, wagering game server 706 may perform functions such as determining game outcome or managing assets, while wagering game machine 702 may be used merely to present the graphical representation of such outcome or asset modification to the user (e.g., player). In a thick-client example, game outcome may be determined locally (e.g., at wagering game machine 702) and then communicated to wagering game server 706 for recording or managing a player's account.

Similarly, functionality not directly related to game play may be controlled by wagering game machine 702 (client) or the wagering game server 706 (server) in embodiments. For example, power conservation controls that manage a display screen's light intensity may be managed centrally (e.g., by wagering game server 706) or locally (e.g., by wagering game machine 702). Other functionality not directly related to game play may include presentation of advertising, software or firmware updates, system quality or security checks, etc.

Example Wireless Environment

In some embodiments, wireless access point 704 and wagering game machines 702 may communicate using orthogonal frequency division multiplexed (OFDM) communication signals over a multicarrier communication channel. The multicarrier communication channel may be within a predetermined frequency spectrum and may include multiple orthogonal subcarriers. In some embodiments, the multicarrier signals may be defined by closely spaced OFDM subcarriers. Each subcarrier may have a null at substantially a center frequency of the other subcarriers and/or each subcarrier may have an integer number of cycles within a symbol period. In some embodiments, wireless access point 704 and wagering game machines 702 may communicate in accordance with a broadband multiple access technique, such as orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA). In some embodiments, wireless access point 704 and wagering game machines 702 may communicate using spread-spectrum signals.

In some embodiments, wireless access point 704 may be part of a communication station, such as wireless local area network (WLAN) communication station including a Wireless Fidelity (WiFi) communication station, or a WLAN access point (AP). In these embodiments, wagering game machines 702 may be part of a mobile station, such as WLAN mobile station or a WiFi mobile station.

In some other embodiments, wireless access point 704 may be part of a broadband wireless access (BWA) network communication station, such as a Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMax) communication station, as wireless access point 704 may be part of almost any wireless communication device. In these embodiments, wagering game machines 702 may be part of a BWA network communication station, such as a WiMax communication station.

In some embodiments, any of wagering game machines 702 may be part of a portable wireless communication device, such as a personal digital assistant, a laptop or portable computer with wireless communication capability, a web tablet, a wireless telephone, a wireless headset, a pager, an instant messaging device, a digital camera, a television, or other device that may receive and/or transmit information wirelessly.

In some embodiments, the frequency spectrums for the communication signals transmitted and received by wireless access point 704 and wagering game machines 702 may include a 5 gigahertz (GHz) frequency spectrum, a 2.4 GHz frequency spectrum, or other frequency spectrum. In these embodiments, the 5 GHz frequency spectrum may include frequencies ranging from approximately 4.9 to 5.9 GHz, and the 2.4 GHz spectrum may include frequencies ranging from approximately 2.3 to 2.5 GHz, but other frequency spectrums are also equally suitable. In some BWA network embodiments, the frequency spectrum for the communication signals may include frequencies between 2 and 11 GHz.

In some embodiments, wireless access point 704 and wagering game machines 702 may communicate RF signals in accordance with specific communication standards, such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) standards including IEEE 802.11(a), 802.11(b), 802.11(g), 802.11(h) and/or 802.11(n) standards and/or proposed specifications for wireless local area networks, but they may also be suitable to transmit and/or receive communications in accordance with other techniques and standards. In some BWA network embodiments, wireless access point 704 and wagering game machines 702 may communicate RF signals in accordance with the IEEE 802.16-2004 and the IEEE 802.16(e) standards for wireless metropolitan area networks (WMANs) including variations and evolutions thereof. However, they may also be suitable to transmit and/or receive communications in accordance with other techniques and standards. For more information with respect to the IEEE 802.11 and IEEE 802.16 standards, please refer to “IEEE Standards for Information Technology—Telecommunications and Information Exchange between Systems”—Local Area Networks—Specific Requirements—Part 11 “Wireless LAN Medium Access Control (MAC) and Physical Layer (PHY), ISO/IEC 8802-11: 1999”, and Metropolitan Area Networks—Specific Requirements—Part 16: “Air Interface for Fixed Broadband Wireless Access Systems,” May 2005 and related amendments/versions.

In some embodiments, wireless access point 704 and wagering game machines 702 may include one or more antennas (not shown). These antennas may include directional or omnidirectional antennas, including, for example, dipole antennas, monopole antennas, patch antennas, loop antennas, microstrip antennas or other types of antennas suitable for transmission of the RF signals. In some multiple-input, multiple-output (MIMO) embodiments, two or more antennas may be used. In some embodiments, instead of two or more antennas, a single antenna with multiple apertures may be used. In these multiple aperture embodiments, each aperture may be considered a separate antenna. In some multi-antenna embodiments, each antenna may be effectively separated to take advantage of spatial diversity and the different channel characteristics that may result between each of the antennas and another wireless communication device. In some multi-antenna embodiments, the antennas of a device may be separated by up to 1/10 of a wavelength or more.

In some embodiments, handoffs between different wireless access points 704 and one of wagering game machines 702 may be performed based on a signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), a signal-to-noise and interference ratio (SNIR), a bit-error rate (BER), or an energy per received bit.

In some embodiments, wireless access point 704 and wagering game machines 702 may communicate in accordance with standards such as the Pan-European mobile system standard referred to as the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM). In some embodiments, wireless access point 704 and wagering game machines 702 may also communicate in accordance with packet radio services such as the General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) packet data communication service. In some embodiments, wireless access point 704 and wagering game machines 702 may communicate in accordance with the Universal Mobile Telephone System (UMTS) for the next generation of GSM, which may, for example, implement communication techniques in accordance with 2.5G and third generation (3G) wireless standards (See 3GPP Technical Specification, Version 3.2.0, March 2000, for example). In some of these embodiments, wireless access point 704 and wagering game machines 702 may provide packet data services (PDS) utilizing packet data protocols (PDP). In other embodiments, wireless access point 704 and wagering game machines 702 may communicate in accordance with other standards or other air-interfaces including interfaces compatible with the enhanced data for GSM evolution (EDGE) standards (see 3GPP Technical Specification, Version 3.2.0, March 2000, for example).

In other embodiments, wireless access point 704 and wagering game machines 702 may communicate in accordance with a short-range wireless standard, such as the Bluetooth™ short-range digital communication protocol. Bluetooth™ wireless technology is a de facto standard, as well as a specification for small-form factor, low-cost, short-range radio links between mobile PCs, mobile phones and other portable devices. (Bluetooth is a trademark owned by Bluetooth SIG, Inc.) In other embodiments, wireless access point 704 and wagering game machines 702 may communicate in accordance with an ultra-wideband (UWB) communication technique where a carrier frequency is not used. In other embodiments, wireless access point 704 and wagering game machines 702 may communicate in accordance with an analog communication technique. In other embodiments, wireless access point 704 and wagering game machines 702 may communicate in accordance with an optical communication technique, such as the Infrared Data Association (IrDA) standard. In some embodiments, wireless access point 704 and wagering game machines 702 may communicate in accordance with the Home-RF standard which may be in accordance with a Home-RF Working Group (HRFWG) standard.

Example Wagering Game Machines Example Wagering Game Machine

FIG. 8 illustrates an embodiment of a wagering game machine 800 in which a wagering game generated in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention may be displayed and/or initiated. Wagering game machine 800 may be used in gaming establishments, such as casinos. In various embodiments, wagering game machine 800 may be any type of wagering game machine and may have varying structures and methods of operation. For example, wagering game machine 800 may be an electromechanical wagering game machine configured to play mechanical slots, or it may be an electronic wagering game machine configured to play video casino games, such as blackjack, slots, keno, poker, blackjack, roulette, video role playing games having wagering content, etc.

Wagering game machine 800 may include a housing 812 having input devices that may include value input devices 818 and a player input device 824. For output, wagering game machine 800 may include a primary display 814 for displaying information about a basic wagering game. Primary display 814 may also display information about a bonus wagering game and a progressive wagering game. A progressive wagering game is associated with a progressive award, which is an award that starts with a base reset amount, in which, subsequently, a small percentage of each players bet is added to this award until a player triggers the pay event, where the award resets back to its original amount. A stand alone progressive award is a progressive award that is for one game only. A local area progressive award is a progressive award that is linked to games within a casino. A wide area progressive award is a progressive award that is linked to an entire gaming jurisdiction, such as an entire state.

Wagering game machine 800 also may include a secondary display 816 for displaying wagering game events, wagering game outcomes, and/or signage information. While some components of wagering game machine 800 are described herein, numerous other elements may exist and may be used in any number or combination to create varying forms of wagering game machine 800.

Value input devices 818 may take any suitable form and may be located on the front of housing 812. Value input devices 818 may receive currency and/or credits inserted by a player. Value input devices 818 may include coin acceptors for receiving coin currency and bill acceptors for receiving paper currency. Furthermore, value input devices 818 may include ticket readers or barcode scanners for reading information stored on vouchers, cards, or other tangible portable storage devices. The vouchers or cards may authorize access to central accounts, which may transfer money to wagering game machine 800.

Player input device 824 may include multiple push buttons on a button panel 826 for operating wagering game machine 800. In addition, or alternatively, player input device 824 may include a touch screen 828 mounted over primary display 814 and/or secondary display 816.

The various components of wagering game machine 800 may be connected directly to, or contained within, housing 812. Alternatively, some components of the wagering game machine may be located outside of housing 812, while being communicatively coupled with wagering game machine 800 using any suitable wired or wireless communication technology.

The operation of the basic wagering game may be displayed to the player on primary display 814. Primary display 814 may also display a bonus game associated with the basic wagering game. Primary display 814 may include a cathode ray tube (CRT), a high resolution liquid crystal display (LCD), a plasma display, light emitting diodes (LEDs), or any other type of display suitable for use in wagering game machine 800. Alternatively, primary display 814 may include a number of mechanical reels to display the outcome. Wagering game machine 800 may be an “upright” version, as shown in FIG. 8, in which primary display 814 is oriented vertically relative to the player. Alternatively, wagering game machine 800 may be a “slant-top” version in which primary display 814 is slanted at about a thirty-degree angle toward the player of wagering game machine 800. In an embodiment, wagering game machine 800 may exhibit any suitable form factor, such as a free standing model, bartop model, mobile handheld model, or workstation console model.

A player begins playing a basic wagering game by making a wager via value input device 818. The player may initiate play by using the player input device's buttons or touch screen 828. The basic game may include arranging multiple symbols along a pay line 832, which indicates one or more outcomes of the basic game. Pay line 832 may be realized as multiple pay lines. Pay line 832 need not be limited to horizontal lines, but may be arranged in a variety of ways including diagonal lines, vertical lines, or zigzag lines. Such outcomes may be randomly selected in response to player input. One of the outcomes, which may include any variation or combination of symbols, may trigger a bonus game.

In some embodiments, wagering game machine 800 may also include an information reader 852, which may include a card reader, ticket reader, bar code scanner, RFID transceiver, or computer readable storage medium interface. In some embodiments, information reader 852 may be used to award complimentary services, restore game assets, track player habits, etc.

Example Wagering Game Machine

FIG. 9 illustrates an example embodiment of a wagering game machine 900 in which a wagering game generated in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention may be displayed and/or initiated. Like free standing wagering game machines, in a handheld or mobile form, wagering game machine 900 may include any suitable electronic device configured to play video casino games such as blackjack, slots, keno, poker, blackjack, roulette, and video role playing games having wagering content. Wagering game machine 900 may include a housing 912 having input devices such as a value input device 918 and a player input device 924. For output, wagering game machine 900 may include a primary display 914, a secondary display 916, one or more speakers 917, one or more player-accessible ports 919 (e.g., an audio output jack for headphones, a video headset jack, etc.), and other I/O devices and ports, which may or may not be player-accessible. Wagering game machine 900 may include a secondary display 916 that is rotatable relative to primary display 914. Optional secondary display 916 may be fixed, movable, and/or detachable/attachable relative to primary display 914. Either primary display 914 and/or secondary display 916 may be configured to display any portion or feature of a non-wagering game, wagering game, secondary game, bonus game, progressive wagering game, group game, shared-experience game or event, game event, game outcome, scrolling information, text messaging, emails, alerts or announcements, broadcast information, subscription information, and wagering game machine status.

Player-accessible value input device 918 may include, for example, a slot located on the front, side, or top of housing 912 configured to receive credit from a stored-value card (e.g., casino card, smart card, debit card, credit card, etc.) inserted by a player. The player-accessible value input device 918 may also include a sensor (e.g., an RF sensor) configured to sense a signal (e.g., an RF signal) output by a transmitter (e.g., an RF transmitter) carried by a player. The player-accessible value input device 918 may also, or alternatively, include a ticket reader or barcode scanner for reading information stored on a credit ticket, a card, or other tangible portable credit or funds storage device. The credit ticket or card may also authorize access to a central account, which may transfer money to wagering game machine 900.

Still other player-accessible value input devices 918 may make use of touch keys 930 on the touch-screen display (e.g., primary display 914 and/or secondary display 916) or player input devices 924. In an embodiment, upon entry of player identification information and secondary authorization information (e.g., a password, PIN number, stored value card number, predefined key sequences, etc.), the player may be permitted to access a player's account. As an optional security feature, wagering game machine 900 may be configured to permit a player to only access an account the player has specifically set up for wagering game machine 900. Other conventional security features may also be utilized to, for example, prevent unauthorized access to a player's account, to minimize an impact of any unauthorized access to a player's account, or to prevent unauthorized access to any personal information or funds temporarily stored on wagering game machine 900.

Player-accessible value input device 918 may itself include or utilize a biometric player information reader which permits the player to access available funds on a player's account, either alone or in combination with another of the aforementioned player-accessible value input devices 918. In an embodiment where player-accessible value input device 918 includes a biometric player information reader, transactions may be authorized by a biometric reading from the biometric device, which may include multiple biometric readings. Such transactions may include, for example, an input of value to wagering game machine 900, a transfer of value from a player account or source to an account associated with wagering game machine 900, or the execution of another transaction.

Alternatively, to enhance security, a transaction may be optionally enabled only by a two-step process in which a secondary source confirms the identity indicated by a primary source. For example, player-accessible value input device 918 may include a biometric player information reader that may use a confirmatory entry from another biometric player information reader 952, or from another source, such as a credit card, debit card, player ID card, fob key, PIN number, password, hotel room key, etc. Thus, a transaction may be enabled by, for example, a combination of the personal identification input (e.g., biometric input) with a secret PIN number, or a combination of a biometric input with a fob input, or a combination of a fob input with a PIN number, or a combination of a credit card input with a biometric input. Any two independent sources of identity, one of which is secure or personal to the player (e.g., biometric readings, PIN number, password, etc.) may be utilized to provide enhanced security prior to the electronic transfer of any funds. Value input device 918 may be provided remotely from wagering game machine 900.

Player input device 924 may include multiple push buttons on a button panel for operating wagering game machine 900. In addition, or alternatively, player input device 924 may include a touch screen mounted to a primary display 914 and/or secondary display 916. The touch screen may be matched to a display screen having one or more selectable touch keys 930 selectable by a user's touching of the associated area of the screen using a finger or a tool, such as a stylus pointer. A player enables a desired function either by touching the touch screen at an appropriate touch key 930 or by pressing an appropriate push button on the button panel. Touch keys 930 may be used to implement the same functions as push buttons. Alternatively, push buttons 932 may provide inputs for operating one part of the game, while touch keys 930 may allow for input needed for another part of the game. The various components of wagering game machine 900 may be connected directly to, or contained within, housing 912 or may be located outside housing 912 and connected to housing 912 via a variety of wired (tethered) or wireless connection methods. Thus, wagering game machine 900 may be configured as a single unit or as multiple interconnected (e.g., wireless connections) parts, which may be arranged to suit a player's preferences.

The operation of the basic wagering game on wagering game machine 900 may be displayed to the player on primary display 914. Primary display 914 may also display one or more bonus games associated with the basic wagering game. Primary display 914 may take the form of a high resolution LCD, a plasma display, an LED, or any other type of display suitable for use in wagering game machine 900. The size of primary display 914 may vary from, for example, about a 2-3″ display to a 15″ or 17″ display. In some embodiments, primary display 914 is a 7″-10″ display. However, primary display 914 is not limited to the above sizes. In an embodiment, the size of the primary display may be increased. Optionally, coatings or removable films or sheets may be applied to the display to provide desired characteristics (e.g., anti-scratch, anti-glare, bacterially-resistant and anti-microbial films, etc.). In various embodiments, primary display 914 and/or secondary display 916 may have a 16:9 aspect ratio or other aspect ratio (e.g., 4:3). Primary display 914 and/or secondary display 916 may also each have different resolutions, different color schemes, and different aspect ratios.

As with free standing embodiments, a player begins play of the basic wagering game on wagering game machine 900 by making a wager (e.g., via value input device 918 or an assignment of credits stored on the handheld gaming machine via touch screen keys 930, player input device 924, or buttons 932) on wagering game machine 900. In various embodiments, a wagering game may include multiple symbols arranged in an array and may include at least one pay line 928 that indicates one or more outcomes of the wagering game. Pay line 928 may be realized as multiple pay lines. Pay line 928 may be horizontal lines or may be arranged in a variety of ways, including diagonal lines, vertical lines, or zigzag lines. Such outcomes may be randomly selected in response to the wagering input by the player. One or more randomly selected outcomes may be a start-bonus outcome, which may include any variations of symbols or symbol combinations triggering a bonus game.

In various embodiments, player-accessible value input device 918 of wagering game machine 900 may double as a player information reader 952 that allows for identification of a player by reading a card with information indicating the player's identity (e.g., reading a player's credit card, player ID card, smart card, etc.). Player information reader 952 may alternatively or also include a bar code scanner, RFID transceiver or computer readable storage medium interface. In an embodiment, player information reader 952 may include a biometric sensing device.

In the above detailed description, reference may be made to specific examples by way of drawings and illustrations. It is to be understood that the above description is intended to be illustrative, and not restrictive, and that the phraseology or terminology employed herein is for the purpose of description and not of limitation. These examples are described in sufficient detail to enable those skilled in the art to practice embodiments of the inventive subject matter, and serve to illustrate how the inventive subject matter may be applied to various purposes or embodiments. Other embodiments may be included within the inventive subject matter, as logical, mechanical, electrical, and other changes may be made to the example embodiments described herein. The various embodiments are not necessarily mutually exclusive, as some embodiments may be combined with one or more other embodiments to form new embodiments. Features or limitations of various embodiments described herein do not limit the inventive subject matter as a whole, and any reference to the invention, its elements, operation, and application are not limiting as a whole, but serve only to define these example embodiments. The above detailed description does not, therefore, limit embodiments of the invention.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8202158Nov 9, 2007Jun 19, 2012Wms Gaming Inc.Apparatus to pass a value based parameter for a wagering game
US8425304Jun 11, 2008Apr 23, 2013Wms Gaming Inc.Gaming system having graphical feature interface
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US8727872Feb 23, 2011May 20, 2014IgtGaming system, gaming device and method for normalizing different features of an on-demand bonus game
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Classifications
U.S. Classification463/20, 463/25, 463/43
International ClassificationA63F9/24
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/32, G07F17/3218, G07F17/3286
European ClassificationG07F17/32, G07F17/32P, G07F17/32C4B
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Dec 18, 2013ASAssignment
Effective date: 20131018
Owner name: BANK OF AMERICA, N.A., AS COLLATERAL AGENT, TEXAS
Free format text: SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNORS:SCIENTIFIC GAMES INTERNATIONAL, INC.;WMS GAMING INC.;REEL/FRAME:031847/0110