AU2009217431A1 - A method of player tracking - Google Patents

A method of player tracking Download PDF

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Publication number
AU2009217431A1
AU2009217431A1 AU2009217431A AU2009217431A AU2009217431A1 AU 2009217431 A1 AU2009217431 A1 AU 2009217431A1 AU 2009217431 A AU2009217431 A AU 2009217431A AU 2009217431 A AU2009217431 A AU 2009217431A AU 2009217431 A1 AU2009217431 A1 AU 2009217431A1
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Australia
Prior art keywords
tracking system
player record
requesting
player
transfer
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Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
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AU2009217431A
Inventor
John Leslie Boesen
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Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty Ltd
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Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty Ltd
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Publication date
Priority to AU2008904929A priority Critical patent/AU2008904929A0/en
Priority to AU2008904929 priority
Application filed by Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty Ltd filed Critical Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty Ltd
Priority to AU2009217431A priority patent/AU2009217431A1/en
Publication of AU2009217431A1 publication Critical patent/AU2009217431A1/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F17/00Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services
    • G07F17/32Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services for games, toys, sports or amusements, e.g. casino games, online gambling or betting
    • G07F17/3225Data transfer within a gaming system, e.g. data sent between gaming machines and users
    • G07F17/3232Data transfer within a gaming system, e.g. data sent between gaming machines and users wherein the operator is informed
    • G07F17/3237Data transfer within a gaming system, e.g. data sent between gaming machines and users wherein the operator is informed about the players, e.g. profiling, responsible gaming, strategy/behavior of players, location of players
    • G07F17/3239Tracking of individual players
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F17/00Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services
    • G07F17/32Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services for games, toys, sports or amusements, e.g. casino games, online gambling or betting

Description

AUSTRALIA Patents Act 1990 COMPLETE SPECIFICATION Standard Patent Applicant(s): Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty Limited Invention Title: A METHOD OF PLAYER TRACKING The following statement is a full description of this invention, including the best method for performing it known to me/us: -2 Title A METHOD OF PLAYER TRACKING Field 5 The invention relates generally to a method of player tracking across a gaming network. Background 10 Player tracking systems are employed by some gaming venues to encourage player loyalty to the venue. Implementations vary from venue to venue but generally involve a player entering a loyalty card at each gaming machine they play so that points accrued on the basis of play of the gaming 15 machine can be allocated to the player's loyalty account. The points can be redeemed at a later date, for example for merchandise or food and/or beverages. Such player tracking systems, employ a plurality of player 20 tracking modules connected to individual gaming machines which receive a player's loyalty card, obtain data from the gaming machines related to play of the machine, and communicate data a central player tracking system where player accounts are maintained. 25 The player tracking system can be part of a wider system for implementing player and/or gaming functionality. For example, the venue's system may also implement a "cashless" system where credit can be stored against a 30 player's account or ticket-out ticket-in (TITO) where a ticket is issued at one gaming machine which can be redeemed at another gaming machine. Existing systems were formulated with the idea of building 35 loyalty to venues. As such, they are not structurally suited to multi-venue arrangements, for example where a single operator owns multiple venues and wishes to provide 1759366_1 (GHMatters) P74304AU.1 CAP 22/09/09 - 3 variety to their customers by having venues with different themes while maintaining loyalty to the venue operator's venues. 5 One approach to this problem has been to connect a plurality of venues to the same player tracking system. This approach can cause data reconciliation and/or bandwidth problems as at least one venue must be connected to the player tracking system via a remote network. 10 Accordingly, there is a need for an alternative technique for handling player accounts across multiple venues. Summary of the Invention 15 In a first aspect, the invention provides a method of player tracking comprising: generating a first transfer request in a first requesting tracking system based on a player record 20 identifier identifying a player record and a home tracking system; transferring control of at least part of a player record from a home tracking system to the first requesting tracking system in response to receipt of the first 25 transfer request; establishing a visiting player record in the first requesting tracking system for the at least part of the player record for which control is transferred; and updating the visiting player record in response to 30 one or more player actions in the first requesting tracking system. In an embodiment, the transfer includes updating the player record in the home system to include an identifier 35 that identifies the first requesting tracking system. In an embodiment, the method further comprises 1759366_1 (GHMatters) P74304.AU.1 CAP 22/09/09 - 4 transferring control of the at least part of a player record as updated in the first requesting tracking system to a second requesting tracking system in response to a second transfer request. 5 In an embodiment, the second requesting tracking system is the home tracking system. In an embodiment, the second requesting tracking system is 10 a further tracking system different to the home and first requesting tracking systems. In an embodiment, transferring control to the second requesting tracking system comprises: 15 updating the player record in the home tracking system to reflect the visiting player record of the first tracking system; updating the player record in the home tracking system to include an identifier that identifies the second 20 requesting tracking system; establishing a further visiting player record in the second requesting tracking system for the at least part of the player record for which control is transferred; and updating the further visiting player record in 25 response to one or more player actions in the second requesting tracking system. In an embodiment, the method further comprises: determining from the home tracking system the first 30 requesting tracking system; transferring control of the at least part of the player record directly from the first requesting tracking system to the second requesting tracking system; and updating the player record in the home tracking 35 system to include an identifier identifying the second requesting tracking system. 17593661 (GHMatters) P74304.AU.1 CAP 22109109 -5 In an embodiment, the method comprises determining that the transfer request is an eligible request. In an embodiment, the method comprises determining how 5 much control of the player record to transfer based on the transfer request. In an embodiment, the method comprises making the determination based on the identity of the requesting 10 tracking system. In a second aspect, there is provided a method of player tracking comprising: generating a first transfer request in a first 15 requesting tracking system based on a player record identifier identifying the player record and a home tracking system; receiving control of at least part of a player record from the home tracking system; 20 establishing a visiting player record in the first requesting tracking system for the at least part of the player record; and updating the visiting player record in response to one or more player actions in the first requesting 25 tracking system. In an embodiment, the method comprises transferring control of the at least part of a player record directly from the first requesting tracking system to a second 30 requesting tracking system subsequent to a transfer request being made by the second requesting tracking system. In a third aspect, there is provided a tracking system 35 comprising: a player record data structure adapted to store player records, each player record including a player 1759366_1 (GHMatters) P74304.AU.1 CAP 22/09/09 - 6 record identifier identifying the player record and being adapted to store data corresponding to a current location of control of at least part of the player record; and a transfer module adapted to: 5 receive a transfer request from a requesting tracking system for the at least part of the player record, the transfer request including the player record identifier identifying the player record to be transferred; and 10 process the transfer request based on the current location of control of at least part of the player record. In an embodiment, upon the transfer module determining to transfer control of at least part of the player record to is the first requesting tracking system, the transfer module updates the player record in the home system to include an identifier that identifies the first requesting tracking system as the new current location. 20 In an embodiment, the transfer module is further adapted to update the player record in the home tracking system to reflect a visiting player record of the first tracking system in response to transfer of control of the at least part of the player record back to the home tracking system 25 or to a further tracking system. In an embodiment, the transfer module is further adapted to: receive a request from a second requesting tracking 30 system for at least part of the player record; provide the identity of the first requesting tracking system to the second requesting tracking system; whereafter control can be transferred directly from the first requesting tracking system to the second requesting 35 tracking system; and update the player record data structure in the home tracking system to include an identifier identifying the 1759366_1 (GHMatters) P74304.AU.1 CAP 22/09/09 second requesting tracking system as the new current location. In an embodiment, the transfer module processes the 5 transfer request to determine whether the transfer request is an eligible request. In an embodiment, the transfer module processes the transfer request to determine how much control of the 10 player record to transfer based on the transfer request. In an embodiment, the transfer module makes the determination based on the identity of the requesting tracking system. 15 In a fourth aspect, there is provided a tracking system comprising: a player record data structure adapted to store player records, each player record including a player 20 record identifier identifying the player record; and a transfer module adapted to: receive a transfer request from a requesting tracking system in respect of at least part the player record, the transfer request including the player record 25 identifier identifying the player record; transfer control of at least part of the player record to the requesting tracking system; and update the player record data structure to reflect what control of the player record has been 30 transferred to the requesting tracking system and to include location data corresponding to the requesting tracking system. In an embodiment, the transfer module is further adapted 35 to update the player record in the home tracking system to reflect a visiting player record of the first tracking system in response to transfer of control of the at least 1759366_1 (GHMatters) P74304AU.1 CAP 22/09/09 - 8 part of the player record back to the home tracking system or to a further tracking system. In an embodiment, the transfer module is further adapted 5 to: receive a request from a second requesting tracking system for control of at least part of the player record; provide the identity of the first requesting tracking system to the second requesting tracking system; 10 whereafter control can be transferred directly from the first requesting tracking system to the second requesting tracking system; and update the player record data structure in the home tracking system to include an identifier identifying the 15 second requesting tracking system as the new current location. In an embodiment, the transfer module processes the transfer request to determine whether the transfer request 20 is an eligible request. In an embodiment, the transfer module processes the transfer request to determine how much control of the player record to transfer based on the transfer request. 25 In an embodiment, the transfer module makes the determination based on the identity of the requesting tracking system. 30 In a fifth aspect, there is provided a transfer module for a tracking system, the transfer module adapted to: receive a transfer request from a requesting tracking system for control of at least part of the player record, the transfer request including the player record 35 identifier identifying the player record to be transferred; and process the transfer request based on a current 1759366_1 (GHMatters) P74304 AU.1 CAP 22/09/09 - 9 location of control of the at least part of the player record. In an embodiment, upon the transfer module determining to 5 transfer control of at least part of the player record to the first requesting tracking system, the transfer module updates the player record in the home system to include an identifier that identifies the first requesting tracking system as the new current location. 10 In an embodiment, the transfer module is further adapted to update the player record in the home tracking system to reflect a visiting player record of the first tracking system in response to transfer of control of the at least 15 part of the player record back to the home tracking system or to a further tracking system. In an embodiment, the transfer module is further adapted to: 20 receive a request from a second requesting tracking system for control of at least part of the player record; provide the identity of the first requesting tracking system to the second requesting tracking system; whereafter control can be transferred directly from the 25 first requesting tracking system to the second requesting tracking system; and update the player record data structure in the home tracking system to include an identifier identifying the second requesting tracking system as the new current 30 location. In an embodiment, the transfer module is adapted to process the transfer request to determine whether the transfer request is an eligible request. 35 In an embodiment, the transfer module is adapted to process the transfer request to determine how much control 1759366_1 (GHMatters) P74304.AU.1 CAP 22/09109 - 10 of the player record to transfer based on the transfer request. In an embodiment, the transfer module is arranged to make s the determination based on the identity of the requesting tracking system. In a sixth aspect, there is provided a transfer module for a tracking system, the transfer module arranged to: 10 receive a transfer request from a requesting tracking system in respect of at least part the player record, the transfer request including the player record identifier identifying the player record; transfer control of at least part of the player is record to the requesting tracking system; and update a player record data structure to reflect what control of the player record has been transferred to the requesting tracking system and to include location data corresponding to the requesting tracking system. 20 In an embodiment, the transfer module is adapted to update the player record in the home tracking system to reflect a visiting player record of the first tracking system in response to transfer of control of the at least part of 25 the player record back to the home tracking system or to a further tracking system. In an embodiment, the transfer module is adapted to: receive a request from a second requesting tracking 30 system for control of at least part of the player record; provide the identity of the first requesting tracking system to the second requesting tracking system; whereafter control can be transferred directly from the first requesting tracking system to the second requesting 35 tracking system; and update the player record data structure in the home tracking system to include an identifier identifying the 1759366_1 (GHMatters) P74304.AU.1 CAP 22/09109 - 11 second requesting tracking system as the new current location. In an embodiment, the transfer module is arranged to 5 process the transfer request to determine whether the transfer request is an eligible request. In an embodiment, the transfer module is arranged to process the transfer request to determine how much control 10 of the player record to transfer based on the transfer request. In an embodiment, the transfer module makes the determination based on the identity of the requesting is tracking system. In a seventh aspect, there is provided a gaming network comprising: a home tracking system; and 20 a first requesting tracking system, the home tracking system arranged to transfer control of at least part of a player record from to the first requesting tracking system in response to receipt of a first transfer request; 25 the first requesting tracking system arranged to: generate a first transfer request based on a player record identifier identifying a player record and a home tracking system; establish a visiting player record in the first 30 requesting tracking system for the at least part of the player record for which control is transferred; and update the visiting player record in response to one or more player actions in the first requesting tracking system. 35 In an embodiment, the home tracking system updates the player record in the home system to include an identifier 1759366_1 (GHMaters) P74304AU.1 CAP 22/09/09 - 12 that identifies the first requesting tracking system. In an embodiment, the gaming network further comprises a second requesting tracking system which makes a second s transfer request, and wherein: the home tracking system updates the player record in the home tracking system to reflect the visiting player record of the first tracking system; the home tracking system updates the player record in io the home tracking system to include an identifier that identifies the second requesting tracking system; the second requesting tracking system establishes a further visiting player record in for the at least part of the player record for which control is transferred; and is the second requesting tracking system updating the further visiting player record in response to one or more player actions in the second requesting tracking system. In an embodiment, the gaming network further comprises a 20 second requesting tracking system which makes a second transfer request, and wherein: the second requesting tracking system determines from the home tracking system the identity of the first requesting tracking system; 25 control of the player record is transferred directly from the first requesting tracking system to the second requesting tracking system based on the determined identity; and the home tracking system updates the player 30 record in the home tracking system to include an identifier identifying the second requesting tracking system. Brief Description of Drawings 35 An exemplary embodiment of the invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawings in 1759366_1 (GHMatters) P74304.AU.1 CAP 22109/09 - 13 which: Figure 1 is a perspective view of a gaming machine of the embodiment; 5 Figure 2 is a block diagram of a gaming machine of the embodiment; Figure 3 is a block diagram of the memory of a gaming 10 machine; Figure 4 is a block diagram of a player marketing module; Figure 5 is a block diagram showing how a plurality of 15 gaming machines are connected to a player tracking system; Figure 6 is a block diagram of a gaming network; and Figure 7 is a flow chart of an embodiment. 20 Detailed Description Referring to the drawings, there is shown a plurality of gaming venues each of which has a player tracking system 25 (also known as player loyalty systems) connected to form a gaming network. The gaming network is arranged so that control over at least a part of a player record can be transferred from one gaming system to another so that the transferred player record (or portion of a record) can be 30 updated based on player activity in the visited network. This has a number of advantages over current arrangements including that: less network bandwidth is required to allow real-time updates of the relevant parts of the player record as these are performed in the visited 35 network; a network outage is less likely to affect a player as it can only affect the player if it occurs during a transfer process; and delays caused by network 1759366_1 (GHMatters) P74304.AU.1 CAP 22109/09 - 14 traffic are less likely to affect data reconciliation. Persons skilled in the art will appreciate that some venues have electronic gaming tables playable by a 5 plurality of players. For the purpose of this specification, a player position at such a table should be understood as being within the meaning of "a gaming terminal". Accordingly, within this specification "gaming terminal" encompasses a single player, electronic gaming 10 machine arranged to play one or more resident games, a player position at a gaming terminal, and an interactive video gaming terminal in a server based gaming system. An exemplary stand alone gaming machine 10 is illustrated 15 in Figure 1. The gaming machine 10 includes a console 12 having a display 14 on which is displayed representations of a game that can be played by a player. A mid-trim 20 of the gaming machine 10 houses a bank of buttons 22 for enabling a player to interact with the gaming machine, in 20 particular during game play. The mid-trim 20 also houses a credit input mechanism for example a coin input chute and/or a bill collector 24B. Other credit input mechanisms may also be employed, for example, a card reader for reading a smart card, debit card or credit 25 card. Artwork and/or information, for example pay tables and details of bonus awards and other information or images relating to the game may be provided on a front panel 29 30 of the console 12. A coin tray 30 is mounted beneath the front panel 29 for dispensing cash payouts from the gaming machine 10. The display 14 shown in Figure 1 is in the form of a video 35 display unit, particularly a cathode ray tube screen device. Alternatively, the display 14 may be a liquid crystal display, plasma screen, any other suitable video 1759366_1 (GHMatters) P74304.AU.1 CAP 22/09/09 - 15 display unit, or the visible portion of an electromechanical device. The top box 26 also includes a display which may be of the same type as the display 14, or of a different type. 5 A player marketing module (PMM) 50 having a display 52 is connected to the gaming machine 10. PMMs are also know as player tracking models (PTMs) or by their trade names e.g. "Sentinel". The main purpose of the PMM 50 is to 10 allow the player to interact with a player tracking system. The PMM has a magnetic card reader for the purpose of reading a player tracking device in the form of a magnetic swipe card. However other reading devices may be employed and the player tracking device may be in the 15 form of a card, flash drive or any other portable storage medium capable of being read by a reading device. Figure 2 shows a block diagram of operative components of a typical gaming machine which may be the same as or 20 different to the gaming machine of Figure 1. The gaming machine 100 includes a game controller 101 having a processor 102. Instructions and data to control operation of the processor 102 are stored in a memory 103, 25 which is in data communication with the processor 102. Herein the term "processor" is used to refer generically to any device that can process game play instructions in accordance with game play rules and may include: a microprocessor, microcontroller, programmable logic device 30 or other computational device, a general purpose computer (e.g. a PC) or a server. Typically, the gaming machine 100 will include both volatile and non-volatile memory and more than one of each 35 type of memory, with such memories being collectively represented by the memory 103. 1759366_1 (GHMatters) P74304.AU. 1 CAP 22/09/09 - 16 The gaming machine has hardware meters 104 for purposes including ensuring regulatory compliance and monitoring player credit, an input/output (I/0) interface 105 for communicating with peripheral devices of the gaming 5 machine 100. The input/output interface 105 and/or the peripheral devices may be intelligent devices with their own memory for storing associated instructions and data for use with the input/output interface or the peripheral devices. A random number generator module 113 generates 10 random numbers for use by the processor 102. Persons skilled in the art will appreciate that the reference to random numbers includes pseudo-random numbers. In the example shown in Figure 2, a player interface 120 15 includes peripheral devices that communicate with the game controller 101 has one or more displays 106, one or more input devices in the form of a touch screen and/or buttons 107, a card and/or ticket reader 108, a printer 109, a bill acceptor and/or coin input mechanism 110 and a coin 20 output mechanism 111. Additional hardware may be included as part of the gaming machine 100, or hardware may be omitted as required for the specific implementation. In addition, the gaming machine 100 may include a 25 communications interface, for example a network card or serial communications port(s) 112. Figure 3 shows a block diagram of the main components of an exemplary memory 103. The memory 103 includes RAM 30 103A, EPROM 103B and a mass storage device 103C. The RAM 103A typically temporarily holds program files for execution by the processor 102 and related data. The EPROM 103B may be a boot ROM device and/or may contain some system or game related code. The mass storage device 35 103C is typically used to store game programs, the integrity of which may be verified and/or authenticated by the processor 102 using protected code from the EPROM 103B 1759366_1 (GHMatters) P74304.AU.I CAP 22/09/09 - 17 or elsewhere. It is also possible for the operative components of the gaming machine 100 to be distributed, for example 5 input/output devices 106,107,108,109,110,111 to be provided remotely from the game controller 101. Figure 4 is a block diagram of an exemplary player marketing module 50. The PMM 50 is connected via 10 input/output port 57 to a serial input output port of the input/output section 105 of the electronic gaming machine. The player marketing module has a card reader 54 and a display 52 which may be a touch screen display. The PMM 50 may also have buttons 53 for receiving a player input 15 (at least in embodiments where there is no touch screen display) and a speaker 51. Input received from the card reader 54 is processed by processor 55 based on the data stored in memory 56. The PMM 50 is connected to the player tracking system by a network card 58. Thus, in the 20 embodiment, the gaming machine 10 communicates with the loyalty system via the PMM as described in further detail below. Processor 55 is also arranged to communicate with a gaming machine 10 via input output port 54 to cause locking of the gaming machine in response to an 25 instruction received via the network card 58. Processor 55 is also arranged to communicate with gaming machine 10 via input output port 57 to cause locking of the gaming machine in response to an instruction received 30 via the network card 58. Figure 5 shows a series of electronic gaming machines 10 connected via respective player marketing modules 50 over a communications network 510 to a player tracking system 35 540 having a player database 541 which provides a data structure for storing player records. The communications network 510 may be any suitable communications network for 1759366_1 (GHMatters) P74304AU.1 CAP 22/09/09 - 18 example an Ethernet. Figure 6 shows a gaming network 600 having a plurality of venues 610 (1,2...N) connected in a virtual private network 5 via Internet 625. Each gaming venue 610 has a player tracking system 540 and a database 541 which provides a player record data structure for storing player records. In the embodiment, the database 541 of player records is divided logically into home player records and visiting 10 player records. The gaming network also includes an address allocator 620: a network component responsible for allocating addresses to the player tracking systems of different venues 610 and informing each player tracking system of each address which is stored as venue data 615. 15 Venue data 615 includes a tracking system identifier for each venue as well as the address; the tracking system identifier being used as a key to look up the address. Persons skilled in the art will appreciate that the address allocator 620 can be provided in a number of ways 20 an may reside within one of the venues. When a player registers for one of the player tracking systems, for example, the tracking system 540A of first venue 610A they provide details such as name, age, address 25 and phone number. The player tracking system 540 uses these details to create a home player record for the player. The content of the home player record will vary from implementation to implementation but can include by way of example, the following fields: home tracking system 30 identifier; player identifier; checked in/checked out; current tracking system identifier (when checked out) specifying the current location of control of the player record; points balance; cashless balance; name; age; address; phone number; e-mail address; reward 35 entitlements; and transaction history. The player is issued a player tracking device such as a 1759366_1 (GHMatters) P74304AU.1 CAP 22109/09 - 19 magnetic stripe card on which is recorded the home tracking system identifier and the player identifier. After being issued the card, the player uses the card and the player's record is periodically updated based on the 5 player's activity. The activities monitored by the tracking system 540 will vary depending on implementation but may include, for example, number of games played, amount wagered, amount won, amount spent at venue restaurant, points transactions, cashless transactions, a 10 reward entitlement etc. After a period of time, the points balance and cashless balance will have current values. For example, when the player enters card at PMM 50, the player's record could be updated to indicate the machine they have played, the amount they wagered, the number of 15 points awarded for their play, and an amount added to the cashless balance by the player when cashing out of the machine. At a later time, the player visits another venue, for 20 example, second venue 610B and inserts their card into a PMM 50 of a gaming machine 10. The player tracking system 540B recognises that the tracking system identifier is for a different tracking system. Before taking further action, the tracking system checks a visitor record portion of the 25 database 541B to see if it already has a visitor record for the player and, if it does not, it passes control to the transfer module 617B to generate a transfer request. The transfer module 617B employs the tracking system identifier to retrieve the tracking system address for 30 tracking system 540A from venue data 615. The transfer request is then sent to the first tracking system 540A (the player's "home" tracking system). In one example, the transfer request includes the player identifier, the tracking system identifier for the second tracking system 35 540B (the "requesting" tracking system) and a request number uniquely identifying the transfer request. 1759366_1 (GHMatters) P74304AU.1 CAP 22/09/09 - 20 The transfer module 617A processes the transfer request by locating the player record and updating the record to indicate that is has been checked out to another player tracking system. The transfer module 617A also updates the s home player record to include an identifier for the requesting player tracking system so that the player record can be retrieved at a later time. The amount of the player record that is sent will depend on the embodiment. In this example, the transfer module 617A sends all data 10 in the player record except the player history as this may be long and delay the transfer process. In other embodiments, other items may not be sent, for example, some player rewards stored in the player record may only be redeemable at a specific venue. In other embodiments, 15 one set of items may be sent to some venues and another set of items may be sent to other venues. For example, the player rewards may only be sent to venues where they can be redeemed. In other embodiments, data may be sent in different stages, for example, the points and cashless 20 balances may be sent to start with and other items, including the history, may be sent as part of a less time critical process. In embodiments where parts of the home player record are 25 transferred, the data structure is configured such that it can be recorded which parts of the record have been checked out. In some embodiments, the transfer module 617A may be 30 arranged to decide what parts of the record are permitted to be transferred to the requesting tracking system based on the identity of the requesting tracking system and rules (similarly, the transfer module 617B may be arranged to determine what parts of the record it is allowed (or 35 wants) to request. This architecture enables a wider range of commercial arrangements. For example, two venues which are not co-owned may agree to transfer cashless amounts 1759366_1 (GHMatters) P74304AU-1 CAP 22/09109 - 21 but not points. Alternatively, the database may include data which specifies whether or not part of a record can be transferred. In another embodiment, the requesting tracking system may be configured to obtain parts of the 5 player record as it needs them. For example, when a player first enters their card into a PMM 50, the requesting system may request a points balance, when the player subsequently request a transfer of cash, the cashless balance is retrieved, when the player seeks to change 10 their address, the address is retrieved etc. When the second venue 610B receives the transferred database, it establishes a visiting player record for the plater within database 541B. The second player tracking 15 system 540B then updates the visiting player record based on monitored activity. At some point in time, the player inserts the player tracking card in another gaming system which will prompt 20 that gaming system to retrieve the player record (a second requesting tracking system). The second requesting tracking system may be the home tracking system (in this example, the first tracking system 540A) or another tracking system such as Nth tracking system 540C. In the 25 case of the home tracking system, when the player tracking card is inserted, the first tracking system 540A looks up the database and determines that the player record (or part thereof) is checked out. The transfer module 617A then formulates a transfer request and sends it to the 30 second tracking system 540B where it is processed in an analogous manner to that described above before the visiting record is transferred back to the home system 540A where the home record is marked to indicate that the record has been checked back in and the home record is 35 updated to reflect the visiting record. For example, by updating the points balance to correspond to that of the visiting record and appending the history from the second 1759366_1 (GHMatters) P74304.AU.1 CAP 22/09109 - 22 venue to the existing history. In the case where the second requesting tracking system is another tracking system, the Nth tracking system 5 formulates a transfer request in the manner described above in relation to the first transfer. When processing this request, the transfer module 617A determines that the player record (or part thereof) is checked out to the second tracking system 540B and retrieves it in the manner 10 described above. In advantageous implementation, the player record is at least partly reconciled with the home record before being transferred again. However, in other embodiments it may only be fully reconciled when transferred back to the home record. 15 In other embodiments, a different protocol may be used, for example, where the home tracking system provides the identity of the current tracking system hosting the player record and the Nth tracking system 540C retrieves the data 20 directly from that system before confirming to the home tracking system that it now holds the visiting player record so that the home tracking system can update the home player record to indicate the new location. 25 Accordingly, it will be appreciated that an advantage of the embodiment is that there is a clear protocol for locating a player record while also allowing local updating of the player record. 30 The method of an embodiment is summarised in Figure 7. The method 700 involves a player inserting 705 a tracking card in a first transfer requesting system. The first transfer requesting system issues 710 a transfer request to the home tracking system. The home tracking system processes 35 the request and checks out the record 715(or part thereof) to the first transfer requesting system which establishes a visiting player record and updates 720 it based on 1759366_1 (GHMatters) P743D4 AU.1 CAP 22/09/09 - 23 player activity in the first transfer requesting system. The card is then inserted 730in a second transfer requesting system. It is determined 740 whether the second transfer requesting system is the home system. If it is, 5 it issues a transfer request to the first transfer requesting system and checks the record back in 745 before updating 750 the home record based on player activity. If it is not the home tracking system, the home tracking system retrieves and checks in the record by updating it 10 based on the visiting record 760 before immediately checking out 765 the record to the second requesting tracking system where another visiting record is established 770 and this new visiting record is updated based on player activity 775. Visiting records which have 1 been retrieved may be deleted. Further aspects of the method will be apparent from the above description of the gaming system. Persons skilled in the art will also appreciate that the method could be 20 embodied in program code. The program code could be supplied in a number of ways, for example on a tangible computer readable medium, such as a disc or a memory (for example, that could replace part of memory 103) or as a data signal (for example, by downloading it from a 25 server). It will be understood to persons skilled in the art of the invention that many modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, in 30 particular it will be apparent that certain features of embodiments of the invention can be employed to form further embodiments. It is to be understood that, if any prior art is referred 35 to herein, such reference does not constitute an admission that the prior art forms a part of the common general knowledge in the art in any country. 1759366_1 (GHMatters) P74304AU1 CAP 22/09/09 - 24 In the claims which follow and in the preceding description of the invention, except where the context requires otherwise due to express language or necessary 5 implication, the word "comprise" or variations such as "comprises" or "comprising" is used in an inclusive sense, i.e. to specify the presence of the stated features but not to preclude the presence or addition of further features in various embodiments of the invention. 10 1759366_1 (GHMatters) P74304 AU-1 CAP 22/09/09

Claims (42)

1. A method of player tracking comprising: generating a first transfer request in a first 5 requesting tracking system based on a player record identifier identifying a player record and a home tracking system; transferring control of at least part of a player record from a home tracking system to the first requesting 10 tracking system in response to receipt of the first transfer request; establishing a visiting player record in the first requesting tracking system for the at least part of the player record for which control is transferred; and 15 updating the visiting player record in response to one or more player actions in the first requesting tracking system.
2. A method as claimed in claim 1, wherein the transfer 20 includes updating the player record in the home system to include an identifier that identifies the first requesting tracking system.
3. A method as claimed in claim 1 or claim 2, further 25 comprising transferring control of the at least part of a player record as updated in the first requesting tracking system to a second requesting tracking system in response to a second transfer request. 30
4. A method as claimed in claim 3, wherein the second requesting tracking system is the home tracking system.
5. A method as claimed in claim 3, wherein the second requesting tracking system is a further tracking system 35 different to the home and first requesting tracking systems. 17593661 (GHMatters) P74304.AU.1 CAP 22/09/09 - 26
6. A method as claimed in claim 5, wherein transferring control to the second requesting tracking system comprises: updating the player record in the home tracking 5 system to reflect the visiting player record of the first tracking system; updating the player record in the home tracking system to include an identifier that identifies the second requesting tracking system; 10 establishing a further visiting player record in the second requesting tracking system for the at least part of the player record for which control is transferred; and updating the further visiting player record in response to one or more player actions in the second is requesting tracking system.
7. A method as claimed in claim 5 comprising: determining from the home tracking system the first requesting tracking system; 20 transferring control of the at least part of the player record directly from the first requesting tracking system to the second requesting tracking system; and updating the player record in the home tracking system to include an identifier identifying the second 25 requesting tracking system.
8. A method as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 7, comprising determining that the transfer request is an eligible request. 30
9. A method as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 8, comprising determining how much control of the player record to transfer based on the transfer request. 35
10. A method as claimed in claim 8, comprising making the determination based on the identity of the requesting tracking system. 1759366_1 (GHMatters) P74304.AU.1 CAP 22/09/09 - 27
11. A method of player tracking comprising: generating a first transfer request in a first requesting tracking system based on a player record 5 identifier identifying the player record and a home tracking system; receiving control of at least part of a player record from the home tracking system; establishing a visiting player record in the first 10 requesting tracking system for the at least part of the player record; and updating the visiting player record in response to one or more player actions in the first requesting tracking system. 15
12. A method as claimed in claim 11 comprising: transferring control of the at least part of a player record directly from the first requesting tracking system to a second requesting tracking system subsequent to a 20 transfer request being made by the second requesting tracking system.
13. A tracking system comprising: a player record data structure adapted to store 25 player records, each player record including a player record identifier identifying the player record and being adapted to store data corresponding to a current location of control of at least part of the player record; and a transfer module adapted to: 30 receive a transfer request from a requesting tracking system for the at least part of the player record, the transfer request including the player record identifier identifying the player record to be transferred; and 35 process the transfer request based on the current location of control of at least part of the player record. 1759366_1 (GHMatters) P74304.AU.1 CAP 22/09/09 - 28
14. A tracking system as claimed in claim 13, wherein upon the transfer module determining to transfer control of at least part of the player record to the first requesting tracking system, the transfer module updates 5 the player record in the home system to include an identifier that identifies the first requesting tracking system as the new current location.
15. A tracking system as claimed in claim 13 or claim 14, 10 wherein the transfer module is further adapted to update the player record in the home tracking system to reflect a visiting player record of the first tracking system in response to transfer of control of the at least part of the player record back to the home tracking system or to a is further tracking system.
16. A tracking system as claimed in claim 13 or claim 14, wherein the transfer module is further adapted to: receive a request from a second requesting tracking 20 system for at least part of the player record; provide the identity of the first requesting tracking system to the second requesting tracking system; whereafter control can be transferred directly from the first requesting tracking system to the second requesting 25 tracking system; and update the player record data structure in the home tracking system to include an identifier identifying the second requesting tracking system as the new current location. 30
17. A tracking system as claimed in any one of claims 13 to 16, wherein the transfer module processes the transfer request to determine whether the transfer request is an eligible request. 35
18. A tracking system as claimed in any one of claims 13 to 17, wherein the transfer module processes the transfer 1759366_1 (GHMatters) P74304.AU.1 CAP 22/09/09 - 29 request to determine how much control of the player record to transfer based on the transfer request.
19. A tracking system as claimed in claim 18, wherein the 5 transfer module makes the determination based on the identity of the requesting tracking system.
20. A tracking system comprising: a player record data structure adapted to store 10 player records, each player record including a player record identifier identifying the player record; and a transfer module adapted to: receive a transfer request from a requesting tracking system in respect of at least part the player is record, the transfer request including the player record identifier identifying the player record; transfer control of at least part of the player record to the requesting tracking system; and update the player record data structure to 20 reflect what control of the player record has been transferred to the requesting tracking system and to include location data corresponding to the requesting tracking system. 25
21. A tracking system as claimed in claim 20, wherein the transfer module is further adapted to update the player record in the home tracking system to reflect a visiting player record of the first tracking system in response to transfer of control of the at least part of the player 30 record back to the home tracking system or to a further tracking system.
22. A tracking system as claimed in claim 20, wherein the transfer module is further adapted to: 35 receive a request from a second requesting tracking system for control of at least part of the player record; provide the identity of the first requesting tracking 1759366_1 (GHMatters) P74304.AU. 1 CAP 22/09/09 - 30 system to the second requesting tracking system; whereafter control can be transferred directly from the first requesting tracking system to the second requesting tracking system; and 5 update the player record data structure in the home tracking system to include an identifier identifying the second requesting tracking system as the new current location. 10
23. A tracking system as claimed in any one of claims 20 to 22, wherein the transfer module processes the transfer request to determine whether the transfer request is an eligible request. 15
24. A tracking system as claimed in any one of claims 20 to 23, wherein the transfer module processes the transfer request to determine how much control of the player record to transfer based on the transfer request. 20
25. A tracking system as claimed in claim 17, wherein the transfer module makes the determination based on the identity of the requesting tracking system.
26. A transfer module for a tracking system, the transfer 25 module adapted to: receive a transfer request from a requesting tracking system for control of at least part of the player record, the transfer request including the player record identifier identifying the player record to be 30 transferred; and process the transfer request based on a current location of control of the at least part of the player record. 35
27. A transfer module as claimed in claim 26, wherein upon the transfer module determining to transfer control of at least part of the player record to the first 1759366_1 (GHMatters) P74304AU.1 CAP 22/09/09 - 31 requesting tracking system, the transfer module updates the player record in the home system to include an identifier that identifies the first requesting tracking system as the new current location. 5
28. A transfer module as claimed in claim 26 or claim 27, further adapted to update the player record in the home tracking system to reflect a visiting player record of the first tracking system in response to transfer of control 10 of the at least part of the player record back to the home tracking system or to a further tracking system.
29. A transfer module as claimed in claim 26 or claim 27, further adapted to: 15 receive a request from a second requesting tracking system for control of at least part of the player record; provide the identity of the first requesting tracking system to the second requesting tracking system; whereafter control can be transferred directly from the 20 first requesting tracking system to the second requesting tracking system; and update the player record data structure in the home tracking system to include an identifier identifying the second requesting tracking system as the new current 25 location.
30. A transfer module as claimed in any one of claims 26 to 29, adapted to process the transfer request to determine whether the transfer request is an eligible 30 request.
31. A transfer module as claimed in any one of claims 26 to 29, adapted to process the transfer request to determine how much control of the player record to 35 transfer based on the transfer request.
32. A transfer module as claimed in claim 31, arranged to 1759366_1 (GHMatters) P74304AU.1 CAP 22/09109 - 32 make the determination based on the identity of the requesting tracking system.
33. A transfer module for a tracking system, the transfer s module arranged to: receive a transfer request from a requesting tracking system in respect of at least part the player record, the transfer request including the player record identifier identifying the player record; 10 transfer control of at least part of the player record to the requesting tracking system; and update a player record data structure to reflect what control of the player record has been transferred to the requesting tracking system and to include location 15 data corresponding to the requesting tracking system.
34. A transfer module as claimed in claim 33, further adapted to update the player record in the home tracking system to reflect a visiting player record of the first 20 tracking system in response to transfer of control of the at least part of the player record back to the home tracking system or to a further tracking system.
35. A transfer module as claimed in claim 33, further 25 adapted to: receive a request from a second requesting tracking system for control of at least part of the player record; provide the identity of the first requesting tracking system to the second requesting tracking system; 30 whereafter control can be transferred directly from the first requesting tracking system to the second requesting tracking system; and update the player record data structure in the home tracking system to include an identifier identifying the 35 second requesting tracking system as the new current location. 17593661 (GHMatters) P74304.AU-1 CAP 22/09/09 - 33
36. A transfer module as claimed in any one of claims 33 to 35, arranged to process the transfer request to determine whether the transfer request is an eligible request. 5
37. A transfer module as claimed in any one of claims 33 to 36, arranged to process the transfer request to determine how much control of the player record to transfer based on the transfer request. 10
38. A transfer module as claimed in claim 37, wherein the transfer module makes the determination based on the identity of the requesting tracking system. 15
39. A gaming network comprising: a home tracking system; and a first requesting tracking system, the home tracking system arranged to transfer control of at least part of a player record from to the first 20 requesting tracking system in response to receipt of a first transfer request; the first requesting tracking system arranged to: generate a first transfer request based on a player record identifier identifying a player record and a 25 home tracking system; establish a visiting player record in the first requesting tracking system for the at least part of the player record for which control is transferred; and update the visiting player record in response to 30 one or more player actions in the first requesting tracking system.
40. A gaming network as claimed in claim 39, wherein the home tracking system updates the player record in the home 35 system to include an identifier that identifies the first requesting tracking system. 1759366_1 (GHMatters) P74304.AU.1 CAP 22/09/09 - 34
41. A gaming network as claimed in claim 39 or claim 40, further comprising a second requesting tracking system which makes a second transfer request, and wherein: the home tracking system updates the player record in 5 the home tracking system to reflect the visiting player record of the first tracking system; the home tracking system updates the player record in the home tracking system to include an identifier that identifies the second requesting tracking system; 10 the second requesting tracking system establishes a further visiting player record in for the at least part of the player record for which control is transferred; and the second requesting tracking system updating the further visiting player record in response to one or more 15 player actions in the second requesting tracking system.
42. A gaming network as claimed in claim 39 or claim 40, further comprising a second requesting tracking system which makes a second transfer request, and wherein: 20 the second requesting tracking system determines from the home tracking system the identity of the first requesting tracking system; control of the player record is transferred directly from the first requesting tracking system to the second 25 requesting tracking system based on the determined identity; and the home tracking system updates the player record in the home tracking system to include an identifier identifying the second requesting tracking system. 30 1759366_1 (GHMatters) P74304.AU.1 CAP 22/09/09
AU2009217431A 2008-09-22 2009-09-22 A method of player tracking Abandoned AU2009217431A1 (en)

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US8376840B1 (en) * 2010-11-03 2013-02-19 Wms Gaming, Inc. Player tracking mechanism for secondary wagering games

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US5761647A (en) * 1996-05-24 1998-06-02 Harrah's Operating Company, Inc. National customer recognition system and method
US6302793B1 (en) * 1998-07-02 2001-10-16 Station Casinos, Inc. Multi-property player tracking system
US6800029B2 (en) * 2000-04-07 2004-10-05 Igt Gaming environment including portable transaction devices for rating players
AU8326401A (en) * 2000-08-18 2002-03-04 Int Game Tech Gaming machine virtual player tracking and related services
US20050148379A1 (en) * 2000-10-20 2005-07-07 Marcel Huard Method and apparatus for awarding prizes to players based on patterns in game results
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