AU2010203055B2 - Gaming apparatus and method involving secondary display - Google Patents

Gaming apparatus and method involving secondary display Download PDF

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Publication number
AU2010203055B2
AU2010203055B2 AU2010203055A AU2010203055A AU2010203055B2 AU 2010203055 B2 AU2010203055 B2 AU 2010203055B2 AU 2010203055 A AU2010203055 A AU 2010203055A AU 2010203055 A AU2010203055 A AU 2010203055A AU 2010203055 B2 AU2010203055 B2 AU 2010203055B2
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Australia
Prior art keywords
game
gaming machine
player
gaming
display
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AU2010203055A
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AU2010203055A1 (en
Inventor
Robert Linley Muir
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Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty Ltd
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Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty Ltd
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Priority to AU2006906664 priority Critical
Priority to AU2007234537A priority patent/AU2007234537B8/en
Application filed by Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty Ltd filed Critical Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty Ltd
Priority to AU2010203055A priority patent/AU2010203055B2/en
Publication of AU2010203055A1 publication Critical patent/AU2010203055A1/en
Application granted granted Critical
Publication of AU2010203055B2 publication Critical patent/AU2010203055B2/en
Priority claimed from AU2013211551A external-priority patent/AU2013211551A1/en
Application status is Active 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
    • 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
    • G07F17/3202Hardware aspects of a gaming system, e.g. components, construction, architecture thereof
    • 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
    • G07F17/326Game play aspects of gaming systems
    • G07F17/3262Player actions which determine the course of the game, e.g. selecting a prize to be won, outcome to be achieved, game to be played

Abstract

A gaming machine arranged to play at least one game in which symbols are selected, presented on a game display, and evaluated for a winning outcome. Information relating to a different game is displayed.

Description

P/00/0 11 Regulation 3.2 AUSTRALIA Patents Act 1990 COMPLETE SPECIFICATION STANDARD PATENT Invention Title: Gaming apparatus and method involving secondary display The following statement is a full description of this invention, including the best method of performing it known to us: 2 Gaming apparatus and method involving secondary display Field of the Invention The present invention generally relates to gaming machines and methods of gaming. A particular embodiment of the present invention relates to gaming systems where a 5 plurality of different games are playable and the player has a choice as to which game or games to play. Background of the Invention With the increase of gambling at gaming venues has come increased competition between gaming venues to obtain a larger share of the total gambling spend. Gaming 0 venue operators have therefore continuously looked for new variations and types of games in order to attract both new and return customers to their venues. In response to this need, suppliers of gaming devices and systems have attempted to provide the sought after variety, while still developing games that comply with the relevant regulations in the jurisdiction of the gaming venue operator. Suppliers of 15 gaming devices therefore are faced with restrictions on the types of games and gaming machines that are allowable, both in terms of the prevailing regulations and in terms of providing a return on investment to the gaming venue operators. In addition, it is important that a player be able to understand the operation of a game quickly so that the player can start to quickly play the game and therefore extract 20 maximum entertainment from the game. Gaming venue operators may directly benefit by providing games to players that entertain the players and therefore there is a need for providing games that entertain the largest number of players. One method of providing new gaming systems is to link a number of gaming machines. Gaming machines have been linked, for example, to a jackpot controller that operates a 25 progressive jackpot. In addition, it is possible to link processing systems implementing game play, accounting and/or management functions to gaming machines, to allow -3 gaming, accounting and management functions to be performed. There remains a need to find new ways to utilise linked gaming systems. Any reference in this specification to the prior art does not constitute an 5 admission that such prior art was well known or forms part of the common general knowledge in any jurisdiction. Summary of the Invention According to one aspect, the invention broadly resides in a method for use with 10 a gaming machine arranged to play a first game in which symbols are selected and presented on a game display, the method comprising: initiating a first gaming session on the gaming machine for play by a player, and presenting information relating to a second game on a secondary display, wherein the second game is recommended from amongst a plurality of is available games based on at least one predefined criterion; receiving notification of selection of the second game: determining, from a licensing record, whether a valid license is available to allow play of the second game; and in response to a valid license being determined, delivering the selected 20 game to the gaming machine for play by the player. According to another aspect, the invention broadly resides in a gaming machine arranged to play a first game in which symbols are selected and presented on a game display, the gaming machine operating to initiate a first gaming session 25 for play by a player, and present information relating to a second game on a secondary display, wherein the second game is recommended from amongst a plurality of available games based on at least one predefined criterion, the gaming machine also operating to: receive notification of selection of the second game; 30 determine, from a licensing record, whether a valid license is available to allow play of the second game; and in response to a valid licence being determined, deliver the selected game to the gaming machine for play by the player. 35 The gaming machine may include a player tracking module and the presented information may be a game playable on the gaming machine. 4236274_1 (GHMatten) P88270.AU. 110/o - 3a Also described is a method for use with a gaming machine arranged to provide play of a game in which one or more symbols are selected and presented on a 5 game display, the gaming machine including a player tracking module and a player tracking module display separate from the game display, wherein the method comprises: presenting information relating to at least one other game on the player tracking module display; receiving a predefined input at a player interface; and in response to receipt of said input, providing the at least one 1o other game on the gaming machine. The method may further comprise selecting the information relating to at least one other game dependent on a player identifier read by the player tracking module. The process of selecting may involve receiving a player history of the 1s player and presenting c:\NRPortbl\GHMatters\MELANIER\4236274_1.docx 9o4l3 4 information relating to games that share one or more common or like characteristics to games that the player has previously played. Also described is a method for use with a gaming machine arranged to play at least one game in which symbols are selected and presented on a game display, the method 5 comprising: initiating a first gaming session on the gaming machine in which a first game is played; presenting information relating to at least one other game on a secondary display; receiving at a player interface a predefined input; and in response to receipt of said input, providing the at least one other game on the gaming machine. The gaming machine may be arranged to play at least two games and the process of 0 presenting on the secondary display information identifying at least one other game comprises displaying information identifying at least one game that is playable on the gaming machine. The method may comprise only presenting on the secondary display information relating to one or more games that can be played on the gaming machine. Alternatively, the method may comprise presenting on the secondary display 15 information relating to one or more games that can be played on different gaming machines at the gaming venue where the gaming machine is located. The method may comprise selecting a set of games for display on the secondary display, the set of games having members representing a subset of all games for which information may be displayed on the secondary display, the selection of the set of 20 games dependent on at least one of a current and past selection of one or more games to play by the player. The method may further comprise presenting on the secondary display information regarding at least one event at a gaming venue where the gaming machine is located. The process of presenting on the secondary display information relating to at least one 25 other game may comprise communicating data defining said information from a source remote from the gaming machine to a controller of the secondary display. The process of communicating data from the data source to the controller of the secondary display 5 may comprise communicating the data over a communication path that does not involve a controller of the gaming machine that controls play of the first game. The method may further comprise, at least during the time that the information relating to at least one other game is presented on the secondary display, monitoring for a 5 predefined player input at a player interface and in response to the detection of the player input initiating a process that causes the gaming machine to provide the game that relates to the information presented on the secondary display when the predefined player input was detected. Also described is a method for use with a plurality of linked gaming machines wherein 0 each said gaming machine includes a player tracking module and a player tracking module display separate from a main game display which is arranged to display play of a game, the method being initiated during a gaming session on each of said plurality of linked gaming machines and comprising: presenting information relating to at least one other game on said player tracking module display; detecting a certain player input at 15 the gaming machine; and in response to the detected player input, providing a game relating to the presented information. The method may further comprise monitoring the provision of games by the linked gaming machines. The monitoring of the provision of games by the linked gaming machines may be 20 performed in a licensing server for the linked gaming machines, the licensing server maintaining in electronic storage licence records identifying the number of licenses available for each game and regulating provision of the games dependent on the licenses available. If no licenses are available for a game, the method may involve not displaying 25 information relating to that game on the secondary display. The method may further comprise independently controlling the secondary displays to display information relating to different games. The method may further comprise controlling the secondary displays to temporarily simultaneously display the same 6 information and then return to displaying said information relating to at least one other game. The method may further comprise determining the information to display on the secondary display dependent on at least one of the parameters selected from the group 5 comprising: the game currently being played at the gaming machine, a recorded history of game selections by a player currently identified at that gaming machine, recorded characteristics of games available to be played, and recorded categorisations of games available to be played. The method may comprise communicating information for display on the secondary 0 display from a central electronic processing system to a controller of the secondary display. Also described is instructions stored in a storage medium readable by a game controller and executable to implement a method for use with a gaming machine arranged to play at least one game in which symbols are selected and presented on a game display, 15 wherein an electronic secondary display is associated with said gaming machine, the method caused to be implemented comprising: initiating a first gaming session on the gaming machine in which a first game is played; presenting information relating to at least one other game on said secondary display; receiving at a player interface a predefined input; and in response to receipt of said input, providing the at least one 20 other game on the gaming machine. Also described is a gaming machine implementing a game wherein one or more symbols are selected and presented on a display, the gaming machine comprising a user interface and a primary display in communication with a game controller that controls the presentation of images on the primary display at least partly in response to 25 a user operation of said user interface, the gaming machine further comprising a player tracking module and player tracking module display separate from the primary display, the player tracking module display arranged to present information relating to at least one other game during a gaming session, wherein the gaming machine is arranged to detect a predefined player input and in response to the detection of said input initiate a 7 process that causes the gaming machine to provide the at least one other game relating to the information presented on the player tracking module display when said input was detected. The gaming machine may comprise a communication interface for communicating with 5 a remote display controller and the gaming machine may be arranged so that the secondary display presents information in response to control signals received at the communication interface. The gaming may be arranged so that control signals received at the communication interface are communicated to the secondary display through a communication path that does not include the game controller. 10 The secondary display may alternatively display information dependent on control signals from a display controller local to the gaming machine. The display controller local to the gaming machine may also operate as the game controller. The gaming machine may play at least two games and the secondary display may present information identifying at least one game that is playable on the gaming 15 machine. The secondary display may only present information relating to one or more games that can be played on the gaming machine. The gaming machine may be arranged to detect a predefined player input and in response to the detection of the predefined player input initiate a process that causes the gaming machine to provide the game that relates to the information presented on 20 the secondary display when the predefined player input was detected. The predefined player input may be a player input provided on a part of the user interface associated with the secondary display. The secondary display. may be provided in a housing distinct from a housing of the primary display and the user interface used to provide the predefined player input may be in the same housing as the secondary display. 25 The gaming machine include a top box comprising a further electronic display. Also described is a gaming system comprising a plurality of gaming machines, each gaming machine providing a game in which one or more symbols are selected and presented on a primary display, wherein said plurality of gaming machines are each 8 associated with a player tracking module display, a plurality of the player tracking module displays being controlled to present information relating to at least one game other than a game currently being played on the associated gaming machine, wherein the said gaming machines are further configured to detect a predefined player input and 5 initiate a process to provide a game relating to the information presented on the associated player tracking module display when the predefined player input was detected. The information displayed by the secondary displays may be determined by an electronic processing system remote from the gaming machine. 10 The secondary displays may be independently controllable. The gaming system may record in electronic storage information identifying the provision of games by the gaming machines. The recorded information may be used for regulating provision of games to the gaming machines. Also described is a gaming machine arranged to play at least one game in which 15 symbols are selected, presented on a game display, and evaluated for a winning outcome, the gaming machine including a player tracking module having a controller and a player tracking module display separate from the game display, wherein the controller controls the player tracking module display to present information relating to at least one other game wherein the information relating to the at least one other game 20 is selected dependent on a player identifier read by the player tracking module, wherein the gaming machine is configured to detect a predefined player input and initiate a process to provide a game relating to the information presented on the secondary display when the predefined player input was detected. The information relating to at least one other game may be selected dependent on a 25 player identifier read from a player tracking card inserted into the player tracking module. The process of selecting may involve comparing a player history of the player and presenting information relating to games that share one or more common or like characteristics to games that the player has previously played. The process of selecting 9 may be performed by the controller of the player tracking module, a controller of the gaming machine, or a remote controller in data communication with the player tracking module, optionally via the gaming machine. Further aspects of the present invention will become apparent from the following 5 description, given by way of example and with reference to the accompanying drawings. Brief Description of the Drawings Figure 1: shows diagrammatically, a view of a gaming console suitable for implementing the present invention. Figure 2: shows a block diagram of gaming machine suitable for implementing the 0 present invention. Figure 3: shows a block diagram of components of the memory of the gaming machine represented in Figure 2. Figure 4: shows diagrammatically, a network gaming system suitable for implementing the present invention. 15 Figure 5: shows a flow diagram of a process performed in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. Detailed Description In Figure 1 of the accompanying drawings, one example of a gaming console that is suitable to implement the present invention is generally referenced by arrow 114. 20 The gaming console 114 includes two displays 106A, 106B on one or both of which is displayed representations of a game that can be played by a player and bank of buttons 107A and/or a touch screen 107B to enable a player to play the game. The displays 106 may be video display units, such as a cathode ray tube screen device, a liquid crystal display, plasma screen, any other suitable video display unit, or the visible portion of an 25 electromechanical device. The display 106B may display artwork, including for example, 10 pay tables and details of bonus awards and other information or images relating to the game. In alternative gaming consoles the display 106B may be omitted, optionally replaced by a static display. A credit input including a coin input 11OA and/or bill collector 11OB allows a player to 5 provide credit for wagering and a coin output 111 is provided for cash payouts from the gaming console 114. A card and/or ticket reader 108 and a printer 109 may be provided to provide cashless game play or other gaming and non-gaming related functions. A player tracking module (PTM) 119 is attached to a side of the console 114. The PTM 119 includes an electronic display 116 and may also include a keypad 117 and a card 0 reader 118, which may also be a ticket reader or may be solely a ticket reader. The display 116 may, for example, be a LCD display or other video display or may be a LED display. As explained in more detail herein below, the card reader 118 may allow player identification through the insertion of a player card 120 including a machine readable player identifier. Typically only one of the readers 108, 118 are provided on a single 15 gaming console to perform all card and ticket reading functions. Figure 2 shows a block diagram of a gaming machine, generally referenced by arrow 100, suitable for implementing the present invention. The gaming machine 100 may include the gaming console 114 shown in Figure 1 and accordingly like reference numerals have been used to describe like components in Figures 1 and 2. 20 The gaming machine 100 includes a game controller 101, which in the illustrated example includes a computational device 102, which may be a microprocessor, microcontroller, programmable logic device or other suitable device. Instructions and data to control operation of the computational device 102 are stored in a memory 103, which is in data communication and/or forms part of the computational device 102. 25 Typically, the gaming machine 100 will include both volatile and non-volatile memory and more than one of each type of memory, with such memories being collectively represented by the memory 103. The instructions to cause the game controller 101 to implement the present invention will be stored in the memory 103. The game controller 101 may include hardware meters 104 for the purposes of 30 regulatory compliance and also include an input/output (1/0) interface 105 for 11 communicating with the peripheral devices of the gaming machine 100. The input/output interface 105 and/or the peripheral devices may be intelligent devices with their own memory for instructions and data. In the example shown in Figure 2, the peripheral devices that communicate with the 5 controller are the. various components forming a user interface 115, the printer 109, the bill acceptor and/or coin input 110 and the coin output 111. Additional devices may be included as part of the gaming machine 100, or devices omitted as required for the specific implementation. The user interface includes the displays 106, bank of buttons/touch screen 107 and the 0 card and/or ticket reader 108 if provided. In addition, the user interface includes components of the PTM 119, including the display 116, bank of buttons/touch screen 117 and the card and/or ticket reader 118. In addition, the gaming machine 100 may include a communications interface, for example a network card 112. The network card 112, may for example, send status 15 information, accounting information or other information to a central controller, server or database and receive data or commands from a the central controller, server or database. The network card 112 may also enable communication with a central player account, allowing cashless gaming. One or more of the peripheral devices, for example the card/ticket reader 108 may be able to communicate directly with the network card 20 112. The PTM 119 has a PTM controller 121 that may have a direct communication line with the network card 112 and may also communicate with the game controller 101 through the 1/O interface 105. The network card 112 and the 1/O interface 105 may be suitably implemented as a single device in the form of a machine communications interface. 25 The game controller 101 may also include a random number generator 113, which generates a series of random numbers that determine the outcome of a series of random game events played as part of a game on the gaming machine 100.

12 The game controller 101 may have distributed hardware and software components that communicate with each other directly or through a network or other communication channel. In particular, the game controller 101 may be located in part or in its entirety remote from the user interface 115. Also, the game controller 102 may comprise a 5 plurality of devices, which may be local or remote from each other. Figure 3 shows an exemplary block diagram of the main components of the memory 103. The RAM 103A typically temporarily holds instructions and data related to the execution of game programs and communication functions performed by the computational controller 102. The EPROM 103B may hold be a boot ROM device 10 and/or may contain system and game related code. The mass storage device 103C may be used to store game programs, the integrity of which may be verified and/or authenticated by the computational controller 102 using protected code from the EPROM 103B or elsewhere. In one embodiment, the gaming machine 100 may be a multi-game gaming machine 15 able to execute a plurality of games, with the instructions and data relating to each game stored in the EPROM 103B. The player may then operate the user interface 115, for example the touch screen 107B which overlays icons presented on the display 106A representing each game to select which game to play. Alternatively, the player may use the keypad 117 or a touch screen provided over the display 116 of the PTM 119 to 20 select which game to play. Figure 4 shows a gaming system 200 in the form of a network of devices. The gaming system 200 includes a network infrastructure 201, which for example may be an Ethernet network. Alternatively, a wireless network and/or direct communication channels, or a different type of network may be used to link the gaming machines to a 25 server, each other and/or other devices. Gaming consoles 114, shown arranged in three banks 203 of two gaming consoles 114 in Figure 4, are connected to the network infrastructure 201. The gaming consoles 114 may form part or all of a gaming machine 100. Single gaming consoles 114 and banks 203 containing three or more gaming devices 202 may also be connected to the network infrastructure 201, which may also 30 include hubs, routers, bridges to other networks and other devices (not shown).

13 One or more displays 204 may also be connected to the network 201. The displays 204 may, for example, be associated with a bank 203 of gaming consoles 114. The displays 204 may be used to display representations associated with game play on the gaming devices 202, and/or used to display other representations, for example promotional or 5 informational material. Servers may also be connected to the network 201. For example, a game server 205 may generate game outcomes for games played on one or more of the gaming consoles 114, a database management server 206 may manage the storage of game programs and associated data in a database 206A so that they are available for 0 downloading to, or access by, game controllers 101, and a jackpot server 207 may control one or more jackpots for the gaming system 200. Further servers may be provided to assist in the administration of the gaming system 200, including for example a floor management server 208, and a licensing server 209 to monitor the use of licenses to particular games. An administrator terminal 210 is 15 provided to allow an administrator to manage the network 201 and the devices connected to the network. The gaming system 200 may communicate with other gaming systems, other local networks, for example a corporate network and/or a wide area network such as the Internet through a firewall 211. 20 Figure 5 shows a process flow diagram of a process performed in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. The process may be performed by the gaming system 200, in which the gaming consoles 114 are each include game controllers 101 to form gaming machines 100 and the following description assumes this implementation. However, those skilled in the relevant arts will appreciate that the 25 process will also be able to be implemented by other gaming systems. In step 1, the PTM controller 121 monitors the card reader 118 for the insertion of a player tracking card 120. When a player tracking card 120 is inserted, the card reader 118 reads a player identifier and the PTM controller 121 communicates this to the 14 network card 112 for communication to the floor management server 208 together with information to identify the PTM 119 and/or console 114 at which the player inserted their player tracking card 120. As explained in more detail later herein, the floor management server 208 stores in a database historical records of players. 5 In response to receipt of the player identifier, the floor management server 208 retrieves the historical records associated with that player identifier (step 2) and then generates game information for display by the display 116 (step 3). In one embodiment, the game information includes suggestions of games for the player to play. This embodiment may be particularly suited to an implementation of the gaming l0 system 200 where games are centrally stored and downloaded to the gaming machines 100 from the database management server 206, or executed centrally. In this implementation there may be many games that the player can select to play, in which case the PTM 119 may display names of games that can be played and cycle through a list of those games. In another embodiment, if the gaming machine 100 is a multi-game 15 machine, the recommendations may be for games stored in the EPROM 103B that can be executed by the gaming machine 100 that the player is currently playing. However, it may be advantageous to tailor what information is displayed on the display 116 to a particular player. For example, if a gaming system 200 is operable to play hundreds or thousands of games, simply cycling through the list of available games may 20 result in it being unlikely that the player will see a game that appeals to them. A recommendation engine may be implemented in the gaming system 200, suitably by the floor management server 208 to select games that the player may be more interested in. The recommendation engine may use historical game activity previously recorded and associated with the player identifier to identify types of games that the player has 25 demonstrated a preference for. For example, the player may predominantly play games of a certain denomination, play more spinning reel games than poker-style games and/or tend to play games linked to a progressive jackpot. Alternatively, the recommendation engine may use only the game currently being played on the gaming machine 100 to select what information to display on the display 116.

15 The recommendation engine may use a number of methods for establishing a selection of games for presentation on the display 116. Methods for selecting games for presentation are described in international patent publication number WO 2005/028056 Al, which is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety. 5 Once the game information has been generated, this is communicated by the recommendation engine (which may be implemented by the floor management server 208) to the PTM 119 (step 4). The PTM 119 may have its own network address for this purpose, or the PTM 119 may also use an identifier of the gaming console 114 to allow communications to be addressed to the PTM 119. The PTM controller 121 receives the 0 game information from the network card 112 and controls the display 116 to display the information (step 5). As the display 116 is separate from the displays 106 that are used to display representations of the game that the player is currently playing, the game information can be presented during a gaming session of the player without interfering with the representations of the game. The presentation of the game information is 15 therefore largely unobtrusive to the player, yet is still readily visible by the player. As the player plays a game on the gaming machine 100, the game activity may be monitored (step 6) and communicated to the floor management server 208 so that the historical records for the player can be updated. The information relating to game activity communicated to the floor management may include the game that is played, 20 the duration of play, total amount wagered in the gaming session, and/or rate of play of the game. This information may be used by the recommendation engine to identify preferences of the player, and may also be used for other purposes, for example in loyalty promotions and/or to maintain accounting records for the gaming venue. While the game information is presented on the display 116, the user interface 115 is 25 monitored for a predetermined action that indicates that a player may want to play a game related to the game information currently being displayed (step 7). Where the PTM 119 has controls, for example the bank of buttons/touch screen 117 that the player can manipulate separately from the controls of the main gaming console, then step 7 may be performed by the PTM controller 121. In decision step 8, if no new game has 30 been selected, the process proceeds to step 6. If a new game is selected, then the PTM 16 controller 121 communicates this information onto the network 201 to be received by the licensing server 209. If no information relating to a game is presented on the secondary display when the predefined player input was detected, then the game required may be identified as the game relating to the information that was last 5 presented on the secondary display. The recommendation engine may alternatively be distributed in a gaming system. For example, each PTM 119 may have an internal recommendation engine and may receive player tracking information from a central location and/or from the gaming machine that it is connected to. Alternatively, the gaming machine controller may 10 include a recommendation engine. However, in a network gaming system that includes a plurality of gaming machines, a central recommendation engine may provide optimal operation in many circumstances. The licensing server 209 maintains a record of the licenses to games available in the gaming system 200 and the number of each game that is currently being played. On 15 receiving notification of selection of a game from the PTM controller 121, the licensing server 209 checks whether there are sufficient licenses available (step 9) to allow play of the game (assuming that there is a restriction on the number of licences available). If there is not, the licensing server 209 responds to the PTM controller 121, which displays an appropriate message. In addition, the PTM controller 121 may request from the 20 recommendation engine the closest matching game to the selected game and suggest this game as an alternative. In one embodiment, if there are no licenses available for a particular game, then the licensing server 209 communicates this to the floor management server 208. In response, the floor management server 208 removes this game from the list of 25 suggested games for display by the PTM 119. In this way player dissatisfaction resulting from selecting a game displayed by the PTM 119 that is not currently available may be minimised. If there are sufficient licenses, the licensing server 209 updates its license records to indicate the playing of the new game (step 10) and confirms that there is a licence 17 available to the PTM controller 121, which then requests the game from the database management server 206. Alternatively, the licensing server 209 may report directly to the database management server 206. The selected game is then downloaded to the gaming machine 100 associated with the PTM 119 or loaded into a centralised game 5 controller 101 and the new game is provided to the player using the gaming console 114 that they are currently located at (step 11). The process involves monitoring for an event that indicates the end of the gaming session, which is suitably the removal of the player tracking card 20 from the gaming console 114 (step 12). If the gaming session has not ended, then the process returns to 0 step 6, in which game activity is monitored and recorded. This includes recording the selection of the new game and may also be a trigger for communicating information relating to the previous game, such as total time spent playing, total amount wagered, total wins, total losses and/or rate of play. If the gaming session has ended, the PTM 119 may display on the display 116 an attract sequence, which may include names of l5 popular games or information associated with games. A new player could use the PTM 119 to select a currently displayed game to play. The display 116 may be used in conjunction with attract sequences displayed on the display 106B and/or 106A. For example, images related to a game may be displayed on display 106B and a message may be displayed on the PTM 119 giving instructions how to play the game currently 20 displayed on the display 106B. The PTM 119 may alternatively display games similar to the game currently displayed on the display 106B and allow the player to select the displayed game for play. Messages other than recommendations of other games may also be generated for display on the display 116 (step 14). These messages may include gaming venue 25 messages, for example indicating special bonus periods, special events, or other information such as the opening and closing times of an on-site restaurant. In addition, messages may be generated relating to game play of the game currently being played on the gaming machine 100. For example, the information used to track the play of a player may be used to trigger the presentation of messages on the display 116. A large 30 win may result in a congratulatory message being displayed, or instructions on how to receive the win may be displayed. The display may also display the total amount 18 wagered and the total amount won in the current gaming session. In addition, the PTM 119 may display the current amount of a progressive jackpot maintained by the jackpot server 207 that the player is eligible to win by playing the current game. The PTM 119 may monitor communications from the game controller 101 for events that trigger a 5 game related message, or alternatively this monitoring may be performed elsewhere in the gaming system 200, for example by the floor management server 208, which then controls the PTM 119 to display the messages. In the embodiment where one or more progressive jackpots are maintained by a jackpot server 207, information communicated by the game controller 101 onto the network 201 10 may indicate the game currently being played so that the appropriate jackpot is incremented due to game play. An identifier of the console 114 that the player is playing the game at is also communicated with the information, to enable identification of the winning console when the jackpot is to be awarded. While the foregoing description has focussed on an embodiment where the player has 15 been identified, the PTM 119 may still operate to suggest games to an unidentified player. The selection of games for display may be random, cycle through a predefined list, or be dependent on the historical information of a collection of players, for example all players at the gaming venue over the past day, week, month or other period. In addition, where the gaming machine 100 is a multi-game machine, the PTM 119 may 20 operate without any network connection, recommending games playable by the gaming machine. The game controller 101 could then directly control the display 116. In addition, as well as recommending games that can be played at the current gaming console 114, the PTM could recommend games that are playable at other gaming consoles 114 in the gaming system 200. This embodiment may be suited to gaming 25 systems where each gaming machine 100 and associated console 114 can only play a restricted number of games, for example one. The PTM 119 could recommend games playable only at gaming machines that are currently unoccupied by players, receiving this information from the floor management server 208 and could indicate where the gaming machine that can play the suggested game is located if the player operates the 30 user interface 115 to indicate that they are interested in playing that game. The player 19 may further be able to reserve a gaming machine using the PTM 119, for example reserve a gaming machine that can play a game that has been presented on the display 116. In this embodiment, the reservation request may be communicated from the PTM 119 together with information identifying the game that the player has identified to the 5 floor management server 208, which may then send a command over the network 200 to the appropriate gaming machine 100 to reserve it. Methods for reserving gaming machines are describes in international patent publication number WO 2002/111954, which is hereby incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. The exemplary process described in relation to Figure 5 may be varied in a number of 10 ways. The order of the steps performed in the process may be changed, steps omitted or substituted, or new steps added as required for a particular implementation. Where in the foregoing description reference has been made to integers having known equivalents, then those equivalents are hereby incorporated herein as if individually set forth. 15 Those skilled in the relevant arts will appreciate that modifications and additions to the embodiments of the present invention may be made without departing from the scope of the present invention. It will be understood that the invention disclosed and defined in this specification extends to all alternative combinations of two or more of the individual features 20 mentioned or evident from the text or drawings. All of these different combinations constitute various alternative aspects of the invention. It will also be understood that the term "comprises" (or its grammatical variants) as used in this specification is equivalent to the term "includes" and should not be taken as excluding the presence of other elements or features.

Claims (6)

  1. 2. A method of claim 1 wherein said gaming machine includes a player tracking module.
  2. 3. A method of either of claims I or 2 wherein the at least one other game 20 is a game playable on the gaming machine,
  3. 4. A gaming machine arranged to play a first game in which symbols are selected and presented on a game display, the gaming machine operating to initiate a first gaming session for play by a player, and present information 25 relating to a second game on a secondary display, wherein the second game is recommended from amongst a plurality of available games based on at least one predefined criterion, the gaming machine also operating to: receive notification of selection of the second game; determine from a licensing record, whether a valid license is available to 30 allow play of the second game; and in response to a valid licence being determined, deliver the selected game to the gaming machine for play by the player.
  4. 5. A gaming machine of claim 4 including a player tracking module. 35
  5. 6. A gaming machine of either of claims 3 or 4 wherein the at least one other game is a game playable on the gaming machine. c:\NRPortbl\GHMatters\MELANIER\42362 7 4_ _.docX 910413 - 21 7. A method of claim 1, wherein in response to a valid licence not being determined, the second game is removed from the plurality of available games such that it cannot be subsequently recommended to another player. 5 8. A method of claim 1, wherein in response to a valid license not being determined, a third game is recommended as an alternative, the third game being the closest matching game to the recommended second game.
  6. 9. A method of claim 1, wherein the at least one criterion comprises one or 10 more of: historical game activity associated with the player, games linked to a progressive jackpot and current gaming activity generated through play of the first game. c:\NRPortbl\GHMatters\MELANIER\4236274_I.docx wovi 3
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Citations (3)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US6565436B1 (en) * 2000-10-05 2003-05-20 Igt Gaming device having a weighted probability for selecting a bonus game
EP1467329A2 (en) * 2003-04-07 2004-10-13 Aruze Corp. Gaming system and gaming machine therefor
AU2004203291A1 (en) * 2003-08-06 2005-02-24 Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty Ltd Improved multi-game gaming machine

Patent Citations (3)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US6565436B1 (en) * 2000-10-05 2003-05-20 Igt Gaming device having a weighted probability for selecting a bonus game
EP1467329A2 (en) * 2003-04-07 2004-10-13 Aruze Corp. Gaming system and gaming machine therefor
AU2004203291A1 (en) * 2003-08-06 2005-02-24 Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty Ltd Improved multi-game gaming machine

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