US20060166741A1 - System for communicating with a player - Google Patents

System for communicating with a player Download PDF

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Publication number
US20060166741A1
US20060166741A1 US11/042,471 US4247105A US2006166741A1 US 20060166741 A1 US20060166741 A1 US 20060166741A1 US 4247105 A US4247105 A US 4247105A US 2006166741 A1 US2006166741 A1 US 2006166741A1
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Prior art keywords
player
method
vertical
display
gaming device
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Abandoned
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US11/042,471
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Scott Boyd
Kim Martin
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IGT Inc
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IGT Inc
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Assigned to IGT ( A NEVADA CORPORATION) reassignment IGT ( A NEVADA CORPORATION) ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: BOYD, SCOTT A., MARTIN, KIM
Assigned to IGT, A NEVADA CORPORATION reassignment IGT, A NEVADA CORPORATION ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: ACRES GAMING INCORPORATED
Publication of US20060166741A1 publication Critical patent/US20060166741A1/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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    • 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
    • G07F17/3225Data transfer within a gaming system, e.g. data sent between gaming machines and users
    • G07F17/3227Configuring a gaming machine, e.g. downloading personal settings, selecting working parameters
    • 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
    • G07F17/3244Payment aspects of a gaming system, e.g. payment schemes, setting payout ratio, bonus or consolation prizes
    • G07F17/3255Incentive, loyalty and/or promotion schemes, e.g. comps, gaming associated with a purchase, gaming funded by advertisements

Abstract

Embodiments of the invention include a vertical player interface device with player tracking functionality and methods for retrofitting existing electronic gaming machines with vertical player interfaces and tracking devices. The player interface facilitates player interaction with the gaming network to enable information exchange, cashless gaming, player tracking, bonusing, and casino promotions and services.

Description

    1. FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention relates to play on electronic gaming machines and, more particularly, to a vertical interactive player interface for players playing electronic gaming devices for purposes such as communicating services, player tracking, and others.
  • 2. BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • For some time casinos have incorporated slot machines into a computer network to permit transactions from the slot machine to be communicated to the network and to permit the network to issue commands to a particular machine or group of machines. An example of the use of a communications board for such purposes is described, for example, in U.S. Pat. No. 5,655,961, which is owned by the assignee of the present application and which is incorporated herein by reference for all purposes.
  • It is well known to associate a card reader, a display, and a keypad with each such slot machine to facilitate player tracking, as it is referred to in the industry. When installed at the slot machine, such devices are generally attached to the top of the slot machine, or on its face. However, such installations can be problematic for gaming devices fitted with secondary games, where such secondary games are installed on top of the gaming device in the same area where a player interface might be installed.
  • In a conventional player-tracking system, each player is assigned a card and an associated account, which is maintained on a network computer. Before playing one of the slot machines, the player inserts his or her card to cause points proportionate to play to accrue in his or her account. The points are then redeemable by the player for additional play, dinners, merchandise, or the like. In addition, the card, keypad and display, which is typically a vacuum fluorescent display or a small-character LCD display, can be used to permit a player to access a cashless play account or to access credits that are either complimentary or awarded to the player during the course of his or her play.
  • The design, construction and operation of networked slot machines, including the card reader, the keypad and the display, as mentioned above, is described in detail in the '961 patent. The design, construction and operation of touch screen displays is described in detail in US Patent Publication No. 2003/0109307, which is also owned by the assignee of the present application and which is incorporated herein by reference for all purposes. Another embodiment of networked slot machines is also described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,319,125 for a Method and Apparatus for Promoting Play on a Network of Gaming Devices, which is also assigned to the assignee of the present application and which is also incorporated herein by reference for all purposes.
  • In addition to player-tracking functions, cashless play and associated functions can be implemented using the system of FIG. 1 as described in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/694,065, which is assigned to the assignee of the present application and which is incorporated herein by reference for all purposes. In addition, conversion of player-tracking points into playable credit can also be implemented using the system of FIG. 1 as described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,371,852, which is also assigned to the assignee of the present application and which is also incorporated herein by reference for all purposes.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1A is a front view of a prior art electronic gaming device including a player tracking system.
  • FIG. 1B is a front view of an electronic gaming device showing embodiments of the present invention and including a vertical player tracking display.
  • FIGS. 2A and 2B together are a block diagram showing components of a gaming network according to embodiments of the invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • Embodiments of the invention include an electronic gaming device including vertical player interface with player tracking functionality, among others, and methods for retrofitting existing electronic gaming machines with vertical player interfaces and tracking devices. As used in this description, electronic gaming devices, electronic gaming machines, EGMs, gaming devices, and gaming machines are used interchangeability to refer to electronic gaming devices. Player tracking, as used in this description, includes all communications between a given EGM, or set of given EGMs, and the network, including aspects of play and player tracking, as well as communications between the player and casino relating to services and calendaring, etc.
  • Turning to FIG. 1A, a prior art electronic gaming device (“EGM”) 9 is shown. The EGM 9 includes a bill acceptor 207 that accepts and validates bills, tickets or vouchers. Bill validators operate by scanning barcodes or other identifying features on tickets or vouchers, and by examining printing or other security features on paper currency to determine authenticity. Bill validators are well known in the gaming arts.
  • The EGM 9 also includes one or more coin slots 201 for accepting coins or tokens. An internal hopper 203 temporarily stores coins or tokens for later payment to the player through a payout bin 205, if the player chooses to cash out in such a manner. Bills can also be stored in a separate hopper, and dispensed to the player through the bill acceptor 207 or through another bill slot 209 in the machine cabinet, similar to an ATM machine.
  • A set of game electronics 13 manages the central operations of the gaming device 9. For example, the game electronics 13 counts the monetary value input into the EGM 9, and tracks and stores values for this and other data items. The game electronics 13 also control the game play of the EGM 9, such as by accepting user input from various buttons (not shown) to cause credits to be wagered, as well as cause motors to spin the game wheels, speakers to generate sound, and circuits to generate lights or video signals.
  • The EGM 9 also includes game-mounted components of a player tracking system. The components are shown affixed to a frame 214, which is mounted to front of the gaming device 9. The player tracking system includes an LED display 215, keypad 217 and card reader 219. Also shown is a game printer 211.
  • FIG. 1B shows an electronic gaming device 10 including embodiments of the present invention. While the electronic gaming device 10 shows some of the features of the gaming device 9 of FIG. 1A, it further includes a vertical player interface 228, which includes player tracking functionality, among others.
  • A set of game electronics 15 manages the central operations of the gaming device 10. The game electronics 15 may be a main board that interfaces with various controller boards that control specific functions in the EGM 10, or may control the various devices directly. For example, the game electronics 15 counts the monetary value input into the EGM 10, and tracks and stores values for this and other data items. The game electronics 15 also control the game play of the EGM 10, such as by accepting user input from various buttons (not shown) to cause credits to be wagered, as well as game results to be displayed, speakers to generate sound, and circuits to generate lights or video signals.
  • One of the items controlled by the game electronics 15 is an internal game printer 212. The internal game printer can be of any type known in the art, such as impact, inkjet, thermal, laser, and can be a color printer or standard black and white. Even if the game printer is only capable of printing in a single color, cardstock or paper used by the printer could be pre-printed in color. In lieu of an internal game printer 212, the EGM 10 can be associated with a game and/or system printer (not shown), which can be located at the EGM 10 or be a stand-alone printer associated with one or more gaming devices.
  • As discussed above, the EGM 10 also includes a vertical player interface 228, including player tracking system. The components of the vertical player interface 228 are generally shown affixed to a housing 238, which is capable of being affixed or mounted to the gaming device 10. When so affixed, the vertical player interface 228 is mounted to the side of the EGM 10. While described as being on the side of the gaming machine, it is contemplated that the vertical player interface can be located anywhere near the gaming machine. Although the vertical player interface interacts with the EGM 10, it is a separate system from the gaming device.
  • The vertical player interface 228 affixed to the EGM 10 includes a display 218. The display contains a 240×640 touch-panel liquid crystal display (“LCD”) or touch screen display 218. Images appearing on the display are stretched or pulled vertically to fill the area of the display. In the present embodiment of the invention, the display 218 comprises a Hitachi SX16H005-AZA LCD. The vertical player interface also includes speakers 230. The speakers 230 can be made to produce sounds or music by the bonus engine 220, and can be in communication with the casino's sound system through the network to produce sounds, music or announcements available throughout the entire casino, or available through only portions of the casino or a given EGM 10. The vertical player interface further includes a card reader 234. The card reader 234 has a slot 236 (visible in FIG. 1B), into which a player's card is received. The card reader 234 can additionally be structured with a keypad to facilitate entry of a PIN number at the card reader. Alternatively, a representation of a keypad can be rendered on the display 218. While a touch screen display 218 is shown and described, alternate embodiments could use traditional displays, such as VFD, LCD, etc. Additionally, although the player interface housing 238 is described as having only one part, it is contemplated that the various components of the vertical player interface can be made of multiple components associated with the EGM 10.
  • The vertical player interface 228 is in turn affixed or otherwise coupled to the EGM 10, or a portion thereof, and once coupled to the EGM 10 permits communication between the player and casino, including player tracking. Affixation can, but need not, be permanent to permit casinos or other gaming operators to move the vertical player interface devices to different machines as needed by the casino.
  • To permit casinos to continue to use existing vertical player interface devices as existing EGMs 10 are retired or are retrofitted to include vertical player interface devices, vertical player interfaces 228 can be optionally structured and adapted for application to various machines, poles, and other structures in the casino environment. Additionally, a single vertical player interface 228 can be associated with more than one EGM 10. For example, two adjacent EGMs 10 can be electronically connected to a single vertical player interface where spacing between adjacent devices is a concern for the casino. The number of such EGMs connected to a single vertical player interface, is limited only by the network or networks communicating with the vertical player interface and associated EGMs.
  • In addition to player tracking, the vertical player interface 228 can be used to communicate to the player about services offered by the casino or gaming establishment. Such services could include bonus opportunities, awards, promotions, dining or beverage services, emergency notification, player-to-casino communication, player-to-player communication, calendaring or event planning, broadcast or cable television, movies, videos, music, casino maps, show availability, etc. The player interface can likewise be used to accept communications from the player, such as player tracking sign-in or sign-up, food or beverage orders, award or promotion redemption, text messaging, credit purchase, ATM withdrawal, etc.
  • The player tracking system, a function of the vertical player interface 228, including the card reader 234, speakers 230 and display 218, is managed by functions operating on a “bonus engine” 220 which is a specialized piece of hardware used in the electronic gaming network. The bonus engine 220 manages the display 218, speakers 230 and card reader 234, as well as provides the bonusing and other functions described above. A player of the gaming device 10 uses a card and/or a PIN code to identify himself or herself to the player tracking system. The PIN can be entered at the card reader 234. In lieu of a card reader, the vertical player tracking display can enable player interface by allowing the player to enter a PIN number on a keypad represented on the display 218. Monetary value can be entered into the game at the display 218, either from the ID card itself, from a credit-card account with a bank or from a special gaming account managed by a casino. Alternatively, a player can use the card and/or PIN code to identify himself or herself, and then put credits on the machine by using the display 218 or by depositing coins, tokens, bills, or tickets/vouchers into the machine.
  • The bonus engine 220 is coupled by a computer connection to the gaming network 5, and plays a central role in the player interface and player tracking systems. The bonus engine 220 is in constant communication between the game electronics 15 and the gaming network 5. The bonus engine 220 receives constant status updates about the state and status of the EGM 10, including messages or communications entered by the player at the display 218. The game electronics 15 may automatically send information to the bonus engine 220, such as “events”, when the events occur, such as at the end of the game, or when a key event happens like a bill being accepted into the EGM 10. Or, the bonus engine 220 may send electronic updates, requests, or polls to the game electronics 15. When polled, the game electronics 15 sends the latest events to the bonus engine 220. Additionally, the gaming network can send commands and directives to a particular EGM 10 through the bonus engine 220 of that device. The bonus engine 220 then performs the commands, such as by displaying a message on the display 218, or the bonus engine delivers the commands to the game electronics 15 of that gaming device or to the network.
  • The vertical player interface may be contained within the same housing of the EGM 10 or may be an add-on sitting atop or adjacent the EGM (as shown in FIG. 1B). Preexisting EGMs not built with a vertical player interface can therefore be retrofitted to provide the necessary electronics and displays. The configuration necessary to operate the vertical player interface can be specific to the EGM 10 or can be coordinated through the gaming network 5. Although the specific hardware included in the gaming device 10 is important in implementing embodiments of the invention, the invention can operate regardless of the type of components in the gaming device 10 or player interface 228.
  • One such gaming network is illustrated in FIGS. 2A and 2B. In a gaming network 5, a number of EGMs 10 are organized in groups called banks. Individual banks 20 can contain almost any number of EGMs 10. Additionally, any number of banks is possible in a gaming network 5. The gaming network 5 illustrated in FIGS. 2A and 2B is only an example gaming network. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that embodiments of the invention can operate on any acceptable network, even if it differs from the one illustrated.
  • Each bank is controlled by a bank controller 30, which is coupled to each EGM 10 by a communication cable 12. The bank controller 30 facilitates data communication between the EGMs 10 in its associated bank and the other components on the gaming network 5. In some embodiments, the bank controller 30 need not be present, and the EGMs 10 communicate directly with the other portions of the gaming network 5. The bank controller 30 can include audio capabilities, like an audio board or sound card for transmitting digitized sound effects, such as music and the like, to a sound system 34 coupled to the bank controller. Additionally, the bank controller 30 or sound system 34 may include a device for playing locally stored sounds, such as a hard-drive, CD or DVD-ROM drive. The bank controller 30 can also be connected to an electronic sign or screen 32 that displays information, such as scrolling, flashing, or other types of messages that indicate jackpot amounts and the like, which are visible to players of machines on a particular bank. Bank messages can likewise be displayed on the display 218. These message displays 32, 34 may be generated or changed responsive to commands issued over the network 5 to the bank controller 30. The sounds and images created by the bank controller may be identical for each of the banks 20 or all of sounds and images created by the banks may be different than the others.
  • Configuration data for the gaming network 5 is stored in one or more network data repositories 61, 67, 69. In some embodiments, the data repositories 61, 67, 69 are made of battery backed-up non-volatile SRAM (Static Random Access Memory), which provides dual advantages of having extremely fast data input and output, and having a power source that is independent from the network 5 or the EGMs 10. The data repositories 61, 67, 69 may also be mirrored, i.e., duplicate copies are made in real-time. This prevents data from being lost if one of the battery sources should fail or other catastrophic event. Data may be stored in the data repositories 61, 67 69 using CRCs (Cyclic Redundancy Checks) and timestamps to ensure the data is valid and non-corrupt.
  • Configuration data is created at a configuration workstation 44 and stored in the data repositories 61, 67, 69. Configuration data may include message data for players, which can be displayed on the display 218, as well as for promotions such as bonuses, which can likewise be communicated to the player via the display 218. Player message data is stored in the data repository 61, where it can be accessed by a player server 60. Player message data can include welcoming messages, casino and EGM maps, card-in/card-out messages, and special messages about current promotions, dining, casino services, calendaring, event planning, for instance, all of which can be displayed on the display 218. The player server 60 reads the message data from the data repository 61 and sends a properly formatted message back to the bank controllers 30 and EGMs 10. These player messages may be displayed on a screen 32 for an entire bank, or may be shown on the display 218. In a like manner, messages created by the player at the display 218 are sent via the network 5 to the host computer.
  • Other configuration data created at the configuration workstation 44 and stored in the data repositories 61, 67, 69 may include casino configuration data, such as identification of each EGM 10 on a casino floor. Additional parameters stored in the data repository 67, 69 are parameters used in promotions, such as bonus promotions. These parameters include such items as what EGMs 10 are included in the promotion, such as which EGMs are capable of playing secondary games, how to fund a bonus, i.e., if a bonus is funded by a portion of the coin-in amount of the EGMs 10, whether a paid bonus is to be taxed or non-taxed, and other parameters.
  • As players play the EGMs 10 in the gaming network 5, the EGMs send data from their coin meters, or meter values. One or more bonus server 66 stores these meter values, or summaries of the meter values, in its associated data repository 67.
  • The bonus servers 66 can also operate based on the present and stored meter values to determine an amount of money being wagered on the EGMs in near real-time. The bonus servers 66 can use the amount of money being wagered to calculate bonus pools that are funded as a percentage of the coin-in of participating EGMs 10. For instance, the bonus servers 66 can calculate a present amount of a bonus pool that is funded at one-half of one percent of the coin-in for the participating EGMs 10. An example of bonus promotions that can be operated from the bonus servers 66 includes LUCKY COIN and progressive bonuses, for example. Players can be provided with game information, such as game totals, bonuses, promotions, progressive jackpots, etc. via the display 218.
  • The promotion server 68, like the bonus server 66, can use an amount of money being wagered to calculate promotion pools funded as a percentage of the coin-in. Alternatively, the casino or operator can configure the promotion server 68 to award promotions not related to coin-in, for example, incentives for enrolling in player tracking programs, which can occur at the display 218.
  • The promotion server 68 may include functions and processes operative to generate signals to cause a system award to be generated and to communicate the generated system award to the particular EGM 10 at which the player receiving the award can be notified and receive the award via the display 218. Using the display 218, the player can communicate to the host computer via the network and can, for instance, opt whether to receive an award or whether to add the award to the player's stored credits associated with his player tracking account.
  • In determining when to grant a bonus, promotion or system award, if any, the promotion server 68 can access data stored anywhere on the network 5 looking for triggering events, such as: from any of the databases 100 described below; from any of the data repositories 61, 67, 69; from the bank controller 30; and from a bonus engine 220 (FIG. 1B) on any or all of the EGMs 10 coupled to the gaming network.
  • When the promotion server 68 determines that a triggering event has been satisfied and that a system or bonus award should be generated, it sends appropriate signals to the bonus engine 220 of the appropriate EGM 10 through the gaming network 5 to deliver the award or initiate the game via the display 218. Records of awards, promotions, bonuses, and may be maintained by the promotion server 68 or elsewhere in the gaming network 5 for tracking and accounting purposes.
  • Of course, the servers 60, 66, 68 could be embodied in a single device, or in other configurations, and do not have to appear as in FIG. 2A, which is only a functional representation. Likewise, the data repositories 61, 67, 69 could be embodied in a single device.
  • As data is generated by the EGMs 10, data is passed through communication hardware, such as Ethernet hubs 46, and a concentrator 48. Of course, switches or bridges could also be used. The concentrator 48 is also coupled to a translator 50, which includes a compatibility buffer so that the data from the EGMs 10 can be used by a server cluster 56 (FIG. 2B), and other parts of the gaming network 5. A communication hub 102, in turn, is connected to the translator 50 and to an event monitor 104. The event monitor 104 is also coupled to a server cluster 56 (FIG. 2B). The server cluster 56 may, of course, be embodied by more than one physical server box. In practice, including multiple server boxes with dynamic load sharing and backup capabilities of one another ensures the gaming network 5 is nearly always operational.
  • The server cluster 56 is attached to and manages several databases, such as a slot accounting database 90, a patron management database 92, a ticket wizard database 94, a “Cage Credit and Table Games” (CCTG) database 96, a player tracking database 98, and a cashless database 99. These databases are collectively referred to as the databases 100. Of course these databases 100 are only exemplary, and more or fewer databases can be part of the gaming network 5. In some embodiments, particular servers in the server cluster 56 manage a single database. For example, a single server in the server cluster 56 may manage the slot accounting database 90, while another server manages the patron management database 92. Such implementation details are well within the expertise of one skilled in the art. However, for ease of illustration, FIG. 2B shows a single server cluster 56 that is coupled to all of the databases 100.
  • In operation, the slot accounting database 90 receives and stores statistical and financial information about the EGMs, such as dates, times, totals, game outcomes, etc. This statistical and financial information, and the analyses thereof, can be made available to a player or group of players via the display 218. The patron management database 92 stores information regarding identified players, such as how often and which games they play, how often they stay in the casino, their total loyalty points, past awards, preferences, etc. The ticket wizard database 94 stores data about tickets that are issued by the EGMs, such as payouts and cashout tickets, as well as promotional tickets.
  • The CCTG database 96 stores information about non-EGM 10 data in a casino. That data is typically generated by a client station (not shown) coupled to one of the bank controllers 30. The client station can be located in a casino cage or at a table game, for instance, and data generated by the client station is forwarded to the CCTG database 96 where it is stored. For example, data such as when and how many chips a customer buys, when a customer creates or pays off markers, when a customer cashes checks, etc. is stored in the CCTG database 96.
  • The player tracking database 98 is a subset database of the patron management database 92, and is used when data retrieval speed is important, such as for real time promotions and bonusing. The cashless database 99 stores information about payment options other than bills, coins, and tokens.
  • Application clients 80 and 82 couple to the server cluster 56, and can retrieve data from any or all of the databases 100. Application programs run on an application client 80, 82 to provide users information about the gaming network 5 and the casino in which the network is established and to cause functions to operate on the gaming network 5. An example application client 80 could include, for instance, an accounting server that allows queries and provides reports on financial and statistical information on single or groups of EGMs 10.
  • A data interface 88 presents a uniform interface to other applications and servers (not shown), and grants access to retrieve data from the databases 100. Typically these other clients or servers would not be controlled by the same entity that provides the other components of the gaming network 5, and therefore the data interface 88 grants only guarded access to the databases 100.
  • Using the system described with reference to FIGS. 1B and 2A and 2B, casinos can provide vertical interactive player interfaces to provide players access to casino services, such as player tracking, bonuses and promotions, refreshments and reservations, upcoming events, video and audio programming, text messaging, casino maps, etc. even where more traditional player interfaces are not possible because of antiquated equipment or spacing considerations.
  • Although particular embodiments for installing vertical player interfaces and communicating with a player using a vertical interactive player interface have been discussed, it is not intended that such specific references be considered as limitations upon the scope of this invention, but rather the scope is determined by the following claims and their equivalents.

Claims (28)

1. A method for operating networked gaming devices comprising:
associating one or more gaming devices with a gaming network;
permitting a player to play one of the gaming devices;
providing services to the player via the network, such services being related to play on the gaming device; and
communicating information to the player about the network services via a vertical display associated with the one or more gaming devices.
2. The method of claim 1 wherein the vertical display is a touch screen display.
3. The method of claim 2 further comprising accepting a communication from the player via the touch screen display.
4. The method of claim 3 wherein said services comprise crediting the player with a bonus award and wherein said information relates to the bonus award.
5. The method of claim 4 wherein said method further comprises displaying information about the award on said display.
6. The method of claim 5 wherein the communication accepted from the player relates to the bonus award.
7. The method of claim 1 wherein said services comprise player tracking services and wherein said information relates to player tracking.
8. The method of claim 7 wherein said method further comprises displaying information about player tracking on said display.
9. The method of claim 3 wherein accepting a communication from the player via the touch screen display comprises accepting a communication relating to player tracking.
10. The method of claim 9 wherein said information comprises accrued player-tracking points.
11. The method of claim 10 wherein accepting a communication from the player via the touch screen display comprises accepting a communication that converts the points to credits.
12. The method of claim 1 wherein said services comprise cashless-play services and wherein said information relates to cashless play.
13. The method of claim 12 wherein said method further comprises displaying information about cashless play on said display.
14. The method of claim 3 wherein accepting a communication from the player via the touch screen display comprises accepting a communication relating to cashless play.
15. The method of claim 14 wherein said information comprises an account balance.
16. The method of claim 14 wherein accepting a communication from the player via the touch screen display comprises accepting a communication that applies at least a portion of the account balance to the gaming device.
17. The method of claim 1 wherein said method further includes generating a video image on said display.
18. The method of claim 1 wherein a speaker is associated with said display and wherein said method further includes generating an audio output on said speaker.
19. The method of claim 3 wherein said method further includes providing at least one help image on said display for providing information about the touch screen display.
20. The method of claim 19 wherein said at least one image is provided responsive to a communication from the player via the touch screen display.
21. A networked gaming device for communicating between a player and the network to which the gaming device is connected, the device comprising:
a host computer;
the network interconnecting the gaming device to the host computer;
a vertical player interface coupleable to the gaming device; and
a touch screen display associated with the vertical player interface, the touch screen display communicating information about services to a player of the networked gaming device.
22. The device of claim 21 wherein the touch screen display is configured to receive commands from a player.
23. The device of claim 21 wherein the vertical player interface is removeably coupleable to the gaming device.
24. A system for communicating between a player of a gaming device and a network of gaming devices comprising:
a housing capable of coupling a vertical player interface to a gaming device;
the gaming device being operatively connected to a computer, the computer generating information about services provided to one or more players on the network; and
a circuit associated with the vertical player interface for creating images on a display associated with the vertical interface responsive to such information.
25. The system of claim 24 wherein the display is a touch screen display.
26. The system of claim 25 wherein the touch screen display is configured to communicate information about services to a player of the gaming device.
27. The system of claim 26 wherein the touch screen display is configured to accept communications from the player.
28. A method for retrofitting a gaming device with a vertical player interface comprising:
associating a mounting structure with the vertical player interface;
mounting the vertical player interface to the gaming device such that the vertical player interface is coupled to the side of the gaming device; and
configuring the gaming device to communicate with the vertical player interface.
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US8479908B2 (en) 2010-02-10 2013-07-09 Leap Forward Gaming Device health monitoring for gaming machines
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US9367835B2 (en) 2011-09-09 2016-06-14 Igt Retrofit devices for providing virtual ticket-in and ticket-out on a gaming machine
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US10297105B2 (en) 2011-09-09 2019-05-21 Igt Redemption of virtual tickets using a portable electronic device
US9824536B2 (en) 2011-09-30 2017-11-21 Igt Gaming system, gaming device and method for utilizing mobile devices at a gaming establishment
US9375644B2 (en) 2011-12-22 2016-06-28 Igt Directional wireless communication
US9311769B2 (en) 2012-03-28 2016-04-12 Igt Emailing or texting as communication between mobile device and EGM
US9881444B2 (en) 2012-07-11 2018-01-30 Igt Method and apparatus for offering a mobile device version of an electronic gaming machine game at the electronic gaming machine
US9916735B2 (en) 2015-07-22 2018-03-13 Igt Remote gaming cash voucher printing system
US10055930B2 (en) 2015-08-11 2018-08-21 Igt Gaming system and method for placing and redeeming sports bets
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