US20080032780A1 - Gaming display with moveable indicator and methods of use - Google Patents

Gaming display with moveable indicator and methods of use Download PDF

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Publication number
US20080032780A1
US20080032780A1 US11842364 US84236407A US2008032780A1 US 20080032780 A1 US20080032780 A1 US 20080032780A1 US 11842364 US11842364 US 11842364 US 84236407 A US84236407 A US 84236407A US 2008032780 A1 US2008032780 A1 US 2008032780A1
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indicator
player
step
indicia
band
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Abandoned
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US11842364
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Jerald Seelig
Lawrence Henshaw
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Atlantic City Coin & Slot Service Co
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Atlantic City Coin & Slot Service Co
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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
    • G07F17/34Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services for games, toys, sports or amusements, e.g. casino games, online gambling or betting depending on the stopping of moving members in a mechanical slot machine, e.g. "fruit" machines
    • 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
    • G07F17/3202Hardware aspects of a gaming system, e.g. components, construction, architecture thereof
    • G07F17/3204Player-machine interfaces
    • G07F17/3211Display means

Abstract

A gaming apparatus includes a display device having a display surface. The display surface has several indicia. A display device actuator is in communication with the display surface and is configured to move the display surface. An indicator can indicate at least one of the indicia appearing on the display surface as a game outcome. An indicator actuator is in communication with the indicator and can position the indicator. A controller is in communication with the display device actuator and the indicator actuator. The controller can position the display surface and the indicator in order to convey a game outcome. The indicator may move in a linear or circular manner. In another embodiment several stationary indicators may be positioned around the display surface in order to convey a game outcome.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCES TO RELATED PATENT APPLICATIONS
  • This application is a continuation-in-part application of U.S. patent application having Ser. No. 11/143,140, filed Jun. 1, 2005, entitled “Gaming Display With Moveable Indicator and Methods of Use” and U.S. patent application having Ser. No. 11/143,205, filed Jun. 1, 2005, entitled “Gaming Display With Moveable Indicator and Methods of Use”, which is a continuation-in-part application of U.S. patent application having Ser. No. 10/806,636, filed Mar. 23, 2004 entitled “Gaming Device With Moveable Indicator and Methods of Use”.
  • This application also claims priority to U.S. provisional patent application having Ser. No. 60/823,037, filed Aug. 21, 2006, entitled “Gaming Display With Movable Indicator and Methods of Use”.
  • All of the above referenced applications are hereby expressly incorporated by reference in their entireties.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention relates to gaming devices and, more particularly, to a gaming device having indicators to indicate a prize to a player.
  • BACKGROUND
  • Gaming devices are well known in the art and a large variety of gaming devices have been developed. In general, gaming devices allow users or players to play a game. In many casino-type gaming devices, the outcome of the game depends, at least in part, on a randomly generated event. For example, a gaming device may use a random number generator to generate a random or pseudo-random number (hereinafter, both types are referred to as a “random number”).
  • The random number can be used to determine a game outcome. For example, the random number may then be compared to a predefined table to determine a corresponding outcome of the event. If the random number falls within a certain range of numbers on the table, the player may win the corresponding predefined prize. The table may also contain display information that allows the gaming device to generate a display that corresponds to the outcome of the game. The gaming device may present the outcome of the game on a large variety of display devices, such as mechanical spinning reels or video screens.
  • Some gaming devices award bonus prizes in addition to prizes that are awarded in a primary game. Of course, the prize in the primary game may simply be the opportunity to play the bonus game. A bonus prize is generally defined as a prize in addition to the prize obtained from the primary game and that is awarded to the player when a predefined event occurs. An example of a bonus game can be found in U.S. Pat. No. 5,848,932 to Adams. Adams discloses a primary game having three spinning game reels and a bonus game having a bonus display with one spinning wheel. The spinning wheel is divided into multiple sections, and each section has a symbol representing a prize. When predetermined indicia are displayed on the spinning game reels of the primary game, the wheel of the bonus display spins and stops. The bonus prize is displayed as the symbol on the wheel being pointed to by a pointer. The bonus prize is awarded in addition to any prizes awarded in the primary game. Another bonus game is disclosed in Baerlocher et al. (U.S. Pat. No. 6,336,863). Baerlocher et al. discloses a slot machine with a bonus award display. The bonus award display has a bonus wheel and a mechanical, movable pointer.
  • One of the problems associated with the devices disclosed in these references is that the outcome of the bonus game is communicated to the player almost immediately. When a bonus game is triggered, a bonus award is selected, displayed, and awarded to the player. The player can see what the outcome of the game is immediately after the pointers have stopped moving. What has long been needed is a device that utilizes intermediate steps between the occurrence of the bonus event and the awarding of the bonus prize to add an additional element of anticipation and excitement for the players. It is further desired that the intermediate steps involve an eye-catching display. Another problem associated with Adams and Baerlocher et al. is that they utilize a plain combination of wheel and pointer. The applicants have discovered more things that can be done to display devices to make them more attractive and interesting to play.
  • Generally, bonus prizes are awarded in order to increase the excitement and enjoyment experienced by players, which attracts more players to the game and encourages players to play longer. When this occurs, the gaming devices tend to be more commercially successful relative to other gaming devices. A shortcoming of present bonus games is that they do not sufficiently allow players to interact with the gaming device, including during bonus games.
  • Other attempts have been made to provide player interaction. U.S. Pat. No. 5,788,573 to Baerlocher et al. (hereinafter, “Baerlocher”) purports to suggest a gaming device with an electronic “wheel of fortune game.” Several flippers appear to indicate positions on the wheel. Baerlocher appears to suggest that the player may be allowed to choose which flipper is used to select an indicia on the wheel. The player, however, does not appear to have any control over the position of the flipper and the flippers do not appear to be capable of moving to different positions.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 6,309,300 to Glavich (hereinafter, “Glavich”) and U.S. Pat. No. 6,439,995 to Hughs-Baird et al. (hereinafter, “Hughs-Baird”) purport to suggest a gaming system having a bonus feature where a player may be allowed to select a number of selectable items, which may be prize representations, on a video display. Glavich and Hughs-Baird do not appear to suggest using prize indicators, moveable prize indicators, or allowing a player to position a prize indicator.
  • SUMMARY
  • Advantages
  • The various embodiments of the present invention may, but do not necessarily, achieve one or more of the following advantages:
  • provide a highly attractive and entertaining device for conducting games;
  • provide a highly attractive and entertaining device for displaying prizes;
  • the ability to attract more patrons to play a game;
  • the ability to encourage players to play longer on a gaming apparatus;
  • provide at least one attractive prize indicator;
  • provide a unique combination of reel-type display and moveable indicator;
  • provide a moving display and a stationary indicator;
  • provide a moving display and a rotary indicator;
  • provide a moving display and a belt mounted indicator;
  • provide a display for displaying indicia on a first axis and a moveable indicator configured to indicate an indicium from a second axis orthogonal to the first axis;
  • allow players to control the movement of a prize indicator;
  • provide a moving display surface;
  • provide a moving display with a relatively long path length;
  • provide a display that allows for a relatively larger number of indicia to be displayed;
  • provide a display that allows for relatively larger indicia to be displayed;
  • provide a game that includes moving to another prize when certain indicia are indicated;
  • create additional suspense for players by increasing the length of time between the start of a game and the display of the game outcome;
  • allow players to control the movement of a moving display surface;
  • provide the illusion that the player can influence the outcome of a game;
  • provide a game that allows for more player interaction;
  • utilize intermediate steps between the occurrence of the bonus event and the awarding of the bonus prize; and
  • provide an additional element of anticipation and excitement for players.
  • These and other advantages may be realized by reference to the remaining portions of the specification, claims, and abstract.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF CERTAIN ASPECTS OF THE INVENTION
  • In one embodiment, the present invention comprises a gaming apparatus that includes a display device comprising a display surface. The display surface comprises a plurality of indicia. A display device actuator may be in communication with the display surface and may be configured to move the display surface on a first predetermined path. A rotary indicator may be included that may be configured to indicate at least one of the indicia appearing on the display surface. An indicator actuator may be in communication with the rotary indicator and may be configured to move the rotary indicator along a circumference. A controller may be in communication with at least one of the display device actuators and the indicator actuator. The controller may be configured to position at least one of the display device actuators and the rotary indicator so that the rotary indicator indicates an indicium appearing on the display surface that conveys a game outcome.
  • In at least one alternative embodiment, the present invention is directed to a gaming method. A gaming device may be provided. The gaming device may comprise a rotary indicator and a moveable display surface. The moveable display surface may comprise a plurality of indicia. A player may be allowed to place a wager.
  • The display surface may be moved along a first path. The rotary indicator may be rotated along a second path. A game outcome is determined that may correspond to, and be indicated by, at least one of the indicia appearing on the display surface. The rotary indicator may be stopped. The display surface may be stopped. In at least one embodiment, when the display surface and the rotary indicator are stopped, the rotary indicator indicates an indicium on the moveable display surface that corresponds to the game outcome.
  • In another embodiment, the present invention includes a gaming apparatus having a display device. The display device has a display surface that is moveable along a first path. The display surface includes several indicia. An actuator is coupled with the display surface such that the actuator can move the display surface along the first path. At least two indicators are configured to indicate at least one of the indicia. A controller is in communication with the actuator and the indicators. The controller is configured to position the display surface and operate the indicators such that at least one of the indicia conveys a game outcome.
  • In an embodiment, the present invention is directed to a gaming method. The gaming method includes determining a game outcome and moving a display surface along a first path. The display surface has several indicia that are arranged in a rows and columns. The display surface is stopped and at least two indicators are illuminated such that at least one of the indicia is indicated as the game outcome.
  • In an additional embodiment, the present invention is a gaming apparatus that includes a display device that has a moveable display surface. The moveable display surface has several indicia. An indicator device is mounted adjacent to the display device and is adapted to point to at least one of the indicia. The indicator device includes a belt and an indicator mounted to the belt. A positioning mechanism is coupled to the belt and can move the belt.
  • In still another embodiment, the present invention is directed to a gaming method. The gaming method includes determining a game outcome and moving a display surface that has several indicia. An indicator is moved. The display surface is stopped and the indicator is stopped such that the indicator conveys the game outcome by pointing to at least one of the indicia.
  • The above description sets forth, rather broadly, the more important features of the present invention so that the detailed description of the preferred embodiment that follows may be better understood and contributions of the present invention to the art may be better appreciated. There are, of course, additional features of the invention that will be described below and will form the subject matter of claims. In this respect, before explaining at least one preferred embodiment of the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of the construction and to the arrangement of the components set forth in the following description or as illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein are for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • Certain embodiments of the invention are shown in the accompanying drawings wherein:
  • FIG. 1 a is substantially a front elevation view of an embodiment of the gaming apparatus of the present invention.
  • FIG. 1 b is substantially a schematic diagram showing components of an embodiment of the gaming apparatus.
  • FIG. 2 a is substantially a partial perspective view of an embodiment of a display device of a prize display.
  • FIG. 2 b is substantially a perspective view of the display device shown in FIG. 2 a with a band on which indicia are affixed.
  • FIG. 3 is substantially a side elevation view of one embodiment of a positioning mechanism of the present invention.
  • FIG. 4 is substantially a partial cross-sectional view of the gaming apparatus of FIG. 1 a.
  • FIG. 5 is substantially a front elevation view of an embodiment of a gaming apparatus of the present invention.
  • FIG. 6 is substantially a flowchart of a gaming method of the present invention.
  • FIG. 7 is substantially a front perspective view of an embodiment of a gaming apparatus of the present invention.
  • FIG. 8 is substantially a side elevation view of an embodiment of a gaming apparatus according to the present invention.
  • FIG. 9 is substantially a front view of a gaming apparatus according to the present invention, including a cut away view showing the interior of the gaming apparatus.
  • FIG. 10 is substantially a flowchart of a method according to the present invention.
  • FIG. 11 is substantially a flowchart of a method according to the present invention.
  • FIG. 12 is substantially a flowchart of a method according to the present invention.
  • FIG. 13 is substantially a flowchart of a method according to the present invention.
  • FIG. 14 is substantially a flowchart of a method according to the present invention.
  • FIG. 15 is substantially a front perspective view of an embodiment of a gaming apparatus of the present invention.
  • FIG. 16 is substantially a front view of an embodiment of a gaming apparatus of the present invention.
  • FIG. 17 is substantially a perspective view of the gaming apparatus of FIG. 16 with the housing removed.
  • FIG. 18 is substantially a top view of the gaming apparatus of FIG. 17.
  • FIG. 19 is substantially a partial cross-sectional view of the gaming apparatus of FIG. 17.
  • FIG. 20 is substantially a flowchart of a method according to the present invention using the apparatus of FIGS. 15-19.
  • FIG. 21 is substantially a flowchart of a method according to the present invention using the apparatus of FIGS. 15-19.
  • FIG. 22 is substantially a flowchart of a method according to the present invention using the apparatus of FIGS. 15-19.
  • FIG. 23 is substantially a flowchart of a method according to the present invention using the apparatus of FIGS. 15-19.
  • FIG. 24 is substantially a front view of another embodiment of a gaming apparatus of the present invention.
  • FIG. 25 is substantially a front view of yet another embodiment of a gaming apparatus of the present invention.
  • FIG. 26 is substantially a flowchart of a method according to the present invention using the apparatus of FIG. 25.
  • FIG. 27 is substantially a flowchart of a method according to the present invention using the apparatus of FIG. 25.
  • FIG. 28 is substantially a flowchart of a method according to the present invention using the apparatus of FIG. 25.
  • FIG. 29 is substantially a front view of another embodiment of a gaming apparatus of the present invention.
  • FIG. 30 is substantially a front view of yet another embodiment of a gaming apparatus of the present invention.
  • FIGS. 31 and 32 are substantially a flowchart of a method according to the present invention using the apparatus of FIG. 30.
  • FIGS. 33 and 34 are substantially a flowchart of a method according to the present invention using the apparatus of FIG. 30.
  • FIGS. 35 and 36 are substantially a flowchart of a method according to the present invention using the apparatus of FIG. 30.
  • FIGS. 37 and 38 are substantially a flowchart of a method according to the present invention using the apparatus of FIG. 30.
  • FIG. 39 is substantially a front view of another embodiment of a gaming apparatus of the present invention.
  • FIG. 40 is substantially a side elevation view of an embodiment of the gaming apparatus of FIG. 39.
  • FIG. 41 is substantially a flowchart of a gaming method according to the present invention using the apparatus of FIG. 39.
  • FIG. 42 is substantially a flowchart of a gaming method according to the present invention using the apparatus of FIG. 39.
  • FIG. 43 is substantially a front view of another embodiment of a gaming apparatus of the present invention.
  • FIG. 44 is substantially a side elevation view of the gaming apparatus of FIG. 43.
  • FIG. 45 is substantially an enlarged view of a rotating belt.
  • FIG. 46 is substantially an alternative embodiment of a rotating belt.
  • FIG. 47 is substantially a flowchart of a gaming method according to the present invention using the apparatus of FIG. 43.
  • FIG. 48 is substantially a flowchart of a gaming method according to the present invention using the apparatus of FIG. 43.
  • FIG. 49 is substantially a front view of another embodiment of a gaming apparatus of the present invention.
  • FIG. 50 is substantially an exploded perspective view of the gaming apparatus of FIG. 49.
  • FIG. 51 is substantially a side elevation view of the gaming apparatus of FIG. 49.
  • FIG. 52 is substantially a flowchart of a gaming method according to the present invention using the apparatus of FIG. 49.
  • FIG. 53 is substantially a flowchart of a gaming method according to the present invention using the apparatus of FIG. 49.
  • DESCRIPTION OF AT LEAST ONE EMBODIMENT OF THE PRESENT INVENTION
  • In the following detailed description of at least one embodiment of the present invention, reference is made to the accompanying drawings, which form a part of this application. The drawings show, by way of illustration, specific embodiments in which the invention may be practiced. It is to be understood that other embodiments may be utilized and structural changes may be made without departing from the scope of the present invention.
  • As seen in FIG. 1 a, the present invention comprises a gaming apparatus, generally indicated by reference number 10. In at least one embodiment, gaming apparatus 10 comprises a second display 12 and a primary gaming device 14. Gaming device 14 may be any of a large number of devices that are adapted to allow players to play a game, such as gaming devices typically found in arcade and casino environments, including arcade games, video games, gambling machines, video poker machines, slot machines, etc. In at least one embodiment, gaming device 14 is further adapted to allow a player to place a wager and play a game, such as a slot machine.
  • Gaming device 14 may include a value or wager acceptor for accepting value (including currency and/or currency equivalents), such as a coin slot 16, a card reader 18, or a voucher reader 19. In addition, a payout mechanism (not shown) and a coin receptacle 20 may be provided for awarding prizes or for dispensing value to players cashing out and retiring from a game. A printer (not shown) may also be provided for printing out cashless vouchers (not shown). A handle 22 and an input device 24 may be provided for activating gaming device 14 to begin a game. A pay table (not shown) may further be provided to allow a player to see what symbol or combination of symbols provide a winning event. In at least one preferred embodiment, gaming device 14 may be a S2000 or S Plus model gaming device manufactured by International Game Technology in Reno, Nev.
  • Gaming device 14 may further include a gaming outcome display 28 that may be positioned in front of the gaming device 14 so that a player (not shown) playing gaming device 14 can see gaming outcome display 28. Gaming outcome display 28 may utilize physical game reels 30, 32, and 34. Game reels 30, 32, and 34 may be attached to a drive mechanism (not shown) of gaming device 14 to rotate the reels in a manner well known in the art. Each game reel 30, 32, and 34 may have a plurality of symbols positioned on the circumference of each game reel 30, 32, and 34. Game reels 30, 32, and 34 may be positioned side-by-side with coincident axes of rotation and a portion of their individual circumferences may face outward from gaming device 14.
  • A panel 36 may cover game reels 30, 32, and 34 such that only a portion of their individual circumferences are shown to the player. At least one symbol from any of game reels 30, 32, and 34 may be used to display a game outcome. At least one pay line 38 may be provided for the player to use in determining a game outcome based on the symbol or a combination of symbols positioned thereon. In an alternative embodiment, gaming outcome display 28 utilizes a video display (FIG. 1 b) displaying images of game reels and an image of at least one pay line. A video display may also display game symbols in many other formats and arrangements, such as playing cards. Of course, the invention is not limited to any particular type of gaming outcome display 28. Those of skill in the art will recognize that many different types of gaming outcome displays could be substituted without departing from the scope of the present invention.
  • Gaming apparatus 10 may include a bonus game display or second display 12 configured to display at least one game and prize to a player. In at least one embodiment, second display 12 is configured to display a bonus game and at least one bonus prize to the player. In other embodiments, second display 12 may provide a primary game. Alternatively, second display 12 may be a stand-alone device allowing a player to place a wager and play a game.
  • In at least one embodiment, second display 12 is attached to gaming device 14 and positioned on top of gaming device 14. In other embodiments (not shown), second display 12 may be separate from gaming device 14 but in communication with gaming device 14. In this embodiment, second display 12 may be in communication with a plurality of different gaming devices 14 via a computer network in a manner that is well known in the art. Second display 12 may also be positioned adjacent to or remote from gaming device 14. In other embodiments, second display 12 is a stand-alone display not in communication with gaming device 14, and it may be capable of independently accepting wagers, conducting games, and awarding prizes to a player.
  • With continued reference to FIG. 1 a, second display 12 may comprise a housing 40. Housing 40 may be arc-shaped and comprise a plurality of walls defining an internal space or cavity. Of course, housing 40 may be made in many different shapes. Second display 12 also may have an indicator 43. Indicator 43 may be a variety of indicators, including two and three-dimensional indicators.
  • Indicator 43 and display device 42 may be positioned within housing 40. Indicator 43 may be configured to move vertically (up and down) relative to second display 12 in response to signals sent either by a controller (not shown) or a combination of an input device (not shown) and a controller (not shown). The number of indicators 43 may vary, and the direction of their movement may vary, and may include horizontal, zigzag, and/or diagonal movements.
  • The shape or appearance of indicator 43 may be designed in various forms and preferably according to a theme of a game. In the example shown in FIG. 1 a, the theme of the game is a gaming device that awards players with vacations. Accordingly, indicator 43 is in the form of a vacationing person in a swimming outfit and in a swimming floatation tube. Indicator 43 may include a pointer portion 64. Pointer portion 64 may be configured to point to at least one of indicia 44. Alternatively, indicator 43 may itself be a pointer, such as an arrow. The present invention is not limited to any particular type of indicator or pointer, or any particular representation of an indicator or pointer.
  • Indicia 44 may be affixed, imprinted, engraved, or otherwise represented on a display device 42. Display device 42 may have indicia 44 arranged in rows 44 a-c. Each row 44 a-c may include multiple indicia 44. Indicia 44 may represent various things, including prize amounts, multipliers, descriptions or representations of merchandise or services, progressive prizes, or jackpot prizes. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1 a, display device 42 is configured to present moveable indicia 44, which may move in various directions. As shown in FIG. 1 a, indicia 44 move horizontally, or on a rotational axis parallel to the vertical movement of indicator 43. Of course, indicia 44 could be configured to move up and down, that is, display device 42 may have a horizontal rotational axis.
  • Certain embodiments of the present invention may provide display devices 42 with indicia 44 moving on a first axis and an indicator 43 moving on a second axis, wherein the moveable indicator 43 is able to indicate an indicium 44 on the display device, which may be configured to move on an axis orthogonal to the axis of indicator 43.
  • Referring now to FIG. 1 b, a schematic diagram of some components that may be included in certain embodiments of gaming apparatus 10 (FIG. 1 a) is shown. Gaming apparatus 10 may include a value or wager acceptor, such as coin slot 16, card reader 18, and voucher reader 19 configured to accept value from the player in the form of paper currency, coins, player cards, tickets, vouchers, tokens, or other forms of value. Value acceptors 16, 18, and 19 may be in communication with a controller 51. Controller 51 may be in communication with input device 24. Controller 51 may detect insertion of value into value acceptors 16, 18, and 19, and may prompt the player to start a game by activating input device 24. Once controller 51 senses a signal to start the game, controller 51 may be configured to produce a random number and activate a reel mechanism 53 of gaming device 14. Reel mechanism 53 may be configured to display indicia (including symbols, characters, numbers, letters, pictures, and the like) on game reels 30, 32, and 34 according to the random number generated by controller 51. Alternatively, controller 51 may be configured to produce a random number and activate video display 55 of game reels of gaming device 14. The reel video display 55 may be configured to display indicia in video form according to the random number generated by controller 51. The primary game of gaming device 14, whether in physical form or in video form, is not limited to reel-type games, but may include card games, dominoes, roulette, craps, baccarat, and other games.
  • Gaming apparatus 10 may further include speakers 69 and 70, housing lights 59, display device 42, indicator 43, and pointer portion 64 in communication with controller 51. Controller 51 may store bonus event information and may have the ability to detect bonus events.
  • Upon an occurrence of a bonus event, controller 51 may activate speakers 69 and 70, housing lights 59, and display device 42, which causes indicia 44 to move. Controller 51 may cause indicator 43 to move around an area adjacent to display device 42. Controller 51 may then cause indicator 43 to stop, and pointer portion 64 to point to one of the indicia 44 on display device 42. Housing lights 59 and speakers 69 and 70 together may create a festive and lively winning atmosphere to elicit interest and entertainment from both the player and adjacent patrons.
  • In at least one embodiment, when gaming apparatus 10 is not in use, indicator 43, housing lights 59, and display speakers 69 and 70 may be activated by controller 51 in an attract mode. Housing lights 59 may operate, blink or flash, and indicator 43 may dance or move in a choreographed manner according to music coming from speakers 56. It may be desirable that indicator 43 not point to an indicium 44 at the conclusion of the attract mode in order that players close to gaming device 10 do not mistakenly believe they are entitled to a prize. Controller 51 may activate display device 42 and indicator 43 upon the occurrence of a bonus event.
  • Referring now to FIGS. 2 a and 2 b, in at least one embodiment, display device 42 (FIG. 1 a) comprises a flat piece of material or band 46 wrapped around a plurality of rollers 48 and 50. Rollers 48 and 50 rotate band 46 about an axis 47. Rollers 48 and 50 may be rotatably connected to chassis 52 and 54 and may be connected to an actuator (not shown). Band 46 has indicia 44 thereon. Indicia 44 may be affixed to band 46 by various methods. Indicia 44 may be imprinted on band 46 in different configurations depending on the desired appearance of indicia 44 when band 46 is presented on second display 12. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1 a, band 46 may move from left to right relative to second display 12 or vice-versa. Thus, indicia 44 are displayed in horizontal rows.
  • In at least one embodiment, a light matrix 56 is positioned behind band 46 to back-light indicia 44. Light matrix 56 may comprise light emitting diodes (LEDs), fluorescent lights, incandescent lights, or other illumination devices that may make band 46 more attractive. A suitable display device 42 may be obtained from Starpoint Electronics Ltd. of Chessington, UK (model FM2).
  • In another embodiment, display device 42 may comprise at least one conventional reel assembly (not shown). A conventional reel assembly typically includes at least one chassis, an axle attached to the chassis, and a reel attached to the axle. The reel and chassis are typically coupled to an actuator that drives the axle, thereby rotating the reel. The reel typically has a strip of material attached to the circumference of the reel. Indicia are typically affixed to the strip of material by methods known in the art. Conventional reel assemblies may be joined in series, typically in a set of three.
  • The reel assembly may be positioned within housing 40 (FIG. 1 a) so that the reel rotates about either a horizontal or vertical axis. Display device 42 may utilize the reel assemblies described in co-pending U.S. application Ser. No. 09/894,197, filed Jul. 27, 2001 and U.S. application Ser. No. 09/968,952, filed Oct. 1, 2001, which are incorporated herein by reference. U.S. application Ser. No. 09/894,197 discloses reel shelf assemblies arranged vertically so that each reel rotates about a vertical axis. U.S. application Ser. No. 09/968,952 discloses reel shelf assemblies having reels that are positioned at an angle relative to each other, side-by-side so that their chassis are away from the two reels positioned adjacent to each other, or combinations thereof.
  • Referring now to FIG. 3, indicator 43 (FIG. 1 a) may be coupled to a positioning mechanism 72 by a bracket 74. Positioning mechanism 72 may be located within the confines of housing 40. A slot 76 in the front wall of housing 40 may be provided, which allows bracket 74 to pass through the front wall. Positioning mechanism 72 may comprise a worm gear 78 rotatable by an actuator 80. In at least one embodiment, actuator 80 is attached to a first wheel 84. Worm gear 78 may be attached to a second wheel 86. A drive belt 82 preferably rotates around the first wheel 84 and second wheel 86, thereby connecting actuator 80 and worm gear 78. Positioning mechanism 72 may communicate with a controller 81, which may store information regarding pre-determined positions of band 46 of display device 42. Sensors 88 and 90 are preferably in communication with controller 81 and may be provided to allow controller 81 to detect the position of indicator 43. Other devices may be used to detect the position of indicator 43, such as optical readers and the like.
  • Referring now to FIG. 4, another embodiment of a positioning mechanism 150 is shown. Positioning mechanism 150 may be a vertically positioned worm gear 152 that is caused to rotate by an actuator 154. Indicator 43 may be attached to worm gear 152 by a bracket 156 that is attached to a nut 158 threaded on worm gear 152. A slot 160 may be provided in the front wall of second display 12 (FIG. 1 a), which allows bracket 156 to pass through the wall. Sensors 162 may be provided to allow controller 140, or other control mechanisms (not shown), to detect the position of indicator 43. While indicator 43 is shown to move vertically in FIG. 4, it may be moved in any desired manner, including horizontally, diagonally, or in a non-linear fashion, such as in a rotating or zigzag manner.
  • In another embodiment, a wheel (not shown) may be attached to actuator 154. The periphery of the wheel may have at least one notch detectable by a sensor (not shown) and used by a bonus game controller 141 or a game controller 140 to monitor the position of indicator 43. Wheel and worm gear 152 may be rotated together by actuator 154. The sensor monitors the position of indicator 43 by detecting the notch. Bonus game controller 141 or game controller 140 may store information pertaining to the number of times the sensor has detected the notch and the corresponding position of moveable indicator 43. An optical interrupt (not shown) may be provided to reset the indicator position information. The sensor may be an infrared source and detector. In alternative embodiments, the periphery of the wheel may comprise portions with different reflective characteristics, such as absorbent paint lines, instead of a notch on the wheel. Actuators 80 (FIG. 3) and 154 may be a stepper motor, a servo motor, a gear motor, a solenoid, a rack and pinion, or other actuators known in the art.
  • With continued reference to FIG. 4, an electronic controller 140 that utilizes a random number generator 142 may control gaming device 14 (FIG. 1 a). Random number generator 142 produces a random or pseudo random number for each game. The outcome of the game may be determined by comparing the random number produced by random number generator 142 to a table of outcomes stored in a memory and accessed by controller 140. A number of different tables of outcomes may be used and different tables may be used for different games. The tables can be designed so that different prizes have different probabilities of being awarded. Such design techniques are well known in gaming and are described above. Examples of such designs are shown in U.S. Pat. No. 4,448,419, issued to Telnaes, and U.S. Pat. No. 5,456,465, issued to Durham, which are hereby incorporated by reference. Controller 140 may cause gaming outcome display 28 (FIG. 1 a), e.g., game reels 30, 32, and 34, to display an outcome that corresponds to the random number generated by random number generator 142. Of course, gaming device 14 may operate in many other ways and still achieve the objects of the present invention.
  • Gaming device 14 may also be capable, via controller 140 or other control mechanism (not shown), of producing a bonus-activating event. This event may be many different types of events. For example, a bonus-activating event may comprise a game outcome such as displaying a particular symbol, e.g., a “bonus” symbol, or combination of symbols, such as a “7” symbol on each of game reels 30, 32, and 34 (FIG. 1 a). If the game being played is poker based, the bonus-activating event may be an occurrence of a certain hand, such as a royal flush. Furthermore, a bonus-activating event may occur when a player accumulates a number of symbols or game outcomes over a number of separate game plays. For example, a bonus-activating event may occur when the player receives three “bonus” symbols during a period of time. The bonus-activating event may be based on an external event. For example, a bonus-activating event may occur when a group of players obtain a certain result. Sensors (not shown) may be provided external to gaming device 14 to detect external bonus-activating events.
  • Bonus game controller 141 may further be provided to detect when a bonus activating event occurs in gaming device 14. Gaming device controller 140 may determine the outcome of each game, and when a bonus-activating outcome occurs, gaming device controller 140 may transmit a signal to bonus game controller 141. Alternatively, bonus game controller 141 may periodically interrogate gaming device controller 140. Bonus game controller 141 and gaming device controller 140 may be a single controller or separate controllers. In at least one embodiment, gaming device controller 141 is the GAM 2000 controller, available from Eagle Engineering of Pottstown, Pa.
  • The bonus prize may be determined by a random number generator (not shown) and a virtual pay table, such as the pay table described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,823,874 to Adams, which is hereby incorporated by reference. A simple pay table may also appear as follows:
    TABLE 1
    Random Number Amount Paid
    0.00 to 0.50 $10.00
    0.51 to 0.75 $50.00
    0.76 to 0.95 X2
    0.96 to 1.00 $10,000.00
  • For example, if the random number generator produced 0.45 as the game outcome, the controller may cause indicator 43 (FIG. 1 a) to stop and pointer portion 64 (FIG. 1 a) to point to an indicium representing ten dollars. Alternatively, if the random number generator produced a value of 0.85, the controller may cause indicator 43 to stop and pointer portion 64 to point to an indicium 44 representing a multiplier of 2. The controller may then cause bonus meter 68 (FIG. 1 a) to display “10×2=20,” (assuming a base prize of ten dollars) and $20.00 would be awarded to the player.
  • The bonus selection process may be repeated for a predetermined number of times to accumulate several bonus prizes that are added to form the award to the game player. For example, the bonus game could be repeated three times to accumulate an award. The present invention is not limited to the example pay table shown. Furthermore, different kinds of bonus prizes may be awarded, such as progressive prizes, jackpot prizes, merchandise, services, prize multipliers, and additional games. Other effects may also be presented, such as pre-recorded sound from speakers 69 and 70 (FIG. 1 a).
  • Speakers 69 and 70 may be configured to announce a prize a player has won, play music during a prize winning event, announce features of the game offered by gaming apparatus 10, or play music to attract and entertain patrons. Additionally, a variety of graphics and lights, preferably designed according to a particular theme, are displayed on second display 12 (FIG. 1 a). If the awarded bonus prize is money, the amount of the bonus prize may be added to the player's credit meter (not shown), may be dispensed to the player via a voucher or other cashless device, may be dispensed to coin receptacle 20 (FIG. 1 a), or an attendant may be summoned to award the prize to the player.
  • Referring now to FIG. 5, another embodiment of the invention, a gaming apparatus 100 similar to gaming apparatus 10 (FIG. 1 a), is shown. Prize display 102 of gaming apparatus 100 may comprise display device 42. In this embodiment, band 46 is configured to move vertically around a horizontal axis of rotation. Prize display 102 also may comprise an indicator 104 that is similar to indicator 43 (FIG. 1 a). Indicator 104 may have an appearance that conforms to a theme of the game, which is a detective game in this embodiment. Thus, indicator 104 may look like a detective, such as a man wearing a trench coat and a hat. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 5, indicator 104 moves horizontally. Indicator 104 may have a pointer portion 106. As shown in FIG. 5, pointer portion 106 is in the form of the detective's magnifying glass. The magnifying glass may be real or fake. If it is desired to have a functioning magnifying glass, the magnifying glass may comprise a standard magnifying lens, a fresnel lens, or other device known in the art. Pointer portion 106 may be configured to substantially cover an indicium selected by the controller (not shown) and magnify the indicium for the player to see. The mechanism for driving indicator 43, described above and shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, may be used for driving indicator 104.
  • Referring now to FIG. 6, a gaming method 110 is shown wherein a player starts to play a game at step 111. A controller, such as controller 51, 81, 140 or 141, determines whether a prize event has occurred in step 112. If a prize event has occurred, the controller produces a random number at step 114. At step 116, the random number may be used to select a prize. At step 118, the controller may activate display device 42. At step 120, the controller may cause indicator 43 or 104 to move. Optionally, at step 122, the controller may allow a player to control the movement of indicator 43 or 104 by prompting the player to press one or more buttons (such as a button to move indicator 104 right and a button to move indicator 104 left) or another input device, such as a touch-pad, a joystick, or a mouse. At step 124, the controller causes indicator 43 or 104 to stop. Optionally, at step 126, the controller stops indicator 43 or 104 upon the activation of an input device by the player. At step 128, the controller causes display device 42 to stop in a manner that would make indicator 43 or 104 point to the corresponding symbol that would indicate the prize selected based on the random number previously generated by the controller. At step 130, the prize may be displayed on the bonus meter. Steps 118 to 128 may be repeated a predetermined number of times, and the sum of the prize values may be displayed. Lights and sounds may be generated to create a festive atmosphere. At step 132, a total prize may be awarded to the player. The cumulative prize may be multiplied by a multiplier in order to obtain the total prize. The multiplier may be fixed or randomly determined.
  • It is noted that the flowchart in FIG. 6 shows only one possible embodiment. Some of the steps in the flowchart may be varied, changed in order, or eliminated and still fall within the scope of the present invention.
  • FIG. 7 shows an additional alternate embodiment of a gaming device according to the present invention. FIG. 7 shows a gaming apparatus 200 having a primary gaming device 202 and a gaming display 204, which may display all or part of a bonus game or primary game. Primary gaming device 202 may be configured similarly to previously discussed embodiments, and may include a plurality of mechanical or video reels 210 located on a primary game display 208. A plurality of indicia 212 may appear on reels 210. A pay line 226 may be included to assist players in determining whether they have won the game. Value acceptors, including a coin acceptor 228 and a bill acceptor 224, may be included. The player may activate the game via a button 218 or an arm 216.
  • Primary gaming device 202 may operate in conjunction with gaming display 204. The appearance of one or more indicia 212 on pay line 226 may entitle the player to play gaming display 204. An example of bonus qualifying indicia is indicium 214.
  • Gaming display 204 may contain a band of material 240 that rotates about a plurality of rollers 246. Band 240 may have a plurality of indicia 244 appearing thereon. Indicia 244 may indicate various prizes. Band 240 may have an edge 254. Band 240 may resemble a printing press, including a magazine printing press, a newspaper printing press, and a money printing press. As shown in FIG. 7, a least a portion of rollers 246 are arranged such that band 240 is displayed at a first position 268 of gaming display 204 located towards the front of gaming display 204. Band 240 then may be directed to a second position 270 of gaming display 204, such as passing behind a roller 274, where band 240 is located more in an interior portion of gaming display 204. Band 240 may then be directed to a third position 272, which may be in the same plane as first position 268, located towards the front of gaming display 204. In this way, band 240 may appear to be passing through a printing press.
  • As illustrated in FIG. 7, band 240 appears to be a sheet of uncut paper currency, such as might be produced by the U.S. Treasury Department. Indicia 244 may appear to be currency bills having various values. Indicia 244 may indicate prizes such as an award of currency or credits, merchandise, services, game play, jackpots, and progressive prizes. Band 240 may have a variety of different indicia 244 imprinted, or otherwise appearing thereon.
  • Band 240 may be constructed from any suitable material. Band 240 may be constructed from a flexible material, such as various types of vinyl, plastic, rubber materials, and the like. The use of a flexible material may prevent band 240 from tearing or creasing when it is moved. The material used to construct band 240 may be transparent or translucent, allowing band 240 to be backlit.
  • Band 240 may be coupled to a drive mechanism (not shown in FIG. 7) so that band 240 may be rotated about rollers 246. In operation, band 240 may be actuated prior to a bonus prize being awarded to the player. Indicia 244 that may be awarded may appear in a particular area, such as area 260, for display to the player. Display area 260 may be lighted or otherwise brought to the player's attention.
  • In at least one embodiment, an indicator 250 is included that may point to particular indicia 244. Indicator 250 may be configured to point to an indicium 244 that conveys the outcome of gaming display 204. As shown in FIG. 7, indicator 250 is moveable in a horizontal manner. However, gaming display 204 is not limited to any particular configuration, and indicator 250 may move vertically, diagonally, or in a non-linear manner, as desired by the game designer. Indicator 250 may be lit, such as by lights 252, in order to make indicator 250 more attractive and to call attention to indicator 250. In at least one embodiment, indicator 250 is illuminated only when gaming display 204 is active or when gaming display 204 is in an attract mode (such as has been previously described).
  • At least one advantage of band 240, as illustrated in FIG. 7, is that it may provide a relatively long path length. Accordingly, it may allow for more and/or larger indicia 244 to be included on band 240. A transparent bezel 256 may be mounted to cover the edge 254 of band 240.
  • FIG. 8 illustrates certain components of a band display 300 that may be included in a gaming device according to the present invention, including that depicted in FIG. 7. Band display 300 may include a display device 302. FIG. 8 illustrates band 240 wrapped around a plurality of rollers 246. In at least one embodiment, all rollers 246 are idler rollers that simply guide band 240 about the interior of gaming display 204. One suitable roller is model number E8S001-01-ZZZZ available from Starpoint Electronics, Ltd. of Chessington, UK. A driven roller may be included to drive band 240. Driven roller 320 may be in communication with an actuator 310 in order to drive rotation of driven roller 320. One suitable driven roller is model E8S002-01-ZZZZ from Starpoint.
  • In at least one embodiment, band 240 is driven simply by frictional contact with roller 320. However, other arrangements may be substituted without departing from the scope of the present invention. For example, roller 320 may have a portion with teeth (not shown) that could engage slots or holes (not shown) in band 240.
  • Actuator 310 may be any number of suitable actuators, such as motors, including stepper motors, gear motors, and servo motors. Actuator 310 may rotate a shaft 312 in connection with a wheel 314. A belt 316 may link wheel 314 to a shaft 318 of driven roller 320. Rotation of a shaft 312 drives wheel 314 which in turn drives belt 316. The rotational force is passed from belt 316 to shaft 318. Rotation of shaft 318 may drive rotation of driven roller 320. Frictional contact with rotating driven roller 320 moves band 240. Optionally, an idler wheel or pulley (not shown) can be included on the opposing side of band 240 in order to increase the frictional contact of band 240 with driven roller 320.
  • In another embodiment, actuator 310 may be a stepper motor rotating a drive gear (not shown). The drive gear may be in communication with a spur gear (not shown) driving an idler shaft (not shown). The idler shaft in turn may be in communication with driven roller 320. The idler shaft may also used to help transfer power to the side of band 240 not located by actuator 310.
  • In at least one embodiment, band 240 may pass over an area proximate indicator 250. As shown in FIG. 8, indicator 250 may be attached to a worm gear 340. Worm gear 340 may be in communication with a suitable actuator 332, such as a servo motor, stepper motor, or the like. Indicator 250 may be attached to a bracket 342. Bracket 342 may be threadably attached to worm gear 340.
  • In at least one embodiment, indicator 250 includes one or more lights 252 in order to call attention to indicator 250 and make indicator 250 more attractive. Lights 252 may be of any suitable type, including light emitting diodes (LEDs). Both lights 252 and indicator actuator 332 may be in communication with a controller, such as controller 360.
  • Controller 360 may direct lights 252 to illuminate and deactivate in accordance with game events, such as the execution of an attract mode, or a game outcome qualifying a player to play gaming display 204. Controller 360 also may direct the movement of indicator 250. For example, controller 360 may move indicator 250 upon activation of gaming display 204. Controller 360 may direct indicator 250 to stop, such as when a player activates buttons 222.
  • Controller 360 also may determine the position of indicator 250, for example if the controller is preset with the starting position of indicator 250, controller 360 may track the position of indicator 250 by knowing in which direction (or directions) indicator 250 was moved, how fast it was moved, and for what period of time. Depending on the actuator 332 used, actuator 332 may provide feedback as to the position of indicator 250 (for example, if an indexing stepper motor is used).
  • It may be beneficial to provide an additional position sensor for indicator 250. Those of skill in the art will recognize that various types of sensors could be used to track the position of indicator 250. In one embodiment, optical sensors are used. For example, an infrared signal generator may be included on one side of worm gear 340 (see FIG. 9). An infrared detector may be placed on the other side of worm gear 340 (FIG. 9). When indicator 250 is not in between the generator and detector, the detector detects the infrared signal. When indicator 250 is interposed between the signal generator and detector, the detector does not detect a signal. Therefore, when the signal is interrupted, controller 360 knows the position of indicator 250. Such a positioning system may be a useful way to calibrate indicator 250.
  • Of course, other systems can be used, or additional signal generators and detectors used, including those that may allow for constant tracking of indicator 250. For example, an optical sensor (not shown) may be attached to bracket 342. Optical readable indicia and patterns may be placed along worm gear 340. As bracket 342 travels along worm gear 340 the sensor may read the indicia or patterns and communicate the position of indicator 250 to controller 360.
  • Controller 360 may also be in communication with a housing 328 that may have a plurality of lights 330. Lights 330 may be any suitable illumination device, including LEDs, fluorescent lamps, and incandescent lamps. Lights 330 may be activated by signals sent from controller 360 in response to game events. Lights 330 may be used to backlight band 240. Illumination of band 240 may result in a more appealing look for gaming display 204 and call more attention to the area of band 240 on which indicator 250 may indicate a prize.
  • Housing 328 may also contain a guide 326. Guide 326 may provide a surface to help position band 240. For example, guide 326 may help maintain band 240 in a taut position, and keep band 240 from wrinkling, creasing, tearing, or getting caught in any of the actuating mechanisms, including the actuating mechanism for indicator 250.
  • Controller 360 may also be in communication with a positioning system for band 240. It may be beneficial to be able to track the position of band 240. For example, when a game outcome is determined, it is important to make sure that indicator 250 points to the appropriate indicium or indicia on band 240.
  • Many suitable positioning systems can be used, including those used for indicator 250. For example, an infrared signal source 362 can be included on one side of band 240. An infrared detector 364 may be located on the opposing side of band 240. Infrared blocking materials may be placed at one or more locations on band 240. By tracking when the infrared signal is blocked, controller 360 may be able to calibrate and/or constantly track the position of band 240 and any indicia appearing thereon.
  • In an alternative embodiment, a side of band 240 contains a series of holes (not shown), cut-out portions, or similar optical interrupts. The optical interrupts may be read by an optical reader (not shown). The optical interrupts may convey the position of band 240 to controller 360.
  • Of course, gaming display 204 may be calibrated by the gaming operator from time to time, and position data from actuator 310, such as an indexing stepper motor, may also be used to track the position of band 240.
  • In at least one embodiment, the components of band display 300 shown in FIGS. 8 and 9 are modular in nature. That is, band 240, indicator, 250, and their actuating mechanisms may be added and removed from a gaming device as a unit. For example, as shown in FIG. 8, a hook 304 having a slot 306 may be attached to the frame of band display 300, such as by fasteners 308, such as bolts or rivets. A receiver (not shown), such as a bar, may be provided within the gaming device for attachment to hook 304.
  • FIG. 9 presents an alternate view of a gaming device according to the present invention. A portion 370 is a cut away view of the inner portion of an embodiment of gaming display 204. Portion 372 is an outer view of the embodiment.
  • In FIG. 9, it can be seen that in at least one embodiment, rollers 246 are fitted with a plurality of wheels 380. Wheels 380 may be made of a material that maintains strong frictional contact with band 240. Wheels 380 are preferably constructed of, or coated with, a relatively non-abrasive material so as not to damage band 240. For example, wheels 380 may be made of various types of rubber, plastic, and similar materials.
  • Rollers 246 may be provided with a tensioning system that may both help maintain the position of rollers 246, and maintain pressure on rollers 246 in order to ensure that band 240 is taut. The tensioning system may include a base 381, which may be mounted to the frame of gaming display 204 (FIG. 7). Base 381 may be coupled to a biasing device 383, such as a spring. Biasing device 383 may be coupled to a moveable mounting area 385. Moveable mounting area 385 may be moved along a track 387. Moveable mounting area 385 may include a plate 389 that is mounted to biasing device 383.
  • Roller 246 may include a pin 391 and a shaft end 393. Pin 391 may be held within roller mounting area 395. Roller mounting area 395 may include a raised area defining a hole (not shown). When roller 246 is inserted, biasing device 383 will push roller 246 against band 240. Roller 246 may then rotate about pin 391 while keeping band 240 taut.
  • FIG. 9 also provides additional detail for a suitable actuator and positioning system for indicator 250. As was previously described, indicator 250 may be attached to worm gear 340 by bracket 342. Worm gear 340 may be actuated by actuator 332. Actuator 332 maybe attached to pulley 382 (which may be a timing pulley). Belt 384 (which may be a timing belt) may be attached to pulley 382 (which may be a timing pulley) and in contact with shaft end 386 of worm gear 340. A positioning system, such as infrared signal generator 390 and infrared detector 392, may be included in order to assist in tracking the position of indicator 250. In at least one embodiment, actuator 332 is stepper motor model HT23-396, available from Applied Motion Products of Watsonville, Calif.
  • In at least one embodiment, bracket 342 is configured to resist rotating as it travels along worm gear 340. One way this may be achieved is to include a rail 343 that runs parallel to worm gear 340. Bracket 342 may be coupled to rail 343. Rail 343 will prevent bracket 342 from rotating, while allowing linear movement along worm gear 340.
  • Turning now to portion 372 of FIG. 9, there is illustrated a number of indicia 244 appearing on band 240. As shown in FIG. 9, indicia 244 are representations of faux paper currency having various representations. Of course, any suitable indicia 244 may be placed on band 240. Indicia 244 may be chosen to be relevant to a theme of gaming apparatus 200, or gaming display 204, such as the “Bank Roll” theme shown in FIGS. 7 and 9.
  • Indicia 244 may represent prizes that a player may be awarded. For example, indicia 394 may represent an amount of money or gaming credits. Indicia 396 may represent a multiplier by which the player's winnings from one or more gaming rounds may be multiplied. Indicia 398 may represent special awards, such as a good, a service, a jackpot, or a progressive amount. Of course, indicia 244 may represent many other prizes without departing from the scope of the present invention.
  • In certain embodiments, portion 372 may include a slot 388. A portion of indicator 250 or bracket 342 may extend through slot 388. Slot 388 may allow indicator 250 to be displayed to the player, and actuated, but hides the inner workings of gaming display 204 (FIG. 7) from the player. Of course, other means of hiding the inner workings of gaming display 204, including the actuation system for indicator 250, from the player could be used. For example, rather than a slot, the actuation mechanism could be located below the area of gaming display 204 viewable by the player. Indicator 250 could be attached to the actuation mechanism in this area, and then extend upward into the area viewable by the player.
  • As illustrated in FIGS. 7 and 9, in certain embodiments pointer 250 moves along a first axis. Band 240 (which may function as a display surface) moves along a second axis. Indicia 244 appearing on band 240 move along the second axis as band 240 moves. In certain embodiments, the first axis is orthogonal to the second axis. The first and second axis may be used to define a coordinate system, with each indicia 244 appearing on band 240 corresponding to a specific coordinate in the system. Controller 360 may be programmed with the coordinates of each indicia 244, allowing controller 360 to ensure that the proper indicium or indicia 244 corresponding to a game outcome is displayed once band 240 and indicator 250 are stopped.
  • One method of operation 500 of an embodiment of the present invention, such as the device depicted in FIG. 7, is illustrated in FIG. 10. A game is presented to a player in step 502. At decision 504, method 500 checks to see if the player has placed a wager. If not, method 500 returns to step 502.
  • If the player places a wager at decision 504, method 500 proceeds to determine a game outcome in step 506. The outcome is presented to the player at step 508. At decision 510, method 500 checks to see if the game outcome determined in step 506 is an outcome qualifying the player to play a bonus game. If not, method 500 proceeds to step 512 and awards the player any prizes awarded according the game outcome determined in step 506, and then returns to step 502.
  • If it is determined in step 510 that the game outcome of step 506 qualifies the player for a bonus game, method 500 proceeds to step 514. At step 514, gaming display 204 is activated. This may include activation of band 240, indicator 250, and player input device 222. Lights and sounds may also be activated to make the event more exciting to the player and those around the player, as well as to call attention to the device.
  • Method 500 then proceeds to step 516 where band 240 is actuated. The player may be allowed to control the movement of indicator 250 using input device 222. For example, in the device depicted in FIG. 7, the player may be allowed to move the indicator left and right, and to stop the indicator at a desired location.
  • Method 500 proceeds to decision 520, which checks to see whether indicator 250 has been stopped. If indicator 250 has not been stopped, method 500 returns to step 518 and continues to move band 240 and allow the player to move indicator 250.
  • If decision 520 determines that the player has stopped indicator 250, method 500 proceeds to step 522. At step 522, a controller (which may be controller 51, 81, 140, 141, or 360) continues to move band 240 until the indicium corresponding to the game outcome is indicated by indicator 250. Method 500 then awards any prizes to the player in step 524 and returns to step 502.
  • Of course many variations of this method can be made without departing from the scope of the present invention. For example, the game outcome determined in step 506 can include both the outcome of the primary game and the bonus game. Alternatively, the bonus game outcome can be determined in a separate step once the bonus game begins.
  • FIG. 10 illustrates a method where band 240 moves at the same time a player is positioning indicator 250. In another embodiment, band 240 may be stationary while the player positions indicator 250. Once the player has chosen a position for indicator 250, band 240 can be moved until the appropriate indicium is indicated by indicator 250.
  • The player could be allowed to select the position of indicator 250 in a variety of ways. For example, the player could be provided with directional buttons and a stop button. Alternatively, indicator 250 could be moved in an automated fashion by controller 360. The player could activate a stop button when indicator 250 is at the position the player desires.
  • As may be apparent from the above description, it may be desirable to arrange indicia 244 on band 240 such that enough of each type of indicia 244 are included in order that any indicia can be indicated by indicator 250 at any position to which indicator 250 is moved. For example, in the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 7, indicia 244 are illustrated as appearing in a matrix of rows and columns, with indicator 250 being positionable at a particular column. Accordingly, it may be beneficial to have at least one of indicia 244 representing each prize that may be awarded appear on at least one row of each column of band 240.
  • An alternative method of operation 600 is illustrated in FIG. 11. Steps 602-612 may correspond to steps 502-512 described above. At step 614, gaming display 204 may be activated, including band 240, indicator 250, and player input device 222. Lights and sounds may be activated, as previously described. Band 240 and indicator 250 are moved at step 616.
  • Decision 618 checks to see whether input device 222 has been activated. If input device 222 has not been activated, method 600 returns to step 616. If input device 222 has been activated, band 240 is stopped at step 620. Band 240 may be stopped quickly or may gradually come to a stop.
  • Method 600 then proceeds to step 622. At step 622, indicator 250 is moved to indicate the indicium or indicia conveying the outcome of the bonus game. Any prizes are awarded in step 624, and then method 600 returns to step 602.
  • Method 600 may be configured to allow a player to stop band 240 in a specific position, or simply to choose when band 240 will begin to stop. If the player is allowed to choose a specific position for band 240, it may be desirable to have at least one of each prize represented by indicia 244 that may be awarded appear on each row of band 240. Of course, if the player may not choose the exact position of band 240, it may be less desirable to include every indicia 244 on each row. Indeed, not allowing the player to choose an exact position for band 240 may allow a greater variety of indicia 244 to be presented on band 240.
  • Another gaming method 700 is illustrated in FIG. 12. Steps 702-712 may correspond to steps 502-512 and 602-612 described above. At step 714, one or more player input devices are activated that allow a player to select one or more specific indicator positions. For example, indicia 244 on band 240 could be formed in a plurality of columns. The player input device(s) may allow a player to position indicator 250 by a specific column.
  • At step 716, method 700 checks to see if the player has provided input. If not, method 700 cycles back to step 714 until input is provided. Once the player has provided input, method 700 proceeds to step 718 and moves indicator 250 to the position selected by the player. At step 720, the display is moved so that indicator 250 points to the indicium conveying the game outcome. Any prize or prizes are awarded in step 722 and then method 700 may return to step 702.
  • In an alternative embodiment, the player may be allowed to choose a position after the game is begun. In any embodiment, the player's choice of position for indicator 250 might be reflected on band 240, such as illuminating a column of band 240 corresponding to the pre-set position of indicator 250 chosen by the player.
  • Various additions, subtractions, and permutations of the steps in the above described methods can be made without departing from the scope of the present invention. For example, the player may be allowed to select both the position of indicator 250 and to indicate when band 240 should begin to stop (although not the final position of band 240). The more the player is allowed to interact with primary gaming device 202, the more control over the outcome of the game the player may feel, which may make the game more enjoyable to the player. Of course, regulatory concerns may dictate that the player's perceived control be largely or completely illusionary.
  • Methods of operating gaming display 204, including methods 500, 600, and 700, may be set to automatically stop band 240 and/or indicator 250 after a certain time. For example, controller 360 could be programmed to automatically stop indicator 250 and/or band 240 after the passage of a certain amount of time, such as thirty seconds. While it may be beneficial to give the player some interaction with gaming display 204, it may also be desirable to ensure that each game round completes in a timely fashion.
  • Of course, certain embodiments of the present invention, such as method 800 of FIG. 13, may employ no player input. Steps 802-812 may correspond to steps 502-512 of FIG. 10. At step 814 indicator 250 is moved to a position, which may be randomly selected by controller 360. At step 816 band 240 may be moved so that indicator 250 points to an indicium conveying the game outcome. Any prizes may be awarded at step 818 before method 800 returns to step 802. Of course, steps 814 and 816 may be reversed or presented simultaneously. Also, band 240 could be randomly moved, with indicator 250 being moved to indicate the game outcome.
  • Another method 900 of game play that may be used with embodiments of the present invention, including that of FIG. 5, is shown in FIG. 14. Method 900 may award two types of prizes, illustrated in FIG. 5 as criminal prizes 108 or clue prizes 109. Of course, the prizes could be called or represent various things, have different values than those that will be described, and could be represented by images other than those specifically illustrated. After a game has begun, indicator 250 is moved at step 902. Band 46 is moved at step 904. A player input device is activated and the gaming device waits for player input at decision 906. If no player input is provided, method 900 cycles back to step 902. If input is provided, method 900 proceeds to step 908.
  • At step 908, indicator 250 is stopped. At step 910, band 46 is stopped so that indicator 250 indicates the indicium conveying the game outcome. Decision 912 checks to see if the indicium is a clue award or a criminal award. If the indicium is a criminal award, method 900 adds a criminal prize to the total prize at step 914. The total prize is awarded to the player at step 916.
  • If decision 912 determines that the indicium is a clue prize, method 900 proceeds to decision 918. Decision 918 checks to see whether the player has obtained a maximum number of clues, for example, 4. If not, method 900 proceeds to step 920 and adds a clue prize to the total prize and game play continues at step 902.
  • If decision 918 determines that the player has obtained the maximum number of clues, method 900 awards a jackpot prize at step 922 and game play ends.
  • Although embodiments of the invention described and depicted in FIGS. 7-14 have been described as a bonus game in conjunction with a primary game, the present invention is not so limited. For example, gaming display 204 (FIG. 7) could be configured as a primary game. A player could make a wager and gaming display 204 could indicate winning and losing outcomes and dispense prizes accordingly. Also, rather than being attached to a primary gaming device, gaming display 204 could be located apart from primary gaming device 202 (FIG. 7). Gaming display 204 could also be connected to multiple gaming devices 202. The present invention is not limited to a particular configuration or configurations.
  • FIG. 15 shows an additional alternate embodiment of a gaming device according to the present invention. FIG. 15 shows a gaming device 1000 having a primary gaming device 202 and a gaming display 204, which may display all or part of a bonus game or primary game. Gaming device 1000 may have a housing 1001. Primary gaming device 202 and gaming display 204 may be mounted in housing 1001. Gaming display 204 can operate similar to gaming display 204 shown in FIG. 7. Primary game 202 may be configured similarly to previously discussed embodiments, and may include a plurality of mechanical or video reels 210 located on primary game display 208. A plurality of indicia 212 may appear on reels 210. A pay line 226 may be included to assist players in determining whether they have won the game. Value acceptors, including coin acceptor 228 and bill acceptor 224, may be included. The player may activate the game via button 218 or arm 216.
  • Primary game 202 may operate in conjunction with gaming display 204. The appearance of one or more indicia 212 on pay line 226 may entitle the player to play gaming display 204. An example of bonus qualifying indicia is indicium 214.
  • As shown in FIGS. 16-19, a rotary indicator 1002 can be mounted in housing 1001. Rotary indicator 1002 can have a turntable 1003 that includes a base 1004, a rotary shelf 1006, idle rollers 1008 and a driven roller 1010. Rotary shelf 1006 has a ring shape. Base 1004 can support idle rollers 1008 and driven roller 1010. Rotary shelf 1006 may rest on top of the rollers. The base and shelf can be made from any suitable material such as plastic or metal. The rollers allow rotary shelf 1006 to rotate.
  • Rotary indicator actuator 1012 drives a shaft 1011 that can be connected with driven roller 1010. In at least one embodiment, rotary shelf 1006 is driven by frictional contact with driven roller 1010. However, other arrangements may be substituted without departing from the scope of the present invention. For example, driven roller 1010 may have a portion with teeth (not shown) that could engage slots or holes (not shown) in rotary shelf 1006.
  • Actuator 1012 may be any number of suitable actuators, such as motors, including stepper motors, gear motors, and servo motors. Actuator 1012 may drive driven roller 1010 directly or can be used with a belts, pulleys or gears (not shown) in order to obtain the optimum combination of speed and power to drive rotary shelf 1006. Actuator 1012 can start and stop motion to rotary indicator 1002 and can rotate rotary indicator 1002 in both a clockwise and a counterclockwise direction.
  • In an embodiment, several indicators 1018 can be mounted to rotary shelf 1006. Indicators 1018 can be arranged around the outer circumference 1007 of turntable 1003. Indicators 1018 can be of any suitable type such as formed form metal or plastic and can be shaped like an arrow, a star, a circle, a triangle or any other suitable shape.
  • In at least one embodiment, indicator 1018 includes one or more lights 1020 in order to call attention to indicator 1018 and make indicator 1018 more attractive. Lights 1020 may be mounted on the outside of indicator 1018 as shown in FIG. 17. Lights 1020 may also be mounted inside of indicator 1018 as shown in FIG. 19. In this example, indicator 1018 would be fabricated from a translucent material. Lights 1020 may be of any suitable type, including light emitting diodes (LEDs). Lights 1020 and actuator 1012 may be in communication with a controller, such as controller 1014. Lights 1020 can be powered by batteries or hard wired or by any suitable means.
  • Since the lights 1020 are mounted to rotary indicator 1002, they rotate and move along with rotary indicator 1002. Power is required to be supplied to these rotating lights. Power can be supplied to rotary shelf 1006 by any suitable means such as using wipers, brushes, or inductive coupling.
  • Referring to FIGS. 18 and 19, a ring 1024 can be spaced from rotary shelf 1006 by a gap 1025. Ring 1024 can be formed from an insulative material. Power and signal tracks 1026 and 1028 can be mounted on ring 1024 and can be formed from a conductive metal. While only one power and signal tracks 1026 and 1028 are shown, it is understood that several power and signal tracks can be mounted on ring 1024 in order to power and select lights 1020 for activation. Wipers 1030 and 1032 may be mounted on rotary shelf 1006 and slide along tracks 1026 and 1028 as rotary shelf 1006 rotates. Wipers 1030 and 1032 can be formed from a conductive metal that has a high wear resistance. Wipers 1030 and 1032 may be connected to buss bars 1034 and 1036, respectively. The buss bars can be mounted within or outside of rotary shelf 1006. Wires 1038 and 1040 can be connected from buss bars 1034 and 1036 to lights 1020.
  • Controller 1014 can direct lights 1020 to illuminate and deactivate in accordance with game events such as the execution of an attract mode, a game outcome, or to indicate a prize. Controller 1014 can select which lights 1020 on an individual indictor 1018 are illuminated to indicate a prize 1050.
  • Controller 1014 also may direct the movement of rotary indicator 1002. For example, controller 1014 may rotate rotary indicator 1002 upon activation of gaming display 204. Controller 1014 may direct rotary indicator 1002 to start or stop, such as when a player activates player input device 222 (FIG. 15).
  • Controller 1014 also may determine the position of rotary indicator 1002, for example if the controller is preset with the starting position of rotary indicator 1002, controller 1014 may track the position of rotary indicator 1002 by knowing in which direction (or directions) indicator 1002 was moved, how fast it was moved, and for what period of time.
  • It may be beneficial to provide an additional position sensor for rotary indicator 1002. Those of skill in the art will recognize that various types of sensors could be used to track the position of indicator 1002. In one embodiment, optical sensors are used. For example, an infrared signal generator 1062 may be included on one side of rotary shelf 1006 as shown in FIG. 19. An infrared detector 1060 may be placed on the other side of rotary shelf 1006. Holes placed in rotary shelf 1006 can correspond to certain positions of rotary shelf 1006 and be used by controller 1014 to track the position of rotary shelf 1006.
  • Other types of sensing systems can be used. For example, an optical sensor (not shown) may be attached to base 1004. Optical readable indicia and patterns may be placed along rotary shelf 1006. As rotary shelf 1006 rotates, the sensor may read the indicia or patterns and communicate the position of rotary indicator 1002 to controller 1014. Controller 1014 may also control other lights mounted inside or on housing 1001.
  • Controller 1014 may also be in communication with actuator 310 and with a positioning system for band 240. Controller 1014 may be programmed with the coordinates of each of the indicia 244, allowing controller 1014 to ensure that the proper indicium or indicia 244 corresponding to a game outcome is displayed once band 240 and rotary indicator 1002 are stopped.
  • It may be beneficial to track the position of band 240. For example, when a game outcome is determined, it is important to make sure that indicator 1018 points to the appropriate prize indicium 1050 on band 240. Many suitable positioning systems can be used.
  • One method of operation 1500 of an embodiment of the present invention, such as the gaming device 1000 depicted in FIG. 15, is illustrated in FIG. 20. A game is presented to a player in step 1502. At decision 1504, method 1500 checks to see if the player has placed a wager. If not, method 1500 returns to step 1502.
  • If the player places a wager at decision 1504, method 1500 proceeds to determine a game outcome in step 1506. The outcome is presented to the player at step 1508. At decision 1510, method 1500 checks to see if the game outcome determined in step 1506 is an outcome qualifying the player to play a bonus game. If not, method 1500 proceeds to step 1512 and awards the player any prizes awarded according the game outcome determined in step 1506, and then returns to step 1502.
  • If it is determined in step 1510 that the game outcome of step 1506 qualifies the player for a bonus game, method 1500 proceeds to step 1514. At step 1514, gaming display 204 is activated. This may include activation of band 240, rotary indicator 1002, and player input device 222. Lights and sounds may also be activated to make the event more exciting to the player and those around the player, as well as to call attention to the device.
  • Method 1500 then proceeds to step 1516 where band 240 is actuated. The player may be allowed to control the movement of rotary indicator 1002 using player input device 222. For example, in the device depicted in FIG. 15, the player may be allowed to select the direction of rotation of indicator 1002, clockwise or counterclockwise, stop the indicator at a desired location and illuminate one of indicators 1018.
  • Method 1500 proceeds to decision 1520, which checks to see whether indicator 1002 has been stopped. If rotary indicator 1002 has not been stopped, method 1500 returns to step 1516 and continues to move band 240 and allow the player to move rotary indicator 1002.
  • If decision 1520 determines that the player has stopped rotary indicator 1002 and illuminated one of the indicators 1018, method 1500 proceeds to step 1522. At step 1522, controller 1014 continues to move band 240 until the indicium corresponding to the game outcome is indicated by rotary indicator 1002. Method 1500 then awards any prizes to the player in step 1524 and returns to step 1502.
  • Of course many variations of this method can be made without departing from the scope of the present invention. For example, the position of the indicators may be selected by the player but, not the individual indicator that is illuminated. The individual indicator that is illuminated may be selected by the player and the final position of the rotating indicator can be determined by controller 1014. The game outcome determined in step 1506 can include both the outcome of the primary game and the bonus game. Alternatively, the bonus game outcome can be determined in a separate step once the bonus game begins.
  • The player could be allowed to select the position of rotary indicator 1002 in a variety of ways. For example, the player could be provided with directional buttons, a stop button, and a light button. Alternatively, rotary indicator 1002 could be moved in an automated fashion by controller 1014.
  • As may be apparent from the above description, it may be desirable to arrange indicia 244 on band 240 such that enough of each type of indicia 244 are included in order that any indicia can be indicated by rotary indicator 1002 at any position to which rotary indicator 1002 is moved. For example, in the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 15, indicia 244 are illustrated as appearing in a matrix of rows and columns, with indicator 1002 being positionable at a particular column.
  • An alternative method of operation 1600 of gaming device 1000 is illustrated in FIG. 21. Steps 1602-1612 may correspond to steps 1502-1512 described above. At step 1614, gaming display 204 may be activated, including band 240, rotary indicator 1002, and player input device 222. Lights and sounds may be activated, as previously described. Band 240 and rotary indicator 1002 are moved at step 1616.
  • Decision 1618 checks to see whether player input device 222 has been activated. If player input device 222 has not been activated, method 1600 returns to step 1616. If player input device 222 has been activated, band 240 is stopped at step 1620. Band 240 may be stopped quickly or may gradually come to a stop.
  • Method 1600 then proceeds to step 1622. At step 1622, rotary indicator 1002 is moved and illuminated to indicate the indicia conveying the outcome of the bonus game. Any prizes are awarded in step 1624, and then method 1600 returns to step 1602.
  • Method 1600 may be configured to allow a player to stop band 240 in a specific position, or simply to choose when band 240 will begin to stop. If the player is allowed to choose a specific position for band 240, it may be desirable to have at least one of each prize represented by indicia 244 that may be awarded appear on each row of band 240. Of course, if the player may not choose the exact position of band 240, it may be less desirable to include every indicia 244 on each row. Not allowing the player to choose an exact position for band 240 may allow a greater variety of indicia 244 to be presented on band 240.
  • Another gaming method 1700 using gaming device 1000 is illustrated in FIG. 22. Steps 1702-1712 may correspond to steps 1502-1512 and 1602-1612 described above. At step 1714, one or more player input devices are activated that allow a player to select one or more specific indicator positions. For example, indicia 244 on band 240 could be formed in a plurality of columns. The player input device(s) may allow a player to position a selected indicator 1018 of rotary indicator 1002 by a specific column.
  • At step 1716, method 1700 checks to see if the player has provided input. If not, method 1700 cycles back to step 1714 until input is provided. Once the player has provided input, method 1700 proceeds to step 1718 where rotary indicator 1002 is moved and illuminated at the position selected by the player. At step 1720, the display is moved so that rotary indicator 1002 at the selected position points to the indicium conveying the game outcome. Any prize or prizes are awarded in step 1722 and then method 1700 may return to step 1702.
  • In an alternative embodiment, the player may be allowed to choose a position after the game is begun. In any embodiment, the player's choice of position for indicator 1002 might be reflected on band 240, such as illuminating a column of band 240 corresponding to the pre-set position of indicator 1002 chosen by the player.
  • Various additions, subtractions, and permutations of the steps in the above described methods can be made without departing from the scope of the present invention. For example, the player may be allowed to select both the positioning of rotary indicator 1002 and the illumination of individual indicators 1018. Alternatively, the player may be allowed to select only one of the position of the rotary indicator 1002 or the illumination of an individual indicator 1018.
  • The more the player is allowed to interact with gaming device 1000, the more control over the outcome of the game the player may feel, which may make the game more enjoyable to the player. Of course, regulatory concerns may dictate that the player's perceived control be largely or completely illusionary.
  • An embodiment of the present invention, such as method 1800 using gaming device 1000 as shown in FIG. 23, may employ no player input. Steps 1802-1812 may correspond to steps 1502-1512 of FIG. 20. At step 1814, rotary indicator 1002 is moved to a position, which may be randomly selected by controller 1014. At step 1815, an individual indicator 1018 is illuminated by controller 1014. At step 1816, band 240 may be moved so that rotary indicator 1002 points to an indicium conveying the game outcome. Any prizes may be awarded at step 1818 before method 1800 returns to step 1802. Of course, steps 1814 and 1816 may be reversed or presented simultaneously. Band 240 could be randomly moved, with rotary indicator 1002 being moved to indicate the game outcome.
  • FIG. 24 shows an another embodiment of a gaming device according to the present invention. FIG. 24 shows a gaming device 1100 having a gaming display 204 and a rotary indicator 1102. Gaming device 1100 can be mounted in a housing 1001 in conjunction with a primary game as shown in FIG. 15. Gaming display 204 can have a band 240 that is supported by rollers 246. Indicia 244 can be mounted on band 240 in columns 1120 and rows 1122.
  • Rotary indicator 1102 may have indicators 1104, 1106, and 1108 mounted in housing 1001. Indicators 1104, 1106, and 1108 are spaced apart from each other on rotary shelf 1006. Indicators 1104, 1106, and 1108 can be arranged such that when rotary indicator 1102 is stopped, only 1 of the indicators is pointing to an indicium 244. In FIG. 24, indicator 1108 is aligned with a row 1122 and column 1120 and is shown pointing to a prize indicium 1050. Indicators 1104 and 1106 are not aligned with a row 1122 or column 1120 and do not point to an indicium 244.
  • Controller 1014 can control the positioning of rotary indicator 1102 and band 240 as previously described for FIGS. 15 and 16.
  • An advantage of gaming device 1100 is that rotary indicator 1102 does not need lights to indicate a game winning outcome. If desired, lights can be added to indicators 1104, 1106, and 1108 in order to enhance the appearance of the gaming device.
  • Gaming device 1100 of FIG. 24 can be played using the methods shown and described previously for FIGS. 20-23 except that the indicator would not necessary need to be illuminated. In FIG. 20, at step 1520, the indicator would be stopped but not illuminated. In FIG. 21, at step 1622, the indicator would be moved and stopped but not illuminated. In FIG. 22, at step 1718, the indicator would be moved to the selected position but not illuminated. In FIG. 23, the step 1815 of illuminating the indicator would be omitted.
  • FIG. 25 shows an additional embodiment of a gaming device according to the present invention. FIG. 25 shows a gaming device 1200 having a gaming display 204 and a set of stationary indicators 1210. Gaming device 1200 can be mounted in a housing 1001 in conjunction with a primary game as shown in FIG. 15. Gaming display 204 can have a band 240 that is supported by rollers 246. Indicia 244 can be mounted on band 240 in columns 1120 and rows 1122.
  • Stationary indicators 1210 may have indicators 1221, 1222, 1223, 1224 and 1225 mounted in housing 1001. Indicators 1221, 1222, 1223, 1224 and 1225 do not move. A game winning outcome 1250 can be indicated by illuminating one of the indicators using lights 1230. In the example shown, the lights 1230 of indictor 1222 are turned on.
  • Controller 1014 can control and select the illumination of indicators 1221, 1222, 1223, 1224 and 1225. An advantage of gaming device 1200 is that no actuators or rotary mechanism are needed for the indicators.
  • A method of operating gaming device 1200 of FIG. 25 is shown in FIG. 26. In method 1900, a game is presented to a player in step 1902. At decision 1904, method 1900 checks to see if the player has placed a wager. If not, method 1900 returns to step 1902.
  • If the player places a wager at decision 1904, method 1900 proceeds to determine a game outcome in step 1906. The outcome is presented to the player at step 1908. At decision 1910, method 1900 checks to see if the game outcome determined in step 1906 is an outcome qualifying the player to play a bonus game. If not, method 1900 proceeds to step 1912 and awards the player any prizes awarded according the game outcome determined in step 1906, and returns to step 1902.
  • If it is determined in step 1910 that the game outcome of step 1906 qualifies the player for a bonus game, method 1900 proceeds to step 1914. At step 1914, gaming display 204 is activated. This may include activation of band 240, indicator 1210, and player input device 222. Lights and sounds may also be activated to make the event more exciting to the player and those around the player, as well as to call attention to the device.
  • Method 1900 then proceeds to step 1916 where band 240 is actuated. Method 1900 then proceeds to step 1918 where the player may be allowed to select one of indicators 1221, 1222, 1223, 1224 or 1225 to be lit using player input device 222.
  • At step 1922, controller 1014 continues to move band 240 until the indicium corresponding to the game outcome is indicated by the selected indicator 1221, 1222, 1223, 1224 or 1225. Method 1900 then awards any prizes to the player in step 1924, and then returns to step 1902.
  • Another gaming method 2000 using gaming device 1200 is illustrated in FIG. 27. Steps 2002-2012 may correspond to steps 1902-1912 described above for method 1900 of FIG. 26. At step 2014, one or more player input devices are activated that allow a player to select and illuminate at least one specific indicator position. For example, the player input device(s) may allow a player to illuminate indicator 1222 to point to one of indicia-containing columns 1120.
  • At step 2016, method 2000 checks to see if the player has provided input. If not, method 2000 cycles back to step 2014 until input is provided. Once the player has provided input, method 2000 proceeds to step 2018 and illuminates the selected indicator. At step 2020, the display is moved so that one of indicators 1210 points to the indicium conveying the game outcome. Any prize or prizes are awarded in step 2022, and then method 2000 may return to step 2002.
  • Yet another gaming method 2100 using gaming device 1200 is illustrated in FIG. 28. Method 2100 does not use any player input. Steps 2102-2112 may correspond to steps 1902-1912 described above for method 1900 of FIG. 26. At step 2114, one of indicators 1210 is lighted or illuminated to point to one of columns 1120. The specific indicator can be randomly selected by controller 1014. At step 2116, band 240 may be moved so that one of indicators 1210 points to an indicium conveying the game outcome. Any prizes may be awarded at step 2118 before method 2100 returns to step 2102. Steps 2114 and 2116 may be reversed or presented simultaneously.
  • FIG. 29 shows another additional embodiment of a gaming device according to the present invention. FIG. 29 shows a gaming device 1300 having a video gaming display 1350 and a rotary indicator 1302. Gaming device 1300 can be mounted in housing 1001 in conjunction with a primary game as shown in FIG. 15. Video gaming display 1350 can be a video screen 1352 that can display indicia 1354. Video screen 1352 can be any suitable video screen that is electronically changeable. The indicia can be displayed as a rotating or scrolling reel or can be randomly shown in a matrix. Indicia 1354 can be displayed in rows 1356 and columns 1358.
  • Rotary indicator 1302 may have indicators 1304 mounted in housing 1001. Indicators 1304 can aligned with columns 1358. Lights 1310 can be turned on in one of indicators 1304 to point to a game winning outcome 1360. Controller 1014 can control the indicia shown on video screen 1352, the positioning of rotary indicator 1302 and the illumination of lights 1310.
  • Gaming device 1300 of FIG. 29 was shown using a video screen 1352 and a mechanical rotary indicator 1302. Gaming device 1300 could also display the rotary indicator using either a separate video display or on the same video screen 1352.
  • Gaming device 1300 of FIG. 29 can be played using the methods 1500, 1600, 1700 and 1800 shown and described previously for FIGS. 20-23. In methods 1500, 1600, 1700 and 1800, steps using rotary indicator 1002 would use rotary indicator 1302, and steps using gaming display 204 would use video gaming display 1350.
  • FIG. 30 shows yet another embodiment of a gaming device according to the present invention. FIG. 30 shows a gaming device 1400 having a gaming display 1420 and a rotary indicator 1402. Gaming device 1400 can be mounted in a housing 1001 in conjunction with a primary game as shown in FIG. 15. Gaming display 1420 can have a band 1422 that is supported by rollers 246. Gaming display 1420 and band 1422 can have the same mechanical structure as previously described for gaming display 204 and band 240 as shown in FIGS. 15 and 16.
  • Indicia 1444 can be mounted on band 1422 in columns 1424 and rows 1426. Indicia 1444 include two different types of indicia. Indicia 1446 are move symbols and indicia 1448 are prize stop symbols. For example, in FIG. 30, move indicia 1446 are shown as a car. Controller 1014 can control the positioning of rotary indicator 1402 and band 1422 as previously described for FIGS. 15 and 16.
  • Rotary indicator 1402 may have several indicators 1406 mounted in housing 1001. Rotary indicator 1402 can rotate within housing 1001. One of indicators 1406 can be illuminated using lights 1408 to indicate a game outcome. In FIG. 30, one of indicators 1406 is illuminated and aligned with one of columns 1424 and is shown pointing to a game outcome 1450.
  • Other embodiments of gaming device 1400 are possible. For example, move indicia 1446 could include additional indicia that indicate to move to another specific row and column, or move indicia 1446 could indicate that multiple moves are to be performed.
  • One method of operation 2200 of gaming device 1400 of FIG. 30 is illustrated in FIGS. 31 and 32. A game is presented to a player in step 2202. At decision 2204, method 2200 checks to see if the player has placed a wager. If not, method 2200 returns to step 2202.
  • If the player places a wager at decision 2204, method 2200 proceeds to determine a game outcome in step 2206. The outcome is presented to the player at step 2208. At decision 2210, method 2200 checks to see if the game outcome determined in step 2206 is an outcome qualifying the player to play a bonus game. If not, method 2200 proceeds to step 2212 and awards the player any prizes awarded according the game outcome determined in step 2206, and returns to step 2202.
  • If it is determined in step 2210 that the game outcome of step 2206 qualifies the player for a bonus game, method 2200 proceeds to step 2214. At step 2214, gaming display 1420 is activated. This may include activation of band 1422, rotary indicator 1402, and player input device 222. Lights and sounds may also be activated to make the event more exciting to the player and those around the player, as well as to call attention to the device.
  • Method 2200 then proceeds to step 2216 where band 1422 is actuated. The player may be allowed to control the movement of rotary indicator 1402 using player input device 222. For example, in the device depicted in FIG. 30, the player may be allowed to select the direction of rotation of indicator 1402, clockwise or counterclockwise, stop the indicator at a desired location, and illuminate one of indicators 1406.
  • Method 2200 proceeds to decision 2220, which checks to see whether indicator 1402 has been stopped. If rotary indicator 1402 has not been stopped, method 2200 returns to step 2216 and continues to move band 1422 and allow the player to move rotary indicator 1402.
  • If decision 2220 determines that the player has stopped indicator 1402 and illuminated one indicator 1406, method 2200 proceeds to step 2222. At step 2222, controller 1014 continues to move band 1422 until the indicium corresponding to the game outcome is indicated by rotary indicator 1402.
  • Method 2200 proceeds to decision 2224, which checks to see whether indicator 1406 is pointing to a prize stop indicium 1448 or a move indicium 1446. If indicator 1406 is pointing to a prize stop indicium 1448, method 2200 proceeds to step 2232 and awards any prizes to the player. After awarding any prizes to the player in step 2232, method 2200 returns to step 2202.
  • If indicator 1406 is pointing to a move indicium 1446 at decision 2224, method 2200 proceeds to step 2226 and proceeds to move band 1422 and rotary indicator 1402.
  • Method 2200 then proceeds to step 2228 where rotary indicator 1402 is stopped. Next, band 1422 is stopped at step 2230. After band 1422 is stopped, method 2200 then returns to repeat decision 2224, which checks to see whether indicator 1406 is pointing to a prize stop indicium 1448 or a move indicium 1446. The flowchart loop with decision 2224 continues until a game outcome with a prize stop indicium 1448 is indicated.
  • Many variations of method 2200 are possible. For example, steps 2228 and 2230 may be reversed or alternatively may be combined such that the indicator and display are stopped simultaneously to indicate a game outcome.
  • In order to enhance player excitement during the game, prizes can also be awarded by the controller whenever a move indicium 1446 is landed on or pointed to by the indicator. The prizes can be summed during the game or may be summed and awarded after the game round is completed.
  • As may be apparent from the above description, it may be desirable to arrange move indicia 1446 and prize stop indicia 1448 on band 1422 such that enough of each type of indicia are included in order that any indicia can be indicated by rotary indicator 1402 at any position to which indicator 1402 is moved.
  • An alternative method 2300 of operation of gaming device 1400 is illustrated in FIGS. 33 and 34. Steps 2302-2312 may correspond to steps 2202-2212 described above. At step 2314, gaming display 1420 may be activated, including band 1422, rotary indicator 1402, and player input device 222. Lights and sounds may be activated, as previously described. Band 1422 and rotary indicator 1402 are moved at step 2316.
  • Decision 2318 checks to see whether player input device 222 has been activated. If player input device 222 has not been activated, method 2300 returns to step 2316. If player input device 222 has been activated, band 1422 is stopped at step 2320. Band 1422 may be stopped quickly or may gradually come to a stop.
  • Method 2300 then proceeds to step 2322. At step 2322, indicator 1402 is moved and illuminated to indicate the indicia conveying the outcome of the bonus game.
  • Method 2300 next proceeds to decision 2324, which checks to see whether indicator 1406 is pointing to a prize stop indicium 1448 or a move indicium 1446. If indicator 1406 is pointing to a prize stop indicium 1448, method 2300 proceeds to step 2332 and awards any prizes to the player. After awarding any prizes to the player in step 2332, method 2300 returns to step 2302.
  • If indicator 1406 is pointing to a move indicium 1446 at decision 2324, method 2300 proceeds to step 2326 and proceeds to move band 1422 and rotary indicator 1402.
  • Method 2300 then proceeds to step 2328 where rotary indicator 1402 is stopped. Next, band 1422 is stopped at step 2330. After band 1422 is stopped, method 2300 then returns to repeat decision 2324, which checks to see whether indicator 1406 is pointing to a prize stop indicium 1448 or a move indicium 1446. The flowchart loop with decision 2324 continues until a game outcome with a prize stop indicium 1448 is indicated.
  • Again, variations of method 2300 are possible. For example, steps 2328 and 2330 may be reversed or alternatively may be combined such that the indicator and display are stopped simultaneously to indicate a game outcome.
  • Another gaming method 2400 of gaming device 1400 is illustrated in FIGS. 35 and 36. Steps 2402-2412 may correspond to steps 2202-2212 and 2302-2312 described above. At step 2414, one or more player input devices 222 are activated that allow a player to select one or more specific indicator positions. For example, indicia 1444 on band 1422 could be formed in a plurality of columns. The player input device(s) may allow a player to position rotary indicator 1402 by a specific column.
  • At step 2416, method 2400 checks to see if the player has provided input. If not, method 2400 cycles back to step 2414 until input is provided. Once the player has provided input, method 2400 proceeds to step 2418 where indicator 1402 is moved and illuminated at the position selected by the player. At step 2420, the display is moved so that rotary indicator 1402 points to the indicium conveying the game outcome.
  • Method 2400 next proceeds to decision 2424, which checks to see whether indicator 1406 is pointing to a prize stop indicium 1448 or a move indicium 1446. If indicator 1406 is pointing to a prize stop indicium 1448, method 2400 proceeds to step 2432 and awards any prizes to the player. After awarding any prizes to the player in step 2432, method 2400 returns to step 2402.
  • If indicator 1406 is pointing to a move indicium 1446 at decision 2424, method 2400 proceeds to step 2426 and proceeds to move band 1422 and rotary indicator 1402.
  • Method 2400 then proceeds to step 2428 where rotary indicator 1402 is stopped. Next, band 1422 is stopped at step 2330. After band 1422 is stopped, method 2400 then returns to repeat decision 2424, which checks to see whether indicator 1406 is pointing to a prize stop indicium 1448 or a move indicium 1446. The flowchart loop with decision 2424 continues until a game outcome with a prize stop indicium 1448 is indicated.
  • Several variations of method 2400 are possible. For example, steps 2428 and 2430 may be reversed to stop the display and then the indicator or alternatively steps 2428 and 2430 may be combined such that the indicator and display are stopped simultaneously to indicate a game outcome.
  • In order to enhance player excitement during the game, prizes can also be awarded by the controller whenever a move indicium 1446 is landed on or pointed to by the indicator. The prizes can be summed during the game or may be summed and awarded after the game round is completed.
  • The more the player is allowed to interact with gaming device 1400, the more control over the outcome of the game the player may feel, which may make the game more enjoyable to the player. Of course, regulatory concerns may dictate that the player's perceived control be largely or completely illusionary.
  • An embodiment of the present invention, such as method 2500, using gaming device 1400, as shown in FIGS. 37 and 38, may employ no player input. Steps 2502-2512 may correspond to steps 2402-2412 of FIG. 35. At step 2514, rotary indicator 1402 is moved to a position, which may be randomly selected by controller 1014. At step 2516, band 1422 may be moved so that rotary indicator 1402 points to an indicium conveying the game outcome.
  • Method 2500 next proceeds to decision 2524, which checks to see whether indicator 1406 is pointing to a prize stop indicium 1448 or a move indicium 1446. If indicator 1406 is pointing to a prize stop indicium 1448, method 2500 proceeds to step 2532 and awards any prizes to the player. After awarding any prizes to the player in step 2532, method 2500 returns to step 2502.
  • If indicator 1406 is pointing to a move indicium 1446 at decision 2524, method 2500 proceeds to step 2526 and proceeds to move band 1422 and rotary indicator 1402.
  • Method 2500 then proceeds to step 2528 where rotary indicator 1402 is stopped. Next, band 1422 is stopped at step 2530. After band 1422 is stopped, method 2500 then returns to repeat decision 2524, which checks to see whether indicator 1406 is pointing to a prize stop indicium 1448 or a move indicium 1446. The flowchart loop with decision 2524 continues until a game outcome with a prize stop indicium 1448 is indicated. Steps 2526 and 2528 can be reversed or combined.
  • The game prizes can also be awarded by the controller whenever a move indicium 1446 is landed on or pointed to by the indicator. The prizes can be summed during the game or may be summed and awarded after the game round is completed.
  • Peripheral Indicator Embodiment
  • With reference now to FIGS. 39 and 40, an additional embodiment of a gaming device according to the present invention is shown. FIG. 39 includes a gaming display device 3900 that has a gaming display 3902 and a set of stationary peripheral indicators 3928. Gaming display device 3900 can be mounted in a housing 1001 in conjunction with a primary game as shown in FIG. 15. Game display 3902 can have a prize band 240 that is supported by rollers 246. Band 240 can have an outer display surface 241, an inner surface 242 and sides 243. Band 240 can be formed from a flexible belt or sheet of material. Band 240 can be backlit by lights 330 as was previously described. Band 240 can have a matrix 3911 of prize positions 3912 that are arranged in rows 3918 and columns 3920. Indicia 244 can be disposed on band 240 in prize positions 3912. Controller 360 can rotatably control band 240 and display surface 241 using display surface actuator 310 in the same manner as previously described for FIG. 15. Display surface 241 can be moved along a vertical path between indicator rows 3934 and 3936.
  • The set of stationary peripheral indicators 3928 can include several individual indicators 3930 that may are arranged in rows 3934 and 3936 and columns 3938 and 3940. Peripheral indicators 3930 can be mounted adjacent to and around all of the sides 243 and surround band 240. Indicators 3930 are stationary and do not move. Indicators 3930 can be mounted to front panel 3905. Lights 3950 can be mounted in each of indicators 3930. Lights 3950 can be light emitting diodes and can be connected with or in communication with and controlled by controller 360.
  • A prize indicium 3916 can be indicated by illuminating at least two of the indicators 3930 using lights 3950. In the example shown in FIG. 39, the lights 3950 of indicators 3930A and 3930B are turned on to indicate the prize indicium 3916 as the game outcome. It is noted that the indicators in a row and a column were used to indicate one of the indicia in the matrix of indicia as the game outcome.
  • In another embodiment, additional indicators 3930C and 3930D could be illuminated to further indicate prize indicium 3916.
  • Controller 360 can control and select the movement and position of band 240 and display surface 241 and further can control the illumination of the set of peripheral indicators 3928. More than one of the indicia can be used to indicate a game outcome. For example, three or more indicators 3930 can be lit to indicate two of indicia 244 as a game outcome. In the embodiment of FIG. 39, indicators 3930 are shown as being stationary. However, indicators 3930 could also be configured to move by the addition of a positioning mechanism. In the embodiment of FIG. 39, two rows and two columns of indicators 3930 were shown. If desired only one row and column of indicators 3930 could be used. In another embodiment, a game player could be allowed to select which pair of indicators point to the game outcome by the use of a player input device such as joystick 3932. Joystick 3932 can be in communication with controller 360. When the player input device is used, the player may be allowed to select the indicators that point to the game outcome. The controller then determines the final position of band 240 and therefore any prizes that are awarded.
  • A method of operating gaming device 3900 of FIGS. 39 and 40 is shown in FIG. 41. In method 4000, a player places a wager on a primary game at step 4002. At step 4004, the player plays a base game on the base gaming apparatus. At decision 4006, method 4000 checks to see if the game outcome determined in step 4004 is an outcome qualifying the player to play a bonus game. If not, method 4000 proceeds to step 4008 and notifies the player of the game outcome determined in step 4004, and then returns to step 4002.
  • If it is determined in step 4006 that the game outcome of step 4004 qualifies the player for a bonus game, method 4000 proceeds to step 4010. At step 4010, the bonus game outcome is determined. At step 4012, gaming display 3902 is activated. This may include activation of band 240 and lights 3950. Lights and sounds may also be activated to make the event more exciting to the player and those around the player, as well as to call attention to the device.
  • Method 4000 then proceeds to step 4014 where band 240 and display surface 241 is moved or rotated. At step 4102, controller 360 continues to move band 240 and at least two indicators 3930 are illuminated by turning on lights 3950. At step 4104, band 240 is stopped. Method 4000 then awards any prizes indicated by the combination of indictors 3930 and display surface 241 to the player in step 4106, and then returns to step 4002. The game outcome is indicated by the indicia pointed to by the combination of at least two indicators 3930 and display surface 241.
  • Another method of operating gaming device 3900 of FIGS. 39 and 40 is shown in FIG. 42. In method 4100, a player places a wager on a primary game at step 4002. At step 4004, the player plays a base game on the base gaming apparatus. At decision 4006, method 4100 checks to see if the game outcome determined in step 4004 is an outcome qualifying the player to play a bonus game. If not, method 4100 proceeds to step 4008 and notifies the player of the game outcome determined in step 4004, and then returns to step 4002.
  • If it is determined in step 4006 that the game outcome of step 4004 qualifies the player for a bonus game, method 4100 proceeds to step 4010. At step 4010, the bonus game outcome is determined. At step 4012, gaming display 3902 is activated. This may include activation of band 240 and lights 3950. Lights and sounds may also be activated to make the event more exciting to the player and those around the player, as well as to call attention to the device.
  • Method 4100 then proceeds to step 4014 where band 240 is moved or rotated. At step 4016, band 240 is stopped. At step 4018, controller 360 illuminates at least two indicators 3930 by turning on lights 3950. Method 4100 then awards any prizes indicated by the combination of indicators 3930 and band 240 to the player in step 4020 and then returns to step 4002.
  • Several variations of methods 4000 and 4100 are possible. For example in method 4000, steps 4014 and 4102 may be reversed or alternatively steps 4102 and 4104 may be combined such that the indicator is illuminated and the display is stopped simultaneously to indicate a game outcome.
  • Belt Mounted Indicator Embodiment
  • With reference now to FIGS. 43, 44 and 45, an additional embodiment of a gaming device according to the present invention is shown. FIG. 43 includes a gaming device 4200 that has a gaming display device 4202 and an indicator device or belt-mounted indicator 4250. Gaming device 4200 can be mounted in a housing 1001 in conjunction with a primary game as shown in FIG. 15. Gaming display 4202 can have a band 240 that is supported by rollers 246. Band 240 has an outer display surface 241 and an inner surface 242. Band 240 can be backlit by lights 330 as was previously described. Band 240 can have a matrix of prize positions 4212 that are arranged in rows 4218 and columns 4220. Indicia 244 can be mounted on band 240. Controller 360 can rotatably control band 240 using band or display surface actuator 310 in the same manner as previously described for FIG. 15. Display surface 241 can be moved or rotated along a vertical path.
  • Belt-mounted indicator 4250 can be mounted adjacent to and below band 240 such that it can be viewed along with band 240 by a game player through front panel 3905. Belt-mounted indicator 4250 can include a rotating flexible belt 4252 and a positioning mechanism 4251. Belt 4252 has an outer surface 4252A and an inner surface 4252B. Belt 4252 can be made from any suitable belt material such as rubber or plastic. Belt 4252 can be formed into any suitable shape such as circular, square or rectangular. An indicator 4260 can be placed on outer surface 4252A. Indicator 4260 can be printed or glued onto outer surface 4252A and have a flexible 2-dimensional shape. Indicator 4260 could also be a separate 3-dimensional indicator that is physically attached to outer surface 4252A by fasteners or glue. The material used to construct belt 4252 may be transparent or translucent, allowing belt 4252 to be backlit.
  • In an alternative embodiment (not shown), belt 4252 may also be formed from several pivotally connected segments and may resemble a tractor tread. In another embodiment (not shown), display band 240 could be replaced by a video screen or used with other display devices such as light emitting diodes. In still another embodiment (not shown), belt driven indicator 4250 could be positioned vertically or at an angle along side display band 240.
  • Positioning mechanism 4251 can include a driven roller 4262 and one or more idle rollers 4264. Rollers 4262 and 4264 are in frictional contact with inner surface 4252B. A tensioning mechanism (not shown) would maintain tension on belt 4252. A shaft 4258 may be connected to driven roller 4262. Actuator 4256 is connected to shaft 4258. Actuator 4256 can be mounted to support frame 4254, which is mounted to housing 1001. Actuator 4256 can be in communication with controller 360. A sensor 4257 is mounted adjacent to belt 4252 and is in communication with controller 360. Sensor 4257 can determine the position of belt 4252 and provide an electrical signal to controller 360 about the rotational position of belt 4252. If desired, lights (not shown) could also be mounted with indicator 4260. Alternatively, two or more indicators could be placed on belt 4252.
  • A prize indicium 4216 can be indicated by moving both display surface 241 of band 240 and belt 4252 into a desired position. In the example shown in FIG. 43, band 240 and belt 4252 have been rotated and stopped to indicate the prize indicium 4216 having a value of 75 credits as the game outcome. It is noted that band 240 can accommodate a large number of indicia or game outcomes.
  • Controller 360 can control and select the movement and position of band 240 and further can control the movement and position of belt 4252. More than one of the indicia can be used to indicate a game outcome. For example, indicator 4260 could be moved several times and the indicated indicia added together to form a game outcome.
  • In another embodiment, a game player could be allowed to select the position of the belt-mounted indicator 4250 by the use of player input devices 4262 and 4263. Player input device 4262 can cause belt 4252 to move to the left and player input device 4263 can cause belt 4252 to move to the right. Player input devices 4262 and 4263 can be buttons or switches that are in communication with controller 360. When the player input device is used, the player may be allowed to move the belt and therefore the indicator 4260 to a desired position. The controller 360 then determines the final position of display surface 241 and therefore any prizes that are awarded.
  • Turning now to FIG. 46, an alternative embodiment of an indicator device or belt-mounted indicator 4500 is shown. Belt-mounted indicator 4500 can include a rotating toothed belt 4502 that has an outer surface 4504 and an inner surface 4505. Teeth 4506 are arranged on inner surface 4505. Toothed belt 4502 can be made from any suitable belt material such as rubber or plastic. An indicator 4560 can be placed on outer surface 4504. Indicator 4560 can be printed onto surface 4504 and have a 2-dimensional shape (not shown). Indicator 4560 could also be a 3-dimensional indicator that is physically attached to outer surface 4504 by a bracket 4532.
  • Belt-mounted indicator 4500 can include a pair of gears 4514 and 4516 that have shafts 4510 and 4512. Gears 4514 and 4516 have teeth 4520. Teeth 4520 mate and are engaged with teeth 4506. One of the shafts 4510 or 4512 would be connected to actuator 4256 (FIG. 45). A tensioning mechanism (not shown) would maintain tension on toothed belt 4502. The rotation of gears 4514 and 4516 causes toothed belt 4502 to rotate. Belt-mounted indicator 4500 can be operated in the same manner as previously described for belt-mounted indicator 4250.
  • A method of operating gaming device 4200 of FIG. 43 is shown in FIG. 47. In method 4600, a player places a wager on a primary game at step 4002. At step 4004, the player plays a base game on the base gaming apparatus. At decision 4006, method 4600 checks to see if the game outcome determined in step 4004 is an outcome qualifying the player to play a bonus game. If not, method 4600 proceeds to step 4008 and notifies the player of the game outcome determined in step 4004, and returns to step 4002.
  • If it is determined in step 4006 that the game outcome of step 4004 qualifies the player for a bonus game, method 4600 proceeds to step 4010. At step 4010, the bonus game outcome is determined. At step 4612, gaming display 4202 is activated. This may include activation of band 240 and belt 4252. Lights and sounds may also be activated to make the event more exciting to the player and those around the player, as well as to call attention to the device.
  • Method 4600 then proceeds to step 4614 where band 240 is moved or rotated. At step 4616, controller 360 continues to move band 240 and also moves or rotates belt 4252. At step 4618, belt 4252 is stopped. At step 4620, band 240 is stopped. Method 4600 then awards any prizes indicated by the combination of indicator 4260 and band 240 to the player in step 4622 and then returns to step 4002.
  • The indicator conveys the game outcome by pointing to one of the indicia on display surface 241.
  • Another method of operating gaming device 4200 of FIG. 43 is shown in FIG. 48. In method 4700, a player places a wager on a primary game at step 4002. At step 4004, the player plays a base game on the base gaming apparatus. At decision 4006, method 4700 checks to see if the game outcome determined in step 4004 is an outcome qualifying the player to play a bonus game. If not, method 4700 proceeds to step 4008 and notifies the player of the game outcome determined in step 4004, and returns to step 4002.
  • If it is determined in step 4006 that the game outcome of step 4004 qualifies the player for a bonus game, method 4700 proceeds to step 4010. At step 4010, the bonus game outcome is determined. At step 4612, gaming display 4202 is activated. This may include activation of band 240 and belt 4252. Lights and sounds may also be activated to make the event more exciting to the player and those around the player, as well as to call attention to the device.
  • Method 4700 then proceeds to step 4614 where band 240 is moved or rotated. At step 4616, controller 360 continues to move band 240 and also moves or rotates indicator belt 4252. At step 4702 band 240 is stopped. At step 4704, indicator belt 4252 is stopped. Method 4700 then awards any prizes indicated by the combination of indicator 4260 and band 240 to the player in step 4622 and then returns to step 4002.
  • Several variations of methods 4600 and 4700 are possible. For example, steps 4614 and 4616 may be reversed, or alternatively steps 4618 and 4620 in method 4600, or steps 4702 and 4704 in method 4700, may be combined such that the indicator and the display are stopped simultaneously to indicate a game outcome.
  • Circular Indicator Embodiment
  • Turning to FIGS. 49, 50 and 51, another embodiment of a gaming device according to the present invention is shown. Gaming device 4800 can include a gaming display 4802 and a circular rotating indicator 4808. Gaming device 4800 can be mounted in a housing 1001 in conjunction with a primary game as shown in FIG. 15. Gaming display 4802 can have a band 240 that is supported for rotation by rollers 246. Band 240 has an outer display surface 241 and an inner surface 242. Band 240 can be backlit by lights 330 as was previously described. Band 240 can have a number of indicia 244 that are mounted on band 240. The indicia 244 visible to the player change as the band is rotated. Indicia 244 can be arranged in a circular manner on display surface 241. The indicia can also be shown in a pie-shaped circle (not shown) on display surface 241. Controller 360 can rotatably control band 240 in the same manner as previously described for FIG. 15.
  • Circular rotating indicator 4808 has an aperture 4819 and can be mounted in front of band 240 such that at least a portion of display surface 241 and indicia 244 can be viewed through aperture 4819 by a game player. Circular rotating indicator 4808 can include a wheel or ring 4810 that is mounted in front of band 240 and a positioning mechanism 4821. Ring 4810 can include an outer surface 4813, an inner surface 4812, a front surface 4814, a back surface 4815 and aperture 4819. Ring 4810 can be made from any suitable material such as plastic or metal. An indicator 4850 can be placed on front surface 4814. Indicator 4850 can be printed or glued onto front surface 4814 and have a flexible 2-dimensional shape. Indicator 4850 could also be a separate 3-dimensional indicator that is physically attached to front surface 4814 by fasteners or glue. Indicator 4850 may also be lighted or illuminated.
  • Positioning mechanism 4821 can include driven roller 4820 and one or more idle rollers 4822 that support ring 4810. Ring 4810 is retained in position are can rotate on rollers 4820 and 4822. Rollers 4820 and 4822 are in frictional contact with outer surface 4813.
  • Alternatively, teeth (not shown) could be mounted on outer surface 4813 and a gear (not shown) to move ring 4810. A shaft 4826 is connected to driven roller 4820. An indicator actuator 4824 is connected to shaft 4826. Indicator actuator 4824 would be mounted to housing 1001 by a support member 4825. Indicator actuator 4824 is in communication with controller 360.
  • A sensor 4827 can be mounted adjacent to ring 4810 and can be in communication with controller 360. Sensor 4827 can determine the position of ring 4810 and provide an electrical signal to controller 360 about the rotational position of ring 4810. Sensor 4827 can be an optical sensor that senses a series of reflective bars on ring 4810 or can be other types of sensors. If desired, lights (not shown) could also be mounted with indicator 4850. Alternatively, two or more indicators could be placed on ring 4810.
  • In an alternative embodiment, a game player may be allowed to control the position of ring 4810 and indicator 4850 by using player input devices 4902 and 4904. Player input devices 4902 and 4904 can be buttons or variable resistors that are in communication with controller 360. Player input device 4902 can cause ring 4810 to rotate clockwise. Player input device 4904 can cause ring 4810 to rotate counter-clockwise. When the player input device is used, the player may be allowed to rotate the ring and therefore move the indicator to a desired position. The controller then determines the final position of display surface 241 and therefore any prizes that are indicated
  • A game outcome 4806 can be indicated by moving both display surface 241 and ring 4810 into a desired position. In the example shown in FIG. 49, band 240 and ring 4810 have been rotated and stopped to indicate the game outcome 4806 having a value of 20 credits as the game outcome. It is noted that band 240 can accommodate a large number of indicia, or game outcomes.
  • Controller 360 can control and select the movement and position of band 240 and further can control the movement and position of ring 4810. More than one of the indicia can be used to indicate a game outcome. For example, indicator 4850 could be moved several times and the indicated indicia added together to form a game outcome.
  • In an alternative embodiment (not shown), ring 4810 could be mounted behind band 240 and display surface 241 such that only the sides of ring 4810 extend beyond band 240 and are visible.
  • A method of operating gaming device 4800 is shown in FIG. 52. In method 5000, a player places a wager on a primary game at step 5002. At step 5004, the player plays a base game on the base gaming apparatus. At decision 5006, method 5000 checks to see if the game outcome determined in step 5004 is an outcome qualifying the player to play a bonus game. If not, method 5000 proceeds to step 5008 and notifies the player of the game outcome determined in step 5004, and then returns to step 5002.
  • If it is determined in step 5006 that the game outcome of step 5004 qualifies the player for a bonus game, method 5000 proceeds to step 5010. At step 5010, the bonus game outcome is determined. At step 5012, gaming display 4802 is activated. This may include activation of band 240 and ring 4810. Lights and sounds may also be activated to make the event more exciting to the player and those around the player, as well as to call attention to the device.
  • Method 5000 then proceeds to step 5014 where band 240 is moved or rotated. At step 5016, controller 360 continues to move band 240 and also moves or rotates ring 4810. At step 5018, ring 4810 is stopped. At step 5020, band 240 is stopped. Method 5000 then awards any prizes indicated by the combination of indicator 4850 and the indicia on display surface 241 to the player in step 5022, and then returns to step 4002.
  • Another method of operating gaming device 4800 is shown in FIG. 53. In method 5100, a player places a wager on a primary game at step 5002. At step 5004, the player plays a base game on the base gaming apparatus. At decision 5006, method 5100 checks to see if the game outcome determined in step 5004 is an outcome qualifying the player to play a bonus game. If not, method 5100 proceeds to step 5008 and notifies the player of the game outcome determined in step 5004, and then returns to step 5002.
  • If it is determined in step 5006 that the game outcome of step 5004 qualifies the player for a bonus game, method 5100 proceeds to step 5010. At step 5010, the bonus game outcome is determined. At step 5012, gaming display 4802 is activated. This may include activation of band 240 and ring 4810. Lights and sounds may also be activated to make the event more exciting to the player and those around the player, as well as to call attention to the device.
  • Method 5100 then proceeds to step 5014 where band 240 is moved or rotated. At step 5016, controller 360 continues to move band 240 and also moves or rotates indicator ring 4810. At step 510, band 240 is stopped. At step 5104, indicator ring 4810 is stopped. Method 5100 then awards any prizes indicated by the combination of indicator 4850 and the indicia on display surface 241 to the player in step 5022, and then returns to step 5002.
  • Several variations of methods 5000 and 5100 are possible. For example, steps 5014 and 5016 may be reversed or alternatively steps 5018 and 5020 in method 5000, or steps 5102 and 5104 in method 5100, may be combined such that the indicator ring and the display are stopped simultaneously to indicate a game outcome.
  • CONCLUSION
  • It can thus be realized that certain embodiments of the present invention provide a highly attractive and entertaining device for displaying prizes. Certain embodiments of the present invention further provide a prize belt and an indicator to indicate a bonus prize. Thus, certain embodiments of the present invention can easily catch patrons' attention and invite patrons to play the game. Certain embodiments may further cause players to play longer because the display device enhances the anticipation, stimulation, and excitement experienced by players.
  • Other embodiments add intermediate steps between the occurrence of the bonus event and the awarding of the bonus prize to add an additional element of anticipation, surprise, and excitement for the players. For example, an indicator may indicate another symbol representing another prize to be added to the player's total prize. An indicator may indicate another symbol representing a multiplier, which may be used to multiply the player's prize. An indicator may indicate that the display and indicator are to move to another symbol representing a different or additional prize.
  • Although the description above contains many specifications, these should not be construed as limiting the scope of the invention but as merely providing illustrations of some of the presently preferred embodiments of this invention. Thus, the scope of the invention should be determined by the appended claims and their legal equivalents rather than by the examples given.

Claims (21)

  1. 1. A gaming apparatus comprising:
    (A) a display device having a moveable display surface, the moveable display surface having a plurality of indicia;
    (B) a rotating indicator mounted adjacent the moveable display surface, the rotating indicator being adapted to point to at least one of the indicia, the rotating indicator comprising:
    (a) a ring;
    (b) at least one indicator disposed on the ring; and
    (c) a positioning mechanism coupled to the ring and operable to move the ring.
  2. 2. The gaming apparatus of claim 1, wherein the positioning mechanism further comprises:
    (A) an actuator coupled to the ring; and
    (B) a controller in communication with the actuator, the controller being configured to move the ring such that the indicator points to at least one of the indicia.
  3. 3. The gaming apparatus of claim 2, wherein the ring has an aperture.
  4. 4. The gaming apparatus of claim 3, wherein the indicia are visible through the aperture.
  5. 5. The gaming apparatus of claim 1, wherein at least one of the indicia is backlit.
  6. 6. The gaming apparatus of claim 1, wherein the ring is coupled to a driven roller, the driven roller being coupled to an actuator.
  7. 7. The gaming apparatus of claim 1, wherein a player input device is coupled to the positioning mechanism, the player input device being adapted to allow a player to control rotation of the ring.
  8. 8. A method of gaming, not necessarily in the order shown, comprising:
    (A) determining a game outcome;
    (B) moving a display surface, the display surface having a plurality of indicia;
    (C) rotating an indicator;
    (D) stopping the display surface; and
    (E) stopping the indicator such that the indicator conveys the game outcome by pointing to at least one of the indicia.
  9. 9. The method of claim 7, further comprising allowing a player to control rotational movement of the indicator.
  10. 10. A gaming apparatus comprising:
    (A) display surface means for displaying a plurality of indicia;
    (B) display surface actuator means for moving the display surface means, the display surface actuator means being coupled to the display surface means;
    (C) rotary indicator means for indicating at least one of the indicia; and
    (D) positioning means for moving the rotary indicator means, the positioning means being coupled to the rotary indicator means.
  11. 11. The gaming apparatus of claim 10, further comprising controller means for controlling movement of the display surface means and the rotary indicator means, the controller means being in communication with the display surface actuator means and the positioning means.
  12. 12. The gaming apparatus of claim 10, further comprising player input means for allowing a player to control movement of the rotary indicator means.
  13. 13. The gaming apparatus of claim 12, wherein the player input means allow a player to move the rotary indicator means in either a clockwise or counterclockwise direction.
  14. 14. The gaming apparatus of claim 10, wherein the indicia are arranged in a circle.
  15. 15. A gaming apparatus comprising:
    (A) a moveable display surface;
    (B) a plurality of indicia mounted on the display surface;
    (C) a display surface actuator coupled to the moveable display surface;
    (D) a wheel positioned in front of the moveable display surface;
    (E) an indicator disposed on the wheel;
    (F) an indicator actuator coupled to the wheel; and
    (G) a controller in communication with the display surface actuator and the indicator actuator, the controller being configured to:
    (a) determine a game outcome;
    (b) move the display surface;
    (c) rotate the wheel;
    (d) stop the display surface; and
    (e) stop rotation of the wheel such that in combination, the moveable display surface and the indicator indicate at least one of the indicia as the game outcome.
  16. 16. The gaming apparatus of claim 15, wherein the display surface is a flexible band.
  17. 17. The gaming apparatus of claim 15, wherein the wheel has an aperture.
  18. 18. The gaming apparatus of claim 17, wherein the indicia are arranged in a circle.
  19. 19. The gaming apparatus of claim 18, wherein when the rotary indicator is stopped, the indicia are visible through the aperture.
  20. 20. The gaming apparatus of claim 15, wherein a player input device is in communication with the controller, the player input device being adapted to at least partially control rotational movement of the rotary indicator.
  21. 21. The gaming apparatus of claim 20, wherein a player is allowed to select the final position of the indicator using the player input device.
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US82303706 true 2006-08-21 2006-08-21
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