US20080261683A1 - Method and system for operating a linked casino activity - Google Patents

Method and system for operating a linked casino activity Download PDF

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US20080261683A1
US20080261683A1 US12/082,879 US8287908A US2008261683A1 US 20080261683 A1 US20080261683 A1 US 20080261683A1 US 8287908 A US8287908 A US 8287908A US 2008261683 A1 US2008261683 A1 US 2008261683A1
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jackpot
purchase
casino
method
activities
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US12/082,879
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Weldon Russell
Thomas Winward
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NP IP Holdings LLC
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Station Casinos Inc
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Priority to US12/082,879 priority patent/US20080261683A1/en
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Publication of US20080261683A1 publication Critical patent/US20080261683A1/en
Assigned to NP IP HOLDINGS LLC reassignment NP IP HOLDINGS LLC ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: STATION CASINOS, INC.
Assigned to DEUTSCHE BANK AG CAYMAN ISLANDS BRANCH, AS ADMINISTRATIVE AGENT reassignment DEUTSCHE BANK AG CAYMAN ISLANDS BRANCH, AS ADMINISTRATIVE AGENT CONFIRMATORY GRANT OF SECURITY INTEREST IN UNITED STATES INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY Assignors: NP IP HOLDINGS LLC
Assigned to NP IP HOLDINGS LLC reassignment NP IP HOLDINGS LLC RELEASE OF SECURITY INTEREST INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY COLLATERAL ASSIGNMENT AT REEL/FRAME NO. 30508/0727 Assignors: DEUTSCHE BANK AG CAYMAN ISLANDS BRANCH
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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
    • G07F17/3244Payment aspects of a gaming system, e.g. payment schemes, setting payout ratio, bonus or consolation prizes
    • G07F17/3258Cumulative reward schemes, e.g. jackpots
    • 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

Abstract

Methods and systems for operating one or more linked casino activities, and for distributing awards to two or more eligible participants of the one or more linked casino activities are disclosed. A method can include: establishing a jackpot for one or more linked casino activities; establishing a criterion for selecting one or more primary winners from the two or more eligible participants; selecting one or more primary winners using the established criterion; awarding a first portion of the jackpot to the one or more primary winners; and awarding the remainder of the jackpot to one or more eligible participants.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/913,232, filed Apr. 20, 2007, the full disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention relates generally to the operation of casino activities. More particularly, the present invention relates to methods and systems for operating one or more linked casino activities and for distributing awards to two or more eligible participants of one or more linked casino activities.
  • Casinos typically offer a wide choice of activities to a customer. Common casino activities includes various forms of gambling, dining, drinking, spas, rides, and shows. Available gambling can include various table games such as poker and blackjack, gambling machines such as slot machines, betting on sporting events and/or races, as well as group games such as bingo.
  • The financial success of a casino is directly tied to its ability to attract customers. Accordingly, casino operators are always looking for effective incentives with which to attract customers. An effective incentive can provide customers with a superior experience relative to the experience that the customers might encounter at another casino. However, a casinos ability to provide a superior experience is often limited due to competition between casinos, each of which are taking steps to elevate the experience it provides. Additionally, because casinos use entertainment to attract customers, they also compete with various other sources of entertainment, such as movies for example. Accordingly, there is a need for improved methods and systems for operating casino activities with an increased ability to attract customers/players.
  • BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention provides methods and systems for operating linked casino activities. Linked casino activities according to the present invention provide a casino customer with additional chances to win awards. These additional chances supplement the basic rewards that are inherent in the particular casino activity involved. As such, these additional chances to win can serve to enhance the customer's overall experience at the casino, thereby providing the casino with an increased ability to attract customers.
  • Thus, in a first aspect, the present invention includes methods for awarding a jackpot to two or more eligible participants of one or more linked casino activities. A method can include, for example, establishing a jackpot for one or more linked casino activities and establishing a criterion for selecting one or more primary winners from the two or more eligible participants. When the established criterion has been met, a first portion of the jackpot is awarded to the one or more primary winners. The remainder of the jackpot is then awarded to one or more of the eligible participants.
  • Embodiments of the first aspect of the present invention can include a variety of elements. For example, the one or more primary winners can be excluded from receiving a share of the remainder of the jackpot. The jackpot can be progressively supplemented using funds extracted from at least one of the linked casino activities. The remainder of the jackpot can be awarded based upon a predetermined criterion. The predetermined criterion, as non-limiting examples, can be the number of eligible participants, the items purchased by one or more eligible participants, the amount wagered by one or more eligible participants, or any combination thereof. The awarding of the remainder of the jackpot can be accomplished using a selected form, with non-limiting examples including: restricted gaming credits, non-restricted gaming credits, cash, electronic drawing tickets, reward points, or any combination thereof. A variety of different activities can be used as the one or more linked casino activities, with non-limiting examples including: slots, Bingo, poker, table games, machine-based games, race betting, sports betting, food purchase, spa services purchase, beverage purchase, merchandise purchase, rides, shows and sports.
  • In a second aspect, the present invention includes methods for awarding restricted gaming credits to an account of a player of a casino machine. A method can include, for example, establishing a specific group of casino machines and tracking the player's use of the specific group of casino machines. When the player's use of the specific group of machines exceeds a required level, restricted gaming credits can be awarded to an account of the user.
  • Embodiments of the second aspect of the present invention can include a variety of different elements. For example, the restricted gaming credits can be limited for use only on the specific group of casino machines. The specific group of casino machines can be located at any number of casinos. The restricted gaming credits can be delivered the next time the player's account is updated. The restricted gaming credits can be awarded based upon a tiered schedule with variable required levels and variable award amounts. The restricted gaming credits can be limited to be usable for a particular gaming session. The restricted gaming credits can be used to reward specific players, and can be awarded based upon the player's prior earnings or worth. Additional restricted gaming credits can be awarded when previously awarded restricted gaming credits are used in a specified way.
  • In a third aspect, the present invention includes systems for operating one or more linked casino activities, each of the activities having two or more eligible participants. A system can include, for example, at least one casino hosting at least one of the linked casino activities, a processor, and a data storage device coupled with the processor. The data storage device stores instructions operable to cause the processor to: store in memory a jackpot amount for the one or more linked casino activities, determine a first portion of the jackpot amount to be awarded to one or more primary winners, and determine shares of the remainder of the jackpot amount to be awarded to one or more eligible participants. The one or more primary winners are selected from eligible participants of the one or more linked casino activities using a first predetermined criterion.
  • Embodiments of the third aspect of the present invention can include a variety of different elements. For example, the system can include a broadcast means for broadcasting at least one of the linked casino activities from a first casino to a second casino. The system can include at least one of the linked casino activities being hosted by both a first and a second casino. The data storage device can further contain instructions operable to cause the processor to update the stored jackpot amount based upon funds extracted from at least one of the one or more linked casino activities, and to determine shares of the remainder of the jackpot amount based upon a second predetermined criterion. The second predetermined criterion can be the number of eligible participants, the items purchased by one or more eligible participants, the amount wagered by one or more eligible participants, or any combination thereof. The share of the remainder of the jackpot amount can be awarded in a selected form, such as restricted gaming credits, non-restricted gaming credits, cash, electronic drawing tickets, reward points, or any combination thereof. The one or more linked casino activities can be selected from a group consisting of slots, Bingo, poker, table games, machine-based games, race betting, sports betting, food purchase, spa services purchase, beverage purchase, merchandise purchase, rides, shows, and sports. The system can include one or more jackpot displays located at one or more casinos. The system can exclude the one or more primary winners from receiving a share of the remainder of the jackpot amount.
  • For a further understanding of the nature and advantages of the invention, reference should be made to the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying figures and examples. It is to be expressly understood, however, that each of the figures and the examples is provided for the purpose of illustration and description only and is not intended as a definition of the limits of the embodiments of the present invention.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a flow chart showing steps of a method for awarding a jackpot to two or more eligible players of one or more linked casino activities, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.
  • FIG. 2A schematically illustrates two exemplary ways to award a portion of the jackpot to the primary winner, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.
  • FIG. 2B schematically illustrates three exemplary ways to award the remainder of the jackpot to eligible participants, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.
  • FIG. 2C illustrates five exemplary payment methods that can be used to accomplish awarding the remainder of the jackpot to eligible participants, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.
  • FIG. 3 schematically illustrates a system for operating linked casino activities, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.
  • FIG. 4 is a flow chart showing steps of a method for awarding restricted gaming credit to an account of a player of a casino machine, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • The invention described herein provides methods and systems for operating linked casino activities. Linked casino activities in accordance with the present invention provide an additional basis for rewarding eligible participants of a casino activity. This additional basis for reward supplements the rewards that are inherent in the particular casino activity. As such, this additional basis for reward can serve to enhance the casino customer's overall experience at the casino, thereby providing the casino with an increased ability to attract customers/players.
  • Linked casino activities in accordance with the present invention can provide an additional basis for reward in a variety of different ways. In one embodiment, a jackpot can be established for one or more linked casino activities, where the jackpot is distributed when a predetermined criterion is satisfied. The jackpot can be a fixed jackpot, or can change over time by being incremented or decremented. A progressive jackpot can be used, and can grow over time based upon funds extracted from at least one of the one or more linked casino activities. Distribution of the jackpot can made using a variety of different approaches. For example, when an eligible participant becomes a primary winner by satisfying the established criterion for winning, a first portion of the jackpot can be awarded to the primary winner. Any method may be used to select when the winning person or persons (e.g., primary winner[s]) are chosen. The remaining funds can then be divided between the participants that are deemed eligible. Participants can be at either one casino or multiple casinos. The method of dividing the award can be: based on items purchased (e.g., Bingo Cards, food, beverages, etc. . . . ); based on number of eligible participants; based on last amount wagered on a percentage basis; based on any combination thereof; or any other method. Payment to the eligible participants can be in various forms, including: restricted gaming credits, non-restricted gaming credits, cash, electronic drawing tickets and Reward Points. As used herein, restricted gaming credits are credits that can only be wagered on a gaming device; non-restricted gaming credits can be cashed out without wagering.
  • FIG. 1 schematically illustrates an embodiment of a method for awarding shared payments of a progressive jackpot or fixed prize (award) within a casino environment. In operation, a participant tracking database can be used to store all winners and the type and amount of the award. Based on promotions and awards offered throughout a casino, the novel payment method described above can be use in lieu of standard payment methods currently used. This payment method can be utilized by all areas within a casino, including: slots, Bingo, poker, table games, machine-based games, race betting, sports betting, food, spa, beverage, merchandise, rides, shows, and sports. The use of the above-described novel methods can provide additional incentives to engage in casino activities.
  • In the method of FIG. 1, a jackpot for one or more casino activities is established in step 1. The jackpot provides a source of funds from which eligible participants of the one or more linked casino activities can be rewarded. The jackpot can be funded in a variety of ways, such as by using funds obtained from casino activities, or by using casino supplied funds. The initial jackpot amount can be set so as to provide sufficient incentive for participation in the casino activity.
  • In step 2, a criterion is established by which to determine when to award the jackpot. The criterion can be selected so as to result a probability of winning the jackpot that is sufficiently low so as to provide enough time between awards of the jackpot for a progressive jackpot to experience significant growth, yet high enough so that the jackpot is actually awarded within a reasonable amount of time. However, it should be appreciated that any criterion can be selected and still be within the scope of the present invention. It should also be appreciated that the initial jackpot amount, the criterion for winning the jackpot, and the rate at which the casino collects funds from the operation of the linked casino activities are interrelated aspects of practicing the one or more linked casino activities in accordance with the present invention. As such, the criterion for winning the jackpot can be set so as to provide a low enough probability of awarding the jackpot so as to allow the casino a sufficient amount of time to collect a sufficient amount of funds from the operation of the one or more linked casino activities.
  • Step 3 provides the option to progressively supplement the jackpot. In one embodiment, the jackpot can be supplemented using funds extracted from the one or more linked casino activities. For example, in the case of poker, a set percentage jackpot rake can be taken from each pot. All or part of this jackpot rake can be used to progressively supplement the jackpot, with any residual amount going to the casino. Alternatively, the jackpot can be periodically supplemented by a fixed amount, or even using a combination of a percentage rake and periodic fixed amount. It should be appreciated that the jackpot can be supplemented in any number of ways and still be within the scope of the present invention.
  • In step 4, the established criterion is used to determine when one or more eligible participants of the one or more linked casino activities have become primary winner(s). As discussed above, the criterion can be chosen to result in an occasional award of the jackpot. As such, a casino can continually monitor the one or more linked casino activities with sufficient diligence so as to detect when the established criterion has been satisfied. The one or more primary winners can be selected as the participant(s) who satisfied the established criterion.
  • Once the established criterion has been satisfied, the jackpot is awarded in step 5 and step 6. In step 5, a first portion of the jackpot is awarded to one or more primary winners. Although the particular size of the first portion can be established in any number of ways, FIG. 2A illustrates two common exemplary ways, which include a first portion of a fixed amount, and a first portion selected to be a percentage of the jackpot. Alternatively, the first portion can also be set to be a combination of a fixed amount and a percentage of the jackpot. It should be appreciated that the first portion can be determined using a variety of methods and still be within the scope of the present invention.
  • The remainder of the jackpot is awarded in step 6. As at least partially illustrated in FIG. 2B, the remainder of the jackpot can be awarded in a variety of ways. The remainder can be divided into equal shares based upon the total number of eligible participants. The remainder can alternatively be divided into unequal shares based upon items purchased by one or more eligible participants (e.g. Bingo cards, food, beverages, etc. . . . ), and can further divided amongst only eligible participants who purchased a required minimum amount of items, or who purchased designated items. The remainder can also be divided into shares based upon the amount wagered by one or more of the eligible participants. If the resulting shares of the remainder are below a set minimum, such as $200, the eligible participants can instead be awarded the set minimum amount. It should be appreciated that any number of ways, or combination of ways, can be used to the determine shares of the remainder of the jackpot to be distributed and still be within the scope of the present invention.
  • As illustrated in FIG. 2C, the jackpot can also be awarded using a variety of payment methods. As non-limiting examples, these payment methods can include restricted gaming credits, non-restricted gaming credits, cash, electronic gaming tickets, reward points, and/or any combination thereof.
  • FIG. 3 schematically illustrates a system 10 for the operation of linked casino activities in accordance with embodiments of the present invention. As shown, system 10 can include a wide range of different elements, and is not limited to gambling activities, but can include non-gambling activities as well. For example, the embodiment of FIG. 3 can be used with gambling activities, such as games, tables, machines, race betting, sports betting, food purchase, spa services purchase, beverage purchase, merchandise purchase, rides, shows, sports, and the like. This embodiment can also be used with non-gambling activities, such as food sales, spa related sales, beverage sales, merchandise sales, and the like. It should be understood that other activities, beyond those specifically shown in FIG. 3, can be used.
  • Generally, activities that can be used in the embodiment of FIG. 3 are those that can involve at least two participants 12 during at least some sessions, or during at least some designated periods of time. Using activities that can involve two or more participants 12 makes it possible to reward one or more participants 12 that were lucky enough to be participating at the time the pre-established criterion for awarding the jackpot was satisfied, even though the one or more participants 12 were not selected as the primary winner. Instances where there happens to be only one eligible participant 12 at the time the jackpot is hit can be addressed. In this circumstance, the one eligible participant/primary winner can still be awarded the primary winner portion of the jackpot, and the remainder retained in the jackpot. Alternatively, the primary winner can be given the entire jackpot. To avoid this circumstance, any award of the jackpot can be limited to sessions, or time periods, where there are at least two eligible participants 12.
  • Although FIG. 3 shows a number of linked activities (i.e. 1st Linked Activity 14, 2nd Linked Activity 16, and Nth Linked Activity 18), the embodiment of FIG. 3 can be practiced using as few as one linked activity. Additionally, although it is presently preferred that the one or more linked activities be hosted by two or more casinos, the embodiment of FIG. 3 can still be advantageously practiced at a single casino. Accordingly, any number of linked activities located at any number of casinos may share a particular jackpot. For example, a single linked activity, such as a single Bingo session, may be hosted at two or more casinos, yet share the same jackpot. As a further example, one or more poker tables can be located at one or more casinos, yet share the same jackpot. In general, different types of activities can also be grouped to share a jackpot. Where different types of activities share a jackpot, additional criterion for determining when and how to distribute the jackpot can be developed that are deemed appropriate for the mix of activity types involved.
  • As shown, one or more jackpot rakes 20 can be used to periodically extract funds from the linked casino activities so as to provide a source of funds for the jackpot. The amount of funds extracted can be a fixed percentage (e.g. 5% of the amount involved in the activity), and can be capped at a selected maximum amount. Alternatively, a fixed minimum amount can be extracted. The funds extracted can be separated from any ordinary house rake, and counted in a manner consistent with the internal control procedures of the casino. It should be appreciated that any amount of any particular jackpot rake 20 can be added to the jackpot and still be within the scope of the present invention. For example, all of a jackpot rake 20 can be added to the jackpot, or a percentage of the jackpot rake 20 can be added (e.g. 50%).
  • To help coordinate the operation of the one or more linked casino activities, a computer 22 can be employed. Communication links 24 between the computer 22 and the one or more linked casino activities can be established. Such communication links 24 can be used to supply the computer 22 with status information regarding the linked casino activity, as well as supply the computer 22 with the amounts of the jackpot rake 20. The communication links 24 can be used in a variety of ways, such as for transmitting video, audio, data, and/or any combination thereof. Various well know methods may be used to provide communication links 24, such as local area networks, as well as the internet. Although communication links 24 are preferred, it should be appreciated that they are not required to practice the present invention. For example, relevant information may be simply entered into the computer 22, or directly obtained from computer 22 by way of input/output devices (not shown), such as keyboards, displays, and the like. As shown, the computer 22 can perform numerous tasks related to the operation of the one or more linked casino activities. As non-limiting examples, the computer 22 can: 1) store a jackpot amount in memory; 2) progressively update the jackpot amount based upon amounts of funds extracted from the activities by the jackpot rakes 20; 3) update one or more jackpot displays 26; 4) reset one or more jackpot amounts, such as when a jackpot has been awarded; 5) store award criterion in memory, such as the criterion used to determine when to distribute the jackpot, as well as criteria used to determine how to distribute the jackpot; 6) provide for the ability to update the above mentioned criterion; 7) use criterion to determine the portion of the jackpot to award to any primary winner(s); 8) use criterion to determine shares of the remainder of the jackpot to award to any eligible participant(s); 9) credit player's accounts with award amounts; and 10) maintain one or more participant tracking databases.
  • The current jackpot amount can be displayed using one or more optional jackpot displays 26. Jackpot displays 26 can be located in a variety of places, but preferably in a location easily seen by any participant(s) 12 of the linked casino activity. Additionally, jackpot displays 26 can be located in any other location that might serve to attract persons to participate in the linked casino activity. The jackpot displays 26 can be automatically updated by the computer 22, or can be locally updated.
  • With the above described methods and systems in mind, an embodiment of the present invention will now be described. In this specific embodiment, the present invention provides a progressive jackpot game for a multi-property, linked poker game. For example, the game can be referred to as “Jumbo-Hold-Em.” Jumbo Hold-Em employs a player funded progressive jackpot that can be set up so that all the money from the multiple casino properties can be pooled into one jackpot. All of the funds can go back to the players in some form. The Jumbo Hold-Em jackpot can start at any amount, such as $100,000, and can be increased periodically, such as daily at noon, at a rate that can be variable.
  • In Jumbo Hold-Em, awarding of the jackpot can predicated on an eligible player having a hand that would beat a predetermined hand, but still ends up losing to another player having a more superior hand. Such a situation is know as a “bad beat.” Since bad beats are typically somewhat rare, many hands can be played between occurrences, which allows time for the progressive jackpot to grow. For example, the predetermined hand to win the jackpot can be set, for example, at four 10's beaten. When a player has a hand that would beat four 10's, but none-the-less loses the hand to an even stronger hand held by another player, a bad beat has occurred, and the jackpot is hit. Alternatively, the predetermined hand to win can be periodically reduced until the jackpot is hit. For example, the predetermined hand to win can be reduced once a week. It can be reduced on the same day each week (e.g., Tuesdays). In this manner, as the jackpot amount increases, it becomes easier to hit.
  • In accordance with this embodiment, a jackpot can be funded by a separate drop from the normal rake collection. This funding can occur at each participating casino and can be pooled into a single aggregate figure which can be prominently displayed at each casino by means of audio and/or video displays. The amount of the jackpot can increase daily. On a regular basis, the qualifying hands to win the game (e.g., “Jumbo-Hold-Em”) can be reduced thereby increasing the probability that the jackpot will be hit. When the jackpot is hit, the player with the qualifying losing hand can receive an award (e.g., $45,000); the player with the even stronger winning hand can receive a second award (e.g., $30,000). All active players at each participating location can receive a “players share”. The amount of the players share can be the amount of the jackpot less the sum of the first two prizes (e.g., $75,000) divided by the number of active players in all the linked locations. Alternatively, if the remainder of the jackpot is insufficient to award active players a minimum amount, active players can instead be awarded the minimum amount (e.g., $200).
  • For one exemplary embodiment, characteristics of the game (e.g., Jumbo Hold-Em) are as follows: a) it can be a multi-property linked progressive game; b) the jackpot can be won by playing the game of Poker; c) the jackpot amount can increase daily; d) as the jackpot amount increases, the qualifying hand can be reduced making the jackpot easier to hit; e) a player does not need to be in the location where the jackpot is won to be awarded a prize; f) all money can be eventually returned to the players; g) the amount of the top awards can be fixed, and the amount of the smaller awards can be variable, and can be set to no less than a threshold value (e.g., $200).
  • Additional details of the exemplary game (e.g., Jumbo Hold-Em), as well as an exemplary set of rules for the game method are provided below. The jackpot rake can be the amount taken from every eligible poker game pot to fund the Jumbo Hold-Em progressive jackpot (“Bad Beat Jackpot”), and can be separate from, and in addition to, the House rake. The Bad Beat Jackpot rake from every game can be 5 percent of the pot with a $1.00 maximum. Jackpot rakes taken from each game pot can be placed in a drop box on the opposite side of the table from the house rake. The jackpot drop box can be collected and counted in a manner consistent with the internal control procedures of a poker room. In one embodiment, the criterion used to determine when to distribute the jackpot can require that both the winning and losing hands satisfy certain conditions. These condition can include: 1) both hands must be the player's best combination of five cards; 2) both hands must include both of the player's hole cards; 3) if Ace's full, both cards must be used, and one must be an Ace; and 4) if four-of-a-kind, two must be in the hand. It can be further required that the pot consist of a minimum amount (e.g., $5.00) to qualify for a Bad Beat Jackpot, or that the qualifying “losing” hand be better than a selected hand (i.e. “Great hand”). Jackpot and house rake can be included in the total pot size. Payment can be made in increments of $1.00. Odd amounts can be credited to the new primary level and the reserve can revert to the new primary level. All payments can be in gaming chips. In the event of multiple qualifying hands, the following rules can apply for the Bad Beat Jackpot. The best winning hand can win 100% of the share posted below and if applicable, the best losing hand can win 75% of the share posted below and the second best losing hand can win 25% of the designated share. Active participants can split the remaining pot. Active participants can be players who have met the minimum buy-in requirements, played at least one hand, and have not received a missed blind button. When a Bad Beat occurs, or the qualifying criterion for selecting a winner is met, all active participants playing Texas Hold-em in the room can qualify. When a Bad Beat situation is announced, other events such as a minimum of four (4) active players at the table can be used to qualify for a Bad Beat Jackpot.
  • The criteria for winning the jackpot can be as follows. The jackpot can be awarded when four-10's or higher is beaten by a higher 4-Of-A-Kind or better. The jackpot can be shared amongst all qualified hold'em players at all linked casino properties. The winner and loser of the “Bad Beat” can also receive a players share. The losing hand can receive an award (e.g., $45,000). The winning hand can receive a second award (e.g., $30,000), and all other active Hold-em players at all of other linked casino properties can split the remaining Jackpot evenly. Periodically, for example every Tuesday, the minimum hand can be lowered according to the following schedule: Week 1—Four 9's beaten; Week 2—Four 8's beaten; Week 3—Four 7's beaten; Week 4—Four 6's beaten; Week 5—Four 5's beaten; Week 6-Four 4's beaten; and Week 7—Four 3's beaten. The qualifying hand can continue to be reduced until the jackpot is won. The progressive pot can be incremented so as to increase at a rate of not less than 5% of the total rake per day. The progressive jackpot reset amount can be any amount, for example $100,000. The progressive jackpot can be increased daily. A player with a Bad Beat, or other winning criteria, can be restricted to only win one jackpot per hand. In the event the player qualifies to collect from more than one jackpot, the jackpot with the highest dollar amount can be the only jackpot paid out to the players. The following examples further explain this embodiment:
  • EXAMPLE 1 Jumbo-Hold-Em
      • Assume the amount of the jackpot is $295,000.
      • There are 315 active players in all participating locations.
      • The jackpot is won.
      • The player who lost the hand will receive $45,000 plus a $698 players share.
      • The player who won the hand will receive $30,000 plus a $698 players share.
      • All players in all locations will receive $698.
    EXAMPLE 2 Jumbo-Hold-Em
      • Assume the amount of the jackpot is $350,000.
      • The hand is four 6's and it is beaten by a straight flush.
      • The straight flush would get $30,000 plus a players share.
      • The four 6's would get $45,000 plus a players share.
      • The balance of the jackpot progressive of $275,000 is split among the active players from all the properties. Assuming there are 450 active players at the time, each would get $611 just for playing when Jumbo Hold-Em hit.
  • In another embodiment, the present invention provides a linked Bingo game (Jumbo Bingo) that can be played at multiple properties. Jumbo Bingo can be played with a fixed jackpot (e.g. $100,000), or it can be played with a progressive jackpot that is initially set at a chosen amount (e.g. $100,000), but supplemented over time. If a progressive jackpot is used, it can be reset to an initial amount (e.g. $100,000) after each time it is won. The jackpot provides an additional source of funds to reward players of Jumbo Bingo when at least one player of a Jumbo Bingo session satisfies the established criterion for the jackpot to be awarded.
  • Jumbo Bingo is an embodiment of the present invention that is a single linked casino activity that can be played at one or more locations. Although typically played at two or more locations, it is possible to play Jumbo Bingo at a single casino.
  • The linked aspects of Jumbo Bingo will now be described. The established criterion for awarding the jackpot in Jumbo Bingo can be selected to require the covering of a Jumbo Bingo card in a specified number of balls called. The first portion of the jackpot to be awarded to a primary winner(s) can be set at a fixed amount (e.g. $50,000), or can be any other selected amount or portion of the jackpot. If there is no winner in the posted number of balls, the call can be continued until there is a consolation winner. The consolation winner, or winners (aggregate), can still win an award for winning the bingo game (e.g., $1199 in cash). However, when a Jumbo Bingo card is covered in the specified number of balls, the winning card player(s) can be awarded a first portion of the jackpot (e.g., $50,000 in cash) and all players that bought Jumbo Bingo cards and used their Boarding Pass loyalty rewards card (or other frequent player/guest card) can be awarded a share of the remainder of the jackpot. The remainder of the jackpot over the $50,000 can be divided by the number of cards purchased at all the linked properties and then that amount can awarded to the players for each card they purchased. The awards can be made in a variety of different forms, with non-limiting examples including: restricted gaming credits, non-restricted gaming credits, cash, electronic drawing tickets, reward points, or any combination thereof. Eligible players at each casino property participating in the Jumbo Bingo game when it hits can get an equal share for each card purchased regardless of where the Jumbo hits. The award can be made by way of extra play cash (XPC), which is described in more detail below. The XPC can be uploaded to a rewards card, such as a Boarding Pass loyalty rewards card, at any time, such as before the Bingo session ends, and can remain on the rewards card for a selected period of time (e.g. 90 days).
  • The following example further explains this embodiment:
  • EXAMPLE Jumbo Bingo
      • Assume the jackpot is at $140,000 and the required coverall is in 54 numbers.
      • There are 3500 cards in play citywide.
      • A guest at one of the linked casinos covers all numbers on his card in 54 numbers.
      • The guest will receive $50,000 for winning the Jumbo.
      • All Players at all the other linked properties including the winning property and the winner will receive $25.71 for each Jumbo ticket they purchased. This figure is reached by dividing the total jackpot over $50,000 by the number of tickets purchased at the session.
  • In the event of ties, the applicable reward can be split evenly between the applicable winners. When two or more players cover their Jumbo Bingo cards using the same number of called balls (and within the designated number of balls necessary to be a primary winner of the jackpot), the primary winner share (e.g. $50,000) can be split evenly between these primary winners. Likewise, where no player manages to cover their Jumbo Bingo cards using the designated number of balls (i.e. the jackpot is not awarded), but two or more players manage to tie for the consolation prize, the consolation prize can be split evenly between the tied players. Additionally, where a share of the remainder of the jackpot cannot be awarded, it can be added into the next jackpot and given away when the next Jumbo hits.
  • When Jumbo Bingo is played with a progressive jackpot, the progressive jackpot can be supplemented over time in a variety of different ways. In one approach, the jackpot can have a minimum daily progression of a set amount (e.g. $500 per day). The total progression of the jackpot may or may not be limited in amount. Alternatively, the jackpot's progression can be variable and based upon the total amount of items purchased by players of Jumbo Bingo sessions (e.g. total number of Jumbo Bingo cards purchased). The jackpot's progression can also be based upon a combination of the above approaches. It should be appreciated that a variety of methods for supplementing the progressive jackpot may be used without deviating from the scope of the present invention. The jackpot amount can be posted at each casino. The amount of the jackpot to be awarded to the primary winner can also be posted. It is presently preferred that the posted jackpot amount not be reduced unless it is won by a player, or to correct a malfunction.
  • The criterion used to determine when to distribute the jackpot can be modified over time in a variety of ways. For example, the criterion can be modified over time so as to selectively increase the probability that a jackpot will be awarded during a Jumbo Bingo session. In one exemplary approach, the coverall number can start at fifty-one (51) numbers and can be increased by one (1) number periodically (e.g., every other week (on Tuesdays)) until it reaches 53 numbers. It can remain at 53 numbers for a set period of time (e.g., 3 weeks) and then go to 54 numbers where it can stay until it is won. When the jackpot is awarded, the cycle can start over at fifty-one (51) numbers.
  • Jumbo Bingo can be operated at several linked casino properties. It can be played during multiple (e.g. 8) sessions a day, several (e.g. 7) days a week at several linked casino properties. The game and the properties can be linked by video, audio, and/or data using a variety of well know means. A different property can host the Jumbo Bingo game each day.
  • A system for operating Jumbo Bingo can permit live broadcasting of the bingo game activity from an individual property's bingo room to each of the other properties' bingo rooms. The system's control terminal can be located at one of the linked bingo rooms. At the first (1st) bingo game of each session, the control terminal can activate and link all the different casino properties' bingo rooms for a live broadcast of the bingo game. Each day a different property can “host” the bingo game. The bingo rooms can be linked by live broadcast (televised video and audio), or by telephone call conferencing, or by any other suitable means. A bingo agent can be at a desk in each of the bingo rooms monitoring the live broadcast and telephone.
  • In the event of a malfunction with an electronic unit at a casino property, the bingo agent at that property can alert the other properties by telephone of the malfunction. The bingo game's caller can then communicate to the other properties that there is a malfunction at one of the properties and the bingo game can be paused for a few moments to correct the malfunction. If the electronic malfunction cannot be resolved within a few moments the players with the malfunctioning electronic unit can be disconnected from the bingo game and can be issued a full refund for all wagers on the bingo game. Alternatively, a replacement electronic unit can be used in place of the malfunctioning unit. The bingo game can then resume. When a live broadcast malfunction cannot be resolved within a few moments the broadcast can be moved to the end of the session. If the problem has not been resolved by the end of the session, the property that had the malfunction can be disconnected from the bingo game and its players can be issued a full refund for all wagers on the bingo game. The bingo game can then resume at the other properties.
  • Beyond the linked aspects discussed above, Jumbo Bingo can be run in a variety of ways. For example, all even numbers on the Jumbo Bingo cards can be wild (pre-marked). Jumbo Bingo can be run every session as an odd ball coverall, which means that the even numbers are wild, and can be lit up prior to the bingo game starting. Once the game starts, if an even number is drawn it can be shown on camera but not called, and placed in the rack. The only numbers called can be the odd numbers. The ball shown on camera can be considered not official until it is called. Once the agent starts calling a letter/number the caller can be required to finish calling the letter/number. The bingo game coverall number, prize amount, and consolation prize amount can be posted at each property and the consolation can be guaranteed at a fixed amount, for example, $1,199 (aggregate). The bingo game winner can be paid on the balls drawn only, not by the numbers on the display boards. Tickets sold at the then current session are eligible. Tickets sold at previous sessions can be declared void and will not be considered a winning card. The winning ticket(s) can be displayed in all bingo rooms via the live broadcast and verbally announced throughout all bingo rooms and can be verified.
  • In another embodiment, the present invention provides a method for awarding an instant bonus award of restricted gaming credits. This embodiment provides the ability to award restricted gaming credits to an account of a player based on points earned on a specific group of machines and/or to specific players based on enrollment/eligibility. Points need not be reduced to receive this award. Awards can be tiered to allow variable points thresholds with variable award amounts. The restricted gaming credits can be delivered the next time the player account is updated either during the current session or on next card in. Also, the restricted gaming credits can be limited to use on eligible machines.
  • FIG. 4 schematically illustrates a method for the awarding of an instant bonus award of restricted gaming credits, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. In this embodiment, the method can be used to encourage play on specific types of machines, or to reward specific players. A restricted credit can also be awarded with specific restrictions. For example, an awarded restricted credit can be limited for use on a specific type of slot machine, or restricted to a specific time of day. Bonus points can also be awarded based upon reward levels, which are based on prior play. A player can also be awarded restricted credits based on prior earning/worth as an offer for a specific date/time. For example, a player can be awarded restricted credits based upon the use of restricted credits. Restricted credits can also be awarded based on bonus awards and jackpot events. Restricted credits can also be awarded as extra play cash (XPC). The awarding of restricted credits may provide an incentive to increase play.
  • As used herein, XPC refers to extra play cash or free slot play. For example, XPC refers to the amount of free extra play that a slot player gets when they sign up for a Boarding Pass loyalty rewards card. For example, when a player comes to a casino property, and signs up for a Boarding Pass loyalty rewards card, the player can be given $500.00 in XPC, or credits, that the player can use to play slots at that casino property or any other participating casino. Or, for example, when a player comes to casino property and signs up for a Boarding Pass loyalty rewards card, and starts playing slots machines with his Boarding Pass card in the machine, gambles a total of a $100.00, the player can be rewarded with something like $5.00 or $10.00 in “extra play cash,” i.e., credits, which can used to play slot machines. In addition, the player can also earn $20.00 in Restricted Play Credits. That $20.00 can only be used on a particular slot game at that casino, or another limited bank of slot machines at a designated property.
  • The steps shown in FIG. 4 summarize a method for awarding restricted gaming credits to an account of a player, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. In step 101, a specific group of eligible machines is established. This group of eligible machines may be located at a single casino, or may be located at two or more casinos. The group of eligible machines can be modified from time to time, either by adding additional machines, removing machines, or even by selecting an entirely different group of machines. In step 102, a list of eligible players is established. The list of eligible players can also be modified from time to time, so as add players, or to remove players. In step 103, a player's use of the established group of machines is tracked. A database can be used to track player use. A player's use of a particular machine can be tracked with an online metering system when a player card is inserted into the machine, such as a Boarding Pass card. When a player's use exceeds a required level, restricted gaming credits are awarded to the player's account in step 104. It should be appreciated that a tiered approach can be used in setting the required levels and associated restricted gaming credits awarded upon reaching the required levels. Also, the restricted gaming credits awarded can be based upon characteristics of the particular player, such as the player's prior earnings or worth. As shown, the process of FIG. 4 includes a continual loop between step 103 and step 104 so as to provide continuing tracking of the player's machine use in order to determine whether to award more restricted gaming credits. Although not shown, the process can also loop back to either step 101, or step 102, as required to update the group of eligible machines, or the group of eligible players, as appropriate.
  • As will be understood by those skilled in the art, the present invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the essential characteristics thereof. These other embodiments are intended to be included within the scope of the present invention, which is set forth in the following claims.

Claims (39)

1. A method for awarding a jackpot to two or more eligible participants of one or more linked casino activities, the method comprising:
establishing a jackpot for one or more linked casino activities;
establishing a criterion for selecting one or more primary winners from the two or more eligible participants;
selecting one or more primary winners using the established criterion;
awarding a first portion of the jackpot to the one or more primary winners; and
awarding the remainder of the jackpot to one or more of the eligible participants.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein a share of the remainder of the jackpot is not awarded to the one or more primary winners.
3. The method of claim 1, further comprising progressively supplementing the jackpot using funds extracted from at least one of the linked casino activities.
4. The method of claim 3, wherein awarding the remainder of the jackpot is based upon a predetermined criterion.
5. The method of claim 4, wherein the predetermined criterion is the number of eligible participants, the items purchased by one or more eligible participants, the amount wagered by one or more eligible participants, or any combination thereof.
6. The method of claim 3, wherein awarding the remainder of the jackpot is accomplished using a selected form, where the selected form is restricted gaming credits, non-restricted gaming credits, cash, electronic drawing tickets, reward points, or any combination thereof.
7. The method of claim 3, wherein at least one of the one or more linked casino activities is selected from the group consisting of slots, Bingo, poker, table games, machine-based games, race betting, sports betting, food purchase, spa services purchase, beverage purchase, merchandise purchase, rides, shows, and sports.
8. The method of claim 7, wherein each of the one or more linked casino activities is selected from the group consisting of slots, Bingo, poker, table games, machine-based games, race betting, sports betting, food purchase, spa services purchase, beverage purchase, merchandise purchase, rides, shows, and sports.
9. The method of claim 1, wherein awarding the remainder of the jackpot is based upon a predetermined criterion.
10. The method of claim 9, wherein the predetermined criterion is the number of eligible participants, the items purchased by one or more eligible participants, the amount wagered by one or more eligible participants, or any combination thereof.
11. The method of claim 1, wherein awarding the remainder of the jackpot is accomplished using a selected form, where the selected form is restricted gaming credits, non-restricted gaming credits, cash, electronic drawing tickets, reward points, or any combination thereof.
12. The method of claim 1, wherein at least one of the one or more linked casino activities is selected from the group consisting of slots, Bingo, poker, table games, machine-based games, race betting, sports betting, food purchase, spa services purchase, beverage purchase, merchandise purchase, rides, shows, and sports.
13. The method of claim 12, wherein each of the one or more linked casino activities is selected from the group consisting of slots, Bingo, poker, table games, machine-based games, race betting, sports betting, food purchase, spa services purchase, beverage purchase, merchandise purchase, rides, shows, and sports.
14. A method for awarding restricted gaming credits to an account of a player of a casino machine, the method comprising:
establishing a specific group of casino machines;
tracking the player's use of the specific group of casino machines; and
awarding restricted gaming credits to an account of the player when the player's use of the specific group of casino machines exceeds a required level.
15. The method of claim 14, wherein the restricted gaming credits can only be used on the specific group of casino machines.
16. The method of claim 14, wherein the specific group of casino machines are located at two or more casinos.
17. The method of claim 14, wherein the restricted gaming credits are delivered the next time the player's account is updated.
18. The method of claim 14, wherein restricted gaming credits are awarded based upon a tiered schedule with variable required levels and variable award amounts.
19. The method of claim 14, wherein the restricted gaming credits are usable for a particular gaming session.
20. The method of claim 14, wherein the restricted gaming credits are used to reward specific players.
21. The method of claim 14, wherein additional restricted gaming credits are awarded when previously awarded restricted gaming credits are used in a specified way.
22. The method of claim 21, wherein the additional restricted credits are awarded based upon the player's prior earnings or worth.
23. A system for operating one or more linked casino activities, each of the activities having two or more eligible participants, the system comprising:
at least one casino hosting at least one of the linked casino activities;
a processor;
a data storage device coupled with the processor, the data storage device storing instructions operable to cause the processor to:
store in memory a jackpot amount for the one or more linked casino activities;
determine a first portion of the jackpot amount, the first portion to be awarded to one or more primary winners selected from the two or more eligible participants of the activities, the one or more primary winners selected using a first predetermined criterion; and
determine shares of the remainder of the jackpot amount, the shares to be awarded to one or more of the eligible participants.
24. The system of claim 23, further comprising:
a broadcast means for broadcasting at least one of the activities from a first casino to a second casino.
25. The system of claim 24, wherein at least one of the activities is hosted by both the first casino and the second casino.
26. The system of claim 23, wherein the data storage device further contains instructions operable to cause the processor to update the stored jackpot amount based upon funds extracted from at least one of the one or more linked casino activities.
27. The system of claim 26, wherein the data storage device further contains instructions operable to cause the processor to determine shares of the remainder of the jackpot amount based upon a second predetermined criterion.
28. The system of claim 27, wherein the second predetermined criterion is the number of eligible participants, the items purchased by one or more eligible participants, the amount wagered by one or more eligible participants, or any combination thereof.
29. The system of claim 26, wherein the shares of the remainder of the jackpot amount are to be awarded using a selected form, where the selected form is restricted gaming credits, non-restricted gaming credits, cash, electronic drawing tickets, reward points, or any combination thereof.
30. The system of claim 26, wherein at least one of the one or more linked casino activities is selected from the group consisting of slots, Bingo, poker, table games, machine-based games, race betting, sports betting, food purchase, spa services purchase, beverage purchase, merchandise purchase, rides, shows, and sports.
31. The system of claim 30, wherein each of the one or more linked casino activities is selected from the group consisting of slots, Bingo, poker, table games, machine-based games, race betting, sports betting, food purchase, spa services purchase, beverage purchase, merchandise purchase, rides, shows, and sports.
32. The system of claim 26, further comprising one or more jackpot amount displays located at one or more casinos.
33. The system of claim 23, wherein the data storage device further contains instructions operable to cause the processor to determine shares of the remainder of the jackpot amount based upon a second predetermined criterion.
34. The system of claim 33, wherein the second predetermined criterion is the number of eligible participants, the items purchased by one or more eligible participants, the amount wagered by one or more eligible participants, or any combination thereof.
35. The system of claim 23, wherein the shares of the remainder of the jackpot amount are to be awarded using a selected form, where the selected form is restricted gaming credits, non-restricted gaming credits, cash, electronic drawing tickets, reward points, or any combination thereof.
36. The system of claim 23, wherein at least one of the one or more linked casino activities is selected from the group consisting of slots, Bingo, poker, table games, machine-based games, race betting, sports betting, food purchase, spa service purchase, beverage purchase, merchandise purchase, rides, shows, and sports.
37. The system of claim 36, wherein each of the one or more linked casino activities is selected from the group consisting of slots, Bingo, poker, table games, machine-based games, race betting, sports betting, food purchase, spa service purchase, beverage purchase, merchandise purchase, rides, shows, and sports.
38. The system of claim 23, further comprising one or more jackpot amount displays located at one or more casinos.
39. The system of claim 23, wherein a share of the remainder of the jackpot amount is not awarded to the one or more primary winners.
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US8449387B2 (en) 2006-06-30 2013-05-28 Wms Gaming Inc. Progressive game eligibility and winning
US20110045889A1 (en) * 2009-08-24 2011-02-24 Zak Khal Primary or Secondary Multi-Win Bingo Wagering System and Method
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US20110159949A1 (en) * 2009-11-09 2011-06-30 Paul Francis Jason Bramble Method of gaming, a game controller and a prize controller
US8474823B2 (en) 2010-10-25 2013-07-02 Partygaming Ia Limited System and method for generating, funding, and distributing multiple jackpots
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