US20080261685A1 - Gaming apparatus and method involving secondary display - Google Patents

Gaming apparatus and method involving secondary display Download PDF

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Publication number
US20080261685A1
US20080261685A1 US11/945,031 US94503107A US2008261685A1 US 20080261685 A1 US20080261685 A1 US 20080261685A1 US 94503107 A US94503107 A US 94503107A US 2008261685 A1 US2008261685 A1 US 2008261685A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
game
gaming machine
display
player
gaming
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Abandoned
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US11/945,031
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Robert Linley Muir
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Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty Ltd
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Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty Ltd
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Priority to AU2006906664A priority Critical patent/AU2006906664A0/en
Priority to AU2006906664 priority
Application filed by Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty Ltd filed Critical Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty Ltd
Assigned to ARISTOCRAT TECHNOLOGIES AUSTRALIA PTY, LIMITED reassignment ARISTOCRAT TECHNOLOGIES AUSTRALIA PTY, LIMITED EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT ASSIGNMENT Assignors: MUIR, ROBERT LINLEY
Publication of US20080261685A1 publication Critical patent/US20080261685A1/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F17/00Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services
    • G07F17/32Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services for games, toys, sports or amusements, e.g. casino games, online gambling or betting
    • 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
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F17/00Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services
    • G07F17/32Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services for games, toys, sports or amusements, e.g. casino games, online gambling or betting
    • G07F17/3225Data transfer within a gaming system, e.g. data sent between gaming machines and users
    • G07F17/3227Configuring a gaming machine, e.g. downloading personal settings, selecting working parameters
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F17/00Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services
    • G07F17/32Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services for games, toys, sports or amusements, e.g. casino games, online gambling or betting
    • G07F17/3225Data transfer within a gaming system, e.g. data sent between gaming machines and users
    • G07F17/3232Data transfer within a gaming system, e.g. data sent between gaming machines and users wherein the operator is informed
    • G07F17/3237Data transfer within a gaming system, e.g. data sent between gaming machines and users wherein the operator is informed about the players, e.g. profiling, responsible gaming, strategy/behavior of players, location of players
    • G07F17/3239Tracking of individual players

Abstract

A gaming machine arranged to play at least one game in which symbols are selected, presented on a game display, and evaluated for a winning outcome. The gaming machine includes a player tracking module having a controller, and a player tracking module display separate from the game display. The controller operates to control the player tracking module display and to present information relating to a different game. The determination of information to be presented is dependent on a player identifier read from a player tracking card inserted into the player tracking module. The gaming machine is configured to detect a predefined player input and to initiate a process to provide a game relating to the information presented on the secondary display when the predefined player input was detected.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • The present application relates to, and claims priority from, Australian Patent Application No. 2006906664, filed on Nov. 28, 2006, entitled “Gaming Apparatus and Method Involving Secondary Display,” which is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention generally relates to gaming machines and methods of gaming. A particular embodiment of the present invention relates to gaming systems where a plurality of different games are playable and the player has a choice as to which game or games to play.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • With the increase of gambling at gaming venues has come increased competition between gaming venues to obtain a larger share of the total gambling spend. Gaming venue operators have therefore continuously looked for new variations and types of games in order to attract both new and return customers to their venues.
  • In response to this need, suppliers of gaming devices and systems have attempted to provide the sought after variety, while still developing games that comply with the relevant regulations in the jurisdiction of the gaming venue operator. Suppliers of gaming devices therefore are faced with restrictions on the types of games and gaming machines that are allowable, both in terms of the prevailing regulations and in terms of providing a return on investment to the gaming venue operators.
  • In addition, it is important that a player be able to understand the operation of a game quickly so that the player can start to quickly play the game and therefore extract maximum entertainment from the game. Gaming venue operators may directly benefit by providing games to players that entertain the players and therefore there is a need for providing games that entertain the largest number of players.
  • One method of providing new gaming systems is to link a number of gaming machines. Gaming machines have been linked, for example, to a jackpot controller that operates a progressive jackpot. In addition, it is possible to link processing systems implementing game play, accounting and/or management functions to gaming machines, to allow gaming, accounting and management functions to be performed. There remains a need to find new ways to utilise linked gaming systems.
  • Any reference in this specification to the prior art does not constitute an admission that such prior art was well known or forms part of the common general knowledge in any jurisdiction.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • According to a first aspect, the invention broadly resides in a method for use with a gaming machine arranged to provide play of a game in which one or more symbols are selected and presented on a game display, the gaming machine including a player tracking module and a player tracking module display separate from the game display, wherein the method comprises: presenting information relating to at least one other game on the player tracking module display; receiving a predefined input at a player interface; and in response to receipt of said input, providing the at least one other game on the gaming machine.
  • The method may further comprise selecting the information relating to at least one other game dependent on a player identifier read by the player tracking module. The process of selecting may involve receiving a player history of the player and presenting information relating to games that share one or more common or like characteristics to games that the player has previously played.
  • According to a second aspect, the invention broadly resides in a method for use with a gaming machine arranged to play at least one game in which symbols are selected and presented on a game display, the method comprising: initiating a first gaming session on the gaming machine in which a first game is played; presenting information relating to at least one other game on a secondary display; receiving at a player interface a predefined input; and in response to receipt of said input, providing the at least one other game on the gaming machine.
  • The gaming machine may be arranged to play at least two games and the process of presenting on the secondary display information identifying at least one other game comprises displaying information identifying at least one game that is playable on the gaming machine. The method may comprise only presenting on the secondary display information relating to one or more games that can be played on the gaming machine. Alternatively, the method may comprise presenting on the secondary display information relating to one or more games that can be played on different gaming machines at the gaming venue where the gaming machine is located.
  • The method may comprise selecting a set of games for display on the secondary display, the set of games having members representing a subset of all games for which information may be displayed on the secondary display, the selection of the set of games dependent on at least one of a current and past selection of one or more games to play by the player.
  • The method may further comprise presenting on the secondary display information regarding at least one event at a gaming venue where the gaming machine is located. The process of presenting on the secondary display information relating to at least one other game may comprise communicating data defining said information from a source remote from the gaming machine to a controller of the secondary display. The process of communicating data from the data source to the controller of the secondary display may comprise communicating the data over a communication path that does not involve a controller of the gaming machine that controls play of the first game.
  • The method may further comprise, at least during the time that the information relating to at least one other game is presented on the secondary display, monitoring for a predefined player input at a player interface and in response to the detection of the player input initiating a process that causes the gaming machine to provide the game that relates to the information presented on the secondary display when the predefined player input was detected.
  • According to a third aspect, the invention broadly resides in a method for use with a plurality of linked gaming machines wherein each said gaming machine is associated with an electronic secondary display, the method being initiated during a gaming session on each of said plurality of linked gaming machines and comprising: presenting information relating to at least one other game on said secondary display; detecting a certain player input at the gaming machine; and in response to the detected player input, providing a game relating to the presented information.
  • The method may further comprise monitoring the provision of games by the linked gaming machines.
  • The monitoring of the provision of games by the linked gaming machines may be performed in a licensing server for the linked gaming machines, the licensing server maintaining in electronic storage license records identifying the number of licenses available for each game and regulating provision of the games dependent on the licenses available. If no licenses are available for a game, the method may involve not displaying information relating to that game on the secondary display.
  • The method may further comprise independently controlling the secondary displays to display information relating to different games. The method may further comprise controlling the secondary displays to temporarily simultaneously display the same information and then return to displaying said information relating to at least one other game.
  • The method may further comprise determining the information to display on the secondary display dependent on at least one of the parameters selected from the group comprising: the game currently being played at the gaming machine, a recorded history of game selections by a player currently identified at that gaming machine, recorded characteristics of games available to be played, and recorded categorisations of games available to be played.
  • The method may comprise communicating information for display on the secondary display from a central electronic processing system to a controller of the secondary display.
  • According to a fourth aspect, the invention broadly resides in instructions stored in a storage medium readable by a game controller and executable to implement a method for use with a gaming machine arranged to play at least one game in which symbols are selected and presented on a game display, wherein an electronic secondary display is associated with said gaming machine, the method caused to be implemented comprising: initiating a first gaming session on the gaming machine in which a first game is played; presenting information relating to at least one other game on said secondary display; receiving at a player interface a predefined input; and in response to receipt of said input, providing the at least one other game on the gaming machine.
  • According to a fifth aspect, the invention broadly resides in a gaming machine implementing a game wherein one or more symbols are selected and presented on a display, the gaming machine comprising a user interface and a primary display in communication with a game controller that controls the presentation of images on the primary display at least partly in response to a user operation of said user interface, the gaming machine further comprising a secondary display presenting information relating to at least one other game during a gaming session, wherein the gaming machine is arranged to detect a predefined player input and in response to the detection of said input initiate a process that causes the gaming machine to provide the at least one other game relating to the information presented on the secondary display when said input was detected.
  • The gaming machine may comprise a communication interface for communicating with a remote display controller and the gaming machine may be arranged so that the secondary display presents information in response to control signals received at the communication interface. The gaming may be arranged so that control signals received at the communication interface are communicated to the secondary display through a communication path that does not include the game controller.
  • The secondary display may alternatively display information dependent on control signals from a display controller local to the gaming machine. The display controller local to the gaming machine may also operate as the game controller.
  • The gaming machine may play at least two games and the secondary display may present information identifying at least one game that is playable on the gaming machine. The secondary display may only present information relating to one or more games that can be played on the gaming machine.
  • The gaming machine may be arranged to detect a predefined player input and in response to the detection of the predefined player input initiate a process that causes the gaming machine to provide the game that relates to the information presented on the secondary display when the predefined player input was detected. The predefined player input may be a player input provided on a part of the user interface associated with the secondary display. The secondary display may be provided in a housing distinct from a housing of the primary display and the user interface used to provide the predefined player input may be in the same housing as the secondary display.
  • The gaming machine may include a top box comprising a further electronic display.
  • According to a sixth aspect, the invention broadly resides in a gaming system comprising a plurality of gaming machines, each gaming machine providing a game in which one or more symbols are selected and presented on a primary display, wherein said plurality of gaming machines are each associated with a secondary display and a plurality of secondary displays are controlled to present information relating to at least one game other than a game currently being played on the gaming machine, wherein the said gaming machine is configured to detect a predefined player input and initiate a process to provide a game relating to the information presented on the secondary display when the predefined player input was detected.
  • The information displayed by the secondary displays may be determined by an electronic processing system remote from the gaming machine.
  • The secondary displays may be independently controllable.
  • The gaming system may record in electronic storage information identifying the provision of games by the gaming machines. The recorded information may be used for regulating provision of games to the gaming machines.
  • According to a seventh aspect, the invention broadly resides in a gaming machine arranged to play at least one game in which symbols are selected, presented on a game display, and evaluated for a winning outcome, the gaming machine including a player tracking module having a controller and a player tracking module display separate from the game display, wherein the controller controls the player tracking module display to present information relating to at least one other game wherein the information relating to the at least one other game is selected dependent on a player identifier read by the player tracking module, wherein the gaming machine is configured to detect a predefined player input and initiate a process to provide a game relating to the information presented on the secondary display when the predefined player input was detected.
  • The information relating to at least one other game may be selected dependent on a player identifier read from a player tracking card inserted into the player tracking module. The process of selecting may involve comparing a player history of the player and presenting information relating to games that share one or more common or like characteristics to games that the player has previously played. The process of selecting may be performed by the controller of the player tracking module, a controller of the gaming machine, or a remote controller in data communication with the player tracking module, optionally via the gaming machine.
  • According to an eighth aspect, the invention broadly resides in a method for use with a gaming machine arranged to play at least one game in which symbols are selected and presented on a game display, the method comprising initiating a first gaming session on the gaming machine and presenting information relating to at least one other game on a secondary display.
  • The gaming machine may include a player tracking module and the presented information may be a game playable on the gaming machine.
  • Further aspects of the present invention will become apparent from the following description, given by way of example and with reference to the accompanying drawings.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • Certain embodiments of the invention will now be described in relation to the following drawings in which:
  • FIG. 1: shows diagrammatically, a view of a gaming console suitable for implementing certain embodiments of the present invention.
  • FIG. 2: shows a block diagram of gaming machine suitable for implementing certain embodiments of the present invention.
  • FIG. 3: shows a block diagram of components of the memory of the gaming machine represented in FIG. 2.
  • FIG. 4: shows diagrammatically, a network gaming system suitable for implementing certain embodiments of the present invention.
  • FIG. 5: shows a flow diagram of a process performed in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.
  • The foregoing summary, as well as the following detailed description of certain embodiments of the present invention, will be better understood when read in conjunction with the appended drawings. For the purpose of illustrating the invention, certain embodiments are shown in the drawings. It should be understood, however, that the present invention is not limited to the arrangements and instrumentality shown in the attached drawings.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • In FIG. 1 of the accompanying drawings, one example of a gaming console that is suitable to implement certain embodiments of the present invention is generally referenced by arrow 114.
  • The gaming console 114 includes two displays 106A, 106B on one or both of which is displayed representations of a game that can be played by a player and bank of buttons 107A and/or a touch screen 107B to enable a player to play the game. The displays 106 may be video display units, such as a cathode ray tube screen device, a liquid crystal display, plasma screen, any other suitable video display unit, or the visible portion of an electromechanical device. The display 106B may display artwork, including for example, pay tables and details of bonus awards and other information or images relating to the game. In alternative gaming consoles the display 106B may be omitted, optionally replaced by a static display.
  • A credit input including a coin input 110A and/or bill collector 110B allows a player to provide credit for wagering and a coin output 111 is provided for cash payouts from the gaming console 114. A card and/or ticket reader 108 and a printer 109 may be provided to provide cashless game play or other gaming and non-gaming related functions.
  • A player tracking module (PTM) 119 is attached to a side of the console 114. The PTM 119 includes an electronic display 116 and may also include a keypad 117 and a card reader 118, which may also be a ticket reader or may be solely a ticket reader. The display 116 may, for example, be a LCD display or other video display or may be a LED display. As explained in more detail herein below, the card reader 118 may allow player identification through the insertion of a player card 120 including a machine readable player identifier. Typically only one of the readers 108, 118 are provided on a single gaming console to perform all card and ticket reading functions.
  • FIG. 2 shows a block diagram of a gaming machine, generally referenced by arrow 100, suitable for implementing certain embodiments of the present invention. The gaming machine 100 may include the gaming console 114 shown in FIG. 1 and accordingly like reference numerals have been used to describe like components in FIGS. 1 and 2.
  • The gaming machine 100 includes a game controller 101, which in the illustrated example includes a computational device 102, which may be a microprocessor, microcontroller, programmable logic device or other suitable device. Instructions and data to control operation of the computational device 102 are stored in a memory 103, which is in data communication and/or forms part of the computational device 102. Typically, the gaming machine 100 will include both volatile and non-volatile memory and more than one of each type of memory, with such memories being collectively represented by the memory 103. The instructions to cause the game controller 101 to implement the present invention will be stored in the memory 103.
  • The game controller 101 may include hardware meters 104 for the purposes of regulatory compliance and also include an input/output (I/O) interface 105 for communicating with the peripheral devices of the gaming machine 100. The input/output interface 105 and/or the peripheral devices may be intelligent devices with their own memory for instructions and data.
  • In the example shown in FIG. 2, the peripheral devices that communicate with the controller are the various components forming a user interface 115, the printer 109, the bill acceptor and/or coin input 110 and the coin output 111. Additional devices may be included as part of the gaming machine 100, or devices omitted as required for the specific implementation.
  • The user interface includes the displays 106, bank of buttons/touch screen 107 and the card and/or ticket reader 108 if provided. In addition, the user interface includes components of the PTM 119, including the display 116, bank of buttons/touch screen 117 and the card and/or ticket reader 118.
  • In addition, the gaming machine 100 may include a communications interface, for example a network card 112. The network card 112, may for example, send status information, accounting information or other information to a central controller, server or database and receive data or commands from a the central controller, server or database. The network card 112 may also enable communication with a central player account, allowing cashless gaming. One or more of the peripheral devices, for example the card/ticket reader 108 may be able to communicate directly with the network card 112. The PTM 119 has a PTM controller 121 that may have a direct communication line with the network card 112 and may also communicate with the game controller 101 through the I/O interface 105. The network card 112 and the I/O interface 105 may be suitably implemented as a single device in the form of a machine communications interface.
  • The game controller 101 may also include a random number generator 113, which generates a series of random numbers that determine the outcome of a series of random game events played as part of a game on the gaming machine 100.
  • The game controller 101 may have distributed hardware and software components that communicate with each other directly or through a network or other communication channel. In particular, the game controller 101 may be located in part or in its entirety remote from the user interface 115. Also, the game controller 102 may comprise a plurality of devices, which may be local or remote from each other.
  • FIG. 3 shows an exemplary block diagram of the main components of the memory 103. The RAM 103A typically temporarily holds instructions and data related to the execution of game programs and communication functions performed by the computational controller 102. The EPROM 103B may hold be a boot ROM device and/or may contain system and game related code. The mass storage device 103C may be used to store game programs, the integrity of which may be verified and/or authenticated by the computational controller 102 using protected code from the EPROM 103B or elsewhere.
  • In one embodiment, the gaming machine 100 may be a multi-game gaming machine able to execute a plurality of games, with the instructions and data relating to each game stored in the EPROM 103B. The player may then operate the user interface 115, for example the touch screen 107B which overlays icons presented on the display 106A representing each game to select which game to play. Alternatively, the player may use the keypad 117 or a touch screen provided over the display 116 of the PTM 119 to select which game to play.
  • FIG. 4 shows a gaming system 200 in the form of a network of devices. The gaming system 200 includes a network infrastructure 201, which for example may be an Ethernet network. Alternatively, a wireless network and/or direct communication channels, or a different type of network may be used to link the gaming machines to a server, each other and/or other devices. Gaming consoles 114, shown arranged in three banks 203 of two gaming consoles 114 in FIG. 4, are connected to the network infrastructure 201. The gaming consoles 114 may form part or all of a gaming machine 100. Single gaming consoles 114 and banks 203 containing three or more gaming devices 202 may also be connected to the network infrastructure 201, which may also include hubs, routers, bridges to other networks and other devices (not shown).
  • One or more displays 204 may also be connected to the network 201. The displays 204 may, for example, be associated with a bank 203 of gaming consoles 114. The displays 204 may be used to display representations associated with game play on the gaming devices 202, and/or used to display other representations, for example promotional or informational material.
  • Servers may also be connected to the network 201. For example, a game server 205 may generate game outcomes for games played on one or more of the gaming consoles 114, a database management server 206 may manage the storage of game programs and associated data in a database 206A so that they are available for downloading to, or access by, game controllers 101, and a jackpot server 207 may control one or more jackpots for the gaming system 200.
  • Further servers may be provided to assist in the administration of the gaming system 200, including for example a floor management server 208, and a licensing server 209 to monitor the use of licenses to particular games. An administrator terminal 210 is provided to allow an administrator to manage the network 201 and the devices connected to the network.
  • The gaming system 200 may communicate with other gaming systems, other local networks, for example a corporate network and/or a wide area network such as the Internet through a firewall 211.
  • FIG. 5 shows a process flow diagram of a process performed in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. The process may be performed by the gaming system 200, in which the gaming consoles 114 are each include game controllers 101 to form gaming machines 100 and the following description assumes this implementation. However, those skilled in the relevant arts will appreciate that the process will also be able to be implemented by other gaming systems.
  • In step 1, the PTM controller 121 monitors the card reader 118 for the insertion of a player tracking card 120. When a player tracking card 120 is inserted, the card reader 118 reads a player identifier and the PTM controller 121 communicates this to the network card 112 for communication to the floor management server 208 together with information to identify the PTM 119 and/or console 114 at which the player inserted their player tracking card 120. As explained in more detail later herein, the floor management server 208 stores in a database historical records of players.
  • In response to receipt of the player identifier, the floor management server 208 retrieves the historical records associated with that player identifier (step 2) and then generates game information for display by the display 116 (step 3).
  • In one embodiment, the game information includes suggestions of games for the player to play. This embodiment may be particularly suited to an implementation of the gaming system 200 where games are centrally stored and downloaded to the gaming machines 100 from the database management server 206, or executed centrally. In this implementation there may be many games that the player can select to play, in which case the PTM 119 may display names of games that can be played and cycle through a list of those games. In another embodiment, if the gaming machine 100 is a multi-game machine, the recommendations may be for games stored in the EPROM 103B that can be executed by the gaming machine 100 that the player is currently playing.
  • However, it may be advantageous to tailor what information is displayed on the display 116 to a particular player. For example, if a gaming system 200 is operable to play hundreds or thousands of games, simply cycling through the list of available games may result in it being unlikely that the player will see a game that appeals to them. A recommendation engine may be implemented in the gaming system 200, suitably by the floor management server 208 to select games that the player may be more interested in. The recommendation engine may use historical game activity previously recorded and associated with the player identifier to identify types of games that the player has demonstrated a preference for. For example, the player may predominantly play games of a certain denomination, play more spinning reel games than poker-style games and/or tend to play games linked to a progressive jackpot. Alternatively, the recommendation engine may use only the game currently being played on the gaming machine 100 to select what information to display on the display 116.
  • The recommendation engine may use a number of methods for establishing a selection of games for presentation on the display 116. Methods for selecting games for presentation are described in international patent publication number WO 2005/028056 A1, which is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.
  • Once the game information has been generated, this is communicated by the recommendation engine (which may be implemented by the floor management server 208) to the PTM 119 (step 4). The PTM 119 may have its own network address for this purpose, or the PTM 119 may also use an identifier of the gaming console 114 to allow communications to be addressed to the PTM 119. The PTM controller 121 receives the game information from the network card 112 and controls the display 116 to display the information (step 5). As the display 116 is separate from the displays 106 that are used to display representations of the game that the player is currently playing, the game information can be presented during a gaming session of the player without interfering with the representations of the game. The presentation of the game information is therefore largely unobtrusive to the player, yet is still readily visible by the player.
  • As the player plays a game on the gaming machine 100, the game activity may be monitored (step 6) and communicated to the floor management server 208 so that the historical records for the player can be updated. The information relating to game activity communicated to the floor management may include the game that is played, the duration of play, total amount wagered in the gaming session, and/or rate of play of the game. This information may be used by the recommendation engine to identify preferences of the player, and may also be used for other purposes, for example in loyalty promotions and/or to maintain accounting records for the gaming venue.
  • While the game information is presented on the display 116, the user interface 115 is monitored for a predetermined action that indicates that a player may want to play a game related to the game information currently being displayed (step 7). Where the PTM 119 has controls, for example the bank of buttons/touch screen 117 that the player can manipulate separately from the controls of the main gaming console, then step 7 may be performed by the PTM controller 121. In decision step 8, if no new game has been selected, the process proceeds to step 6. If a new game is selected, then the PTM controller 121 communicates this information onto the network 201 to be received by the licensing server 209. If no information relating to a game is presented on the secondary display when the predefined player input was detected, then the game required may be identified as the game relating to the information that was last presented on the secondary display.
  • The recommendation engine may alternatively be distributed in a gaming system. For example, each PTM 119 may have an internal recommendation engine and may receive player tracking information from a central location and/or from the gaming machine that it is connected to. Alternatively, the gaming machine controller may include a recommendation engine. However, in a network gaming system that includes a plurality of gaming machines, a central recommendation engine may provide optimal operation in many circumstances.
  • The licensing server 209 maintains a record of the licenses to games available in the gaming system 200 and the number of each game that is currently being played. On receiving notification of selection of a game from the PTM controller 121, the licensing server 209 checks whether there are sufficient licenses available (step 9) to allow play of the game (assuming that there is a restriction on the number of licenses available). If there is not, the licensing server 209 responds to the PTM controller 121, which displays an appropriate message. In addition, the PTM controller 121 may request from the recommendation engine the closest matching game to the selected game and suggest this game as an alternative.
  • In one embodiment, if there are no licenses available for a particular game, then the licensing server 209 communicates this to the floor management server 208. In response, the floor management server 208 removes this game from the list of suggested games for display by the PTM 119. In this way player dissatisfaction resulting from selecting a game displayed by the PTM 119 that is not currently available may be minimised.
  • If there are sufficient licenses, the licensing server 209 updates its license records to indicate the playing of the new game (step 10) and confirms that there is a license available to the PTM controller 121, which then requests the game from the database management server 206. Alternatively, the licensing server 209 may report directly to the database management server 206. The selected game is then downloaded to the gaming machine 100 associated with the PTM 119 or loaded into a centralised game controller 101 and the new game is provided to the player using the gaming console 114 that they are currently located at (step 11).
  • The process involves monitoring for an event that indicates the end of the gaming session, which is suitably the removal of the player tracking card 20 from the gaming console 114 (step 12). If the gaming session has not ended, then the process returns to step 6, in which game activity is monitored and recorded. This includes recording the selection of the new game and may also be a trigger for communicating information relating to the previous game, such as total time spent playing, total amount wagered, total wins, total losses and/or rate of play. If the gaming session has ended, the PTM 119 may display on the display 116 an attract sequence, which may include names of popular games or information associated with games. A new player could use the PTM 119 to select a currently displayed game to play. The display 116 may be used in conjunction with attract sequences displayed on the display 106B and/or 106A. For example, images related to a game may be displayed on display 106B and a message may be displayed on the PTM 119 giving instructions how to play the game currently displayed on the display 106B. The PTM 119 may alternatively display games similar to the game currently displayed on the display 106B and allow the player to select the displayed game for play.
  • Messages other than recommendations of other games may also be generated for display on the display 116 (step 14). These messages may include gaming venue messages, for example indicating special bonus periods, special events, or other information such as the opening and closing times of an on-site restaurant. In addition, messages may be generated relating to game play of the game currently being played on the gaming machine 100. For example, the information used to track the play of a player may be used to trigger the presentation of messages on the display 116. A large win may result in a congratulatory message being displayed, or instructions on how to receive the win may be displayed. The display may also display the total amount wagered and the total amount won in the current gaming session. In addition, the PTM 119 may display the current amount of a progressive jackpot maintained by the jackpot server 207 that the player is eligible to win by playing the current game. The PTM 119 may monitor communications from the game controller 101 for events that trigger a game related message, or alternatively this monitoring may be performed elsewhere in the gaming system 200, for example by the floor management server 208, which then controls the PTM 119 to display the messages.
  • In the embodiment where one or more progressive jackpots are maintained by a jackpot server 207, information communicated by the game controller 101 onto the network 201 may indicate the game currently being played so that the appropriate jackpot is incremented due to game play. An identifier of the console 114 that the player is playing the game at is also communicated with the information, to enable identification of the winning console when the jackpot is to be awarded.
  • While the foregoing description has focussed on an embodiment where the player has been identified, the PTM 119 may still operate to suggest games to an unidentified player. The selection of games for display may be random, cycle through a predefined list, or be dependent on the historical information of a collection of players, for example all players at the gaming venue over the past day, week, month or other period. In addition, where the gaming machine 100 is a multi-game machine, the PTM 119 may operate without any network connection, recommending games playable by the gaming machine. The game controller 101 could then directly control the display 116.
  • In addition, as well as recommending games that can be played at the current gaming console 114, the PTM could recommend games that are playable at other gaming consoles 114 in the gaming system 200. This embodiment may be suited to gaming systems where each gaming machine 100 and associated console 114 can only play a restricted number of games, for example one. The PTM 119 could recommend games playable only at gaming machines that are currently unoccupied by players, receiving this information from the floor management server 208 and could indicate where the gaming machine that can play the suggested game is located if the player operates the user interface 115 to indicate that they are interested in playing that game. The player may further be able to reserve a gaming machine using the PTM 119, for example reserve a gaming machine that can play a game that has been presented on the display 116. In this embodiment, the reservation request may be communicated from the PTM 119 together with information identifying the game that the player has identified to the floor management server 208, which may then send a command over the network 200 to the appropriate gaming machine 100 to reserve it. Methods for reserving gaming machines are describes in international patent publication number WO 2002/111954, which is hereby incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
  • The exemplary process described in relation to FIG. 5 may be varied in a number of ways. The order of the steps performed in the process may be changed, steps omitted or substituted, or new steps added as required for a particular implementation.
  • Where in the foregoing description reference has been made to integers having known equivalents, then those equivalents are hereby incorporated herein as if individually set forth.
  • Those skilled in the relevant arts will appreciate that modifications and additions to the embodiments of the present invention may be made without departing from the scope of the present invention.
  • It will be understood that the invention disclosed and defined in this specification extends to all alternative combinations of two or more of the individual features mentioned or evident from the text or drawings. All of these different combinations constitute various alternative aspects of the invention.
  • It will also be understood that the term “comprises” (or its grammatical variants) as used in this specification is equivalent to the term “includes” and should not be taken as excluding the presence of other elements or features.

Claims (32)

1. A method for use with a gaming machine arranged to provide play of a game in which at least one symbol is selected and presented on a game display, the gaming machine including a player tracking module and a player tracking module display separate from the game display, wherein the method comprises:
presenting information relating to at least one other game on the player tracking module display;
receiving a predefined input at a player interface; and
in response to receipt of said input, providing the at least one other game on the gaming machine.
2. The method of claim 1 wherein said presented information is dependent on a player identifier read by the player tracking module, wherein said player identifier includes a player history of a player and said presented information relates to at least one game that share at least one common or like characteristic to games said player has previously played.
3. A method for use with a gaming machine arranged to play at least one game in which symbols are selected and presented on a game display, the method comprising:
initiating a first gaming session on the gaming machine in which a first game is played;
presenting information relating to at least one other game on a secondary display;
receiving at a player interface a predefined input; and
in response to receipt of said input, providing the at least one other game on the gaming machine.
4. The method of claim 3 wherein information presented on the secondary display relates to a set of games dependent on at least one of a current and past selection of games played by the player.
5. The method of claim 3 further comprising also presenting information on the secondary display regarding at least one event at a gaming venue where the gaming machine is located.
6. The method of claim 3 wherein data defining said presented information is communicated from at least one source remote from the gaming machine to a secondary display controller of the secondary display.
7. The method of claim 6 wherein a communication path of said communication does not involve a game controller of the gaming machine that controls the play of the first game.
8. A method for use with a plurality of linked gaming machines wherein each said gaming machine is associated with an electronic secondary display, the method being initiated during a gaming session on each of said plurality of linked gaming machines and comprising:
presenting information relating to at least one other game on said secondary display;
detecting a certain player input at the gaming machine; and
in response to the detected player input, providing a game relating to the presented information.
9. The method of claim 8 wherein the provision of said games on at least one of the linked gaming machines is monitored by a licensing server, wherein said licensing server maintains in electronic storage license records identifying a number of licenses available and regulates the provision of the games depending on the number of licenses available.
10. The method of claim 9 wherein if no licenses are available for a game, information relating to said game is not presented on the secondary display.
11. The method of claim 8 further comprising independently controlling at least one of the secondary displays to present information relating to the at least one other game.
12. The method of claim 8 wherein a plurality of the secondary displays are controlled to temporarily and simultaneously display the same information and then return to presenting information relating to the at least one other game.
13. The method of claim 8 wherein the information presented on the secondary display is dependent on at least one of the parameters selected from a group comprising:
a game currently being played at a gaming machine;
a recorded history of game selections by a player currently identified at a gaming machine;
recorded characteristics of at least one game available to be played; and
recorded categorisations of at least one game available to be played.
14. The method of claim 8 wherein data relating to the presented information is communicated from a central electronic processing system to a controller of the secondary display.
15. Instructions stored in a storage medium readable by a game controller and executable to implement a method for use with a gaming machine arranged to play at least one game in which symbols are selected and presented on a game display, wherein an electronic secondary display is associated with said gaming machine, the method caused to be implemented comprising:
initiating a first gaming session on the gaming machine in which a first game is played;
presenting information relating to at least one other game on said secondary display;
receiving at a player interface a predefined input; and
in response to receipt of said input, providing the at least one other game on the gaming machine.
16. A gaming machine implementing a game wherein at least one symbol is selected and presented on a display, the gaming machine comprising a user interface and a primary display in communication with a game controller that controls the presentation of images on the primary display at least partly in response to a user operation of said user interface, the gaming machine further comprising a secondary display presenting information relating to at least one other game during a gaming session, wherein the gaming machine is arranged to detect a predefined player input and in response to the detection of said input initiate a process that causes the gaming machine to provide the at least one other game relating to the information presented on the secondary display when said input was detected.
17. A gaming machine of claim 16 wherein a player interface configured to receive said predefined player input is provided on a part of the user interface, wherein the secondary display is provided in a housing distinct from a housing of the primary display and the user interface is provided in the same housing as the secondary display.
18. The gaming machine of claim 16 further comprising a communication interface for communicating with a remote display controller, wherein said gaming machine is arranged to present information on the secondary display in response to at least one control signal received at the communication interface.
19. The gaming machine of claim 18 wherein the secondary display alternatively presents information dependent on at least one control signal, and said presented information is controlled by a display controller local to the gaming machine, wherein said display controller is operable as a game controller.
20. The gaming machine of claim 16 wherein said gaming machine is configured to play at least two games.
21. The gaming machine of claim 16 wherein said presented information relates to at least one game playable on said gaming machine.
22. The gaming machine of claim 16 including a top box comprising a further electronic display.
23. A gaming system comprising a plurality of gaming machines, each gaming machine providing a game in which at least one symbol is selected and presented on a primary display, wherein said plurality of gaming machines are each associated with a secondary display and a plurality of secondary displays are controlled to present information relating to at least one game other than a game currently being played on the gaming machine, wherein the said gaming machine is configured to detect a predefined player input and initiate a process to provide a game relating to the information presented on the secondary display when the predefined player input was detected.
24. The gaming system of claim 23 wherein the information presented by said plurality of secondary displays is determined by an electronic processing system remote from the gaming machine.
25. The gaming system of claim 23 wherein the secondary displays are independently controllable.
26. The gaming system of claim 23 wherein data relating to said information is used for identifying the provision of games by said plurality of gaming machines and is recorded in electronic storage wherein said data is further used for regulating the provision of at least one game to said gaming machines.
27. A gaming machine arranged to play at least one game in which symbols are selected, presented on a game display, and evaluated for a winning outcome, the gaming machine including a player tracking module having a controller and a player tracking module display separate from the game display, wherein the controller controls the player tracking module display to present information relating to at least one other game wherein the information relating to the at least one other game is selected dependent on a player identifier read by the player tracking module, wherein the gaming machine is configured to detect a predefined player input and initiate a process to provide a game relating to the information presented on the secondary display when the predefined player input was detected.
28. A gaming machine of claim 27 wherein said information is determined by a player history of the player and relates to at least one game that share at least one common or like characteristic to games that said player has previously played.
29. A gaming machine of claim 28 wherein a process of selecting the information to be presented is performed via the gaming machine by at least one of the following apparatus:
the controller of the player tracking module;
a controller of the gaming machine; and
a remote controller in data communication with the player tracking module.
30. A method for use with a gaming machine arranged to play at least one game in which symbols are selected and presented on a game display, the method comprising initiating a first gaming session on the gaming machine and presenting information relating to at least one other game on a secondary display.
31. A method of claim 30 wherein said gaming machine includes a player tracking module.
32. A method of claim 30 wherein the at least one other game is a game playable on the gaming machine.
US11/945,031 2006-11-28 2007-11-26 Gaming apparatus and method involving secondary display Abandoned US20080261685A1 (en)

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