US20080305853A1 - Device, System and Method of Gaming - Google Patents

Device, System and Method of Gaming Download PDF

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US20080305853A1
US20080305853A1 US11794575 US79457506A US2008305853A1 US 20080305853 A1 US20080305853 A1 US 20080305853A1 US 11794575 US11794575 US 11794575 US 79457506 A US79457506 A US 79457506A US 2008305853 A1 US2008305853 A1 US 2008305853A1
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user
subscription period
module
during
subscription
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Ilya Roitman
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Ilya Roitman
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    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F17/00Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services
    • G07F17/32Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services for games, toys, sports or amusements, e.g. casino games, online gambling or betting
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F17/00Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services
    • G07F17/32Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services for games, toys, sports or amusements, e.g. casino games, online gambling or betting
    • G07F17/3286Type of games
    • 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
    • G07F17/3286Type of games
    • G07F17/3295Games involving skill, e.g. dexterity, memory, thinking

Abstract

Device, system and method of gaming. For example, a method of operating a game includes: based on a received pre-paid amount, assigning to a user a subscription period and a substantially unlimited amount of virtual game-related operations that the user is permitted to perform during the subscription period; virtually performing, during the subscription period, game-related operations in response to commands received from the user during the subscription period; after the subscription period elapses, calculating a profit-and-loss balance of the user based on the game-related operations virtually performed for the user during the subscription period; and if the profit-and-loss balance is positive, assigning to the user a prize calculated based on the profit-and-loss balance.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application claims priority and benefit from (1) U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/640,217, filed on Jan. 3, 2005, entitled “Subscription Gambling/Gaming”; and (2) U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/664,191, filed on Mar. 23, 2005, entitled “Device, System and Method of Investment Gaming”, both of which are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention relates to the field of investing, and more particularly trading stocks, currencies, precious metals, commodities, or the like; as well as to the field of gaming, and more particularly to online and offline gaming platforms, devices and methods.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • In the field of investing and trading, investing in securities typically requires an initial investment amount. For example, a person wishing to trade stocks may need to open an account with a stocks broker and to deposit an initial amount of money into the account. The deposited amount may be then used to fund purchases of securities. Usually traders have access to real time stock exchange data via brokerage firms or by connecting to the system via the inteniet or other means.
  • A significant drawback of the stock/currency/precious metals/commodities trading is that the trader or client may risk his financial state without control. For example, the trader or client is not limited in the amount of money that he might lose, since the value of his stock or commodity portfolio may decrease very fast and significantly. In addition, many traders are not professional investment specialists, and they may make decisions based on wrong considerations or following bad advice.
  • Many traders or clients participate in investing for entertainment, and consider investing as gaming or gambling. To be responsible, they need to limit their enjoyment in order to avoid significant losses.
  • Some companies offer virtual portfolio management, where clients may simulate trading by creating a virtual investment portfolio and tracking a virtual profit or loss. These systems are used as training instruments, but they do not offer to the user any real “action” or entertainment user-experience, and do not provide a real entertainment value for the client.
  • In the field of gambling and gaming, e.g., in casino gambling, a player or client wagers funds on various games that may be dependent on chance and/or skill, usually by exchanging money into chips or credit or other casino currency. The player or client may continue playing as long as he can afford to purchase credit, optionally depending on his performance (e.g., winning or losing) and wagering habits. At any given time the player may exchange the casino currency back into money.
  • A significant drawback of casino gambling is that the player or client may risk his financial state without control. For example, the player or client is not limited in the amount of money that he can gamble, and may irresponsibly gamble away all that he owns, and sometimes even more than he owns (e.g., by taking loans or creating debts).
  • Many players or clients visit online and offline gaming/gambling sites for entertainment; being responsible, they need to limit their enjoyment in order to avoid significant losses.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • Some embodiments of the invention provide systems, devices and methods for a subscription-based game for simulating trading of stock/currency/precious metals/commodities, and allowing players to receive real profits from their skills or success.
  • Some embodiments may include a platform and method that may enable a user to purchase a right to use a system providing access to trading data, possibly real-time, and to simulate trading/investing process and operations. The users may play virtually, such that players do not purchase actual securities, but they may gain profits/winnings.
  • In some embodiments, the winnings of the user may be calculated based on his performance during the subscription period, e.g., profits and loses, or combination thereof. For example, if as a result of multiple operations of purchasing and selling securities, a user generates a positive balance (profit) while he had the right to play, the user may receive this profit or portion thereof in form of money and/or money equivalents.
  • In some embodiments, a user may pay a subscription fee in order to create and manage a virtual portfolio of securities, e.g., through an online, mobile or other interface. During the subscription period, the user may have a virtual balance, and may submit virtual trade orders to virtually purchase or sell securities, e.g., based on real-time market quotes (or possibly delayed).
  • At the end of the subscription period, if the final virtual balance of the virtual portfolio is positive, the user may receive a monetary reward which may be a function of the user's performance. The monetary reward, for example, may be substantially equal to the final virtual balance of the user, or may be based on the final virtual balance of the user. In some embodiments, the monetary reward received by the user may be unrelated to performance or virtual balances of other users.
  • In some embodiments, a gaming system may include, for example, an incoming payment module to receive a payment from a user; a game management module to assign to the user, based on the received payment amount, a subscription period and a substantially unlimited amount of virtual game-related operations that the user is allowed to perform during the subscription period; a gaming module to virtually perform game-related operations in response to commands received from the user during the subscription period; an account module to calculate, after the subscription period elapses, a profit-and-loss balance of the user based on the game-related operations that the user performed during the subscription period; and an outgoing payment module to provide or assign to the user, if the profit-and-loss balance is positive, a prize calculated based on the profit-and-loss balance.
  • Some embodiments may include systems and methods for subscription-based gambling games, for enabling games (including, but not limited to, slot machines, video poker, card games, black jack, roulette, dice games, bingo, skill games, lottery games, Pachinko games, or the like), gambling, events, activities and/or entertainment, that overcomes the limitations of existing land-based and online gambling systems.
  • Some embodiments may include a platform and method that may enable a user to purchase a right to play various games. Accordingly, the winnings of the user may be calculated based on his gaming results, e.g., wins, loses, wagers, or combination thereof. For example, if the sum of total wins of the user exceeds the sum of the total bets made by the user while he had the right to play, the user may receive the remainder (the balance) in form of money, prizes (including, but not limited to, prepaid gift certificates, gift cards, or other kind of voucher) or discounts (e.g., coupons) to purchase goods.
  • Some embodiments may include a system and method that may enable the user to purchase a subscription to gamble or play for a pre-defined timeframe. In other embodiments, the user may purchase a subscription to gamble or play for a pre-defined number of bets or games, or a pre-defined sum of bets or games.
  • Some embodiments may include a system and method for subscription-based gaming using a dedicated gaming console, a handheld device, a PDA, a Pocket PC device, a mobile phone, a mobile wireless communication device, or the like. The user may purchase a subscription to gamble using, for example, the internet, an intranet, a local network connection, a USB connection, a wireless of IR connection, or the like. Gaming may be performed online or offline.
  • In some embodiments, the user may purchase credits online, for non-subscription-based offline gambling or gaming.
  • In some embodiments, a method of operating a game may include, for example: based on a received pre-paid amount, assigning to a user a subscription period and a substantially unlimited amount of virtual game-related operations that the user is permitted to perform during the subscription period; virtually performing, during the subscription period, game-related operations in response to commands received from the user during the subscription period; after the subscription period elapses, calculating a profit-and-loss balance of the user based on the game-related operations virtually performed for the user during the subscription period; and if the profit-and-loss balance is positive, assigning to the user a prize calculated based on the profit-and-loss balance.
  • In some embodiments, for example, calculating the profit-and-loss balance may include subtracting a total amount of losses that the user incurred in the subscription period, from a total amount of winnings that the user accumulated in the subscription period.
  • In some embodiments, for example, calculating the profit-and-loss balance may include subtracting a total amount of wagers that the user incurred in the subscription period, from a total amount of winnings that the user accumulated in the subscription period.
  • In some embodiments, for example, the method may further include receiving a purchase order from the user; and virtually performing the purchase order based on substantially real-time market quotes.
  • In some embodiments, for example, the method may further include receiving a sale order from the user; and virtually performing the sale order based on substantially real-time market quotes.
  • In some embodiments, for example, the method may further include permitting the user to perform a substantially unlimited number of virtual sales and virtual purchases during the subscription period.
  • In some embodiments, for example, calculating the profit-and-loss balance may include: for each security that user purchased during the subscription period, if the user sold the security—subtracting the sale price of that security from the purchase price of that security, and if the user did not sell the security—subtracting a market price of that security at the ending of the subscription period from the purchase price of that security.
  • In some embodiments, for example, the method may further include displaying to the user a virtual game whose result involves chance; receiving from the user a virtual wager amount; increasing a loss counter by the virtual wager amount; and if the user wins the virtual game, increasing a win counter by a winning amount.
  • In some embodiments, for example, the method may further include permitting the user to perform a substantially unlimited number of wagers during the subscription period.
  • In some embodiments, for example, a gaming device may include: an incoming payment module to receive a payment from a user; a game management module to assign to the user, based on the received payment amount, a subscription period and a substantially unlimited amount of virtual game-related operations that the user is permitted to perform during the subscription period; a gaming module to virtually perform, during the subscription period, game-related operations in response to commands received from the user during the subscription period; an account module to calculate, after the subscription period elapses, a profit-and-loss balance of the user based on the game-related operations virtually performed for the user during the subscription period; and an outgoing payment module to assign to the user, if the profit-and-loss balance is positive, a prize calculated based on the profit-and-loss balance.
  • In some embodiments, for example, the account module is to calculate the profit-and-loss balance by subtracting a total amount of losses that the user incurred in the subscription period, from a total amount of winnings that the user accumulated in the subscription period.
  • In some embodiments, for example, the account module is to calculate the profit-and-loss balance by subtracting a total amount of wagers that the user incurred in the subscription period, from a total amount of winnings that the user accumulated in the subscription period.
  • In some embodiments, for example, the gaming module is to receive a purchase order from the user, and to virtually perform the purchase order based on substantially real-time market quotes.
  • In some embodiments, for example, the gaming module is to receive a sale order from the user, and to virtually perform the sale order based on substantially real-time market quotes.
  • In some embodiments, for example, the gaming module permits the user to perform a substantially unlimited number of virtual sales and virtual purchases during the subscription period.
  • In some embodiments, for example, the gaming module permits the user to perform a substantially unlimited number of wagers during the subscription period.
  • In some embodiments, for example, a gaming system may include: a first payment module to receive a payment from a user; a gaming device including an incoming payment module to retrieve, from the first payment module, data related to the received payment, a game management module to assign to the user, based on the received payment amount, a subscription period and a substantially unlimited amount of virtual game-related operations that the user is permitted to perform during the subscription period, a gaming module to virtually perform, during the subscription period, game-related operations in response to commands received from the user during the subscription period, and an account module to calculate, after the subscription period elapses, a profit-and-loss balance of the user based on the game-related operations virtually performed for the user during the subscription period; and a second payment module to assign to the user, if the profit-and-loss balance is positive, a prize calculated based on the profit-and-loss balance.
  • In some embodiments, for example, the gaming device is portable, and the first and second payment modules are external to the gaming device.
  • In some embodiments, for example, the first payment module may include an online incoming payment module, and the second payment module may include an online outgoing payment module.
  • In some embodiments, for example, the gaming module is to operate offline in a disconnected mode from the first and second payment modules.
  • Embodiments of the invention may provide various other benefits or advantages.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The subject matter regarded as the invention is particularly pointed out and distinctly claimed in the concluding portion of the specification. The invention, however, both as to organization and method of operation, together with containers, features, and advantages thereof, may best be understood by reference to the following detailed description when read with the accompanying drawings in which:
  • FIG. 1 is a flow-chart of a method of operating and using an investment game in accordance with some embodiments of the invention;
  • FIG. 2 is a schematic block diagram illustration of a game system in accordance with some embodiments of the invention;
  • FIG. 3 is a schematic block diagram illustration of a system of a subscription-based game in accordance with some embodiments of the invention;
  • FIG. 4 is a schematic block diagram illustration of components of an electronic cashier in accordance with some embodiments of the invention;
  • FIG. 5 is a flow-chart of a method in accordance with some embodiments of the invention; and
  • FIG. 6 is a schematic block diagram illustration of a system for portable gambling game in accordance with some embodiments of the invention.
  • It will be appreciated that for simplicity and clarity of illustration, elements shown in the figures have not necessarily been drawn to scale. For example, the dimensions of some of the elements may be exaggerated relative to other elements for clarity. Further, where considered appropriate, reference numerals may be repeated among the figures to indicate corresponding or analogous elements.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • In the following detailed description, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the invention. However, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that the present invention may be practiced without these specific details. In other instances, well-known methods, procedures, components and circuits have not been described in detail so as not to obscure the present invention.
  • Unless specifically stated otherwise, as apparent from the following discussions, it is appreciated that throughout the specification discussions utilizing terms such as “processing”, “computing”, “calculating”, “determining”, or the like, refer to the action and/or processes of a computer or computing system, or similar electronic computing device, that manipulate and/or transform data represented as physical, such as electronic, quantities within the computing system's registers and/or memories into other data similarly represented as physical quantities within the computing system's memories, registers or other such information storage, transmission or display devices.
  • Furthermore, usage of the words “gaming”, “gambling” or the like, refers to land-based and/or online events, activities, games, sessions, rounds, hands, rolls, operations, or the like, including, for example, video games, Web games, casino games, card games, dice games, sporting events and/or any other gaming or gambling events. In addition, the words “bet”, “bid” or the like, refer to any type of wagers, bets or gaming ventures that are placed on random events, whether of monetary or non-monetary value, or other events in which chance has a part in determining the result (e.g., chance alone, or chance in combination with skills).
  • The platforms, processes and displays presented herein are not inherently related to any particular computer or other apparatus. Various general-purpose computing systems and networking equipment may be used with programs in accordance with the teachings herein, or it may prove convenient to construct a more specialized apparatus to perform the desired method. The desired structure for a variety of these systems will appear from the description below. In addition, embodiments of the present invention are not described with reference to any particular programming language. It will be appreciated that a variety of programming languages may be used to implement the teachings of the present invention as described herein.
  • The term “securities” as used herein may include, for example, stocks, shares, bonds, mutual funds, commodities, options, spots, precious metals, or other trade-able assets or rights.
  • FIG. 1 is a flow-chart of a method of operating and using an investment game in accordance with some embodiments of the invention.
  • As indicated at box 110, the method may include, for example, logging-in to a service, a system, a network and/or a web-site allowing participation in the investment game. This may include, for example, downloading and/or installing a client program, creating and/or entering a usemarnme and a password, or otherwise launching an interface (e.g., a web-based interface or a hand-held or mobile or cellular interface) to the investment game.
  • As indicated at box 115, the method may include, for example, defining a subscription period in relation to the received payment. In one embodiment, a relatively higher payment may result in a relatively longer subscription period. For example, a payment of 10 Dollars may result in a subscription period of 30 days, a payment of 20 Dollars may result in a subscription period of 75 days, or the like.
  • As indicated at box 120, the method may include, for example, defining maximum permitted virtual portfolio size and available securities, based on or in relation to the subscription type. In one embodiment, available types of securities may be defined, for example, securities that belong to a certain index (e.g., Dow Jones Industrial Average, Standard & Poor, or the like), securities that are traded in a certain exchange (e.g., NASDAQ, NYSE, Forex or the like), securities that belong to a certain market segment (e.g., hi-tech, real estate, energy, biotechnology, or the like), stocks, bonds, foreign currencies, mutual funds, commodities, options, or the like. In another embodiment, available securities may be defined on a specific basis, for example, by defining that stocks of Microsoft (MSFT), General Electric (GE) and Yahoo (YHOO) are available. In another embodiment, a relatively higher payment may result in having more securities' choice for virtual portfolio. For example, a payment of 20 Dollars may result in having only 2 securities to choose from for given subscription period, a payment of 50 Dollars may permit a choice of 5 securities, or the like. In another embodiment, a relatively higher payment may result in having more number of securities permitted for trading in each virtual transaction (permitted virtual portfolio size). For example, a payment of 20 Dollars may result in having a limit of only 20 securities to virtually own; a payment of 50 Dollars may permit a limit of 50 securities to virtually own, or the like.
  • As indicated at box 125, the method may include, for example, allocating trading conditions. In one embodiment, maximum permitted Stop Loss size may be defined. In another embodiment, an initial virtual balance may be defined as zero Dollars or as another predefined amount.
  • As indicated at box 130, the method may include, for example, paying a subscription fee. This may include, for example, paying a pre-defined amount of money, and receiving such payment or a confirmation of such payment.
  • As indicated at box 135, the method may include, for example, providing quotes for one or more of the available securities. In one embodiment, the quotes may include real-time quotes or substantially real-time quotes; in another embodiment, the quotes may include delayed quotes, e.g., 15-minutes delayed quotes, 20-minutes delayed quotes, or 30 minutes delayed quotes. In one embodiment, quotes of substantially all available securities may be provided; in another embodiment, a user may select quotes of one or more available securities, and the selected quotes may be provided. In another embodiment, the quotes may include one, two, three or more quote levels including quote price and number of securities offered.
  • As indicated at box 140, the method may include, for example, submitting a virtual trade order for an available security. This may include, for example, submitting a virtual order to buy or sell an availably security, in accordance with an amount or a quantity provided by a user, and/or limited by subscription terms. The virtual trade order may be similar to a real-world trade order, e.g., a limit order, a market order, an order having instructions or conditions (“All or None”, “Fill or Kill”, or the like), an order having a time limit (“Good for Day”, “Good for Week”, “Good till Executed”), or the like. In one embodiment, only market orders may be submitted, and non-market orders (e.g., limit orders) may not be submitted.
  • As indicated at box 145, the method may include, for example, virtually executing the virtual trade order. This may include, for example, creating or updating a record in a virtual portfolio, or indicating that an available security was purchased or sold. For example, a virtual purchase order may be executed by adding the purchased securities to a virtual portfolio, and by deducting the price of the purchased securities from the virtual balance. Similarly, a virtual sale order may be executed by removing the sold securities from a virtual portfolio, and by adding the price of the sold securities to the virtual balance.
  • In one embodiment, optionally, a virtual trade fee may be applied to the virtual balance, for example, by deducting a pre-defined amount (e.g., 7 Dollars, 11 Dollars, 0.5%, 1% or the like) from the virtual balance upon virtual execution of the virtual trade order. In one embodiment, only market orders may be virtually executed, and non-market orders (e.g., limit orders) may not be virtually executed.
  • In some embodiments, a player may, at any given time during his subscription period, upgrade or edit his subscription properties from a first type to a second type, that may include, for example, an increased virtual portfolio size, additional securities available for virtual trading, additional trading options (Forex, additional stock exchanges, or the like), additional or other trading conditions (e.g., a higher Stop Loss), additional or extended duration of the subscription period, or the like. In this case, the player may be asked to pay an additional fee to cover the difference between the first subscription type and the second subscription type.
  • As indicated at box 150, the method may include, for example, checking whether the subscription period elapsed. As indicated by arrow 151, if the checking result is negative, then the method may include, for example, repeating one or more of the above operations, e.g., the operations of boxes 135, 140 and 145.
  • Conversely, as indicated by arrow 152, if the checking result is positive, then the method may include, as indicated at box 160, determining a final virtual balance. This may include, for example, performing suitable adjustment operations, e.g., to liquidate the virtual portfolio. In one embodiment, for example, the securities that were virtually purchased and were not virtually sold may be sold, e.g., according to market rates at the time the subscription period elapsed, and their price may be added to the virtual balance to result in the final virtual balance.
  • In one embodiment, trade fees may be deducted from the virtual balance upon liquidation of available securities that were purchased and not sold during the subscription period. In some embodiments, the initial virtual balance (e.g., if different than zero) may be deducted from the virtual balance, to result in the final virtual balance. In one embodiment.
  • As indicated at box 165, the method may include, for example, checking whether the final virtual balance is positive.
  • As indicated by arrow 171, if the final virtual balance is not positive (e.g., negative or zero), then the method may include, as indicated at box 180, providing a notification that the subscription period elapsed and that the final virtual balance is not positive.
  • Conversely, as indicated by arrow 172, if the final virtual balance is positive, then the method may include, as indicated at box 190, providing a notification that the subscription period elapsed and that the final virtual balance is positive. In such case, as indicated at box 195, the method may further include, for example, providing or assigning a reward or prize based on the final virtual balance. In one embodiment, the reward may be a pre-defined monetary payment (e.g., 100 Dollars). In another embodiment, the reward may be a monetary payment substantially equal to the amount of the virtual final balance. In yet another embodiment, the reward may be a monetary payment in relation to the amount of the virtual final balance, for example, one half of the virtual final balance, two thirds of the virtual final balance, a pre-defined percentage of the virtual final balance, or the like. In still another embodiment, the reward may be a monetary payment calculated by taking into account the final virtual balance, the subscription period, the subscription fee paid, the number of trades performed, or other parameters. In some embodiments, the reward provided or assigned to a first user may be unrelated to, and unaffected by, the performance of one or more other users, or the properties of one or more other virtual portfolios not operated by the first user.
  • In still another embodiment, the reward or part of the reward may include, for example, an additional subscription period offered to the player. In yet another embodiment, the reward or an additional reward may be paid to several users, for example, that demonstrated better competitive performance, or have performed more transactions, or based on other conditions or criteria which may be defined by the system administrator.
  • Other suitable operations or sets of operations may be used in accordance with embodiments of the invention.
  • FIG. 2 schematically illustrates a block diagram of a game system 200 in accordance with some embodiments of the invention. System 200 may include, for example, a server 220 and one or more stations, e.g., a station 210. The server 220 may be connected to the station 210 through a link 250, e.g., through a wired link, through a wireless communication link, through a wired or wireless network, through the Internet, through the World Wide Web, cellular, or the like.
  • Station 210 may include or may be implemented as, for example, a personal computer, a desktop computer, a server computer, a workstation, a tablet computer, a mobile computer, a laptop computer, a notebook computer, a mobile phone, a cellular phone, a hand-held device, a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) device, a dedicated or multi-purpose computing platform, or other suitable computing devices. In some embodiments, station 210 may include, for example, a processor 211, a memory unit 212, a storage unit 213, an input unit 214, and an output unit 215. Station 210 may include other suitable hardware components and/or software components.
  • Processor 211 may include, for example, a Central Processing Unit (CPU), a Digital Signal Processor (DSP), a microprocessor, a controller, a chip, a microchip, an Integrated Circuit (IC), or any other suitable multi-purpose or specific processor or controller.
  • Memory unit 212 may include, for example, a Random Access Memory (RAM), a Read Only Memory (ROM), a Dynamic RAM (DRAM), a Synchronous DRAM (SD-RAM), a Flash memory, a volatile memory, a non-volatile memory, a cache memory, a buffer, a short term memory unit, a long term memory unit, or other suitable memory units or storage units.
  • Storage unit 213 may include, for example, a hard disk drive, a floppy disk drive, a Compact Disk (CD) drive, a CD-ROM drive, or other suitable removable or non-removable storage units.
  • Input unit 214 may include, for example, a keyboard, a mouse, a touch-pad, a stylus, a pointing device, or the like.
  • Output unit 215 may include, for example, a Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) monitor, a Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) monitor, a plasma monitor, or other suitable monitor or display unit.
  • Station 210 may be operated by a user to perform one or more operations of the investment game, e.g., logging in, paying the subscription fee, and submitting a virtual trade order.
  • Server 220 may include or may be implemented as, for example, a personal computer, a desktop computer, a server computer, a workstation, a tablet computer, a mobile computer, a laptop computer, a notebook computer, a mobile phone, a cellular phone, a hand-held device, a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) device, a dedicated or multi-purpose computing platform, or other suitable computing devices. In some embodiments, server 220 may include, for example, a processor 221, a memory unit 222, and a storage unit 223. Server 220 may include other suitable hardware components and/or software components.
  • Processor 221 may include, for example, a Central Processing Unit (CPU), a Digital Signal Processor (DSP), a microprocessor, a controller, a chip, a microchip, an Integrated Circuit (IC), or any other suitable multi-purpose or specific processor or controller.
  • Memory unit 222 may include, for example, a Random Access Memory (RAM), a Read Only Memory (ROM), a Dynamic RAM (DRAM), a Synchronous DRAM (SD-RAM), a Flash memory, a volatile memory, a non-volatile memory, a cache memory, a buffer, a short term memory unit, a long term memory unit, or other suitable memory units or storage units.
  • Storage unit 223 may include, for example, a hard disk drive, a floppy disk drive, a Compact Disk (CD) drive, a CD-ROM drive, or other suitable removable or non-removable storage units.
  • Server 220 may be operated by a user to perform one or more operations of the investment game, e.g., defining a subscription period, defining available securities, allocating an initial virtual balance, checking whether the subscription period elapsed, determining a final virtual balance, checking whether the final virtual balance is positive, and providing or assigning a reward or prize based on the final virtual balanced.
  • Server 220 may include one or more modules, which may be implemented, for example, as units of server 220, as software components, as hardware components, or as sub-units of other components of server 220. Such modules may include, for example, a quotes module 231, an account module 232, a portfolio module 233, a constraints module 234, an order module 235, an execution module 236, a management module 237, an incoming payment module 238, an outgoing payment module 239, or other suitable modules.
  • The quotes module 231 may provide quotes of one or more securities. In one embodiment, quote data may be received by the quote module 231 from an external source, e.g., a remote quotes generator or quote source. In some embodiments, quotes modules 231 may store and/or retrieve real-time quotes, substantially real-time quotes, delayed quotes, and/or historical quotes.
  • The account module 232 may store parameters of a user's account, or of multiple accounts of multiple users. For example, the account module may store data indicating a username and a password of an account, payments received to the credit of the account, beginning and ending of the subscription period associated with the account, a current balance and historical balances associated with the account, historical records of trades associated with the account, or the like.
  • The portfolio module 233 may store data of securities that are virtually held and associated with an account. In one embodiment, securities that are virtually held may include, for example, securities for which a virtual purchase ordered was virtually executed, and for which a virtual sale order was not virtually executed.
  • The constraints module 234 may store data indicating types of operations that a user may or may not have the power to perform. For example, the powers module 234 may store data indicating the securities available for trading by a user, a minimum or maximum monetary amount for which a virtual trade may be allowed, a maximum number of trades allowed for a user within a pre-defined period of time, a minimum or maximum quantity of securities for which a virtual trade may be allowed, or other constraints or conditions.
  • The order module 235 may include an interface able to receive order details submitted by station 210.
  • The execution module 236 may, for example, virtually execute an order to trade securities, update the portfolio module 233 upon virtual execution of a trade, update the virtual balance upon virtual execution of a trade, or perform other execution-related operations.
  • The management module 237 may, for example, check whether the subscription period elapsed, determine the final virtual balance, send notifications to the user based on the final virtual balance, or perform other operations related to the management of the investment game.
  • The incoming payment module 238 may, for example, be able to receive payment from a user (e.g., subscription fee payment) using one or more methods of payment, e.g., a credit card, a debit card, a check, a money order, an electronic funds transfer, a wire transfer, or the like.
  • The outgoing payment module 239 may, for example, be able to perform payment to a user (e.g., payment of a reward based on the final virtual balance) using one or more methods of payment, e.g., a credit card, a debit card, a check, a money order, an electronic funds transfer, a wire transfer, or the like.
  • In some embodiments, a player may purchase the right to use, for a pre-defined period of time (“subscription period), a stock exchange trading game and/or web-site. Within the subscription period, the player may perform a substantially unlimited number of purchase operations and/or sell operations; optionally, volume requirements or limits (e.g., minimum or maximum) may apply. The purchase/sell orders that the player submits are performed virtually, based on substantially real-time trading data or quotes, or slightly-delayed trading data or quotes. Optionally, bidding and asking prices, as well as current trading quotes are shown, e.g., in substantially real-time or using slightly-delayed data.
  • In some embodiments, the number of shares or commodities that the player may purchase, may be pre-defined in the type of subscription that the player purchases. For example, the higher the subscription price, the greater the variety of shares or commodities that the player may be allowed to trade virtually.
  • Some embodiments may allow responsible gaming. For example, the subscription price paid by the player may be the fixed expense that the player spends in his subscription period of time. The player may not be able to lose money (other than paying the subscription price up front); the player purchases the right to play the investment game for a subscription period, and has no stake to lose.
  • Some embodiments may provide a significant entertainment value. For example, a player may make a substantially unlimited number of virtual trades during his subscription period. The player may determine in advance the length of his subscription period, and may pay only for the right to play (e.g., trade virtually) during that subscription period. However, the player still has a chance to win real money, i.e., non-virtual money.
  • In some embodiments, a “winning” balance may be calculated based on the profit and loss generated virtually by a player during his pre-defined subscription period. If the profit/loss balance is negative, then the player need not pay any payment. If the profit/loss balance is positive, then the player may receive a real (non-virtual) reward which may be dynamically calculated, e.g., a variable reward, non pre-determined or non-constant, as a function of his profit/loss balance, or the like.
  • Some embodiments may provide a gaming experience which may appeal to players seeking a challenge, or seeking to develop trading and/or strategy skills, together with a real-life incentive or reward. In some embodiments, the gambling component or chance component may be minimal or substantially zero, since the game (e.g., trading) may be skill-based. Some embodiments may guarantee fair play and substantially no manipulations, since the game incorporates virtual trading of stocks. Some embodiments may provide a high level of entertainment or excitement, since the game may be based on real-time information and may offer a powerfully realistic ambience.
  • In some embodiments, various suitable components may be used, instead of or in addition to components described herein. For example, in some embodiments, a gaming system may include: an incoming payment module to receive a payment from a user; a game management module to assign to the user, based on the received payment amount, a subscription period and a substantially unlimited amount of virtual game-related operations that the user is allowed to perform during the subscription period; a gaming module to virtually perform game-related operations in response to commands received from the user during the subscription period; an account module to calculate, after the subscription period elapses, a profit-and-loss balance of the user based on the game-related operations that the user performed during the subscription period; and an outgoing payment module to provide or assign to the user, if the profit-and-loss balance is positive, a prize calculated based on the profit-and-loss balance.
  • FIG. 3 schematically illustrates a system 300 of a subscription-based game in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. The system 300 may include a main menu bar 310 that may include a display 312 of the total wins during the subscription period, and a display 314 of the total bets during the subscription period. When the number presented on display 314 is higher than the number presented on display 312, it is an indication that the user of system 300 is winning, and therefore, that he is entitled to receive the remainder between the values showed on display 314 and display 312 in form of money, prizes (including, but not limited to, prepaid gift certificates, gift cards, and/or other kind of voucher or coupon) or discounts to purchase goods.
  • Furthermore, menu bar 310 may include gaming controls 316 to enable the user of the system 300 to activate the different games operable by system 300. The system 300 may also include a display 320 of the game activated and played by the user. The game activated on display 320 may be, for example, a display of a slot machine. Additional controls that may be included in system 300 are, for example, a cashier button 330 which functionality will be described below in detail, an upgrade button 332 to enable the user to upgrade or edit his subscription, as will be described in detail below. Additional controls may be included, such as, for example, a promotions button, an information button, a help button, or the like.
  • FIG. 4 schematically illustrates components of an electronic cashier according to an embodiment of the invention. For example, after clicking or selecting the cashier button 330 of FIG. 3, the user may be requested to choose the format of subscription that he is interested in. For example, the user may be requested to define the period of the subscription (block 402). The period may last, for example, between one minute to a several months or years. The user may be requested to define the cost he is willing to pay for the subscription (block 404). The cost may effect the size of the maximum or fixed bet that the user may play with (block 406). In some embodiments, the period of subscription and/or its cost may be defined by the user, and based on the choices made by the user, the size of the maximum or fixed bet may be determined. In another embodiment, the period of subscription and/or the size of the maximum permitted bet may be defined or selected by the user, and based on the choices made by user, the subscription price may be defined or adjusted.
  • Furthermore, additional characteristics related to the gambling games may also be determined. For example, the minimum wagering requirement after which the user may claim winnings (block 408), and/or number of permitted games, and/or progressive gaming options (block 410) may be determined.
  • The user may proceed to pay for the selected subscription (block 412). For example, for a period of one week with a subscription cost of 50 Dollars, the user may not be exposed to progressive gaming options such as Jackpots. For a longer period of, for example, two weeks, with a higher subscription cost of, for example, 200 Dollars, the user may be exposed to progressive gaming options such as Jackpots.
  • In some embodiments, the user may upgrade, update, renew, modify or otherwise edit his subscription properties or characteristics. When upgrading the subscription, the user may be informed of the current subscription terms, such as, for example, the date his current subscription started, the current subscription period, the expiration date of the subscription period, and total subscription period of the user. In addition, the user may be informed of his maximum permitted or fixed bet size. The user may then upgrade or modify the term of the subscription (e.g., prolongation) and/or upgrade (e.g., increase) his bet size and/or make available more games and/or progressive gaming options. Other modifications may be performed.
  • FIG. 5 is a flowchart diagram of a method in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. After entering to the gaming lobby (block 500), the user may purchase subscription to play for a predefined period of time (block 510A) or a subscription to play a predefined number of wagers (block 510B). In case the period of time is predefined, the maximum number of the wagers may be unlimited (block 520A); in case the number of wagers is predefined, the period of time of the client gaming may be unlimited (Block 520B).
  • FIG. 6 schematically illustrates a system 600 for portable gambling game in accordance with another embodiment of the invention. System 600 may include a dedicated gaming device, a PDA, a Pocket PC device, a handheld device, a mobile phone, a mobile wireless communication device, or other portable electronic device with built-in gaming software (shown as component 640). The system 600 demonstrates a subscription-based gambling game, but regular gambling games may utilize system 600.
  • System 600 may include a main menu bar 610 that may include a display 612 of the total wins during the subscription period, and a display 614 of the total bets during the subscription period. When the number presented on display 614 is higher than the number presented on display 612, it is an indication that the user of system 600 is winning, and therefore, that he is entitled to receive the remainder between the values of display 614 and display 612 in form of money, prizes (including, but not limited to, prepaid gift certificates, gift cards, or any other kind of voucher or coupon) or discounts to purchase goods.
  • Furthermore, menu bar 610 may include gaming controls 616 to enable the user of system 600 to activate the different games operable by system 600. The system 600 may further include a display 620 of the game activated and played by the user. The game activated on display 620 may be, for example, a display of a slot machine. Additional controls that may be included in system 600 are the cashier button 330, and/or an upgrade button 332 to enable the user to upgrade or edit its subscription. Additional controls may be included, such as, for example, a promotions button, an information button, a help button, or the like.
  • System 600 may have internet, intranet and/or local network communication ability (shown as component 150) using one or more techniques or protocols, including but not limited to USB, IR, wireless, cellular ports, or the like. For example, system 600 may be connected to the Internet, to allow a user to purchase a subscription period; accordingly, system 600 may be configured or programmed to allow the user to utilize system 600 offline during the subscription period. At the end of the subscription period, system 600 may be connected again to the Internet, to upload his profit/loss balance (“cash out”), to determine whether he is entitled to a reward, to calculate the reward based on his final profit/loss balance, and to provide or assign the user with the reward or prize. System 600 may include, for example, one or more chance-based games, skill-based games, combined chance/skill-based games, investment platform, trading platform, or the like.
  • In some embodiments, the user may utilize an internet connection to purchase a subscription; after purchasing the subscription, the user may perform wagers either online or offline utilizing the system 600. Optionally, system 600 may be connected to the internet once again, at the end of the subscription period, to upload the profit/loss or win/lose balance from system 600 to a remote processing center, e.g., which may send the user a reward based on his final balance accumulated in system 600.
  • In some embodiments, system 600 may be utilized by a user in conjunction with a subscription allowing the user to play for a pre-defined time period, during which the user may play a substantially unlimited number of games, wagers or bets, or may perform a substantially unlimited number of trading operations. In other embodiments, system 600 may be utilized by a user in conjunction with a subscription allowing the user to play a pre-defined number of games or wagers, a subscription allowing the user to perform a pre-defined number of trading operations, e.g., during a substantially unlimited period of time.
  • In some embodiments, the total winnings or profits that a user accumulated during the subscription period, through games and/or gambling and/or virtual tradings, may be referred to as TotalProfit; and the total losses or wagers that the user incurred during the subscription period, through games and/or gambling and/or virtual tradings, may be referred to as TotalLoss. The difference received by subtracting TotalLoss from TotalProfit, may be referred to as Balance. Once the subscription period elapses, if Balance is negative or zero, then the user may not receive a reward, and may not need to pay any additional compensation; for example, the user may not need to pay a monetary amount equal to Balance, and may not need to pay a monetary amount calculated based on Balance. In contrast, if Balance is positive, then the user may be entitled to receive a reward, which may be, for example, substantially equal to Balance, calculated as a pre-defined percentage of Balance (e.g., 90 percent, 80 percent, 75 percent, 70 percent, 66 percent, 50 percent, 25 percent, or the like), or calculated using a function which takes Balance into account (e.g., by subtracting a pre-defined value from Balance, by multiplying Balance by a pre-defined factor, or the like).
  • In some embodiments, one or more tables, lookup tables, data structures and/or lists may be utilized by the system, and/or may optionally be presented to a user or utilized by a user. Table 1 shows a demonstrative table of subscription costs values, fixed bet size, minimum wagering requirement or credit, and whether or not certain gaming operations are permitted to the user, wherein the subscription period is one week:
  • TABLE 1
    Minimum
    wagering Progressive
    Subscription Subscription Fixed requirement/ Jackpots
    Period Cost Bet Size credits Permitted?
    1 week  $30 0.05 600 No
     $50 0.10 1,000 No
    $100 0.25 2,000 No
    $150 0.50 3,000 No
    $200 1.00 4,000 Partly
    $250 2.00 5,000 Partly
    $300 2.50 6,000 Yes
    $500 5.00 10,000 Yes
  • Table 2 shows a demonstrative table of subscription costs values, fixed bet size, minimum wagering requirement or credit, and whether or not certain gaming operations are permitted to the user, wherein the subscription period is two weeks:
  • TABLE 2
    Minimum
    wagering Progressive
    Subscription Subscription Fixed requirement/ Jackpots
    Period Cost Bet Size credits Permitted?
    2 weeks  $40 0.05 800 No
     $60 0.10 1,200 No
    $125 0.25 2,500 No
    $200 0.50 4,000 Partly
    $300 1.00 6,000 Partly
    $500 2.00 10,000 Partly
    $600 2.50 12,000 Yes
    $750 5.00 15,000 Yes
  • In some embodiments, a user's ability to prolong, update, upgrade or modify his subscription properties, e.g., his subscription period, may be limited. For example, a subscription for one week may be prolonged up until 3 days before the subscription period elapses; a subscription for two weeks may be prolonged up until 5 days before the subscription period elapses; a subscription for one month may be prolonged up until 9 days before the subscription period elapses; a subscription for two months may be prolonged up until 15 days before the subscription period elapses; or the like. In some embodiments, during the time period in which the user may not be able to prolong his subscription (e.g., towards the end of the subscription period), the user may be allowed to modify other properties related to the subscription, for example, modify, upgrade or increase his bet size.
  • Some embodiments of the invention may be implemented by software, by hardware, or by any combination of software and/or hardware as may be suitable for specific applications or in accordance with specific design requirements. Embodiments of the invention may include units and/or sub-units, which may be separate of each other or combined together, in whole or in part, and may be implemented using specific, multi-purpose or general processors or controllers, or devices as are known in the art. Some embodiments of the invention may include buffers, registers, stacks, storage units and/or memory units, for temporary or long-term storage of data or in order to facilitate the operation of a specific embodiment.
  • Some embodiments of the invention may be implemented, for example, using a machine-readable medium or article which may store an instruction or a set of instructions that, if executed by a machine, cause the machine to perform a method and/or operations in accordance with embodiments of the invention. Such machine may include, for example, any suitable processing platform, computing platform, computing device, processing device, computing system, processing system, computer, processor, or the like, and may be implemented using any suitable combination of hardware and/or software. The machine-readable medium or article may include, for example, any suitable type of memory unit, memory device, memory article, memory medium, storage device, storage article, storage medium and/or storage unit, for example, memory, removable or non-removable media, erasable or non-erasable media, writeable or re-writeable media, digital or analog media, hard disk, floppy disk, Compact Disk Read Only Memory (CD-ROM), Compact Disk Recordable (CD-R), Compact Disk Re-Writeable (CD-RW), optical disk, magnetic media, various types of Digital Versatile Disks (DVDs), a tape, a cassette, or the like. The instructions may include any suitable type of code, for example, source code, compiled code, interpreted code, executable code, static code, dynamic code, or the like, and may be implemented using any suitable high-level, low-level, object-oriented, visual, compiled and/or interpreted programming language, e.g., C, C++, Java, BASIC, Pascal, Fortran, Cobol, assembly language, machine code, or the like.
  • While certain features of the invention have been illustrated and described herein, many modifications, substitutions, changes, and equivalents may occur to those of ordinary skill in the art. It is, therefore, to be understood that the appended claims are intended to cover all such modifications and changes as fall within the true spirit of the invention.

Claims (20)

1. A method of operating a game, the method comprising:
based on a received pre-paid amount, assigning to a user a subscription period and a substantially unlimited amount of virtual game-related operations that the user is permitted to perform during the subscription period;
virtually performing, during the subscription period, game-related operations in response to commands received from the user during the subscription period;
after the subscription period elapses, calculating a profit-and-loss balance of the user based on the game-related operations virtually performed for the user during the subscription period; and
if the profit-and-loss balance is positive, assigning to the user a prize calculated based on the profit-and-loss balance.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein calculating the profit-and-loss balance comprises:
subtracting a total amount of losses that the user incurred in the subscription period, from a total amount of winnings that the user accumulated in the subscription period.
3. The method of claim 1, wherein calculating the profit-and-loss balance comprises:
subtracting a total amount of wagers that the user incurred in the subscription period, from a total amount of winnings that the user accumulated in the subscription period.
4. The method of claim 1, further comprising:
receiving a purchase order from the user; and
virtually performing the purchase order based on substantially real-time market quotes.
5. The method of claim 4, further comprising:
receiving a sale order from the user; and
virtually performing the sale order based on substantially real-time market quotes.
6. The method of claim 4, further comprising:
permitting the user to perform a substantially unlimited number of virtual sales and virtual purchases during the subscription period.
7. The method of claim 6, wherein calculating the profit-and-loss balance comprises:
for each security that user purchased during the subscription period,
if the user sold the security—subtracting the sale price of that security from the purchase price of that security, and
if the user did not sell the security—subtracting a market price of that security at the ending of the subscription period from the purchase price of that security.
8. The method of claim 1, further comprising:
displaying to the user a virtual game whose result involves chance;
receiving from the user a virtual wager amount;
increasing a loss counter by the virtual wager amount; and
if the user wins the virtual game, increasing a win counter by a winning amount.
9. The method of claim 8, further comprising:
permitting the user to perform a substantially unlimited number of wagers during the subscription period.
10. A gaming device comprising:
an incoming payment module to receive a payment from a user;
a game management module to assign to the user, based on the received payment amount, a subscription period and a substantially unlimited amount of virtual game-related operations that the user is permitted to perform during the subscription period;
a gaming module to virtually perform, during the subscription period, game-related operations in response to commands received from the user during the subscription period;
an account module to calculate, after the subscription period elapses, a profit-and-loss balance of the user based on the game-related operations virtually performed for the user during the subscription period; and
an outgoing payment module to assign to the user, if the profit-and-loss balance is positive, a prize calculated based on the profit-and-loss balance.
11. The gaming device of claim 10, wherein the account module is to calculate the profit-and-loss balance by subtracting a total amount of losses that the user incurred in the subscription period, from a total amount of winnings that the user accumulated in the subscription period.
12. The gaming device of claim 10, wherein the account module is to calculate the profit-and-loss balance by subtracting a total amount of wagers that the user incurred in the subscription period, from a total amount of winnings that the user accumulated in the subscription period.
13. The gaming device of claim 10, wherein the gaming module is to receive a purchase order from the user, and to virtually perform the purchase order based on substantially real-time market quotes.
14. The gaming device of claim 13, wherein the gaming module is to receive a sale order from the user, and to virtually perform the sale order based on substantially real-time market quotes.
15. The gaming device of claim 10, wherein the gaming module permits the user to perform a substantially unlimited number of virtual sales and virtual purchases during the subscription period.
16. The gaming device of claim 10, wherein the gaming module permits the user to perform a substantially unlimited number of wagers during the subscription period.
17. A gaming system comprising:
a first payment module to receive a payment from a user;
a gaming device comprising:
an incoming payment module to retrieve, from the first payment module, data related to the received payment;
a game management module to assign to the user, based on the received payment amount, a subscription period and a substantially unlimited amount of virtual game-related operations that the user is permitted to perform during the subscription period;
a gaming module to virtually perform, during the subscription period, game-related operations in response to commands received from the user during the subscription period;
an account module to calculate, after the subscription period elapses, a profit-and-loss balance of the user based on the game-related operations virtually performed for the user during the subscription period; and
and
a second payment module to assign to the user, if the profit-and-loss balance is positive, a prize calculated based on the profit-and-loss balance.
18. The gaming system of claim 17, wherein the gaming device is portable, and wherein the first and second payment modules are external to the gaming device.
19. The gaming system of claim 17, wherein the first payment module comprises an online incoming payment module, and wherein the second payment module comprises an online outgoing payment module.
20. The gaming system of claim 19, wherein the gaming module is to operate offline in a disconnected mode from the first and second payment modules.
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EP1833545A2 (en) 2007-09-19 application
EP1833545A4 (en) 2009-05-27 application

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