US20090312094A1 - Methods and apparatus for secured transaction logging - Google Patents

Methods and apparatus for secured transaction logging Download PDF

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US20090312094A1
US20090312094A1 US12/476,253 US47625309A US2009312094A1 US 20090312094 A1 US20090312094 A1 US 20090312094A1 US 47625309 A US47625309 A US 47625309A US 2009312094 A1 US2009312094 A1 US 2009312094A1
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Prior art keywords
log file
transaction log
printer
gaming machine
device
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US12/476,253
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Daniel deWaal
John J. Hilbert
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International Game Technology
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International Game Technology
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Application filed by International Game Technology filed Critical International Game Technology
Priority to US12/476,253 priority patent/US20090312094A1/en
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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
    • G07F17/3225Data 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
    • 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
    • G07F17/3241Security aspects of a gaming system, e.g. detecting cheating, device integrity, surveillance
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F17/00Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services
    • G07F17/32Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services for games, toys, sports or amusements, e.g. casino games, online gambling or betting
    • G07F17/3244Payment aspects of a gaming system, e.g. payment schemes, setting payout ratio, bonus or consolation prizes
    • G07F17/3248Payment aspects of a gaming system, e.g. payment schemes, setting payout ratio, bonus or consolation prizes involving non-monetary media of fixed value, e.g. casino chips of fixed value

Abstract

Methods and apparatus for secured transaction logging are disclosed. A transaction log file containing information on print jobs such as voucher and coupon printing may be created and securely stored in a printer and/or routing device, printed by the printer and/or securely uploaded to a host system for verification and further processing.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
  • This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/057,592, filed on May 30, 2008 and entitled “Methods and Apparatus for Secured Transaction Logging,” which is hereby incorporated by reference and for all purposes.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Field of the Invention
  • This invention relates to gaming, more specifically to secured transactions involved in gaming.
  • 2. Background
  • The gaming machine manufacturing industry provides a variety of gaming machines for the amusement of gaming machine players. An example of a gaming machine is a slot machine. A slot machine is generally an electro-mechanical gaming machine wherein chance or the skill of a player determines the outcome of the game. Slot machines are usually found in casinos or other more informal gaming establishments.
  • Gaming machine manufacturers have more recently introduced cashless enabled gaming machines to the market and these have begun to find wide acceptance in the gaming industry. Cashless enabled gaming machines are so named because they can conduct financial exchanges using only a voucher and/or a mixture of traditional currencies and vouchers. Typically, a cashless enabled gaming machine has a gaming printer to produce vouchers and a voucher reader that supports automatic reading of vouchers. To coordinate the activities of multiple cashless enabled gaming machines, one or more cashless enabled gaming machines may be electronically coupled to a cashless enabled gaming machine system that controls the cashless operations of a cashless enabled gaming machine.
  • When a player cashes out using a cashless enabled gaming machine coupled to a cashless enabled gaming machine system, the cashless enabled gaming machine signals the system and the system may determine the type of pay out presented to the player. Depending on the size of the pay out, the cashless enabled gaming machine system may cause the cashless enabled gaming machine to present coins in the traditional method of a slot machine, or the cashless enabled gaming machine system may cause a gaming printer in the cashless enabled gaming machine to produce a voucher for the value of the pay out. The voucher may then be redeemed in a variety of ways. For example, the voucher may be redeemed for cash at a cashier's cage or used with another cashless enabled gaming machine. In order to use the voucher in a cashless enabled gaming machine, the voucher is inserted into a voucher reader of another cashless enabled gaming machine at a participating casino and the cashless enabled gaming machine system recognizes the voucher, redeems the voucher, and places an appropriate amount of playing credits on the cashless enabled gaming machine.
  • Cashless enabled gaming machines have found an increasing acceptance and use in the gaming industry, both with players who enjoy the speed of play and ease of transporting their winnings around the casino and casinos who have realized significant labor savings in the form of reduced coin hopper reloads in the gaming machines, and an increase in revenue because of the speed of play. Practical field experience with printers used in cashless enabled gaming machines has illustrated that there are areas for improvement in the current printer designs and implementation.
  • DEFINITIONS
  • For the purposes of this document, the following definitions apply:
  • “Game,” “Gaming Machine,” or “Game Machine”—A slot machine, gaming machine, or game table.
  • “Host System”—A computer, back-end system, gaming system, network, or other system that sends and/or receives information to and/or from a gaming machine, a printer or other component in a gaming machine or gaming table. Examples of a host system include a wagering issuance and redemption system, cash-out voucher system, a player tracking system, and a promotional coupon system, among others.
  • “Voucher,” “Game Voucher,” or “Game Cashout Voucher”—Media, such as paper or rewritable card, containing sufficient information to identify at a minimum, an amount of money and a validation number used to authenticate the transaction.
  • “Coupon,” “Promotional Coupon”—Media, such as paper or rewritable card, containing sufficient information to identify at a minimum, a promotional event or a promotional reward to a player and validation information.
  • SUMMARY
  • The present invention identifies methods and apparatus for secured transaction logging where a transaction log file containing information on print jobs such as voucher and coupon printing is created and securely stored in a printer and/or routing device, printed by the printer and/or securely uploaded to a host system for verification and further processing.
  • In one aspect of the invention, apparatus for secured transaction logging includes a host system configured for communication with one or a plurality of printers and/or one or a plurality of routing devices where each printer is in communication with a routing device for signaling and data transfer of one or a plurality of transaction log files.
  • In another aspect of the invention, a host system, printer routing device, and/or handheld device, each containing programming instructions, memory and interface means, among others necessary for signaling and data transfer of one or a plurality of transaction log files.
  • In another aspect of the invention, a transaction log file is associated with a printer and/or routing device.
  • In another aspect of the invention, a transaction log file contains voucher and/or coupon print jobs.
  • In another aspect of the invention, a log is created in a transaction log file each time a print job is generated by the printer.
  • In another aspect of the invention, a transaction log file is stored in the printer that generated one or a plurality of print jobs such as voucher and coupon printing.
  • In another aspect of the invention, a transaction log file is stored in a routing device configured for communication with the printer that generated one or a plurality of print jobs such as voucher and coupon printing.
  • In another aspect of the invention, the transaction log file logs the number of coupons and/or vouchers printed by the printer.
  • In another aspect of the invention, the transaction log file is secured using encryption, security means and/or algorithms where access to the file is limited to only authorized individuals and/or host systems.
  • In another aspect of the invention, the transaction log file is saved in any format such as a text file or XML file, among others.
  • In another aspect of the invention, the content of the log file is indicative of what was printed. For example, if the print job was a coupon, the log file includes a copy of what was printed on the coupon; further, if the print job was a voucher, the log file includes a copy of what was printed on the voucher.
  • In another aspect of the invention, the transaction log file identifies which print jobs were coupons and which were vouchers.
  • In another aspect of the invention, the content of the transaction log file includes a date and/or time stamp for each log entry.
  • In another aspect of the invention, the transaction log file can be uploaded using secured communication and encryption to a host system such as a gaming machine hosting the printer, a routing device hosting a printer, a host system hosting a gaming machine, and/or a handheld device configured for communication with the printer and/or routing device where the transaction log file can be verified or further processed.
  • In another aspect of the invention, the transaction log file can be printed from the printer. In this embodiment, an authorized individual such as a gaming regulator using secured means can request the printer to generate the log file onto the blank media stored in the printer.
  • According to one aspect of the present invention, a method is provided for secured transaction logging in a gaming machine operable to play a game of chance. A transaction log file containing one or more log entries is provided. The transaction log file may be stored in a memory. An instruction indicating a print job regarding the printing of an item such as a coupon or a voucher by a printer associated with the gaming machine may be provided. Responsive to this instruction, a log entry regarding the print job may be generated. The log entry may be stored as an element of the transaction log file in the memory. An access request message may be received over a secure communications path. Responsive to this instruction, the transaction log file may be retrieved from the memory. The transaction log file may be uploaded to a host device via a routing device configured for communication with the printer and the host device. The host device may be capable of storing the transaction log file for verification.
  • In some implementations, responsive to receiving a print request message over a secure communications path, the transaction log file may be printed on a media and output by the printer. Also, the stored transaction log file can be encrypted. Depending on the desired implementation, the memory can be situated in the printer, the routing device, and/or other locations. Depending on the desired implementation, the host device can be a server, the gaming machine, a further gaming machine, a handheld device, or a routing device.
  • In one implementation, the method may further include establishing a secure communications path between a data processing device and a communications interface associated with the gaming machine. Examples of suitable data processing devices include the gaming machine, a further gaming machine, a handheld device, and a routing device. The access request message can be received from the data processing device. The access request message may request access to the transaction log file. In addition, the method can further include identifying the memory in which the transaction log file is stored.
  • According to another aspect of the present invention, a gaming machine may provide for secured transaction logging. The gaming machine may be operable to play a game of chance. The gaming machine may includes a value input device capable of receiving value, a player input device operable to place a wager on the game of chance, and a value output device capable of outputting value associated with play of the game of chance. The gaming machine may also include a memory configured for storing a transaction log file containing one or more log entries, a printer, and a controller. The controller may be configured to do the following: 1) receive a print job instruction indicating a print job regarding the printing of an item by the printer, 2) responsive to the print job instruction, generate a log entry regarding the print job, 3) store the log entry as an element of the transaction log file in the memory, and 4) responsive to receiving an access request message over a secure communications path: a) retrieve the transaction log file from the memory, and b) upload the transaction log file to a host device via a routing device configured for communication with the printer and the host device. The host device may be configured to store the transaction log file, e.g., for verification.
  • According to yet another aspect of the present invention, a system is provided for secured transaction logging. The system may include a host device, a data processing device capable of outputting an access request message, and a plurality of gaming machines operable to play games of chance. Each gaming machine generally includes a memory storing a transaction log file containing one or more log entries, a printer, and a controller. The controller may be configured to do the following: 1) receive a print job instruction indicating a print job regarding the printing of an item by the printer, 2) responsive to the print job instruction, generate a log entry regarding the print job, 3) store the log entry as an element of the transaction log file in the memory, and 4) responsive to receiving an access request message over a secure communications path: a) retrieve the transaction log file from the memory, and b) upload the transaction log file to a host device via a routing device configured for communication with the printer and the host device. The host device may be configured for storing the transaction log file, e.g., for verification.
  • These and other methods of the invention may be implemented by various types of hardware, software, firmware, etc. For example, some features of the invention may be implemented, at least in part, by a personal digital assistant, by a portable gaming device and/or other type of mobile device, by one or more host devices, servers, etc. Some embodiments of the invention are provided as computer programs embodied in machine-readable media. The computer programs may include instructions for controlling one or more devices to perform the methods described herein.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • These and other features, aspects, and advantages of the present invention will become better understood with regard to the following description and accompanying drawings where:
  • FIG. 1 a through FIG. 1 f are illustrations of the components and connection thereof for secured transaction logging in accordance with some embodiments of the present invention;
  • FIG. 2 is a block diagram of a host system used with secured transaction logging in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 3 is a block diagram of a printer used with secured transaction logging in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 4 is a block diagram of a routing device used with secured transaction logging in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 5 is a side cutaway view of a printer illustrating the paper path used with the generation of a transaction log file in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 6 is a flow chart of an upload transaction log file process in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention; and
  • FIG. 7 is a flow chart of a print transaction log file process in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • While the present invention will be described with reference to a few specific embodiments, the description is illustrative of the invention and is not to be construed as limiting the invention. Various modifications to the present invention can be made to the preferred embodiments without departing from the true spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims. For example, the steps of methods shown and described herein are not necessarily performed in the order indicated. It should also be understood that the methods of the invention may include more or fewer steps than are indicated.
  • Device functionality may be apportioned by grouping or dividing tasks in any convenient fashion. Therefore, when steps are described herein as being performed by a single device (e.g., a single printer, gaming machine, handheld device or server), the steps may alternatively be performed by multiple devices and vice versa.
  • FIG. 1 a through FIG. 1 f are illustrations of the components and connection thereof for secured transaction logging in accordance with exemplary embodiments of the present invention.
  • Secured transaction logging includes a transaction log file that contains information on print jobs such as voucher and coupon printing that may be created and securely stored, e.g., in a printer that generated the print jobs and/or a routing device in communication with the printer that generated the print jobs. A transaction log file may be associated with a printer and/or routing device. Each time a print job is generated by the printer, such as voucher and coupon printing, a log may be created in the transaction log file. The transaction log file may be secured using encryption methods, algorithms and/or devices. Security processes and/or devices may restrict access to the transaction log file to only authorized individuals and/or one or more host systems. In some embodiments, the transaction log file can be printed by a printer and/or uploaded to a host system.
  • One example of a host system is a promotional coupon system used to create, manage and track the issuance and redemption of promotional coupons. Additional details of a host system, printer, and routing device are disclosed in FIG. 2, FIG. 3, and FIG. 4 respectively.
  • The contents of a transaction log file may include data regarding each voucher and/or coupon print jobs, which print job was a voucher and which was a coupon, the number of coupons and/or vouchers printed by the printer, content indicative of what was printed, for example, a copy of what was printed on a coupon or voucher. Additionally, the content may include a date and/or time stamp for each entry.
  • The transaction log file may be saved in any format such as an XML file or a text file, among others.
  • Now turning to FIG. 1 a, illustrated in FIG. 1 a are a gaming machine such as a slot machine, a printer and a transaction log file. The gaming machine connects to the printer for signaling and/or data transfer. In this example, the printer is configured to store the transaction log file.
  • In the operation of one embodiment, the gaming machine is configured to receive signaling to generate one or a plurality of vouchers using a connected printer. When a voucher is generated, a log entry may be created and stored in the transaction log file for that printer.
  • In the operation of another embodiment, the printer is configured to receive signaling to generate one or a plurality of promotional coupons. When a promotional coupon is generated, a log entry may be created and stored in the transaction log file for that printer.
  • To request and/or gain access to the transaction log file, the gaming machine may use secured means such as secured communications, encryption, a PIN, etc. Once the gaming machine has access, the gaming machine may signal the printer to print the transaction log file. When the transaction log file is generated, a log entry may be created and stored, e.g., in the transaction log file for that printer.
  • In the operation of another embodiment, once the gaming machine has access to the transaction log file, the gaming machine requests from the printer the transaction log file, which the gaming machine then stores and/or uploads to a host system for data verification and/or further processing.
  • In the operation of another embodiment, the printer may uses secured means such as secured communications, encryption, a PIN, a keypad combination, or others to request and/or gain access to the transaction log file. Once the printer has access, the printer prints the transaction log file. When the transaction log file is generated, a log entry is created and stored in the transaction log file for that printer.
  • In the operation of another embodiment, once the printer has access to the transaction log file, the printer uploads the transaction log file to a host system for data verification and/or further processing.
  • Illustrated in FIG. 1 b are a gaming machine such as a slot machine, a printer, a transaction log file, and a handheld device such as a laptop, PDA, etc. The gaming machine is configured for communication with the printer for signaling and/or data transfer. The handheld device is configured for communication with the printer for signaling and data transfer. The printer is configured to store the transaction log file.
  • The operations of this embodiment may include those previously disclosed in FIG. 1 a for the gaming machine and printer. Included in this embodiment is a handheld device.
  • A handheld device such as a laptop, PDA, or other contains the programming instructions, logic system (including one or more logic devices, such as processors) memory, security and interface system (including one or more network interfaces), among others necessary for signaling and data transfer of one or a plurality of transaction log files for data verification and other purposes.
  • In the operation of another embodiment, to request and/or gain access to the transaction log file, the handheld device may be configured to use secured means such as secured communications, encryption, a PIN, keypad, or others. Once the handheld device has access, the handheld device may signals the printer to print the transaction log file. When the transaction log file is generated, a log entry may be created and stored, e.g., in the transaction log file for that printer.
  • In the operation of another embodiment, once the handheld device has access to the transaction log file, the handheld device requests from the printer the transaction log file which the handheld device then stores for further processing.
  • Illustrated in FIG. 1 c are a gaming machine such as a slot machine, a printer, a transaction log file, a handheld device such as a laptop, PDA or other, and a host system. The gaming machine is configured for communication with the printer for signaling and/or data transfer. The handheld device is configured for communication with the printer and a host system for signaling and/or data transfer. The printer or another device may store the transaction log file.
  • The operations of this embodiment may include those previously disclosed in FIG. 1 a for the gaming machine and printer as well as those previously disclosed in FIG. 1 b for a handheld device. Included in this embodiment is a host system.
  • A host system contains the logic system (including one or more logic devices such as processors) programming instructions, memory, interface system (including at least one network interface), security interface means, among others necessary for signaling and data transfer of one or a plurality of transaction log files for data verification and other purposes. An example of a host system is a promotional coupon system used to create, manage and track the issuance and redemption of promotional coupons. Additional details of one example of a host system are disclosed in FIG. 2.
  • In the operation of another embodiment, once the handheld device has access to the transaction log file, the handheld device requests from the printer the transaction log file which the handheld device then stores and/or uploads the transaction log file to a host system for data verification and/or further processing.
  • Illustrated in FIG. 1 d are a gaming machine such as a slot machine, a printer, a transaction log file, and a routing device. The gaming machine as well as the routing device is configured for communication with the printer for signaling and/or data transfer. The printer (or another device) may store the transaction log file. In another embodiment, the transaction log file may be stored in the routing device in communication with the printer.
  • The operations of this embodiment may include those previously disclosed in FIG. 1 a for the gaming machine and printer. Included in this embodiment is a routing device.
  • A routing device contains the programming instructions, memory, security and interface means, among others necessary for signaling and data transfer of one or a plurality of transaction log files for data verification and other purposes. A routing device can be internal or external to the printer and/or gaming machine or other host system. Additional details of a routing device are disclosed in FIG. 4.
  • In the operation of another embodiment, the routing device receives signaling to generate one or a plurality of promotional coupons using a connected printer. When a promotional coupon is generated, a log entry is created and stored in the transaction log file for that printer.
  • In the operation of another embodiment, to request and/or gain access to the transaction log file, the routing device uses secured means such as secured communications, encryption, a PIN, keypad, or others. Once the routing device has access, the routing device signals the printer to print the transaction log file. When the transaction log file is generated, a log entry is created and stored in the transaction log file for that printer.
  • In the operation of another embodiment, once the routing device has access to the transaction log file, the routing device requests from the printer the transaction log file which the routing device then stores for data verification and further processing.
  • Illustrated in FIG. 1 e are a gaming machine such as a slot machine, a printer, a transaction log file, a routing device, and a host system.
  • The printer stores the transaction log file. In another embodiment, the transaction log file is stored in the routing device in communication with the printer.
  • The operations of this embodiment may include those previously disclosed in FIG. 1 a for the gaming machine and printer and FIG. 1 c for a host system as well as those previously disclosed in FIG. 1 d for a routing device.
  • In the operation of another embodiment, to request and/or gain access to the transaction log file, the routing device uses secured means such as secured communications, encryption, a PIN, keypad, or others. Once the routing device has access, the routing device signals the printer to print the transaction log file. When the transaction log file is generated, a log entry is created and stored in the transaction log file for that printer.
  • In the operation of another embodiment, once the routing device has access to the transaction log file, the routing device requests from the printer the transaction log file which the routing device then stores and/or uploads to a host system for data verification and/or further processing.
  • Illustrated in FIG. 1 f are a gaming machine such as a slot machine, a printer, a transaction log file, a routing device, a handheld device, and a host system.
  • The printer stores the transaction log file. In another embodiment, the transaction log file is stored in the routing device in communication with the printer.
  • The operations of this embodiment may include those previously disclosed in FIG. 1 a for the game and printer as well as those previously disclosed in FIG. 1 d and FIG. 1 e.
  • In the operation of another embodiment, to request and/or access to the transaction log file, the routing device uses secured means such as secured communications, encryption, a PIN, keypad, or others. Once the routing device has access to the transaction log file, the routing device may request the transaction log file from the printer or from the routing device which the routing device may then store and/or upload to a handheld device. The handheld device may then store the transaction log file and/or upload the transaction log file to a host system for data verification and/or further processing.
  • In another embodiment, the routing device uploads data related to the transaction log file to a host system and data to the handheld device. After the data from the handheld device is uploaded to the host system, the host system can perform data verification and further processing on the transaction log file.
  • FIG. 2 is a block diagram of a host system used with secured transaction logging in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.
  • In this example, a host system contains the logic system (including one or more logic devices such as processors, programmable logic devices, etc.), programming instructions, memory, interface system (including at least one network interface) security interface means, among others necessary for signaling and data transfer of one or a plurality of transaction log files for data verification and other purposes. One exemplary host system may be a promotional coupon system used to create, manage and track the issuance and redemption of promotional coupons.
  • Here, the host includes a processor, operatively coupled via a bus to a memory. The processor may further be operatively coupled via the bus to a storage device. Program instructions and data for implementing secured transaction logging processes may be stored in the storage device until the processor retrieves the program instructions and stores them in the memory. The processor may then execute the program instructions stored in the memory and use the data to implement the features of the secured transaction logging processes.
  • The processor may be further configured for communication via the bus to one or more devices of an interface system, such as communications devices or ports. The host may use the communications devices to securely transmit and receive control signals and/or data to and from external devices, e.g., as previously described.
  • The processor may be further configured for communication via the bus to one or more user input devices and one or more user output devices for communicating with a user as previously described for secured transaction logging.
  • FIG. 3 is a block diagram of a printer used with secured transaction logging in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. Any component may be optional.
  • A printer may contain the logic system (including one or more logic devices, such as processors, programmable logic devices, etc.), programming instructions, memory, interfaces, security interface means, among others necessary for signaling and data transfer of one or a plurality of transaction log files for data verification and other purposes.
  • Here, the printer includes a processor, operatively coupled via a bus to a memory. The processor may be further operatively coupled via the bus to a storage device. Program instructions and data implementing previously described secured transaction logging processes may be stored in the storage device until the processor retrieves the program instructions and stores them in the memory. The processor may then execute the program instructions stored in the memory and may use the data to implement the features of the secured transaction logging processes.
  • The processor may be further configured for communication via the bus to one or more communication devices or ports. The printer may uses the communication devices to securely transmit and receive control signals and/or data to and/or from an external device such as a host system, gaming system, gaming machine, handheld device and/or routing device, e.g., as previously described.
  • The processor is further configured for communication via the system bus to a print device. The printer uses the print device to generate vouchers and/or coupons and to securely generate transaction log files as previously described.
  • FIG. 4 is a block diagram of a routing device used with secured transaction logging in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.
  • Here, the routing device contains the interface system (which may include one or more interfaces such as ports, associated line cards, etc.) the logic system, the programming instructions, memory, security and interface means, among others necessary for signaling and data transfer of one or a plurality of transaction log files for data verification and other purposes. The logic system may include one or more logic devices, such as processors, programmable logic devices, etc. The logic system may include a central logic device and/or logic devices associated with one or more ports, line cards or the like.
  • In this example, the routing device includes a processor, operatively coupled via a bus to a memory. The processor may be further operatively coupled via the bus to a storage device. Program instructions and data implementing previously described voucher and coupon printing processes may be stored in the storage device until the processor retrieves the program instructions and stores them in the memory. The processor may then execute the program instructions stored in the memory and may uses the data to implement the features of the secured transaction logging processes as previously described.
  • The processor may be further configured for communication via the bus to one or more communication devices or ports. The routing device may use the communication devices to transmit and/or receive control signals from a host system such as a promotional coupon system, gaming system or gaming machine, e.g., as previously described.
  • The processor may be further configured for communication via the system bus to a print device. The routing device may use the print device to generate vouchers and/or coupons as previously described.
  • Additionally, external devices can include those described in FIG. 1 such as a slot machine or gaming table, among others.
  • FIG. 5 is a side cutaway view of a printer illustrating the paper path used with the generation of a transaction log file in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. As with other devices described herein, the details that are illustrated in FIG. 5 and set forth below are merely made by way of example.
  • Illustrated in FIG. 5 are the media tray, the printed circuit board (“PCB”), the print module, a print head, a media path, a front aperture, the base, a lid, and a lid aperture.
  • In this example, the media tray stores blank media for use with printing. The PCB contains the electronics and components such as memory as well as those previously disclosed in FIG. 3 necessary to drive the printing processes such as securely generating a transaction log file as well as generating vouchers and coupons, among other printing processes and interfacing with external devices such as a host system, game, routing device and handheld device, among others.
  • The print module serves as casing for the print head, media path and rollers, among others. The print head generates indicia on the blank media. The media path consists of a plurality of components such as a series of pinch rollers, covered in a flexible material, with accompanying mechanical guides. The pinch rollers and mechanical guides provide a serpentine path for media as the media is being printed. The pinch rollers pull the media through the media path as the media is being printed by the print head. The overall length of the serpentine path is such that media can be held within the media path after media has been fully printed.
  • The print module also contains an aperture located to the front of the print module. Printed media, such as coupons or vouchers, may exit through this aperture.
  • The base of the printer provides the means by which the printer mounts to a game, kiosk, or other. Here, the print module and other components of the printer are slidably and removably connected to the base for ease of use and servicing.
  • In the operation of one embodiment, blank media is loaded and stored in the media tray and fed into the lid aperture of the lid where the blank media is ready for printing. Upon receiving a print command, the printer pulls the blank media through the lid aperture over the print head and generates an image and/or indicia to be printed on the media and operates the print mechanism in a manner that creates the image and/or indicia on the media. The media continues through the media path in the print module and exits through the front aperture.
  • FIG. 6 is a flow chart of an upload transaction log file process in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.
  • As illustrated, the process begins with initiating secured access where, for example, a gaming regulator using a handheld device, secured communications and encryption means initiates a request to access the transaction log file. The process continues with searching for the device where, for example, a printer storing the transaction log file is queried. If the device is not found, the process continues with a notification to the host and/or users.
  • If the device is found, the process continues with requesting the log file where, for example, a gaming regulator can request the transaction log file of the printer. If the transaction log file is not found, the process continues with a notification to the host and/or users.
  • If the transaction log file is found, the process continues with uploading the transaction log file where the file is uploaded to a game, host, routing device, or handheld device, among others after which the transaction log file can optionally be purged from the device in which it resides, such as a printer or routing device. The process ends with a notification to the host and/or users where notification is sent of an upload. The upload is performed using secured communication and encryption means.
  • FIG. 7 is a flow chart of a print transaction log file process in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.
  • Here, the process begins with initiating secured access where, for example, a gaming regulator may use a device (such as a handheld device) to initiate a request to access the transaction log file. The request may be communicated via secured communications and encryption means. In this example, the process continues with searching for the device where, e.g., a device (such as a printer) that is storing the transaction log file may be queried. If the device is not found, the process continues with a notification to the host and/or users.
  • If the device is found, the process continues with a “request log file” step wherein, for example, the gaming regulator may request the transaction log file (e.g., from the printer). If the transaction log file is not found, the process continues to a step of notifying a host and/or users.
  • If the transaction log file is found, the process continues with a step of printing the transaction log file, wherein the file is printed. In this example, the process ends with a notification to the host and/or users.
  • The above-described devices and materials will be familiar to those of skill in the gaming industry and/or in the computer hardware and software arts. Although many of the components and processes are described above in the singular for convenience, it will be appreciated by one of skill in the art that multiple components and repeated processes can also be used to practice the techniques of the present invention.
  • Although illustrative embodiments and applications of this invention are shown and described herein, many variations and modifications are possible which remain within the concept, scope, and spirit of the invention, and these variations should become clear after perusal of this application. For example, while much of the discussion herein involves wager gaming involving stationary wager gaming machines, some aspects of the present invention may be applied to gaming that involves of other types of devices, e.g., one or more mobile gaming devices. Moreover, some aspects of the present invention are not limited to wager gaming, but may instead be applied generally to various other types of gaming. Accordingly, the present embodiments are to be considered as illustrative and not restrictive, and the invention is not to be limited to the details given herein, but may be modified within the scope and equivalents of the appended claims.

Claims (18)

1. A method for secured transaction logging in a gaming machine operable to play a game of chance, the method comprising:
providing a transaction log file containing one or more log entries, the transaction log file stored in a memory;
responsive to an instruction indicating a print job regarding the printing of an item by a printer associated with the gaming machine, generating a log entry regarding the print job;
storing the log entry as an element of the transaction log file in the memory; and
responsive to receiving an access request message over a secure communications path:
retrieving the transaction log file from the memory, and
uploading the transaction log file to a host device via a routing device configured for communication with the printer and the host device, the host device capable of storing the transaction log file for verification.
2. The method of claim 1, further comprising:
responsive to receiving a print request message over a secure communications path, printing the transaction log file on a media capable of being output by the printer.
3. The method of claim 1, wherein the stored transaction log file is encrypted.
4. The method of claim 1, wherein the memory is situated in the printer.
5. The method of claim 1, wherein the memory is situated in the routing device.
6. The method of claim 1, wherein the item is a coupon or a voucher.
7. The method of claim 1, wherein the host device is a data processing device selected from the group consisting of: a server, the gaming machine, a further gaming machine, a handheld device, and a routing device.
8. The method of claim 1, further comprising:
establishing a secure communications path between a data processing device and a communications interface associated with the gaming machine.
9. The method of claim 1, wherein the access request message is received from a data processing device, the access request message requesting access to the transaction log file.
10. The method of claim 1, further comprising:
identifying the memory in which the transaction log file is stored.
11. A gaming machine providing for secured transaction logging, the gaming machine operable to play a game of chance, the gaming machine comprising:
a value input device capable of receiving value;
a player input device operable to place a wager on the game of chance;
a value output device capable of outputting value associated with play of the game of chance;
a memory configured for storing a transaction log file containing one or more log entries;
a printer; and
a controller configured to:
receive a print job instruction indicating a print job regarding the printing of an item by the printer,
responsive to the print job instruction, generate a log entry regarding the print job,
store the log entry as an element of the transaction log file in the memory, and
responsive to receiving an access request message over a secure communications path:
retrieve the transaction log file from the memory, and
upload the transaction log file to a host device via a routing device configured for communication with the printer and the host device, the host device capable of storing the transaction log file for verification.
12. The gaming machine of claim 11, the printer configured to:
responsive to receiving a print request message over a secure communications path, print the transaction log file on a media, and
output the media.
13. The gaming machine of claim 11, wherein the memory is situated in the printer.
14. The gaming machine of claim 11, wherein a memory of the routing device is also configured to store the transaction log file.
15. The gaming machine of claim 11, wherein the host device is a data processing device selected from the group consisting of: a server, the gaming machine, a further gaming machine, a handheld device, and a routing device.
16. A system for secured transaction logging comprising:
a host device;
a data processing device capable of outputting an access request message; and
a plurality of gaming machines operable to play games of chance, each gaming machine comprising:
a value input device capable of receiving value,
a player input device operable to place a wager on the game of chance,
a value output device capable of outputting value associated with play of the game of chance,
a memory configured for storing a transaction log file containing one or more log entries,
a printer, and
a controller configured to:
receive a print job instruction indicating a print job regarding the printing of an item by the printer,
responsive to the print job instruction, generate a log entry regarding the print job,
store the log entry as an element of the transaction log file in the memory, and
responsive to receiving the access request message from the data processing device over a secure communications path:
retrieve the transaction log file from the memory, and
upload the transaction log file to the host device via a routing device configured for communication with the printer and the host device, the host device capable of storing the transaction log file for verification.
17. The system of claim 16, wherein the host device is selected from the group consisting of: a server, the gaming machine, a further gaming machine, a handheld device, and a routing device.
18. The system of claim 16, wherein the data processing device is selected from the group consisting of: the gaming machine, a further gaming machine, a handheld device, and a routing device.
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