US20100075748A1 - Method of player tracking - Google Patents

Method of player tracking Download PDF

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Publication number
US20100075748A1
US20100075748A1 US12/564,263 US56426309A US2010075748A1 US 20100075748 A1 US20100075748 A1 US 20100075748A1 US 56426309 A US56426309 A US 56426309A US 2010075748 A1 US2010075748 A1 US 2010075748A1
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Prior art keywords
tracking system
player record
requesting
player
transfer
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US12/564,263
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John Leslie Boesen
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Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty Ltd
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Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty Ltd
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Assigned to ARISTOCRAT TECHNOLGIES AUSTRALIA PTY LIMITED reassignment ARISTOCRAT TECHNOLGIES AUSTRALIA PTY LIMITED ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: BOESEN, JOHN LESLIE
Publication of US20100075748A1 publication Critical patent/US20100075748A1/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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

Abstract

A method of player tracking including: generating a first transfer request in a first requesting tracking system based on a player record identifier identifying a player record and a home tracking system; transferring control of at least part of a player record from a home tracking system to the first requesting tracking system in response to receipt of the first transfer request; establishing a visiting player record in the first requesting tracking system for the at least part of the player record for which control is transferred; and updating the visiting player record in response to one or more player actions in the first requesting tracking system.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • The present application claims the benefit of priority to Australian Provisional Patent Application No. 2008904929, filed on Sep. 22, 2008, entitled “A METHOD OF PLAYER TRACKING”, which is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety.
  • FIELD
  • The invention relates generally to a method of player tracking across a gaming network.
  • BACKGROUND
  • Player tracking systems are employed by some gaming venues to encourage player loyalty to the venue. Implementations vary from venue to venue but generally involve a player entering a loyalty card at each gaming machine they play so that points accrued on the basis of play of the gaming machine can be allocated to the player's loyalty account. The points can be redeemed at a later date, for example for merchandise or food and/or beverages.
  • Such player tracking systems, employ a plurality of player tracking modules connected to individual gaming machines which receive a player's loyalty card, obtain data from the gaming machines related to play of the machine, and communicate data a central player tracking system where player accounts are maintained.
  • The player tracking system can be part of a wider system for implementing player and/or gaming functionality. For example, the venue's system may also implement a “cashless” system where credit can be stored against a player's account or ticket-out ticket-in (TITO) where a ticket is issued at one gaming machine which can be redeemed at another gaming machine.
  • Existing systems were formulated with the idea of building loyalty to venues. As such, they are not structurally suited to multi-venue arrangements, for example where a single operator owns multiple venues and wishes to provide variety to their customers by having venues with different themes while maintaining loyalty to the venue operator's venues.
  • One approach to this problem has been to connect a plurality of venues to the same player tracking system. This approach can cause data reconciliation and/or bandwidth problems as at least one venue must be connected to the player tracking system via a remote network.
  • Accordingly, there is a need for an alternative technique for handling player accounts across multiple venues.
  • In a first aspect, the invention provides a method of player tracking including:
  • generating a first transfer request in a first requesting tracking system based on a player record identifier identifying a player record and a home tracking system;
  • transferring control of at least part of a player record from a home tracking system to the first requesting tracking system in response to receipt of the first transfer request;
  • establishing a visiting player record in the first requesting tracking system for the at least part of the player record for which control is transferred; and
  • updating the visiting player record in response to one or more player actions in the first requesting tracking system.
  • In an embodiment, the transfer includes updating the player record in the home system to include an identifier that identifies the first requesting tracking system.
  • In an embodiment, the method further includes transferring control of the at least part of a player record as updated in the first requesting tracking system to a second requesting tracking system in response to a second transfer request.
  • In an embodiment, the second requesting tracking system is the home tracking system.
  • In an embodiment, the second requesting tracking system is a further tracking system different to the home and first requesting tracking systems.
  • In an embodiment, transferring control to the second requesting tracking system includes:
  • updating the player record in the home tracking system to reflect the visiting player record of the first tracking system;
  • updating the player record in the home tracking system to include an identifier that identifies the second requesting tracking system;
  • establishing a further visiting player record in the second requesting tracking system for the at least part of the player record for which control is transferred; and updating the further visiting player record in response to one or more player actions in the second requesting tracking system.
  • In an embodiment, the method further includes:
  • determining from the home tracking system the first requesting tracking system;
  • transferring control of the at least part of the player record directly from the first requesting tracking system to the second requesting tracking system; and
  • updating the player record in the home tracking system to include an identifier identifying the second requesting tracking system.
  • In an embodiment, the method includes determining that the transfer request is an eligible request.
  • In an embodiment, the method includes determining how much control of the player record to transfer based on the transfer request.
  • In an embodiment, the method includes making the determination based on the identity of the requesting tracking system.
  • In a second aspect, there is provided a method of player tracking including:
  • generating a first transfer request in a first requesting tracking system based on a player record identifier identifying the player record and a home tracking system;
  • receiving control of at least part of a player record from the home tracking system;
  • establishing a visiting player record in the first requesting tracking system for the at least part of the player record; and
  • updating the visiting player record in response to one or more player actions in the first requesting tracking system.
  • In an embodiment, the method includes transferring control of the at least part of a player record directly from the first requesting tracking system to a second requesting tracking system subsequent to a transfer request being made by the second requesting tracking system.
  • In a third aspect, there is provided a tracking system including:
  • a player record data structure adapted to store player records, each player record including a player record identifier identifying the player record and being adapted to store data corresponding to a current location of control of at least part of the player record; and
  • a transfer module adapted to:
      • receive a transfer request from a requesting tracking system for the at least part of the player record, the transfer request including the player record identifier identifying the player record to be transferred; and
      • process the transfer request based on the current location of control of at least part of the player record.
  • In an embodiment, upon the transfer module determining to transfer control of at least part of the player record to the first requesting tracking system, the transfer module updates the player record in the home system to include an identifier that identifies the first requesting tracking system as the new current location.
  • In an embodiment, the transfer module is further adapted to update the player record in the home tracking system to reflect a visiting player record of the first tracking system in response to transfer of control of the at least part of the player record back to the home tracking system or to a further tracking system.
  • In an embodiment, the transfer module is further adapted to:
  • receive a request from a second requesting tracking system for at least part of the player record;
  • provide the identity of the first requesting tracking system to the second requesting tracking system; whereafter control can be transferred directly from the first requesting tracking system to the second requesting tracking system; and
  • update the player record data structure in the home tracking system to include an identifier identifying the second requesting tracking system as the new current location.
  • In an embodiment, the transfer module processes the transfer request to determine whether the transfer request is an eligible request.
  • In an embodiment, the transfer module processes the transfer request to determine how much control of the player record to transfer based on the transfer request.
  • In an embodiment, the transfer module makes the determination based on the identity of the requesting tracking system.
  • In a fourth aspect, there is provided a tracking system including:
  • a player record data structure adapted to store player records, each player record including a player record identifier identifying the player record; and
  • a transfer module adapted to:
      • receive a transfer request from a requesting tracking system in respect of at least part the player record, the transfer request including the player record identifier identifying the player record;
      • transfer control of at least part of the player record to the requesting tracking system; and
      • update the player record data structure to reflect what control of the player record has been transferred to the requesting tracking system and to include location data corresponding to the requesting tracking system.
  • In an embodiment, the transfer module is further adapted to update the player record in the home tracking system to reflect a visiting player record of the first tracking system in response to transfer of control of the at least part of the player record back to the home tracking system or to a further tracking system.
  • In an embodiment, the transfer module is further adapted to:
  • receive a request from a second requesting tracking system for control of at least part of the player record;
  • provide the identity of the first requesting tracking system to the second requesting tracking system; whereafter control can be transferred directly from the first requesting tracking system to the second requesting tracking system; and
  • update the player record data structure in the home tracking system to include an identifier identifying the second requesting tracking system as the new current location.
  • In an embodiment, the transfer module processes the transfer request to determine whether the transfer request is an eligible request.
  • In an embodiment, the transfer module processes the transfer request to determine how much control of the player record to transfer based on the transfer request.
  • In an embodiment, the transfer module makes the determination based on the identity of the requesting tracking system.
  • In a fifth aspect, there is provided a transfer module for a tracking system, the transfer module adapted to:
  • receive a transfer request from a requesting tracking system for control of at least part of the player record, the transfer request including the player record identifier identifying the player record to be transferred; and
  • process the transfer request based on a current location of control of the at least part of the player record.
  • In an embodiment, upon the transfer module determining to transfer control of at least part of the player record to the first requesting tracking system, the transfer module updates the player record in the home system to include an identifier that identifies the first requesting tracking system as the new current location.
  • In an embodiment, the transfer module is further adapted to update the player record in the home tracking system to reflect a visiting player record of the first tracking system in response to transfer of control of the at least part of the player record back to the home tracking system or to a further tracking system.
  • In an embodiment, the transfer module is further adapted to:
  • receive a request from a second requesting tracking system for control of at least part of the player record;
  • provide the identity of the first requesting tracking system to the second requesting tracking system; whereafter control can be transferred directly from the first requesting tracking system to the second requesting tracking system; and
  • update the player record data structure in the home tracking system to include an identifier identifying the second requesting tracking system as the new current location.
  • In an embodiment, the transfer module is adapted to process the transfer request to determine whether the transfer request is an eligible request.
  • In an embodiment, the transfer module is adapted to process the transfer request to determine how much control of the player record to transfer based on the transfer request.
  • In an embodiment, the transfer module is arranged to make the determination based on the identity of the requesting tracking system.
  • In a sixth aspect, there is provided a transfer module for a tracking system, the transfer module arranged to:
  • receive a transfer request from a requesting tracking system in respect of at least part the player record, the transfer request including the player record identifier identifying the player record;
  • transfer control of at least part of the player record to the requesting tracking system; and
  • update a player record data structure to reflect what control of the player record has been transferred to the requesting tracking system and to include location data corresponding to the requesting tracking system.
  • In an embodiment, the transfer module is adapted to update the player record in the home tracking system to reflect a visiting player record of the first tracking system in response to transfer of control of the at least part of the player record back to the home tracking system or to a further tracking system.
  • In an embodiment, the transfer module is adapted to:
  • receive a request from a second requesting tracking system for control of at least part of the player record;
  • provide the identity of the first requesting tracking system to the second requesting tracking system; whereafter control can be transferred directly from the first requesting tracking system to the second requesting tracking system; and
  • update the player record data structure in the home tracking system to include an identifier identifying the second requesting tracking system as the new current location.
  • In an embodiment, the transfer module is arranged to process the transfer request to determine whether the transfer request is an eligible request.
  • In an embodiment, the transfer module is arranged to process the transfer request to determine how much control of the player record to transfer based on the transfer request.
  • In an embodiment, the transfer module makes the determination based on the identity of the requesting tracking system.
  • In a seventh aspect, there is provided a gaming network including:
  • a home tracking system; and
  • a first requesting tracking system,
  • the home tracking system arranged to transfer control of at least part of a player record from to the first requesting tracking system in response to receipt of a first transfer request;
  • the first requesting tracking system arranged to:
      • generate a first transfer request based on a player record identifier identifying a player record and a home tracking system;
      • establish a visiting player record in the first requesting tracking system for the at least part of the player record for which control is transferred; and
      • update the visiting player record in response to one or more player actions in the first requesting tracking system.
  • In an embodiment, the home tracking system updates the player record in the home system to include an identifier that identifies the first requesting tracking system.
  • In an embodiment, the gaming network further includes a second requesting tracking system which makes a second transfer request, and wherein:
  • the home tracking system updates the player record in the home tracking system to reflect the visiting player record of the first tracking system;
  • the home tracking system updates the player record in the home tracking system to include an identifier that identifies the second requesting tracking system;
  • the second requesting tracking system establishes a further visiting player record in for the at least part of the player record for which control is transferred; and
  • the second requesting tracking system updating the further visiting player record in response to one or more player actions in the second requesting tracking system.
  • In an embodiment, the gaming network further includes a second requesting tracking system which makes a second transfer request, and wherein:
  • the second requesting tracking system determines from the home tracking system the identity of the first requesting tracking system;
  • control of the player record is transferred directly from the first requesting tracking system to the second requesting tracking system based on the determined identity; and
      • the home tracking system updates the player record in the home tracking system to include an identifier identifying the second requesting tracking system.
    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
  • Certain exemplary embodiments of the invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:
  • FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a gaming machine of an embodiment;
  • FIG. 2 is a block diagram of a gaming machine of an embodiment;
  • FIG. 3 is a block diagram of the memory of a gaming machine;
  • FIG. 4 is a block diagram of a player marketing module;
  • FIG. 5 is a block diagram showing how a plurality of gaming machines are connected to a player tracking system;
  • FIG. 6 is a block diagram of a gaming network; and
  • FIG. 7 is a flow chart of an embodiment.
  • Features, further aspects, and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following description of embodiments thereof, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings. Also, various embodiments of the aspects described in the preceding paragraphs will be apparent from the appended claims, the following description and/or the accompanying drawings. It should be understood, however, that the present invention is not limited to the arrangements and instrumentality shown in the attached drawings.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • Although the following discloses example methods, systems, articles of manufacture, and apparatus including, among other components, software executed on hardware, it should be noted that such methods and apparatus are merely illustrative and should not be considered as limiting. For example, it is contemplated that any or all of these hardware and software components could be embodied exclusively in hardware, exclusively in software, exclusively in firmware, or in any combination of hardware, software, and/or firmware. Accordingly, while the following describes example methods, systems, articles of manufacture, and apparatus, the examples provided are not the only way to implement such methods, systems, articles of manufacture, and apparatus.
  • When any of the appended apparatus claims are read to cover a purely software and/or firmware implementation, in at least one embodiment, at least one of the elements is hereby expressly defined to include a tangible medium such as a memory, DVD, CD, etc. storing the software and/or firmware.
  • Referring to the drawings, there is shown a plurality of gaming venues each of which has a player tracking system (also known as player loyalty systems) connected to form a gaming network. The gaming network is arranged so that control over at least a part of a player record can be transferred from one gaming system to another so that the transferred player record (or portion of a record) can be updated based on player activity in the visited network. This has a number of advantages over current arrangements including that: less network bandwidth is required to allow real-time updates of the relevant parts of the player record as these are performed in the visited network; a network outage is less likely to affect a player as it can only affect the player if it occurs during a transfer process; and delays caused by network traffic are less likely to affect data reconciliation.
  • Persons skilled in the art will appreciate that some venues have electronic gaming tables playable by a plurality of players. For the purpose of this specification, a player position at such a table should be understood as being within the meaning of “a gaming terminal”. Accordingly, within this specification “gaming terminal” encompasses a single player, electronic gaming machine arranged to play one or more resident games, a player position at a gaming terminal, and an interactive video gaming terminal in a server based gaming system.
  • An exemplary stand alone gaming machine 10 is illustrated in FIG. 1. The gaming machine 10 includes a console 12 having a display 14 on which is displayed representations of a game that can be played by a player. A mid-trim 20 of the gaming machine 10 houses a bank of buttons 22 for enabling a player to interact with the gaming machine, in particular during game play. The mid-trim 20 also houses a credit input mechanism for example a coin input chute and/or a bill collector 24B. Other credit input mechanisms may also be employed, for example, a card reader for reading a smart card, debit card or credit card.
  • Artwork and/or information, for example pay tables and details of bonus awards and other information or images relating to the game may be provided on a front panel 29 of the console 12. A coin tray 30 is mounted beneath the front panel 29 for dispensing cash payouts from the gaming machine 10.
  • The display 14 shown in FIG. 1 is in the form of a video display unit, particularly a cathode ray tube screen device. Alternatively, the display 14 may be a liquid crystal display, plasma screen, any other suitable video display unit, or the visible portion of an electromechanical device. The top box 26 also includes a display which may be of the same type as the display 14, or of a different type.
  • A player marketing module (PMM) 50 having a display 52 is connected to the gaming machine 10. PMMs are also know as player tracking models (PTMs) or by their trade names—e.g. “Sentinel”. The main purpose of the PMM 50 is to allow the player to interact with a player tracking system. The PMM has a magnetic card reader for the purpose of reading a player tracking device in the form of a magnetic swipe card. However other reading devices may be employed and the player tracking device may be in the form of a card, flash drive or any other portable storage medium capable of being read by a reading device.
  • FIG. 2 shows a block diagram of operative components of a typical gaming machine which may be the same as or different to the gaming machine of FIG. 1.
  • The gaming machine 100 includes a game controller 101 having a processor 102. Instructions and data to control operation of the processor 102 are stored in a memory 103, which is in data communication with the processor 102. Herein the term “processor” is used to refer generically to any device that can process game play instructions in accordance with game play rules and may include: a microprocessor, microcontroller, programmable logic device or other computational device, a general purpose computer (e.g. a PC) or a server.
  • Typically, the gaming machine 100 will include both volatile and non-volatile memory and more than one of each type of memory, with such memories being collectively represented by the memory 103.
  • The gaming machine has hardware meters 104 for purposes including ensuring regulatory compliance and monitoring player credit, an input/output (I/O) interface 105 for communicating with peripheral devices of the gaming machine 100. The input/output interface 105 and/or the peripheral devices may be intelligent devices with their own memory for storing associated instructions and data for use with the input/output interface or the peripheral devices. A random number generator module 113 generates random numbers for use by the processor 102. Persons skilled in the art will appreciate that the reference to random numbers includes pseudo-random numbers.
  • In the example shown in FIG. 2, a player interface 120 includes peripheral devices that communicate with the game controller 101 has one or more displays 106, one or more input devices in the form of a touch screen and/or buttons 107, a card and/or ticket reader 108, a printer 109, a bill acceptor and/or coin input mechanism 110 and a coin output mechanism 111. Additional hardware may be included as part of the gaming machine 100, or hardware may be omitted based on the specific implementation.
  • In addition, the gaming machine 100 may include a communications interface, for example a network card or serial communications port(s) 112.
  • FIG. 3 shows a block diagram of the main components of an exemplary memory 103. The memory 103 includes RAM 103A, EPROM 103B and a mass storage device 103C. The RAM 103A typically temporarily holds program files for execution by the processor 102 and related data. The EPROM 103B may be a boot ROM device and/or may contain some system or game related code. The mass storage device 103C is typically used to store game programs, the integrity of which may be verified and/or authenticated by the processor 102 using protected code from the EPROM 103B or elsewhere.
  • It is also possible for the operative components of the gaming machine 100 to be distributed, for example input/output devices 106,107,108,109,110,111 to be provided remotely from the game controller 101.
  • FIG. 4 is a block diagram of an exemplary player marketing module 50. The PMM 50 is connected via input/output port 57 to a serial input output port of the input/output section 105 of the electronic gaming machine. The player marketing module has a card reader 54 and a display 52 which may be a touch screen display. The PMM 50 may also have buttons 53 for receiving a player input (at least in embodiments where there is no touch screen display) and a speaker 51. Input received from the card reader 54 is processed by processor 55 based on the data stored in memory 56. The PMM 50 is connected to the player tracking system by a network card 58. Thus, in the embodiment, the gaming machine 10 communicates with the loyalty system via the PMM as described in further detail below. Processor 55 is also arranged to communicate with a gaming machine 10 via input output port 54 to cause locking of the gaming machine in response to an instruction received via the network card 58.
  • Processor 55 is also arranged to communicate with gaming machine 10 via input output port 57 to cause locking of the gaming machine in response to an instruction received via the network card 58.
  • FIG. 5 shows a series of electronic gaming machines 10 connected via respective player marketing modules 50 over a communications network 510 to a player tracking system 540 having a player database 541 which provides a data structure for storing player records. The communications network 510 may be any suitable communications network for example an Ethernet.
  • FIG. 6 shows a gaming network 600 having a plurality of venues 610 (1,2 . . . N) connected in a virtual private network via Internet 625. Each gaming venue 610 has a player tracking system 540 and a database 541 which provides a player record data structure for storing player records. In the embodiment, the database 541 of player records is divided logically into home player records and visiting player records. The gaming network also includes an address allocator 620: a network component responsible for allocating addresses to the player tracking systems of different venues 610 and informing each player tracking system of each address which is stored as venue data 615. Venue data 615 includes a tracking system identifier for each venue as well as the address; the tracking system identifier being used as a key to look up the address. Persons skilled in the art will appreciate that the address allocator 620 can be provided in a number of ways and may reside within one of the venues.
  • When a player registers for one of the player tracking systems, for example, the tracking system 540A of first venue 610A they provide details such as name, age, address and phone number. The player tracking system 540 uses these details to create a home player record for the player. The content of the home player record will vary from implementation to implementation but can include by way of example, the following fields: home tracking system identifier; player identifier; checked in/checked out; current tracking system identifier (when checked out) specifying the current location of control of the player record; points balance; cashless balance; name; age; address; phone number; e-mail address; reward entitlements; and transaction history.
  • The player is issued a player tracking device such as a magnetic stripe card on which is recorded the home tracking system identifier and the player identifier. After being issued the card, the player uses the card and the player's record is periodically updated based on the player's activity. The activities monitored by the tracking system 540 will vary depending on implementation but may include, for example, number of games played, amount wagered, amount won, amount spent at venue restaurant, points transactions, cashless transactions, a reward entitlement etc. After a period of time, the points balance and cashless balance will have current values. For example, when the player enters card at PMM 50, the player's record could be updated to indicate the machine they have played, the amount they wagered, the number of points awarded for their play, and an amount added to the cashless balance by the player when cashing out of the machine.
  • At a later time, the player visits another venue, for example, second venue 610B and inserts their card into a PMM 50 of a gaming machine 10. The player tracking system 540B recognizes that the tracking system identifier is for a different tracking system. Before taking further action, the tracking system checks a visitor record portion of the database 541B to see if it already has a visitor record for the player and, if it does not, it passes control to the transfer module 617B to generate a transfer request. The transfer module 617B employs the tracking system identifier to retrieve the tracking system address for tracking system 540A from venue data 615. The transfer request is then sent to the first tracking system 540A (the player's “home” tracking system). In one example, the transfer request includes the player identifier, the tracking system identifier for the second tracking system 540B (the “requesting” tracking system) and a request number uniquely identifying the transfer request.
  • The transfer module 617A processes the transfer request by locating the player record and updating the record to indicate that is has been checked out to another player tracking system. The transfer module 617A also updates the home player record to include an identifier for the requesting player tracking system so that the player record can be retrieved at a later time. The amount of the player record that is sent will depend on the embodiment. In this example, the transfer module 617A sends all data in the player record except the player history as this may be long and delay the transfer process. In other embodiments, other items may not be sent, for example, some player rewards stored in the player record may only be redeemable at a specific venue. In other embodiments, one set of items may be sent to some venues and another set of items may be sent to other venues. For example, the player rewards may only be sent to venues where they can be redeemed. In other embodiments, data may be sent in different stages, for example, the points and cashless balances may be sent to start with and other items, including the history, may be sent as part of a less time critical process.
  • In embodiments where parts of the home player record are transferred, the data structure is configured such that it can be recorded which parts of the record have been checked out.
  • In some embodiments, the transfer module 617A may be arranged to decide what parts of the record are permitted to be transferred to the requesting tracking system based on the identity of the requesting tracking system and rules (similarly, the transfer module 617B may be arranged to determine what parts of the record it is allowed (or wants) to request. This architecture enables a wider range of commercial arrangements. For example, two venues which are not co-owned may agree to transfer cashless amounts but not points. Alternatively, the database may include data which specifies whether or not part of a record can be transferred. In another embodiment, the requesting tracking system may be configured to obtain parts of the player record as it needs them. For example, when a player first enters their card into a PMM 50, the requesting system may request a points balance, when the player subsequently requests a transfer of cash, the cashless balance is retrieved, when the player seeks to change their address, the address is retrieved etc.
  • When the second venue 610B receives the transferred database, it establishes a visiting player record for the plater within database 541B. The second player tracking system 540B then updates the visiting player record based on monitored activity.
  • At some point in time, the player inserts the player tracking card in another gaming system which will prompt that gaming system to retrieve the player record (a second requesting tracking system). The second requesting tracking system may be the home tracking system (in this example, the first tracking system 540A) or another tracking system such as Nth tracking system 540C. In the case of the home tracking system, when the player tracking card is inserted, the first tracking system 540A looks up the database and determines that the player record (or part thereof) is checked out. The transfer module 617A then formulates a transfer request and sends it to the second tracking system 540B where it is processed in an analogous manner to that described above before the visiting record is transferred back to the home system 540A where the home record is marked to indicate that the record has been checked back in and the home record is updated to reflect the visiting record. For example, by updating the points balance to correspond to that of the visiting record and appending the history from the second venue to the existing history.
  • In the case where the second requesting tracking system is another tracking system, the Nth tracking system formulates a transfer request in the manner described above in relation to the first transfer. When processing this request, the transfer module 617A determines that the player record (or part thereof) is checked out to the second tracking system 540B and retrieves it in the manner described above. In advantageous implementation, the player record is at least partly reconciled with the home record before being transferred again. However, in other embodiments it may only be fully reconciled when transferred back to the home record.
  • In other embodiments, a different protocol may be used, for example, where the home tracking system provides the identity of the current tracking system hosting the player record and the Nth tracking system 540C retrieves the data directly from that system before confirming to the home tracking system that it now holds the visiting player record so that the home tracking system can update the home player record to indicate the new location.
  • Accordingly, it will be appreciated that an advantage of the embodiment is that there is a clear protocol for locating a player record while also allowing local updating of the player record.
  • The method of an embodiment is summarized in FIG. 7. The method 700 involves a player inserting 705 a tracking card in a first transfer requesting system. The first transfer requesting system issues 710 a transfer request to the home tracking system. The home tracking system processes the request and checks out the record 715 (or part thereof) to the first transfer requesting system which establishes a visiting player record and updates 720 it based on player activity in the first transfer requesting system. The card is then inserted 730 in a second transfer requesting system. It is determined 740 whether the second transfer requesting system is the home system. If it is, it issues a transfer request to the first transfer requesting system and checks the record back in 745 before updating 750 the home record based on player activity. If it is not the home tracking system, the home tracking system retrieves and checks in the record by updating it based on the visiting record 760 before immediately checking out 765 the record to the second requesting tracking system where another visiting record is established 770 and this new visiting record is updated based on player activity 775. Visiting records which have been retrieved may be deleted.
  • Further aspects of the method will be apparent from the above description of the gaming system. Persons skilled in the art will also appreciate that the method could be embodied in program code. The program code could be supplied in a number of ways, for example on a tangible computer readable medium, such as a disc or a memory (for example, that could replace part of memory 103) or as a data signal (for example, by downloading it from a server).
  • It will be understood to persons skilled in the art of the invention that many modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, in particular it will be apparent that certain features of embodiments of the invention can be employed to form further embodiments.
  • It is to be understood that, if any prior art is referred to herein, such reference does not constitute an admission that the prior art forms a part of the common general knowledge in the art in any country.
  • In the claims which follow and in the preceding description of the invention, except where the context requires otherwise due to express language or necessary implication, the word “comprise” or variations such as “comprises” or “comprising” is used in an inclusive sense, i.e. to specify the presence of the stated features but not to preclude the presence or addition of further features in various embodiments of the invention.
  • It will be appreciated by persons skilled in the art that numerous variations and/or modifications may be made to the invention as shown in the specific embodiments without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention as broadly described. The present embodiments are, therefore, to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive. Several embodiments are described above with reference to the drawings. These drawings illustrate certain details of specific embodiments that implement the systems and methods and programs of the present invention. However, describing the invention with drawings should not be construed as imposing on the invention any limitations associated with features shown in the drawings. It will be understood that the invention disclosed and defined in this specification extends to all alternative combinations of two or more of the individual features mentioned or evident from the text or drawings. All of these different combinations constitute various alternative aspects of the invention.
  • The present invention contemplates methods, systems and program products on any electronic device and/or machine-readable media suitable for accomplishing its operations. Certain embodiments of the present invention may be implemented using an existing computer processor and/or by a special purpose computer processor incorporated for this or another purpose or by a hardwired system, for example.
  • Embodiments within the scope of the present invention include program products comprising machine-readable media for carrying or having machine-executable instructions or data structures stored thereon. Such machine-readable media can be any available media that can be accessed by a general purpose or special purpose computer or other machine with a processor. By way of example, such machine-readable media may comprise RAM, ROM, PROM, EPROM, EEPROM, Flash, CD-ROM or other optical disk storage, magnetic disk storage or other magnetic storage devices, or any other medium which can be used to carry or store desired program code in the form of machine-executable instructions or data structures and which can be accessed by a general purpose or special purpose computer or other machine with a processor. When information is transferred or provided over a network or another communications connection (either hardwired, wireless, or a combination of hardwired or wireless) to a machine, the machine properly views the connection as a machine-readable medium. Thus, any such a connection is properly termed a machine-readable medium. Combinations of the above are also included within the scope of machine-readable media. Machine-executable instructions comprise, for example, instructions and data which cause a general purpose computer, special purpose computer, or special purpose processing machines to perform a certain function or group of functions.

Claims (42)

1. A method of player tracking comprising:
generating a first transfer request in a first requesting tracking system based on a player record identifier identifying a player record and a home tracking system;
transferring control of at least part of a player record from a home tracking system to the first requesting tracking system in response to receipt of the first transfer request;
establishing a visiting player record in the first requesting tracking system for the at least part of the player record for which control is transferred; and
updating the visiting player record in response to one or more player actions in the first requesting tracking system.
2. A method as claimed in claim 1, wherein the transfer includes updating the player record in the home system to include an identifier that identifies the first requesting tracking system.
3. A method as claimed in claim 1, further comprising transferring control of the at least part of a player record as updated in the first requesting tracking system to a second requesting tracking system in response to a second transfer request.
4. A method as claimed in claim 3, wherein the second requesting tracking system is the home tracking system.
5. A method as claimed in claim 3, wherein the second requesting tracking system is a further tracking system different to the home and first requesting tracking systems.
6. A method as claimed in claim 5, wherein transferring control to the second requesting tracking system comprises:
updating the player record in the home tracking system to reflect the visiting player record of the first tracking system;
updating the player record in the home tracking system to include an identifier that identifies the second requesting tracking system;
establishing a further visiting player record in the second requesting tracking system for the at least part of the player record for which control is transferred; and
updating the further visiting player record in response to one or more player actions in the second requesting tracking system.
7. A method as claimed in claim 5 comprising: determining from the home tracking system the first requesting tracking system;
transferring control of the at least part of the player record directly from the first requesting tracking system to the second requesting tracking system; and
updating the player record in the home tracking system to include an identifier identifying the second requesting tracking system.
8. A method as claimed in claim 1, comprising determining that the transfer request is an eligible request.
9. A method as claimed in claim 1, comprising determining how much control of the player record to transfer based on the transfer request.
10. A method as claimed in claim 8, comprising making the determination based on the identity of the requesting tracking system.
11. A method of player tracking comprising:
generating a first transfer request in a first requesting tracking system based on a player record identifier identifying the player record and a home tracking system;
receiving control of at least part of a player record from the home tracking system;
establishing a visiting player record in the first requesting tracking system for the at least part of the player record; and
updating the visiting player record in response to one or more player actions in the first requesting tracking system.
12. A method as claimed in claim 11 comprising: transferring control of the at least part of a player record directly from the first requesting tracking system to a second requesting tracking system subsequent to a transfer request being made by the second requesting tracking system.
13. A tracking system comprising:
a player record data structure adapted to store player records, each player record including a player record identifier identifying the player record and being adapted to store data corresponding to a current location of control of at least part of the player record; and
a transfer module adapted to:
receive a transfer request from a requesting tracking system for the at least part of the player record, the transfer request including the player record identifier identifying the player record to be transferred; and
process the transfer request based on the current location of control of at least part of the player record.
14. A tracking system as claimed in claim 13, wherein upon the transfer module determining to transfer control of at least part of the player record to the first requesting tracking system, the transfer module updates the player record in the home system to include an identifier that identifies the first requesting tracking system as the new current location.
15. A tracking system as claimed in claim 13, wherein the transfer module is further adapted to update the player record in the home tracking system to reflect a visiting player record of the first tracking system in response to transfer of control of the at least part of the player record back to the home tracking system or to a further tracking system.
16. A tracking system as claimed in claim 13, wherein the transfer module is further adapted to:
receive a request from a second requesting tracking system for at least part of the player record;
provide the identity of the first requesting tracking system to the second requesting tracking system; whereafter control can be transferred directly from the first requesting tracking system to the second requesting tracking system; and
update the player record data structure in the home tracking system to include an identifier identifying the second requesting tracking system as the new current location.
17. A tracking system as claimed in claim 13, wherein the transfer module processes the transfer request to determine whether the transfer request is an eligible request.
18. A tracking system as claimed in claim 13, wherein the transfer module processes the transfer request to determine how much control of the player record to transfer
19. A tracking system as claimed in claim 18, wherein the transfer module makes the determination based on the identity of the requesting tracking system.
20. A tracking system comprising:
a player record data structure adapted to store player records, each player record including a player record identifier identifying the player record; and
a transfer module adapted to:
receive a transfer request from a requesting tracking system in respect of at least part the player record, the transfer request including the player record identifier identifying the player record;
transfer control of at least part of the player record to the requesting tracking system; and
update the player record data structure to reflect what control of the player record has been transferred to the requesting tracking system and to include location data corresponding to the requesting tracking system.
21. A tracking system as claimed in claim 20, wherein the transfer module is further adapted to update the player record in the home tracking system to reflect a visiting player record of the first tracking system in response to transfer of control of the at least part of the player record back to the home tracking system or to a further tracking system.
22. A tracking system as claimed in claim 20, wherein the transfer module is further adapted to:
receive a request from a second requesting tracking system for control of at least part of the player record;
provide the identity of the first requesting tracking system to the second requesting tracking system; whereafter control can be transferred directly from the first requesting tracking system to the second requesting tracking system; and
update the player record data structure in the home tracking system to include an identifier identifying the second requesting tracking system as the new current location.
23. A tracking system as claimed in claim 20, wherein the transfer module processes the transfer request to determine whether the transfer request is an eligible request.
24. A tracking system as claimed in claim 20, wherein the transfer module processes the transfer request to determine how much control of the player record to transfer based on the transfer request.
25. A tracking system as claimed in claim 17, wherein the transfer module makes the determination based on the identity of the requesting tracking system.
26. A transfer module for a tracking system, the transfer module adapted to:
receive a transfer request from a requesting tracking system for control of at least part of the player record, the transfer request including the player record identifier identifying the player record to be transferred; and
process the transfer request based on a current location of control of the at least part of the player record.
27. A transfer module as claimed in claim 26, wherein upon the transfer module determining to transfer control of at least part of the player record to the first requesting tracking system, the transfer module updates the player record in the home system to include an identifier that identifies the first requesting tracking system as the new current location.
28. A transfer module as claimed in claim 26, further adapted to update the player record in the home tracking system to reflect a visiting player record of the first tracking system in response to transfer of control of the at least part of the player record back to the home tracking system or to a further tracking system.
29. A transfer module as claimed in claim 26, further adapted to:
receive a request from a second requesting tracking system for control of at least part of the player record;
provide the identity of the first requesting tracking system to the second requesting tracking system; whereafter control can be transferred directly from the first requesting tracking system to the second requesting tracking system; and
update the player record data structure in the home tracking system to include an identifier identifying the second requesting tracking system as the new current location.
30. A transfer module as claimed in claim 26, adapted to process the transfer request to determine whether the transfer request is an eligible request.
31. A transfer module as claimed in claim 26, adapted to process the transfer request to determine how much control of the player record to transfer based on the transfer request.
32. A transfer module as claimed in claim 31, arranged to make the determination based on the identity of the requesting tracking system.
33. A transfer module for a tracking system, the transfer module arranged to:
receive a transfer request from a requesting tracking system in respect of at least part the player record, the transfer request including the player record identifier identifying the player record;
transfer control of at least part of the player record to the requesting tracking system; and
update a player record data structure to reflect what control of the player record has been transferred to the requesting tracking system and to include location data corresponding to the requesting tracking system.
34. A transfer module as claimed in claim 33, further adapted to update the player record in the home tracking system to reflect a visiting player record of the first tracking system in response to transfer of control of the at least part of the player record back to the home tracking system or to a further tracking system.
35. A transfer module as claimed in claim 33, further adapted to:
receive a request from a second requesting tracking system for control of at least part of the player record;
provide the identity of the first requesting tracking system to the second requesting tracking system; whereafter control can be transferred directly from the first requesting tracking system to the second requesting tracking system; and
update the player record data structure in the home tracking system to include an identifier identifying the second requesting tracking system as the new current location.
36. A transfer module as claimed in claim 33, arranged to process the transfer request to determine whether the transfer request is an eligible request.
37. A transfer module as claimed in claim 33, arranged to process the transfer request to determine how much control of the player record to transfer based on the transfer request.
38. A transfer module as claimed in claim 37, wherein the transfer module makes the determination based on the identity of the requesting tracking system.
39. A gaming network comprising:
a home tracking system; and
a first requesting tracking system,
the home tracking system arranged to transfer control of at least part of a player record from to the first requesting tracking system in response to receipt of a first transfer request;
the first requesting tracking system arranged to:
generate a first transfer request based on a player record identifier identifying a player record and a home tracking system;
establish a visiting player record in the first requesting tracking system for the at least part of the player record for which control is transferred; and
update the visiting player record in response to one or more player actions in the first requesting tracking system.
40. A gaming network as claimed in claim 39, wherein the home tracking system updates the player record in the home system to include an identifier that identifies the first requesting tracking system.
41. A gaming network as claimed in claim 39, further comprising a second requesting tracking system which makes a second transfer request, and wherein:
the home tracking system updates the player record in the home tracking system to reflect the visiting player record of the first tracking system;
the home tracking system updates the player record in the home tracking system to include an identifier that identifies the second requesting tracking system;
the second requesting tracking system establishes a further visiting player record in for the at least part of the player record for which control is transferred; and
the second requesting tracking system updating the further visiting player record in response to one or more player actions in the second requesting tracking system.
42. A gaming network as claimed in claim 39, further comprising a second requesting tracking system which makes a second transfer request, and wherein:
the second requesting tracking system determines from the home tracking system the identity of the first requesting tracking system;
control of the player record is transferred directly from the first requesting tracking system to the second requesting tracking system based on the determined identity; and
the home tracking system updates the player record in the home tracking system to include an identifier identifying the second requesting tracking system.
US12/564,263 2008-09-22 2009-09-22 Method of player tracking Abandoned US20100075748A1 (en)

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