US20100311496A1 - System and method for generating tickets on demand - Google Patents

System and method for generating tickets on demand Download PDF

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Publication number
US20100311496A1
US20100311496A1 US12645578 US64557809A US2010311496A1 US 20100311496 A1 US20100311496 A1 US 20100311496A1 US 12645578 US12645578 US 12645578 US 64557809 A US64557809 A US 64557809A US 2010311496 A1 US2010311496 A1 US 2010311496A1
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ticket
player
game
value
information
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Abandoned
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US12645578
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John E. Taylor
Dow K. Hardy
Michael C. Lightman
Peter D. Kovacs
Nathan Short
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Scientific Games Holdings Ltd
GameLogic Inc
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Scientific Games Holdings Ltd
GameLogic Inc
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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
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63FCARD, BOARD, OR ROULETTE GAMES; INDOOR GAMES USING SMALL MOVING PLAYING BODIES; VIDEO GAMES; GAMES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • A63F13/00Video games, i.e. games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions
    • A63F13/10Control of the course of the game, e.g. start, progess, end
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63FCARD, BOARD, OR ROULETTE GAMES; INDOOR GAMES USING SMALL MOVING PLAYING BODIES; VIDEO GAMES; GAMES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • A63F13/00Video games, i.e. games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions
    • A63F13/12Video games, i.e. games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions involving interaction between a plurality of game devices, e.g. transmisison or distribution systems
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63FCARD, BOARD, OR ROULETTE GAMES; INDOOR GAMES USING SMALL MOVING PLAYING BODIES; VIDEO GAMES; GAMES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • A63F2300/00Features of games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions, e.g. on a television screen, showing representations related to the game
    • A63F2300/50Features of games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions, e.g. on a television screen, showing representations related to the game characterized by details of game servers
    • A63F2300/55Details of game data or player data management

Abstract

According to one aspect, provided are systems and methods for generating unrestricted games (e.g. promotional games) that preserve predetermination and/or do not introduce chance elements into the games while at the same time reduce the overhead associated with generating and maintaining entries (i.e. tickets) into the games. As part of systems and methods for creating ticketed entries, values can be assigned to any of one or more of players, game machines, or games. These values can used as unique identifiers. Additionally, information already associated with any one or more of the players, game machines, or games can also be used to generate these values. The values can have static components and can be combined with dynamic components, that can be used individually, separately, or in combination. In one example a predetermined numeric value is used, stored as part of a record. In another, static information can be used to generate the numeric value, or a component of the value. Once the value, in some examples a seed, is obtained the value is used with a deterministic function to provide deterministically an output. The output permits retrieval of an outcome from for example a prize matrix of predetermined game outcomes. According to another aspect, the systems and methods provided permit deterministic ticket generation without having to generate and/or maintain the entries for any game.

Description

    RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application also claims priority under 35 U.S.C. 119(e) to U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 61/141,837 entitled “SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR GENERATING TICKETS ON DEMAND,” filed on Dec. 31, 2008.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The field of the invention relates generally to gaming, and more particularly to determining and presenting ticketed entries into games in an on demand fashion.
  • BACKGROUND
  • Conventional gaming activities may require the generation of numerous outcomes associated with particular games. In some gaming systems, game tickets are used to encode the game outcomes on a one to one basis. In one example, a lottery system may generate thousands if not millions of outcomes for a particular game series. The game outcomes can be divided in outcome pools, where certain prizes may be retained for pools that become available towards the end of the game period. The outcome pools and sub pools may need to be maintained during the course of the game. Some examples require shuffling of the outcome pools, and in some cases restatement of game parameters where certain prizes have been won and are no longer available. Legal requirements impose obligations on the operation of games that include wagers and/or constitute gambling of any kind. In a real world example, scratch ticket games need to be accurate in their promotion, if for example, all the large jackpots have been won for a particular scratch game—the game operator cannot continue to advertise the availability of the large jackpots in association with the game.
  • Conventionally, this problem may be addressed using pools of outcomes, and scheduling at least one pool with a large jackpot that becomes available towards the conclusion of the game period. There is significant overhead associated with generation of the outcomes required, both in terms of physical need for tickets, in the scratch ticket example, but also in the electronic gaming space, where the overhead is representative of the computational effort in generating, maintaining, storing, and verifying the outcomes, among other examples.
  • SUMMARY
  • These requirements on game operators, among others, highlight the need for improved methods of maintaining game outcomes, improved methods of generating outcomes, and the need for meeting various requirements of gaming law imposed on the particular game while reducing the overhead associated with game operation/outcome determination and maintenance. Further, improved methods and systems are needed to generate and distribute tickets to players to provide any game outcome.
  • One approach to ticket generation and delivery that has been employed involves the use of electronically delivered tickets. Each ticket represents/or may be linked to an outcome to be selected and played on one of the distribution terminals providing the game. The created game tickets are divided into at least two game ticket batches. The first ticket batch may be played, that is a ticket made available to players for a specified period of time. The second batch is not played, and can be maintained in a monitored state. The ability to have one of the game batches in a monitored state while the other game batch is being played overcomes some recognized disadvantages associated with ticketed gaming. In particular, it is recognized that the need for monitoring pay-outs, number of tickets played, and the need to redistribute tickets may require suspension of gaming. Switching over to play of the second batch while the first is being monitored allows gaming to continue, and vice versa. For example, it is appreciated that separating ticket batches (e.g. a play and a monitor ticket batch) does not alleviate the overhead or maintenance associated with created tickets (electronic or paper varieties, among others). In particular, the requirements imposed on a game operator/provider do not change because multiple batches of electronic tickets are created, and at least two sets of tickets are required for every game, so that the monitoring/auditing associated with tickets can be performed while another batch is being played, in effect doubling the associated overhead. Ultimately this solution actually magnifies the problems involved in ticketed gaming—the creation and maintenance of game tickets. As will be discussed in greater detail below, it is realized that eliminating the tickets themselves may solve a number of issues associated with establishing, maintaining and re-tuning ticketed outcomes.
  • In some promotional on-line gaming activities, a player is provided an opportunity to, for example, play a game online in order to reveal a predetermined award or promotional item. Delivery of the promotional offer typically includes issuance of a “ticket” that is some physical form of an entry into the promotional game. Further, there may be electronic representations of entries that can be used to reveal promotional items (e.g., representations that can be emailed, associated with frequent player identifier and later redeemed, etc.).
  • Using conventional promotional gaming models an operator is obliged to generate a ticket/outcome for every potential player. In other words, every invitation to play a promotional game needs an associated ticket to provide access to the promotional game and provide for revelation of a predetermined result, whether it be a win, a loss, or an opportunity for another win or loss in another game. Similar problems are found in other games as well. It is realized that any game that requires outcome generation, maintenance, and/or validation may benefit from methods and systems for on demand outcome generation and on demand ticket generation. By employing outcome generating values and associating them with players, games, and gaming machines (among other examples) the overhead associated with outcome generation, delivery and maintenance can be reduced. According to one aspect, an outcome generating value is used as an input into a deterministic function, the deterministic output may then be used to recover an outcome for a game based on any set of parameters established for awarding prizes. In one example, employing an outcome generating value, a deterministic function, and a set of parameters governing prizes enables generation/retrieval of outcomes as needed, eliminating the need for generating outcomes in advance, maintaining outcomes, predetermination of outcomes, and/or redetermination of outcomes based on changed parameters.
  • Conventional methods of generating tickets and predetermining outcomes solve issues associated with providing predetermined outcome promotional materials, but the static form of ticketing employed results in significant wasted overhead to manage, maintain, and account for promotional material. Presently, average redemption rates for promotional material is estimated around 2-3% with some estimates being as low as 1%. In a conventional ticketing process, 97-99% of the effort involved in determining eligibility, generating eligible player tables, matching eligible players to awards, and maintaining the same (including adding new players, removing old players, etc.) is wasted. As the size and scope of promotions increase this waste becomes larger as well. Even with respect to smaller promotion populations, the potential waste is still significant. Indeed, over multiple runs and/or multiple implementations the potential waste becomes massive. For example, in a promotional game that has one million outcomes for seven different games, seven million outcomes need to be created, stored and delivered. Over multiple runs of the same game, or even through simultaneous runs, the number of required outcomes can become astronomical.
  • In computer systems that track game outcomes, promotional or otherwise, it becomes unwieldy to track large numbers of outcomes. In one example, there may exist 1 million outcomes for a particular game. Because a computer system may track outcomes for a number of games, the number of outcomes that need to be generated, tracked and delivered becomes excessively large, and such systems do not scale well for large numbers of required outcomes. The scaling issues become exacerbated by multiple game runs, and are multiplied over the number of different games. Scaling issues may even be increased when multiple ticket batches are used in a game. In some games, each such batch may even be used with subpools of outcomes, making the maintenance task even more complex and time consuming.
  • It is realized that one option of reducing the overhead associated with conventional ticket/outcome generation includes the use of ticket pools. By creating a pool of tickets a game operator could reduce the number of needed tickets to a level commensurate with the percentage of actual redemptions, reducing ticket overhead on the order of 97%. Thus ticket pools associated with results may be employed. In one example, ticket pools can be used in a promotional game space to reduce outcome generation overhead. However, ticket pooling options suffer from drawbacks.
  • By implementing ticket pools, gaming regulations may apply to games that were previously exempt. In a ticket pool setting, a player redeeming a promotion or playing an online game to reveal a promotional award would receive a ticket from the pool in the order they attempted to redeem them. In an example that includes predetermined outcomes, even though the pool has predetermined results associated with the tickets in the pool, for each player there is introduced an element of chance depending on the order in which the tickets are provided. Introducing elements of chance may make a game subject to gaming regulation, and in the example, the promotional game would require rigorous review by gaming commissions in order to receive approval, and that approval could only be found in a limited number of jurisdictions. Thus, introducing elements of chance in outcome determination may severely limit, for example, promotional games making them in a practical sense useless as the promotion can only target limited portions of potential players populations who resided in locations where such games are permitted, or who are willing to travel to a location where such games are permitted. One should appreciate that ticket pools may be used in such locations. In an example, the trade off between the loss of permitted play jurisdictions and the gains in implementing a simplified ticketing process weights in favor of such an implementation. One should also appreciate that it would be reasonable to employ ticket pooling in those jurisdictions.
  • In other gaming situations the introduction of an element of chance does not affect the regulatory status of the game. For example, in a video lottery setting, ticket pools may be associated with a particular machine and even though a player may impact whether he wins or loses by the order of redemption, the nature of the game is not affected by player's order of redemption.
  • According to one aspect, it is realized that there is benefit in generating an unrestricted promotional game that preserves predetermination and/or does not introduce chance elements into a game while at the same time reduces the overhead associated with generating and maintaining entries (i.e. tickets) into the promotion. One can implement promotional games without pregeneration and/or maintenance of tickets, while maintaining predetermination of outcomes. Prior to a ticket generation request, values can be assigned to any of one or more of players, game machines, or games as some examples. Additionally one may use information already associated with any one or more of the players, game machines, or games to generate these values. The values can have static components and dynamic components, that can be used individually, separately, or in combination. In one example, a predetermined numeric value is used, stored as part of a record. In another, static information can be used to generate the numeric value, or a component of the value.
  • According to at least some embodiments, the value can be used to resolve, predictably and repeatably (in conjunction with a deterministic function), a mapping to a stored outcome when a ticket generation request is received, without the system or method knowing at the time of the request what outcome a particular request will be provided. According to another aspect, it is realized that there is value in issuing and responding to game participation requests and/or game outcome generation requests at or near the time a request is received regardless of the underlying game involved. In one embodiment, a value associated with at least one of a player, a game, and a game machine is used as an input into a deterministic function, and the output of the function is then used to derive a ticket value. Parameters can be assigned for any game by a game operator and/or a promotion operator that define outcomes that can be achieved in the game. In one example, the output of the function is interpreted against outcome parameters for a given game and an outcome obtained. In at least some embodiments, the outcome can be stored and a ticket generated. The ticket can be transmitted in response to a ticket generation request and the ticket used to permit redemption of the stored outcome.
  • According to one aspect of the present invention, a computer implemented method for generating ticketed entries into a game is provided. The method comprises the acts of providing for compensation rules governing the game having the ticketed entry, accepting, by a communication interface, a ticket request, the ticket request including ticket generation information, generating, by a processor, an input value based, at least in part, on the ticket generation information, calculating, by a processor, an output value, wherein the act of calculating the output value includes an act of inputting the input value into a deterministic function, obtaining, by a processor, a game outcome from the compensation rules using the output value, and providing for creation of a ticket for the game outcome. According to one embodiment of the present invention, the method further comprises an act of accepting additional information associated with the ticket generation request. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of obtaining the game outcome from the compensation rules using the output value includes an act of selecting, by the processor, compensation rules using the additional information. According to another embodiment of the invention, the additional information comprises at least one of a value estimate for a player, a player status, a player membership level, a referral network status, a referral network value, a global player value estimate, a global player membership level, an affiliated location membership status, an online gaming membership status, a social network membership status, an affiliated location membership level, an online gaming membership level, and a social network membership level.
  • According to one embodiment of the present invention, the method further comprises an act of storing the ticket generation information. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of storing the ticket generation information includes an act of storing the information as at least a part of a player record. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of storing the ticket generation information includes an act of storing the information as at least part of a ticket record. According to another embodiment of the invention, the ticket generation information is pre-printed on another ticket. According to another embodiment of the invention, the method further comprises an act of communicating a ticket over a communication interface. According to another embodiment of the invention, the method further comprises an act of creating a ticket generation value. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of creating the ticket generation value includes an act of creating a unique seed value.
  • According to one embodiment of the present invention, the act of generating, by a processor, the input value based, at least in part, on the ticket generation information, includes an act of combining the ticket generation information and at least a portion of the additional information. According to another embodiment of the invention, the method further comprises an act of generating a numerical representation of the additional information. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of calculating, by a processor, the output value, further includes an act of inputting the input value into a pseudo random function, and wherein the output value comprises a randomized value, wherein the same randomized value is output upon the input of the same input value. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of obtaining, by a processor, a game outcome from the compensation rules using the output value, includes an act of employing the randomized output value as at least one of a look up value into a compensation table, an index into a compensation table, an index into a prize schedule, a value for retrieving a database record, a value for retrieving a row of a table, and an input into a mapping function. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of providing for creation of the ticket for the game outcome includes an act of associating, indirectly, the game outcome with ticket creation information.
  • According to one embodiment of the present invention, the act of associating, indirectly, the game outcome with ticket creation information includes act of creating an access code, permitting access to the game outcome by accepting an input of the access code. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of providing for creation of the ticket for the game outcome includes an act of associating, directly, the game outcome with ticket creation information. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of associating, directly, the game outcome with ticket creation information includes an act of encoding the outcome in the ticket creation information. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of encoding the outcome does not include encoding game play information in the ticket creation information. According to another embodiment of the invention, the method further comprises an act of creating a ticket for entry into the game.
  • According to another embodiment of the invention, the deterministic function comprises a pseudo random number generator. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of accepting, by a communication interface, a ticket request, includes an act of accepting the ticket request from a game machines with the ticket generation information associated with the game machine. According to another embodiment of the invention, the game machine includes at least one of a video lottery terminal, a pull-tab game machine, and a Class II gaming machine having predetermined outcomes.
  • According to one aspect of the present invention, a computer-readable medium having computer-readable instructions stored thereon that, as a result of being executed by a computer, instruct the computer to perform a method for generating on demand ticketed entries into a game is provided. The method comprises acts of providing for compensation rules governing the game having the ticketed entry, accepting a ticket request, the ticket request including ticket generation information, generating an input value based, at least in part, on the ticket generation information, calculating an output value, wherein the act of calculating the output value includes an act of inputting the input value into a deterministic function, obtaining a game outcome from the compensation rules using the output value, and providing for creation of a ticket for the game outcome.
  • According to one embodiment of the present invention, the method further comprises an act of accepting additional information associated with the ticket generation request. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of obtaining the game outcome from the compensation rules using the output value includes an act of selecting, by the processor, compensation rules using the additional information. According to another embodiment of the invention, the additional information comprises at least one of a value estimate for a player, a player status, a player membership level, a referral network status, a referral network value, a global player value estimate, a global player membership level, an affiliated location membership status, an online gaming membership status, a social network membership status, an affiliated location membership level, an online gaming membership level, and a social network membership level.
  • According to one embodiment of the present invention, the method further comprises an act of storing the ticket generation information. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of storing the ticket generation information includes an act of storing the information as at least a part of a player record. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of storing the ticket generation information includes an act of storing the information as at least part of a ticket record. According to another embodiment of the invention, the ticket generation information is pre-printed on another ticket. According to another embodiment of the invention, the method further comprises an act of communicating a ticket over a communication interface. According to another embodiment of the invention, the method further comprises an act of creating a ticket generation value. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of creating the ticket generation value includes an act of creating a unique seed value.
  • According to one embodiment of the present invention, the act of generating, by a processor, the input value based, at least in part, on the ticket generation information, includes an act of combining the ticket generation information and at least a portion of the additional information. According to another embodiment of the invention, the method further comprises an act of generating a numerical representation of the additional information. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of calculating, by a processor, the output value, further includes an act of inputting the input value into a pseudo random function, and wherein the output value comprises a randomized value, wherein the same randomized value is output upon the input of the same input value. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of obtaining, by a processor, a game outcome from the compensation rules using the output value, includes an act of employing the randomized output value as at least one of a look up value into a compensation table, an index into a compensation table, an index into a prize schedule, a value for retrieving a database record, a value for retrieving a row of a table, and an input into a mapping function. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of providing for creation of the ticket for the game outcome includes an act of associating, indirectly, the game outcome with ticket creation information.
  • According to one embodiment of the present invention, the act of associating, indirectly, the game outcome with ticket creation information includes act of creating an access code, permitting access to the game outcome by accepting an input of the access code. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of providing for creation of the ticket for the game outcome includes an act of associating, directly, the game outcome with ticket creation information. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of associating, directly, the game outcome with ticket creation information includes an act of encoding the outcome in the ticket creation information. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of encoding the outcome does not include encoding game play information in the ticket creation information. According to another embodiment of the invention, the method further comprises an act of creating a ticket for entry into the game.
  • According to another embodiment of the invention, the deterministic function comprises a pseudo random number generator. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of accepting, by a communication interface, a ticket request, includes an act of accepting the ticket request from a game machines with the ticket generation information associated with the game machine. According to another embodiment of the invention, the game machine includes at least one of a video lottery terminal, a pull-tab game machine, and a Class II gaming machine having predetermined outcomes.
  • According to one aspect of the present invention, a computer implemented method for generating ticketed entries into a game is provided. The method comprises the acts of providing for compensation rules governing the game having the ticketed entry, accepting, by a communication interface, a ticket request, the ticket request including a ticket generation value, generating, by a processor, an input value based, at least in part, on the ticket generation value, calculating, by a processor, an output value, wherein the act of calculating the output value includes an act of inputting the input value into a deterministic function, obtaining, by a processor, a game outcome from the compensation rules using the output value, and providing for creation of a ticket for the game outcome. According to one embodiment of the present invention, the method further comprises an act of accepting additional information associated with the ticket generation request. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of obtaining the game outcome from the compensation rules using the output value includes an act of selecting, by the processor, compensation rules using the additional information. According to another embodiment of the invention, the additional information comprises at least one of a value estimate for a player, a player status, a player membership level, a referral network status, a referral network value, a global player value estimate, a global player membership level, an affiliated location membership status, an online gaming membership status, a social network membership status, an affiliated location membership level, an online gaming membership level, and a social network membership level.
  • According to one embodiment of the present invention, the method further comprises an act of storing the ticket generation value. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of storing the ticket generation value includes an act of storing the value as at least a part of a player record. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of storing the ticket generation value includes an act of storing the value as at least part of a ticket record. According to another embodiment of the invention, the ticket generation value is pre-printed on another ticket. According to another embodiment of the invention, the method further comprises an act of communicating a ticket over a communication interface. According to another embodiment of the invention, the method further comprises an act of creating the ticket generation value. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of creating the ticket generation value includes an act of creating a unique random seed value.
  • According to one embodiment of the present invention, the act of generating, by a processor, the input value based, at least in part, on the ticket generation value, includes an act of combining the ticket generation value and at least a portion of the additional information. According to another embodiment of the invention, the method further comprises an act of generating a numerical representation of the additional information. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of calculating, by a processor, the output value, further includes an act of inputting the input value into a pseudo random function, and wherein the output value comprises a randomized value, wherein the same randomized value is output upon the input of the same input value. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of obtaining, by a processor, a game outcome from the compensation rules using the output value, includes an act of employing the randomized output value as at least one of a look up value into a compensation table, an index into a compensation table, an index into a prize schedule, a value for retrieving a database record, a value for retrieving a row of a table, and an input into a mapping function. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of providing for creation of the ticket for the game outcome includes an act of associating, indirectly, the game outcome with ticket creation information.
  • According to one embodiment of the present invention, the act of associating, indirectly, the game outcome with ticket creation information includes act of creating an access code, permitting access to the game outcome by accepting an input of the access code. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of providing for creation of the ticket for the game outcome includes an act of associating, directly, the game outcome with ticket creation information. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of associating, directly, the game outcome with ticket creation information includes an act of encoding the outcome in the ticket creation information. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of encoding the outcome does not include encoding game play information in the ticket creation information. According to another embodiment of the invention, the method further comprises an act of creating a ticket for entry into the game.
  • According to another embodiment of the invention, the deterministic function comprises a pseudo random number generator. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of accepting, by a communication interface, a ticket request, includes an act of accepting the ticket request from a game machines with the ticket generation value associated with the game machine. According to another embodiment of the invention, the game machines includes at least one of a video lottery terminal, a pull-tab game machine, and a Class II gaming machine having predetermined outcomes.
  • According to one aspect of the present invention, a computer-readable medium having computer-readable instructions stored thereon that, as a result of being executed by a computer, instruct the computer to perform a method for generating on demand ticketed entries into a game is provided. The method comprises acts of providing for compensation rules governing the game having the ticketed entry, accepting a ticket request, the ticket request including a ticket generation value, generating an input value based, at least in part, on the ticket generation value, calculating an output value, wherein the act of calculating the output value includes an act of inputting the input value into a deterministic function, obtaining a game outcome from the compensation rules using the output value, and providing for creation of a ticket for the game outcome.
  • According to one embodiment of the present invention, the method further comprises an act of accepting additional information associated with the ticket generation request. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of obtaining the game outcome from the compensation rules using the output value includes an act of selecting, by the processor, compensation rules using the additional information. According to another embodiment of the invention, the additional information comprises at least one of a value estimate for a player, a player status, a player membership level, a referral network status, a referral network value, a global player value estimate, a global player membership level, an affiliated location membership status, an online gaming membership status, a social network membership status, an affiliated location membership level, an online gaming membership level, and a social network membership level.
  • According to one embodiment of the present invention, the method further comprises an act of storing the ticket generation value. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of storing the ticket generation value includes an act of storing the value as at least a part of a player record. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of storing the ticket generation value includes an act of storing the value as at least part of a ticket record. According to another embodiment of the invention, the ticket generation value is pre-printed on another ticket. According to another embodiment of the invention, the method further comprises an act of communicating a ticket over a communication interface. According to another embodiment of the invention, the method further comprises an act of creating the ticket generation value. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of creating the ticket generation value includes an act of creating a unique random seed value.
  • According to one embodiment of the present invention, the act of generating, by a processor, the input value based, at least in part, on the ticket generation value, includes an act of combining the ticket generation value and at least a portion of the additional information. According to another embodiment of the invention, the method further comprises an act of generating a numerical representation of the additional information. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of calculating, by a processor, the output value, further includes an act of inputting the input value into a pseudo random function, and wherein the output value comprises a randomized value, wherein the same randomized value is output upon the input of the same input value. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of obtaining, by a processor, a game outcome from the compensation rules using the output value, includes an act of employing the randomized output value as at least one of a look up value into a compensation table, an index into a compensation table, an index into a prize schedule, a value for retrieving a database record, a value for retrieving a row of a table, and an input into a mapping function. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of providing for creation of the ticket for the game outcome includes an act of associating, indirectly, the game outcome with ticket creation information.
  • According to one embodiment of the present invention, the act of associating, indirectly, the game outcome with ticket creation information includes act of creating an access code, permitting access to the game outcome by accepting an input of the access code. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of providing for creation of the ticket for the game outcome includes an act of associating, directly, the game outcome with ticket creation information. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of associating, directly, the game outcome with ticket creation information includes an act of encoding the outcome in the ticket creation information. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of encoding the outcome does not include encoding game play information in the ticket creation information. According to another embodiment of the invention, the method further comprises an act of creating a ticket for entry into the game. According to another embodiment of the invention, the deterministic function comprises a pseudo random number generator. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of accepting, by a communication interface, a ticket request, includes an act of accepting the ticket request from a game machines with the ticket generation value associated with the game machine. According to another embodiment of the invention, the game machines includes at least one of a video lottery terminal, a pull-tab game machine, and a Class II gaming machine having predetermined outcomes.
  • According to one aspect of the present invention, a computer implemented method for generating ticketed entries into a game is provided. The method comprising the acts of providing for compensation rules governing the game having the ticketed entry, accepting, by a communication interface, a ticket request, the ticket request including ticket generation information, generating deterministically, by a ticket server, an input value based, at least in part, on the ticket generation information, calculating, by the ticket server, an output value, wherein the act of calculating the output value includes an act of inputting the input value into a deterministic function, obtaining, by the ticket server, a game outcome according to the compensation rules using the output value, and providing for creation of a ticket for the game outcome. According to one embodiment of the present invention, the method further comprises an act of accepting additional information associated with the ticket generation request. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of obtaining the game outcome according to the compensation rules using the output value includes an act of selecting, by the ticket server, a set of compensation rules using the additional information. According to another embodiment of the invention, the additional information comprises at least one of a value estimate for a player, at least a portion of information underlying the value estimate, a player status, a player membership level, at a portion of information associated with a player record, a referral network status, a referral network value, a global player value estimate, a global player membership level, an affiliated location membership status, an online gaming membership status, a social network membership status, an affiliated location membership level, an online gaming membership level, and a social network membership level.
  • According to one embodiment of the present invention, the method further comprises an act of storing the ticket generation information. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of storing the ticket generation information includes an act of storing the information as at least a part of one of a player record, a ticket record, a game record, and a game machine record. According to another embodiment of the invention, the compensation rules define at least one prize matrix. According to another embodiment of the invention, the ticket generation information is pre-printed on another ticket. According to another embodiment of the invention, the method further comprises an act of communicating a ticket over a communication interface. According to another embodiment of the invention, the method further comprises an act of creating a ticket generation value. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of creating the ticket generation value includes an act of creating a unique seed value. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of generating, by a processor, the input value based, at least in part, on the ticket generation information, includes an act of combining the ticket generation information and at least a portion of the additional information.
  • According to one embodiment of the present invention, the method further comprises an act of generating a numerical representation of the additional information. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of calculating, by a processor, the output value, further includes an act of inputting the input value into a pseudo random number generator, wherein the output value comprises a predictable randomized value, wherein the same randomized value is output upon the input of the same input value. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of obtaining, by a processor, a game outcome from the compensation rules using the output value, includes an act of employing the randomized output value as at least one of a look up value into a compensation table, an index into a compensation table, an index into a prize matrix, a look up into a prize matrix, a value for retrieving a database record, a value for retrieving a row of a table, and an input into a mapping function. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of providing for creation of the ticket for the game outcome includes an act of associating, indirectly, the game outcome with ticket creation information. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of associating, indirectly, the game outcome with ticket creation information includes act of creating an access code, permitting access to the game outcome by accepting an input of the access code.
  • According to one embodiment of the present invention, the act of providing for creation of the ticket for the game outcome includes an act of associating, directly, the game outcome with ticket creation information. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of associating, directly, the game outcome with ticket creation information includes an act of encoding the outcome in the ticket creation information. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of encoding the outcome does not include encoding game play information in the ticket creation information. According to another embodiment of the invention, the method further comprises an act of creating a ticket for entry into the game. According to another embodiment of the invention, the deterministic function comprises a pseudo random number generator. According to another embodiment of the invention, the act of accepting, by a communication interface, a ticket request, includes an act of accepting the ticket request from a game machine with the ticket generation information associated with the game machine. According to another embodiment of the invention, the game machine includes at least one of a video lottery terminal, a pull-tab game machine, and a Class II gaming machine having predetermined outcomes. According to another embodiment of the invention, the ticket generation information comprises the input value. According to another embodiment of the invention, the method further comprises an act of deriving the input value from the ticket generation information.
  • According to one embodiment of the present invention, the ticket generation information comprises a static portion and a dynamic portion. According to another embodiment of the invention, the input value is based on at least a portion of the static portion and at least a portion of the dynamic portion. According to another embodiment of the invention, the dynamic portion is deterministically dynamic. According to another embodiment of the invention, the compensation rules define predetermined outcomes for the game.
  • According to one aspect of the present invention, a computer-readable medium having computer-readable instructions stored thereon that, as a result of being executed by a processor, instruct the computer to perform a method for generating on demand ticketed entries into a game is provided. The method comprising acts of providing for compensation rules governing the game having the ticketed entry, accepting a ticket request, the ticket request including a ticket generation value, generating an input value based, at least in part, on the ticket generation value, calculating an output value, wherein the act of calculating the output value includes an act of inputting the input value into a deterministic function, obtaining a game outcome from the compensation rules using the output value, and providing for creation of a ticket for the game outcome.
  • According to one aspect of the present invention, a system for printing ticketed entries into a predetermined outcome game is provided. The system comprising a ticket creation component configured to generate a ticket from ticket creation information where the ticket comprises an entry into the game, and the entry is associated with a predetermined outcome in response to a ticket generation request, and a communication component configured to receive ticket creation information generated by an outcome retrieval component, wherein the outcome retrieval component is configured to receive a ticket generation request and associated ticket generation information, process the ticket generation information to obtain a deterministic value from the ticket generation information, retrieve a predetermined outcome for the game using the deterministic value, wherein the predetermined outcome is defined prior to the ticket generation request from compensation rules for the game, and transmit ticket creation information associated with the predetermined outcome. According to one embodiment of the present invention, the ticket creation component is configured to print a physical ticket. According to another embodiment of the invention, the ticket creation component is further configured to process the received ticket creation information, and generate a ticket representation.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The accompanying drawings are not intended to be drawn to scale. In the drawings, each identical or nearly identical component that is shown in various figures is represented by a like numeral. For the purpose of clarity, not every component may be labeled in every drawing. In the drawings:
  • FIG. 1 is a block diagram of an example system on which various aspects of the disclosure can be practiced;
  • FIG. 2 is an example process for generating tickets for a game on demand, according to one embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 3 is an example process for generating a ticket or ticket information on demand, according to one embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 4 is an example process for obtaining a game outcome in response to a ticket generation request, according to one embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 5A is an example process for generating prize matrixes, according to one embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 5B is an example process for providing seed information to create on game tickets, according to one embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 5C is an example process for deriving a seed value can be derived from existing information, according to one embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 6 is an example process for delivering ticket generation information, according to one embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 7 is an example process for incorporating additional information, according to one aspect of the present invention;
  • FIG. 8 is an example process for generating a deterministic output, according to one embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 9 is an example process for providing information to determine a game outcome, according to one embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 10 is a block diagram of an example distributed computer system upon which various aspects of the present disclosure can be practiced;
  • FIG. 11 is a block diagram of computer system upon which various aspects of the present disclosure can be practiced;
  • FIG. 12 is a block diagram illustrating components of a computer system upon which various aspect of the present disclosure can be practiced; and
  • FIG. 13 is a block diagram of a computer system upon which various aspect of the present disclosure can be practiced.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • According to one aspect, an unrestricted promotional game is provided that preserves predetermination and/or does not introduce chance elements into a game while at the same time reduces the overhead associated with generating and maintaining entries (i.e. tickets) into the promotion. According to one embodiment, a player is associated with a value that permits generation of tickets when needed. In one example, the value may be a seed value. In another example, the value may be derived through a randomly generated number (the number includes a number of digits sufficient to uniquely identify the player). In yet another example, a membership number may already be associated with a player and the membership number may be used as the value. Another example includes using portions of a membership number, and still others include generating random values that uniquely identify a player based off of a membership number and/or identifier. Other embodiments can employ global player identifiers. According to one embodiment, ticket generation values may be derived from information available for a particular player. In one example, a ticket generation value is created when a request for a ticket is sent with the information available for the player, optionally part of the available information may be used in other examples. In another example, the ticket generation value may already exist, and in yet another example, the ticket generation value may be stored in a player record.
  • In at least some embodiments, the value is input into a deterministic function to provide a randomized and repeatable output. Example deterministic functions include pseudo random number generators. The output of the deterministic function is used to derive an outcome for a particular entry. In some embodiments, game parameters can be assigned for any game by a game operator and/or a promotion operator that define outcomes that can be achieved in the game. In one example, the output of the function is interpreted against outcome parameters for a given game and an outcome obtained. In at least some embodiments, the outcome can then be stored and a ticket generated. The ticket or a representation of the ticket can be transmitted in response to a ticket generation request and the ticket or representation used to permit redemption of the stored outcome as an entry into a game is needed.
  • According to another aspect, provided is a method and system for responding to game participation requests and/or game outcome generation requests at or near the time a request is received regardless of the underlying game involved. In one embodiment, a value associated with a player is used as an input into a deterministic function, and the output of the function is then used to derive a ticket value and a ticket created. In another embodiment, a value associated with a game machine is used as an input into a deterministic function, and the output of the function is used to derive a ticket value. In other implementations, a ticket generation value may be associated with a particular game, a game series, a series of games, a game name, or other unique game identifier. For example, video lottery terminals with predetermined results may benefit from the use of a seed value (input) fed into a deterministic function. In another example, pull-tab games can use seed value(s) as inputs into a deterministic function to reduce the maintenance and overhead associated with game tickets. The seed value may be derived from information associated with the pull-tab game on a ticket generation request, or in one alternative, derived from information associated with a player playing the pull-tab game. One should appreciate that any Class II gaming machine that employs predetermined outcomes can benefit from the use of ticket generation values and deterministic functions that permit ticket generation on an as needed basis.
  • Other examples include lottery systems that issue instant tickets or virtual forms of instant tickets via kiosks, point of sale equipment, or Internet-based sales systems. Ticket facsimiles may be presented on a kiosk (typically at a lottery retailer) and on a computer monitor fed over the Internet, among other examples (including use of preprinted tickets). On demand ticket generation may also facilitate server-based gaming and so called online lottery terminals (e.g. Powerball) that generate instant tickets. The online refers to the use of remote terminals at specific locations as opposed to offline games (e.g. scratch ticket games).
  • Shown in FIG. 2 is an example process, 200, for generating tickets for a game on demand. At step 202, a request is made to participate in a particular game having ticketed entries. At step 204 ticket generation information is transmitted and received by a ticket generation system. In at least some embodiments, a seed value is received and used as the ticket generation information. Optionally at step 206, additional information may be transmitted and received with the ticket generation information of 204. Additional information can include a request date, date/time combinations, game name, game machine identifier, player information, player status, as some examples. A ticket generation system processes the received information (ticket generation information and optionally received information).
  • In one embodiment, a seed value is combined with dynamic information at 208 to generate an input value. The dynamic information can include date and time. In one embodiment, a static seed value is used in conjunction with the dynamic information to achieve a dynamic but predictable input value based on the static seed and the dynamic information. In such a fashion a single static seed value can be assigned and used repeatedly, over multiple games, game sessions to achieve predictable, unique, and repeatable input values. In some implementations, a static seed value is associated with a player, and each player can assigned a unique seed value. For games that require qualification, seed values can be assigned as part of the qualification process.
  • At 210 the input value is used an input to a deterministic function, for example a pseudo random number generator. The deterministic function produces an output value at 212, that is used to retrieve an outcome from a prize matrix at 214. In some implementations there may be more than one prize matrix, and additional information optionally provided at 206 can be used to select from a plurality of prize matrixes at 214. In some examples, the output value is used as an index into a selected prize matrix. The outcome can be included in a transmission at 216 that permits the requesting entity (e.g. a game server or personal computer) to generate and present a ticket to the entity that initiated the participation request.
  • Alternatively, the ticket generation system can create a ticket representation and transmit the ticket representation to the requesting entity at 216. In some embodiments, the transmission of the ticket representation at 216 or the transmission of ticket generation information at 216 permits a physical ticket to be printed and used to access the outcome now associated with the ticket. Shown in FIG. 1 is an example system 100, upon which various aspects of on demand ticket generation can be implemented. For example, process 200, of FIG. 2, can be implemented on system 100. As shown a promotion server 102 is connected to other servers to accept participation requests in a game and respond with a ticket representation or ticket information as it is demanded. As shown, promotion server 102 is connected to a game server 110 and a casino management server 106. Game server 110 is configured to permit on-line access to a player population through, for example, the Internet 120. Additionally promotion server 102 is connected to casino management server 106 to permit access to casino and other gaming/gambling environments to the promotional game and/or games made available using promotion server 102. Illustrated are a plurality of communication networks 114-118 permitting bidirectional communication between servers 102, 106 and 110. One should appreciate that shown is one promotion sever 102 that serves both on-line and casino environments, but separate servers, and/or a plurality of servers may be operatively connected to either environment separately or in combination, further the operations and workload may also be distributed across a plurality of systems.
  • A player can access a game server 110 on a computer 122 connected through the Internet 120. The game server 110 can be connected directly to the Internet 120 or can be connected to the Internet 120 through its own communication network 114. Game server 110 can host a plurality of games, stored for example in database 112, and can include access to a promotional style game as discussed in greater detail herein. Additionally game server 110 can be configured to authenticate and/or identify a player wishing to participate. In one example, game server 110 requires a membership number and authentication information, before a player can participate in any game. Authentication information can be stored in a database 112 on game server 110. Game server 110 can pass this information onto promotion server 102 through communication network 118. Likewise casino management server 106, can provide similar functionality. For example, casino management server 106 can be configured to authenticate and/or identify a player using a frequent player membership number. Player and/or game information can be maintained on server, for example in database 108. In one alternative, casino management server 106 can pass along identification information for players already considered identified and/or authenticated by activity at a gaming, gambling and/or other establishment connected to casino management server 106. Identification can also take place on specific gaming machines. Players can be provided interfaces on displays of gaming machines, 126-130, in which identifying information can be entered. In one example, card readers are provide on game machines 126-130, at 132-136 respectively. A frequent player club member is typically issued a membership card that can be read by card readers installed on game machines. Such a player can be identified by for example server 106 and/or game machines 126-130 by inserting their player card.
  • Promotion server 102 receives requests from game server 106 and casino management server 106. Requests to participate can include additional information on for example, a player, a game, a game machine, etc. Promotion server 102 can either use the information received directly as input into a deterministic function or process the received information to obtain a numerical representation of the information among other options. Promotion server 102 is configured to process an input value with a deterministic function to produce an output value used to retrieve an outcome for a particular game. In at least some embodiments, promotion server 102 stores a plurality of predetermined outcomes in a prize matrix in a database 104. Although one should appreciate that other methodologies of storing predetermined outcomes on server 102 can be used, and may include for example look up tables, multiple databases, etc. The output value is used to retrieve an outcome from the prize matrix.
  • Once a request is processed by promotion server 102, a ticket can be generated. In some examples, this includes generating a ticket representation and transmitting the representation back to the requesting entity. A ticket representation can be transmitted over network 118 to game server 110, and from the game server 110 to a computer 122. The computer 122 can render the ticket representation directly as an electronic display. In some embodiments, the ticket representation can be transmitted to the requestor in order to print a physical ticket. For example computer 122 can be configured to print a ticket using an attached printing device 124. In response to receiving the ticket representation, computer 112 can print a physical ticket to use to enter into a game, provided for example by game server 110 and redeem a now associated predetermined outcome.
  • In other examples, promotion server 102, generates information that permits a receiving system to create a ticket. For example, a unique identifier associated with the outcome can be bundled into a message transmitted to the requesting entity. The transmission including generation information can be sent over communication network 118 to game server 110 and from there to computer 122. Alternatively, game server 110 may handle the initial communication from computer 122, and permit promotion server 102 and computer 122 to talk directly in subsequent communications. In some examples, computer 122 downloads executable modules from game server 110, the modules when executed permit generation of tickets from generation information received from promotion server 102.
  • Promotion server can also be configured to provide ticket representations and/or ticket generation information to casino management server 106, for distribution to any connected gaming machine (e.g. 126, 128, 130). In some examples, casino management server 106, interprets received ticket generation information to permit display of ticket representations on connected game machines. In some embodiments, the casino management server 106 passes ticket generation information to the connected machines, which interpret the generation information for subsequent display. In one alternative, the game machines can be connected to a printing device 138 and in response to either a ticket representation or ticket generation information, a physical ticket may be printed. Integrated printers can be available on individual game machines (e.g. 126, 128, 130).
  • System 100 can be configured to provide tickets on demand for specific games, but one should appreciate that the game itself may vary. The game can be presented as an amusement game, a wagering game, a sweepstakes, among other examples. In the example system 100, promotion server 102 can be configured to resolve requests for entry into a promotional game. In one example, a promotional game has predetermined outcomes. However, the predetermined outcomes are, prior to any request for entry, unassociated with any ticket, player, game machine or other form of entry record. By having predetermined but unassociated outcomes, the maintenance requirements for the promotional game are significantly reduced. Typically in games with ticketed entries massive overhead is required to provide individual outcomes (predetermined or not) over the course of a game, its associated games sessions, and if applicable multiple iterations of the game.
  • Deterministic Function
  • One example of a deterministic function that is employed in some embodiments is a pseudo random number generator (a “PRNG”). In one example, the pseudo random number generator has the property of generating a randomized output based on the input value. It is deterministic in that for a particular value input into the function the same randomized value is output. Some examples of pseudo random number generators include the Mersenne twister algorithm, stream ciphers, block ciphers, although one should appreciate that other PRNGs may be used.
  • Shown in FIG. 8, is an example process 800 that can be, for example, incorporated into other processes disclosed for generating tickets on demand. Example process 800 can be used in conjunction with disclosed systems for generating tickets on demand. At 802, a deterministic function is accessed by a computer system. The computer system can be a specially programmed general purpose computer system (e.g. FIG. 11, 1100). The deterministic function can be stored in a memory location on the computer system. In one example, a pseudo random number generator is implemented on the computer system. The pseudo random number generator is called in response to receipt of an input value for example at 804. The input value is used to start the pseudo random number generator at 806 and a randomized output it obtained at 808.
  • As discussed a seed value can be input into the PRNG. The input value at 804 is used to seed the PRNG. For example, the C++ srand( ) function, included in the standard C++ library, accepts an input to start the number generator from a particular point in the random number generation sequence that is dependent on the start value. As discussed further herein, the input value can be derived from a static value, a static value combined with dynamic information, static information converted into a numeric representation, static information combined with dynamic information converted into a numeric representation among other examples. Simplified example C++ code could include the following:
  • int main( )
  • {srand((unsigned)input( ));
    int output_value = rand( ); }
  • Using an appropriate input value enables the generation of a randomized but predictable output result. The output value from any PRNG used can be used in subsequent processes or as part of larger process for determining a specific outcome from, for example a prize matrix. According to one embodiments, static value and dynamic values are defined to achieve a predictable combination for use as an input value to a PRNG.
  • Input Value Generation
  • According to one aspect, the input value used to determine a ticket value may include additional information and/or be coupled with other values. In one example, a ticket generation value is combined with date information to derive the input value for the deterministic function. One should appreciate in such a setting, the system is capable of determining at any time what outcome that particular player will achieve on an associated date requested. Typically, the system does not make this calculation until a participation and/or redemption demand is made. However, one should appreciate that the calculation can be performed at any time. For example, a future date value may be combined with a ticket generation value, and in another example a past date value may be used. Indeed, predetermining some results may serve as a validation of appropriate operation, and in some embodiments, post validation may occur for dates that have passed. Validation of operation provides assurance regarding proper operation. Further, the ability to use predictable and/or static information with a ticket generation value permits calculation of total exposure for a game in advance. To extend the date example, knowing that a ticket generation value is combined with the day of redemption permits a game operator to forecast the outcomes that will be produced upon actual use/redemption. Nothing discussed in the examples should be read as limiting the application of the function to a particular date range.
  • Other information may be combined with a ticket generation value, for example, a game name may be represented as a numerical value and be combined with the ticket generation value, and used as an input to the deterministic function. In some examples, other temporal values may be used, a second count from a predetermined time, an hour count, day count, date and time, month, and year, among others. One should appreciate that many values could be combined with a ticket generation value including number of visits to a gaming establishment, etc.
  • An input value to the deterministic function could include, for example, a player's standing within a frequent players club. In some embodiments, additional information is communicated, over a computer communication network for example, along with an input value and does not need to be combined with the input value. In one example, after the input value has been input into the function and an output derived, the additional information is used in conjunction with the output to derive a game outcome. In another example, a player's status in a frequent player club is used in conjunction with the output from a pseudo random number generator, to identify a prize matrix that the player's status qualifies him/her for and an outcome defined by that prize matrix.
  • Known in the art are various rankings levels used in conjunction with frequent player club memberships to identify players. The player club ranks players by, for example, the amount of wagering the player performs on average, and the amount of business the player generates. A three tier system may rate players as gold, platinum and diamond levels based on determination of player's value to a gaming establishment.
  • A player in a gold level may qualify for a different prize matrix than a player in a platinum level for example (reflective of a payout schedule for a particular game). In one embodiment, the prize matrix for platinum players has greater valued payouts when compared to the gold level player, and may include different odds of achieving a positive outcome. In other embodiments, additional information includes information associated with a referral network. A value associated with a referral network may be passed along with an input value and the value associated with the referral network may be used to identify a prize matrix into which the function's output value indexes.
  • Other information may be used to determine a value associated with a player and the value may be used to determine a prize tier for that player. In one example, a player is valued based on a distance from a gambling establishment, and the farther the player traveled to reach the gambling establishment the greater the prize tier the player qualifies for. In another example, distance is one element that determines tier and any associated prize level. In one embodiment, gambling establishments can specifically target local players by increasing prize levels for players' with shorter travel distances rather than longer.
  • “Tiering” may also be based on experience with a particular game. For example, in gaming systems that allow play continuation, the gaining of experience and increase in game level may be associated with different prize tiers. The prize tiers may go to the award that the player would get, and in one example, includes an impact on the display of bonus game play. One example, would be a known STAR TREK game system. Experience in the game causes elevation in rank from a lower level ensign to commander of a vessel. The commander level player receives a different prize tier than the ensign. Although one should appreciate that the prize tiers for each may be used to provide different incentives. An ensign level player may receive the opportunity for increased payouts as an incentive to continue play, although in some embodiments, the increase in experience is tied to an increase in value to potential outcomes.
  • Additional information that can each be used individually or collectively as an element into prize level determination may also include whether or not a player is a member of a referral network, whether the player generated a referral network, a value associated with members of a referral network, and should be understood to include any of the information discussed in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/238,849 entitled “METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR PROVIDING PLAYER INCENTIVES,” filed Sep. 26, 2008, incorporated herein by reference, that can be used to establish a player value, and/or a value of a referral network. According to one embodiment, additional information is combined with ticket generation values by concatenating two numeric values. In one example, the additional information must first be represented numerically and then concatenating with the ticket generation value. The combined number may then be used as an input for a deterministic function. In another embodiment, an overall length for an input value is maintained during the combination operations. In one example, a 64 bit number is used, and any additional values are combined with the 64 bit ticket generation value with an XOR (exclusive OR) operation to yield another 64 bit number. One should appreciate that any number length may be employed, and almost any number of additional values may be used to contribute to an input value. For example 32, 128, 256 bit values may also be used. Other combination functions may be employed to include additional information with a ticket generation value, for example hash functions, index functions, and encryption functions, among others. In one embodiment, a hash function is used to derive an input value from a ticket generation value and additional information. The classes of functions described may also be used as the deterministic function that generates an output value as long as the particular version of the function selected provides for the generation of the same output value upon the input of the same input value.
  • Example Player Association
  • According to another aspect, a value is generated for a player that permits entry into a promotional game for the player without first requiring generation of a ticket. The value links a promotional game outcome to the player, so that the outcome for the player can be known in advance for a particular player, using the output of a deterministic function and pay out rules associated with the particular promotion and/or game. The link of player to outcome can be independent of the outcome of the promotional game and/or the value of the promotional offer. The linking between the player and outcome can be independent of the details associated with any particular promotional game as well. That is, in one embodiment, a player can select any promotional game, for instance from an online display and irrespective of player choice (for example a player may choose black jack from computer interface that presents choices from a list of poker, blackjack, slots, roulette, craps, etc.) the outcome will be the same.
  • In one example, a ticket value is established for a player based on a ticket generation value associated with a player, a deterministic function, and payment/award rules for the game. One should appreciate that the ticket value itself need not be determined at the time the parameters for the game are created. In one example, flexibility and overhead reduction is achieved by not generating tickets, their values, and performing the corresponding maintenance tasks, until the tickets are required. In one example, the ticket generation value may be associated with a player through membership in a frequent player club. In another example, the ticket generation value may be derived from player information, including for instance a membership number with the frequent player club.
  • In one example setting, frequent player card members may receive invitations to receive a promotional type award. The invitation may be based on an act of determining qualification. In order to redeem such an award the player club member is required to perform some action, the location for performing the action may be constrained to, for example, a casino and/or another gambling location. At the time the player attempts to redeem the award, a ticket representing an entry into the promotion may be generated from the value associated with the particular player.
  • One should appreciate that the invention should not be interpreted as limited to generation only at a redemption demand (the capability exists to determine an outcome before redemption, generate an outcome after redemption, generate outcome for validation at any time, etc). Indeed in some other embodiments, the on demand request for ticket generation occurs at an indication of participation. In one example, when a player attempts to play a particular game that employs ticketed entry, a generation request is made. The generation request communicates the ticket generation value or information used to derive the ticket generation value, and any optional additional information. An input value is derived and fed into a deterministic function. The output of the function is used to retrieve a particular ticket value. In one embodiment, a ticket is created and associated with the determined value. A ticket or representation is communicated back to the requesting location. For an electronic ticket, the electronic representation is presented. For a physical ticket, a printing device generates the on demand ticket. In one example, ticket representations are displayed on a kiosk (typically at a lottery retailer), and in another on a computer monitor attached to a communication network, for example the Internet. In another example, a physical ticket is printed in response to a participation request.
  • According to another aspect, tickets may be preprinted and/or pre-generated with ticket generation values. In one embodiment, the ticket generation values are printed on the face of ticket, and in another encoded on the face of the ticket. In one embodiment, tickets are printed with ticket generation values upon request. In another, a number of tickets corresponding to the expected participation amount for a particular game may be printed in advance, and additional tickets may be generated if need arises. Printed tickets with ticket generation values may be used where the player wishing to participate is not known, hasn't signed up for a frequent player club membership, or are to be passed along to other players through a known player, among other options.
  • According to one example, generation of an outcome/ticket value is followed by generation of a ticket, and in some embodiments, ticket generation (whether electronic or in another physical form) occurs as part of the same process for outcome generation. In other examples, operation of the deterministic function resolves a mapping to a record. The record can then be populated later with an outcome.
  • Shown in FIG. 2 is an example process for generating tickets for a game on demand. At step 202, a request is made to participate in a particular game having ticketed entries. At step 204 ticket generation information is transmitted and received by a ticket generation system. In at least some embodiments, the ticket generation information includes a unique value for a player associated with the participation request. In other embodiments, a seed value is received and used as the ticket generation information. Optionally at step 206, additional information may be transmitted and received with the ticket generation information of 204. Additional information can include a request date, date/time combinations, game name, game machine identifier, player information, player status as examples. In some examples, a receiving system can add dynamic information on receipt of a seed value (e.g., add date/time).
  • The ticket generation system processes the received information (ticket generation information and optionally received information). When seed values are transmitted directly, the seed value can be used as an input into a deterministic function at 208. If player information is received and optionally additional information is received a numerical value is generated at 208. The numeric value can include just player information, and also can include any combination of player information and additional information. In one embodiment, a static seed value associated with a player record is received in step 204. Additional information in the form of date/time information is also received at 206. From the static seed value and the date/time information an input value is generated. The input value can be the result of a hash function performed on the static seed and date/time information. Hash values can be derived for any type of received ticket generation and/or additional information. According to some embodiments, the input value that is subsequently used at 210, has the property of being knowable in advance of the participation request.
  • In another example, a ticket is generated for the player when the player indicates an intent to redeem the promotion and/or promotional award. In some embodiments, ticket generation occurs when a player attempts to participate in a game, whether it is a promotional type game, or a game of skill or a game of skill and chance. In other embodiments, ticket generation may occur on demand as part of a system for providing player incentives. Examples of systems for providing player incentives are described in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/841,754 entitled “METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR PROVIDING PLAYER INCENTIVES,” filed Aug. 20, 2007, published as U.S. Patent Application Publication Number 2008-0146346 A1 on Jun. 19, 2008 with the same title, incorporated herein by reference. However, one should appreciate that other systems may be used. Ticket generation may occur prior to electronic game play; at the point a player enters electronic game play, at the point of determining qualification, after qualification, and at redemption, among other options.
  • In one example, a ticket generation value may be associated with a player (with a deterministic function, etc.) to enable generation of a ticket into a promotional game at the time of entering a game. In one example the game entry occurs through an alternative means of entry. In another example, the alternative means of entry (AMOE) includes information necessary to identify a player, create a record for the player, and associate a ticket generation value with the player. In another example, the player may be associated with a value that can be used to derive an input value. In one embodiment, the value associated with the player is combined with other information to generate the input value into the deterministic function.
  • In another embodiment, a ticket generation value is associated with a player through a wagering account. In one example, the ticket generation value is associated with a wagering account without concern/knowledge of the player tied to the account. Account-based wagering may also include multiple players for a single account, and thus according to another embodiment, multiple players may be associated with a ticket generation value. In another example, individual player names represented numerically may be combined with ticket generation values so that each player of the multiplayer group may be provided awards according to unique tiering, and/or prize matrix.
  • In another example, the AMOE allows a game operator to identify an existing player record and associate a ticket generation value with that player. In an alternative, the AMOE entry permits the game operator to create a player record for the player seeking to enter the game via an AMOE. The player can then be entered in game session according to the AMOE and the ticket generation value can be created and assigned at the processing of the AMOE. In another example the AMOE is a part of an invitation to a player (who may be first qualified) and the player may be associated with a ticket generation value at the time the invitation is sent. Players who participate in games through subscriptions may also be identified and associated with a ticket generation values. In one embodiment, the ticket generation value is used in conjunction with a promotional type game requiring that outcome/ticket value determination occur without elements of chance. Other games may have different requirements regarding outcome generation. In some examples, elements of skill may be present, in others elements of skill and chance, in others just chance, however, one should appreciate that reducing the need for advance ticket generation by permitting on demand ticket creation reduces the overhead of any game that employs ticketed entries.
  • In another example, a player may be associated with a ticket generation value used to determine a promotional game outcome and/or value of a promotional offer through a referral network for the creation of tickets, as they become necessary. In one example, a player does not need to be a member of a frequent player club to be associated with a ticket generation value. The player may be uniquely identified through an entry in a referral network. In one example, player information is entered into a referral network management interface. That player may then be associated with a player record including a ticket generation value. An input value to the deterministic function is derived from the ticket generation value. In one example, the ticket generation value is used as the input value. In some embodiments, the ticket generation value is combined with other information to determine an input value. The input value will be used to determine an outcome of, for example, a promotional game.
  • In one embodiment, players are first identified to receive to a promotional offer. At the time of identification of the player, the player may be associated with a ticket generation value that can be used to create a ticket and determine a ticket value/outcome for the promotion. In another embodiment, an existing value may be used, and in yet another, the value may include additional information. For example, additional information includes date information, permitting unique outputs from the deterministic function on the basis of date, using the same value associated with a player.
  • In one embodiment, any ticket generation value may include information specific to the promotional game. In one example, information specific to the promotion includes start time for the promotion, end time for the promotion, number of participants in the promotion, awards available, a rate for providing winning outcomes and/or awards, date of redemption, promotional game selection for a player, and promotional game selected by the player, among other options. In another embodiment, the information specific to the promotion may be communicated over a computer network in conjunction with the ticket generation value rather than being used as a component of the input value.
  • In one example, a ticket generation value may be created when a player's information is entered into a referral network, in another example, the player information must be validated before creation of a value for that player. In some embodiments, a ticket generation value is only generated and associated with a player in response to a particular player qualifying for a particular game and/or incentive offer. In some examples, a game may be associated with a time period during which a valid outcome may be produced. In response to the expiration of the time period, a ticket generation value may be de-associated from a player, and in one example this comprises deleting the value from a player record stored in a database. In another example, a ticket generation value is created from existing information stored concerning a player. For example, a frequent playercard number or member account can be used. Other examples include date of birth, address, height and weight. The existing information may be combined with additional information associated with the player to generate a unique ticket generation value.
  • In other examples, an input value may include additional information so that outcome generation may be influenced in a predetermined manner by the additional information. For example, an input value may include date specific information, and the date information included in the input value may impact the output generated by the deterministic function. In another example, a game name is reduced to a numerical value and incorporated into the input value, permitting a unique output from a deterministic function for each named game. The game name may be formulated to include game series identification and/or time periods so that a numerical representation will enable unique outputs from the deterministic function as a property of a game name, game series, game time period, etc.
  • In some embodiments, a ticket generation value may be associated with a group of players rather than an individual. For group values, the input value will be associated with a specific ticket value/outcome (through use of the deterministic function to generate an output and the association of the output to a game award value), but at the time of awarding for a particular player within a group additional determinations may be made that divide the specific outcome into portions to be awarded to members of the group. The additional determinations may be designed to provide players in the group signals as to the scope of the award, or to give an indication that a positive results occurred. For example, a predetermined award of $50, may be broken up into a $5 award, follow by any number of non-winning awards, to be concluded in awards of $5, $20, and $20, earning the group as a whole $50. In one example, the additional determinations are determined randomly so the generated ticket value (from the input value, deterministic function, output value, and compensation rules) is broken into randomly determined parts, and awarded in a random order to members of the group. The ticket value may still be generated deterministically, but the presentation may take place in a number of ways. In another embodiment, the group outcome may have a scripted component, allowing a game operator to provide early indications of an award, a large award, etc. to increase excitement and potentially increase play.
  • Shown in FIG. 3 is an example process 300 for generating a ticket or ticket information on demand. Process 300 may be used in conjunction with, for example, a qualification phase of a game. In one example, a game provider can qualify players meeting their criteria to participate in a promotional game. The qualified players can have a ticket generation value assigned. Additionally, a value can be assigned to a game, a game series, a game session, a game machine, and/or a ticket record.
  • As shown in FIG. 3, at 302 a random function is used to create a randomized seed value at 304. The seed value can be associated with a data record at 306 for later retrieval. Example records can be any one or more of a player record 306A, a game record 306B, a game terminal record 306C, and a ticket record 306D. A player record can be pre-existing or generated at the time of the association. In some examples, an existing player record is used to store a random seed value. In other example, an existing player record can be accessed and the random function used at 302 to create a seed value from existing information. At 308, a participation request for the game with on demand entries is received. In response to the request, the seed value is transmitted to the requesting entity at 310.
  • In some embodiments, additional information may be incorporated in the communication of the seed value. For example, the date and time of the participation request can be included. Additional information can include any one or more of date, date/time, game, game machine identifier, player information, player status, among other examples. The seed value can be used as an input into a pseudo random number generator (“PRNG”) at 312. In some embodiments, an input value can be generated from a received seed value and additional information. Typically the input can be constructed from a static portion and a dynamic portion to yield a predictable value. For example, a stored seed can be combined with a dynamic date and time value to generate a unique but predictable input. Date and time is dynamic in a predictable way, thus, the combination of a static value and the predictable date time value can be used to yield predictable results for an input value. In other embodiments, other dynamic values can be used to generate input values.
  • At 314 the output of the PRNG is used to retrieve a game outcome for the participation request. In some embodiments, an outcome is retrieve from a predetermined prize matrix established according to compensation rules provided by a game operator. In other embodiments, the game operator may be provided a prize matrix directly and/or compensation rules to follow. In one example a plurality of prize matrixes can be used, and an outcome determined from the plurality of prize matrixes by first identifying an applicable matrix and then using the output to retrieve the outcomes from the identified matrix. Matrixes may be selected using additional information provided during a participation request. Alternatively, information on a player can be provided separately from a participation request, and an appropriate prize matrix identified in advance of step 314. The output value generated can be used as an index and/or lookup value for a given prize matrix. Other method can also be used. Once an outcome is identified, ticket generation information can be returned to the requesting entity at 316. In some examples, the ticket generation information is sent for the requesting entity to fabricate a physical ticket, by for example printing the ticket. In other examples, the requesting entity generates an electronic representation of the ticket from the information and presents it to a player. In other examples, a ticket representation can first be created and then sent. The requesting entity can then display the representation or provide for generation of a physical ticket.
  • One should appreciate that other methods of associating a player and a ticket generation value may be used. In one example, a player may be uniquely identified using biometric information. In another example, a player may be uniquely identified on a visit to a gambling location, affiliated location, or other location using video imagery, video analysis, determined height and/or weight information, and may also be determined using other physical characteristics, including facial structure, finger prints, and voice identification, among others. A player record can be established for any uniquely identified player, and that player record may be associated with a ticket generation value. According to one alternative, a ticket generation value may be associated with a global player tracking system.
  • Examples of global player tracking systems are described in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/345,289 entitled “SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR COLLECTING AND USING PLAYER INFORMATION,” filed Dec. 29, 2008, which claims priority under 35 U.S.C. §119(e) to U.S. Patent Application Ser. No. 61/016,801 entitled “SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR COLLECTING AND USING PLAYER INFORMATION,” filed Dec. 26, 2007 both of which are incorporated herein by reference. and forms a part of the instant Specification in its entirety. In one embodiment, the global tracking system may associate a ticket generation value with a global player record. The global player record may associate multiple frequent player club memberships held at a number of gaming, gambling, and/or affiliated establishments. One should appreciate that other memberships may be tracked, and in one example the global player record identifies memberships at gambling locations, memberships at affiliated locations, memberships at other entities, and may include membership in activities and/or groups that may be indicative of increased likelihood of gambling among other options.
  • The ticket generation value may include information on a particular membership (e.g. frequent player club membership), so that the value may be used to identify a specific ticket value based on a particular membership and its associated location. In one example, the value is associated with multiple outcomes, and included information (e.g. membership information) allows a system to employ the value to identify the correct ticket value from among a number of outcomes. In some examples, the additional information may be incorporated into the input value and be used to generate unique output values based on the incorporated additional information. In some other examples the additional information may be employed after the generation of an output value influencing the selection of the payout parameters that the output value will be used to identify.
  • In one example, a player is associated with a ticket generation value that was randomly determined, and uniquely identifies the player. At the time the player attempts to participate in a game, a ticket is generated on demand for that player. An input value is generated from the ticket generation value, optionally including additional information, communicated over a computer network to a processing computer system. The processing computer system accepts the input value as well as any additional information that may accompany the input value. The input value is used as the input to a deterministic function, in this example a PRNG that outputs a randomized deterministic value. The additional information is used by the processing system to select from three possible sets of compensation rules. In one embodiment, the compensation rules are represented as entries in a prize matrix covering possible outcomes that satisfy the compensation rules. The additional information indicates that the player is a frequent player club member of the platinum tier (gold, platinum, and diamond are possible tier designations in this particular example). The additional information directs the processing system to select the third prize matrix and to use the output value from the deterministic function to generate a ticket value from the prize matrix. In one example, the generation of the ticket value occurs by using the output value as an index into a prize matrix. One should appreciate that other methods of using the output value may be employed to generate a ticket value. For example, the output value may be used as an index, in another example the output value is used as a lookup. In some embodiments the output value is used to retrieve a row in a table and in another embodiment, a record in a database. In some examples, the output value may be used in conjunction with a mapping function. A mapping function includes an operation that accepts an input and associates the input with a record in a table and/or a record in a database.
  • In one embodiment, a method for providing a predetermined outcome for a promotional game includes an act of storing information associated with a frequent player's club member, and in one embodiment, the information stored can be associated directly with the player's membership card. The information associated with the player's club membership can be combined in real time with additional information to create a ticket for that player that is reflective of the predetermined prize, award, and/or opportunity. In one example, using the player information and a predetermined prize matrix a promotional game operator is able to determine for a given player any prize that the player may win on any given day during the promotional period. In another example, the promotional game operator may identify that Player A will win (awards may include invitations to play online games, free entry into a gambling game, non-cashable credits, additional opportunities to participate in promotions, hotel accommodations, etc.) or not tomorrow, without need of a generated ticket.
  • Shown in FIG. 4 is an example process for obtaining a game outcome on demand in response to a ticket generation request. Example process 400 can be used as part of a larger overall process for creating ticket on demand in association with a particular game. At 402, a prize schedule for a game is established. The prize schedule can be generated from compensation rule for a particular game. In one example, the prize schedule is provided by a promotion operator. The promotion operator can define probabilities of winning a given prize, the maximum prize amounts, minimum prize amount, among other examples. Alternatively a game operator can provide compensation rule for creating a prize schedule. The prize schedule can be predetermined. In some embodiments, prize matrixes are established in advance of entry into the game. According to various aspects the predetermined prize matrixes are unassociated with any entry into the game, until a ticket is needed.
  • At 404 at request for entry into the game is accepted. The request can come in a the form of a ticket generation request, and/or a request for an entry into a specific game. A ticket request includes information for generating a ticker entry in the game. In one particular example, a seed value is transmitted as part of a ticket generation request. In another example, information associated with the ticket request is transmitted with the request. The information can include numeric and non-numeric values. For example, a player status associated with the request can be sent. In some embodiments, any one of or a combination of a game identifier, a game machine identifier, a player status, player information can be sent as a part of a ticket generation request. Additional information can also be included, for example, a date, a date time combination, an entry number, among other examples.
  • From the information received either as part of or in addition to the ticket generation request, an input value is generated. According to some embodiments, input values are unknown prior to the time of the request, but predictable, by an operator given the information that is used for input value generation. In an example that uses a static seed value associated with a particular game, the game seed can be combined with a value associated with a player requesting entry to derive a unique and predictable input value at the time a request for a ticket is made. An operator knowing the parameters of the input generation operation can effectively predict for a given player and the given game whether that player will receive a particular prize. For input generation that includes date and time, the operation can predict for that game and that player on a given day at a given time whether a prize will be awarded. For regulatory and/or auditing purposes, it can be of equal value to determine for a given game, player and time whether a prize should have been awarded, if for example that qualified player decided to participate. For non-numeric information, hash values can be generated to provide numeric representations. Other functions can be used to translate non-numeric values into numeric representations. Various operation can be employed to combine numeric values, for example, an xor operation can be used to combine any seed value with a date and time value. Further xor operations could be used to account for additional information. One should appreciate that other operations can be used (e.g., concatenation operation).
  • Once an input value is derived an output value is calculated at 408 using a deterministic function. One example deterministic function is a PRNG, and the output from the PRNG is used to obtain a game outcome according to the prize schedule at 410. The act of obtaining a game outcome can include using the output value as a lookup into a prize matrix. In some embodiments, the output value can be used to select from a plurality of prize matrixes that store a plurality of predetermined outcomes, and from the selected prize matrix identify a particular outcome. In one alternative embodiment, information sent with a ticket generation request at 404 is used select from a plurality of prize matrixes and the output value used as a look up or as an index value into the selected prize matrix. For example, status of a player associated with the entry request determined which prize matrix is used to determined a game outcome. Once an outcome for the game is obtained, at 412 ticket creation is provided.
  • The information for a particular ticket can be encoded and returned to the requesting entity. Ticket creation can involve generation of a physical ticket, by for example, sending a ticket representation to the requesting entity. The requesting entity can present the ticket electronic, and/or print a physical ticket in response to receiving the representation. In some embodiments, only minimal information is returned. The minimal information that is returned is configured to permit the requesting entity to generate a ticket or a ticketed entry. The ticket can be configured according to the parameters of any game the requesting entity is presenting. For example, a link and/or mapping to the outcome from step 410 can be transmitted to the requesting entity, which prints a physical ticket, for a participating entity (e.g. a player) to redeem. In some embodiments, the requesting entity can present an electronic ticket, which can be redeemed for its associated outcome.
  • Additional Example Associations
  • Ticket generation values need not be associated with players or player records. The ticket generation values may be generated upon a ticket request. In one example, ticket generation values are created from information associated with a player. In another example, a ticket generation value is created from information associated with one or more of a game, a game machine, a game name, and a printed ticket, among other options. Various gaming systems that require ticketed entry can benefit from on demand ticket generation.
  • According to another aspect, a ticket generation value may be associated with a particular gaming machine. In one embodiment, a ticket generation value associated with a gaming machine is used to determine ticket values and/or outcomes for the particular game on request. In one example, the ticket generation value is used as an input into a deterministic function (e.g. PRNG) that generates a randomized but deterministic output based on the input value. The output value is used in conjunction with compensation rules to derive the particular on demand ticket value/ticket outcome. In some embodiments, additional information is combined with the ticket generation value to derive the input value to the deterministic function. In one example, a date parameter is combined with the ticket generation value to permit unique and deterministic output values based on time. In some other embodiments, a count may be employed in conjunction with the ticket generation value, including for example, a count of the number of requested outcomes, a count of the number of plays, a count of the number of players, a second count, and a minute count, among other options.
  • Generating tickets on demand presents advantages in the maintenance of gaming machines and the maintenance and administration of the game itself. Ticket value determination proceeds in the same fashion no matter what the compensation rules for the particular game and/or gaming machine. Thus, one should appreciate the compensation rules for a particular game may be modified without having to rework other aspects of the particular game. Conventionally, in games that require initial qualification, the addition of other qualified players represents a massive undertaking. For example, the addition of qualified players to a game in progress may affect the odds of winning, may require redistribution of outcomes, outcome pools, and for games employing sub-pools, the retooling of the sub-pools. Using a ticket generation value to derive an output from a deterministic function and then employing the output value to retrieve a ticket value based on compensation rules, separates the compensation rules from implementation of the game. This separation makes each element modular and separable, and therefore, modifiable without affect on other aspects.
  • In other implementations, a ticket generation value may be associated with a particular game, a game series, a series of games, a game name, a game machine, a series of game machines, or another unique game identifier. Additional information may be combined with the ticket generation value to derive an input value for, in one instance, a PRNG, as discussed herein.
  • In one embodiment, on demand ticket generation is used with video lottery terminals with predetermined results. In another example, pull-tab games use seed value(s) as inputs into a deterministic function to reduce the maintenance and overhead associated with game tickets. One should appreciate that any Class II gaming machine that employs predetermined outcomes can benefit from the use of ticket generation values that permit ticket generation on an as needed basis and preserve predetermined nature of any award. Other example games and game machines include lottery systems that issue instant tickets or virtual forms of instant tickets via kiosks, point of sale equipment, or Internet-based sales systems. Ticket facsimiles may be presented on a kiosk (typically at a lottery retailer) and on a computer monitor fed over the Internet, among other examples (including use of preprinted tickets). On demand ticket generation may also facilitate server-based gaming and so called online lottery terminals (e.g. Powerball) that generate instant tickets or ticket representations. Online refers to the use of remote terminals at authorized locations—as opposed to “offline” games (e.g. scratch ticket games). Other options, include the use of ticket generation values to print scratch tickets on demand. In one example, scratch tickets are created at an online terminal with specialized printing device(s).
  • In one embodiment, on demand ticket generation may be used with video lottery terminals (VLT) with predetermined results. Conventionally in VLT games with predetermined results, entire batches of tickets are created with respective outcomes, these batches of tickets require appropriate maintenance and significant implementation overhead. In one example, ticket pools must be created so that certain winning outcomes can be reserved throughout play of the game. If for example, a VLT game advertises a million dollar jackpot is available, there must in fact be a million dollar win in the ticket pools. If the jackpot has been won early on the game itself would have to be reorganized and potentially and the advertisement for it retooled. Moreover, there is significant overhead in maintaining these ticket batches, generating appropriate ticket pools, maintaining the ticket pools, re-randomizing the pools, among numerous other maintenance tasks. Additionally, security presents significant difficulties where all the outcomes and tickets are already in existence. One should appreciate that according to one embodiment, the use of ticket generation values allows for a greater degree of security, even over and above the reduction in maintenance and game overhead.
  • One part of the maintenance tasks for conventional games includes changing the parameters of the game itself. In a game wherein the outcomes have been determined and/or ticket batches has been already sold, unique problems and significant overhead is introduced. In order to retool the game according to the changed parameters one must account for all the created and/or sold tickets and develop an entirely new implementation strategy. According to one embodiment, ticket generation values allow for the retooling of the prize matrix with minimal effort. Any existing tickets need not be changed, and in one example, the existing tickets even benefit from changes to the prize matrix, as their associated prizes have not been determined yet. Conversely, if the change to the prize matrix actually reduces payouts/awards then any ticket generated thereafter will be affected by the reduction. In another example, previous pay schedules can be maintained for players who have already been entered. In one embodiment, this is accomplished by creating a new prize matrix that governs more recent entries. Additional information submitted with a ticket generation value may be used to select the different prize matrixes.
  • Shown in FIG. 5A is an example process, 500, for generating prize matrixes according to various aspects of the present disclosure. A game operator, for example a promotion operator, can establish various parameters of the game they wish to run. In some examples, the game parameters include the criteria for payouts to any game participant or potential participant. A game operator can provide game parameters in conjunction with qualification criteria for players. In particular, a game can be targeted to a particular player population using player qualification. The player population can be presented different payout opportunities based on how well the particular player or group of players meets the qualification criteria. In some examples the promotion operator can engage a game operator or vice versa to provide the necessary systems for game control and/or participation requests. For example, at 502, game parameters are accepted which define for example, payout information for a particular game. Payout information can include maximum payouts, minimum payouts, maximum number of wins, minimum number of wins, etc. Payout information can also establish probabilities for particular outcomes. The game parameters provided are used to create at least one prize matrix governing game outcome at 504. The prize matrix can define all of the outcomes for a particular game in advance of running the game, that is all of the outcomes for a particular game can be predetermined. Example process 500, can be used a part of a larger process for generating on demand entries into a game, having for example. predetermined, yet unassociated outcomes. Process 500 can be used for example with other processes to enable on demand entry generation.
  • An example, process 520 can be used in conjunction with process 500. Example process 520, shown in FIG. 5B, illustrates an example process for providing seed information used to create on demand tickets into a game. At 522, a record for any of a player, a game, and a game machine is created. As discussed herein, such a record can be created when a player signs up for a frequent player card, or a game identifier can be established when criteria for a game a provided, for example in conjunction with or as a result of example process 500. A unique random value can be generated at 524 and stored at 526 with the record created in 522. In one alternative, a unique value can be created and stored with an existing record, and a new record need not be created. In another alternative, shown by example process 540, FIG. 5C, a seed value can be derived from existing information. For example, at 542 a player record can be accessed, and information contained in the player record used at 544 to derive a seed value. A date of birth, address, middle name, can represent information used to derive a seed value. In one example, a player can be associated with a unique membership number. For example, the membership number for a frequent player can be associated with a player. The membership number can be used to derive a unique seed value at 544.
  • Using a matrix defined in example process 500 and a seed value determined by process 520 or process 540 a ticket can be generated on demand that delivers an the predetermined outcomes of 500, in a predictable and auditable fashion.
  • Example Systems
  • The following example systems may be used to implement various aspects of the present invention. It should be appreciated that other system configurations could be used, and such aspects are not limited thereto, unless specifically recited in the claims.
  • Ticket Generation System
  • One example system for generating on demand tickets includes features designed to reduce operational overhead associated with entries into promotions. The system provides a novel approach to outcome/ticket generation for games that employ ticketed entries. Ticket generation may proceed on demand (generate (and optionally, print) tickets as-needed). According to one embodiment, on demand ticket generation is provided that preserves predetermination and does not introduce elements of chance into the determination of awards. Such a system may be incorporated as programming on a general purpose computer system, stored as instructions on a computer-readable medium, or implemented as a special purpose circuit adapted to perform the functions described herein. In another embodiment, on demand ticket generation replaces conventional ticketing systems for other types of games, including video lottery terminal games, and scratch ticket games, among others. One should appreciate that on demand generation of tickets can reduce complexity, overhead, and improve flexibility in maintenance and flexibility in adapting to changed game parameters for any game that includes the use of tickets.
  • In one embodiment, a computer system is adapted to generate a player record that identifies a particular player. The player record typically includes information associated with the player that allows a game operator to, for example, target promotional material to that player's interests and/or qualify the player for incentive awards based on qualification criteria. Qualification criteria include the examples described in “METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR PROVIDING PLAYER INCENTIVES,” filed Aug. 20, 2007, incorporated by reference. The qualification criteria may be tailored to identify player(s) of value. Player(s) of value are, typically, players who gamble frequently, and/or place large wagers, and place large average wagers, among other indicators. It is known that high value players often represent a large portion of income for a gambling establishment, relative to their proportion of the player population at the same casino. High value players are often rewarded and/or tracked through memberships in frequent player clubs. Player status, player value, player club tier, all comprise additional information associated with a player that is used both individually and in combination when determining tickets and ticket values on demand.
  • In one example, system for generating ticketed entries into a game includes a system for generating a player record, for example, in response to a player signing up for a frequent player card. In one example, the player's activity (e.g. gambling, wagers, wager amount, average wager, shopping, eating, etc.) is recorded through use of his/her frequent player member card. A player's activity may be monitored for indication of a high value player. Additionally a player's activity may be monitored to determine what incentive offers may be targeted to that player, that may increase gambling and/or encourage return to a particular establishment. In one example, in response to qualifying for an incentive offer based on tracked activity, a ticket generation value may be established for the player. In one alternative, a ticket generation value is derived from information associated with the player.
  • A computer system may generate an input value that is adapted to associate the player with an outcome of a predetermined promotion and/or game through a deterministic function. In generating an input value, typically the available prizes for a particular promotion and/or game are first established (in one example—the compensation rules are defined), and then the input value is used with the deterministic function to output a value that is used to determine a prize (if any). However, one should appreciate that the system may associate a player with a prize record (employing the output generation value and function output), and the prize record may then be filled from a later determination of prizes.
  • Other example systems derive ticket generation values from information associated with a player, with a particular gaming machine, with a gaming machine terminal (including multi-terminal games), with an instant ticket dispenser (an “online” terminal), and a lottery playercard. In some examples, a lottery playercard is employed that is not personally identifiable, but comprises a unique identifier. In another example a kiosk is used to present ticketed entry into games, promotional or otherwise. The kiosk may display ticket facsimiles (typically at a lottery retailer), and in another example ticket generation requests may be received from personal computer systems and displayed through a computer monitor fed over the Internet, among other examples (including use of preprinted tickets).
  • Shown in FIG. 6, is an example process 600 for delivering ticket generation information. At 602 a game entry request is received by a game system. The game system retrieves, at 604, a ticket generation value or ticket generation information associated with any of the player, the game, the game machine being played (as some examples) from the entry request. The game system transmits the ticket generation value or ticket generation information to a ticket generation system at 606. The transmission at 606 can optionally include additional information about any one of or a combination of the player, the game, the game machine (as examples). At 608, the ticket generation system receives the ticket generation value or ticket generation information and any optional additional information. The ticket generation system uses the received information to determine an association with a particular outcome. The outcomes can be predetermined and stored in a prize matrix, for example as the result of process 500. At 510, the ticket generation system generates game ticket information. The game ticket information can directly represent a game ticket, or as one alternative, the game ticket information can be used to generate a ticket. At 612, the ticket information is transmitted back to the game system, and a ticket can be presented and/or generated and presented by the game system.
  • FIG. 7 illustrates an example process for incorporating additional information for use in deriving an input value, according to various aspects of the disclosure. At 702, a ticket generation value is accepted. The ticket generation value is accompanies by additional information. At 704, a determination is made as whether the additional information has been received in numeric or non-numeric form. If No at 704(NO) the additional information is converted into a numeric representation at 706. For example, a hash function can be used to convert non-numeric information into a numeric value. Other operation can be employed. If the additional information is already numeric 704(YES), for example, the information converter prior to the request, or as one alternative, the information can be numeric without need to convert, the ticket generation value can be combined with the additional information using for example an XOR function at 708. The XOR function can be used to provide an output of known length. The length can be tailored to the particular application and/or game as required. The ticket generation value and the additional information are used to calculate and input value at 710. The input value can be used as part of an overall process for ticket generation.
  • According to another embodiment, on demand ticket generation is used to create scratch tickets upon request. In such an embodiment, a player may be associated with a ticket generation value, a scratch ticket game terminal may be associated with a ticket generation value, and/or each scratch ticket game terminal may be associated with its own ticket generation value. Although, one should appreciate that any game or game terminal (e.g. video lottery terminal) may be associated with a ticket generation value or information from which a ticket generation value can be derived. In another embodiment, the game itself is associated with a ticket generation value. In one example, a game ticket generation value is employed, and additional information is used in conjunction with the ticket generation value. In another example, the additional information is a unique terminal identifier.
  • Prize Matrix
  • In one embodiment, a prize matrix is generated for a particular game according to criteria (compensation schedule) provided by casino operator to a game operator. One should appreciate the game operator may be the same entity and the particular example discussed should not be read to limit the game operator from also being the casino operator. In other examples, other parties may wish to establish criteria for prize matrixes and have a game operator provide prize opportunities to player populations in order to incentivize particular actions, or increase satisfaction. The system operates in association with games that provide players with ticketed entries (whether physical tickets or electronic) into a gaming event. In one example, a promotional game that provides electronic or physically printed tickets to players is adapted to provide on demand tickets when required.
  • The casino operator may specify a particular payout amount for a particular game, a particular payout rate, maximum prize, minimum prize, mean prize, overall odds of winning, and individual odds of winning, amount other options. Other features that may be specified by the casino operator can include number of participants, distinguishing features between the participants, different odds of winning based on a status of a participant, and a number of chances of winning for each player, among other options. The casino operator may choose to implement different values for each of the preceding categories based on player status. In one example, a casino operator may have a different maximum prize for player that belongs to its highest level of player membership, and a different (e.g. smaller) maximum prize for players that belong to different player club levels. In one example, the different player club levels may have their own offer and/or game, respectively.
  • Various games may include different values for max payout, min payout, overall odds of winning, individual odds of winning, for example. Player status may also include other information. In one embodiment player status includes referral network information—and player status is determined, at least in part, by associations with other players. In another example, associations with other recognized high value players can be included in the player status. In one example, association with other high value players entitles a player to participation in a promotional game with a high value player prize matrix. A player status that may be used to influence the determination of a prize matrix, may include whether the player is a new player. In some embodiments, player statuses include new player, referral player, affiliated player, and high value player, among others. Other player statuses may also include player club tier, for example.
  • Once the criteria for determining prizes for a particular game are established, a prize matrix may be generated according to the criteria. In one example, criteria for determining prizes includes the probability of winning certain prizes for an entry into the game (e.g. 10% chance for 0$ award, 50% chance for winning 5$, and 40% chance for winning $10). Prize results may be generated for each player status as directed by, for example, the casino operator, and in one embodiment, each status has a corresponding prize matrix. The prize matrix may be stored in a computer system for later access. In some examples, the prize matrix may be stored as a database, a lookup table, xml file, or other readable file for information storage.
  • In one embodiment, the computer system then calculates an output value from a deterministic function, after inputting an input value generated from a ticket generation value, and optionally additional information. The output value is then used to retrieve a ticket value specified by the prize matrix. Optionally, additional information may be employed to guide selection of a particular prize matrix. In one example, an output value is used as an index into a selected prize matrix, and the index operation returns a ticket value according to the compensation schedule established for the game. In another example, the compensation schedule is selected using the additional information provided.
  • Shown in FIG. 9 is an example process, 900, for providing information to determine a game outcome as an entry into a game is needed. At 902 an output value is accessed to use an input into a function at 904. The output value accessed at 902 can be the result of an operation to determined an input value, for example, the result of process 700 can be used to generate an output accessed at 902. According to some embodiments, the function at 904, is deterministic. An example deterministic function includes a PRNG, that produces a randomized but predictable output for a given seed value input into the pseudo random number generator. The output of the deterministic function is calculated based on the input/seed value at 906. The output of the deterministic function is used at 908 to retrieve information from a prize schedule. The information retrieved from the prize schedule can be used at 910 to determine a particular outcome for any given game. In some embodiments, the function output at 908 generates a mapping into a prize matrix. The prize matrix can be predetermined. In one alternative, the prize matrix can be completed after the mapping has been generated. For example a later drawing, a may be linked to specific records in the prize matrix and the records filled with outcomes based on the outcome of a later drawing.
  • According to some embodiments, each player record identifies one unique player (auditing may be periodically performed to insure that a player does get entered into the system multiple times, and if multiple entries exist, deactivating or removing them—optionally the player with duplicate entries may be entirely disqualified) and an entry in the prize matrix. Once the ticket generation value is created (e.g. random number generation, player membership number, etc.) or the values used to derive a ticket generation values are associated with a player, the value can be used to retrieve a ticket for a particular game at any time. Other criteria may be employed to prevent/enable a player from actually redeeming the outcome. In one example, a promotional award is tied to a promotional period, for example, a week in October. If the promotional award is not redeemed in its valid period, the award cannot be redeemed at all. Other criteria may require that the player participate in a specified number of games before being able to redeem, the specified number of game may also be associated with its own time period in which to participate in the specified number of games.
  • Eligibility
  • According to one embodiment, eligibility requirements may be implemented. In one example, game eligibility requirements are passed along with ticket generation values in a ticket request. If the eligibility requirements are met an input values is generated and an ultimately a ticket created. If the eligibility requirements are not met, then a ticket will ultimately not be created. Eligibility requirements may be imposed on a player, a game, and/or a game machine.
  • In one embodiment, the eligibility requirements are tested directly against a ticket generation value, whether the ticket generation value is associated with a player, game, game machine, or even a physical ticket. In another embodiment, the eligibility requirements are tested against information transmitted in a ticket request. In one example, a test for eligibility may be performed at the location requesting a ticket.
  • In one example, a player logs onto a gaming system. At logon, player eligibility is determined. Typically eligibility requirements will include a time period in which redemption is allowed. For example, a game may require that a player redeem any award on any Monday of a given month. Only if the player enters the game during the appropriate period will a ticket be generated for the player. Other time periods may be used. In one example, a player is directed to play a particular game during a slow period during the day at a gaming establishment. In another the player is asked to participate during a week long period, a month long period, or some other time interval desired by a game operator.
  • Eligibility requirements can be changed during the course of a game and players added or subtracted based on new requirements. One should appreciate that additional players may be added to a game by creating additional ticket generation values without altering the nature of the awards already determinable for the other players, indeed the simplification of adding additional players into a game, game series, and/or promotion is one benefit of some embodiments. Moreover, using ticket generation values, a promotional game operator, for example, can readily absorb changes to the criteria for determining prize matrixes. The maximum prize, odds of winning, etc., can all be changed to generate a new prize matrix—at the same time without requiring requalification of the already entered players, without regeneration of ticket values for them, without requiring creation of new ticket generation values, and in cases where a predetermined outcomes is required, includes not sacrificing the predetermined nature of the award.
  • In one embodiment, the ticket generation value is used as an input into a PRNG to generate an output value that links a prize matrix to the game outcome. In another embodiment, the ticket generation value includes a seed value used in a deterministic function. The seed can be generated using a random number generator. The seed can then be fed into the PRNG to obtain an output value. The output value is used as an index to a record in the prize matrix, the process may be repeated for a number of seed values for a number of players. Once a ticket value is determined, the ticket may be returned to the system requesting the outcome. In one embodiment, the ticket enables access to its corresponding value only upon redemption of the ticket. The ticket may be delivered electronically, over a computer network for example, and in one example, the ticket is printed and sent to a player requesting it. In another example, the ticket information is delivered electronically to the game operator, and a printing device is used to generate a physical ticket at the location of the game operator.
  • One should appreciate that the ticket may be generated at almost any time during the gaming process. According to one embodiment, the system will determine if the player has redeemed any tickets for the game. If the game is limited to one redemption, and the player has already redeemed an award (winning or not) the system will not generate additional tickets. In one embodiment, a game is available for a number of redemptions, and as long as the player has not exceeded the number of redemptions a new ticket will be generated and the player may obtain the outcome associated with it. The system will also reprint an unfinished ticket, where one has been generated but not redeemed. In an example, where no ticket exists, a new ticket will be generated.
  • According to one example, a ticket generation value is generated for a promotional game and associated with a player record. In one alternative, a ticket generation is derived as needed from information associated with the player. Player records may be generated in a number of ways including for example, entry into a frequent player club program, entry into a referral network, and/or participation at an affiliated location. In one embodiment, the ticket generation value is derived using a randomly generated seed. In some embodiments, a new seed is generated for each promotion and/or promotion eligibility period and used as the ticket generation value. In one alternative, promotional ticket generation values may be created with seeds that are updated on a periodic basis (e.g. daily, weekly, monthly, etc). In one embodiment, a player record is associated with one seed for the life of the player record.
  • In other embodiments, seed data may be gathered from a player record and used to derived a seed/ticket generation value. Seed data may be combined with additional information that permits a promotion operator to tailor an input value to unique outputs, and reuse the original seed data to generate other unique outputs. For example, prize matrixes in other promotions may be accessed using additional information in combination with a seed associated with a player record. A name of a promotion could be used for the additional information, where the name of the promotion is reduced to a numerical representation and combined with the seed. Optionally, a player record or the information associated with it, could be used with multiple games, and in some examples, multiple seed values may be associated with or derived from a player record and the system could specify which seed to use with which game.
  • In one embodiment, a date is combined with a seed to provide a unique input value. Employing a current date, an unique output value can be obtained, for example on a daily basis. Although one should appreciate by increasing the granularity of the date information, to include hour, minute, second, as examples, unique input and unique output values may be obtained on different periods. In other embodiments, different games may be designated differently, for example, by creating a unique name for each game. The name of the game may be combined with seed data to generate outputs unique to the game.
  • One example system for implementing ticket generation as needed with predetermined outcomes includes the following elements:
  • A player identification table for storing unique player ids (the player identification table may be stored in any number of forms, for example, in a database, as a database, as a lookup table, as an index into other databases or tables, as a file, as browser readable code, and as text, among other options, including as an xml file, data record, for example); player criteria for determining if a player is qualified to participate in a particular promotion; a record for storing ticket generation values or the information used to derive a ticket generation value; a prize matrix identifying for possible rewards according to constraints established on operation of the promotion; constraints for determining a prize matrix including, but not limited to, for example, probability distributions of awards, total prize targets, time period, player status (e.g. player club tier, new player, referral player, affiliated player, high value player); optional qualification criteria for maintaining eligibility, for example, minimum play, average play, maximum number of promotion participations; ticker creation policies—at ticket creation policies control whether a ticket will in fact be generated, single redemption promotions will only generate a ticket if none have been redeemed by the player before, multiple redemption promotions will only generate a ticket if the number of allowed redemptions is not/will not be exceeded, etc; a deterministic function for generating an randomized and deterministic output value; a retrieval function for retrieving a ticket value from a compensation schedule for a game based on the output value—including for example using the output value as an index into a prize matrix, using an output value as a lookup value for a prize matrix, using an output value to retrieve a row in a prize matrix and including for example using the output value to retrieve a database record, among other options); and a ticket generation component for creating tickets as necessary encoding and/or associating the particular generated ticket value to the ticket.
  • In one embodiment, the prize matrix may include a listing of multiple prizes that make up a ticket value, and the system may randomly select from the multiple prizes, and in one alternative, the multiple prizes are listed as they should be presented. In other embodiments, the list of multiple prizes may be tailored to provide indications of a winning outcome, or may be tailored to increase anticipation of a player. In some embodiments, ticket values may be segregated based on player status (e.g. player club tier) and in some embodiments, be viewed as separate games. According to one alternative, the system may include a prize auditing mechanism adapted to verify that each player who participated in a game did in fact receive opportunities in accordance with the requirements of the game. For example, within a given prize matrix each player should have received an opportunity to win $300. The system may audit the opportunities the player was presented with to determine compliance. In the event that, a player was not provided the scheduled opportunity, a make good period may be added to the game for any player who did not receive a compliant opportunity.
  • According to one embodiment, a promotional game is provided to target incentives to a large player population. The entity funding the promotion, oftentimes a casino, establishes a compensation schedule for the promotional game. The promotional game schedule governs aspects of the promotional game, for example, payouts to players, probability of earning a payout, size of payout, maximum payout amount (e.g. per player payout, per promotion payout, per time period payout, etc.). In one example, a casino, as the entity funding the promotion also establishes other parameters associated with the promotion, for example the qualifications required to participate.
  • In one embodiment, the qualifications required to participate in the promotion serve to target the promotions to a particular player population, and/or target particular characteristics of players that the casino has identified. The qualifications are used to create a pool of players qualified to participate in the promotion. In one example, the player pool may be further limited by a maximum number of participants, or in another example the pool itself may define the number of participants for a promotion. Given the promotion schedule and the number of participants, a prize matrix may be established. For each eligible player a unique ticket generation value may be created, or for players with existing ticket generation values the stored values may be employed. The deterministic function will be defined, typically, this occurs before the rules governing the promotion are established, but may occur at any time up and until a ticket is required.
  • Upon a participation request, a input value is derived from the ticket generation value transmitted to the system, or the information used to derive a ticket generation value. The ticket generation value (or information to device) may be transmitted with additional information, including player status, and a time, among other options. In one example, the time information is combined with the ticket generation value to determine the input for the deterministic function. The function outputs a value based on the input, and the output value is used to look up a ticket value stored in the prize matrix. Once a ticket value is determined, the system may generate a ticket, or ticket representation, back to the requesting game. In one embodiment, the participation request causes a ticket to be generated wherein the ticket is associated with a ticket value, either directly or indirectly. The ticket information may be transmitted in response to the participation request and a ticket generated at the location from which the request was received.
  • In one example, the player pool is comprised of a number of known players, i.e. players with player records, and a number of new players. In one embodiment, a system may create ticket generation values for the known players and store the value as part of the player record. For some new players a player record will be created and a ticket generation value may be stored for those players as well. According to another embodiment, conventional tickets will be generated for new players who are qualified and do not have player records. In one example, the conventional ticket may encode an identifier that may be used to access a predetermined game result at a later time.
  • Using tickets in conjunction with ticket generation values, according to some embodiments, may simplify the process of incorporating new players into a promotional game, where information may not be verified, for example, or where the funding entity for the promotion wishes to have information verified through use of the promotion, as another example. One should appreciate the combining of ticket generation values and conventional ticketing processes can yield efficiencies—and in particular where new players are concerned, incorporation of conventional ticketing processes may improve efficiencies. In one alternative, unique tickets may be printed with ticket generation values. Only upon a participation request would an real ticket and outcome be generated for the ticket.
  • When a participating player attempts to participate in, for example, a promotional game, a player with a conventionally issued ticket will be permitted to redeem the ticket for whatever outcome is determined to be associated with the ticket (as long as all qualifying events are met), and for a player with a record identifying a ticket generation value, a ticket may be generated at the time the player attempts to participate in the game. In another example, the ticket may be generated when the player attempts to redeem any promotional entry and/or award.
  • Game Machine Examples
  • In one embodiment, ticket generation values may be used in conjunction with existing games, for example, at a casino. In one example, a player who is a member of a frequent player club program qualifies for participation in a promotional event. The qualifications for participation may be established by the casino operator or may be established by the promotion operator. In some embodiments, qualification for participation may be the first step in receiving a promotion award. In particular, the initial qualification will trigger an opportunity to participate in a promotional game, but additional qualification criteria may be applied in order to receive an award (that is if the outcome is an award). For example, the player may be qualified but still be required to perform an action within the casino, for example. The action may be a single action, or may be an ongoing one. In one example, the player is a slot machine player. The player, upon inserting his/her player card into the slot machine, receives a message indicating the qualification for a promotion. In one alternative, the player may receive notification of qualification for a promotion in advance of beginning play at the slot machine. For example, the player may receive an e-mail indicating qualification based on previous play, or notification of qualification as an incentive to prompt a visit to a gambling location and/or affiliated location, among other options.
  • The notification of qualification may simply indicate the player is qualified, for example in a promotion that does not require further action. In such an example, the inserting of the player card in the machine, triggers a request to a casino management system that monitors information associated with the player's game play and related activity. In one embodiment, the request to the casino management system includes a request to determine if the player is eligible for any promotion, in the event an eligible promotion is detected, the notification regarding qualification is returned. The determination of eligibility may occur within the gaming location, e.g. casino, and may require external systems and transmission of messages between the external system and the gaming location, for example between the casino and the promotion operator. Details associated with messaging transactions are described, via illustrative examples, in greater detail herein.
  • In some embodiments, information associated with the promotion qualified for is also returned—for example maximum prizes in the promotion and minimum prize in the promotion, among other options. In another embodiment, a player may qualify for multiple promotions, the notification provides information on each. In one example, the qualified promotions are summarized to fit within any display associated with the slot machine or other gaming machine being used. In the event of multiple qualifications, computer logic may be employed to select a promotion with the greatest value for the player. In some embodiments, although a player may qualify for multiple promotions there may be imposed a restriction on a number of promotions per time period, for example, day. In some embodiments, the player may be presented with a list of qualified promotions and be given an opportunity to the select the promotion the player wishes to participate in.
  • Once the request is made to the casino management system and the player is determined to be eligible for a particular promotion, the player's record is accessed to recover the ticket generation value, or in one alternative, to access information associated with the player to derive the ticket generation value. In some embodiments, a ticket value is retrieved and displayed immediately through use of an electronic ticket. In some other embodiments, a ticket and its value are displayed at the conclusion of the game being played (e.g. slot machine game, video poker game, video keno, video bingo, video slots, video blackjack, etc.). In another embodiment, only the ticket is displayed and the player must access the ticket value through use of information contained on the ticket.
  • In one embodiment, continuing activity is required to maintain qualification, for example, a minimum number of wagers per hour, minimum average wager per hour, and continued played over a time period, among other options. The player record may be accessed on entry by the player of their frequent player card and the ticket generation value recovered to determine, for example, a predetermined prize the player is eligible for should the maintenance qualification be satisfied. Alternatively, a request to recover the ticket generation value and corresponding ticket generation may take place only upon completion of the maintenance qualification. In one embodiment, initial qualifications may be maintained at a gambling location, and initiation of a player of an activity at the gambling location prompts a request to determine player qualification for a promotion. The initial determination that a player is qualified to participate is made at the gambling location using equipment local to the gambling location. The gambling location then passes a request to systems controlled by the gaming operator. In one example the request includes a unique identifier for the player, and the game operator uses the unique identifier to recover the ticket generation value (for use as input). Additional information may be incorporated with the unique identifier to generate multiple unique outputs from a deterministic function. In one example the additional information includes a current date, in another current time (other examples include gambling location name, and game name, among others).
  • In one embodiment, the ticket generation value is used to generate not only the ticket and its value, but also to recover additional requirements for redeeming any potential award. For example, additional requirements may include a minimum rate of play, a requirement to play a specific game, and a requirement associated with timing of play, location of play among other options. In response to recovering the ticket generation value for the player, a game operator may send information to the gambling location operator necessary to generate a ticket for the player. The ticket may indicate a potential value of any outcome that the player may be entitled to, or the ticket may provide an indicator that allows access to the value of any outcome. In one example, the ticket may include an access code that can be later used to access the result. In one embodiment, the ticket is a coupon for additional play of the gaming machine accessed to initiate the promotional protocol. In another embodiment, ticket is a coupon for play of another game.
  • Examples of Messaging Exchange
  • According to one aspect, an event triggers a request to determine if player is qualified for a particular promotion. The event may be a casino related event, initiation of gambling, for example, and may be a simple as visiting the gambling establishment. In one embodiment the event is logging into a gaming system online. The request to determine eligibility includes an identifier for the particular player, and in some examples, the identifier is used as the ticket generation value for the player. Other qualifying events can be used in conjunction with ticket generation as discussed and incorporated herein.
  • In one embodiment, where the player plays video poker, the entry of the player's frequent player card may be the triggering event. In response to entering the frequent player card, a message is sent to a CMS (casino management system) accessing that player's record to, for example, track play. The message may trigger additional access to that player's information, and in particular, additional information may include qualification information. In response to the initial player information access, a CMS system may also send a request to a game management system, including a unique identifier for the player in the request.
  • The game management system may determine eligibility, and for eligible players, additional qualifications. If it is determined the player is eligible and qualified, the game management system returns a message to the CMS. The return message may include information sufficient for the CMS to have a ticket generated for the player. The ticket may have additional conditions required to be performed in order receive any prize. In one example the return message may encode the on demand result for the game. In another example, the return message encodes information for generation of a promotional ticket. In one embodiment, the return message can include an electronic representation of the ticket for subsequent printing and/or display.
  • OTHER EXAMPLES Referral Networks
  • Various sources may be used to generate seed values and/or, information from which to derive input values. Referral Network methods and systems provide sources of information from which seed values can be generated, as well as additional information that can be advantageously incorporated into ticket generation.
  • According to one aspect of the disclosure, it is appreciated that it may be desirable to create games that provide prizes that provide people the opportunity to play games for free, a specific fee or at a discounted fee at locations away from the casino in order to win incentives that will encourage them to visit a casino or other gambling location. These games can be used in conjunction with the ticket generation functions discussed herein. Additionally these games may be provided separately, but used as a source of information for ticket generation processes. Furthermore the player records associated with these games can provide a location in which to store and/or associated seed values. Advantageously, as discussed herein, these games can be provided with minimal maintenance as entries into the game need not be created until the player or person actually attempts to participate.
  • According to another aspect of the disclosure, it is also desirable to invite qualified persons to either return to or initially visit a gambling location based upon their projected interest in gambling and their projected worth as a gambling customer. It is further desirable to automate some or all of the monitoring and fulfillment process using computer networks such as those found within the Internet infrastructure and the gambling location's player tracking infrastructure. The player records, the game records and various game machines can either alone or in combination be assigned values used for ticket generation.
  • In one example game format, a player participating in a frequent player program is provided a prize to encourage the player to return to the casino or other establishment. Frequent player program information can be used to establish values used to generate tickets upon entry requests. The ticket upon generation can be associated with a prize. The prize may be in the form of, for example, a non-cashable credit for playing additional games, a complimentary offer, and/or promotional prizes. In this way, the casino or other establishment generally can increase revenue as the number of return players increases. Additionally, the casino or other establishment can minimize the costs associated with players who do not participate. In one example game format, the player is presented the non-cashable credit, complimentary offer, and/or promotional prize opportunity in an interface of a computer system. For instance, the player may be revealed the awarded prize(s) in a computer system coupled to the Internet that communicates with a website of an operator.
  • According to yet another aspect, players may refer other players or potential players that should also receive prizes, bonus play awards, play incentives, and other promotional material. A referral may be made by specifically providing another players contact information. A referral typically includes contact information, for example e-mail, to permit delivery of an incentive, invitation, bonus play opportunity, or other advertising and marketing material to the referred player. Referrals may also occur in the course of trying to achieve/redeem multiparty bonus play offers, multiparty incentives, multiparty awards, or multiparty prizes. It is realized that encouraging return play of groups not provides additional benefit the gambling and affiliated location operators but also increases the ability to provide larger incentives. In one example, a player receives an invitation to participate in a multiparty bonus game. In order to qualify and/or redeem the bonus, required is another 10 players who also agree to participate. The referring player may forward the invitation to 10 or more people s/he knows to meet the requirements of the offer. Referrals may be tracked, and the referrals themselves may identify a group of potential/actual players whom the referring players has some relationship, e.g. friend, peer, family, associate, etc. Knowledge about a player tracked through player club membership, for example, can be coupled with knowledge about his/her associates and relationships to identify candidates likely to share similar interests, and in the example of a valued player, candidates who are also likely to be/become valued players. Each referral can trigger creation of a player record that can be used to generate or store information for subsequent ticket generation. Additionally, a referral may be sent with information for subsequent ticket generation. In one example, a seed value can be associated with a referral.
  • According to another aspect, it is appreciated that a high value player likely shares characteristics in common with her/her associates, friends, family, and peers that would make that player's associates, friend, family, and peers good candidates for being high value players themselves. It is realized that any increase in the likelihood of actual redemption of bonus play offers, represents value to gambling locations, their affiliates, and marketers of the same. It is realized that, utilizing the relationship between an already identified valued players and potential new players and/or players with the potential to become high value players, many of the problems associated with marketing to the general population, and even marketing to existing players are overcome. It is further realized that valued players may be analyzed to identify characteristics of valued players and then target other person/potential players with similar characteristics for receipt of awards, incentives, and/or other marketing material.
  • Moreover, a player who visits gambling establishments regularly may serve as an additional incentive to players who would be unlikely to visit a gambling establishment on their own. In other words, a regular player may be incented to organize less receptive players into performing actions at a gambling location. Having the regular player organize and sometimes manage a trip to a gambling location increases the likelihood that the reluctant player will redeem in a bonus play award/incentive, because the reluctant/new player is more likely to join the regular player in a visit to a gambling location rather than visit on his/her own.
  • In yet another aspect, a player is able to create and maintain a referral network. Additionally, in another example an operator is responsible for maintaining a referral network based on referrals entered by a particular player. The operator may be a gambling location operator, an operator of an affiliated location, or an independent bonus operator. In one example, the referral network includes identifying information for each referral that enables an operator to direct bonus play incentives/awards not only to the player, but also to the members of the referral network. Additionally, information associated with the player and the members of the referral network can be used to generate values used to create tickets when the player or any member of the referral network attempts to participate in an offer. In another example, unique seed values may be associated with the player and/or members of the network. The seed values can be used to generate tickets into bonus play games at later times, and obviating the need for pregenerated entries. Bonus play incentives and awards may be delivered directly to the referral network, for example, via e-mail or other communication means. Additionally, bonus play incentives/awards may be delivered indirectly.
  • According to another aspect, a referral network may be used to qualify members of the referral network for participation in bonus play games. In one example, when the hub of the network qualifies for bonus play, as discussed herein, the entire referral network may also be qualified for bonus play. In one embodiment, the referral network may be used to define a friend play group. Friend play groups may actually emphasize the relationship between the members of the referral network and/or require a particular relationship. In one embodiment, the information entered with respect to referral requests a designation of the relationship between the referrer and the referee. Friend groups may be associated with a group seed value. The seed value may be combine with additional information upon a ticket generation request to uniquely identify the members of the group. In one group game setting, a win by any member of the group can be a win for all the members and individual identification is not necessary.
  • A bonus operator may use existing friend play groups to target offers and awards to groups associated with valued players. It is realized that players who engage in bonus play and visit casinos are likely to associate with others who share the same or similar interests. Making those associates/friends more likely to participate in bonus games and visit casinos. Various criteria may be identified as indicative of a propensity to play, game, and gamble. Recognition of those criteria allows an operator to extend and target marketing and promotional material into segments of similar character. Segments of people who are associated with a valued player are likely to share characteristics that make them receptive to similar offers and incentives as the referrer.
  • According to another aspect, the friend play networks and more generally referral networks can be used as a feedback mechanism to hone in on characteristics that correlate with receptiveness to incentive offers and awards. In one example, incentive offers may be used to target a particular characteristic within a referral network. Tracking the rate of participation across referral networks yields information on the strength of the correlation between that characteristic and redemption/participation rates. Additional information may be derived across multiple networks having similar characteristic(s). Not only can specific characteristics be identified and tested, but information collected on referrals and the referrers themselves can provide insight into the profile of an ideal player. The ideal player profile allows for identification of characteristics in common of the players who make up the 5/50 group of players. These profiles can be used to identify potential players who are more likely to game, gamble, or participate in incentive offers. In order to facilitate collection of information, each referral may be required to contain at least some identifying information about the referral, for example, relationship to referrer. Additional incentives may be provided for any additional information provided. Additional information may include, for example, information on activities, hobbies, work information, etc. Referral network and/or profile information can also be used to select a prize matrix from among a group of prize matrixes as discussed above.
  • According to one aspect of the disclosure, a method to provide incentive for a person to take an action in at least one gambling location is provided. The method comprises acts of a) inviting a qualified person to play an electronic game; b) permitting, within a specified time period, the qualified person to complete electronic game play which has a plurality of outcomes, at least one of which is a winning outcome; and c) permitting the qualified person to redeem an outcome, wherein the qualified person must take an action within a specified time period. According to one embodiment of the disclosure, the action must take place at least one redemption location that may include the gambling location. According to another embodiment, the method further comprises an act of qualifying the person to play the electronic game. According to another embodiment the method further comprises acts of permitting the qualified person to refer an invitation to at least one other person, wherein the invitation comprises an opportunity to play the electronic game which can be located away from the gambling location. According to another embodiment, the act of permitting, within a specific time period, includes permitting, within a specific time period, the at least one other person to complete electronic game play which has a plurality of outcomes, at least one of which is a winning outcome. According to another embodiment, the act of permitting the qualified person to redeem, includes permitting the at least one other person to redeem an outcome, wherein the at least one other person must take an action in at least one of a redemption location and gambling location within a specified time period.
  • One aspect of the disclosure relates generally to inviting qualified people to play an electronic game which has a plurality of outcomes, at least one of which is a winning outcome. The act of accepting an invitation can be a trigger for a request to generate a ticket as discussed above. Additionally, an attempt to redeem an outcome may be used to generate a ticket into a game. Outcomes or winnings are redeemed by an entity, usually a person (referred to as, for example, a player) that takes an action in at least one specified gambling location or affiliated location. In at least some examples, the action can trigger a request to generate a ticket. Time limits may constrain when the game can be played, when winnings are redeemable and when the specified task must be completed.
  • According to another aspect of the disclosure, the electronic game may be an online game that is offered over the Internet, for example. In one instance, the game may be an online game that provides one or more revealed outcomes to a player during play of the online game. To this end, various aspects of the disclosure may be facilitated using a reveal-based online game.
  • Another aspect of the disclosure relates to inviting a qualified person, where there is a determination of the qualification of that person. The term “qualified” as used herein indicates that a person or persons are placed, based on a variety of criteria, into specific categories and each qualified category may be eligible for a different game, or combination of games, different outcomes, different likelihoods of reaching a given outcome, different award schedules, different visit requirements for redemption and/or different task completion requirements for redemption. For example, specific time limits may be imposed based upon player categories, game types, winning outcome redemptions, award size and task completion requirements.
  • Qualification is important because a relatively few people are responsible for a disproportionately large amount of play. This concept is sometimes referred to as the 5-50 rule because, in approximation, 5% of players of casino games, for example, are typically responsible for 50% of total revenues. According to one aspect of the disclosure, a system and method is provided for qualifying people according to their perceived worth. For example, such qualification may be based upon criteria such as player performance history, current play levels or even projected play levels based upon the details of a potential player's occupation, income level, age, gender, background, personal preferences, location of residence, employment history and/or other such criteria, including personal information such as birthday or anniversary, either alone or in combination. Qualification information can be used during a process for generating tickets. For example, qualification information may be combined with other information to generate input values for a deterministic function. Additionally, qualification information can be used to select a prize matrix from which the process retrieves an outcome.
  • Further, qualification may be based upon taking an action, attending an event or visiting a location on a particular date. For example, a verbal invitation could be extended to each person that purchases a Cadillac. A printed invitation is given to all people over the age of 21 that attended a concert or an invitation could be extended to anyone that visits a particular website or physical location. These qualifications may be made based solely upon the individual or based in whole or in part, on criteria applied to the spouse, family member, friend or peer group. In one embodiment, qualification may require referral of the spouse, family member, friend or peer group.
  • According to one aspect, players may refer other players or potential players to receive invitations both for themselves and for the referred player. Invitations may relate to bonus play awards, play incentives, and other advertising and marketing material. In one example, a player provides contact information for another person. The other person may receive the same invitation that the referring player received, or the other person may receive an invitation tailored to that particular player. In addition to contact information, a referring player may be permitted to input personal information about a referee that enables more specific tailoring of incentive offers/invitations. Incentive offers/invitation may also be determined for a player based on their location information as determined by one or more location-based services.
  • A referral typically includes contact information, for example e-mail, to permit delivery of an incentive, invitation, bonus play opportunity, or other advertising and marketing material to the referred player. Referrals may also occur in the course of trying to qualify for, or as part of performing a required action in order to redeem a multiparty bonus play offer, multiparty incentive, or multiparty award. In one example, a player receives an invitation to participate in a multiparty bonus game. In order to qualify and/or redeem the bonus, at least 10 players must agree to participate. The referring player may forward the invitation to 10 or more people s/he knows to meet the requirements of the offer. One should appreciate that the number of additional participants can vary across a number of embodiments. In some embodiments, the number of additional players may exceed 100, 1000, or other options, and in another may be as few as one additional player. The specific examples provided (e.g. 10 players) should not be read as limiting the disclosure to the example disclosed.
  • In another example, referrals may be automatically generated by operators of gambling establishments, affiliated locations, redemptions locations, or other locations. For example, play of an online game may trigger an invitation to the online player, the invitation may include incentives to provide additional information, and/or information on other people who may be interested in participating in the invitation. In another example, a qualified player playing an online game may be associated with other players of the online game. An invitation may be directed to the online player, with the option of forwarding the invitation to that player's associates.
  • According to one embodiment, parameters are established by which persons are invited to play an electronic game at a website. Parameters may include, but are not limited to, terms of invitation, qualification, game play type, quantity and outcome schedule, required actions, time periods and redemptions. All invited persons may be grouped into a single category with shared parameters or various classes of persons may be created with each category given a specific set of parameters which may be different from parameters assigned to other categories.
  • As discussed above, based on an event that occurs (e.g., an action taken by the player, an occurrence with the gambling location, amongst others), an invitation may be generated and delivered to the user. As discussed further below, the invitation may be generated in response to an action. According to another embodiment, the person must first take an action or participate in an activity at a gambling location or affiliated location in order to receive an invitation to play the electronic game. The action or activity can include, for example: wagering a proscribed amount of money, winning or losing a proscribed amount of money, activating a player club or frequent player account, reaching a bonus round on an electronic gaming machine, being awarded a mystery bonus from an electronic gaming machine, being present in the casino when another event occurs, playing specific casino games or electronic gaming machines, purchasing merchandise, attending an event, withdrawing money from a casino ATM, redeeming winnings, or any other action by a player. It should be appreciated that there is a wide range of ways that a person may take an action or participate in an activity at the gambling location or affiliated location, and such actions are contemplated for use with various embodiments. An attempt to accept an invitation can be the precipitating event that triggers a request to generate a ticketed entry.
  • In another embodiment, a person may initiate play at a specific website and win an outcome that may only be redeemed at a different website or a virtual world such as within Linden Lab's “Second Life” virtual world. A winning outcome there may require a person to then visit a specific place of business which may be a gambling site to redeem the outcome.
  • According to an alternative embodiment, player invitations may also be awarded based of off location based criteria. The location based criteria may be used with both web-site award and gambling location activity as discussed herein. Location based criteria may be determined using location based services, and in one example using GPS systems to determine a location relative to a gaming establishment.
  • Location Based Services
  • In one embodiment, LBS may be used to facilitate game play of an incentive game, or other type of game. In one example, an assassination game may be played where players use LBS to locate and assassinate other players. Such a game may be confined to gaming location, or may take place over a larger area. Typically, the last player “alive” wins.
  • According to some embodiments, LBS may be integrated with casino management systems to facilitate, for example, a Russian roulette slot game. The casino management system may randomly select locations and eliminates players within a certain distance of, or who are within the randomly selected location, until only the winning player(s) remain.
  • A player may also be qualified to receive an invitation based upon data provided or actions taken in response to a separate invitation. The player may first be invited to play games for entertainment only (no redeemable outcomes). In order to play the games, the player would be required to register and provide personal information (name, address, date of birth, etc). From that personal information, the system would qualify the player for an invitation to play an electronic game which has a plurality of outcomes that could be redeemed at the gambling location or affiliated location.
  • The system could do this by comparing the personal information provided with a database of similar information. The database could include a correlation of demographic information with categories of player value to the gambling location. As an example, the system could utilize a database of median income by address to determine the potential value of the player. The system could also utilize algorithms to analyze the personal information to determine categories of player value to the gambling location. As an example, using an algorithm, the system could determine the distance between the gambling location and the player's home address. Players living closer to the gambling location may have a higher likelihood to visit the gambling location.
  • The qualification of the player may also be based on actions taken while playing the games for entertainment only. As an example, players choosing to play specific electronic games (i.e. slot machines) may be considered more valuable to the gambling location. For those players, a different invitation with different possible outcomes may be provided. Qualifying actions could be based on games played, game strategies employed, or duration of play.
  • The first invitation is not limited to the play of electronic games for entertainment only. The invitation to take an action may be to sign up for a gambling location's frequent player card or any activity that solicits player personal information that could be used to estimate the player's value to the gambling location. A qualification of the player may also be provided based upon gathered data, without the need for a player action. For instance, an invitation may be extended to the player based on player demographics without having the player play a game for pure entertainment. In one example, the player may be presented to receive an award based on information collected about the player such as location or income level.
  • According to one aspect, lists of referrals made by players are tracked to generate groups of people believed to have, as a group, a more likely affinity for gambling than the general population. In one embodiment, a player enters referrals into an interface for tracking and delivery of incentives to the referral list. These tracked referrals are referred to as a referral network. Typically, a referral network describes a network of people with some tie to the referrer. It is realized that associates of a player likely share similar interests and thus the members of the referral network likely have characteristics in common with the referring player. The identifying of a player of value, as discussed herein, may be translated to the player's network. Making the members of the network more likely to become/be player's of value as well.
  • Historical tracking and analysis of referrals of invitations may also be used to identify players of value within referral networks. In one example, it is recognized that for a player who always or often refers other high value players, their next referral will also likely be a high value player, even if unknown. Moreover, the referral of unknown players may be of particular value, and in one example a premium is provided for such a referral. The premium may be provided both to the referring player and to the referred player.
  • Players with established referral networks may receive reports on the “value” of their referral network. Often the valuation of the network is provided to operators of gambling locations, affiliated locations, and to the provider of the referral network system. Valuation reports may indicate members of the referral network that are reducing its value, prompting players to police their own networks. According to one embodiment, your referrals increase your value as a player. Additionally, referrals' referrals may impact a player's standing. In one example, each subsequent level of referrals may have an impact on a player's valuation and/or standing.
  • Referral codes may also be used and need not be printed on a coupon. Referral codes may be generated completely electronically. Referral codes may be generated and forwarded directly by a referral to interested individuals and/or groups. According to one aspect, the ability to forward access codes directly incents active involvement of referring entities into the referral process. The referrer obtains a referral code(s), in one example through gambling activity, and in one alternative from engaging in business from which referrals are made. Referral codes may be generated for gambling establishments to provide to new customers. In one example, a player may sign up for a frequent rewards program, and receive a package with bonus play incentives. It is realized that by providing referral codes, that newly signed up player may choose to remain anonymous, until he/she has won an award in the bonus play, in which case in order to redeem the player must identify him/herself. Referral codes may themselves be seed values, that can be used when participation is desired to create a ticket for entry into a game. The referral codes may also be combined with other information to generate an input into a deterministic function that permits generation of tickets.
  • According to another aspect, a player may track and maintain a referral network through a referral network interface. The interface permits a player to generate groups of other players with whom the referrer has a relationship. Multiple groupings may be entered by a player. In one example, a player may create a friends group by entering in information about other players, considered friends.
  • In one example, a player accesses the referral network interface to input contact information for referred players. In one example, where the referral network is automatically generated, the player may review the status of the referral network, its impact on that player's value, and/or maintain the referral network by adding additional referrals, deleting referred players from the network, among other options.
  • A referral may be made by specifically referring another player. The referral typically including contact information, for example e-mail, to permit delivery of an incentive, invitation, bonus play opportunity, or other advertising and marketing material to the referred player. In some examples, the referral network system associates a seed value to any referral for later use in generating tickets. In other examples, a values can be calculated from the contact information for the referred player.
  • Referrals may also occur in the course of trying to achieve/redeem multiparty bonus play offers, multiparty incentives, or multiparty awards. In one example, a player receives an invitation to participate in a multiparty bonus game. In order to qualify and/or redeem the bonus, required is another 10 players who also agree to participate. For example, the referring player may forward the invitation to 10 or more people s/he knows to meet the requirements of the offer. Referrals may be tracked, and the referrals themselves may identify a group of potential/actual players whom the referring players has some relationship, e.g. friend, peer, family, associate, etc. Knowledge about a player tracked through player club membership, for example, can be coupled with knowledge about his/her associates and relationships to identify candidates likely to share similar interests, and in the example of a valued player, candidates who are also likely to be/become valued players. One should appreciate that various requirements may be used to qualify for incentive offers, also various criteria may be used in order to redeem incentive offers. The preceding example of 10 additional players should not be read as limiting, and any number of additional players may be used as qualification and/or redemption criteria.
  • According to another aspect, incentive offers to referrals may be made directly to the members of a referral network, but also incentive offers may be made indirectly. For direct offers, the offer itself may reference the referring player, his/her identity, or provide some indication that the incentive offer is being provided as part of participation in a referral network. Incentive offers may be delivered to the referral network hub and all the members of his/her referral network. Additionally, certain offers may be tailored to subsets of referral networks. For example, members of a referral network who consistently play/ed table games may receive incentive offers directed to table type games.
  • Indirect offers may include, for example, extending an invitation to a referrer to incent the referrer to “pass along” the offer to another party. In one example, an incentive offer is extended to the hub of a referral network, the offer requires participation of at least 10 other players in order to qualify and redeem the offer. The incentive offer may be for free play, bonus play, credit, points, prizes or other merchandise, for example. Group prizes can be commensurately larger and thus the incentive on the referrer and potential players he/she passes the offer along to may be increased.
  • It is realized that offers/invitations may be extended to a particular player to get additional players to act. Indirect invitation may be specifically targeted to specific characteristics that are thought to be common to players who are more likely to game and/or gamble. The redemption rates of such indirect offers provide real time feedback as to whether the particular characteristic is in fact a good indicator of players who are more likely to redeem incentive offers. By targeting different characteristics of known high value players, a generic profile of a high value player may be created and used to target future incentives.
  • According to one aspect, characteristics of a valuable player may be determined from existing valuable players, their demographic information, and the associations and/or relationships the player maintains. It is realized that providing incentive to a player to provide information about him/herself is of value. In addition, players are often reluctant to provide too much information on themselves beyond name and contact information sufficient to participate in player clubs. Enabling a player to achieve additional and/or increased awards by establishing and maintaining a referral network, provides additional information with respect to the player, his/her associates, and possibly activities outside gambling locations. It is realized that the more information that can be generated on a particular player, the better the ability to direct incentive offers, not only to that player, but also to that player's associates, and also to segments of the population that share, or have similar characteristics. According one embodiment, incentives may be tailored to require additional information in order to qualify and/or redeem awards. In one example, invitations for specific offers may be tailored to required information on other players. The value associated with particular offers may increase as the detail and/or sensitivity of the information provided increases.
  • Other systems and methods may be used to aggregate and retrieve information on players, gaming establishments, gambling establishments, and/or affiliated locations. These system and methods can be used to establish static information associated with a player, game, gaming establishment, gambling establishment, and the static information used in a method for generating tickets on demand. Additional information aggregation systems and methods can be used to provide dynamic information that can be combined in a predictable manner with static values and/or information and the combination used to generate tickets on demand. The information provided may also be used during the course of ticket generation, to select from a group of compensation rules, and for example, players with higher potential (or actual) value may be provided larger potential compensation. In one example, static values are combined with dynamic values to provide, predictably and repeatably, an input to a deterministic function. In one example, the static value(s) is associated with a player record. In another example, static information associated with a player is converted into the value. The output of the function is used to retrieve a predetermined outcome. Thus, permitting on demand ticket generation for predetermined outcomes without compromising the nature of the game.
  • EcoSystem
  • Additional examples of information aggregation systems as described in co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/345,289 entitled “SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR COLLECTING AND USING PLAYER INFORMATION,” filed Dec. 29, 2008, which claims priority under 35 U.S.C. §119(e) to U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 61/016,801 entitled “SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR COLLECTING AND USING PLAYER INFORMATION,” filed Dec. 26, 2007 both of which applications are incorporated herein by reference. As discussed therein, traditional methods of collecting player information include information collected by player tracking systems, such as, for example, International Game Technology's Advantage system, Bally Technology's Slot Management System and Table Management System. Player tracking systems are useful for automating some or all of the tasks required to provide additional incentives for frequent or loyal play. For example, points may be awarded for every unit of wagers made and those points may be redeemed for prizes.
  • Player tracking systems utilize magnetic striped cards to hold a unique identifier which is associated with a specific person's account. Each gambling machine and/or table game position is equipped with a compatible card reader. A person wishing to allow their gambling activities to be monitored inserts their card into the compatible card reader. Other identification techniques are also useful with player tracking systems and include but are not limited to biometric identification, smart cards and Hollerith cards. In some cases, additional identity authentication is required such as entering a PIN or password on a keypad or touchscreen.
  • Most player tracking systems, include a display which provides acknowledgment that the card was accurately read and associated with an account. Typically, for so long as the person's card remains inserted in the reader, all gambling activity that occurs on the associated gambling game is recorded on the identified account.
  • Such activity is monitored and tracked by casinos and other gaming establishments to determine, among other things, a classification of a particular player. Such activities are monitored to determine comp packages, such as free hotel rooms, casino credits and other incentives that may be used to retain the player's business, or to encourage a return visit to the casino.
  • Numerous organizations and companies have incentive programs for customers. For example, airlines have frequent flyer programs that allow a member passenger to take free trips or provide other perks after the member has taken a minimum number of flights or has flown a minimum number of miles. Numerous other types of establishments, including hotel chains, chain stores, and movie rental companies, have similar programs used to incentivize a customer.
  • Casinos also often have similar frequent player programs that provide incentives for continued customer patronage. For instance, the Foxwoods Casino (Mashantucket, Conn.) offers a program referred to as Wampum Rewards. A player participating in the program receives a card which the player uses whenever he/she comes to the casino. In one example implementation, the player swipes the card at special kiosks located within the casino which permit that player to have a chance to win prizes. A Wampum Rewards member may also swipe his or her card whenever betting or spending money within the casino and in the associated hotel, resort, or shops. As the player bets or spends more money, the player becomes eligible for free or reduced cost perks. Other examples of frequent player programs used in the casino environment include the well-known Harrah's Total Rewards, Wynn Casino's Red Card, and Trump Casinos' Trump Card programs (e.g., Trump One Card).
  • As with frequent flyer programs and other types of incentive programs, typical goals of the casino frequent player program include increasing player loyalty, providing incentives to a player to visit the associated casinos as often as possible, and encouraging the player to spend as much money in the associated establishments as possible. Integrating on demand ticket generation into incentive systems minimizes the burden of implementing these promotions and/or incentives. Minimizing the burden directly implicates a reduced cost of operation, not only improving efficiency for the operator but also permits pass through of the savings to participants in the form of greater value prizes, awards, and incentives. To further improve the effectiveness of player loyalty programs, there is a present and recurring need for new methods to provide incentives to frequent player program members as well as attract new players.
  • Such conventional systems for collecting player information are not sufficient for adequately determining player worth. For instance, a new player who has never visited the gaming establishment will be “unknown” to the gaming establishment, and any data provided by the player will be insufficient for determining their value as a gambler. However, that person may be well-known to other gaming establishments, and may have, depending on their behavior at such establishments, widely different player ratings and profiles among the various establishments. That is, the individual activities at each of the gaming establishments are insufficient for determining the actual worth of the player, as the actual worth of the player is determined by the overall assessment of his/her activities. Such an assessment is difficult to be determined, as each gaming establishment does not grant access to each other's data, and thus a holistic view of the play cannot be determined. In the case where there are multiple locations for a casino to which a player may visit, and each of these locations may have a separate view of activity that may be compiled into a total view for the establishment, such a total view is still incomplete, as there are player activities that are beyond the view of the establishment.
  • It would be beneficial to have a system capable of collecting and storing player performance data from multiple gaming establishments. Such information may be used, for example, to determine a value of a particular player to a gaming establishment. According to one aspect, a system is provided that collects player information from multiple sources such as gaming establishments, and creates a rating for a player that is more indicative of player value than information collected from a single source. For instance, player information such as ratings, demographics, play history and other player information may be collected and stored by a player tracking or other type of system. The information may be stored in any type of storage (e.g., in a file system, in a database, in memory, etc.). Such a system establishes a holistic rating for player that is more clearly indicative of player worth, as a result of collecting information from multiple gaming establishments.
  • Such a system that collects player rating information from multiple gaming establishments is better than conventional rating systems, as gaming establishments are limited to only the information that they have collected on a player. Thus, gaming establishments have a limited view on a player, and thus do not make decisions regarding the player optimally. For instance, for a player that plays very little at establishment X, but plays at establishment Y, the estimated worth of the player by establishment X will be lower than that of Y, and establishment X may be losing opportunities based on their limited view of the player. Thus, the system can identify opportunities to consolidate play of the player.
  • Such a system increases accuracy in knowing number of visits per player, visit frequency, amount spent per visit, which is used to compute worth. For instance, the recency (when was the last time the player visited?), frequency (how frequent does a player visit?), and intensity (how much does the player spend?) or RFI may be used to determine value of a player. However, these parameters are affected substantially if a portion of a player's behavior is unknown. By knowing activity at other gaming establishments which may be different than the “limited” view of a particular gaming establishment, the gaming establishment may more accurately rate the player, and perform actions accordingly (e.g., make an offer to the player that is better suited to his/her player rating).
  • Such a system may track player behavior among multiple establishments, establish a better view of the player, and make better marketing decisions accordingly. For instance, the player plays craps at establishment X, but does not play poker. However, the player plays poker at establishment Y at a particular level. Now, because a system is provided that tracks behavior from multiple gaming establishments, establishment X may make an offer regarding poker based on behavior of the player at establishment Y, and that offer may interest the player.
  • With some conventional information that could be obtained by gaming establishments, access to player performance information may be limited to the frequent player info, but info could not be tied to the player. That is, in some forms of information provided by casinos, the only information available to gaming establishments is the frequent player identifier information, but not the actual player identity, which is necessary to contact the player, make offers, etc. In one aspect, players are enticed to provide their frequent player information and its association to their identity that permits their identities to be identified with more than one frequent player accounts and their associated performance information.
  • Also, because this information is collected and stored, the system may have the capability of functioning as a data clearing house for proprietary performance information from multiple gaming establishments. This information may be traded, sold, auctioned, and/or offered to multiple entities to perform various functions such as direct marketing, financial analysis, player rating and/or monitoring functions, or other functions.
  • Further, a system may collect other information regarding the player, and may provide the player information to other organizations. Not only would such information be useful for casinos, but other organizations as well. Further, because the system is capable of providing a more accurate assessment of gamblers, the system may successfully correlate other types of information with player gambling tendencies. For example, upon analyzing the player database and holistic view of the players, it may be determined (e.g., by survey or other methods) that Vodka drinkers consistently make up the highest tiers of gamblers. Such information may be used by the system to attract more and better gamblers, but this information may also be sold to casinos for their own advertising and marketing purposes.
  • The system may also function as a frequent player points clearing house where player's credits or other points may be traded, sold, auctioned, or otherwise transferred between entities. Players may be provided access and accounts to the system, and in exchange to access to their proprietary data, the system may provide other functions that encourage player return, such as providing a capability to trade, sell, or otherwise transfer frequent player points with other players, manage their frequent player accounts, receive offers from casinos and other establishments, solicit offers from establishments, and other functions. In one embodiment, a player grants access to their player account information, and the system is configured to obtain and store such information. Further, the system may be capable of collecting other identifying information for the player, such as where the player lives, his/her occupation, other demographic information which could be used as data points by gaming establishments (or other entities) to extend offers to players.
  • The system may also provide access to data for players that have no or limited contact to the gaming establishment, increasing opportunity to market to potential new players, using players info identifying players that have propensity to gamble, along with their rating as gambler, and other information. The system also provides a more focused avenue for determining potential players, thus optimizing their marketing investment. For example, a more structured mailing list of potential gamblers can be created, rather than relying on other less-indicative forms of data.
  • According to one embodiment, data could be obtained by the system by either the gaming establishment providing the information (in exchange for access to services provided by the system) and/or by “logging on” to frequent player program tracking systems as the player, with the player's identity, password. It is appreciated that player “owns” their personal information, and for gaming establishments that do not wish to share their proprietary information, the player can grant access to their personal information for the system. Data may be collected in real time, and real-time decisions may be made regarding the player (e.g., the player was playing at Foxwoods today, won/spent/played this much, send him/her a text message of an offer to come over to Mohegan Sun). According to one embodiment, a monitoring system may be provided that permits the real-time monitoring of the player so that actions regarding the player may be performed.
  • In some cases, gaming establishments may not permit access to player performance information (as it is proprietary information), and it may be beneficial to infer the player's performance. According to one embodiment, it is realized that the player's rate of spending in a particular gaming establishment may be inferred through a player's frequent player points. More particularly, as the rate of the player's frequent player points increases (or decreases as they are used by the player), the activity of the player can be inferred. For instance, if the player's frequent player points are increasing at a high rate, that play of that player may be correlated to a high spend rate. In this manner, the system need not have access to proprietary performance information to infer a player's spend rate.
  • In another implementation, entities may be encouraged to provide their proprietary data. In one embodiment, access to raw performance information from a particular gaming establishment may be prohibited, allaying privacy/competition concerns among those entities that own the information. More specifically, the holder of the player rating information may be, according to one embodiment, a neutral entity that does not provide unfettered access to the data, thus encouraging gaming establishments to share their proprietary data. In one embodiment more fully discussed below, one or more rules may be used to determine access to data.
  • Another aspect relates to a network that enables casino patrons to solicit complimentary offers. In one embodiment, gaming establishments (among other entities) may subscribe to player rating information (e.g., as provided by a player data collection system) and may use rating information to determine an offer that is extended to player. Such a method for determining an appropriate offer is better than conventional rating systems, as gaming establishments are limited to only the information that they have collected on a player. According to one embodiment, an offer could be based either on info provided by player, by offers created by gaming establishment, or combination of the information.
  • According to one embodiment, the system may permit more accurate offers to be extended to players, as the system could track offers accepted by player (e.g., what will it take to get this player to accept an offer?). By storing a historical record of packages taken/not taken, more informed decisions may be made with regard to what offers should be made to the player.
  • Offers extended to players are better, especially for those who have not established a play history at a particular gaming establishment. This provides more options for the gambler, as gaming establishments that did not have prior histories on players can now compete for their business. According to one aspect, it is appreciated that reaching the previously unknown player is one of the most valuable opportunities for gaming establishments. Thus, gaming establishments may more effectively target players that have not established a history.
  • According to another aspect, an online method is provided for players to track frequent player information from multiple gaming establishments (or other entities). Players are enticed by tracking feature to provide their information that permits their identities to be identified with frequent player accounts and its associated performance information. In one embodiment, a player is permitted to trade points between establishments, operating as clearing house for player points. Point programs may be any type (e.g., casino, hotel, airline, etc.) and may allow the player to trade between programs. Also, point programs may be created for gaming machine vendors, software program vendors, etc., thus permitting the view of the player and the functions that can be performed by the player with point programs to be more complete.
  • In another embodiment, gaming establishments are permitted to advertise on the system, enticing them to have more focused advertising access to players that have propensity and capability of gambling, and further encouragement to share proprietary information. Advertising displayed to play may be based at least in part on the identity of the player. Also, player is encouraged to “check their points” and see promotions that are available, increasing the likelihood that the advertising reach is increased.
  • EcoSystem Data/System Coordination
  • Various embodiments address the mechanisms, rules and interactions of a set of interdependent systems related to casino loyalty programs and customers. According to one embodiment, a collection of systems interact in an ecosystem. The collection of systems may include, for example, a casino loyalty system (e.g., a “CasinoLoyalty” system as discussed more fully below), an advertising network (e.g., an “Ad Network” system), a consumer website for attracting potential casino patrons (e.g., a “CasinoBonus” system), and a network that enables casino patrons to solicit complimentary offers (e.g., a “CompOffer” system). Such systems are shown by way of example in FIG. 10, although it should be appreciated that systems having other structures may be used to implement various aspects as described herein.
  • FIG. 10 shows a distributed computer system 1000 capable of collecting, storing, and analyzing player information in accordance with various embodiments of the present disclosure. As shown, a collection of systems interact in a distributed computer system referred to herein as an “ecosystem.” The collection of systems may include, for example, a casino loyalty system (e.g., a “CasinoLoyalty” system as discussed more fully below), an advertising network (e.g., an “AdNetwork” system), a consumer website for attracting potential casino patrons (e.g., a “CasinoBonus” system), and a network that enables casino patrons to solicit complimentary offers (e.g., a “CompOffer” system). Such systems are shown by way of example in FIG. 1, although it should be appreciated that systems having other structures may be used to implement various aspects as described herein.
  • As distinct and separate systems, these systems provide significant value to their independent users and organizations (e.g., a casino operator). However, when integrated into an overall environment (e.g., an EcoSystem) that provides the interfaces, rules, security, communications, data integration and analysis, additional features and benefits are realized.
  • System Roles within an Ecosystem
  • One primary role of a consumer website for attracting potential casino patrons (e.g., a CasinoBonus system) is to attract patrons into an overall EcoSystem. At that point, the patron may be shown, for example, advertising (e.g., provided by an Ad Network system), provided offers (e.g., via the CompOffer system) and/or provided an opportunity to participate in a specific casino's program (e.g., a CasinoLoyalty program).
  • While a casino loyalty system (e.g., a CasinoLoyalty system) may be primarily a destination for casino patrons within the EcoSystem, the casino loyalty system may also provide valuable access to casinos and players for the other systems. Similar to how a consumer website (e.g., as presented by a CasinoBonus system) may attract patrons into the EcoSystem and provides a value proposition whereby the patron provides personal information, a casino loyalty system may perform the same functions with casino operators. By providing a strong value proposition to casino operators, a casino loyalty system may attract casinos into the EcoSystem and may solicit them to provide comprehensive information on their casino and player card members.
  • A purpose of both an advertising system (e.g., a gaming advertisement network as provided by an Ad Network system) and a complimentary offer system (e.g., a casino-player auction system as provided by a CompOffer system) within the EcoSystem includes performing revenue-generating destinations/functions. By leveraging the patrons, casinos and detailed information provided by the other EcoSystem components, these systems may be able to provide more compelling and targeted offers to patrons. The EcoSystem further permits the parties (e.g., patrons/players, casinos, advertisers, etc.) to interact with each other through communication within the EcoSystem and for the collective system to determine what relationships will be defined between the parties.
  • Mechanisms for Integrating Systems
  • For the operation of the EcoSystem according to one embodiment, there may be two primary mechanisms by which the independent systems are able to communicate and share information—a database (e.g., centralized database, distributed database, etc.) and/or shared application programming interfaces (APIs). Such methods may be used to exchange information between communication providers and communication consumers. Various parties may function within the EcoSystem as a consumer or provider at various points, and may derive benefit through the sharing of information.
  • Shared APIs and tools may allow the systems to communicate and according to one embodiment, may execute the following functions:
      • Exchange patron information among system components, entities, roles, etc.
      • Exchange casino information
      • Exchange third-party promotional information
      • Enter ad campaign information (content and pricing/bid data)
      • Report ad campaign results
      • Report ad inventory levels
      • Enter promotional offer information and assignment rules
      • Determine promotional offers in real time
      • Assign promotional offers to patrons
      • Game sponsorship, awards and results
      • Transfer/purchase/auction of points
      • Merging of patron/player information
  • According to one embodiment, the database structure may receive and store information from the various systems in a compartmentalized fashion so that proprietary data can only be retrieved and utilized per data security and use rules. At the same time, data from all sources may be merged to develop a holistic view of the patrons, casino operators, ad campaigns and operation of the overall system. The data may be then summarized or sanitized into a form that maintains data security while still providing valuable information to the various systems. By sharing this data between the systems: a CasinoLoyalty system may be able to provide more valuable patrons to casinos; a CompOffer system may be able to provide a more comprehensive patron profile to third parties; an Ad Network system can target ads more directly to patrons, casinos, etc.; and a CasinoBonus system can improve customer experiences.
  • Data Security and Use Rules
  • According to one embodiment, it is appreciated that it may be important for various implementations to provide security of player data and other data (e.g., casino-owned proprietary data). In one example, of importance to an EcoSystem are the concepts of data security and rules for use of the data collected by the four systems. Casino-owned, proprietary information regarding patrons, promotions, and player club metrics is integral to the operation of a CasinoLoyalty system. On the other hand, one implementation of a CasinoBonus system may solicit users to provide their casino loyalty club information along with authorization to retrieve their individual data from the casino system. This data is clearly owned by the patron and, according to one embodiment, the CasinoBonus system may be provided access to the patron-owned data per a data use policy. In addition, the patron's use of all four systems (e.g., games played in a CasinoLoyalty system, content searched by a CasinoBonus system, advertisements viewed in an Ad Network system, offers solicited/auctioned in a CompOffer system) adds to the information gathered on the patron. That is, the patron/player behavior and interaction within the EcoSystem may be used as information that can affect future interactions.
  • To maintain the integrity of the EcoSystem such that casino operators, patrons, advertisers and other third parties are willing to provide the required data, data security and use rules may be established. According to one embodiment, conventional data security mechanisms within communication systems and databases may be used. One implementation of an EcoSystem may use a combination of restricted access, encryption, data sanitization and summarization to maintain data security.
  • However, in addition to the fundamental data security mechanisms, one example EcoSystem may implement rules for use of the data. These rules may include, for example, the level of data shared between the systems at the discretion of the casino operators, patrons or third parties. As an example, a casino participating in the CompOffer system might allow patron information to be shared with non-competitors in different markets. Conversely, a casino operator that operates in multiple gaming jurisdictions might only allow sharing patron information with sister properties. As another example, patrons of the CasinoBonus system may provide selective access to their information for receiving offers from the CompOffer system.
  • Similarly, the EcoSystem may establish terms of use and regulations that enhance and protect the integrity of the entire system. Terms of use and regulations may allow, for example:
      • advertisers and third parties equal access to patrons
      • casinos to share and access information on equal terms
      • patrons to provide and receive verified information
      • unauthorized and/or harmful use to be identified and eliminated
  • Aggregation of Data
  • According to one embodiment, a system and method may be provided for aggregating gaming related compensation offers, loyalty point balances and win/loss statements over an electronic medium or network of qualified casino patrons who choose to participate in one or more gambling loyalty programs. Aspects may include one or more of the following, either alone or in combination with other features.
  • A qualified person (e.g., a patron who is a member of a gambling loyalty program) may be either invited to join the system or may find the system by other methods. Compensation offers may also be targeted to people that do not participate in loyalty programs or other type of membership program. The qualified person may be required to pay the system a one-time entry fee, monthly subscription or usage fee for access to the system.
  • To utilize the system (e.g., view aggregate compensation offers, loyalty point balances and win/loss statements), the qualified person may be permitted to complete a registration form whereby he/she is required to identify the gambling loyalty club(s) to which they belong and then input a unique key into a registration form to each gambling loyalty club that he/she is a member of. The unique key may be different for each unique casino, lottery or other lawful gambling establishment.
  • On behalf of the qualified person, the system accesses periodically (e.g., hourly, daily, weekly, etc.) each specified account with the corresponding key and aggregates all available compensation offers, loyalty point balances and win/loss statements and displays the aggregated information in a user interface or series of user interfaces. The data may be collected from multiple accounts for a single player, and a more holistic view of the player's performance may be constructed as a result. By tracking the changing loyalty point balance and win/loss statement over time, the system can infer the relative worth of the qualified person to each disclosed gambling loyalty membership account as well as the total value of the qualified person based on all their accounts.
  • In one embodiment, the system makes offer redemption recommendations which include additional point purchase options, point exchange and redemption planning strategies and may combine them with other non-gambling loyalty programs (e.g., airline, car rental, credit card, etc. . . . ) to the qualified person based the available aggregated loyalty program offers.
  • Through a series of application interfaces between the system and the various gambling player tracking or patron management systems or other third-party loyalty systems, the system allows a qualified person to trade their loyalty points with other qualified persons, auction their points to the highest bidder or exchange loyalty points between the person's various loyalty accounts.
  • Also, according to another aspect, it is appreciated that most gambling venues, such as casinos, find it expensive and difficult to recruit new players to the extent desired and therefore focus a majority their attention and marketing resources on retaining existing players. In short, it is easier and cheaper to keep existing players happy than have to recruit new ones.
  • Therefore, in conjunction with player tracking systems and an instant bonusing option as described above, casino gaming operators have found it desirable to offer their patrons extensive loyalty programs that allow patrons to accumulate loyalty points based on how much they wager. The more the patron wagers, the more points a patron can accumulate. The accumulation rate, aside from the gross amount wagered, is determined by such factors as the odds of the game and any promotional programs (e.g., double point days) that are running in conjunction with the loyalty program. These accumulated points are typically converted or redeemed by the patron for goods, services or cash, or a combination of all three. These redemption options are generally known as the redemption catalog.
  • Hallmarks of a good loyalty program are the clarity and transparency of the loyalty program. For the loyalty program to achieve its purpose (e.g., foster a sense of ownership in the loyalty account and establish the parameters by which points are accumulated and redeemed), the program has to be easy to understand, the accumulation of points should be attainable, the point balance must be accessible, the redemption catalog should contain items that the participants value and the redemption process should have few, if any, encumbrances. According to one aspect, it is appreciated that it would be beneficial to have an independent system that allows players to aggregate their various point balances as well as their win/lose statements into one easy to access, easy understand system and user interface. From the players' point of view, they can easily access their point balances (even if they have accounts at multiple establishments) and they can easily understand what redemption options are available at any given moment. From the gaming establishments point of view, the simpler and more transparent their loyalty program is the better the loyalty program will perform.
  • By tracking the changing point balances and win/loss statement over time, the system can infer the relative worth (e.g., visit frequency and spend per visit) of the player to each disclosed gambling loyalty membership account as well as the total value of the qualified person based on all their accounts. One knowledgeable about the gambling industry will appreciate that there is great value in knowing this information and utilizing this information to entice the patron to joining another gambling establishment's player club. In by doing so, the system could most likely provide a sign up bonus or inducement to player that is of commensurate value to worth of the player.
  • According to another embodiment, it is appreciated that it may be useful to rate a player relative to other people in the same (or similar) player club(s). For instance, if a particular player has X points more than the average number of points for all participants at that casino, that player may be determined to be more valuable. Comparison to other players may provide insight into how the player club values people. Also, because a more accurate value of players may be determined, a more accurate relative comparison between players may be determined to permit organizations to more effectively target valuable players.
  • Additionally, there is great value in allowing a third party to aggregate point balances while providing application interface software/tools (APIs) that allow the player to trade, auction or exchange points between system providers and other participants so that they may optimize their redemption options. Furthermore, it would be highly desirable to expand the scope of the system to allow other non-gaming loyalty clubs to participate so that the player would have the widest possible set of redemption opportunities. For example, a player may be permitted to exchange rental car points for gaming points so the player could redeem the rental car points for a hotel room at the gaming establishment and vice versa. Also, it is appreciated that non-gaming loyalty club information may be used in addition to the gaming loyalty club information to obtain a view of the player. Thus, a wider view of the player (in areas other than gaming) can be used to determine player value.
  • In one embodiment, the EcoSystem (among other system components) may provide an environment that serves as a clearing house for points. According to one embodiment, not only can the EcoSystem manage points obtained via gambling-related activities, but can manage and track other point programs (e.g., airline frequent flyer programs, hotel loyalty programs, etc.) as well. According to one embodiment, players/patrons may be permitted to exchange different types of points for one another, bid on/purchase points, convert points between programs, among other transactions and functions. To this end, the EcoSystem may provide interfaces and/or other types of tools that permit the players to perform such functions. For instance, the EcoSystem (e.g., through a CompOffer system interface) may provide tools to match up potential trades between players/patrons (e.g., player X needs 50 points to reach a target point goal in a particular program A, player Y has 50 unused points in program A, but needs 100 points in program B, which player X has). Interfaces may be provided that permit players/patrons to view performance of others with respect to points (e.g., a leader board for points).
  • Other tools may be provided that permit players/patrons to communicate with one another. For instance, social networking tools or other types of communication tools may be provided (e.g., chat functions, tagging, ticketing, voting) to enhance the experience of the player/patron, and to facilitate their use of point-based systems.
  • Advertising Network
  • Typical Internet advertising is based on search terms, site content, general demographics for website visitors, geolocation based on the IP address of the browsing computer and visitor activity within the site. All of these approaches may be based on the concept that the website displaying the advertising infers knowledge of the individual and their interests due to the anonymous nature of the website visit.
  • Some websites have overcome the anonymous nature of the Internet by providing access to content such as games only after the website visitor has provided personally identifiable information about themselves. The level of personally identifiable information required may vary among websites, but there is the added challenge of confirming the validity of the information provided. Many website visitors simply enter erroneous data or use pseudonyms and alternate information. Websites endeavor to make the content compelling and the value proposition strong enough so that visitors will enter the correct information, but in most cases short of entering credit card information to purchase goods or services, there is no validation of the information.
  • Aspects of the disclosure may address these issues and expand the knowledge of the individual website visitor without requesting information such as credit card data that the individual might be reticent to give.
  • Most casino operators have implemented frequent player cards that are used to track individuals' play in the casino and to award complimentary offers for continued play. As an added feature of the player club, the members are provided electronic access to their point balances, win/loss statements, complimentary offers and other personalized data about their casino activity. This set of data provides a wealth of information about the player's activity that may not even be apparent to the player himself.
  • Additionally, because casinos continue to expand as entertainment venues that include wagering and non-wagering activities, the information gained from the player club information is ever expanding and includes data of value beyond the casino industry.
  • Furthermore, due to the ubiquitous nature of casinos, most casino patrons are members of multiple player clubs. Combining the player club information from various casino operators for an individual gives a holistic view of the patron that contains valuable information and insight into the patron's gaming activities, finances, entertainment choices, travel plans, big ticket purchases, etc.
  • Aspects of the disclosure relate to soliciting individuals to provide their player card details for all casinos for which they are members of the player club. From that information, the system can automatically query the casino's player club database, either directly or through web services that are provided via the casino's website. Algorithms may be then used to correlate the information across the various casino operators and to develop an overall view of the patron.
  • Information that can be retrieved from the player/patron may include one or more of the following information relating to:
      • demographic information
      • point balances
      • available offers
      • win/loss statements
      • casino visit recency and frequency
      • average casino win per visit (known as Average Daily Theoretical)
      • casino dining choices
      • casino entertainment choices
      • accepted/declined offers
      • large wins
      • casino play preferences
      • play stop limits
      • casino credit line
      • links to other player club members
      • behavioral data, such as website visits (e.g., to various interfaces to the
      • EcoSystem, other websites), games played (e.g., games offered in a free play setting), and other behavioral data
  • Using such information across multiple casinos coupled with public data sources (e.g., using demographic info) and/or private data sources (e.g., Experian credit rating information), algorithms can be used to validate other user-provided data and develop holistic information about the patron such as:
      • travel plans/affinities
      • entertainment affinities
      • financial status and median income
      • value to other local casinos
      • value to destination casinos
      • overall gaming budgets, recency, frequency, intensity
      • comparison to other patrons
      • other aspects of the player/patron that would be of interest to other establishments such as financial institutions, automobile retailers, consumer goods providers, and other entities.
  • Interfaces and/or data may be provided to such entities to permit these entities to reach and/or target advertising to these player/patrons.
  • Taking all this information into consideration, a profile of the individual patrons can be established, and website advertising, email marketing, direct marketing and telemarketing campaigns may be set up based on these profiles, the holistic data and the basic information. The campaigns may then be run by the website that solicits the player card information. Alternatively, the profile may be sold to the individual casinos (where the patron is a current or potential customer) for use on their website and marketing plans.
  • Although the holistic information on the patron could be used by all types of business and industries that utilize online and offline marketing campaigns, this information would be particularly valuable to the following industries:
      • casino
      • travel agencies
      • luxury goods
      • hotel
      • airlines
      • junket operators
  • Game-Based Play
  • According to another aspect, a method and system may be provided that allows qualified players in a game system to play games (e.g., play various single and multiplayer games of chance with real-time outcome determination or pre-determined outcome determination and single and multiplayer games of skill with real-time outcome determination), to win loyalty points and/or other gambling offers and/or alternate currencies to participating gambling establishments (e.g., casino, lottery or other lawful gambling establishments), and non-gambling establishments (e.g., airline, car rental, credit card, etc. . . . ) over an electronic medium or network where the end user apparatus is an electronic device (e.g., Computer, Mobile phone/PDA, Game Consoles, Digital Set-top box/Interactive TV, Handhelds). Such capabilities may be provided, for example, by a casino loyalty system (e.g., a CasinoLoyalty system as discussed above), a consumer website for attracting potential casino patrons (e.g., a CasinoBonus system) or any other component of an EcoSystem.
  • A qualified person (e.g., a gambling patron who is of age) may be either invited to join the system or finds the system by other methods. A qualified person, according to one embodiment, may be a person who is of age to participate in lawful games of skill and or chance and is a person who is or intends to be a member of a gambling establishment's (e.g., casino, lottery or other lawful gambling establishments) player loyalty club. A qualified player could be invited to join the system via a multitude of different methods including but not limited to an online ad, online search engine link, mobile device ad, direct mail solicitation, a commercial (e.g., as shown on television, radio, satellite radio/TV, movie theater commercial, elevator video message, etc.), an in gambling establishment message or sign, a billboard/outdoor signage, word of mouth, or by happenstance. Also, a qualified person may be, for instance, a person who is already a member of a player loyalty club, or has the requisite qualifications to become a member.
  • A qualified person may be allowed to access the system for free or required to pay a fee to access to the system or a combination of both. In the case where the player is required to pay to access the system, there may be many methods or business models that are commonly used. It should also be noted that the business models listed below are not necessarily the only ones possible. That said, the business methods or revenue models may include a “Try and Buy” model, a “Free Web Trial” model, subscription models, among other approaches.
  • The “Try and Buy” model may be the simplest model to understand, and is also the model historically associated with the internet game industry. This model is also most similar to the shareware model that has been around for many years. Under this model, players may play a trial version of a game. Trials games are limited in some way, most commonly by time (a one-hour free trial is typical), but trials may also be limited by features, by number of plays allowed, or by not allowing this game to be used to win something or by some other mechanism. Throughout play, the player is typically encouraged to purchase the full version of the game (“up-sell”). In some variants of this model, the player may continue playing the feature limited version indefinitely, in others the player must sit through increasingly intrusive reminder notices that encourage the qualified person to purchase the game.
  • The Free Web Trial model includes variants on the “try and buy” model which includes offering a free web version of the game which can be played within a web browser. Web games can generally played over and over again, however they are typically very limited compared to the “deluxe” downloadable versions, with fewer features, less content, lower quality sounds & graphics, etc.
  • There are several types of subscription models in wide-spread use. For example, in the “All you can eat” model, the player pays a fixed amount per month in return for unlimited play of all games in the program. In one version of this model, the user must maintain the subscription in order to continue playing games. When the subscription ends the player's access to the games also ends.
  • Another subscription model includes the “Book of the month” model, in which the player pays a fixed amount each month in return for getting one (or more) games free. Additional games can generally be purchased at a discount.
  • In the “VIP membership” model, the player pays a fixed amount each month in return for special privileges. There may also be a “Pay-for-play/Ad Sponsored” hybrid model whereby a player inserts currency (cash or cash equivalents), tokens or sweepstakes entries into the game or the game system for each game play. One variant of this model is where advertisers, participating gambling establishments (e.g., casino, lottery or other lawful gambling establishments), and non-gambling establishments (e.g., airline, car rental, credit card, etc.) can buy the coins, tokens or sweepstakes entries and sponsor a game session that is then free for the players.
  • A “Tournament/skill-based” model involves qualified players paying a cash entry fee to enter a tournament and play a game. The tournament can be a small as two players, or as large as thousands of players. A player's score is posted on a leader board, and the winner (or, in larger tournaments, winners) receives currency (cash or cash equivalents like free slot play or chance to play for free in the gambling establishment), tokens, sweepstakes entries and or loyalty points to the various clubs to which they belong. In order to be legal in the locations where such tournaments are offered, the games must be substantially skill-based, rather than relying on luck or chance; thus the name “skill-based” to refer to this economic model.
  • An “Item-Buy (micro transactions)” model is a model where players purchase items within the system. The items are typically electronic creations like badges, lucky charms and avatars.
  • According to one embodiment, to qualify as a player, the qualified person completes a registration form whereby he/she is requested to identify the gambling and non-gambling loyalty club(s) to which they belong and then input a unique key into a registration form for each loyalty club that he/she is a member. If they are not a member of a loyalty program and have the desire to be eligible to collect winnings, they can join the loyalty club(s) at that time.
  • For games that are chance based and require the player to initiate the wager, the system may only allow the player to wager currencies that are lawful (e.g., sweepstakes entries). For games that are substantially skill based, the system may allow the player to wager any of the lawful currencies that they have banked in their account.
  • On behalf of the qualified person, the system confirms their membership in their declared loyalty clubs by accessing their declared account(s) or, if they are not a member but they wish to join a particular club, the system creates an account on their behalf.
  • Players can compete in various games and win currency (cash or cash equivalents like free slot play) and or loyalty points to the various clubs to which they belong. Some games may require an initial wager to gain entrance (see above) while others are free to access. Players can participate in non-gaming activities to earn currency (cash or cash equivalents like free slot play) and or loyalty points to the various clubs to which they belong. Examples of how to earn currencies may include the following:
      • to Filling out player surveys
      • Viewing advertisements from third party advertisers or participating in gambling establishments (e.g., casino, lottery or other lawful gambling establishments), and non-gambling establishments activities either on property or over a network
      • Agree to receive emails or other communications from third party advertisers or participating gambling establishments (e.g., casino, lottery or other lawful gambling establishments), and non-gambling establishments
      • Customizing the player's user interface
      • Creating a home page/social networking page
      • Recruiting other qualified players to the system
      • Earning badges or other designations of success within the game system
  • Through a set of application interfaces, participating gambling establishments (e.g., casino, lottery or other lawful gambling establishments), and non-gambling establishments can offer or stake prizes (e.g., sponsor the game or contest) for each game where the value of the prize is based on the qualified player's worth or perceived worth to the sponsor.
  • The qualified player may redeem prizes either online or at a physical establishment or they may barter, exchange, auction or give away their points. Through a set of application interfaces, participating gambling establishments (e.g., casino, lottery or other lawful gambling establishments) in the system can credit or deduct points, offers and or currencies based on how the player chooses to treat their prize.
  • The qualified player may set up a web page in a social networking environment and host their own gaming system whereby other qualified players can compete in the same manner as the larger game system. One difference in such a system is that the player who owns the page is staking the prizes or using the system tools to allow sponsors to stake the prizes.
  • Through a series of tools or application interfaces, the system can also allow the qualified player to group other willing qualified players together to diversify risk in a game in exchange for a share of any and all winnings from that game.
  • The system may also permit advertisers to reach the qualified or potential players of a casino, or display any other content. For instance, the system may have a website through which qualified players access, and ads may be displayed to such players (e.g., responsive to information collected regarding the players, their performance, their determined value, etc.). Other information displayed to players may include frequent player points leader boards that display top players that have earned frequent player points, and any other gameplay aspects. The system may also be adapted to display non-gameplay aspects related to the casino, such as locator information for gaming locations, player experiences/stories, chat with other players, and other content that enhances player experiences.
  • Further, multiplayer games could be provided that allow different advertisements to be displayed based on player location. For instance, a multiplayer game may have multiple sponsors based on geography, or other parameter (e.g., the player's profile). In another example, players countrywide are permitted to play a Bingo game, but winners in the Northeast region (or other location) are permitted to play slots at Mohegan Sun (a sponsor) while winners in the Las Vegas area are permitted to play slots at Harrah's Las Vegas.
  • Complimentary Offer System
  • As discussed, a system (e.g., a CompOffer system) may be provided that permits a player to receive complimentary offers. In one embodiment, these offers may be offers to the player to travel to or otherwise visit a gaming establishment. To this end, a website or other computer-based interface may be provided that may permit the player to solicit offers from multiple gaming establishments.
  • According to another aspect, an online system in which multiple gaming establishments compete for providing an entertainment package to the player based on rating information. In one example, package could involve other providers, such as airlines, hotels, restaurants, etc. A package that is determined for a particular player could be based on rating of the player, either alone or in combination with other information collected on by the system. The value of the package may be determined based on one or more parameters of the player information.
  • According to one embodiment, the package offered to a player is a better package (e.g., of higher value) as establishments are competing for customer (and may have knowledge of each other, and the packages being offered). Also, the package offered is more accurate, as it could be based on more accurate rating information of the player as discussed above.
  • Further, the accuracy of the package offered is additionally increased, as it could be based at least in part on information provided by the player, including characteristics of desired destination, location, etc. (e.g., I am traveling to Las Vegas on Month, Day, and I like these types of games, etc.). Also, because the package is based on information provided by player, the package is more tailored to player desires, as conventional complimentary packages are typically determined based only on what establishment determines as the package, not what player wants. This contrasts to conventional promotions, which are determined based on what excess capacity the provider might have, rather than the parameters supplied by a person/player. Thus, according to one embodiment, a system may be provided that includes an interface that accepts player preferences, and based on those preferences, determines one or more complimentary offers to be presented.
  • Offers extended to players may also be rule-based, and may be determined by particular parameters (e.g., Extend offer to a listing of players traveling on these dates to location, of average rating greater than Y). Rules may be implemented by the system that can determine under what conditions offers are made on behalf of a gaming establishment or other organization. Further, the system may make available (e.g., through an interface, an API, or other method) certain searches/queries to gaming establishment. Such rule-based or search-related functions performed by the gaming establishment (instead of a potential player) may permit more effective marketing promotions (e.g., to raise business levels during slow periods, to move perishable inventory).
  • A set of interfaces may be provided that present to the user complimentary offers that can be accepted. Such offers may be determined automatically based upon the player information, what inventory is available, or a combination of both. There may be an associated set of interfaces for the organization(s) that provide(s) the offers, which may permit them to perform functions associated with managing offers. For instance, interface functions may permit the organizations to monitor, create, and modify offers provided to players. Organizations may also be provided tools that permit them to create unsolicited offers to the player, which can be presented in an interface of the complimentary offer system. Such unsolicited offers may be presented in various ways, including during a particular period of time when the offer is available, when the player viewing the complimentary offer system interface meets particular criteria, among other ways.
  • Further, the system may permit marketing to potential players in real-time. For instance, ads may be displayed to a player in a computer interface (e.g., in the display of a browser program) and may be based, at least in part, on information relating to the player. For instance, parameters collected from the player based on a complimentary offer that he/she wishes to receive may be used to determine one or more advertisements to be displayed to the player in the interface. Other information collected on the player (e.g., demographics information, behavioral data, etc.) may also be used to determine what advertisements should be displayed. Such advertisements may also serve as financial support for such a website, and revenue may be generated based on the advertising performance. Advertisers (e.g., through an advertising network as discussed above) may choose to target particular players (or classes of players) via a complimentary offer system and its associated interfaces.
  • The information aggregation system can serve as source of seed value information, from which ticket generation processes can create ticket information as needed. The information aggregation systems can also serve as location for seed values stored with unique player records, games records, etc. Additionally valuation determinations and/or the underlying information supporting them can be used as additional information in a ticket generation process.
  • The processes described above are merely illustrative embodiments of a method for providing generation of tickets on request. Such illustrative embodiments are not intended to limit the scope of the invention, as any of numerous other implementations for performing the invention. None of the claims set forth below are intended to be limited to any particular implementation of a method of providing player incentives, unless such claim includes a limitation explicitly reciting a particular implementation.
  • Processes and methods associated with various embodiments, acts thereof and various embodiments and variations of these methods and acts, individually or in combination, may be defined by computer-readable instructions tangibly embodied on a computer-readable medium, for example, a non-volatile recording medium, an integrated circuit memory element, or a combination thereof. The instructions, as a result of being executed by a computer, cause the computer to perform one or more of the methods or acts described herein, and/or various embodiments, variations and combinations thereof. Such function include retrieving seed data from any one or more of a player record, a game record, a game machine record, a membership record, or an account; calculating a numeric seed value for use in ticket generation; executing a pseudo random number generation process; implementing a PRNG; calculating numeric representations of non-numeric data; merging numeric data to achieve input values for deterministic functions; merging data in a predictable manner to achieve input values; generating a mapping from seed data to a predetermined outcome as needed; generation a mapping from seed data to a predetermined outcome predictably and repeatably; generating ticket creation information; generating representations of ticket entries; transmitting and/or receiving seed information or values; transmitting and/or communication ticket creation information; and printing and/or displaying created tickets among other examples. Such instructions may be written in any of a plurality of programming languages, for example, Java, Visual Basic, C, C#, or C++, Fortran, Pascal, Eiffel, Basic, COBOL, etc., or any of a variety of combinations thereof. The computer-readable medium on which such instructions are stored may reside on one or more of the components of a general-purpose computer described above, and may be distributed across one or more of such components.
  • The computer-readable medium may be transportable such that the instructions stored thereon can be loaded onto any computer system resource to implement the aspects of the present disclosure discussed herein. In addition, it should be appreciated that the instructions stored on the computer-readable medium, described above, are not limited to instructions embodied as part of an application program running on a host computer. Rather, the instructions may be embodied as any type of computer code (e.g., software or microcode) that can be employed to program a processor to implement the above-discussed aspects of the present disclosure.
  • It should be appreciated that any single component or collection of multiple components of a computer system, for example, the computer system described below in relation to FIG. 11, that perform the functions described with respect to or reference the method can be generically considered as one or more controllers and/or components that control the discussed functions. The one or more controllers can be implemented in numerous ways, such as with dedicated hardware, or using a processor that is specially programmed using microcode or software to perform the functions recited above.
  • The above is merely an illustrative embodiment of a ticket generation system. Such an illustrative embodiment is not intended to limit the scope of the invention, as any of numerous other implementations of a ticket generation system, for example, variations of network topology, host server messaging, distributed computing, are possible and are intended to fall within the scope of the invention. Placement of various functions can occur on one or more computer systems, designated servers, hosts or other configurations. None of the claims set forth below are intended to be limited to any particular implementation of a ticket generation system unless such claim includes a limitation explicitly reciting a particular implementation.
  • Various embodiments according to the disclosure may be implemented on one or more computer systems (e.g. 1100, FIG. 11). These computer systems may be, for example, general-purpose computers specially programmed as discussed herein such as those based on Intel PENTIUM-type processor, Motorola PowerPC, Sun UltraSPARC, Hewlett-Packard PA-RISC processors, or any other type of processor. It should be appreciated that one or more of any type computer system may be used to partially or fully automate generation of ticketed entries according to various aspects of the disclosure.
  • For example, various aspects of the disclosure may be implemented as specialized software executing in a general-purpose computer system 1100 such as that shown in FIG. 11. The computer system 1100 may include a processor 1106 connected to one or more memory devices 1404, such as a disk drive, memory, or other device for storing data. Memory 1110 is typically used for storing programs and data during operation of the computer system 1100. Components of computer system 1100 may be coupled by an interconnection mechanism 1108, which may include one or more busses (e.g., between components that are integrated within a same machine) and/or a network (e.g., between components that reside on separate discrete machines). The interconnection mechanism 1108 enables communications (e.g., data, instructions, seed values, player information, game information, etc.) to be exchanged between system components of system 1100. Computer system 1100 also includes one or more input devices 1104, for example, a keyboard, mouse, trackball, microphone, touch screen, and one or more output devices 1102, for example, a printing device, display screen, and/or speaker. In addition, computer system 1100 may contain one or more interfaces (not shown) that connect computer system 1100 to a communication network (in addition or as an alternative to the interconnection mechanism 1408.
  • The storage system 1112, shown in greater detail in FIG. 12, typically includes a computer readable and writeable nonvolatile recording medium 1202 in which instructions are stored that define a program to be executed by the processor or information stored on or in the medium 1202 to be processed by the program. The medium may, for example, be a disk or flash memory. Typically, in operation, the processor causes data to be read from the nonvolatile recording medium 1202 into another memory 1204 that allows for faster access to the information by the processor than does the medium 1202. This memory 1204 is typically a volatile, random access memory such as a dynamic random access memory (DRAM) or static memory (SRAM). It may be located in storage system 1110, as shown, or in memory system 1204. The processor 1106 generally manipulates the data within the integrated circuit memory 1110, 1204 and then copies the data to the medium 1202 after processing is completed. A variety of mechanisms are known for managing data movement between the medium 1202 and the integrated circuit memory element 1110, 1204, and the invention is not limited thereto. The invention is not limited to a particular memory system 1110 or storage system 1112.
  • The computer system may include specially-programmed, special-purpose hardware, for example, an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC). Aspects of the disclosure may be implemented in software, hardware or firmware, or any combination thereof. Further, such methods, acts, systems, system elements and components thereof may be implemented as part of the computer system described above or as an independent component.
  • Although computer system 1100 is shown by way of example as one type of computer system upon which various aspects of the disclosure may be practiced, it should be appreciated that aspects of the disclosure are not limited to being implemented on the computer system as shown in FIG. 11. Various aspects of the disclosure may be practiced on one or more computers having a different architecture or components that that shown in FIG. 11.
  • Computer system 1100 may be a general-purpose computer system that is programmable using a high-level computer programming language. Computer system 1100 may be also implemented using specially programmed, special purpose hardware. In computer system 1100, processor 1106 is typically a commercially available processor such as the well-known Pentium class processor available from the Intel Corporation. Many other processors are available. Such a processor usually executes an operating system which may be, for example, the Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT, Windows 2000 (Windows ME), Windows XP, or Windows Visa operating systems available from the Microsoft Corporation, MAC OS System X available from Apple Computer, the Solaris Operating System available from Sun Microsystems, or UNIX available from various sources. Many other operating systems may be used.
  • The processor and operating system together define a computer platform for which application programs in high-level programming languages are written. It should be understood that the invention is not limited to a particular computer system platform, processor, operating system, or network. Also, it should be apparent to those skilled in the art that the present invention is not limited to a specific programming language or computer system. Further, it should be appreciated that other appropriate programming languages and other appropriate computer systems could also be used.
  • One or more portions of the computer system may be distributed across one or more computer systems 1304-1308, FIG. 13, coupled to a communications network 1302. These computer systems also may be general-purpose computer systems. For example, various aspects of the invention may be distributed among one or more computer systems configured to provide a service (e.g., servers) to one or more client computers, or to perform an overall task as part of a distributed system (e.g. 1300). For example, various aspects of the invention may be performed on a client-server system that includes components distributed among one or more server systems that perform various functions according to various embodiments of the invention. These components may be executable, intermediate (e.g., IL) or interpreted (e.g., Java) code which communicate over a communication network (e.g., the Internet) using a communication protocol (e.g., TCP/IP).
  • One example distributed installation can include a central ticket generation server, and distributed systems that are configured to perform various functions of a ticket generation operation and transmit the result to the central ticket server. For example, the ticket generation server can receive a ticket generation request, and pass received ticket generation information to a seed value component. The seed value component can be configured to accept a seed value directly, and/or configured to accept information used to generate a seed value. The seed value component can also be configured to combined multiple received values to generate the seed value. In some implementations, the values are combined in a known fashion, so that the result of the combination is knowable and repeatable, and in some example knowable even before the request is made. For instance, it can be determined for a player with a static seed value, that the player may participated once on any day of a given week, the system can identify in advance the resulting combination of that player's seed and any of the day values to be combined. The output of the combination is then knowable, and can be used for auditing and compliance testing as examples. The seed component can also be configured to translate non-numeric information into numeric for subsequent use. The translation can occur before, during, of after the combination operation.
  • A deterministic component can be employed to generate a random value from the output of the combination, and/or any seed value delivered directly. In one embodiment, the result of the deterministic operation although random is deterministic. The output of the deterministic operation can be known as can the output of the seed component. A mapping component can be employed to resolve a mapping to a an outcome for a game using the output of the deterministic function. The mapping component can also be configured to receive additional information to perform resolution of the mapping. The mapping can also be configured to an outcome record, that can be populated with an outcome, and in one example can be populated with a placeholder. The placeholder can also lead to another record, from which an outcome can be obtained. In some examples, the other record can store an outcome, permitting the outcome to be associated after ticket creation information is generated, through for example another game. Additionally the other record can store a predetermined outcome, the can be resolved after ticket creation information is generated, while still maintaining the predetermined nature of the outcome. A ticket creation component can received the results of the operations of any of or all of the other components to generate ticket creation information. The ticket creation information can include a representation of a ticket itself. In some examples, the representation can be printed or displayed to a player directly. In some embodiments, the ticket creation component generates information that enables another system to create an actual ticket. For example a game system in communication with a network connected to the ticket creation component can received an process ticket creation information to generate a ticket representation that can be printed or displayed.
  • It should be appreciated that the invention is not limited to executing on any particular system or group of systems. Also, it should be appreciated that the invention is not limited to any particular distributed architecture, network, or communication protocol. The components discussed above can reside on one system, on multiple systems to provide examples.
  • Various embodiments of the present invention may be programmed using an object-oriented programming language, such as SmallTalk, Java, C++, Ada, or C# (C-Sharp). Other object-oriented programming languages may also be used. Alternatively, functional, scripting, and/or logical programming languages may be used. Various aspects of the invention may be implemented in a non-programmed environment (e.g., documents created in HTML, XML or other format that, when viewed in a window of a browser program, render aspects of a graphical-user interface (GUI) or perform other functions). Various aspects of the invention may be implemented as programmed or non-programmed elements, or any combination thereof.
  • Having now described some illustrative embodiments of the invention, it should be apparent to those skilled in the art that the foregoing is merely illustrative and not limiting, having been presented by way of example only. Numerous modifications and other illustrative embodiments are within the scope of one of ordinary skill in the art and are contemplated as falling within the scope of the invention. In particular, although many of the examples presented herein involve specific combinations of method acts or system elements, it should be understood that those acts and those elements may be combined in other ways to accomplish the same objectives. Acts, elements and features discussed only in connection with one embodiment are not intended to be excluded from a similar role in other embodiments. Further, for the one or more means-plus-function limitations recited in the following claims, the means are not intended to be limited to the means disclosed herein for performing the recited function, but are intended to cover in scope any means, known now or later developed, for performing the recited function.
  • As used herein, whether in the written description or the claims, the terms “comprising”, “including”, “containing”, “characterized by” and the like are to be understood to be open-ended, i.e., to mean including but not limited to. Only the transitional phrases “consisting of” and “consisting essentially of” respectively, shall be closed or semi-closed transitional phrases, as set forth, with respect to claims, in the United States Patent Office Manual of Patent Examining Procedures (Eighth Edition 2nd Revision, May 2004), Section 2111.03.
  • Use of ordinal terms such as “first”, “second”, “third”, “a”, “b” “c” etc., in the claims to modify or otherwise identify a claim element does not by itself connote any priority, precedence, or order of one claim element over another or the temporal order in which acts of a method are performed, but are used merely as labels to distinguish one claim element having a certain name from another element having a same name (but for use of the ordinal term) to distinguish the claim elements.

Claims (34)

  1. 1. A computer implemented method for generating ticketed entries into a game, the method comprising the acts of:
    providing for compensation rules governing the game having the ticketed entry;
    accepting, by a communication interface, a ticket request, the ticket request including ticket generation information;
    generating deterministically, by a ticket server, an input value based, at least in part, on the ticket generation information;
    calculating, by the ticket server, an output value, wherein the act of calculating the output value includes an act of inputting the input value into a deterministic function;
    obtaining, by the ticket server, a game outcome according to the compensation rules using the output value; and
    providing for creation of a ticket for the game outcome.
  2. 2. The method according to claim 1, further comprising an act of accepting additional information associated with the ticket generation request.
  3. 3. The method according to claim 2, wherein the act of obtaining the game outcome according to the compensation rules using the output value includes an act of selecting, by the ticket server, a set of compensation rules using the additional information.
  4. 4. The method according to claim 3, wherein the additional information comprises at least one of a value estimate for a player, at least a portion of information underlying the value estimate, a player status, a player membership level, at a portion of information associated with a player record, a referral network status, a referral network value, a global player value estimate, a global player membership level, an affiliated location membership status, an online gaming membership status, a social network membership status, an affiliated location membership level, an online gaming membership level, and a social network membership level.
  5. 5. The method according to claim 1, further comprising an act of storing the ticket generation information.
  6. 6. The method according to claim 5, wherein the act of storing the ticket generation information includes an act of storing the information as at least a part of one of a player record, a ticket record, a game record, and a game machine record.
  7. 7. The method according to claim 1, wherein the compensation rules define at least one prize matrix.
  8. 8. The method according to claim 1, wherein the ticket generation information is pre-printed on another ticket.
  9. 9. The method according to claim 1, further comprising an act of communicating a ticket over a communication interface.
  10. 10. The method according to claim 1, further comprising an act of creating a ticket generation value.
  11. 11. The method according to claim 10, wherein the act of creating the ticket generation value includes an act of creating a unique seed value.
  12. 12. The method according to claim 2, wherein the act of generating, by a processor, the input value based, at least in part, on the ticket generation information, includes an act of combining the ticket generation information and at least a portion of the additional information.
  13. 13. The method according to claim 12, further comprising an act of generating a numerical representation of the additional information.
  14. 14. The method according to claim 1, wherein the act of calculating, by a processor, the output value, further includes an act of inputting the input value into a pseudo random number generator, wherein the output value comprises a predictable randomized value, wherein the same randomized value is output upon the input of the same input value.
  15. 15. The method according to claim 14, wherein the act of obtaining, by a processor, a game outcome from the compensation rules using the output value, includes an act of employing the randomized output value as at least one of a look up value into a compensation table, an index into a compensation table, an index into a prize matrix, a look up into a prize matrix, a value for retrieving a database record, a value for retrieving a row of a table, and an input into a mapping function.
  16. 16. The method according to claim 1, wherein the act of providing for creation of the ticket for the game outcome includes an act of associating, indirectly, the game outcome with ticket creation information.
  17. 17. The method according to claim 16, wherein the act of associating, indirectly, the game outcome with ticket creation information includes act of:
    creating an access code;
    permitting access to the game outcome by accepting an input of the access code.
  18. 18. The method according to claim 16, wherein the act of providing for creation of the ticket for the game outcome includes an act of associating, directly, the game outcome with ticket creation information.
  19. 19. The method according to claim 18, wherein the act of associating, directly, the game outcome with ticket creation information includes an act of encoding the outcome in the ticket creation information.
  20. 20. The method according to claim 19, wherein the act of encoding the outcome does not include encoding game play information in the ticket creation information.
  21. 21. The method according to claim 1, further comprising an act of creating a ticket for entry into the game.
  22. 22. The method according to claim 1, wherein the deterministic function comprises a pseudo random number generator.
  23. 23. The method according to claim 1, wherein the act of accepting, by a communication interface, a ticket request, includes an act of accepting the ticket request from a game machine with the ticket generation information associated with the game machine.
  24. 24. The method according to claim 23, wherein the game machine includes at least one of a video lottery terminal, a pull-tab game machine, and a Class II gaming machine having predetermined outcomes.
  25. 25. The method according to claim 1, wherein the ticket generation information comprises the input value.
  26. 26. The method according to claim 1, further comprising an act of deriving the input value from the ticket generation information.
  27. 27. The method according to claim 1, wherein the ticket generation information comprises a static portion and a dynamic portion.
  28. 28. The method according to claim 27, wherein the input value is based on at least a portion of the static portion and at least a portion of the dynamic portion.
  29. 29. The method according to claim 27, wherein the dynamic portion is deterministically dynamic.
  30. 30. The method according to claim 1, wherein the compensation rules define predetermined outcomes for the game.
  31. 31. A computer-readable medium having computer-readable instructions stored thereon that, as a result of being executed by a processor, instruct the computer to perform a method for generating on demand ticketed entries into a game, the method comprising acts of:
    providing for compensation rules governing the game having the ticketed entry;
    accepting a ticket request, the ticket request including a ticket generation value;
    generating an input value based, at least in part, on the ticket generation value;
    calculating an output value, wherein the act of calculating the output value includes an act of inputting the input value into a deterministic function;
    obtaining a game outcome from the compensation rules using the output value; and
    providing for creation of a ticket for the game outcome.
  32. 32. A system for printing ticketed entries into a predetermined outcome game, the system comprising:
    a ticket creation component configured to generate a ticket from ticket creation information where the ticket comprises an entry into the game, and the entry is associated with a predetermined outcome in response to a ticket generation request; and
    a communication component configured to receive ticket creation information generated by an outcome retrieval component, wherein the outcome retrieval component is configured to:
    receive a ticket generation request and associated ticket generation information,
    process the ticket generation information to obtain a deterministic value from the ticket generation information,
    retrieve a predetermined outcome for the game using the deterministic value, wherein the predetermined outcome is defined prior to the ticket generation request from compensation rules for the game, and
    transmit ticket creation information associated with the predetermined outcome.
  33. 33. The system of claim 32, wherein the ticket creation component is configured to print a physical ticket.
  34. 34. The system of claim 32, wherein the ticket creation component is further configured to
    process the received ticket creation information, and
    generate a ticket representation.
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