US20110034230A1 - Method and Apparatus For Checking A Ticket Status From A Random Draw Game - Google Patents

Method and Apparatus For Checking A Ticket Status From A Random Draw Game Download PDF

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Publication number
US20110034230A1
US20110034230A1 US12/756,880 US75688010A US2011034230A1 US 20110034230 A1 US20110034230 A1 US 20110034230A1 US 75688010 A US75688010 A US 75688010A US 2011034230 A1 US2011034230 A1 US 2011034230A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
ticket
computer device
mobile computer
winning
recited
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Abandoned
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US12/756,880
Inventor
Paul Francis Guziel
David Jason Schorr
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Alchemy3 LLC
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Alchemy3 LLC
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Priority to US12/535,935 priority Critical patent/US20110032078A1/en
Application filed by Alchemy3 LLC filed Critical Alchemy3 LLC
Priority to US12/756,880 priority patent/US20110034230A1/en
Assigned to ALCHEMY3, LLC reassignment ALCHEMY3, LLC ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: GUZIEL, PAUL FRANCIS, SCHORR, DAVID JASON
Publication of US20110034230A1 publication Critical patent/US20110034230A1/en
Priority claimed from US13/046,729 external-priority patent/US20110165933A1/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63FCARD, BOARD, OR ROULETTE GAMES; INDOOR GAMES USING SMALL MOVING PLAYING BODIES; VIDEO GAMES; GAMES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • A63F3/00Board games; Raffle games
    • A63F3/06Lottos or bingo games; Systems, apparatus or devices for checking such games
    • A63F3/0645Electric lottos or bingo games
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F17/00Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services
    • G07F17/32Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services for games, toys, sports or amusements, e.g. casino games, online gambling or betting
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F17/00Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services
    • G07F17/32Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services for games, toys, sports or amusements, e.g. casino games, online gambling or betting
    • G07F17/3202Hardware aspects of a gaming system, e.g. components, construction, architecture thereof
    • G07F17/3223Architectural aspects of a gaming system, e.g. internal configuration, master/slave, wireless communication
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F17/00Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services
    • G07F17/32Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services for games, toys, sports or amusements, e.g. casino games, online gambling or betting
    • G07F17/3286Type of games
    • G07F17/329Regular and instant lottery, e.g. electronic scratch cards

Abstract

Mobile device software application that uses the camera in a web-enabled PDA, cellular phone or smart phone to capture a barcode image off a random draw game ticket, convert the barcode image to its unique serial number, pass the converted barcode through a database query using cellular data service to a remote computerized database to generate a result set of win/loss data as to the game ticket, and returning the result set to the PDA device for display.

Description

  • The present application is a continuation-in-part of co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/535,935 filed Aug. 4, 2009.
  • TECHNICAL FIELD
  • The present invention relates to random draw games having a plurality of tickets for play. More particularly, the present invention relates to apparatus and methods for checking a status of a ticket from a random draw game to reduce failures of game players to recognize a winning ticket.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Random draw games involve selecting randomly a ticket from a plurality of tickets in the game, so that a person having possession of a matching ticket to the selected ticket wins a prize. Tickets are typically sold for a nominal value, and each ticket potentially has a greater future value (or prize) based on at least one ticket being selected randomly as a winner.
  • There are a number of types of random draw games. Terminal generated lottery games are popular point-of-purchase activities for many people. These involve drawing/numbers games marketed as Powerball, Mega Millions, Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 5, Pick 6, and Lotto games. In such games, a lottery consumer picks a sequence of numbers, or alternatively, the lottery consumer directs the generating terminal to randomly select a sequence of numbers. The terminal generates a lottery ticket that displays the sequence of numbers. In addition, the lottery ticket includes a printed barcode or identifier. These barcodes identify the date the ticket was purchased, the location of the purchase, the numbers selected and a validation number for lottery validation purposes.
  • After a drawing for the particular game, if all or some of the numbers match, the lottery player holding the lottery ticket wins a prize. The lottery player can compare the published results of the game drawing to determine if the lottery ticket is a winning ticket. Alternatively, the lottery consumer can present the lottery ticket to a lottery ticket vendor for evaluation. Typically, the evaluation is made using a barcode or identifier printed on the lottery ticket. The vendor uses an electronic scanner to scan the barcode. The scanned barcode information is communicated to a central database of lottery number winners, and the response enables the vendor to determine whether the scanned ticket is a winning ticket.
  • Millions of dollars in unclaimed prizes are accumulated by lotteries across the country. Some prizes are unclaimed because of lost or damaged tickets, but the majority of unclaimed prizes come from lack of player awareness. The game players sometimes fail to recognize the ticket was selected as a winning ticket and some game players do not realize that in jackpot draw games, a player can win prizes for matching a few of the selected numbers; for example, picking 5 of 6 selected numbers, picking 4 of 6 selected numbers, or even 3 of 6 selected numbers in a drawing event of the game, can result in winning a prize albeit of a lesser value than picking all of the numbers selected, Some players are unaware that the ticket being held is a winning ticket and discard.
  • Oftentimes, a lottery player fails to realize that the lottery ticket is a winning ticket, because the player missed the drawing, did not check the numbers on the lottery ticket, mis-read (and thus mis-compared) the winning numbers and the numbers on the ticket, or did not realize a winning ticket may be based on matching fewer than all of the numbers in the drawing. From time-to-time, winning lottery tickets are merely discarded. As noted above, a player could return any lottery ticket to the vendor for scanning to determine its status. However, there is an inconvenience in having to return to the retail location of the vendor just to check a lottery ticket for winning combinations. Also, in some instances, a clerk improperly tells the lottery player that the scanned lottery ticket is not a winning ticket, only to palm the winning ticket and then redeem the ticket after the lottery player leaves.
  • Accordingly, there is a need in the art for an improved method and apparatus by which a player of a random draw game checks the winning status of a ticket held by the player. It is to such that the present invention is directed.
  • BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention meets the need in the art by providing a method for checking the results status of a ticket from a random draw game having a plurality of tickets each ticket bearing a unique identifier with at least one of the plurality of tickets selected at random as a winning ticket to win a prize, comprising the steps of:
  • (a) imaging an identifier of a ticket from a random draw game having a plurality of tickets each ticket bearing a unique identifier, with an imager of a mobile computer device to create a digital representation of the identifier;
  • (b) communicating the digital representation with a communications connector of the mobile computer device to a remote computer that maintains a database of a winning ticket and its identifier selected from the plurality of tickets in the random selection game, for interrogating the database as to the status of the ticket;
  • (c) receiving from the remote computer a response indicating the status of the ticket based on the interrogation; and
  • (d) displaying the response on a display screen of the mobile computer device.
  • In another aspect, the present invention provides a system for checking the results status of a ticket held by a player from a random draw game having a plurality of tickets each ticket bearing a unique identifier with at least one of the plurality of tickets selected at random at a drawing event as a winning ticket by which the player in possession of the ticket matching with the selected winning ticket wins a prize, comprising. The system comprises a remote computer server that maintains a database of a winning ticket number associated with a random draw game having a plurality of tickets each bearing a unique identifier of which at least one of the plurality of tickets is selected randomly as a winning ticket for a prize and at least one mobile computer device configured for imaging, for communicating with at least the remote computer server, and for displaying a response from the remote computer server on a display screen. The mobile computer device configured with a computer application having a sequence of instructions for being executed by the mobile computer device to image the identifier of a ticket in the possession of a player of a random draw game, convert the imaged identifier to a representative number, communicate the representative number to the remote computer server for interrogating the database as to the status of the ticket; and displaying on the display screen a response from the remote computer server indicating the status of the ticket.
  • In another aspect, the present invention provides a mobile computer device configured with a set of computer instructions, which when executed, captures an image of an identifier printed on a ticket of a random draw game having a plurality of tickets each bearing a unique identifier using a built-in camera on the mobile computer device, converts the image into a digital representative indicator, and using a data connection of the mobile computer device submits the digital representative indicator to a winning ticket database maintained by a remote computer to record winning tickets of random draw games which winning tickets are selected randomly at a drawing event of the random draw game, for the remote computer to interrogate the wining ticket database as to the status of the ticket associated with the digital representative indicator and for returning a status response to the mobile computer device, and displays the status response on a display of the mobile computer device.
  • Objects, advantages, and features of the present invention will become readily apparent upon reading the following detailed description in conjunction with the drawings and the appended claims.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 illustrates a mobile computer device with an internal imaging device configured as an embodiment of the present invention and a lottery ticket with a barcode of a first type for being checked for a winning status.
  • FIG. 2 illustrates the mobile computer device shown in FIG. 1 capturing the lottery ticket image.
  • FIG. 3 illustrates the mobile computer device shown in FIG. 1 displaying the captured ticket image and displaying the converted bar code information as a numeric code or digital representation for submission to a winning ticket database for determining the status of the lottery ticket.
  • FIG. 4 illustrates the mobile computer device shown in FIG. 1 in the process of capturing an information barcode of a second type on a lottery ticket.
  • FIG. 5 illustrates a schematic diagram of an embodiment according to the present invention of an apparatus for a lottery player to determine the status of a lottery ticket.
  • FIG. 6 illustrates the mobile computer device shown in FIG. 1 displaying the results of the interrogation of the winning ticket database.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • With reference to the drawings, in which like parts have like reference numerals, FIG. 1 illustrates a mobile computer device 10 configured with a built-in imaging device (depicted schematically in operation by dashed lines 11), a data connection (depicted schematically as 12) for communication with a computerized database of winning ticket numbers from random draw games, and a display screen 13. The illustrated embodiment relates to lottery tickets and lottery games sponsored by a lottery game service, but this embodiment is exemplary and not of limitation
  • The illustrated mobile computer device 10 is a mobile or cellular telephone configured for executing an application having a set of computer instructions (shown schematically as 15) for determining the status of a lottery ticket 14 having an identifier or barcode 16. The status of the lottery ticket 14 can be “win”, for a ticket that was selected randomly as a winning ticket from a pool or plurality of tickets (or from a pool of prizes) in the random draw game; “no-win”, for a ticket not selected as a winning ticket; or “undetermined”, for a game that has not yet selected a winning ticket. In an alternate embodiment, the mobile computer device 10 comprises a computer-based intelligent telephone, a computerized personal data assistant (PDA) device, a personal computer, or other similar portable computer device, configured with an imager and a data communications device, as discussed below.
  • The application is provided to the mobile computer device 10 in a conventional mariner. For cellular telephones, for example, the application is provided by downloading the application 15 from a web site via a mobile network data service, which application is configured for the particular operating system of the mobile computer device.
  • The application 15 of the present invention can be programmed for multiple device formats and/or operating systems. For example, the iPhone®, Blackberry® and Motorola® telephones each have their own development platforms for mobile applications. It is noted that some such mobile computer devices support J2ME (Java Mobile edition) or other application drivers.
  • An illustrated embodiment of the application 15 uses an open source application ZXING (provided by Zebra Crossing) and licensed under the Apache License v2.0 for the executable code that implements the illustrated embodiment, and particularly, to capture an image of a barcode 16 on the lottery ticket 14 using the built-in camera of the mobile computer device 10 and convert the barcode image to a numerical representation for interrogation of the lottery ticket database, as discussed below. The lottery ticket 14 displays the lottery numbers generally 18, the name of the lottery game 20, the date of the game and the drawing of winning numbers 22, the purchase cash value 24 of the lottery ticket, the date of purchase 26, and the barcode 16. In FIG. 1, the barcode 16 is printed as a first type of barcode. Promotional information 30, such as other lottery games that can be played, can be displayed on the lottery ticket 14.
  • FIG. 2 illustrates the mobile computer device 10 capturing an image 32 of the identifier or barcode 16 from the lottery ticket 14 by using the imaging device of the mobile computer device. FIG. 2 depicts the barcode 16 as a first type of barcode shown in FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 3 illustrates the mobile computer device 10 displaying the captured ticket image 32 and displaying the barcode 16 converted into a numeric code or digital representation 34. The mobile computer device thereafter submits the digital representation 34 to a winning ticket database for determining the status of the lottery ticket.
  • FIG. 4 illustrates the mobile computer device 10 capturing an image 32 of a second type of identifier or barcode 16 printed on a lottery ticket 14 a by using the imaging device of the mobile computer device. The display screen 13 displays the viewed image of the ticket 14 a including the imaged barcode 16. The mobile computer device 10 displays a cross-hairs field 17 to facilitate the player centering the barcode 16 for image capture.
  • FIG. 5 illustrates a schematic diagram of the illustrative embodiment using the mobile computer device 10 to communicate 36 with a remote computer 38 that operates a database 40 of winning tickets of lottery games. The database 40 includes a ticket record 52 a, 52 b, . . . 52 n including ticket code, purchase location, retailer identification number, purchase date and time, selected numbers, purchase amount, game identification, drawing date (collectively, generally 53). The mobile computer device 10 communicates 42 the digital representation 34 to the remote computer to determine the status of a particular lottery ticket. The result of the interrogation of the database 40 communicates 44 to the mobile computer device 10. The results are selected from the set of (win/no-win/drawing not yet occurred). The remote computer 38 typically is operated by the lottery game service and provides conventional secure access to the database. In an alternate embodiment, the remote computer 38 and database 40 are mirrors of computers and databases of the lottery game service protected from access such as by firewalls and other conventional data security systems, in order to protect the integrity of the computer systems of the lottery game service.
  • FIG. 6 illustrates the mobile computer device 10 displaying the results of the interrogation of the winning ticket database 40.
  • With reference to FIG. 1, the lottery player operates the mobile computer device 10 to execute the application 15 according to the present invention for checking the status of the lottery ticket 14. The built-in camera on the mobile computer device 10 is operated 11 to image the barcode 16 from the lottery ticket 14. As shown in FIGS. 2 and 4, the display 13 presents the cross-hair field 17 for centering the image of the barcode 16 for imaging. The imaging button of the mobile computer device 10 is operated to capture the image of the barcode 16. As shown in FIG. 3, the captured image 32 is displayed on the display screen 13 of the mobile computer device 10. Once the image is captured, the application interprets the captured image to obtain the information from the barcode 16. The application converts the information to the unique code of the lottery ticket. As shown in FIG. 3, the digital representation 34 of the unique code can be displayed with the captured image.
  • With reference to FIG. 5, the unique ticket code thus identified can be used as a parameter in an SQL script. The mobile computer device 10 communicates 36 the script using the data connection 15 to access the remote computer 38 in order to query the database 40 of purchased lottery tickets. The database 40 includes at least a game identifier 42 and winning numbers 44 from the drawing made on the drawing date of the particular game. The query extracts the unique ticket code of the lottery ticket 14, and cross references the selected numbers in the ticket code with the winning numbers data from the drawing of the lottery game 42. The remote computer 38 after interrogating the database 40 creates a result set of response data 46 that communicates 48 or returns back to the mobile computer device 10, The application executing on the mobile computer device 10 receives the result set 46 and assembles the result set with the appropriate message on the display of the mobile computer device 10. FIG. 6 illustrates the mobile computer device 10 displaying that the lottery ticket is a winning ticket,
  • As discussed below, the mobile computer device 10 also communicates a unique mobile identification number 50 associated the particular device 10 to the remote computer 38. The mobile identification number 50 is used to communicate the return message to the player using the mobile computer device 10. As illustrated in FIG. 5, the database 40 may also include the ticket records 52 a, 52 b, . . . 52 n including ticket code, purchase location, retailer identification number, purchase date and time, selected numbers, purchase amount, game identification, drawing date. In an alternate embodiment, the application executing instructions to operate the database 40 can associate a ticket code with a particular player. In that embodiment, the ticket code is associated with the mobile identification number 50, as discussed below.
  • In the illustrated embodiment, the string number representing the information about the lottery ticket 14 is encrypted and embedded as a parameter in a SQL string. The string queries specific information about that purchased lottery ticket. Each terminal generated lottery ticket is assigned specific information designed to determine the outcome of a lottery drawing. As noted above, this information includes: location of purchase, retailer id number, date/time of purchase, numbers selected for ticket, dollar amount paid for ticket, drawing date for the ticket, and game type. This data about the lottery ticket sold by a vendor to a lottery consumer is recorded and maintained in a central computerized database either with the lottery provider or with the contracted lottery ticket vendor.
  • It is to be appreciated that illustrated embodiment of the present invention is not designed to validate tickets for redemption. Validation must still occur through the closed network lottery terminals operated by the lottery provider and the lottery retail locations selling lottery tickets. It is to be appreciated that results of the interrogation may not be accurate, but the present apparatus and methods provides an alternative method of determining win/loss outcome of a lottery ticket. The present invention thus supplements current methods by which players determine win/loss by a) watching the drawing live, b) checking publications following the drawing, c) visiting the lottery website to pull up a historical list of winning numbers or d) visiting one of the retail lottery vendors to check the lottery ticket against the system.
  • Even though lottery computerized databases can be configured for READ ONLY access, for security reasons, a lottery provider may not allow the SQL script query to be sent directly to the lottery server that stores and maintains the ticket information. In those instances, the lottery provider can supply a regular export/dump of limited ticket information into a third party secure database server for interrogation in accordance with the present invention. Use of such third party database would reduce possible compromise of the lottery ticket database and potential counterfeiting of winning combinations.
  • It is contemplated that the apparatus and method of the illustrated implementation would limit access to certain information fields of the lottery ticket and protect the transmission of the winning codes. The lottery ticket holder and the lottery database are the only locations of a specific lottery ticket serial (barcode) number. That serial number is the key for securing and validating a winning ticket. By encrypting that number before embedding into the SQL string query, any intercepted communications will be secure. The exported data from the lottery winning ticket server can be a matching encrypted number, rather than the actual serial number. This method would still allow for the query to pull the proper data, without compromising the security of winning ticket data. However, in the event that someone improperly gains access to the database, counterfeit lottery ticket can not be generated without the unique serial number. There are various methods of encryption that can be employed to assure security of the process.
  • In an alternate embodiment, the lottery ticket terminal prints a separate unique barcode on the terminal lottery ticket for imaging and interrogation in accordance with the present invention. The separate barcode would have its own unique serial number. The lottery ticket would retain the lottery provider barcode 16 assigned by the lottery provider by which the winning ticket is validated for redemption through the secure lottery ticket terminal network.
  • There are several methods of distribution for the interrogation application of the present invention. For example, an application configured for use with iPhone® telephones would be available for download from the Apple App Store. Each service provider for mobile data networking has a similar application store/site that connects directly through the respective mobile computer device. Further, the lottery provider may elect to distribute application directly or through a remote dedicated download web site. The lottery player would use the camera enabled mobile computer device to download the application from the specific location.
  • Upon installation on the mobile computer device, the lottery player can run the application. The application initially determines if the mobile computer device has the proper hardware installed. The application detects for the built-in camera and for the open data connection. If either of these elements is missing or inoperative, an error code alerts the user that the application is unable to function.
  • Once all hardware features are detected and functioning, the lottery player is prompted to capture a ticket. In reference to FIG. 1, the built-in camera is enabled and the viewer window appears in the screen 13. The user is instructed to align the lottery ticket barcode within the viewer depicted by the cross-hairs (line 17 as shown in FIG. 2), This ensures an aligned clear image. The player is then prompted by the software to keep as steady a hand as possible and push the button to take the picture.
  • If the captured image is illegible or unreadable, a response message will appear asking the lottery player to reimage the barcode. The viewer window with cross-hairs returns and the lottery player realigns the lottery ticket to image the barcode 16 again. If the captured picture is readable, the application then converts the image to the numeric representation, as shown. in FIG. 3.
  • Once the numeric representation of the ticket serial number is generated, the application converts that representation to an encrypted string. The encrypted string is embedded as a parameter in an SQL script. With reference to FIG. 5, the application attempts a connection using the data connection 12 to the remote computer server 38 where the lottery winning ticket information is stored. If the mobile computer device 10 cannot make a connection, the mobile computer device displays an error message telling the lottery player that a connection is not available. In an alternate embodiment, the lottery player does not have to start over. Rather, the SQL, script is stored in the mobile computer device until a data connection can be made. The application can be configured to attempt automatically checking on the status of the lottery ticket.
  • Once a data connection is made to the remote computer server 38, the query script communicates 36 and the application executing on the mobile computer device 10 waits for a response. If the encrypted serial number does not match a lottery ticket number in the database 40, an error is returned. In such event, the mobile computer device 10 presents a message to the user; for example, “Sorry, your lottery ticket does not match a live lottery ticket in the database. Please check your ticket at an authorized Lottery retailer.” If the interrogation correctly matches the encrypted number, the remote computer returns the information within the database regarding the imaged lottery ticket.
  • The information in the ticket database 40 uses the drawing date field of the ticket record to reference a table of winning numbers. If the remote computer determines that the drawing date assigned to the lottery ticket has “not yet occurred”, an appropriate message will appear on the mobile computer device inviting the lottery player to cheek again after that date/time.
  • In an alternate embodiment, the application can be set to alert the lottery player if any winning numbers are matched with lottery tickets that are scanned and held for evaluation. This embodiment automatically checks the remote database 40 on a periodic schedule until the drawing occurs so the application can return a result. The lottery player does not have to reimage the ticket as the data will be stored until the drawing occurs and the query returns a win/loss result.
  • The application 15 includes a search feature by which a user can search by date or by game. The date for game events is selected, for example, by entering the date in a date field, using pull-down menus to select a date, or using a date scroll wheel having three columns for month, day, and year. In another alternate embodiment, the player can search by game type. The application displays a selection window of the available games. The display screen includes active links, so the player pushes the link in order to connect through the data connection with the selected game, The selected game displays the price of a ticket in the game, what choices are made in the game, the drawing days and times, and a list of prizes, chances of winning, and current prize amount.
  • Once a win/loss result set 46 is determined, the application compiles the result information into a graphically appealing display to alert the lottery player, as shown in FIG. 6. In one embodiment (not illustrated), the results are displayed in a replication of the physical lottery ticket. Winning numbers are highlighted. If the result is any of the possible winning combinations for that game (eg Powerball—6 of 6, 5 of 6, 4 of 6, 3 of 6) a banner appears that reads “WIN”. This display also highlights the numbers that match and the display indicates the winning amount for that combination. In yet another alternate embodiment, the mobile computer device 10 emits a sound through the speaker. The application selectively has selectable different choices of audio files for “winning” chime and “non-winning” chimes. Further, if there are multiple plays on a lottery ticket, the application highlights on the display the winning combinations for the lottery ticket 14, and calculates the individual prize amounts for display together with a sum total for the lottery ticket.
  • It is to be appreciated the display may include a disclaimer, for example, at the bottom of the display. The disclaimer in one embodiment states that “This win information has been determined based on the information provided and does NOT validate your possession of an actual winning ticket. You must still present the physical winning ticket to an authorized lottery retailer for validation and claim of your prize.”
  • Users of the application can pre-scan and store their ticket information prior to a drawing date. With the automation feature set, the application will send the query after the drawing date and automatically alert the user of the results once verified. Using the Win/Loss chime audio setting, the device will sound based on outcome. The message notification will appear on the player's phone and will indicate a message attached to the application icon.
  • With reference to FIG. 5, the database structure 40 for the application indexes on a key that is populated by the unique identification 50 built in to the user's mobile computer device. This is how the application identifies the user to return the request. The structure however provides an additional benefit by helping to identify the owner of a paper lottery ticket. Currently there are no systems known to register lottery tickets. If a lottery ticket is lost or stolen, there are no safeguards to identify the rightful owner of the lottery ticket. Accordingly the present invention features as an added benefit ‘registering’ lottery tickets at the same time as checking a win status. As shown in FIG. 5, the database 40 can maintain an association between the ticket code and the player in reference to the mobile identification number. In this embodiment, a registration form incorporated into the initial set up of the application on the mobile computer device 10 provides lottery ticket player information such as name, address, and contact information, for the database.
  • The barcode evaluation software uses a photograph to interpret the one dimensional or two dimensional barcode identifiers. An alternate embodiment uploads a photographic image of the lottery ticket for storage in the database. This provides additional security for a lottery to resolve disputes and possibly rebuild a lost ticket.
  • In an alternate embodiment, game sweepstakes offered by commercial establishments to promote business, for example, a fast-food restaurant chain offering a scratch-off or peel-off prize ticket, may gainfully use the present invention as a mechanism for consumers to determine whether the ticket is a winner. Other random draw games similarly may apply the present invention for players to determine ticket status.
  • The apparatus and methods disclosed herein can be made and executed without undue experimentation in light of the present disclosure. While the apparatus of this invention have been described in terms of illustrated embodiments, it will be apparent to those of skill in the art that variations may be applied to the apparatus and in the process described herein without departing from the concept, spirit and scope of the invention. All such similar substitutes and modifications apparent to those skilled in the art are deemed to be within the spirit, scope and concept of the invention as defined by the appended claims.

Claims (19)

1. A method for checking a results status of a ticket held by a player from a random draw game having a plurality of tickets each ticket bearing a unique identifier with at least one of the plurality of tickets selected at random as a winning ticket by which the player in possession of the selected winning ticket wins a prize, comprising the steps of:
(a) imaging an identifier of a ticket from a random draw game having a plurality of tickets each ticket bearing a unique identifier, with an imager of a mobile computer device to create a digital representation of the identifier;
(b) communicating the digital representation with a communications connector of the mobile computer device to a remote computer that maintains a database of a winning ticket and its identifier selected from the plurality of tickets in the random selection game, for interrogating the database as to the status of the ticket;
(c) receiving from the remote computer a response indicating the status of the ticket based on the interrogation; and
(d) displaying the response on a display screen of the mobile computer device.
2. The method as recited in claim 1, wherein the mobile computer device comprises a cellular telephone having a built-in camera.
3. The method as recited in claim 1, wherein the step (a) comprises enabling an imaging operating mode of the mobile computer device, aligning the identifier of the ticket within a designated viewer displayed on the display screen, operating a switch to record an image of the identifier, and converting the image to the digital representation of the identifier.
4. The method as recited in claim 1, further comprising the step of interrogating the digital representation as to at least one validation test of determining whether the ticket has a valid identifier, of whether a drawing event has occurred for the random draw game, and/or of matching a winning number maintained in the database, and returning the response indicative of the status of the ticket.
5. The method as recited in claim 1, further comprising the step of storing the digital representation in a storage media of the mobile computer device; and periodically repeating steps (b), (c), and (d).
6. The method as recited in claim 1, further comprising the step of emitting a sound from a speaker of the mobile computer device upon receiving the response indicating that the ticket matches a winning ticket from the random draw game.
7. The method as recited in claim 1, further comprising the steps of associating a unique user identification with the digital representation, communicating the user identification with the digital representation to the remote computer server; and recording the user identification in association with the identifier of the lottery ticket.
8. The method as recited in claim 1, wherein the digital representation is encrypted prior to step (b).
9. The method as recited in claim 1, further comprising the step of storing in a memory device the image created in step (a).
10. The method as recited in claim 1, wherein the result is undetermined due to a selection event to draw the winning ticket not yet occurring, further comprising periodically repeating steps (b) (c) until the winning ticket is selected and the status of the ticket is determined, then step (d).
11. The method as recited in claim 1, further comprising the steps of:
associating a user identification code to the digital representation; and
maintaining the user identification code in association with the ticket on the database.
12. The method as recited in claim 11, wherein the user identification code accompanies the digital representation communicated to the remote computer in step (b).
13. The method as recited in claim 1, wherein the random draw game comprises a lottery game.
14. The method as recited in claim 1, wherein the random draw game comprises a game offered by a commercial establishment.
15. The method as recited in claim 1, further comprising the steps of
creating a digital ticket representation of an image of the ticket by photographing the ticket with the imager of the mobile computer device;
communicating the digital ticket representation to the remote computer; and
maintaining the digital ticket representation in association with the ticket on the database.
16. The method as recited in claim 1, further comprising the step of registering an owner of the ticket in association with a key that identifies the mobile computer device communicating the digital representation to the remote computer.
17. A system for checking a results status of a ticket held by a player from a random draw game having a plurality of tickets each ticket bearing a unique identifier with at least one of the plurality of tickets selected at random at a drawing event as a winning ticket by which the player in possession of the ticket matching with the selected winning ticket wins a prize, comprising:
a remote computer server that maintains a database of a winning ticket number associated with a random draw game having a plurality of tickets each bearing a unique identifier of which at least one of the plurality of tickets is selected randomly as a winning ticket for a prize;
at least one mobile computer device configured for imaging, for communicating with at least the remote computer server, and for displaying a response from the remote computer server on a display screen; and
a computer application having a sequence of instructions for being executed by the mobile computer device to image the identifier of a ticket in the possession of a player of a random draw game, convert the imaged identifier to a representative number, communicate the representative number to the remote computer server for interrogating the database as to the status of the ticket; and displaying on the display screen a response from the remote computer server indicating the status of the ticket.
18. A mobile computer device configured with a set of computer instructions, which when executed, captures an image of an identifier printed on a ticket of a random draw game having a plurality of tickets each bearing a unique identifier using a built-in camera on the mobile computer device, converts the image into a digital representation, and using a data connection of the mobile computer device submits the digital representation to a winning ticket database maintained by a remote computer to record tickets and winning tickets of random draw games which winning tickets are selected randomly at a drawing event of the random draw game, for the remote computer to interrogate the wining ticket database as to the status of the ticket associated with the digital representation and for returning a status response to the mobile computer device, and displays the status response on a display of the mobile computer device.
19. The mobile computer device configured with a set of computer instructions as recited in claim 18, wherein the image further comprises an image of the ticket, which ticket image communicates with the digital representation and with a key that identifies the mobile computer device communicating the ticket image and the digital indicator to the remote computer for storing in the database in association with the ticket.
US12/756,880 2009-08-05 2010-04-08 Method and Apparatus For Checking A Ticket Status From A Random Draw Game Abandoned US20110034230A1 (en)

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US12/756,880 US20110034230A1 (en) 2009-08-05 2010-04-08 Method and Apparatus For Checking A Ticket Status From A Random Draw Game
CA 2770299 CA2770299A1 (en) 2009-08-05 2010-08-04 Method and apparatus for checking a ticket status from a random draw game
EP20100807101 EP2462555A2 (en) 2009-08-05 2010-08-04 Method and apparatus for checking a ticket status from a random draw game
PCT/US2010/044411 WO2011017431A2 (en) 2009-08-05 2010-08-04 Method and apparatus for checking a ticket status from a random draw game
US13/046,729 US20110165933A1 (en) 2009-08-05 2011-03-12 Method and Apparatus For Checking A Ticket Status From A Random Draw Game

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