US20110124408A1 - Gaming System Having Time Period Based Progressives - Google Patents

Gaming System Having Time Period Based Progressives Download PDF

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Publication number
US20110124408A1
US20110124408A1 US13055893 US200913055893A US20110124408A1 US 20110124408 A1 US20110124408 A1 US 20110124408A1 US 13055893 US13055893 US 13055893 US 200913055893 A US200913055893 A US 200913055893A US 20110124408 A1 US20110124408 A1 US 20110124408A1
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Prior art keywords
award
gaming
progressive
time
player
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Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
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US13055893
Inventor
Matthew J. Ward
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Bally Gaming Inc
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WMS Gaming 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
    • G07F17/326Game play aspects of gaming systems
    • G07F17/3269Timing aspects of game play, e.g. blocking/halting the operation of a gaming machine
    • 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
    • G07F17/3244Payment aspects of a gaming system, e.g. payment schemes, setting payout ratio, bonus or consolation prizes
    • G07F17/3258Cumulative reward schemes, e.g. jackpots

Abstract

A method of awarding a progressive comprises displaying a progressive award which increments over time as wagers are received and activating the progressive award for a predetermined first time period. During the first time period, a first portion of each eligible wager received is added to the progressive award, each eligible wager associated with a corresponding player inputting the wager. For each eligible wager received, a first number of entries are allocated into a selection for awarding the progressive award. The method further comprises selecting a winning entry from all entries received during the first time period and awarding the progressive award to a player associated with the selected winning entry.

Description

    FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • [0001]
    The present invention relates generally to gaming systems, and methods for playing wagering games, and more particularly, to gaming systems having time period based progressive awards.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    Gaming terminals, such as slot machines, video poker machines and the like, have been a cornerstone of the gaming industry for several years. Generally, the popularity of such machines with players is dependent on the likelihood (or perceived likelihood) of winning money at the machine and the intrinsic entertainment value of the machine relative to other available gaming options.
  • [0003]
    To increase appeal, some gaming terminals may display a plurality of wagering games to offer greater opportunities for winning awards. One way to further excitement and entertainment value of such gaming terminals is to display and allow participation in progressive awards. Additional interest can be generated by using time based progressive awards.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0004]
    According to one aspect of the present invention, a method of awarding a progressive comprises displaying a progressive award which increments over time as wagers are received and activating the progressive award for a predetermined first time period. During the first time period, a first portion of each eligible wager received is added to the progressive award, each eligible wager associated with a corresponding player inputting the wager. For each eligible wager received, a first number of entries are allocated into a selection for awarding the progressive award. The method further comprises selecting a winning entry from all entries received during the first time period and awarding the progressive award to a player associated with the selected winning entry.
  • [0005]
    According to another aspect of the invention, a gaming system comprises at least one wager input device, at least one gaming terminal, at least one display, and at least one controller. The at least one controller is operative to (i) cause the at least one display to display a progressive award which increments over time as wagers are received; (ii) activate the progressive award for a predetermined first time period; (iii) during the first time period, add a first portion of each eligible wager received to the progressive award, each eligible wager associated with a corresponding player inputting the wager; (iv) for each eligible wager received, allocate a first number of entries into a selection for awarding the progressive award; (v) select a winning entry from all entries received during the first time period; and (vi) award the progressive award to a player associated with the selected winning entry.
  • [0006]
    According to yet another aspect of the invention, a method of awarding a progressive comprises displaying a first progressive award and a second progressive award, activating the first progressive award for a predetermined first time period, and activating the second progressive award for a predetermined second time period. The method further comprises, during the first and second time periods, respectively, adding a first portion of each eligible wager received to the first progressive award and adding a second portion of each eligible wager received to the second progressive award, each eligible wager associated with a corresponding player inputting the wager. The method further comprises, for each eligible wager received during the first time period, allocating a first number of entries into a selection for awarding the first progressive and for each eligible wager received during the second time period, allocating a second number of entries into a selection for awarding the second progressive. The method further comprises selecting a first winning entry from all entries received during the first time period and awarding the first progressive award to a first player associated with the selected first winning entry, and selecting a second winning entry from all entries received during the second time period and awarding the second progressive award to a second player associated with the selected second winning entry.
  • [0007]
    According to yet another aspect of the invention, a method of awarding a progressive comprises displaying a progressive award that increments during a predetermined time period, receiving eligible wagers during the time period, each eligible wager being associated with a corresponding player inputting the eligible wager, for each eligible wager received during the time period, allocating a number of entries into a selection for awarding the progressive award, selecting a winning entry from all entries received during the time period, and awarding the progressive award to a player associated with the selected winning entry.
  • [0008]
    According to yet another aspect of the invention, one or more computer readable storage media is encoded with instructions for directing a gaming system to perform the above methods.
  • [0009]
    Additional aspects of the invention will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art in view of the detailed description of various embodiments, which is made with reference to the drawings, a brief description of which is provided below.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0010]
    FIG. 1 a is a perspective view of a free-standing gaming terminal according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0011]
    FIG. 1 b is a perspective view of a handheld gaming terminal according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0012]
    FIG. 2 is a schematic view of a gaming system according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0013]
    FIG. 3 is an image of a basic-game screen of a wagering game that may be displayed on a gaming terminal, according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0014]
    FIG. 4 is an image of a bonus-game screen of a wagering game that may be displayed on a gaming terminal, according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0015]
    FIG. 5 is an image of a gaming system having time period based progressive awards.
  • [0016]
    FIG. 6 is a diagram of a gaming system suitable for displaying and administering time period based progressive awards.
  • [0017]
    FIG. 7 is a table displaying an example accounting of wagers received in a gaming system having time period based progressive awards.
  • [0018]
    While the invention is susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, specific embodiments have been shown by way of example in the drawings and will be described in detail herein. It should be understood, however, that the invention is not intended to be limited to the particular forms disclosed. Rather, the invention is to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • [0019]
    While this invention is susceptible of embodiment in many different forms, there is shown in the drawings and will herein be described in detail preferred embodiments of the invention with the understanding that the present disclosure is to be considered as an exemplification of the principles of the invention and is not intended to limit the broad aspect of the invention to the embodiments illustrated.
  • [0020]
    Referring to FIG. 1 a, there is shown a gaming terminal 10 similar to those used in gaming establishments, such as casinos. With regard to the present invention, the gaming terminal 10 may be any type of gaming terminal and may have varying structures and methods of operation. For example, the gaming terminal 10 may be an electromechanical gaming terminal configured to play mechanical slots, or it may be an electronic gaming terminal configured to play a video casino game, such as slots, keno, poker, blackjack, roulette, craps, etc. It should be understood that although the gaming terminal 10 is shown as a free-standing terminal of the upright type, it may take on a wide variety of other forms such as a free-standing terminal of the slant-top type, a portable or handheld device primarily used for gaming as shown in FIG. 1 b, a mobile telecommunications device such as a mobile telephone or personal digital assistant (PDA), a counter-top or bar-top gaming terminal, or other personal electronic device such as a portable television, MP3 player, entertainment device, etc.
  • [0021]
    The illustrated gaming terminal 10 comprises a cabinet or housing 12. For output devices, the gaming terminal 10 may include a primary display area 14, a secondary display area 16, and one or more audio speakers 18. The primary display area 14 and/or secondary display area 16 may display information associated with wagering games, non-wagering games, community games, progressives, advertisements, services, premium entertainment, text messaging, emails, alerts or announcements, broadcast information, subscription information, etc. For input devices, the gaming terminal 10 may include a bill validator 20, a coin acceptor 22, one or more information readers 24, one or more player-input devices 26, and one or more player-accessible ports 28 (e.g., an audio output jack for headphones, a video headset jack, a wireless transmitter/receiver, etc.). While these typical components found in the gaming terminal 10 are described below, it should be understood that numerous other peripheral devices and other elements may exist and may be used in any number of combinations to create various forms of a gaming terminal.
  • [0022]
    The primary display area 14 may include a mechanical-reel display, a video display, or a combination thereof in which a transmissive video display in front of the mechanical-reel display portrays a video image superimposed over the mechanical-reel display. Further information concerning the latter construction is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,517,433 to Loose et al. entitled “Reel Spinning Slot Machine With Superimposed Video Image,” which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. The video display may be a cathode ray tube (CRT), a high-resolution liquid crystal display (LCD), a plasma display, a light emitting diode (LED), a DLP projection display, an electroluminescent (EL) panel, or any other type of display suitable for use in the gaming terminal 10. The primary display area 14 may include one or more paylines 30 (see FIG. 3) extending along a portion thereof. In the illustrated embodiment, the primary display area 14 comprises a plurality of mechanical reels 32 and a video display 34 such as a transmissive display (or a reflected image arrangement in other embodiments) in front of the mechanical reels 32. If the wagering game conducted via the gaming terminal 10 relics upon the video display 34 only and not the mechanical reels 32, the mechanical reels 32 may be removed from the interior of the terminal and the video display 34 may be of a non-transmissive type. Similarly, if the wagering game conducted via the gaming terminal 10 relies upon the mechanical reels 32 but not the video display 34, the video display 34 may be replaced with a conventional glass panel. Further, the underlying mechanical-reel display may be replaced with a video display such that the primary display area 14 includes layered video displays, or may be replaced with another mechanical or physical member such as a mechanical wheel (e.g., a roulette game), dice, a pachinko board, or a diorama presenting a three-dimensional model of a game environment.
  • [0023]
    Video images in the primary display area 14 and/or the secondary display area 16 may be rendered in two-dimensional (e.g., using Flash Macromedia™) or three-dimensional graphics (e.g., using Renderware™). The images may be played back (e.g., from a recording stored on the gaming terminal 10), streamed (e.g., from a gaming network), or received as a TV signal (e.g., either broadcast or via cable). The images may be animated or they may be real-life images, either prerecorded (e.g., in the case of marketing/promotional material) or as live footage, and the format of the video images may be an analog format, a standard digital format, or a high-definition (HD) digital format.
  • [0024]
    The player-input devices 26 may include a plurality of buttons 36 on a button panel and/or a touch screen 38 mounted over the primary display area 14 and/or the secondary display area 16 and having one or more soft touch keys 40. The player-input devices 26 may further comprise technologies that do not rely upon touching the gaming terminal, such as speech-recognition technology, gesture-sensing technology, eye-tracking technology, etc.
  • [0025]
    The information reader 24 is preferably located on the front of the housing 12 and may take on many forms such as a ticket reader, card reader, bar code scanner, wireless transceiver (e.g., RFID, Bluetooth, etc.), biometric reader, or computer-readable-storage-medium interface. Information may be transmitted between a portable medium (e.g., ticket, voucher, coupon, casino card, smart card, debit card, credit card, etc.) and the information reader 24 for accessing an account associated with cashless gaming, player tracking, game customization, saved-game state, data transfer, and casino services as more fully disclosed in U.S. Patent Publication No. 2003/0045354 entitled “Portable Data Unit for Communicating With Gaming Machine Over Wireless Link,” which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. The account may be stored at an external system 46 (see FIG. 2) as more fully disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,280,328 to Holch et al. entitled “Cashless Computerized Video Game System and Method,” which is incorporated herein by referenced in its entirety, or directly on the portable medium. To enhance security, the individual carrying the portable medium may be required to enter a secondary independent authenticator (e.g., password, PIN number, biometric, etc.) to access their account.
  • [0026]
    FIG. 1 b illustrates a portable or handheld device primarily used to display and/or conduct wagering games. The handheld device may incorporate the same features as the gaming terminal 10 or variations thereof. A more detailed description of a handheld device that may be utilized with the present invention can be found in PCT Patent Application No. PCT/US2007/000792 filed Jan. 26, 2007, entitled “Handheld Device for Wagering Games,” which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
  • [0027]
    Turning now to FIG. 2, the various components of the gaming terminal 10 are controlled by a central processing unit (CPU) 42, also referred to herein as a controller or processor (such as a microcontroller or microprocessor). The CPU 42 can include any suitable processor, such as an Intel® Pentium processor, Intel® Core 2 Duo processor, AMD Opteron™ processor, or UltraSPARC® processor. To provide gaming functions, the controller 42 executes one or more game programs stored in one or more computer readable storage media in the form of memory 44 or other suitable storage device. The controller 42 uses a random number generator (RNG) to randomly generate a wagering game outcome from a plurality of possible outcomes. Alternatively, the outcome may be centrally determined using either an RNG or pooling scheme at a remote controller included, for example, within the external system 46. It should be appreciated that the controller 42 may include one or more microprocessors, including but not limited to a master processor, a slave processor, and a secondary or parallel processor.
  • [0028]
    The controller 42 is coupled to the system memory 44 and also to a money/credit detector 48. The system memory 44 may comprise a volatile memory (e.g., a random-access memory (RAM)) and a non-volatile memory (e.g., an EEPROM). The system memory 44 may include multiple RAM and multiple program memories. The money/credit detector 48 signals the processor that money and/or credits have been input via a value-input device, such as the bill validator 20, coin acceptor 22, or via other sources, such as a cashless gaming account, etc. These components may be located internal or external to the housing 12 of the gaming terminal 10 and connected to the remainder of the components of the gaming terminal 10 via a variety of different wired or wireless connection methods. The money/credit detector 48 detects the input of funds into the gaming terminal 10 (e.g., via currency, electronic funds, ticket, card, etc.) that are generally converted into a credit balance available to the player for wagering on the gaming terminal 10. The credit detector 48 detects when a player places a wager (e.g., via a player-input device 26) to play the wagering game, the wager then generally being deducted from the credit balance. The money/credit detector 48 sends a communication to the controller 42 that a wager has been detected and also communicates the amount of the wager.
  • [0029]
    As seen in FIG. 2, the controller 42 is also connected to, and controls, the primary display area 14, the player-input device 26, and a payoff mechanism 50. The payoff mechanism 50 is operable in response to instructions from the controller 42 to award a payoff to the player in response to certain winning outcomes that might occur in the base game, the bonus game(s), or via an external game or event. The payoff may be provided in the form of money, redeemable points, services or any combination thereof. Such payoff may be associated with a ticket (from a ticket printer 52), portable data unit (e.g., a card), coins, currency bills, accounts, and the like. The payoff amounts distributed by the payoff mechanism 50 are determined by one or more pay tables stored in the system memory 44.
  • [0030]
    Communications between the controller 42 and both the peripheral components of the gaming terminal 10 and the external system 46 occur through input/output (I/O) circuit 56, which can include any suitable bus technologies, such as an AGTL+ frontside bus and a PCI backside bus. Although the I/O circuit 56 is shown as a single block, it should be appreciated that the I/O circuit 56 may include a number of different types of I/O circuits. Furthermore, in some embodiments, the components of the gaming terminal 10 can be interconnected according to any suitable interconnection architecture (e.g., directly connected, hypercube, etc.).
  • [0031]
    The I/O circuit 56 is connected to an external system interface 58, which is connected to the external system 46. The controller 42 communicates with the external system 46 via the external system interface 58 and a communication path (e.g., serial, parallel, IR, RC, 10bT, etc.). The external system 46 may include a gaming network, other gaming terminals, a gaming server, a remote controller, communications hardware, or a variety of other interfaced systems or components.
  • [0032]
    Controller 42, as used herein, comprises any combination of hardware, software, and/or firmware that may be disposed or resident inside and/or outside of the gaming terminal 10 and may communicate with and/or control the transfer of data between the gaming terminal 10 and a bus, another computer, processor, or device and/or a service and/or a network. The controller 42 may comprise one or more controllers or processors. In FIG. 2, the controller 42 in the gaming terminal 10 is depicted as comprising a CPU, but the controller 42 may alternatively comprise a CPU in combination with other components, such as the I/O circuit 56 and the system memory 44. The controller 42 is operable to execute all of the various gaming methods and other processes disclosed herein.
  • [0033]
    The gaming terminal 10 may communicate with external system 46 (in a wired or wireless manner) such that each terminal operates as a “thin client” having relatively less functionality, a “thick client” having relatively more functionality, or with any range of functionality therebetween (e.g., a “rich client”). In general, a wagering game includes an RNG for generating a random number, game logic for determining the outcome based on the randomly generated number, and game assets (e.g., art, sound, etc.) for presenting the determined outcome to a player in an audio-visual manner. The RNG, game logic, and game assets may be contained within the gaming terminal 10 (“thick client” gaming terminal), the external systems 46 (“thin client” gaming terminal), or distributed therebetween in any suitable manner (“rich client” gaming terminal).
  • [0034]
    Referring now to FIG. 3, an image of a basic-game screen 60 adapted to be displayed on the primary display area 14 is illustrated, according to one embodiment of the present invention. A player begins play of a basic wagering game by providing a wager. A player can operate or interact with the wagering game using the one or more player-input devices 26. The controller 42, the external system 46, or both, in alternative embodiments, operate(s) to execute a wagering game program causing the primary display area 14 to display the wagering game that includes a plurality of visual elements.
  • [0035]
    The basic-game screen 60 may be displayed on the primary display area 14 or a portion thereof. In FIG. 3, the basic-game screen 60 portrays a plurality of simulated movable reels 62 a-e. Alternatively or additionally, the basic-game screen 60 may portray a plurality of mechanical reels. The basic-game screen 60 may also display a plurality of game-session meters and various buttons adapted to be actuated by a player.
  • [0036]
    In the illustrated embodiment, the game-session meters include a “credit” meter 64 for displaying a number of credits available for play on the terminal; a “lines” meter 66 for displaying a number of paylines to be played by a player on the terminal; a “line bet” meter 68 for displaying a number of credits wagered (e.g., from 1 to 5 or more credits) for each of the number of paylines played; a “total bet” meter 70 for displaying a total number of credits wagered for the particular round of wagering; and a “paid” meter 72 for displaying an amount to be awarded based on the results of the particular round's wager. The user-selectable buttons may include a “collect” button 74 to collect the credits remaining in the credits meter 64; a “help” button 76 for viewing instructions on how to play the wagering game; a “pay table” button 78 for viewing a pay table associated with the basic wagering game; a “select lines” button 80 for changing the number of paylines (displayed in the lines meter 66) a player wishes to play; a “bet per line” button 82 for changing the amount of the wager which is displayed in the line-bet meter 68; a “spin reels” button 84 for moving the reels 62 a-e; and a “max bet spin” button 86 for wagering a maximum number of credits and moving the reels 62 a-e of the basic wagering game. While the gaming terminal 10 allows for these types of player inputs, the present invention does not require them and can be used on gaming terminals having more, less, or different player inputs.
  • [0037]
    Paylines 30 may extend from one of the payline indicators 88 a-i on the left side of the basic-game screen 60 to a corresponding one of the payline indicators 88 a-i on the right side of the screen 60. A plurality of symbols 90 is displayed on the plurality of reels 62 a-c to indicate possible outcomes of the basic wagering game. A winning combination occurs when the displayed symbols 90 correspond to one of the winning symbol combinations listed in a pay table stored in the memory 44 of the terminal 10 or in the external system 46. The symbols 90 may include any appropriate graphical representation or animation, and may further include a “blank” symbol.
  • [0038]
    Symbol combinations may be evaluated as line pays or scatter pays. Line pays may be evaluated left to right, right to left, top to bottom, bottom to top, or any combination thereof by evaluating the number, type, or order of symbols 90 appearing along an activated payline 30. Scatter pays are evaluated without regard to position or paylines and only require that such combination appears anywhere on the reels 62 a-e. While an embodiment with nine paylines is shown, a wagering game with no paylines, a single payline, or any plurality of paylines will also work with the present invention. Additionally, though an embodiment with five reels is shown, a gaming terminal with any plurality of reels may also be used in accordance with the present invention.
  • [0039]
    Turning now to FIG. 4, a bonus game that may be included with a basic wagering game is illustrated, according to one embodiment. A bonus-game screen 92 includes an array of markers 94 located in a plurality of columns and rows. The bonus game may be entered upon the occurrence of a special start-bonus game outcome (e.g., symbol trigger, mystery trigger, time-based trigger, etc.) in or during the basic wagering game. Alternatively, the illustrated game may be a stand-alone wagering game.
  • [0040]
    In the illustrated bonus game, a player selects, one at a time, from the array of markers 94 to reveal an associated bonus-game outcome. According to one embodiment, each marker 94 in the array is associated with an award outcome 96 (e.g., credits or other non-negative outcomes) or an end-game outcome 98. In the illustrated example, a player has selected an award outcome 96 with the player's first two selections (25 credits and 100 credits, respectively). When one or more end-game outcome 98 is selected (as illustrated by the player's third pick), the bonus game is terminated and the accumulated award outcomes 96 are provided to the player.
  • [0041]
    Referring now to FIG. 5, a gaming system 500 including a plurality of time period based progressive awards is displayed. The system 500 includes a plurality of gaming devices or terminals 510 a,b,c, each of which include at least a primary display 514 a,b,c for displaying game events thereon. Each of the primary displays 514 a,b,c may be any form of display such as those described herein with reference to the free standing and handheld gaming devices of FIGS. 1 a and 1 b. The primary displays 514 a,b,c may include display of a primary wagering game 560 a,b,c, which in this embodiment are slot games as shown in FIG. 5. The primary wagering games 560 a,b,c may include a plurality of reels, which may be either electro-mechanical reels or simulations thereof on the primary display 514 a,b,c. The reels may include a plurality of symbols thereon which vary as the reels are spun and stopped. The symbols may include any variety of graphical symbols, elements, or representations, including symbols which are associated with one or more themes of the gaming machine 510 a,b,c or system 500. The symbols may also include a blank symbol, or empty space. The primary wagering games 560 a,b,c shown on the various primary displays 514 a,b,c of the system 500 may be the same, similar, or different in nature, game play, theme, denomination, formation, eligibility, etc.
  • [0042]
    As described herein the symbols landing on the active pay lines (the pay lines for which a wager has been received) are evaluated for winning combinations. A combination of symbols that lands on an active pay line is a winning outcome for which an award may be paid in accordance with a paytable of the gaming device 510 a,b,c or system 500. The symbols on the reels form an array or matrix of symbols, having a number of rows and columns, which in the embodiment shown is three rows and five columns. In alternate embodiments, the array may have greater or fewer symbols, and may take on a variety of different forms having greater or fewer rows and/or columns. The array may even comprise other non-rectangular forms or arrangements of symbols.
  • [0043]
    The system 500 further includes a community display 580, which in this embodiment is an LCD, plasma, or other flat-screen display mounted and positioned above the plurality of gaming devices 510 a,b,c. The community display 580 displays a progressive award event 582 which includes at least one time based progressive jackpot or award 584. In the embodiment shown, the progressive award event 582 comprises two varieties or levels of progressive jackpots 584 a,b, which include an HOURLY award 584 a and a DAILY award 584 b. When a progressive award event is triggered or occurs, one or more of the progressive awards 584 a,b is awarded to one or more players. In the embodiment shown, the progressive award event 582 comprises a plurality of time based jackpots or awards 584 a,b. Thus, the triggering event for each of the awards 584 a,b is the expiration of a predetermined time period 586 a,b associated with each of the awards 584 a,b. In the embodiment shown, the HOURLY award 584 a is associated with a one-hour time period 586 a, such that once commenced, the progressive award 584 a is triggered and awarded at the expiration of one hour of time. Similarly, the DAILY award 584 b is associated with a one day (24 hour) time period 586 b, such that once commenced, the progressive award 586 is triggered and awarded at the expiration of twenty four hours of time.
  • [0044]
    For each award 584 in the community event 582, the community display 580 displays the current amount of the progressive award 584 a,b ($487.32 and $10,497.56, respectively), the nature or type of the award (HOURLY and DAILY, respectively), and the time remaining in each time period 586 a,b (thirty seven minutes and four hours and thirty seven minutes, respectively). In the embodiment shown, two levels or varieties of progressive awards 584 a,b are included in the community event 582. In other embodiments, greater or fewer awards 584 may be utilized. Moreover, the awards 584 utilized in the community event 582 may be configured to correspond with a large variety of time period 586, including hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, or any other appropriate time period (such as quarter hour, half hour, etc.)
  • [0045]
    In the embodiment shown in FIG. 5, the various levels of progressive awards 584 a,b increase as a function of wagers input into the system 500. Thus, in an embodiment, a portion of each wager is directed to funding the progressive awards 584 a,b such that the progressive awards 584 a,b increase incrementally for each wager input into the system 500. The progressive awards 584 a,b may be configured to increase continually until triggered or may be capped at some determined level. When triggered, each of the progressive awards 584 a,b may reset to a reset value, which in an embodiment is zero credits. In alternative embodiments, other reset values may be used. Many funding schemes may be used to increment the progressive awards 584 a,b,c. The wagers may be received via various wager input devices, for example, via the gaming terminals 510 a,b,c, or any other appropriate wager input device of the system 500.
  • [0046]
    For each wager received from a particular player, that player receives a corresponding entry or number of entries into a random selection for awarding the respective award 584 upon the conclusion or expiration of the time period 586 associate with the award 584. Thus, for example, a player placing a minimum wager on a play of a wagering game 560 may receive one entry into the HOURLY award 584 a game and one entry into the DAILY award 584 b game. Thus, the longer the player plays the primary wagering game 560 (i.e. the more wagers he inputs into the system 500), the more entries he will receive into the various progressive awards 584 a,b drawings or selections. Moreover, in some embodiments, players making wagers which are greater than a minimum allowable wager may receive additional entries. For example, a player making a wager on a primary wagering game 560 which is five times greater than the minimum allowable wager will receive five entries into each of the HOURLY and DAILY award 584 a,b games.
  • [0047]
    At or after the expiration of the relevant time period 586 a,b, a random selection is made from all available and received entries to select a winner of the corresponding award 584 a,b. In one embodiment, the random selection is performed by a progressive controller that is also operable to collect and track all eligible entries received into the system. The progressive controller may also store the incrementing progressive award values which may displayed on one or more displays to the player. Thus, at the end of a one hour time period, a randomly selected entry is chosen and the player associated with such entry is awarded the balance of the HOURLY award 584 a. Similarly, at the end of a twenty four hour time period, a randomly selected entry is chosen and the player associated with such entry is awarded the balance of the DAILY award 584 b. It should be understood that both the selection and the awarding of the awarded 584 a,b, may occur at any appropriate time after the expiration of the relevant time period 586 a,b. Thus, in some embodiments, a winning player is selected immediately after the expiration of the time period 586. In other embodiments, a winner is not selected until sometime after the expiration of the timer period 586, for example at some predetermined time later in the day, the next day, or even at some other date in the future.
  • [0048]
    Moreover, the award 584 need not be provided immediately. In some embodiments, the award 584 may be provided immediately upon selection of a winner, or the award 584 may be delayed until some appropriate time in the future. It should be understood that a player need not be present or playing on the system 500 to win or receive an award. In some embodiments, each entry received from a player is associated with a player identifier or account. If a winning entry corresponds to a player not present or playing, the player identifier or account may be used to recall the player's information such that the award 584 may be provided to the player's account (incrementing a player account balance, for example), or may be provided to the player later (recognizing the player at a future gaming session, for example). Many other configurations are possible. It should be understood, however, that regardless of when the random selection is made and the award is provided, each selection is made from eligible entries received during the time period 586 that the award 584 was active. Thus, each award 584 is activated, remains active for a predetermined time period (during which it increases in responses to wagers received), and then is deactivated at the expiration of the time period 586 associated with the award 584.
  • [0049]
    In some embodiments, only players who are registered with the system and have an account or player identifier are eligible to win the available progressive awards. In other embodiments, players who are actively playing may be eligible regardless of whether or not they have a player account or identifier. Thus, in such an embodiment, if a player is present the system can identify the terminal they are playing at, and award the corresponding progressive award to such player. Therefore in some embodiments, all players playing at gaming terminals may be funding the progressive award, as described herein, while only a subset of such players are eligible to receive a progressive award once triggered (for example, only players with cards and/or accounts, only players present at a gaming terminal, or any other appropriate eligibility requirement).
  • [0050]
    Turning to FIG. 6, a diagram of a gaming system 600 for displaying and administering time based progressive awards is depicted. Shown in FIG. 6, is an exemplary gaming system 610 which includes a central gaming facility 612 connected by communication link 616 to a local gaming facility 618, e.g. a casino, and by link 620 with the internet 622. End user computing devices including a gaming machine or terminal GM-M 624, e.g. a laptop computer, and wireless gaming machine or terminal WGM-M 626, e.g. a personal digital assistant (PDA), function as clients of the central gaming facility 612. Laptop 624 is coupled via internet service provider 628 and the internet 622 with the central gaming facility 612. The PDA 626 is connected with a wireless link by the wireless access point 629 and internet 622 to the central gaming facility 612. As used herein, “gaming” refers to the use of various games that support the placing of wagers on the outcome of the games, e.g. a video poker machine.
  • [0051]
    The central gaming facility 612 may represent a control location of a gaming business operator that supports individual gaming users, e.g. users of PDA 626 and laptop 624, as well as other gaming facilities of the operator such as casino 618. The central gaming facility 612 in this illustrative example may be geographically separated from the casino 618 and the individual users. The central gaming facility 612 includes a workstation 630 supported by data storage element 632 and a server 634 that serves as a communication host for casino 618 and the individual users via firewall 636. Requests for information and/or data received from the individual users are processed by server 634. The requested information and/or data may be obtained from support resources, e.g. workstation 630 and data residing in storage element 632. The requested information is sent from the server 634 to the requesting user's devices.
  • [0052]
    The local gaming facility 618 represents a casino and includes a server 640 supported by a workstation 642, data storage element 644 and a router 646. The router 646 supports communications with different gaming machines or terminals GM(1)-GM(N) 650 by wired links 648. A wireless access point 652 is connected by a wired link 648 to router 646 and by wireless communication links to wireless gaming machines or terminals WGM(1)-WGM(N) 654.
  • [0053]
    At least some of the gaming machines 650 and some of the wireless gaming machines 654 support the play of wagering games in which the user's gaming machine functions in the client/server communication model with the user's gaming machine being a client of server 640. The user's gaming machine contains software which is responsible for the ongoing play of the wagering game. However, some information or data associated with the play of the game may be obtained during the ongoing play of the game from server 640. Thus, the gaming system 610 displayed and described may be configured to execute and display a variety of primary wagering games and community or progressive wagering games on the terminals [GM(1)-GM(N) 650, WGM(1)-WGM (N) 654, GM-M 624, and WM-M 626], as explained further herein.
  • [0054]
    As seen in FIG. 6, the central gaming facility 612 may be used to operate, administer, control, award, display, and manage the time based progressive awards of a community event, such as the one displayed and described with reference to FIG. 5. For example, the central gaming facility 612 may store a current value of the awards 584 in memory. Moreover, the central gaming facility 612 may store a time remaining 586 for each award in memory. Various software may be miming on the central gaming facility 612 which manages the entries received from the various players of the system, and associates each such entry with a player identifier or account. The central gaming facility 612 may manage the various player accounts directly, or may be in communication with another computer or server which operates, manages, and administers player accounts and identifier. Thus, with each play of a primary wagering game at one or more of the gaming terminals [GM(1)-GM(N) 650, WGM(1)-WGM (N) 654, GM-M 624, and WM-M 626], the central gaming facility 612 may detect such play, receive appropriate entries from such terminal, associate such entries with a player of the terminal, catalogue such entries, and manage the progressive awards 584. Moreover, at the expiration of the relevant time period 586 for each award, the central gaming facility 612 may conduct the random selection of an entry from the eligible received entries for such award 584, and then award the amount of the provided progressive award 584 to the winning player. As discussed, the award 584 may be credited to a player's account or provided to the player in any appropriate manner (for example, crediting the credit meter of a gaming terminal at which the player is playing).
  • [0055]
    In some embodiments, to administer the progressive awards 584 and detect receipt of entries into the selections for such awards, the gaming system 610 monitors communications between gaming terminals 650,654 and the server 640 by monitoring the wired links 648, wireless access point 652, and router 646. When wagers are received at the terminals 650,654, accounting information for such wagers is transmitted and monitored over the wired links 648, wireless access point 652, and router 646. Thus, corresponding entries into the progressive awards 584 may be created and managed in response to monitoring of such wagering data. Moreover, to the extent that one or more wagering games are displayed on wireless devices 626 and laptop computers 624 connected with the central gaming facility 612, the system 610 further monitors communications conducted via link 620, the internet 622 and ISP 628, and wireless access points 629. It should further be understood that any of the functions described herein as relating to the central gaming facility 612 may alternatively or additionally be performed at the local gaming facility 618, or by any computer or server in communication therewith.
  • [0056]
    Turning to FIG. 7, a table 700 of an example accounting of a gaming system having time period based progressive awards is shown. Such accounting may be conducted, for example, by the central gaming facility of FIG. 6. Such table 700 is stored in memory accessible by the gaming system, such as a hard drive or other memory of a system controlling computer. The table 700 includes a set of parameters 702 which provide information relevant to the gaming system being administered. In this embodiment, the parameters 702 include the fact that the number of gaming terminals (EGMs) in the system is 1,200, the average coin in per gaming terminal is $1,000 (per day), the contribution of coin in which is dedicated to the progressive awards (1%), and the total daily contribution into the progressive awards ($12,000). Thus, in this system of 1200 gaming terminals, each terminal receiving $1,000 of wagers each day, a total of $1,200,000 is received into the system daily. Of that amount, 1% is dedicated to funding the various time based progressive awards, which in this embodiment comes to $12,000 daily being funded into a pool used for the progressive awards. The amounts being received into the pool are further subdivided and dedicated to the various time based progressive awards in conformity with other configuration data seen in the table 700.
  • [0057]
    The table 700 further includes group data tables 710, 720, and individual award data tables 712, 714, 716. The individual award data tables 712, 714, 716 correspond with individual time based progressive awards as seen in the label therein (HOURLY, DAILY, WEEKLY). The group data tables 710, 720 correspond to a plurality of individual awards (HOURLY through WEEKLY, and QUARTER HOUR through MONTHLY, respectively). Thus, an operator may configure, view, monitor, and track accounting information from the various progressive awards on an individual basis through the individual award data tables 712, 714, 716 or via pre-defined groups through the group award data tables 710, 720.
  • [0058]
    Within each group data table 710, 720, the columns include a Prize Pool column 710 a, an allocation column 710 b, a daily contribution column 710 c, an events per day column 710 d, a contribution to current column 710 e, a contribution to reset column 710 f, an average reset value column 710 g, an average prize column 710 h, and a contribution per day column 710 i. The prize pool column 710 a identifies the various individual progressive awards by name. The allocation column 710 b identifies a percentage of coin in received which is allocated to each of the individual progressive awards. Thus, the coin received into the progressive pool is distributed in accordance with an allocation percentage, shown in the second column of the table 710, 720. As seen in the HOURLY through YEARLY awards table 710, fifty percent of coin in received is allocated to the Hourly award, twenty percent to the Daily award, fifteen percent to the Weekly award, ten percent to the Monthly award, and five percent to the Yearly award.
  • [0059]
    The daily contribution column 710 c indicates the amount of money allocated to each individual progressive award, which is the daily contribution from the parameters table 702 ($12,000) multiplied by the allocation amount from the allocation column 710 b. The events per day column 710 d indicates how many of each event will occur on a daily basis, and thus is a function of the type of time period associated with each of the individual time based progressive awards. For each award in the table 710, the operator can select and configure how much of the daily contribution will be allocated to increasing the amount of the award (contribution to current column 710 e) and how much will be allocated to funding a reset value (contribution to reset column 7100. Thus, displayed in those columns 710 c,f are the distribution selected by the operator for each award. For example, for the HOURLY award, 80% of coin in received for the HOURLY award will go to funding the current HOURLY award, and 20% will go to funding a reset value (which is utilized for a subsequent HOURLY award once a prior HOURLY award is awarded).
  • [0060]
    The average reset value and average prize columns 710 g,h contain information which shows what the average reset value and average prizes will be for each award based on theoretical data pertaining to how often the awards are triggered and how much money is funded into each award. Thus, the HOURLY award, for example, will average $250 in value, while the YEARLY award, for example, will average $219,000, as seen in the HOURLY through YEARLY table 710. The contribution per day column 710 i reflects the portion of the daily contribution received ($12,000 in this example) which is allocated to each award, and again is a function of the allocation percentage in the allocation column 710 b. The average award 710 h can be calculated as a function of the contribution per day 710 i divided by the events per day 710 d, for each award. Thus, for the HOURLY award, the calculation is $6,000 divided by 24, or $250.00. For the YEARLY ward, the calculation is $600 divided by 0.0027397, or $219,000.
  • [0061]
    The individual award data tables 712, 714, 716 provide similar information for each individual award. Thus, the information contained in each table 712, 714, 716 depicts distribution information and accounting information if all of the money received into the progressive award pool was dedicated to the corresponding award. For example, looking at the HOURLY table 712, the allocation column 712 b reflects that one hundred percent of the coin in is being funded to the HOURLY award, as seen in the allocation percentage column 712 b. The daily contribution amount 712 c is $12,000 in this table, since 100% of the coin in is being allocated to the HOURLY award. Similarly, the average reset value and average award columns 712 g,h reflect $100 and $500 respectively, since the daily contribution amount is now $12,000. The information in the other columns 712 d,e,f is the same as the corresponding columns in the group table 710 d,e,f. Moreover, the other individual data tables 714, 716 are similarly configured with respect to the individual awards (DAILY, WEEKLY) shown therein. The table 700 shown in FIG. 7 is an example of an accounting interface which may be configured and modified by an operator of a gaming system to manage various time based progressive awards. By changing the various parameters in the table 700, an operator may achieve a configuration which is desirable for the gaming system he or she operates.
  • [0062]
    The system and methods of the present invention offer substantial benefits to players and operators alike. Progressive awards which operate on fixed and predetermined time based intervals provide players with an exciting gaming experience. By knowing when the progressive award will be triggered, players may feel an element of control to their gaming experience which encourages them to wager more in an effort to win the progressive. The system, however, maintains fairness by allowing players with greater numbers of entries a great likelihood of winning a progressive award vis-à-vis a player having fewer entries. Moreover, by being able to view both the amount of a progressive award and the time remaining before it is triggered, gaming frenzy may ensue towards the end of such time periods in an effort to increase chances of winning an award, to the benefit of both player and operator alike. Additionally, the integration of such a system with a player account system allows players to participate and win even while not present in the operators facility or engaged in game play. Other benefits are provided as well.
  • [0063]
    Each of these embodiments and obvious variations thereof is contemplated as falling within the spirit and scope of the claimed invention, which is set forth in the following claims.

Claims (28)

  1. 1. A method of awarding a progressive comprising:
    displaying a progressive award which increments over time as wagers are received;
    activating the progressive award for a predetermined first time period;
    during the first time period, adding a first portion of each eligible wager received to the progressive award, each eligible wager associated with a corresponding player inputting the wager;
    for each eligible wager received, allocating a first number of entries into a selection for awarding the progressive award;
    selecting a winning entry from all entries received during the first time period; and
    awarding the progressive award to a player associated with the selected winning entry.
  2. 2. The method of claim 1, wherein the first number of entries is dependent upon a size of the eligible wager received.
  3. 3. The method of claim 2, wherein for each eligible wager received, the first number equals a number of credits of each such eligible wager.
  4. 4. The method of claim 1, wherein selecting a winning entry occurs after the expiration of the first time period.
  5. 5. The method of claim 1, wherein the first portion comprises an optional side wager.
  6. 6. The method of claim 1, wherein the first time period is selected from the group consisting of a quarter-hour, an hour, a day, a week, a month, and a year.
  7. 7. The method of claim 1, further comprising updating the display of the first progressive award after each first portion of each eligible wager is received.
  8. 8. The method of claim 1, wherein each eligible wager is received via a gaming terminal displaying a primary wagering game.
  9. 9. The method of claim 8, further comprising displaying a randomly selected outcome of the primary wager wagering game for each eligible wager received.
  10. 10. The method of claim 1, further comprising determining if a player associated with the selected winning entry has satisfied eligibility requirements to receive the progressive award.
  11. 11. The method of claim 1, wherein the eligibility requirements comprise having a player account, having a player identifier, or being actively playing at a gaming terminal.
  12. 12. A gaming system comprising:
    at least one wager input device;
    at least one gaming terminal;
    at least one display; and
    at least one controller operative to:
    (i) cause the at least one display to display a progressive award which increments over time as wagers are received;
    (ii) activate the progressive award for a predetermined first time period;
    (iii) during the first time period, add a first portion of each eligible wager received via the at least one wager input device to the progressive award, each eligible wager associated with a corresponding player inputting the wager;
    (iv) for each eligible wager received, allocate a first number of entries into a selection for awarding the progressive award;
    (v) select a winning entry from all entries received during the first time period; and
    (vi) award the progressive award to a player associated with the selected winning entry.
  13. 13. The gaming system of claim 12, wherein the at least one controller is further operative to cause the at least one gaming terminal to display a primary wagering game.
  14. 14. The gaming system of claim 13, wherein in response to each eligible wager received, the at least one gaming terminal displays a randomly selected outcome of the primary wagering game.
  15. 15. The gaming system of claim 12, wherein the first number of entries is dependent upon a size of the eligible wager received.
  16. 16. The gaming system of claim 15, wherein for each eligible wager received, the first number equals a number of credits of each such eligible wager.
  17. 17. The gaming system of claim 12, wherein the first time period is selected from the group consisting of a quarter-hour, an hour, a day, a week, a month, and a year.
  18. 18. The gaming system of claim 12, wherein the at least one controller is further operative to update the display of the first progressive award after each first portion of each eligible wager is received.
  19. 19. The gaming system of claim 12, wherein the at least one controller is further operative to reset the first progressive award to a reset value.
  20. 20. A method of awarding a progressive comprising:
    using a value-input device to accept input of funds into a gaming terminal, the funds being converted into a credit balance available to a player for wagering on the gaming terminal,
    in response to the player providing at least a portion of the credit balance as a wager for conducting a wagering game, using a value detector to send an electronic communication to one or more processors signaling that the wager has been detected; and
    using at least one of the processors to execute a wagering game program on the gaming terminal and to
    cause the displaying of a first progressive award and a second progressive award,
    activate the first progressive award for a predetermined first time period and the second progressive award for a predetermined second time period,
    during the first and second time periods, respectively, add a first portion of each eligible wager received to the first progressive award and add a second portion of each eligible wager received to the second progressive award, each eligible wager associated with a corresponding player inputting the wager,
    for each eligible wager received during the first time period, allocate a first number of entries into a selection for awarding the first progressive award,
    for each eligible wager received during the second time period, allocate a second number of entries into a selection for awarding the second progressive award,
    select a first winning entry from all entries received during the first time period and award the first progressive award to a first player associated with the selected first winning entry, and
    select a second winning entry from all entries received during the second time period and award the second progressive award to a second player associated with the selected second winning entry.
  21. 21. The method of claim 20, wherein each of the first and second time periods are selected from the group consisting of a quarter-hour, an hour, a day, a week, a month, and a year.
  22. 22. The method of claim 20, wherein the first time period is different in duration that the second time period.
  23. 23. The method of claim 20, wherein a portion of the first time period overlaps with a portion of the second time period.
  24. 24. The method of claim 20, wherein the first progressive award and the second progressive award are active concurrently.
  25. 25. The method of claim 20, wherein at least one eligible wager received contributes both a first portion to the first progressive award and a second portion to the second progressive award.
  26. 26. The method of claim 20, wherein the first number of entries and the second number of entries are dependent upon a size of each corresponding eligible wager received.
  27. 27. The method of claim 26, wherein the first number of entries is greater than the second number of entries.
  28. 28. A method of awarding a progressive comprising:
    displaying on a display a progressive award that increments during a predetermined time period;
    using a value-input device to receive eligible wagers during the time period, each eligible wager being associated with a corresponding player inputting the eligible wager;
    using a wager detector to send an electronic communication to one or more processors signaling that the wager has been detected;
    for each eligible wager received during the time period, using at least one of the processors to allocate a number of entries into a selection for awarding the progressive award;
    using at least one of the processors to select a winning entry from all entries received during the time period; and
    awarding the progressive award to a player associated with the selected winning entry.
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