WO2012112628A1 - Wireless promotional couponing system - Google Patents

Wireless promotional couponing system

Info

Publication number
WO2012112628A1
WO2012112628A1 PCT/US2012/025142 US2012025142W WO2012112628A1 WO 2012112628 A1 WO2012112628 A1 WO 2012112628A1 US 2012025142 W US2012025142 W US 2012025142W WO 2012112628 A1 WO2012112628 A1 WO 2012112628A1
Authority
WO
Grant status
Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
device
promotional
data
system
handheld
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US2012/025142
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
John J. Hilbert
Elizabeth L. Vicens
Original Assignee
Futurelogic, Inc.
Priority date (The priority date 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 date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date

Links

Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q30/00Commerce, e.g. shopping or e-commerce
    • G06Q30/02Marketing, e.g. market research and analysis, surveying, promotions, advertising, buyer profiling, customer management or rewards; Price estimation or determination

Abstract

A wireless promotional couponing system is provided. Within the wireless promotional couponing system, data such as coupon redemption, game activity, promotional activity, and redemption activity, among others is collected using a handheld device and an interface application. The data is stored on the handheld device and transmitted to a host system for further processing.

Description

WIRELESS PROMOTIONAL COUPONING SYSTEM

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] The present application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application

No. 61/442,697, filed February 14, 2011, the contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference as if fully stated herein.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Field of the Invention

[0002] The present disclosure relates generally to gaming, and more specifically to hardware and software operating with printers and printers operatively connected hardware used in gaming and sales to perform promotional coupon printing, management of promotional databases and triggering the printing of promotional coupons.

Background

[0003] The gaming machine manufacturing industry provides a variety of gaming machines for the amusement of gambling players. An exemplary gaming machine is a slot machine. A slot machine is an electronic or electro-mechanical gaming machine wherein chance or the skill of a player determines the outcome of a game played on the gaming machine. Slot machines are usually found in casinos or other more informal gaming establishments.

[0004] The gaming machine manufacturers have provided cashless enabled gaming machines to the market, and there now exists a broad population of such gaming machines in the gaming industry. Cashless enabled gaming machines are so named because these gaming machines conduct a player's financial exchange with the gaming machine using vouchers redeemable for cash or game credits, either exclusively or in conjunction with various types of currency or credits.

[0005] Two pieces of equipment typically used for a cashless enabled game are a printer to produce the vouchers and a bill acceptor that supports automatic reading of the vouchers. When a player using a cashless enabled gaming machine wishes to withdraw their credits, or "cashout", the gaming machine is signaled and, depending on the size of the pay out, the gaming machine either presents the player with currency, such as coins in the traditional method of a slot machine, or the gaming machine causes a printer associated with the cashless enabled gaming machine to produce a voucher indicating the value of the pay out. The voucher may then either be redeemed for cash at the cashier's cage for currency, or may be inserted into another cashless enabled gaming machine to be redeemed for credits, or "cashin" on the other cashless enabled gaming machine.

[0006] Cashless enabled gaming machines have found an increasing acceptance and use in the gaming industry with both the players, who enjoy the speed of play and ease of transporting their winnings around the casino, and with the casinos who have realized significant labor savings in the form of reduced coin hopper reloads in the gaming machines, and an increase in revenue because of the increased speed of play. The broad installation base of cashless enabled games guarantees a wide installed base of gaming machines and their associated printers.

SUMMARY

[0007] Typically, communications with gaming machines within a gaming establishment are conducted via a secure wired network and typically only concern accounting information used by the gaming establishment to implement cashless gaming. However, such a secure wired network may not be available for managing promotional couponing information for the gaming establishment. Various aspects of the present disclosure address the need for a more available system for distributing and collecting promotional couponing information.

[0008] In one aspect, a wireless promotional couponing system manages data such as coupon redemption, game activity, promotional activity, and redemption activity, etc., that is collected using a handheld device and an interface application to a gaming machine. The data is stored on the handheld device and transmitted to a host system for further processing.

[0009] In another aspect, a routing device operatively connected to a game stores game activity. The game activity includes game play, promotional activity, or a combination of such.

[0010] In another aspect, a routing device operatively connected to a game stores game information from the associated game, the game information including a unique identifier for the game.

[0011] In another aspect, a routing device operatively connected to a printer stores printer activity such as generating a print job, among others.

[0012] In another aspect, a routing device operatively connected to a printer stores printer information from the associated printer, the printer information including a unique identifier for the printer. [0013] In another aspect, a routing device is operatively connected to a printer where the routing device may either be internal or external to the printer.

[0014] In another aspect, a routing device is addressable by a unique identifier, such as an IP address.

[0015] In another aspect, a routing device communicates wirelessly with other components of the wireless promotional couponing system.

[0016] In another aspect, a handheld device stores data captured from one or more routing devices.

[0017] In another aspect, a handheld device is constructed for wireless communication.

[0018] In another aspect, a handheld device is addressable by a unique identifier, such as an IP address.

[0019] In another aspect, an interface application accessed from a handheld device provides secured communication with each routing device of a gaming establishment and one or more host systems.

[0020] In another aspect, an interface application captures routing device information, such as the unique identifier.

[0021] In another aspect, an interface application captures game activity of a game stored on an associated routing device.

[0022] In another aspect, an interface application captures game information of a game stored on an associated routing device.

[0023] In another aspect, an interface application provides secured communications for transmitting game data captured from one or more routing devices to a host system.

[0024] In another aspect, an interface application provides secured communications for transmitting information from a handheld device, such as a unique identifier.

[0025] In another aspect, the information from a handheld device, such as a unique identifier is appended to data captured from one or more routing devices and transmitted to a host system.

[0026] In another aspect, a host system stores data transferred from one or more handheld devices.

[0027] In another aspect, a host system is constructed for wireless communication. [0028] In another aspect, a host system is addressable by a unique identifier, such as an

IP address.

[0029] In another aspect, a handheld device stores data captured from one or more printers.

[0030] In another aspect, a handheld device stores data captured from one or more games.

[0031] In another aspect, a handheld device stores data captured from one or more points of redemption.

[0032] In another aspect, a handheld device stores data captured from one or more promotional coupons, the data including an image such as a barcode, characters, or a combination of such.

[0033] In another aspect, an interface application accessed from a handheld device provides secured communication with one or more games.

[0034] In another aspect, an interface application accessed from a handheld device provides secured communication with one or more printers.

[0035] In another aspect, an interface application accessed from a handheld device provides secured communication with one or more points of redemption.

[0036] In another aspect, an interface application captures printer data stored on an associated routing device.

[0037] In another aspect, an interface application captures promotional coupon data stored on an associated routing device.

[0038] In another aspect, an interface application provides secured communications for transmitting coupon data to a host system.

[0039] In another aspect, an interface application provides secured communications for transmitting routing device data to a host system.

[0040] In another aspect, an interface application provides secured communications for transmitting printer data to a host system.

[0041] In another aspect, an interface application provides secured communications for transmitting redemption data to a host system.

[0042] In another aspect, data captured and transmitted to a host system includes stamps such as a date and time, etc. [0043] In another aspect, a handheld device includes scanning capabilities, the scanning as part of the interface application, by way of a hardware component, or a combination of such.

[0044] In another aspect, a handheld device captures promotional coupon data from a scanned promotional coupon.

TERMINOLOGY

[0045] The following terminology is presented for the purpose of more easily understanding the present disclosure but is not to be understood as a limitation of the detailed description.

[0046] "Coupon Trigger Metrics" - Metrics that may cause the printing of a promotional coupon; for example, if a player is identified as a member of the PTS.

[0047] "Gaming Establishment" - A gaming entity such as a casino.

[0048] "Game", Gaming Machine", or "Game Machine" - A slot machine, gaming machine, or game table in a gaming establishment.

[0049] "Host System" - A computer, back-end system, gaming system, network, or other system that sends and/or receives information to and/or from a game, a printer or other component in a game or gaming table. Examples of a host system include a wagering issuance and redemption system, cash-out voucher system, a player tracking system, and a promotional couponing system, among others.

[0050] "Point of Redemption" - Any kiosk, point-of-sale, cashier's cage, or other apparatus whereby a player can redeem a game voucher, promotional coupon, progressive coupon, or player cards.

[0051] "PSP" - Acronym for Player Session Packet. Data collected related to a player's game activity.

[0052] "PTS" - Acronym for Player Tracking System, the system used to track the activity of users who have joined the PTS.

[0053] "Voucher", "Game Voucher" or "Game Cashout Voucher" - Media, such as paper or rewritable card, containing sufficient information to identify at a minimum, an amount of money and a validation number used to authenticate the transaction.

[0054] "Promotional Coupon" - Media, such as paper or rewritable card, containing sufficient information to identify at a minimum, a promotional event or a promotional reward to a player and validation information. [0055] "Rewritable Card" - Media such as a smart card, magnetic media, thermal media, thermal reversible media, RF fiber media, RFID tag media, or write once media, which may be used for game vouchers and promotional coupons.

[0056] "Printer Controller" - Device internal or external to a printer, which controls print jobs and receives and/or transmits data, among other functions.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0057] These and other features and aspects of the present disclosure will become better understood with regard to the following description, accompanying drawings and appendix where:

[0058] These and other features, aspects, and advantages of the present invention will become better understood with regard to the following description and accompanying drawings where:

[0059] FIG. 1 is an illustration of the components of a wireless promotional couponing system in a gaming ' environment in accordance with the present disclosure;

[0060] FIG. 2 is a process flow diagram of a routing device data capture process in accordance with the present disclosure;

[0061] FIG. 3 is a process flow diagram of a host system transmission process in accordance with the present disclosure;

[0062] FIG. 4 is a block diagram of a host system in accordance with the present disclosure;

[0063] FIG. 5 is a block diagram of a printer in accordance with the present disclosure;

[0064] FIG. 6 is a block diagram of a routing device in accordance with the present disclosure;

[0065] FIG. 7 is a block diagram of a handheld device in accordance with the present disclosure;

[0066] FIG. 8 is an illustration of a promotional coupon including logical fields in accordance with the present disclosure;

[0067] FIG. 9 is a flowchart of a promotional coupon redemption process using a handheld device in accordance with the present disclosure; and [0068] FIG. 10 is a tabular view of the databases and associations thereof for the redemption of promotional coupons in accordance with the present disclosure.

[0069] Identically labeled elements appearing in different ones of the figures refer to the same elements but may not be referenced in the description for all figures.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0070] There may be instances where physically connecting to a routing device and a host system for data capture and transfer may not be feasible. For example, when a technician arrives at a game location to capture data, the technician may find the game in play. While the game is in play, the technician cannot open the game to connect a handheld device to the routing device of the game.

[0071] In another example, the host system may be in a location not readily accessible for an individual to connect a handheld device to the host.

[0072] In addition, there may be instances where on-the-spot promotional coupon redemption is advantageous, for example, when a player chooses to remain playing a game.

[0073] The present disclosure addresses these difficulties by providing wireless communications, using a wireless protocol such as IEEE 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.1 lg, and Bluetooth or the like, between the handheld device and the routing device as well as with the handheld device and host system. In another aspect, the wireless promotional couponing system captures data in real time. In another aspect, the wireless promotional couponing system provides on-the-spot promotional coupon redemption using a handheld device.

[0074] FIG. 1 is an illustration of the components of a wireless promotional couponing system 100 in a gaming environment in accordance the present disclosure.

[0075] Included in the wireless promotional couponing system 100 are a host system

102, one or more routing devices, such as routing devices 104a, 104b and 104c, and one or more handheld devices, such as handheld device 106. The host system, one or more handheld devices and one or more routing devices all communicate, and may be operatively connected to, using wireless communications.

[0076] The routing devices are each operatively connected to a respective printer, such as printers 108a, 108b and 108c. The routing devices may be integral to their respective printer or may be an external component separate of the printer. In addition, each router may be operatively connected to a game controller (not shown) that controls a respective game housing a respective printer and routing device, such as games 110a, 110b and 110c.

[0077] The host system 102 stores data transferred from the one or more handheld devices, such as the handheld device 106. Additionally, the host system is addressable by a unique identifier, such as an IP address. An exemplary embodiment of a host system is a promotional couponing system.

[0078] A promotional couponing system has a processor, memory, application code 112 implementing the algorithms used by the promotional couponing system, storage, and a plurality of interfaces to external devices and systems including a wireless interface for operatively connecting to a plurality of printers. An exemplary device for hosting a promotional couponing system is a network server. The promotional couponing system processes data related to the creation, management, and redemption of promotional coupons, promotions, and promotional campaigns.

[0079] Two components housed in a game, such as game 110a, are a printer and a routing device, such as printer 108a and routing device 104a, among other components not shown. The printer generates a number of print jobs, such as game vouchers, promotional coupons (such as promotional coupon 114), audit reports, and log files, among others. The printer is operatively connected to a game controller of the game and to the routing device for signaling and data transfer.

[0080] The routing device 104a operatively connects to the printer. Printer activity such as type of print job, number of print jobs, and generating a print job, among others, is transmitted from the printer 108a to the routing device. Additionally, the routing device stores printer information from the associated printer, the printer information including a unique identifier for the printer.

[0081] The routing device 104a may also be operatively connected to the game controller

(not shown) of the game 110a. Game activity such as game play, promotional activity, or a combination of such is transmitted from the game controller to the routing device. Additionally, the routing device stores game information from the associated game, for example, a unique identifier for the game.

[0082] In another aspect, a routing device is addressable by a unique identifier, such as an IP address. [0083] In another aspect, a routing device communicates wirelessly with other components of a wireless promotional couponing system.

[0084] In operation, in an operation of issuing a promotional coupon, data such as a promotional coupon, promotion data, and campaign data is transmitted from the host system 102 to one or more routing devices, such as routing devices 104a, 104b and 104c, each routing device operatively connected to a game controller (not shown) of a respective game, such as game 110a, 110b and 110b, and a respective printer, such as printer 108a, 108b and 108c. The routing device transmits the data to the printer. The printer receives the data from the routing device and uses the data to generate a promotional coupon. Data from the print job is transmitted back to the routing device. The routing device receives the data and transmits this data, among other data later being transmitted, to the handheld device 106 and/or the host system 102.

[0085] The handheld device 106 may be any portable computing device such as a portable computer, mobile device, or a smartphone, among others. The handheld device is addressable by a unique identifier, such as an IP address. The handheld device communicates via a wireless communication interface with the one or more routing devices, such as routing devices 104a, 104b and 104c, and one or more host systems, such as host system 102. The handheld device stores data captured from the one or more routing devices. In another aspect, a handheld device stores data captured from the one or more printers, the one or more games, and one or more points of redemption, among others.

[0086] The handheld device also stores data captured by scanning one or more promotional coupons, such as promotional coupon 114, the data including an image such as a barcode, characters, or a combination of such.

[0087] Additionally, the handheld device 106 includes an interface application 116. The interface application provides for secured communication with each routing device of a gaming establishment and one or more host systems. In another aspect, another interface application accessed from a handheld device provides secured communication with one or more games, one or more printers, and one or more points of redemption, among others.

[0088] In another aspect, the interface application is used to capture routing device information, such as a unique identifier of the routing device. In another, an interface application captures game activity of a game stored on an associated routing device. In another, an interface application captures game information of a game stored on an associated routing device. In another, an interface application captures printer data stored on an associated routing device. In another aspect, an interface application captures promotional coupon data stored on an associated routing device. In another aspect, a handheld device captures promotional coupon data from a scanned promotional coupon.

[0089] In another aspect, an interface application provides secured communications for transmitting game data captured from one or more routing devices to a host system.

[0090] In another aspect, an interface application provides secured communications for transmitting any or all of the following data to a host system: handheld device data such as a unique identifier, coupon data, routing device data, printer, point of redemption data, coupon redemption data, among others.

[0091] In another aspect, information from a handheld device, such as a unique identifier, is appended to data captured from one or more routing devices and transmitted to a host system.

[0092] In another aspect, information from a handheld device, such as a unique identifier is appended to data captured from one or more devices such as a game, printer, or point of redemption and transmitted to a host system.

[0093] In another aspect, information from a handheld device, such as a unique identifier is appended to data captured from a promotional coupon and transmitted to a host system.

[0094] For example, in operation, a handheld device using a wireless connection and an interface application securely connects to a routing device to capture the data stored in the respective storage devices of a plurality of games. For example, the handheld device 106 operatively connects to routing device 104a. Once connected, the routing device transmits the data stored in the routing device to the handheld device. The handheld device receives the data and stores the captured data in a storage device (not shown) of the handheld device. The handheld device then disconnects from the routing device. The handheld device repeats the process of operatively connecting to a routing device, capturing the data transmitted by the routing device and disconnecting from the routing device for the remaining routing devices, such as routing devices 104b and 104c. Thus the handheld device aggregates data from the plurality of routing devices.

[0095] Continuing, the handheld device operatively connects, using the interface application 116 and a secure wireless connection, to the host system 102 and transmits the stored captured routing device data to the host system 102. The host system may then store the captured data, use the captured data to determine what coupons are to be transmitted next to the routing devices or printers, etc.

[0096] In another aspect, a handheld device scans the promotional coupon 114 using the interface application 116 that uses an optical device such as a digital camera (not shown) of the handheld device to scan the promotional coupon or a dedicated hardware component, or a combination of such. Additionally, the scan type may be selected from a group consisting of barcode scanning, character scanning, and pattern recognition, among others.

[0097] For example, in an operation of redeeming a promotional coupon, the barcode of the promotional coupon 114 is scanned using a component of the handheld device 106, such as a digital camera (not shown). The interface application 116 of the handheld device then transmits the barcode data to the host system 102 for verification and validation. The host system receives the barcode data and the host system verifies the barcode data. Once verified by the host system, confirmation is transmitted to the handheld device, and the promotional coupon is redeemed.

[0098] In another example operation, the promotional coupon 114 is scanned using a component of the handheld device 106, such as a digital camera (not shown). The interface application 116 of the handheld device then processes the scanned promotional coupon, depending on the type of scan determined in the system, such as a character scan. Once the character data is located from the scan, the character data is securely transmitted from the handheld device to the host system 102 for verification and validation. The system host receives the character data and verifies the character data. Once verified by the host system, confirmation is transmitted to the handheld device, and the promotional coupon is redeemed.

[0099] In another example operation, the scanning capabilities of the handheld device

106 include performing multiple verifications on a single scan. The promotional coupon 114 is scanned using a component of the handheld device, such as a digital camera (not shown). The handheld device using the interface application 116 and algorithms then processes the scanned promotional coupon to determine a match. For example, in a first type pass, barcode data of the promotional coupon is gathered while in a second type pass, character data such as location ID from the promotional coupon is gathered. When data from the first and second type pass matches, the data is transmitted to the host system 102 for verification and validation. The host system receives the promotional coupon data and uses the promotional coupon data to verify the promotional coupon. Once verified by a host system, confirmation is transmitted to the handheld device, and the promotional coupon is redeemed.

[00100] In another aspect, the handheld device 106 transmits data to a routing device, such as routing devices 104a, 104b or 104c, to generate the promotional coupon 114 using the respective printer operatively connected to the routing device.

[00101] For example, in an operation, a player not desiring to leave a game to redeem the promotional coupon 114, gives the promotional coupon to a floor person. The floor person using the handheld device 106 scans the promotional coupon for redemption. Data from the promotional coupon and redemption is securely transmitted to the host system 102 for verification and validation. Once verified, the host system sends validation data to the handheld device. Additionally, the host system transmits data for another promotional coupon to the handheld device. The handheld device in turn transmits the additional promotional coupon data to the routing device, such as routing device 104a, 104b or 104c, of the game the player is playing. The routing device transmits the additional promotional coupon data to the routing device's respective printer and the printer generates the promotional coupon.

[00102] FIG. 2 is a process flow diagram of a routing device data capture process 200 in accordance the present disclosure. As illustrated, the process begins (202) with running (204) an interface application where a user using the handheld device 106 of Fig.1 , runs the interface application 116 of Fig. 1. In connecting (206) to a routing device, the interface application provides a secured connection to the routing device using wireless communications between the handheld device and the routing device. If the connection is verified (208), the process continues with capturing (210) data where the data stored on the routing device is transmitted and stored in a storage device of the handheld device. The process then ends 214.

[00103] If the connection is not verified, the process continues with notifying (212) the user of the handheld device where, for example, the interface application displays a message such as an invalid or unauthenticated connection, among others.

[00104] FIG. 3 is a process flow diagram of a host system transmission process 300 in accordance the present disclosure. The data captured by a handheld device and transmitted to a host system includes any or all of the following: game identifier, routing device identifier, printer identifier, point of redemption identifier, handheld device identifier, promotional coupon data, and redemption data. This data includes stamps such as a date and time, among others. [00105] As illustrated, the process begins (302) with running (304) an interface application where a user using the handheld device 106 of Fig. 1 , runs the interface application 116 of Fig. 1. In connect to the system host 102 of Fig 1, the interface application provides a secured connection to the host system such as a promotional couponing system using wireless communication between the handheld device and host system. If the connection is verified (308), the process continues with transmitting (310) data where the data stored in a storage device of the handheld device is transmitted to the host system.

[00106] If the connection is not verified, the process continues with notifying (312) the host system and user where, for example, the interface application displays a message such as an invalid or unauthenticated connection, among others. The process then ends 314.

[00107] FIG. 4 is a block diagram of a host system 400 in accordance the present disclosure. Any one or more components may be optional. A host system includes

programming instructions, memory, a secured wireless interface, among others, used for signaling and data transfer for data verification and other purposes. A more detailed discussion of an exemplary embodiment of a host system and components thereof is presented in U.S. Patent Application entitled "METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR A PROMOTIONAL

COUPONING SYSTEM" filed April 6, 2009, published as U.S. Patent Application Publication Number 20090299848, the contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference as if stated in full herein.

[00108] The host system 400 includes a processor 401, operatively coupled via a bus 402 to a memory 404. The processor is further operatively coupled via the bus to a storage device 406 having a processor readable memory device or processor readable memory media.

Processor executable program instructions 408 and processor readable data 410 for

implementing the features of a system host as described herein are stored in the storage device until the processor retrieves the program instructions and stores them in the memory. The processor then executes the program instructions stored in the memory and uses the data to implement the features of a host system as described herein.

[00109] The processor 401 is further coupled via the bus 402 to one or more

communications interfaces, devices or ports 416 at least one of which is constructed for wireless communications as described herein. The host system uses the communications devices to securely transmit and receive control signals and/or data to and from external devices as described herein.

[00110] The processor 401 is further coupled via the bus 402 to one or more user input devices 412 and one or more user output devices 414 for communicating with a user as described herein.

[00111] The foregoing description of the components of the host system 400 is provided by way of example and not of limitation, it being understood that the host system could be implemented in a variety of ways without deviating from the spirit of the present disclosure. For example, the processor could be constructed from hardware such as hardwired circuits within a controller. Alternatively, the host system could also be constructed from a combination of hardware and software components.

[00112] FIG. 5 is a block diagram of a printer 500 in accordance the present disclosure.

Any one or more components may be optional. The printer includes the programming instructions, memory, a secured wireless interface, among others, used for signaling and data transfer of one or more files for data verification and other purposes. A more detailed discussion of an exemplary embodiment of the printer and components thereof is presented in U.S. Patent Application entitled "METHOD & APPARATUS FOR A GAMING PROMOTIONAL

PRINTER" filed March 31, 2003, now U.S. Patent No. 7,594,855, the contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference as if stated in full herein.

[00113] The printer 500 includes a processor 502, operatively coupled via a bus 504 to a memory 506. The processor is further operatively coupled via the bus to a storage device 508 having a processor readable memory device or processor readable memory media. Processor executable program instructions 510 and processor readable data 512 for implementing the features of a printer as described herein are stored in the storage device until the processor retrieves the program instructions and stores them in the memory. The processor then executes the program instructions stored in the memory and uses the data to implement the features of the printer as described herein.

[00114] The processor 502 is further coupled via the bus 504 to one or more

communication devices, interfaces or ports 514 at least one of which is constructed for wireless communications as described herein. The printer uses the communication devices to securely transmit and receive control signals and/or data to and from any external device such as a host system, game controller, handheld device and/or routing device as described herein.

[00115] The processor 502 is further coupled via the bus 504 to a print device 516. The processor uses the print device to generate vouchers and/or promotional coupons and to securely generate transaction files as described herein.

[00116] The foregoing description of the components of a printer is provided by way of example and not of limitation, it being understood that the printer could be implemented in a variety of ways without deviating from the spirit of the invention. For example, the processor of the printer could be constructed from hardware such as hardwired circuits within a controller. Alternatively, the printer could also be constructed from a combination of hardware and software components.

[00117] FIG. 6 is a block diagram of a routing device 600 incorporated into a printer in accordance the present disclosure. Any one or more components may be optional. The routing device includes the programming instructions, memory, a secured wireless interface, among others, used for signaling and data transfer of one or a plurality files for data verification and other purposes.

[00118] The routing device 600 includes a processor 602, operatively coupled via a bus

604 to a memory 606. The processor is further operatively coupled via the bus to a storage device 608 having a processor readable memory device or processor readable memory media. Processor executable program instructions 610 and processor readable data 612 used for implementing the features of a routing device as described herein are stored in the storage device until the processor retrieves the program instructions and stores them in the memory. The processor then executes the program instructions stored in the memory and uses the data to implement the features of the routing device as described herein.

[00119] The processor 602 is further coupled via the bus 604 to one or more

communication devices, interfaces or ports 614 at least one of which is constructed for wireless communications as described herein. The routing device uses the communication devices to transmit and receive control signals and data from a host system, game controller or handheld device as described herein. [00120] The processor 602 is further coupled via the bus 604 to a print device 616. The routing device uses the print device to generate vouchers and/or promotional coupons as described herein.

[00121] Additionally, external devices can include a game such as a slot machine or gaming table, among others.

[00122] In one embodiment, the routing device is internal to the printer. In another, it is external.

[00123] The foregoing description of the components of a routing device is provided by way of example and not of limitation, it being understood that the routing device could be implemented in a variety of ways without deviating from the spirit of the invention. For example, the processor of the routing device could be constructed from hardware such as hardwired circuits within a controller. Alternatively, the routing device could also be constructed from a combination of hardware and software components.

[00124] FIG. 7 is a block diagram of a handheld device 700 in accordance the present disclosure. The handheld device 700 includes the programming instructions, memory, a secured wireless interface, among others, used for signaling and data transfer for data verification and other purposes.

[00125] The handheld device 700 includes a processor702, operatively coupled via a bus

704 to a memory 706. The processor is further operatively coupled via the bus to a storage device 708 having a processor readable memory device or processor readable memory media. Processor executable program instructions 710 and processor readable data 712 for

implementing the features of a handheld device as described herein are stored in the storage device until the processor retrieves the program instructions and stores them in the memory. The processor then executes the program instructions stored in the memory and uses the data to implement the features of the handheld device.

[00126] The processor 702 is further coupled via the bus 704 to one or more

communications devices, interfaces or ports 714, at least one of which is constructed for wireless communications as described herein. The handheld device uses the communications devices to securely transmit and receive control signals and/or data to and from external devices as described herein. [00127] The processor 702 is further coupled via the bus 704 to one or more user input devices 716 and one or more user output devices 718 for communicating with a user as described herein.

[00128] Although the handheld device 700 has been described in terms of a computing system having a processor, processor-readable media such as a memory, and instructions, such as a processor-executable program, executed by the processor, it is to be understood that the foregoing has been presented by way of example and not of limitation. It is to be understood that a handheld device may also be implemented using software or the like, hardwired circuitry or the like, programmable components or the like, or any combination thereof.

[00129] FIG. 8 is an illustration of a promotional coupon 800 including logical fields in accordance the present disclosure. In this example, the promotional coupon 800 may include five types of print regions: text, barcode, graphic, line, and box. The print regions of a promotional coupon template used to create this example are defined in the promotional couponing system and may be stored in a host system, routing device, printer, a plurality of any or a combination of any. The template may include a plurality of print regions in combination, resulting in a paste-up style printed promotional coupon.

[00130] The data may be stored partially resident in the printer and partially supplied by the host system or routing device whereby the actual value of data for each print region may or may not be included in the promotional coupon template. For example, a promotional coupon template may include a barcode field for printing a barcode. However the actual value of the barcode is transmitted to a printer at the time a promotional coupon is generated using a promotional coupon template. In this way, a promotional coupon may have print regions that include static data, such as a graphic in a graphic print region, or dynamic data such as the name of a particular patron in a text print region. Furthermore, customized promotional coupons may be printed by a printer without transferring large amounts of data through a communications network.

[00131] In addition, data that is used to track usage of promotional coupons may be included in a promotional coupon. For example, a barcode field or a text field may be used to print a barcode value or text string uniquely identifying the promotional coupon. In this way, a printer creates an image of a barcode or barcodes, characters or marks that may be read by a handheld device or a gaming or vending machine bill acceptor on the same or another gaming or vending machine, allowing automatic acceptance of promotional coupons.

[00132] FIG. 9 is a flowchart of a promotional coupon redemption process 900 using a handheld device in accordance the present disclosure. Promotional coupons can be redeemed in a variety of ways including at any point-of -redemption. Another method is redeeming promotional coupons using a handheld device. Examples of this are disclosed in FIG. 1.

[00133] As illustrated in FIG. 9, the promotional coupon redemption process 900 begins

(902) with scanning (904) a coupon where, for example, a handheld device using its scanning capabilities of an interface application using a digital camera of the handheld device, separate hardware, or a combination of such, scans the promotional coupon. In verify and validate (906), the data from the promotional coupon is verified and validated, for example against data used, for example, to create the promotional coupon, a promotion, a campaign, or a combination of any. Additional data can include data from coupon trigger metrics and a player session packet (herein "PSP"), among others not shown.

[00134] Once the parameters such as coupon trigger metrics are met (908), the

promotional coupon is redeemed (910) using the handheld device and the process ends (914). If the parameters are not met, the transmitting unit such as a handheld device is notified (912). The process can end or loop back to another process such as scan coupon where the promotional coupon can be rescanned.

[00135] Another way of verification and validation include performing multiple verifications on a single scan. In this embodiment, a promotional coupon is scanned using a component of a handheld device, such as a camera. The handheld device using an interface application and algorithms then processes the scanned promotional coupon to determine a match. For example, in a first type pass, the barcode data is gathered while in a second type pass, character data such as location ID is gathered. When data from the first and second type pass matches, the data is transmitted to a host system for verification and validation. Once verified by a host system, confirmation is transmitted to the handheld device, and the promotional coupon is redeemed.

[00136] In another aspect, the process may include processing PTS data whereby a handheld scans a player's card. Data regarding the player's activity is transmitted to a host system, for example, to determine the issuance of additional promotional coupons. If the parameters are met, the handheld device can transmit data to a routing device to generate one or more promotional coupons using the printer connected to that routing device as disclosed in FIG. 1.

[00137] FIG. 10 is a tabular view of the databases and associations thereof for the redemption of promotional coupons in accordance the present disclosure. As shown, a redemption database 1002 includes data derived from promotional campaigns 1004, promotions 1006, promotional coupons 1008, authorization codes 1010, a PSP 1012 or a plurality of such, and coupon trigger metrics 1014 to form a record in the redemption database. Additional data may also be included.

[00138] Exemplary contents of each record as shown in FIG. 10 are illustrated in Table 11 as follows:

[00139] TABLE II

Figure imgf000021_0001
[00140] Although certain specific embodiments have been described herein, many additional modifications and variations would be apparent to those skilled in the art. It is therefore to be understood that aspects and features of the present disclosure may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described. Thus, the specific embodiments should be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive, the scope of the claims to be determined as supported by the present application and the claims' equivalents rather than the foregoing detailed description.

Claims

WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:
1. A method of a wireless promotional couponing system, the method comprising:
receiving, by a routing device from a system host via wireless communications, promotional coupon data for printing a promotional coupon for a game housing the routing device;
transmitting, by the routing device to a printer, the promotional coupon data; receiving, by the printer from the routing device, the promotional coupon data;
printing, by the printer, the promotional coupon;
transmitting, by the printer to the routing device housed in the game, printer activity, the printer activity including print job data for the promotional coupon;
receiving, by the routing device, the printer activity;
transmitting, by the routing device via wireless communications, the printer activity to a handheld device;
receiving, by the handheld device, the printer activity;
transmitting, by the handheld device via wireless communications, the printer activity to the system host.
2. The method of a wireless promotional couponing system of Claim 1 , further comprising:
scanning, by the handheld device, the promotional coupon; and
verifying, by the handheld device using data scanned from the promotional coupon, the promotional coupon.
3. The method of a wireless promotional couponing system of Claim 2, further comprising: transmitting, by the handheld device to the system host via wireless communications the data scanned from the promotional coupon;
receiving, by the system host, the data scanned from the promotional coupon; verifying, by the system host, the promotional coupon using the data scanned from the promotional coupon; and
transmitting, by the system host to the handheld device via wireless communications, the verification of the promotional coupon.
4. The method of a wireless promotional couponing system of Claim 3, wherein verifying, by the system host, the promotional coupon further comprises using the printer activity.
5. The method of a wireless promotional couponing system of Claim 1 , further comprising:
receiving, by the routing device from a game controller of the game housing the routing device, game activity of the game; and
transmitting, by the routing device to the handheld device via wireless
communications, the game activity;
receiving, by the handheld device the game activity;
transmitting, by the handheld device to the system host via wireless communications, the game activity; and
receiving, by the system host, the game activity.
6. A wireless promotional couponing system, comprising:
a printer constructed to: receive from a routing device, promotional coupon data for printing a promotional coupon for a game housing the printer and the routing device;
print the promotional coupon; and
transmit to the routing device, printer activity, the printer activity including print job data for the promotional coupon;
the routing device constructed to:
receive, from the system host via wireless communications, the promotional coupon data;
transmit, to the printer, the promotional coupon data;
receive, from the printer, the printer activity; and
transmit, via wireless communications, the printer activity to a handheld device; the handheld device constructed to:
receive, from the routing device via wireless communications, the printer activity; transmit, by the handheld device via wireless communications, the printer activity to the system host;
the system host constructed to:
transmit, to the routing device via wireless communications, the promotional coupon data; and
receive, from the handheld device, the printer activity.
7. The wireless promotional couponing system of Claim 6, wherein the handheld device is further constructed to:
scan the promotional coupon; and verify, using data scanned from the promotional coupon, the promotional coupon.
8. The wireless promotional couponing system of Claim 7, wherein:
the handheld device is further constructed to:
transmit, to the system host via wireless communications, the data scanned from the promotional coupon; and
receive from the system host a verification of the promotional coupon, and wherein the system host is further constructed to:
receive, from the handheld device, the data scanned from the promotional coupon; verify the promotional coupon using the data scanned from the promotional coupon; and
transmit, to the handheld device via wireless communications, the verification of the promotional coupon.
9. The wireless promotional couponing system of Claim 8, wherein the system host is further constructed to verify the promotional coupon further comprises using the printer activity.
10. The wireless promotional couponing system of Claim 6, wherein:
the routing device is further constructed to:
receive, from a game controller of the game housing the routing device, game activity of the game; and
transmit, to the handheld device via wireless communications, the game activity, wherein the handheld device is further constructed to: receive, from the routing device, the game activity; and
transmit, to the system host via wireless communications, the game activity, and wherein the system host is further constructed to receive, from the handheld device, game activity.
PCT/US2012/025142 2011-02-14 2012-02-14 Wireless promotional couponing system WO2012112628A1 (en)

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Citations (3)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20040193499A1 (en) * 2000-10-06 2004-09-30 Ortiz Luis M. Transaction broker
US20100238489A1 (en) * 2007-06-15 2010-09-23 Futurelogic, Inc. Distributed processing printer
US20100328713A1 (en) * 2007-11-06 2010-12-30 Futurelogic, Inc. Modular transaction printer

Patent Citations (3)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20040193499A1 (en) * 2000-10-06 2004-09-30 Ortiz Luis M. Transaction broker
US20100238489A1 (en) * 2007-06-15 2010-09-23 Futurelogic, Inc. Distributed processing printer
US20100328713A1 (en) * 2007-11-06 2010-12-30 Futurelogic, Inc. Modular transaction printer

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