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System and method for providing a communal jackpot

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Title: System and method for providing a communal jackpot.
Abstract: A system for providing a communal jackpot includes a plurality of gaming machines. Each gaming machine provides an individual game of chance to a player wagering at each respective gaming machine. A communal jackpot controller is in communication with each of the gaming machines. The communal jackpot controller provides a communal jackpot game to the players wagering at each gaming machine and awards the communal jackpot to a plurality of players according to predetermined eligibility criterion when triggered. ...


Inventors: Lawrence Shepherd, Damjan Frankovic, Ismo Niemi
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120088576 - Class: 463 26 (USPTO) - 04/12/12 - Class 463 
Amusement Devices: Games > Including Means For Processing Electronic Data (e.g., Computer/video Game, Etc.) >Credit/debit Monitoring Or Manipulation (e.g., Game Entry, Betting, Prize Level, Etc.) >Pool Amount (e.g., Jackpot, Etc.)



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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120088576, System and method for providing a communal jackpot.

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US 20120088576 A1 20120412 US 13377772 20100217 13 AU 2009902669 20090611 20060101 A
A
63 F 9 24 F I 20120412 US B H
US 463 26 SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR PROVIDING A COMMUNAL JACKPOT Shepherd Lawrence
Baulkam Hills AU
omitted AU
Frankovic Damjan
Baulkam Hills AU
omitted AU
Niemi Ismo
Baulkam Hills AU
omitted AU
WO PCT/AU10/00167 00 20100217 20111212

A system for providing a communal jackpot includes a plurality of gaming machines. Each gaming machine provides an individual game of chance to a player wagering at each respective gaming machine. A communal jackpot controller is in communication with each of the gaming machines. The communal jackpot controller provides a communal jackpot game to the players wagering at each gaming machine and awards the communal jackpot to a plurality of players according to predetermined eligibility criterion when triggered.

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FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to gaming machines and in particular to systems and methods for providing communal jackpots to players playing gaming machines and will be described with reference to this application. However, it will be appreciated that the invention is not limited to this particular field of use.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In this specification unless the contrary is expressly stated, where a document, act or item of knowledge is referred to or discussed, this reference or discussion is not an admission that the document, act or item of knowledge or any combination thereof was at the priority date, publicly available, known to the public, part of common general knowledge; or known to be relevant to an attempt to solve any problem with which this specification is concerned.

Slot machines were initially stand alone wagering machines in which a fixed percentage of the wagers was returned to the players over a period of time. Jackpots are a desirable feature as far as the operator of the machines is concerned as they are popular with players and can provide large pool sizes compared with the standard prizes. Jackpots are available on individual slot machines in which the jackpot is taken from the amount of wagers on the machine. This lowers the average non-jackpot return of the machine as the jackpot is included in the average return. However, for slot machine players, the provision of a jackpot feature is considered to be a desirable feature.

Communal contribution jackpots are also available on slot machines where a plurality of gaming machines contribute revenue to a jackpot pool. In this way electronic slot machines can be linked into large groups and large jackpots can be accumulated. Communal contribution jackpots on slot machines usually operate by diverting a percentage of each wager into the jackpot pool, which has the effect of decreasing the prize pool for each individual slot machine available for the non-jackpot prizes. These jackpot pools can be substantially larger than those available on individual machines, and this increases their popularity with players. In such jackpot games, a player contributes to the jackpot pool whether or not the player wishes to participate in the jackpot and the jackpot is only awarded to a single player when triggered.

Mystery jackpots usually set a lower and an upper limit within which the jackpot must be won. In known slot machine jackpot systems, a pooled jackpot is funded by taking a percentage of each wager on each linked machine to build up the jackpot pool.

A disadvantage of the prior art is that players may perceive that the odds of winning the communal contribution jackpot are small so they may avoid playing machines connected to the communal contribution jackpot.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The preferred embodiment of the present invention overcomes or ameliorates at least one of the disadvantages of the prior art, or at least provides a useful alternative.

According to a first aspect of the invention there is disclosed a system for providing a communal jackpot, the system including:

a plurality of gaming machines, each gaming machine providing an individual game of chance to a player wagering at each respective gaming machine,

a communal jackpot controller in communication with each of the gaming machines, the communal jackpot controller providing a communal jackpot game to the players wagering at each gaming machine, the communal jackpot controller awarding the communal jackpot to a plurality of players according to predetermined eligibility criterion when triggered.

Preferably the communal jackpot has a value and a percentage of each player's wager on the individual game of chance is allocated to the value of the communal jackpot.

Preferably the communal jackpot is triggered when the value of the communal jackpot crosses a threshold trigger value.

Preferably the threshold trigger value is random. Preferably the threshold value is randomly predetermined by the communal jackpot controller. Preferably the threshold value is set between a minimum jackpot limit and a maximum jackpot limit.

Preferably each of the players is eligible to receive a portion of the communal jackpot according to one or more of the following criteria: the player having an active wager on the individual game provided at their respective gaming machine; the value of the player's wager on the individual game being above a minimum eligibility threshold; the physical location of the gaming machine; the player being enrolled in a venue loyalty scheme; the average wager of the gamer on the individual game during the course of a predetermine time period; player statistics associated with the loyalty scheme; the player electing to place an additional ante bet; a random selection of a plurality of players; the player placing a wager on the individual game where that wager is higher than the average wager of a predetermine percentage of other players' wagers; the player wagering the maximum wager available on the individual game; the magnitude of a player's wager relative to other players' wagers'; or any other suitable criteria or criterion.

Preferably the percentage of each player's wager on the individual game of chance that is allocated to the value of the communal jackpot is added individually and the player whose contribution causes the value of the communal jackpot to cross the threshold trigger value is awarded a predetermined percentage of the communal jackpot.

Preferably the predetermine percentage is selected from one of: 10%; 20%; 30%; 40%; 50%; 60%; 70%; 80%; or 90%. Preferably the remaining value of the communal jackpot is awarded to the remaining eligible players. Preferably the remaining value of the communal jackpot is awarded to the remaining eligible players in equal portions.

Preferably the gaming machines for providing an individual game of chance are located at a single venue. In other embodiments the individual gaming machines are located at multiple venues and the jackpot controller is in communication with the gaming machines across those venues. The communication is preferably via, the Internet, a VPN, WAN, or the like.

According to a second aspect of the invention there is disclosed a method for providing a communal jackpot, the method including the steps of:

providing a plurality of gaming machines, each gaming machine providing an individual game of chance to a player wagering at each respective gaming machine,

providing a communal jackpot controller in communication with each of the gaming machines, the communal jackpot controller providing a communal jackpot game to the players wagering at each gaming machine, the communal jackpot controller awarding the communal jackpot to a plurality of players according to predetermined eligibility criterion when triggered.

Preferably the method includes the step of providing a value to the communal jackpot and allocating a percentage of each player's wager on the individual game of chance to the value of the communal jackpot.

Preferably the method includes the step of triggering the communal jackpot when the value of the communal jackpot crosses a threshold trigger value.

Preferably the method includes the step of randomly setting the threshold trigger value. Preferably the method includes the step of the communal jackpot controller randomly predetermining the threshold value. Preferably the method includes the step of setting the threshold value between a minimum jackpot limit and a maximum jackpot limit.

Preferably the method includes the step of determining the eligibility of each players to receive a portion of the communal jackpot according to one or more of the following criteria: the player having an active wager on the individual game provided at their respective gaming machine; the value of the player's wager on the individual game being above a minimum eligibility threshold; the physical location of the gaming machine; the player being enrolled in a venue loyalty scheme; the average wager of the gamer on the individual game during the course of a predetermine time period; player statistics associated with the loyalty scheme; the player electing to place an additional ante bet; a random selection of a plurality of players; the player placing a wager on the individual game where that wager is higher than the average wager of a predetermine percentage of other players' wagers; the player wagering the maximum wager available on the individual game; the magnitude of a player's wager relative to other players' wagers'; or any other suitable criteria or criterion.

Preferably the method includes the step of individually allocating the percentage of each player's wager on the individual game of chance to the value of the communal jackpot. Preferably the method includes the step of awarding a predetermined percentage of the communal jackpot to the player whose contribution causes the value of the communal jackpot to cross the threshold trigger value.

Preferably the predetermine percentage is selected from one of: 10%; 20%; 30%; 40%; 50%; 60%; 70%; 80%; or 90%.

Preferably the method includes the step of awarding the remaining value of the communal jackpot to the remaining eligible players. Preferably the method includes the step of awarding the remaining value of the communal jackpot to the remaining eligible players in equal portions.

Preferably the method includes the step of locating the gaming machines for providing an individual game of chance at a single venue. In other embodiments the method includes the step of locating the individual gaming machines at multiple venues and providing the jackpot controller such that it is in communication with the gaming machines across those venues. The communication is preferably via, the Internet, a VPN, WAN, or the like.

According to a third aspect the invention provides for a jackpot game method including:

determining, or selecting a previously determined, lower jackpot value;

determining, or selecting a previously determined, upper jackpot value;

randomly determining a jackpot win value between the lower jackpot value and the upper jackpot value;

randomly determining a threshold value between the jackpot win value and the upper jackpot value; and

communicating the threshold value to a player of a gaming machine.

Preferably, the method includes updating a variable jackpot value in response to a play of a gaming machine, wherein a jackpot game is won when the variable jackpot value is at or above the jackpot win value.

Preferably, and as required in some jurisdictions, the jackpot win value is determined at the beginning of the jackpot game and remains fixed for the duration of the game. In other embodiments the method includes, either continuously or periodically during the jackpot game, randomly determining a new threshold value between the jackpot win value and the upper jackpot value, and communicating the new threshold value to each player of the gaming machine.

Preferably, the method includes communicating the threshold value to a plurality of gaming machines that collectively define a gaming network. More preferably, plays on all of the gaming machines in the network contribute to the accumulation of the jackpot. Preferably the threshold value, or new threshold value, does not affect the chance of winning the jackpot game. More preferably, the lower jackpot value and upper jackpot value are determined before the jackpot game commences.

According to a forth aspect the invention provides for a jackpot game system including: a jackpot controller for communicating with one or more the gaming machines;

at least one jackpot display in communication with the jackpot controller and viewable by a player of the or each the gaming machine; and wherein the jackpot controller:

determines, or has a previously determined, the lower jackpot value;

determines, or has a previously determined, the upper jackpot value;

randomly determines the jackpot win value between the lower jackpot value and the upper jackpot value;

randomly determines the threshold value between the jackpot win value and the upper jackpot value; and

causes the threshold value to be displayed on at least one the jackpot display.

Preferably the jackpot controller is responsive to game plays on the or each gaming machine to update a variable jackpot value, the jackpot controller determining that a jackpot game has been won when the variable jackpot value is at or above the jackpot win value.

Preferably the jackpot win value is determined at the beginning of the jackpot game and remains fixed for the duration of the game. More preferably, the threshold value is determined at the beginning of the jackpot game and remains fixed for the duration of the game. In other embodiments the jackpot controller, either continuously or periodically during the jackpot game, randomly determines a new threshold value between the jackpot win value and the upper jackpot value, displaying a new threshold value on at least one jackpot display.

Preferably the threshold value, or new threshold value, does not affect the chance of winning the jackpot game. More preferably, the lower jackpot value and upper jackpot value are determined before the jackpot game commences. Even more preferably, the jackpot controller is operable for one jackpot game or two or more simultaneous jackpot games, each jackpot game having its own lower jackpot value, upper jackpot value, jackpot win value and threshold value, there being at least one jackpot display for each jackpot game.

According to a fifth aspect the invention provides for a computer readable medium including instructions to a jackpot controller to:

determine, or read a previously determined, lower jackpot value;

determine, or read a previously determined, upper jackpot value;

randomly determine a jackpot win value between the lower jackpot value and the upper jackpot value;

randomly determine a threshold value between the jackpot win value and the upper jackpot value; and

cause the threshold value to be communicated to a players of the gaming machine.

Preferably, the medium includes instructions to the jackpot controller to be responsive to input from one or more gaming machines, the response including updating a variable jackpot value in response to plays on the gaming machines, and determining that a jackpot game has been won when the variablejackpot value is at or exceeds the jackpot win value.

Preferably, the medium includes instructions to the jackpot controller to, either continuously or periodically during the jackpot game, randomly determining a new threshold value between the jackpot win value and the upper jackpot value, and cause the new threshold value to be communicated to players of gaming machines.

Preferably, the threshold value, or new threshold value, does not affect the chance of winning the jackpot game. More preferably, the medium may include a previously determined lower jackpot value and a previously determined upper jackpot value that are readable by the jackpot controller.

Preferably, the medium includes instructions to the jackpot controller to be operable for one jackpot game or two or more simultaneous jackpot games, each jackpot game having its own lower jackpot value, upper jackpot value, jackpot win value and threshold value. Preferably also, the computer readable medium is one or more of RAM, EPROM, EEPROM or other non-volatile memory devices.

According to a sixth aspect the invention provides a gaming machine for use in a gaming network that allows a gamer to participate in a first game of chance associated with the machine and a second game of chance associated with the network, the second game including a jackpot prize that progressively increases from a lower value toward an upper value and which is awarded when the prize reaches a randomly predetermined jackpot win value that lies between the upper and lower value, the machine including:

an input device for allowing the gamer to provide an input signal to actuate the machine;

a local controller being responsive to the input signal for initiating the first game of chance and for communicating with a network controller to both initiate the second game of chance and to obtain a threshold value that falls between the lower value and the first jackpot win value;

a local display being responsive to the local controller for allowing the gamer to view the first game of chance and the threshold value.

Preferably, the local controller also obtains from the network controller the upper value and the local display allows the gamer to view the upper value. More preferably, the machine includes a housing for supporting the input device, the local controller and the local display. Even more preferably, the local display includes a first display for allowing the gamer to view the first game of chance and a second display, spaced apart from the first display, for allowing the gamer to view the threshold value.

Preferably also, the network controller includes a network display that allows the gamer to view the upper value. More preferably, the network display is prominently positioned in a line of sight from the machine. In some embodiments, the local controller obtains the upper value from the network controller and the local display includes the network display.

In a preferred form, the local display is a single display device that incorporates two or more of the first display, the second display and the network display. In other embodiments, the second display is an LED screen mounted to the housing.

Preferably, the network controller obtains a second threshold value that falls between the jackpot win value and the upper jackpot value and the local controller allows the gamer to view the second threshold value. More preferably, the second threshold value is randomly determined.

Preferably, the network controller is responsive to the jackpot being awarded for providing an audible and/or visual indication of the machine that triggered the award. That is, the gamer operating the machine that has triggered the award of the jackpot is provided with an immediate sensory indication that this has occurred. More preferably, the indication is provided by one or more of: a siren, one or more flashing lights; a display that is prominent in the establishment in which the gaming machine is contained; a visual message that is provided on the local display.

According to a seventh aspect the invention provides for a jackpot game method including:

determining, or selecting a previously determined, lower jackpot value;

determining, or selecting a previously determined, upper jackpot value;

randomly determining ajackpot win value between the lower jackpot value and the upperjackpot value;

randomly determining a threshold value between the jackpot win value and the lower jackpot value; and

communicating the threshold value to a player of a gaming machine.

Preferably, the method includes updating a variable jackpot value in response to plays of the gaming machine, a jackpot game being won when the variable jackpot value is at or above the jackpot win value.

Preferably the jackpot win value is determined at the beginning of the jackpot game and remains fixed for the entire game. More preferably, the method includes, either continuously or periodically during the jackpot game, randomly determining a new threshold value between the jackpot win value and the lower jackpot value, and communicating the new second jackpot value to players of gaming machines. More preferably, the threshold value, or new second jackpot value, does not affect the chance of winning the jackpot game.

Preferably, the lower jackpot value and upper jackpot value are determined before the jackpot game commences.

According to an eight aspect the invention provides for a jackpot game system including: a jackpot controller for communicating with one or more gaming machines;

at least one jackpot display in communication with the jackpot controller and viewable by players of the or each of the gaming machines; and wherein the jackpot controller:

determines, or has a previously determined, lower jackpot value;

determines, or has a previously determined, upper jackpot value;

randomly determines a jackpot win value between the lower jackpot value and the upper jackpot value;

randomly determines a threshold value between the jackpot win value and the lower jackpot value; and

causes the threshold value to be displayed on the at least one jackpot display.

Preferably the jackpot controller is responsive to game plays on the gaming machines to update a variable jackpot value, the jackpot controller determining that a jackpot game has been won when the variable jackpot value is at or above the jackpot win value.

Preferably, the jackpot win value is determined at the beginning of the jackpot game and remains fixed for the entire game. Preferably also, the jackpot win value is determined at the beginning of the jackpot game and remains fixed for the duration of the game. Even more preferably, the jackpot controller, either continuously or periodically during the jackpot game, randomly determines a new threshold value between the jackpot win value and the lower jackpot value, and causes the new threshold value to be displayed on the at least one jackpot display. More preferably, the threshold value, or new threshold value, does not affect the chance of winning the jackpot game. Even more preferably, the lower jackpot value and upper jackpot value are determined before the jackpot game commences.

In a preferred form, the jackpot controller is operable for one jackpot game or for two or more simultaneous jackpot games, each jackpot game having its own lower jackpot value, upper jackpot value, jackpot win value and threshold value, there being at least one jackpot display for each jackpot game.

According to a ninth aspect the invention provides for a computer readable medium including instructions to a jackpot controller to:

determine, or read a previously determined, lower jackpot value,

determine, or read a previously determined, upper jackpot value,

randomly determine a jackpot win value between the lower jackpot value and the upper jackpot value,

randomly determine a threshold value between the jackpot win value and the lower jackpot value, and

cause the threshold value to be communicated to a player of a gaming machine.

Preferably, the medium includes instructions to the jackpot controller to be responsive to input from one or more gaming machines, said response including updating a variable jackpot value in response to plays on the gaming machines, and determining that a jackpot game has been won when the variable jackpot value is at or exceeds the jackpot win value.

Preferably the medium includes instructions to the jackpot controller to, either continuously or periodically during the jackpot game, randomly determine a new threshold value between the jackpot win value and the upper jackpot value, and cause the new threshold value to be communicated to the one or more players of the gaming machines. More preferably, the threshold value, or new threshold value, does not affect the chance of winning the jackpot game.

Preferably, the medium includes a previously determined lower jackpot value and a previously determined upper jackpot value that can be read by the jackpot controller.

More preferably, the medium includes instructions to the jackpot controller to be operable for one jackpot game or for two or more simultaneous jackpot games, each jackpot game having its own lower jackpot value, upper jackpot value, jackpot win value and threshold value.

Preferably, the computer readable medium is one or more of RAM, EPROM, EEPROM or other non-volatile memory devices.

According to a tenth aspect the invention provides a gaming machine for use in a gaming network that allows a gamer to participate in a first game of chance associated with the machine and a second game of chance associated with the network, the second game including a jackpot prize that progressively increases from a lower value toward an upper value and which is awarded when the prize reaches a randomly predetermined jackpot win value that lies between the upper and lower value, the machine including:

an input device for allowing the gamer to provide an input signal to actuate the machine; a local controller being responsive to the input signal for initiating the first game of chance and for communicating with a network controller to both initiate the second game of chance and to obtain a threshold value that falls between the upper value and the jackpot win value;

a local display being responsive to the local controller for allowing the gamer to view the first game of chance and the threshold value.

Preferably, the local controller also obtains from the network controller the upper value and the local display allows the gamer to view the upper value. More preferably, the machine includes a housing for supporting the input device, the local controller and the local display. Even more preferably, the local display includes a first display for allowing the gamer to view the first game of chance and a second display, spaced apart from the first display, for allowing the gamer to view the threshold value.

Preferably also, the network controller includes a network display that allows the gamer to view the upper value. More preferably, the network display is prominently positioned in a line of sight from the machine. In some embodiments, the local controller obtains the upper value from the network controller and the local display includes the network display.

In a preferred form, the local display is a single display device that incorporates two or more of the first display, the second display and the network display. In other embodiments, the second display is an LED screen mounted to the housing. Preferably, the network controller obtains a second threshold value that falls between the jackpot win value and the lower jackpot value and the local controller allows the gamer to view the second threshold value. More preferably, the second threshold value is randomly determined.

Preferably, the network controller is responsive the jackpot being awarded for providing an audible and/or visual indication of the machine that triggered the award. That is, the gamer operating the machine that has triggered the award of the jackpot is provided with an immediate sensory indication that this has occurred. More preferably, the indication is provided by one or more of: a siren, one or more flashing lights; a display that is prominent in the establishment in which the gaming machine is contained; a visual message that is provided on the local display.

Throughout the specification and claims which follow, unless the context requires otherwise, the word “comprise”, and other variations such as “comprises” and “comprising”, will be understood to imply the inclusion of a stated integer or step or group of integers or steps but not the exclusion of any other integer or step or group of integers of steps.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

A preferred embodiment of the invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1a is a diagram of a gaming machine according to the invention;

FIG. 1b is a diagram of another gaming machine according to the invention;

FIG. 2 is a player display according to the invention; and

FIG. 3 is a player display according to the invention; and

FIG. 4 is a diagram of a system according to the invention;

FIG. 5 is a diagram of a further system according to the invention; and

FIG. 6 is a system for a inter venue community jackpot according to the invention.

PREFERRED EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION

The preferred embodiment of the invention discloses a system for providing a communal jackpot in a gaming venue and/or across multiple gaming venues. The venues may be within one city, state or country or may be, in some instances, be provided across countries. The system includes a plurality of gaming machines, each gaming machine providing an individual game of chance to a player wagering at each respective gaming machine. The gaming machines may provide the same individual game to players or each machine may provide a different game to the players. These games are individual in that the result or outcome provided on one machine is independent of the result or outcome provided on another machine. A communal jackpot controller is in communication with each of the gaming machines via a local area network (LAN), Wide Area Network (WAN), the Internet, VPN or any other suitable communication network. The communal jackpot controller provides a communal jackpot game to the players wagering at each gaming machine, the communal jackpot controller awarding the communal jackpot to a plurality of players according to predetermined eligibility criterion when triggered.

The communal jackpot has an award or prize value that is typically prominently displayed to the players. This creates excitement and draws people to the gaming machines connected to the communal jackpot. Upon placing a wager on one of the gaming machines, a percentage of each player's wager on the individual game of chance is allocated to the value of the communal jackpot. This percentage is typically predetermined by the gaming venue and can be amended as required. For example, if the percentage is set at 5% and a player wagers $1 on an individual game, then an amount of $0.05 will be allocated towards the communal jackpot prize. The communal jackpot prize is then incremented by $0.05.

The communal jackpot is triggered when the value of the communal jackpot crosses a threshold trigger value. The trigger threshold value is typically random and is predetermined by the communal jackpot controller when the controller is initialised or when reset after a communal jackpot has been awarded. In some embodiments the trigger threshold is predetermined by the venue, however, this is less preferred. The trigger threshold value is typically set between a minimum jackpot limit and a maximum jackpot limit. This ensures that the communal jackpot amount does not start at $0 where a player would not be inclined to participate in the communal jackpot game. A maximum limit is also set so as to ensure that the communal jackpot is won within an estimated time period with the venue setting the upper limit of the prize they believe is reasonable to pay. The minimum and maximum thresholds are typically set by the gaming venue and can be changed when required preferably at the start of a new communal jackpot game. The display of the minimum and maximum thresholds also creates player excitement especially in the event that the jackpot value approaches the maximum threshold as players understand that the jackpot must be won at or before the jackpot value reaches the maximum threshold.

Each of the players wagering on an individual gaming machine connected to the jackpot controller is eligible to receive a portion of the communal jackpot when triggered according to one or more of the following criteria: the player having an active wager on the individual game provided at their respective gaming machine; the value of the player's wager on the individual game being above a minimum eligibility threshold; the physical location of the gaming machine; the player being enrolled in a venue loyalty scheme; the average wager of the gamer on the individual game during the course of a predetermine time period; player statistics associated with the loyalty scheme; the player electing to place an additional ante bet; a random selection of a plurality of players; the player placing a wager on the individual game where that wager is higher than the average wager of a predetermine percentage of other players' wagers; the player wagering the maximum wager available on the individual game; the magnitude of a player's wager relative to other players' wagers'; or any other suitable criteria or criterion.

That is, the gaming venue can specify a plurality if eligibility criteria for allowing a player wagering at a gaming machine to win a portion of the communal jackpot prize when triggered. The particular criteria can be determined by the venue and may be set to ensure the most enjoyment by players and to create an environment where everyone wins. This ensures that some players are not disappointed when a jackpot is triggered and they are not the winner as when a jackpot is triggered in this embodiment all eligible players win.

In one embodiment the player whose wager causes the communal jackpot to trigger and be awarded receives an equal amount of the communal jackpot prize along with all other eligible players. In another embodiment a venue can reward that player with a larger portion of the jackpot prize with the other eligible players receiving equal portions of the remaining prize.

In these embodiments, the percentage of each player's wager on the individual game of chance that is allocated to the value of the communal jackpot is added individually and the player whose contribution causes the value of the communal jackpot to cross the threshold trigger value is awarded a predetermined percentage of the communal jackpot.

The preferred percentage provided to the player whose wager triggered the jackpot is 80%, however, the predetermine percentage can be selected from one of: 10%; 20%; 30%; 40%; 50%; 60%; 70%; 80%; or 90% or indeed any percentage between 1% and 100%. The remaining value of the communal jackpot is awarded to the remaining eligible players according to predetermined criteria. In the preferred embodiment the remaining value of the communal jackpot is awarded to the remaining eligible players in equal portions however in some embodiments the remaining prize is not allocated in equal portions and one or more of the eligibility criteria may apply to determine which player receives which portion. For example, the player that triggered the jackpot may be allocated 80% of the jackpot with the eligible player who placed the highest wager on the individual game in progress or immediately before the triggering of the jackpot receiving 10% of the prize. The remaining eligible players may then be awarded equal portions of the remaining 10% of the prize. Alternatively the players who had the next highest wager would receive 5% of the prize with the remaining eligible players equally being awarded the remaining 5%. Alternatively the remaining portions of the jackpot are awarded progressively according to the criteria chosen until the entire jackpot prize is awarded. This may mean some otherwise eligible players are not awarded any of the prize as they did not rank sufficiently in the awards process. The particular percentages awarded to each player can be determined by the venue according to the criteria most advantageous for the venue or players.

The preferred embodiment of the invention also discloses a method for providing a communal jackpot. The method includes the steps of: providing a plurality of gaming machines, each gaming machine providing an individual game of chance to a player wagering at each respective gaming machine. The next step provides a communal jackpot controller in communication with each of the gaming machines, the communal jackpot controller providing a communal jackpot game to the players wagering at each gaming machine, the communal jackpot controller awarding the communal jackpot to a plurality of players according to predetermined eligibility criterion when triggered.

Gaming machines according to the preferred embodiment of the invention will now be described with reference to the drawings.

In one embodiment, as illustrated in FIG. 1A, the gaming device includes one or more display devices controlled by the processor. The display devices are preferably connected to or mounted to the cabinet of the gaming device. The embodiment shown in FIG. 1A includes a central display device 16 which displays a primary game. This display device may also display any suitable secondary game associated with the primary game as well as information relating to the primary or secondary game. The alternative embodiment shown in FIG. 1A includes a central display device 16 and an upper display device 18. The upper display device may display the primary game, any suitable secondary game associated or not associated with the primary game and/or information relating to the primary or secondary game. These display devices may also serve as digital glass operable to advertise games or other aspects of the gaming establishment. The gaming device includes a credit display which displays a player's current number of credits, cash, account balance or the equivalent. In one embodiment, the gaming device includes a bet display which displays a player's amount wagered. In one embodiment, as described in more detail below, the gaming device includes a player tracking display which displays information regarding a player's playing tracking status.

In another embodiment, at least one display device may be a mobile display device, such as a PDA or tablet PC, that enables play of at least a portion of the primary or secondary game at a location remote from the gaming device.

The display devices may include, without limitation, a monitor, a television display, a plasma display, a liquid crystal display (LCD) a display based on light emitting diodes (LED), a display based on a plurality of organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs), a display based on polymer light-emitting diodes (PLEDs), a display based on a plurality of surface-conduction electron-emitters (SEDs), a display including a projected and/or reflected image or any other suitable electronic device or display mechanism. In one embodiment, as described in more detail below, the display device includes a touch-screen with an associated touch-screen controller. The display devices may be of any suitable size and configuration, such as a square, a rectangle or an elongated rectangle. The display devices of the gaming device are configured to display at least one and preferably a plurality of game or other suitable images, symbols and indicia such as any visual representation or exhibition of the movement of objects such as mechanical, virtual or video reels and wheels, dynamic lighting, video images, images of people, characters, places, things and faces of cards, and the like.

In one alternative embodiment, the symbols, images and indicia displayed on or of the display device may be in mechanical form. That is, the display device may include any electromechanical device, such as one or more mechanical objects, such as one or more rotatable wheels, reels or dice, configured to display at least one or a plurality of game or other suitable images, symbols or indicia.

As illustrated in FIG. 1A, in one embodiment, the gaming device includes at least one payment device 24 in communication with the processor.

A payment device such as a payment acceptor includes a note, ticket or bill acceptor 28 wherein the player inserts paper money, a ticket or voucher and a coin slot 26 where the player inserts money, coins, or tokens. In other embodiments, payment devices such as readers or validators for credit cards, debit cards or credit slips may accept payment. In one embodiment, a player may insert an identification card into a card reader of the gaming device. In one embodiment, the identification card is a smart card having a programmed microchip or a magnetic strip coded with a player's identification, credit totals (or related data) and other relevant information. In another embodiment, a player may carry a portable device, such as a cell phone, a radio frequency identification tag or any other suitable wireless device, which communicates a player's identification, credit totals (or related data) and other relevant information to the gaming device. In one embodiment, money may be transferred to a gaming device through electronic funds transfer. When a player funds the gaming device, the processor determines the amount of funds entered and displays the corresponding amount on the credit or other suitable display as described above.

In one embodiment, as mentioned above and seen in FIG. 1A, one input device is a touch-screen 42 coupled with a touch-screen controller 44, or some other touch-sensitive display overlay to allow for player interaction with the images on the display. The touch-screen and the touch-screen controller are connected to a video controller 46. A player can make decisions and input signals into the gaming device by touching the touch-screen at the appropriate places. One such input device is a conventional touch-screen button panel.

The gaming device may further include a plurality of communication ports for enabling communication of the processor with external peripherals, such as external video sources, expansion buses, game or other displays, an SCSI port or a key pad.

In one embodiment, as seen in FIG. 1A, the gaming device includes a sound generating device controlled by one or more sounds cards 48 which function in conjunction with the processor. In one embodiment, the sound generating device includes at least one and preferably a plurality of speakers 50 or other sound generating hardware and/or software for generating sounds, such as playing music for the primary and/or secondary game or for other modes of the gaming device, such as an attract mode. In one embodiment, the gaming device provides dynamic sounds coupled with attractive multimedia images displayed on one or more of the display devices to provide an audio-visual representation or to otherwise display full-motion video with sound to attract players to the gaming device. During idle periods, the gaming device may display a sequence of audio and/or visual attraction messages to attract potential players to the gaming device. The videos may also be customized for or to provide any appropriate information.

In one embodiment, the gaming machine may include a sensor, such as a camera in communication with the processor (and possibly controlled by the processor) that is selectively positioned to acquire an image of a player actively using the gaming device and/or the surrounding area of the gaming device. In one embodiment, the camera may be configured to selectively acquire still or moving (e.g., video) images and may be configured to acquire the images in either an analog, digital or other suitable format. The display devices may be configured to display the image acquired by the camera as well as display the visible manifestation of the game in split screen or picture-in-picture fashion. For example, the camera may acquire an image of the player and the processor may incorporate that image into the primary and/or secondary game as a game image, symbol or indicia.

Gaming device 10 can incorporate any suitable wagering primary and/or base game. The gaming machine or device may include some or all of the features of conventional gaming machines or devices. The primary or base game may comprise any suitable reel-type game, card game, cascading or falling symbol game, number game or other game of chance susceptible to representation in an electronic or electromechanical form, which in one embodiment produces a random outcome based on probability data at the time of or after placement of a wager. That is, different primary wagering games, such as video poker games, video blackjack games, video keno, video bingo or any other suitable primary or base game may be implemented.

In one embodiment, as illustrated in FIG. 1B, one or more of the gaming devices 10 are in communication with each other and/or at least one central server, central controller or remote host 56 through a data network or remote communication link 58. In this embodiment, the central server, central controller or remote host is any suitable server or computing device which includes at least one processor and at least one memory or storage device. In different such embodiments, the central server is a progressive controller or a processor of one of the gaming devices in the gaming system. In these embodiments, the processor of each gaming device is designed to transmit and receive events, messages, commands or any other suitable data or signal between the individual gaming device and the central server. The gaming device processor is operable to execute such communicated events, messages or commands in conjunction with the operation of the gaming device. Moreover, the processor of the central server is designed to transmit and receive events, messages, commands or any other suitable data or signal between the central server and each of the individual gaming devices. The central server processor is operable to execute such communicated events, messages or commands in conjunction with the operation of the central server. It should be appreciated that one, more or each of the functions of the central controller as disclosed herein may be performed by one or more gaming device processors. It should be further appreciated that one, more or each of the functions of one or more gaming device processors as disclosed herein may be performed by the central controller.

In one embodiment, the game outcome provided to the player is determined by a central server or controller and provided to the player at the gaming device. In this embodiment, each of a plurality of such gaming devices are in communication with the central server or controller. Upon a player initiating game play at one of the gaming devices, the initiated gaming device communicates a game outcome request to the central server or controller.

In one embodiment, the central server or controller receives the game outcome request and randomly generates a game outcome for the primary game based on probability data. In another embodiment, the central server or controller randomly generates a game outcome for the secondary game based on probability data. In another embodiment, the central server or controller randomly generates a game outcome for both the primary game and the secondary game based on probability data. In this embodiment, the central server or controller is capable of storing and utilizing program code or other data similar to the processor and memory device of the gaming device.

In an alternative embodiment, the central server or controller maintains one or more predetermined pools or sets of predetermined game outcomes. In this embodiment, the central server or controller receives the game outcome request and independently selects a predetermined game outcome from a set or pool of game outcomes. The central server or controller flags or marks the selected game outcome as used. Once a game outcome is flagged as used, it is prevented from further selection from the set or pool and cannot be selected by the central controller or server upon another wager. The provided game outcome can include a primary game outcome, a secondary game outcome, primary and secondary game outcomes, or a series of game outcomes such as free games.

The central server or controller communicates the generated or selected game outcome to the initiated gaming device. The gaming device receives the generated or selected game outcome and provides the game outcome to the player. In an alternative embodiment, how the generated or selected game outcome is to be presented or displayed to the player, such as a reel symbol combination of a slot machine or a hand of cards dealt in a card game, is also determined by the central server or controller and communicated to the initiated gaming device to be presented or displayed to the player. Central production or control can assist a gaming establishment or other entity in maintaining appropriate records, controlling gaming, reducing and preventing cheating or electronic or other errors, reducing or eliminating win-loss volatility and the like.

The preferred embodiment of the invention provides a system and method for triggering a feature or Mystery Jackpot in a plurality of EGMs. The EGMs may be supplied by the same or different manufacturers and may have the same of different games thereon.

The preferred embodiment of the invention has been developed primarily for awarding a jackpot prize of monetary value, however, non monetary prizes can also be awarded. In the case of non monetary prizes, a plurality of prizes is preferably awarded to a plurality of players. Each non monetary prize may have a different value associated with it and the prizes may be awarded randomly or preferentially according to the criteria specified above. Non monetary prizes include televisions, laptop computers, Ipods, Iphones, mobile phones and the like.

The preferred embodiment of the invention provides a communal jackpot system that can add a feature game or jackpot to a plurality of machines from one or more EGM manufacturers. Typically in the prior art, external or internal electronic devices (such as Jackpot controllers) connected to electronic gaming machines allowed venues to award different types of jackpot prizes to players. However, these jackpot prizes were restricted to one particular EGM type from a single manufacturer. As such when a venue such as a Casino and/or Club wanted to change or add a new jackpot game (for example for seasonal events and the like) they needed to request that the specific EGM manufacturer add the feature to their gaming machines. This involves added cost and time. EGM manufacturers also only add feature games to the gaming machines they manufacture. Accordingly, the community jackpot system of the preferred embodiment is advantageous as it can provide a plurality of EGMs from different manufacturers with a common jackpot game and system.

A standard mystery jackpot game according to the preferred embodiment involves a secret random jackpot prize being won by a electronic gaming machine that is being played. Each EGM approved to be connected to the mystery jackpot system contributes a set percentage of its turnover to the prize pool, the value of which is shown on the display. The jackpot is won between two set limits, the minimum and maximum prize, when the player contributing the last increment matches the predetermined random prize.

The jackpot system of the preferred embodiment randomly selects the maximum trigger threshold (from within predetermined thresholds) after each time the jackpot is triggered. For example, if the predetermined approved thresholds for a mini jackpot is $25 (minimum threshold) to $100 (maximum threshold) then the controller randomly selects a figure between these two numbers to act as the trigger value. If the trigger value is, say, selected as $72 then the next jackpot will be won when the value of the jackpot crosses over the trigger value of $72. Each time a player wagers on a linked EGM then a percentage of their wager is allocated to the jackpot value. For example, if the player contribution is $1.13 and the jackpot minimum amount is $25 then after that wager the jackpot amount will be incremented by $1.13 to $26.13.

In some embodiments the controller randomly selects the upper threshold and trigger values so that the upper threshold can be seen to change from the perspective of the player. As would be understood the trigger value would not be revealed to the players. In the example described below, the maximum threshold value selected was $76. It would be understood that the jackpot value would not reach the value of $76 but would be triggered at the trigger value selected in this instance of $72.

FIGS. 2 and 3 are images of displays that are shown to players. The displays can be on a gaming machine display or can be shown on a separate information display on a large screen TV or the like. Each image has two layers, the overlay and the background. The background may be a still picture or a movie clip according to the preference of the venue. The overlay displays information on the jackpots to the players. As would be understood, the jackpot controller can provide a plurality of community jackpot games to the players. The preferred embodiment provides a grand jackpot, a major jackpot, a minor jackpot and a mini jackpot. It would be understood that the number of jackpots and the features of each jackpot can be selected by the venues and can be amended as desired.

FIG. 2 shows an overlay of a minor jackpot. The background 201 can be a still image or movie clip. The overlay picture has two parts, 202 and 203 which display information to the viewer/player. In this instance the overlay 203 informs the player that the next minor jackpot will be won before the jackpot value reaches $223. The overlay 202 informs the viewer that the current minor jackpot value is $200.85.

FIG. 3 shows an overlay 301 that includes information on four jackpot types. A grand, major, minor and mini jackpot. The current value of each jackpot is shown along with the value of the jackpot by which the jackpot must be awarded. As would be understood this provides excitement to players especially in instances where the current jackpot value is close to the maximum jackpot value at which the prize must be awarded. As would be understood, the overlay is placed on top of the background image and is used to display the numeric information about the jackpot. The display can cycle between a single level display and a multi level display as required. Alternatively a separate display can be provided for each jackpot.

FIG. 4 shows an embodiment of the invention where electronic gaming machines EGM1, EGM2 and EGM 3 are connected to a mystery jackpot system. All the active, (being communicating and playing) EGMs connected to the mystery jackpot system contribute a set percentage of the EGM s turnover to the prize pool on the display. The jackpot must be won between two set minimum and maximum limits and the system awards a mystery jackpot to a single EGM either EGM 1 or EGM 2 or EGM 3 based on certain conditions.

FIG. 5 shows a more preferred embodiment of the invention where the jackpots triggered are awarded to two or more active EGMS. The Figure shows a jackpot system where players playing an EGM share in the advertised prize pool of a particular jackpot level instead of a single winner. The preferred embodiment of the invention involves awarding multiple EGMs with a predetermined communal payment method. The method of the communal payment can be decided from a number of predetermined scenarios. Different methods can be implemented to achieve awarding the mystery jackpot to a plurality of EGMs. Some of the most preferred methods are described below. All the EGMs connected to the mystery jackpot systems satisfying certain conditions such as actively playing/online at the time of mystery jackpot hit can are awarded a portion of the jackpot.

Selecting EGM and EGM groups can be based on, but not limited to, the following criteria as well as the criteria mentioned above:

    • Banks—EGMs grouped together in “banks” in certain areas of the venue.
    • Denomination—EGMs are awarded if their denomination matches the triggered winner (for example, 1 c, 2 c, 5 c, 10 c, 50 c, $1, $2 and so on according to the number of denominations provided by the venue).
    • Odd/Even EGM house numbers
    • Inter venue group, venue (Casino/Club) choice.
    • Random selection of all or some of the active EGMs.

FIG. 5 shows a preferred mystery jackpot award system. EGMs EGM 1, EGM 2 and EGM 3 are connected to a mystery jackpot system which includes a jackpot controller. All the active (being communicating/playing) EGMs connected to the mystery jackpot system contribute a set percentage of the EGMs turnover to the prize pool. The jackpot is triggered and won when the value crosses the trigger threshold which is randomly set between the minimum and maximum award limits. The jackpot prize is awarded to one or more of the EGMs according to the preferred selection criterion or criteria. That is, all the EGMs, or a plurality of EGM1, EGM2 and EGM3 can be awarded a portion of the jackpot prize.

The preferred embodiment of the invention provides a jackpot system for allowing a jackpot to be awarded to EGMs used at a plurality of venues. The jackpot controller is in communication with all the EGMs across all the venues and when a jackpot is triggered the controller selects different EGMs across the different venues to be awarded a portion of the jackpot prize. The EGMs criteria for choosing which EGMs are eligible to be awarded a portion of the prize is based on certain conditions in each venue or a global set of criteria. While examples given in the preferred embodiment use two venues the system can be extended to any number of venues.

FIG. 6 shows a system for a inter venue community jackpot. The system shown in FIG. 6 provides a mystery jackpot system for providing a jackpot across a plurality of venues and allows a triggered jackpot to be awarded to EGMs across the venues. For example, a jackpot may be triggered at one venue and EGMs at that venue and additional venues may be eligible to be awarded a portion of the jackpot prize. The awarding of the jackpot prize to different EGMs in different venues is determined on predetermined conditions at each venue. Alternatively a global set of criteria can be used to determine which EGMs are eligible to receive a portion of the jackpot.

The system shown in FIG. 6 has two venues. Each venue includes a plurality of EGMs connected to the jackpot controller. The first venue has 8 EGMs denoted by V11, V13, V15, V17, V19, V111, V113, V115. The second venue also has 8 EGMs denoted by V20, V22, V24, V26, V28, V230, V232, V234.

In various implementations, a jackpot that is triggered is awarded to a plurality of EGMs from each venue. In one example, EGMs V15, V17, V234, V20, V26 are eligible to be awarded a portion of the triggered jackpot. This eligibility may be based on any of the criteria mentioned above such as the banks in which the machine is physically placed, the theme of the game provided, denomination of the machine, odd or even EGM number, inter venue group, or may be based on the choice of the Venue (which may be a casino or club).

In one embodiment, a themed communal jackpot system is provided. The theme is based on the sporting event the “State of Origin” which is played between two teams of players, one from Queensland and one from New South Wales. The theme is named the “State of Origin Community Jackpot”. In this system two banks (or rows) of EGMs are provided. One bank has a Queensland theme and the other has a New South Wales theme. The theme may include a game that is tailored towards the particular team and row in which the EGM is placed and may include tailored graphics, colours, sounds and the like. Alternatively the game on each EGM may remain unchanged and the decoration around the EGM is simply chosen according to the desired theme. This embodiment may be a single game community jackpot or a multiple venue community jackpot. In the multiple venue embodiment a venue or venues in New South Wales are provided with EGMs with the New South Wales theme and a venue or venues in Queensland are provided with EGMs with the Queensland theme. As would be understood, the system is not limited to this theme and the particular teams mentioned herein and any suitable theme, whether sporting or otherwise can be used.

In this embodiment, when a player playing an EGM in one of the banks triggers a community jackpot level all players on his or her bank that are actively playing an EGM receive a share of the jackpot prize.

For example, take the case of a four level jackpot system connected to 20 EGMs. The EGMs are separated into two banks (physical groups) of 10 EGMs on each. The signage above bank 1 depicts maroon colours and includes themed signage of the Queensland side. Bank 2 depicts blue colours and includes is themed signage of the New South Wales side.

The system includes four jackpot levels. Three of the jackpot levels being levels 2, 3 and 4 operate a standard mystery game that is awarded to a single EGM only, being the EGM that triggered the jackpot. The level 1 jackpot operates as a community jackpot and is shared between the eligible EGMs playing on the same bank as the EGM that triggered the jackpot.

Say there are currently five players actively playing on the Queensland bank. Say also that there are four players actively playing on the NSW bank. The current prize pool of the level 1 community jackpot is $6,000.

If the level 1 community jackpot is triggered by one of the EGMs on the New South Wales bank then the jackpot amount of $6,000 will be awarded to those eligible EGMs on the New South Wales bank. Since there are four active and eligible players on the New South Wales bank in this embodiment the jackpot prize will be shared equally among each of the four EGMs. That is, the four players actively playing at each of the EGMs on the New South Wales bank that triggered the jackpot are each awarded $1,500 from the jackpot prize pool ($6,000 divided by four players). In other embodiments the player at the EGM that triggered the jackpot would be awarded 50% of the jackpot ($3,000) and the remaining three players would share the remaining 50% equally. That is, they would receive $1,000 each. It would be understood that the division of the jackpot can be determined according to the criteria mentioned above.

In some jurisdictions players are limited to receive a certain payment by automatic transfer to the EGM. In these jurisdictions the venue may advertise the full jackpot amount in the knowledge that the jackpot amount will be below the threshold. As such, this may be advantageous as a larger jackpot amount than will be awarded to any one player can be advertised.

In another embodiment, a player at the Queensland bank triggers the communal jackpot. All players actively playing in the Queensland bank receive a share of the jackpot prize however the player at the EGM that triggered the jackpot received 80% of the prize and the remaining players share the other 20% equally. If the jackpot were $6,000 then the player that triggered the jackpot would receive $4,800 and each of the other fours players at the Queensland bank (assuming five active players in total) would receive an equal share of the remaining $1,200 being $300.

In another embodiment a 2, 3 or 4 level jackpot system is connected to 20 EGMs. All available levels of jackpot act as a communal jackpot where the jackpot prize is shared among the active and eligible EGM's.

Say there are five players actively playing on the bank. The level 3 community jackpot is triggered by one EGM on the bank. The current prize pool of the level 3 community jackpot is $1000. The triggering EGM receives a prize of $800 (80% of the prize pool) and the four other active machines share the remaining 20% of the prize being $50 each.

In one embodiment, as players on gaming machines participate in a first game provided at each gaming machine they contribute to the prize pool of a jackpot game. The jackpot controller is enabled for up to four simultaneous jackpot games. Each game has a different jackpot level and is enabled to be of one of two types: a standard game or an enhanced game.

The standard game involves a secret random monetary prize, called a jackpot which occurs between published upper and lower limits. The jackpot controller randomly determines a jackpot win value between the upper and lower limits. This value is not revealed while the prize pool is being contributed. As games are played on each gaming machine a percentage of the gaming machine turnover is contributed to the prize pool. When the prize pool reaches the randomly selected win value the jackpot is won. The gaming machine or in the case of a communal jackpot, the group of gaming machines that contributed the win amount to the prize pool is awarded the jackpot. After the jackpot has been won the prize pool is reset to the published lower limit.

In an enhanced game, the win value is randomly selected in the same manner as the standard game. However a second random value is selected and caused to be displayed on the jackpot displays, revealing it to the players while the prize pool is being contributed. In the preferred embodiment of the enhanced random game the second random number is generated to fall between the randomly selected win value and the published upper limit. When revealed to the players it is indicated that the jackpot must be won “under this limit”. This seemingly reveals narrower odds of winning the jackpot, but does not affect the payout percentage or turnover statistics, which are the same as for the standard random game.

Displays according to the enhanced game can be seen in FIGS. 2 and 3 where the second random value is shown to players as the value by when the jackpot must be triggered.

In another embodiment of the enhanced random game the second random number is generated to fall between the published lower limit and the randomly generated win value and caused to be displayed to the players on the jackpot displays. This reveals a higher initial jackpot value to the players, encouraging them to participate in the new game.

For the standard random game the average jackpot win amount is calculated by using the following formula:


average win=(maximum−start up)/2+start up

The probability of a jackpot hit on the next increment is:


1 in P=(maximum−current)×100.

For the preferred embodiment of the enhanced random game the average jackpot win amount is calculated using the following formula:


average win=(maximum−start up)/2+start up

The average reveal amount is equal to the following formula:


average reveal=(maximum−average win)/2+average win.

The probability of a jackpot hit on the next increment is:


1 in P=(reveal−current)×100.

As can be seen from the above disclosure, the preferred embodiment of the invention provides a useful system for providing a communal jackpot.

Any commercial processor may be used to implement the embodiments of the invention either as a single processor, serial or parallel set of processors in the system. Examples of commercial processors include, but are not limited to Merced™, Pentium™, Pentium II™, Xeon™, Celeron™, Pentium Pro™, Efficeon™, Athlon, AMD, Intel Centrino™, Intel Core Duo™, Intel Core 2 Duo™, Intel Centrino™, Intel Xeon™ and the like.

Display screens may be segment display screen, analogue display screens, digital display screens, CRTs, LED screens, Plasma screens, liquid crystal diode screens, and the like.

Although the invention has been described with reference to specific examples, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the invention may be embodied in many other forms.

The claims defining the invention are as follows: 1. A system for providing a communal jackpot, the system including: a plurality of gaming machines, each gaming machine providing an individual game of chance to a player wagering at each respective gaming machine, a communal jackpot controller in communication with each of the gaming machines, the communal jackpot controller providing a communal jackpot game to the players wagering at each gaming machine, the communal jackpot controller awarding the communal jackpot to a plurality of players according to predetermined eligibility criterion when triggered. 2. A system according to claim 1 wherein the communal jackpot has a value and a percentage of each player's wager on the individual game of chance is allocated to the value of the communal jackpot. 3. A system according to claim 2 wherein the communal jackpot is triggered when the value of the communal jackpot crosses a threshold trigger value. 4. A system according to claim 3 wherein the threshold trigger value is random. 5. A system according to claim 4 wherein the threshold value is randomly predetermined by the communal jackpot controller. 6. A system according to claim 5 wherein the threshold value is set between a minimum jackpot limit and a maximum jackpot limit. 7. A system according to claim 6 wherein each of the players is eligible to receive a portion of the communal jackpot according to one or more of the following criteria: the player having an active wager on the individual game provided at their respective gaming machine; the value of the player's wager on the individual game being above a minimum eligibility threshold; the physical location of the gaming machine; the player being enrolled in a venue loyalty scheme; the average wager of the gamer on the individual game during the course of a predetermine time period; player statistics associated with the loyalty scheme; the player electing to place an additional ante bet; a random selection of a plurality of players; the player placing a wager on the individual game where that wager is higher than the average wager of a predetermine percentage of other players' wagers; the player wagering the maximum wager available on the individual game; the magnitude of a player's wager relative to other players' wagers'; or any other suitable criteria or criterion. 8. A system according to claim 7 wherein the percentage of each player's wager on the individual game of chance that is allocated to the value of the communal jackpot is added individually and the player whose contribution causes the value of the communal jackpot to cross the threshold trigger value is awarded a predetermined percentage of the communal jackpot. 9. A system according to claim 8 wherein the predetermine percentage is selected from one of: 10%; 20%; 30%; 40%; 50%; 60%; 70%; 80%; or 90%. 10. A system according to claim 9 wherein the remaining value of the communal jackpot is awarded to the remaining eligible players. 11. A system according to claim 10 wherein the remaining value of the communal jackpot is awarded to the remaining eligible players in equal portions. 12. A system according to claim 11 wherein the gaming machines for providing an individual game of chance are located at a single venue. 13. A system according to claim 11 wherein the gaming machines for providing an individual game of chance are located at multiple venues and the jackpot controller is in communication with the gaming machines across those venues. 14. A system according to claim 13 wherein the communication is preferably via, the Internet, a VPN, WAN, or the like. 15. A method for providing a communal jackpot, the method including the steps of: providing a plurality of gaming machines, each gaming machine providing an individual game of chance to a player wagering at each respective gaming machine, providing a communal jackpot controller in communication with each of the gaming machines, the communal jackpot controller providing a communal jackpot game to the players wagering at each gaming machine, the communal jackpot controller awarding the communal jackpot to a plurality of players according to predetermined eligibility criterion when triggered. 16. A method according to claim 15 wherein the communal jackpot games includes: determining, or selecting a previously determined, lower jackpot value; determining, or selecting a previously determined, upper jackpot value; randomly determining a jackpot win value between the lower jackpot value and the upper jackpot value; randomly determining a threshold value between the jackpot win value and the upper jackpot value; and communicating the threshold value to a player of a gaming machine. 17. A method according to claim 16 wherein including the step of updating a variable jackpot value in response to a play of a gaming machine, wherein a jackpot game is won when the variable jackpot value is at or above the jackpot win value. 18. A method according to claim 17 wherein including the step of providing a value to the communal jackpot and allocating a percentage of each player's wager on the individual game of chance to the value of the communal jackpot. 19. A system according to claim 1 including at least one jackpot display in communication with the jackpot controller and viewable by a player at each of the plurality of gaming machines and wherein the jackpot controller: determines, or has a previously determined, the lower jackpot value; determines, or has a previously determined, the upper jackpot value; randomly determines the jackpot win value between the lower jackpot value and the upper jackpot value; randomly determines the threshold value between the jackpot win value and the upper jackpot value; and causes the threshold value to be displayed on at least one the jackpot display. 20. A system according to claim 19 wherein the jackpot controller is responsive to game plays on the or each gaming machine to update a variable jackpot value, the jackpot controller determining that a jackpot game has been won when the variable jackpot value is at or above the jackpot win value.


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Key IP Translations - Patent Translations


stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20120088576 A1
Publish Date
04/12/2012
Document #
13377772
File Date
02/17/2010
USPTO Class
463 26
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
63F9/24
Drawings
8



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