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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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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.



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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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