CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
The present application claims priority to, and is a continuation-in-part of, U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/180,163, filed on Jul. 25, 2008, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. The present application further claims priority to and incorporates by reference U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/522,927, filed Aug. 12, 2011.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
- Top of Page
Embodiments of the present invention relate generally to games of chance. More specifically, the present invention relates to systems and methods for lottery-style games.
- Top of Page
OF THE INVENTION
Lottery is a popular game of chance in which a number of players contribute to form a jackpot that is later awarded, wholly or partially, to one or more winners. The participating players pay money or contribute other things of value in exchange for lottery tickets. Typically, each lottery ticket bears a combination of numbers or other symbols, and a winning ticket has to at least partially match a randomly generated set of numbers or symbols. In a properly operated lottery game, any one of the outstanding lottery tickets could be selected in a random drawing as a winning ticket, entitling its holder to some or all of the jackpot prize.
Sweepstakes in United States may be considered one special type of lottery games which are free to enter and are typically sponsored by merchants for promotional marketing purposes. In United Kingdom, a sweepstake is technically a lottery game in which the prize is financed through the tickets sold. Small-scale sweepstakes among private parties (e.g., colleagues and classmates) may also be considered lottery games which are often related to ongoing sports events.
Lottery games come in different formats. For example, the jackpot of a lottery game may be either a fixed cash amount or a certain percentage of ticket revenue. The combination of numbers on each lottery ticket could be a unique one, or each player may be allowed to select his or her own lucky numbers, making it possible for multiple tickets to share a same combination. Lottery games can be played either online or offline. The most popular lottery games, such as Powerball™, Mega Millions™, and Euro Millions™, are mostly paper-based, requiring the purchase of actual tickets, although some are now starting to open to online participants. A few lottery games can be played completely online. That is, instead of purchasing a paper ticket and filling in desired numbers with a pencil, an online player can purchase an electronic (or virtual) lottery ticket and select a desired combination via a web interface such as an Internet browser.
In all traditional lottery games, lottery tickets are sold in predetermined, fixed denominations, for example, one dollar per ticket. Accordingly, one winning ticket will entitle its holder to an entire unit of a corresponding winning prize. Proportional value lottery games have been proposed, for example, in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,296,569 and 7,351,142, but none appears to have been commercially implemented. Both of those patents describe the issuance of proportional denomination lottery tickets, online or at a point of sale (POS). For example, in any transaction involving change under a dollar, the change can be converted to a proportional denomination share of a full-unit (one-dollar) lottery ticket. If the full-unit lottery ticket is qualified for a prize, the holder of the proportional denomination ticket will be entitled to a fraction of the prize. For instance, if a one-dollar ticket matching all the winning numbers would entitle its holder to a jackpot amount, then a 25-cent proportional ticket entitles its holder to 25% of the jackpot.
All the existing types of lottery games appear to share a few common characteristics. First, they all have to issue some kind of lottery tickets, whether paper or electronic, full-denomination or proportional. The purposes for issuing lottery tickets are two-fold. The tickets bear numerical combinations or patterns to be compared to the randomly generated winning combination or pattern. The tickets also serve as proof of participation in the lottery games. However, the entire mechanism of generating, drawing, and matching tickets could impose significant overhead costs on the operation of lottery games.
Second, participation in traditional lottery games depends heavily on player impulse or enthusiasm, which causes ticket revenue to fluctuate. Except for a handful of gambling fanatics, most people only purchase lottery tickets occasionally. A loss in one game might cause an ordinary player to stop playing for a while. Also, public sentiment towards a lottery game often varies with the amount of jackpot prize available at the time. There seems to be a general belief that a one-dollar ticket somehow has a better chance of winning when the jackpot reaches several million dollars or more. Therefore, when the total jackpot snowballs into an unusually large amount, the public often become increasingly interested in the game. Once the jackpot is won, a period of stagnation typically follows the news-generating big win. For all these reasons, ticket revenues from traditional lottery games tend to swing with time and seldom generate a steady cash flow.
Third, players in a traditional lottery game have no direct or perceivable incentive for bringing more players into the game. Theoretically, an existing player may be indirectly benefited if more players join the lottery game, because the increased participation will increase the size of jackpot the existing player could potentially win. However, that potential benefit may not be tangible enough to encourage referrals of additional players. In addition, the existing player's chance of winning does not increase with the number of new players.
Furthermore, traditional lottery games including sweepstakes are pure games of chance and typically do not require any player skill or strategy. Every player's chance of winning is only affected by the number of lottery tickets he or she buys. One player's chance of winner is independent of another player's chance of winning As a result, there tends to be very little interaction among lottery participants.
In view of the foregoing, it may be understood that there are significant problems and shortcomings associated with traditional lottery games.
As disclosed in parent applications U.S. application Ser. Nos. 12/180,163 and 12/180,201, filed on Jul. 25, 2008, incorporated herein and described in-part below, lottery-style games are disclosed that are played using an interactive computing device such as a computer or mobile phone with an internet connection. In many cases, this may present an implementation issue for the current lottery market since over 95% of all lottery sales are currently made in retail stores, done using a paper betting slip that is scanned and processed by an online terminal (which is operated by the shopkeeper). Such online terminals are usually only set up to handle input in the form of said paper betting slips. Thus, in view of such issues, it may be understood that there are certain aspects of these disclosed lottery-style games that can be further improved upon.
- Top of Page
OF THE INVENTION
Systems and methods for lottery-style games are disclosed. In one particular aspect, a computer-implemented method for lottery-style games is disclosed. In one particular embodiment, the method includes the step of establishing, by at least one processor, a map-based lottery game that is scheduled to have a lottery drawing, where the map-based lottery game includes a gameboard comprising of a plurality of units, each selectable to represent an entry in the lottery game. In addition, a plurality of game entries are received each identifying a unit on the gameboard either with an identifier of the unit or with a lottery combination corresponding to the unit; and at least one winning entry from the plurality of game entries is selected by selecting among the plurality of units on the gameboard or among the units identified by the plurality of game entries.
In another aspect of the present invention, a system for lottery-style games is disclosed to include a processor, at least one storage device coupled to the processor, and a user interface coupled to the processor via one or more networks. Furthermore, in one embodiment, the processor is adapted to communicate with the at least one storage device and the user interface to execute instructions to establish a map-based lottery game that is scheduled to have a lottery drawing, where the map-based lottery game includes a gameboard comprising a plurality of units each selectable to represent an entry in the lottery game. Furthermore, the processor is adapted to receive a plurality of game entries each identifying a unit on the gameboard either with an identifier of the unit or with a lottery combination corresponding to the unit; and to select at least one winning entry from the plurality of game entries by selecting among the plurality of units on the gameboard or among the units identified by the plurality of game entries.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
- Top of Page
In order to facilitate a fuller understanding of the present invention, reference is now made to the accompanying drawings, in which like elements are referenced with like numerals. These drawings should not be construed as limiting the present invention, but are intended to be exemplary only.
FIG. 1 is a flow chart illustrating an exemplary method of facilitating lottery-style games in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 2 illustrates the flow of tokens from the perspective of a lottery game operator in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 3 illustrates the flow of tokens from the perspective of a player in a lottery game in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 4 is a block diagram illustrating an exemplary system for facilitating lottery-style games in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 5 is a block diagram illustrating exemplary software and data-storage modules for facilitating lottery-style games in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 6 shows a map for an exemplary GeoSweep game in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 7 illustrates an alternative method of establishing a grid or land boundaries in an exemplary GeoSweep game in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 8 illustrates another alternative method of establishing a grid or land boundaries in an exemplary GeoSweep game in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 9 is a flow chart illustrating an exemplary method of facilitating retail lottery-style games in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 10 illustrates an exemplary GGR Gameboard utilizing the 6-part lottery number.
FIG. 11 is an exemplary table of an exemplary prize payout for a lottery-style game in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.