Patents Examined by Mark Sager
  • Patent number: 7192352
    Abstract: A method and system for operating a video game or video game tournament (e.g., via a Web site) is disclosed. In accordance with the method and system a bonus is provided to a player playing the video game or participating in the video game tournament. In some embodiments a bonus is provided to the player if a rating associated with the player is worse than a threshold rating. In some embodiments a bonus is provided to the player if the occurrence of at least one predetermined condition is identified. Such a condition may be, for example, a condition that indicates the player will soon cease playing the video game or participating in the tournament.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 30, 2002
    Date of Patent: March 20, 2007
    Assignee: Walker Digital, LLC
    Inventors: Jay S. Walker, James A. Jorasch, Russell P. Sammon, Magdalena M. Fincham
  • Patent number: 7192343
    Abstract: A method for operating two different bonus games in a casino game machine. The first bonus game is played when a first predetermined orientation of the bonus symbols occurs on a pay line. The bonus game has a meter and a path to a goal wherein the path has a number of stopping points. The player advances based on player input from stopping point to stopping point along the path to the goal until either the meter reaches a predetermined value that ends the bonus game or until the goal is reached. The second bonus game is played when a second predetermined orientation of the bonus symbols occurs. The operation of the casino game is further affected by providing a graphic image in the video display of the reels to affect the play outcome. A game ticket version is also shown.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 5, 2006
    Date of Patent: March 20, 2007
    Assignee: Progressive Gaming International Corporation
    Inventor: Olaf Vancura
  • Patent number: 7186181
    Abstract: Methods and apparatus are described for distributing gaming applications to a plurality of gaming sites located in a plurality of regulatory regions via a wide area network. Each regulatory region has a regulatory scheme associated therewith. A plurality of gaming applications are stored on at least one central server. A subset of the gaming applications are distributed from the at least one central server to at least one of the gaming sites located in one of regulatory regions via the wide area network, the subset of gaming applications being determined according to the associated regulatory scheme.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 26, 2001
    Date of Patent: March 6, 2007
    Assignee: IGT
    Inventor: Richard E. Rowe
  • Patent number: 7182693
    Abstract: When a light beam shot from a light gun hits a target plate mounted on a target device, the light beam is detected by a beam detected position detecting unit, which generates a current based on the shot impact position of the light beam on the target plate. An extraneous light detecting unit generates a current based on extraneous light applied to the target device. The current generated by the beam detected position detecting unit or a voltage based on the current, and the current generated by the extraneous light detecting unit or a voltage based on the current are supplied to a subtractor, which subtracts the current generated by the extraneous light detecting unit or the voltage based on the current from the current generated by the beam detected position detecting unit or the voltage based on the current, and outputs a differential current or voltage value. Thus, an extraneous light component is removed from the current generated by the beam detected position detecting unit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 21, 2003
    Date of Patent: February 27, 2007
    Assignee: NEC Corporation
    Inventors: Tadashi Andoh, Hiroshi Watanabe
  • Patent number: 7179168
    Abstract: Systems and methods are provided for operating a gaming system. In one embodiment, an outcome amount associated with a total number of events is determined. For example, a total payout amount associated with a number of instant lottery tickets may be determined. Based on a parameter associated with a player, the outcome amount is allocated among the total number of events. The outcome amount may be allocated, for example, based on a total number of events selected by the player.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 29, 2000
    Date of Patent: February 20, 2007
    Assignee: Walker Digital, LLC
    Inventors: Stephen C. Tulley, James A. Jorasch, Jay S. Walker
  • Patent number: 7179166
    Abstract: A reel based game that requires skill, fast reflexes, good memory, and strategy to play well. In the preferred embodiment, a video screen is used to electronically display the apparent rotation of several reels. A player presses a stop button to stop the rotation of the reels. If a player can stop a symbol on the reel in a required location on the screen, then the player is rewarded according to a pre-determined table of rewards. In an electronic version of the game, there can be a bonus symbol that allows a player to enter a bonus round where rewards are higher. A player can use concentration and memory to increase the likelihood of successfully stopping desired symbols in the appropriate location by recognizing what symbols appear in what order on the reels. In an electronic version of the game, the symbols will be periodically shuffled on the reel to renew the challenge for a player.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 15, 2000
    Date of Patent: February 20, 2007
    Inventor: Thomas S. Abbott
  • Patent number: 7179169
    Abstract: A gaming apparatus that comprises a display unit that is capable of generating video images, a value input device, and a controller operatively coupled to the display unit and the value input device. The controller comprises a processor and a memory that are operatively coupled to the processor. The controller is programmed to allow a person to make a wager, and to cause a display portion representing an image of a rotating wheel to be generated on the display unit, wherein the rotating wheel has a section with a symbol displayed thereon. The controller is programmed to cause the symbol image to be displayed in a first orientation relative to the wheel when the wheel lies in a first angular orientation and to cause the symbol image to be adjusted so that the symbol image is displayed in a second orientation that is angularly spaced from the first angular orientation. The controller is also programmed to determine a value payout associated with an outcome of a game incorporating the wheel.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 28, 2003
    Date of Patent: February 20, 2007
    Assignee: IGT
    Inventors: Nicole Beaulieu, Robert Breckner
  • Patent number: 7175528
    Abstract: A computer-based customer tracking system passively identifies customers. Acquired biometric identification information is sent to a computer processor, which searches files in a library for matching biometric data. If no match is found, the processor opens a new file in the library. If a match is found, said processor stores in the file that a repeat identification has occurred. If said processor is only able to reduce the number of possible matches to two or more files, personnel determines if a match certain has occurred. If prior activity information stored in the file exceeds a predetermined level, the prior activity information is retrieved from the file and sent to a terminal, preferably at the location of the transaction. New information from the transaction is stored for future access. A selected or assigned personal identification number (PIN) reduces the time associated with, and improves the efficiency of, the identification process.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 4, 2003
    Date of Patent: February 13, 2007
    Assignee: Biometric Recognition, LLC
    Inventor: Blake Cumbers
  • Patent number: 7175523
    Abstract: A gaming machine and a method of conducting a game of chance on the gaming machine are disclosed. In response to a wager from a player, the machine conducts a selection game including a plurality of selectable elements associated with respective outcomes. In response to a player's selection of one of the selectable elements, the machine awards the outcomes associated with the selected element and at least one of the non-selected elements. The awarded outcome may, for example, include a payoff, a bonus game, or awarding the outcome associated with yet another of the non-selected elements. If the awarded outcome includes the bonus game, the bonus game may re-trigger the selection game.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 9, 2002
    Date of Patent: February 13, 2007
    Assignee: WMS Gaming Inc.
    Inventors: Jason C. Gilmore, Larry J. Pacey
  • Patent number: 7175521
    Abstract: A multilevel game includes a base game in which game credits and free passes may be accumulated and saved for play in a bonus event. The bonus event comprises a tic tac toe-like game in which a player is required to correctly answer trivia questions in order to receive a marker in a space of a matrix. Upon correctly answering trivia questions or presenting free passes in lieu of correct answers to trivia questions associated with a prespecified number of spaces in a prespecified arrangement on the matrix, the player may be granted an award or access to a next-higher level of the bonus event. Nonwinners of the bonus event are returned to the base game. Various other features include “double-or-nothing” bonus play. The multilevel game may be effected by a gaming machine or a system that includes a gaming machine.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 21, 2001
    Date of Patent: February 13, 2007
    Assignee: IGT
    Inventor: Monica A. McClintic
  • Patent number: 7175525
    Abstract: A method includes first revealing a limited set of potential game results to a player through a player terminal and then presenting the player with a set of graphic representations through the player terminal. Each respective representation has no apparent relationship to any particular potential result in the limited set of potential results. Thus, the player who is presented with the graphic representations cannot tell if any particular one of the representations is tied in any way to any particular potential result in the limited set of potential results. After presenting to the player the set of representations, the player is allowed to select at least one of the representations by making a player choice input through the player terminal. In response to the player choice input, at least one of the potential results in the limited set of potential results is assigned to the player, and this assigned potential result becomes the player's result for the game.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 12, 2004
    Date of Patent: February 13, 2007
    Assignee: Multimedia Games, Inc.
    Inventor: Clifton Lind
  • Patent number: 7172505
    Abstract: A multi-stage method qualifies a player for a bonus game. If two stages are used, the first has the player aligning a combination including at least one trigger symbol. The second stage uses the trigger symbols, reel symbols, other secondary mathematically related elements, or elements associated therewith, to qualify the player for the bonus game. The player interacts during the qualification process by providing input to the second stage.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 10, 2002
    Date of Patent: February 6, 2007
    Assignee: Progressive Gaming International Corporation
    Inventor: Olaf Vancura
  • Patent number: 7166029
    Abstract: A result presentation arrangement for a slot machine includes a display having a display surface forming generally at least a portion of a curved shape. A processor is coupled to communicate with the display to cause the display to produce or display one or more indicia and to control movement or animation of the indicia. One or more curved displays may be mounted on a spinnable reel, or one or more curved displays may be supported in a stationary position and controlled to simulate one or more spinning reels.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 10, 2004
    Date of Patent: January 23, 2007
    Assignee: Multimedia Games, Inc.
    Inventor: Joseph R. Enzminger
  • Patent number: 7163458
    Abstract: A casino table or slot game whereby players bet on a moving piece on a table. The piece can move in two opposite directions on a line, the movement being determined by a random number generating device such as die or dice. The die will continuously be rolled, and the piece will be moved accordingly, until the piece reaches either end of each side of the line. Players bet on which end of the line the piece will reach first.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 21, 2003
    Date of Patent: January 16, 2007
    Inventor: David Schugar
  • Patent number: 7160191
    Abstract: A game player can change the rate at which a game character is rendered in a video game with respect to the rendering rate of its surroundings. This change results in a visual appearance in which the game character seems to be time traveling. This visual appearance can be that the game character and its surroundings are moving in opposing directions in time, in the same direction in time but at different rates, or that the game character is moving in time but its surroundings are not moving in time. A user interface is provided through which a player can change the relative rendering rates of the game character and its surroundings to provide the visual appearances of several display modes including fast forward, slow forward, pause, rewind, or recording/playback display modes.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 30, 2003
    Date of Patent: January 9, 2007
    Assignee: Microsoft Corporation
    Inventor: Takuya Matsumoto
  • Patent number: 7160189
    Abstract: In accordance with one or more embodiments of the present invention, a player input is used as a value for a variable in an algorithm of a gaming device. The algorithm, in turn, is used to generate a pseudorandom value. The pseudorandom value, in turn, is used to determine an outcome for a game of the gaming device. Accordingly, a player is allowed to influence the outcome of a game by providing an input. The input may comprise, for example, a numeric input, a biometric input, or a physical input. The latter two types of inputs may be converted to a numeric form before being used in the algorithm. In accordance with one or more embodiments, a player input comprises selection of an algorithm for use in generating a pseudorandom value to be used to determine an outcome for a game of a gaming device. In accordance with one or more embodiments, a player input comprises a player selection of a visual representation of a pseudorandom value to be used to determine an outcome for a game of a gaming device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 11, 2002
    Date of Patent: January 9, 2007
    Inventors: Jay S. Walker, James A. Jorasch, Geoffrey M. Gelman, Magdalena M. Fincham
  • Patent number: 7156733
    Abstract: A method for enabling interaction with a shared game data file in a game device is provided. The method comprises: providing logic to perform one or more actions associated with the shared game data file; and providing logic to cause the game device to perform an action in the one or more actions with the shared game data file, the shared game data file allowing data associated with a first game in the shared game data file to affect actions in a second game.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 12, 2003
    Date of Patent: January 2, 2007
    Assignee: Electronics Arts Inc.
    Inventors: Steve Chiang, Phil Frazier, Daniel Martin, Mathew Thazhmon, Mike Olsen
  • Patent number: 7144011
    Abstract: A method of managing a blackjack game is provided. A blackjack game bet comprising a bet against a house entity on a blackjack hand is received from a player. A pair of cards is determined for a hand for the house entity, and another pair of cards is determined for a hand for the player. The odds of the occurrence of one or more subsequent events are determined based at least in part on one or more of the pair of cards selected for the house entity's hand and one or more of the pair of cards selected for the player's hand. The odds for an additional bet are determined based at least on the determined odds for the one or more subsequent events, and the additional bet is offered to the player at the determined odds for the additional bet.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 12, 2004
    Date of Patent: December 5, 2006
    Assignee: Cantor Index LLC
    Inventors: Joseph M. Asher, Lewis C. Findlay, Guy Iain Oliver Riches
  • Patent number: 7137889
    Abstract: A new system and method for use in dynamic gaming environments such as Nevada-style casinos and Amerindian casinos is presented that enables using time-sensitive tickets as prizes. Block of tickets for a future event are allocated to a casino, which constitutes a “found” market (the ticket seller expends no funds for the tickets sold to the casino). This block may also be sold through normal reseller channels; the allocated block acts as a cap to the number of tickets potentially channeled through a casino rather than being a casino exclusive. This enables the casino to purchase the tickets at a steeper discount rates than is otherwise possible, and by associating tickets with payout events on games or progressives (instead of cash awards), enables time-sensitive tickets to be awarded as prizes on an on-going basis.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 17, 2003
    Date of Patent: November 21, 2006
    Assignee: Sierra Design Group
    Inventor: Robert A. Luciano, Jr.
  • Patent number: 7137892
    Abstract: An entertainment system integrates an image of a user into an audiovisual presentation. The patron enters a room where the lighting, sound, and scenery can be controlled. A standardized input sequence is obtained by computer automated/assisted process where user images (video camera input, voice parameters, etc.) prompting the user to provide certain views and voiced statements. Alternatively, photo scan or diskette/CD readers can accept user input image data. A one, two, or three dimensional image data representation of the user images is then generated, including the speech parameters of the patron. The image can later be manipulated to change the appearance of the image. This appearance change includes attire and adding tools relevant to the entertainment area used by the patron. The image can then be smoothly integrated into a preexisting audiovisual presentation, thus making the patron a part of or a synthetic actor in the production.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 6, 2003
    Date of Patent: November 21, 2006
    Inventor: David H. Sitrick