News Column

Patent Issued for Distributed Secrets for Validation of Gaming Transactions

July 15, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Information Technology Newsweekly -- A patent by the inventors Showers, Brian (Palo Alto, CA); Prud'homme, Graham (Palo Alto, CA); Gindikin, Daniel S. (Princeton Junction, NJ); Oppenheim, Kyle A. (Mountain View, CA), filed on July 27, 2012, was published online on July 1, 2014, according to news reporting originating from Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews correspondents.

Patent number 8764559 is assigned to Versata Development Group, Inc. (Austin, TX).

The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The invention relates to validation of distributed transactions, and more particularly, to techniques for detecting cheating in an on-line gaming environment.

"The popularity of gambling on the Internet has soared in recent years. Worldwide online gambling was responsible for an estimated two billion dollars of revenue in 1998 and projected 2001 revenues total over seven billion. Traditional gambling is heavily regulated to protect the individual gambler from fraud by casinos. Similar regulations do not yet exist to protect online gamblers. Indeed, significant technical challenges exist to ensuring fair outcomes in which the absence of cheating by the casino (or by players) can be verified. Cheating is a concern for the casinos, as well as for the players. In fact, because of a fear of cheating, existing online casinos often restrict wagering to table games. In general, table games are games where all player information is revealed and only the house has hidden information. The players compete only against the casino, and not against each other. These table games include blackjack, roulette, craps, and Caribbean stud. In contrast, for other games such as poker where players control hidden information, it generally not possible to prevent players from opening another communication channel with which to collude during the course of a game. The colluding players can gain information about the game that would change its outcome, thus cheating. Table games, on the other hand, make player-to-player collusion irrelevant. Players cannot gain information via collusion, because they control no secret information.

"A need exists for systems, methods and techniques through which both online gamblers and online casinos can be ensured a 'safe', credible area to gamble online. If developed, such systems, methods and techniques could be employed in a wide variety of gaming, entertainment and other applications in which random selections from a predefined set of outcomes play a role."

In addition to the background information obtained for this patent, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "It has been discovered that nested commit/reveal sequences using randomized inputs from each participant in a gaming transaction (e.g., the house and each player) may be employed to provide a selection of outcome or outcomes that can be verified by each participant as free from cheating. In general, techniques in accordance with the present invention may be employed in a variety of distributed gaming transaction environments and as a verification facility for any of a wide variety of games in which the risk of player collusion can be eliminated. Nonetheless, several variations on a distributed card dealing method are illustrative and will be appreciated by persons of ordinary skill in the art as applicable in other gaming environments, including games employing outcomes denominated in die (or dice) rolls, coin tosses, wheel spins, blind selection or other ostensibly random selection of an outcome from a predefined set thereof.

"One application of techniques in accordance with the present invention is as a distributed card dealing method wherein a dealer (e.g., the house or a separate outcomes generator) shuffles a deck of cards and commits to its order by communicating a secured encoding thereof to each player. Players contribute to the selection of cards from the shuffled deck by each committing to an index contribution by a secured exchange thereof and, after each has committed, revealing and exchanging their respective index contributions. The revealed index contributions may be verified by each player and by the dealer as corresponding to the respective previous commits thereto. In general, the commit/reveal protocol may be provided using any of a variety of techniques including hashing, encryption or any other transform which is generally irreversible and collision intractable given timeframes and computational resources available. Using verifiable index contributions, the dealer performs a predefined combination operation to select and supply a particular card from the deck. Successive cards are dealt using successive index contributions transacted using the commit/reveal sequence therefor. Once the game has been completed in accordance with game logic implementing predefined game rules, the dealer reveals contents of the deck and players may verify that both (i) the cards dealt by the dealer (i.e., revealed in response to the index contributions) correspond to those in the deck properly indexed by the predefined combination operation given the verifiable index contributions and (ii) that the deck was a legal deck (e.g., included each of 52 cards once and only once). As before, the commit reveal protocol may be provided using any of a variety of techniques including hashing, encryption or any other transform which is generally irreversible and collision intractable given timeframes and computational resources available.

"In some variations, the dealer need not shuffle the deck, but instead participates in the commit/reveal protocol for index contributions by itself committing and later revealing an index contribution. Although some realizations forward commitments to, and reveals of, index contributions via the dealer or game server itself, other realizations may provide the exchange in other ways, e.g., through a third party or peer-to-peer exchange.

"In some variations, rather than incrementally commit, players (and possibly the dealer) may pre-commit to pools of individually secured index contributions and successively reveal their individual index contributions for verification and use in the predefined combination operation to select and supply successive cards from the deck.

"In some variations, an ordered deck of individually secured cards may be committed to by the dealer. Thereafter, successive cards selected in accordance with the predefined combination operation and supplied from the deck are individually revealed (e.g., by supply of card-specific keys). Once the game has been completed in accordance with game logic implementing predefined game rules, the dealer reveals the remaining undealt card so that players may verify that the deck was a legal deck (i.e., included each of 52 cards once and only once).

"Realizations in accordance with these and other variations will be appreciated by persons of ordinary skill in the art based on the description herein. Several exemplary embodiments are described. However, it is to be understood that both the foregoing general description and the more detailed description that follows are meant to illustrate and explain particular embodiments and do not restrict the scope of the invention(s) as claimed."

URL and more information on this patent, see: Showers, Brian; Prud'homme, Graham; Gindikin, Daniel S.; Oppenheim, Kyle A.. Distributed Secrets for Validation of Gaming Transactions. U.S. Patent Number 8764559, filed July 27, 2012, and published online on July 1, 2014. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=8764559.PN.&OS=PN/8764559RS=PN/8764559

Keywords for this news article include: Legal Issues, Information Technology, Versata Development Group Inc, Information and Data Encoding and Encryption.

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Source: Information Technology Newsweekly


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