News Column

Patent Application Titled "Gaming System Including Multiple Displays Having Game Symbols with Common Characteristics" Published Online

August 28, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Computer Weekly News -- According to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by VerticalNews journalists, a patent application by the inventor Mishra, Kunal (Las Vegas, NV), filed on November 6, 2013, was made available online on August 14, 2014.

The assignee for this patent application is Igt.

Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention relates to wagering games, particularly apparatus-based wagering games generally referred to under the term of slot machines, and computer-based wagering games running on these slot machines, and methods of playing games on these machines.

"Games of chance have been enjoyed by people for thousands of years and have enjoyed increased and widespread popularity in recent times. As with most forms of entertainment, players enjoy playing a wide variety of games and playing new games. Playing new games adds to the excitement of 'gaming.' As is well known in the art and as used herein, the term 'gaming' and 'gaming devices' are used to indicate that some form of wagering is involved, and that players must make wagers of value, whether actual currency or some equivalent of value, e.g., token or credit. This is an accepted distinction in the art from the playing of games, which implies the absence of a wager of value, capable of returning a payout and in which skill is ordinarily an essential part of the game. On the contrary, within the gaming industry, particularly in computer based gaming systems, the absence of skill is a jurisdictional requirement in the performance of gaming play.

"One popular gaming system of chance is the slot machine. Conventionally, a slot machine is configured for a player to wager something of value, e.g., currency, house token, established credit or other representation of currency or credit. After the wager has been made, the player activates the slot machine to cause a random event to occur. The player wagers that particular random events will occur that will return value to the player. A standard device causes a plurality of reels to spin and ultimately stop, displaying a random combination of some form of indicia, for example, numbers or symbols. If this display contains one of a pre-selected number of winning combinations, the machine releases money into a payout chute or increments a credit meter by the amount won by the player. For example, if a player initially wagered two coins of a specific denomination and that player achieved a payout, that player may receive the same number as or multiples of the wager amount in coins of the same denomination as wagered.

"There are many different formats for generating the random display of events that can occur to determine payouts in wagering devices. The standard or original format for slot machines was the use of three mechanical or electromechanical reels with symbols distributed over the face of the wheel. When the three reels were spun, they would eventually each stop in turn, displaying a combination of three symbols (e.g., with three reels and the use of a single payout line as a row in the middle of the area where the symbols are displayed). By appropriately distributing and varying the symbols on each of the reels, the random occurrence of predetermined winning combinations can be provided in mathematically predetermined probabilities. By clearly providing specific probabilities for each of the pre-selected winning outcomes, precise odds that control the amount of the payout for any particular combination and the percentage return on wagers for the house were reasonably controlled.

"Other formats of gaming apparatus that have developed in a progression from the standard slot machine with three reels have dramatically increased with the development of video gaming apparatus. Rather than have only mechanical elements such as wheels or reels that turn and stop to randomly display symbols, video gaming apparatus and the rapidly increasing sophistication in hardware and software have enabled an explosion of new and exciting gaming apparatus. The earlier video apparatus merely imitated or simulated the mechanical slot games in the belief that players would want to play only the same games. Early video gaming systems therefore were simulated slot machines. The use of video gaming apparatus to play new gaming applications such as draw poker and Keno broke the ground for the realization that there were many untapped formats for gaming apparatus. Now casinos may have hundreds of different types of gaming apparatus with an equal number of significant differences in play. The apparatus may vary from traditional three reel slot machines with a single payout line, video simulations of three reel video slot machines, to five reel, five column simulated slot machines with a choice of twenty or more distinct pay lines, including randomly placed lines, scatter pays, or single image payouts. In addition to the variation in formats for the play of gaming applications, bonus plays, bonus awards, and progressive jackpots have been introduced with great success. The bonuses may be associated with the play of gaming applications that are quite distinct from the play of the original gaming format, such as the video display of a horse race with 'bets' on the individual horses randomly assigned to players that qualify for a bonus, the spinning of a random wheel with fixed amounts of a bonus payout on the wheel (or simulation thereof), or attempting to select a random card that is of higher value than a card exposed on behalf of a virtual 'dealer.'

"Examples of such gaming apparatus with a distinct bonus feature includes U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,823,874; 5,848,932; 5,836,041; U.K. Patent Nos. 2 201 821 A; 2 202 984 A; and 2 072 395A; and German Patent DE 40 14 477 A1. Each of these patents differs in fairly subtle ways as to the manner in which the bonus round is played. British Patent 2 201 821 A and DE 37 00 861 A1 describe a gaming apparatus in which after a winning outcome is first achieved in a reel-type gaming segment, a second segment is engaged to determine the amount of money or extra games awarded. The second segment gaming play involves a spinning wheel with awards listed thereon (e.g., the number of coins or number of extra plays) and a spinning arrow that will point to segments of the wheel with the values of the awards thereon. A player will press a stop button and the arrow will point to one of the values. The specification indicates both that there is a level of skill possibly involved in the stopping of the wheel and the arrow(s), and also that an associated computer operates the random selection of the rotatable numbers and determines the results in the additional winning game, which indicates some level of random selection in the second gaming segment.

"U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,823,874 and 5,848,932 (describing IGT and Anchor Gaming's 'Wheel of Fortune' game) describe a gaming device comprising: a first, standard gaming unit for displaying a randomly selected combination of indicia, said displayed indicia selected from the group consisting of reels, indicia of reels, indicia of playing cards, and combinations thereof; means for generating at least one signal corresponding to at least one select display of indicia by said first, standard gaming unit; means for providing at least one discernible indicia of a mechanical bonus indicator, said discernible indicia indicating at least one of a plurality of possible bonuses, wherein said providing means is operatively connected to said first, standard gaming unit and becomes actuatable in response to said signal. In effect, the second gaming event simulates a mechanical bonus indicator such as a roulette wheel or wheel with a pointing element.

"Various other games played on gaming equipment include bonus features and matching game features. Some of these games include, but are not limited to U.S. Pat. No. 6,059,658 (Mangano et al.) Spinning Wheel Game and Device Therefor; U.S. Pat. No. 6,398,218 (Vancura) Game Machine With Bonusing; U.S. Pat. No. 6,375,567 (Acres) Method and Apparatus for Implementing in Video a Secondary Game Responsive to Player Interaction with a Primary Game; U.S. Pat. No. 6,368,216 (Hedrick et al.) Gaming Machine Having Secondary Display for Providing Video Content; U.S. Pat. No. 6,358,147 (Jaffe et al.). Gaming Machine with Multiple Payoff Modes and Award Presentation Schemes; U.S. Pat. No. 6,336,863 (Baerlocher et al.) Gaming device with Bonus Mechanism; U.S. Pat. No. 6,315,666 (Mastera et al.) Gaming Machines Having Secondary Display for Providing Video Content; U.S. Pat. No. 6,142,873 (Weiss et al.) Gaming Device; U.S. Pat. No. 6,033,307 (Vancura) Gaming Machine with Bonusing; U.S. Pat. No. 6,059,289 (Vancura) Gaming Machines with Bonusing; U.S. Pat. No. 6,394,902 (Glavich et al.) Gaming device having different sets of primary and secondary reel symbols; U.S. Pat. No. 6,270,412 (Crawford et al.) Gaming Device with Symbol Save Feature; Frommer et al. U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,354,593; 6,331,143 (Yoseloff) Video Numbers Game; U.S. Pat. No. 6,312,334 (Yoseloff) Method of Playing a Multi-Stage Video Wagering Game; U.S. Pat. No. 6227,969 (Yoseloff) Match Symbol Side Bet Game; Lauretta et al. U.S. Pat. No. 6,165,652, Match the Dealer; and Lauretta et al. U.S. Pat. No. 6,004,205, Match the Dealer.

"U.S. Pat. No. 6,394,902 (Glavich et al.) discloses a gaming device comprising: a display device; a primary game displayed by the display device; at least one set of reels in the primary game including a plurality of primary symbols; a secondary game displayed by said display device; at least one set of reels in the secondary game including a plurality of secondary symbols, wherein the secondary symbols are different than the primary symbols and the number of secondary symbols is less than the number of primary symbols; a plurality of awards associated with the primary and secondary symbols, wherein at least one of the awards associated with the secondary symbols is greater than a plurality of the awards associated with the primary symbols; at least one primary probability of winning associated with said primary symbols and at least one secondary probability of winning associated with the secondary symbols, wherein said primary probability of winning is less than said secondary probability of winning; and a processor which randomly determines symbols indicated by the primary reels and the secondary reels based on the probabilities of winning and, which causes the display device to replace the primary reels with the secondary reels when a triggering event occurs on the primary reels.

"U.S. Pat. No. 6,270,412 (Crawford et al.), Gaming Device with Symbol Save Feature describes a slot machine comprising: a display portion displaying a plurality of rotatable reels, each reel having a plurality of symbols on its periphery; a controller for rotating said reels and stopping said reels such that at least one symbol on each reel is displayed to a player of the slot machine across at least one pay line; a selector for allowing said player to store at least one displayed symbol per reel as one or more saved symbols in a memory for use in a subsequent game, said selector being available for use by said player to store said at least one displayed symbol after each game, stored symbols being available for use by said player for a plurality of subsequent games; a display area associated with each of said rotatable reels for displaying said one or more saved symbols of said respective reel; and an award table for awarding a payment to said player for winning combinations of symbols using both said one or more saved symbols and currently displayed symbols for determining a winning combination of symbols.

"Japanese Patent Application No. 05-071983, having a publication date of Jan. 18, 1994 describes a rotary game machine of the slot machine type with a bonus feature. When a predetermined event (usually a winning event) occurs on the underlying slot machine game, a separate wheel or disk is spun, with the wheel or disk having symbols thereon representing bonus events or non-bonus events. The spinning of the separate wheel or disk is dependent upon the occurrence of the predetermined event.

"It is desirable to provide alternative gaming formats and gaming methods, as the preferences of the players changes over time and new games with unique features are desired by the industry."

In addition to obtaining background information on this patent application, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent application: "A gaming format is provided on a wagering apparatus. The wagering format comprises a first set of symbol displays, usually in the form of reels, either physical reels or simulated video reels, usually at least three reels such as the standard 3, 4 or 5 reels used on wagering devices, and at least one additional symbol display, especially a symbol display such as a reel, disk or wheel, and especially a reel, disk or wheel dedicated to a display that is distinct from play on the underlying wagering format. Virtual displays or any other form of image displays, such as video displays, LED displays, plasma displays, light panel displays, or the like may also be used to provide the symbol displays and the additional symbol displays. A standard reel-type slot-type game is played on the first set of symbol displays, with predetermined combinations, alignments, positions, and/or types of symbols (e.g., scatter pays, where the alignment of the symbols is immaterial to the outcome) providing winning or losing first game events. Coincident with the first game event, the additional symbol display provides an additional symbol that is compared with the symbols generated on the first set of symbol displays. Independent of the result of the first game events, whether that game event is a win, a push or a loss, the comparison of the additional symbol to the symbols generated on the first set of symbol displays provides a basis for awards on a potentially distinct set of play rules, with potentially different pay tables, and with potentially different predetermined events providing awards.

"For example, in the play of the first game, the order of symbols appearing on a pay line may be important (except in scatter pay events), and it is usually necessary (except for certain symbols such as cherries, special symbols, wild symbols or bonus symbols) that there be two or three winning combination symbols on a three reel pay line read from left to right or right to left, or both. In the additional play feature of the present invention, a single additional symbol may be selected, and an award may be given for a match of that additional symbol with one, two or more symbols in the first set of symbol displays, wherever the symbols appear in the pay lines or other predefined winning outcome of the first set of symbols. The award may be based on matches where the order of the symbols appearing on the pay line and/or the need for a base game symbol match is unnecessary. This format also offers the appearance and the effect of two distinct games being simultaneously played from a single wager.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

"FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of a standard slot-type machine.

"FIG. 2 shows a frontal view of a game panel with three reels and a wheel.

"FIG. 3 shows a frontal view of a game panel with three reels and a wheel with specific symbols shown on the first set of displays and the additional display."

For more information, see this patent application: Mishra, Kunal. Gaming System Including Multiple Displays Having Game Symbols with Common Characteristics. Filed November 6, 2013 and posted August 14, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=2550&p=51&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140807.PD.&OS=PD/20140807&RS=PD/20140807

Keywords for this news article include: Igt, Legal Issues.

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