News Column

Patent Issued for Wagering Game Providing a Progressive Award Having an Actual Value Determined by Follow-Up Game Play

September 10, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Journal of Engineering -- WMS Gaming Inc. (Waukegan, IL) has been issued patent number 8814667, according to news reporting originating out of Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews editors.

The patent's inventors are Caspers, Christopher J. (Erskineville, AU); Hopkins, Peter R. (Kensington, AU).

This patent was filed on August 29, 2012 and was published online on August 26, 2014.

From the background information supplied by the inventors, news correspondents obtained the following quote: "Gaming machines, such as slot machines, video poker machines, and the like, have been a cornerstone of the gaming industry for several years. Generally, the popularity of such machines with players is dependent on the likelihood (or perceived likelihood) of winning money at the machine and the intrinsic entertainment value of the machine relative to other available gaming options. Where the available gaming options include a number of competing machines and the expectation of winning each machine is roughly the same (or believed to be the same), players are most likely to be attracted to the most entertaining and exciting of the machines.

"Consequently, shrewd operators strive to employ the most entertaining and exciting machines available because such machines attract frequent play and, hence, increase profitability to the operator. In the competitive gaming machine industry, there is a continuing need for gaming machine manufacturers to produce new types of games, or enhancements to existing games, which will attract frequent play by increasing the entertainment value and excitement associated with the game.

"One concept that has been successfully employed to enhance the entertainment value of a game is that of a 'secondary' or 'bonus' game which may be played in conjunction with a 'basic' game. The bonus game, which is entered upon the occurrence of a selected event or outcome of the basic game, may comprise any type of game, either similar to or completely different from the basic game. Such a bonus game produces a significantly higher level of player excitement than the basic game because it provides a greater expectation of winning than the basic game.

"Another concept that has been employed to enhance player entertainment is the use of progressive games. In the gaming industry, a 'progressive' game involves collecting coin-in data from participating gaming device(s) (e.g., slot machines), contributing a percentage of that coin-in data to a progressive jackpot amount, and awarding that jackpot amount to a player upon the occurrence of a certain jackpot-won event. A jackpot-won event typically occurs when a 'progressive winning position' is achieved at a participating gaming device. If the gaming device is a slot machine, a progressive winning position may, for example, correspond to alignment of progressive jackpot reel symbols along a certain payline. The initial progressive jackpot is a predetermined minimum amount. That jackpot amount, however, progressively increases as players continue to play the gaming machine without winning the jackpot. Further, when several gaming machines are linked together such that several players at several gaming machines compete for the same jackpot, the jackpot progressively increases at a much faster rate, which leads to further player excitement.

"In the existing progressive games, players compete for a progressive jackpot that is typically a monetary award. Upon winning a progressive jackpot, a player is awarded a financial sum which is usually in the form of coins, credits, or gaming machine tokens. Alternatively, a player can be awarded a non-cash prize, such as a car, for example. While the existing progressive game features provide some enhanced excitement, there is a continuing need to develop new features for progressive games to satisfy the demands of players and operators. Preferably, such new features for progressive games will further enhance the level of player excitement.

"Thus, the present invention is directed to satisfying the needs of players for enhanced excitement by enabling players to play for additional or increased monetary awards by awarding free game play or free play selections to a winner of a progressive jackpot."

Supplementing the background information on this patent, VerticalNews reporters also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "According to one aspect of the present invention, a gaming system includes an input device, at least one display device, and at least one controller. The input device is configured to receive wagers from a player to play plays of a wagering game via which the player is eligible to win first and second progressive award levels. The display device is configured to display the wagering game and to display a monetary value for the first progressive award level and a number of free spins of a plurality of symbol-bearing reels for the second progressive award level. The wagering game includes a plurality of other symbol-bearing reels associated with a first mathematical model during a base portion of the wagering game, the plurality of symbol-bearing reels being associated with a second mathematical model different from the first mathematical model. The controller is configured to incrementally increase the monetary value for the first progressive award level and the number of free spins for the second progressive award level based on the plays of the wagering game. The controller is further configured to award a current value of the monetary value and a current value of the number of free spins in response to respective triggering events.

"According to another aspect of the invention, a computer-implemented method is directed to conducting wagering games on a wagering game system, the wagering game system including one or more wager input devices, one or more display devices, and one or more processors. The method includes receiving, via at least one of the one or more input devices, wagers from a player to initiate plays of the wagering game via which the player is eligible to win first and second progressive award levels. The method further includes displaying, via at least one of the one or more display devices, the wagering game and a monetary value for the first progressive award level and a number of free spins of a plurality of symbol-bearing reels for the second progressive award level. The wagering game includes a plurality of other symbol-bearing reels associated with a first mathematical model during a base portion of the wagering game, the plurality of symbol-bearing reels being associated with a second mathematical model different from the first mathematical model. The monetary value is incrementally increased, via at least one of the one or more processors, for the first progressive award level and the number of free spins for the second progressive award level based on the plays of the wagering game. At least one of the one or more processors award a current value of the monetary value and a current value of the number of free spins in response to respective triggering events.

"According to yet another aspect of the invention, one or more physical machine-readable storage media include instructions which, when executed by one or more processors, cause the one or more processors to perform a plurality of operations. The operations include receiving wagers, via an input device, from a player to play plays of the wagering game via which the player is eligible to win first and second progressive award levels. The operations further include displaying on at least one display device the wagering game and a monetary value for the first progressive award level and a number of free spins of a plurality of symbol-bearing reels for the second progressive award level. The wagering game includes a plurality of other symbol-bearing reels associated with a first mathematical model during a base portion of the wagering game, the plurality of symbol-bearing reels being associated with a second mathematical model different from the first mathematical model. The operations also include incrementally increasing the monetary value for the first progressive award level and the number of free spins for the second progressive award level based on the plays of the wagering game. A current value of the monetary value and a current value of the number of free spins is awarded in response to respective triggering events.

"According to yet another aspect of the invention, a gaming system includes one or more input devices, one or more display devices, one or more processors, and one or more memory devices storing instructions that, when executed by at least one of the one or more processors, cause the gaming system to perform a plurality of operations. The operations include receiving an input, via at least one of the one or more input devices, indicative of a wager from a player to play plays of a wagering game via which the player is eligible to win first and second progressive award levels. The operations further include displaying, via at least one of the one or more display devices, the wagering game, a monetary value for the first progressive award level, and a number of free spins of a plurality of symbol-bearing reels for the second progressive award level. The wagering game includes a plurality of other symbol-bearing reels associated with a first mathematical model during a base portion of the wagering game, the plurality of symbol-bearing reels being associated with a second mathematical model different from the first mathematical model. The operations further include incrementally increasing the monetary value for the first progressive award level and the number of free spins for the second progressive award level based on the plays of the wagering game. The operations also include awarding a current value of the monetary value and a current value of the number of free spins in response to respective triggering events.

"The above summary of the present invention is not intended to represent each embodiment or every aspect of the present invention. The detailed description and figures will describe many of the embodiments and aspects of the present invention."

For the URL and additional information on this patent, see: Caspers, Christopher J.; Hopkins, Peter R.. Wagering Game Providing a Progressive Award Having an Actual Value Determined by Follow-Up Game Play. U.S. Patent Number 8814667, filed August 29, 2012, and published online on August 26, 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=8814667.PN.&OS=PN/8814667RS=PN/8814667

Keywords for this news article include: WMS Gaming Inc.

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Source: Journal of Engineering


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