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Publication numberUS20110151965 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 12/653,788
Publication date23 Jun 2011
Filing date17 Dec 2009
Priority date17 Dec 2009
Publication number12653788, 653788, US 2011/0151965 A1, US 2011/151965 A1, US 20110151965 A1, US 20110151965A1, US 2011151965 A1, US 2011151965A1, US-A1-20110151965, US-A1-2011151965, US2011/0151965A1, US2011/151965A1, US20110151965 A1, US20110151965A1, US2011151965 A1, US2011151965A1
InventorsElia Rocco Tarantino
Original AssigneeElia Rocco Tarantino
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Aggregate game play jackpot game
US 20110151965 A1
Abstract
A jackpot gaming event is initiated with a jackpot having a value. After the gaming event has been initiated, a plurality of players is permitted to play a plurality of base games up to a predetermined maximum number of base games. Once the jackpot gaming event has reached a predetermined level of play, base game play is terminated. An aggregate game score is determined for each of the plurality of players based upon the base games they each played. A determination is then made as to whether one or more of the players have qualified to win the jackpot and, if so, those one or more players are awarded all or a portion of the jackpot. Gaming machines and systems are provided for implementing the jackpot gaming event.
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Claims(17)
1. A method of presenting a jackpot gaming event comprising:
creating a game jackpot having a value;
initiating said jackpot gaming event;
after said jackpot gaming event has been initiated, initiating base game play by permitting a plurality of players to play a plurality of base games up to a predetermined maximum number of base games;
terminating base game play once play of said jackpot gaming event has reached a predetermined level;
determining an aggregate game score for each of said plurality of players based upon the base games played by each player during said individual game play; and
awarding a jackpot to the one or more players having aggregate scores which meet predetermined winning criteria.
2. The method in accordance with claim 1 wherein said base games comprise wagering game played at a gaming machine.
3. The method in accordance with claim 1 wherein said base games comprise video poker games played at a mobile electronic device.
4. The method in accordance with claim 1 further comprising the step of increasing said value of said game jackpot based upon individual game play and wherein said predetermined level comprises a predetermined jackpot value.
5. The method in accordance with claim 1 wherein said base games comprise games of poker.
6. The method in accordance with claim 1 wherein said predetermined maximum number of base games comprises 100.
7. The method in accordance with claim 1 further including the step of receiving at least one wager from each of said plurality of players to play said jackpot gaming event.
8. The method in accordance with claim 7 wherein said at least one wager comprises a wager upon each of said base games.
9. The method in accordance with claim 1 wherein each base game is assigned a game score and said aggregate score comprises the sum of all game scores.
10. The method in accordance with claim 1 wherein said step of awarding said jackpot comprises awarding said jackpot to the one or more players having the highest aggregate scores.
11. A gaming system comprising:
at least one gaming machine configured to present at least one game to a player; and
a game server configured to initiate a jackpot wagering event having a jackpot and track the outcomes of games played by a plurality of players after said jackpot wagering event is initiated, to monitor game play and terminate game play once a predetermined level of game play as occurred, to determine an aggregate score for games played by each player up to a predetermined maximum number of games played before game play is terminated, and to determine one or more winners of said jackpot.
12. The gaming system in accordance with claim 11 wherein said at least one gaming machine comprises a wagering gaming machine at a casino.
13. The gaming system in accordance with claim 11 wherein said at least one gaming machine comprises a mobile electronic device.
14. The gaming system in accordance with claim 11 wherein said at least one gaming machine is configured to present games of video poker.
15. The gaming system in accordance with claim 11 wherein said game server is configured with a communication link to permit one or more users to check game scores from a remote computer or mobile electronic device.
16. The gaming system in accordance with claim 11 wherein said game server is configured to increase a value of said jackpot as games are played.
17. The gaming system in accordance with claim 16 wherein said predetermined level of game play is determined by a minimum value of said jackpot.
Description
    FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • [0001]
    The present invention relates to method of game play and gaming systems, and particularly to wagering game events.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    Early gaming machines presented a single wagering game. For example, early slot machines presented a single game in which a set of reels were spun and the stopping positions of the reels defined the outcome of the game. Later, video gaming machines were developed. These gaming machines were configured to present slot games in a video format, as well as other games such as video poker.
  • [0003]
    In order to increase the excitement associated with these games, various secondary game events have been developed. For example, gaming machines have been outfitted with rotating wheels. When a player receives a particular winning result of a base game, such as a particular slot reel outcome, the wheel may spin and stop on a segment which defines a bonus award. Similarly, video gaming machines have been configured to present various video secondary events. These events may comprise a variety of animated sequences which provide entertainment and the potential for awards.
  • [0004]
    Also, as gaming machines have been linked to gaming systems, awards have been developed which increase the number of participating players. For example, gaming machines may be linked to a jackpot system. If a player of one of the gaming machines of the system obtains a particular winning outcome at one of the gaming machines, they may be awarded the jackpot.
  • [0005]
    Still, these secondary events or awards have limitations, and new and exciting gaming events remain desirable.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0006]
    The invention comprises methods of playing and presenting games, including wagering games, and gaming machines and gaming systems for presenting games.
  • [0007]
    One embodiment of the invention is a jackpot gaming event. In accordance with a method of playing or presenting the game, a jackpot gaming event is initiated with a jackpot having a value. After the gaming event has been initiated, a plurality of players is permitted to play a plurality of base games up to a predetermined maximum number of base games. Once the jackpot gaming event has reached a predetermined level of play, base game play is terminated. An aggregate game score is determined for each of the plurality of players based upon the base games they each played. A determination is then made as to whether one or more of the players have qualified to win the jackpot and, if so, those one or more players are awarded all or a portion of the jackpot.
  • [0008]
    In one embodiment, the base games played during the jackpot gaming event comprise wagering games played at one or more gaming machines. In other embodiments, they might comprise non-wagering promotional type games played at a gaming machine or another device such as a mobile electronic/communication device. The base games might comprise, for example, video poker games.
  • [0009]
    Each player may be permitted to aggregate a score for a number of base games played up to a maximum number, such as 100 games. In one embodiment, the outcome of each game has an associated score and the aggregate score comprises the sum of the scores of each individual base game.
  • [0010]
    Game play may be terminated based upon various criteria. Such criteria might comprise a minimum number of base games played, a minimum number of participating players or if the jackpot is permitted to grow during game play, a minimum jackpot level.
  • [0011]
    In one embodiment, the jackpot may be funded from a portion of wagers placed by players playing the base games. A pay table of the base games may be adjusted to reduce the average payout thereof, with all or a portion of that reduction being set aside to fund the jackpot.
  • [0012]
    The jackpot gaming event may be used as a promotional game. In that embodiment, a casino may fund the jackpot through their customer loyalty program or club, such as in lieu of awarding player points for game play.
  • [0013]
    In one embodiment, a gaming system is configured to permit players to access jackpot game information and/or play base games via their mobile electronic device or via their computer. A player may access information about the number of base games they have played, their aggregate score, their standing relative to other players' scores and the like via their mobile electronic device. The player may also be permitted to play the base games via their device, such as with an interface to a game server.
  • [0014]
    Further objects, features, and advantages of the present invention over the prior art will become apparent from the detailed description which follows, when considered with the figures provided herein.
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0015]
    FIG. 1 illustrates a gaming machine at which one or more games may be presented;
  • [0016]
    FIG. 2 is a flow diagram of a method of game play in accordance with an embodiment of the invention; and
  • [0017]
    FIG. 3 illustrates one embodiment of a gaming system at which a game of the invention may be implemented.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • [0018]
    In the following description, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a more thorough description of the present invention. It will be apparent, however, to one skilled in the art, that the present invention may be practiced without these specific details. In other instances, well-known features have not been described in detail so as not to obscure the invention.
  • [0019]
    In general, the invention comprises methods of game play (“games”) and gaming machines and gaming systems configured to present the games. In one embodiment, in accordance with a game of the invention, multiple players play a plurality of individual games. Each player is assigned a score associated with their aggregate game play. One or more players meeting certain score criteria are preferably awarded a jackpot award.
  • [0020]
    FIG. 1 illustrates one embodiment of a gaming machine or device 100 at which all or a part of the game having aggregate game play for a jackpot award may be presented. The gaming machine 100 might be located in various environments, such as a casino.
  • [0021]
    In one embodiment, the gaming machine 100 defines a generally enclosed interior space for housing one or more components. As illustrated, the gaming machine 100 generally comprises a housing or cabinet 102 for supporting and/or enclosing various components required for operation of the gaming machine. In the embodiment illustrated, the housing 102 includes a door located at a front thereof, the door capable of being moved between an open position which allows access to the interior, and a closed position in which access to the interior is generally prevented. The configuration of the gaming machine 100 may vary. In the embodiment illustrated, the gaming machine 100 has an “upright” configuration. However, the gaming machine 100 could have other configurations, shapes or dimensions (such as being of a “slant”-type, “bar-top” or other configuration as is well known to those of skill in the art).
  • [0022]
    The gaming machine 100 preferably includes at least one display device 104 configured to display game information. The display device 104 may be a mechanical, electro-mechanical or electronic display, such as one or more rotating reels, a video display or the like. When the display device 104 is an electronic video display, it may comprise a cathode ray tube (CRT), high resolution flat panel liquid crystal display (LCD), projection LCD, plasma display, field emission display, digital micro-mirror display (DMD), digital light processing display (DLP), multilayer LCD display, a light emitting display (LED, OLED) or other suitable displays now known or later developed, in a variety of resolutions, sizes and formats (e.g. 4:3, widescreen or the like). The display 104 may be capable of projecting or displaying a wide variety of information, including images, symbols and other indicia or information associated with game play, game promotion or other events. The gaming machine 100 may include two or more display devices. For example, a secondary display device might be associated with the housing or cabinet 102 along with the main display device 104, or might be associated with a top box or the like, as illustrated in FIG. 1.
  • [0023]
    The gaming machine 100 may be configured to present a wide variety of games. Such games might be Class III type games such as slot games and video poker games, or Class II type games such as bingo, pull-tab games, lotto or instant lottery style games. In one embodiment, certain game outcomes may be designated as winning outcomes. Prizes or awards may be provided for winning outcomes, such as monetary payments (or representations thereof, such as prize of credits), or the like.
  • [0024]
    The gaming machine 100 also preferably includes one or more player input devices 108 (such as input buttons, plunger mechanisms, a touch-screen display, joystick, touch-pad or the like) that may be utilized by the player to facilitate game play. Also included in the player input devices 108 is a means for accepting monetary value. As illustrated in FIG. 1, a coin accepting mechanism 112 may be provided for accepting coins and a currency or bill acceptor 114 may be provided for accepting cash or paper currency, or a ticket reader may be provided for accepting and reading tickets or other representations of cash or currency. It is contemplated that other mechanisms may be provided for accepting a payment, such as credit card, ticket readers or input devices whereby a player may have funds paid from a remote account.
  • [0025]
    In one preferred embodiment, the gaming machine 100 includes a microprocessor or controller (not shown) for controlling the gaming machine, including receiving player input and sending output signals for controlling the various components of the machine 100 (such as generating game information for display by the display 104). The controller may be arranged to receive input such as a purchase/bet signal when a purchase/bet button is depressed, and a currency insert signal when a player inserts bills or coins. The controller may be arranged to send signals for determining winning combinations, for causing the coin hopper/dispenser, or printer, or an electronic fund transfer (EFT), to pay winnings, and to cause the display to display winning amount information. In addition, the controller is preferably arranged to determine if a round of game play has resulted in a win, and if so, the prize to be awarded to the player for that win.
  • [0026]
    The controller may be configured to execute machine readable code or “software” or otherwise process information, such as obtained from a remote server. Software or other instructions may be stored on a memory or data storage device. The memory may also store other information, such as pay table information. The gaming machine 100 may also include one or more random number generators for generating random numbers for generating random game outcomes, or such might be located remotely. For example, if the gaming machine 100 is a stand-alone machine configured to present a slot game or a video poker game, the random number generator(s) might be located at the machine. However, if the gaming machine 100 is used to present server-based or networked games, such as bingo games, the random number generator(s) might be located at the server.
  • [0027]
    In one embodiment, a player may be required to place a wager to play a game. The wager may be made by activating one of the player input devices 108 such as a one credit button 116 which places a single credit purchase or wager or a max credit button 118 which places a maximum purchase or wager for that round of game play. The maximum purchase or wager is commonly defined as playing or betting an amount comprising a multiple of the value of a single purchase or wager up to a predefined upper purchase or bet limit or threshold. When the player actuates either the one credit button 116 or the max credit button 118, a wager is placed or purchase is made in that amount and the player's credit base is decreased by the number of credits wagered. The player's remaining credit base is typically displayed to the player by way of the display device 104. Upon making a purchase or placing a wager, the game may begin automatically or the player may join a game already in progress, or the player may initiate the game by activating another player input device, upon which the gaming machine 100 presents one or more game elements which are used to determine if the player has received a winning combination.
  • [0028]
    The gaming machine 100 generally includes a means for awarding a player a prize or winnings accumulated during game play. When a player obtains a winning outcome, the player is preferably paid prizes or awards in the form of stored credits, the amount of which is indicated to the player on the display 104. A “cash out” button may be provided for permitting a player to be paid the winnings or redeeming any credits initially paid into the gaming machine 100. The term “cash out” is used herein to define an event initiated by the player wherein the player receives a number of coins or currency that is equivalent to the value of the player's accrued credit base.
  • [0029]
    Typically when a player cashes out, the gaming machine 100 is configured to dispense a media or voucher, such as via a printer 114, which represents the cash-out value. The player may utilize this voucher at other gaming machine or convert the voucher to currency, such as at a cashier's station. However, depending upon the configuration of the gaming machine 100, the player might receive a cash or coin disbursement. For example, the gaming machine 100 might be configured to activate a coin hopper or coin handling device (not shown) which physically counts and delivers the proper number of coins to the player. The coin handling device is commonly configured to transport coins from a supply source (hopper or bin filled with coins) to a coin tray 124 or payout receptacle where the player physically receives the coins.
  • [0030]
    As indicated above, the gaming machine 100 may be configured as a stand-alone device, such as when the machine is configured to present a slot game or a video poker game. As detailed below, however, the gaming machine 100 may be a server-based or networked machine. For example, the gaming machine 100 may be configured to obtain game code or game outcome information from a remote server 130. The gaming machine 100 may also communicate with a remote accounting server and/or player tracking server, as is well known in the art.
  • [0031]
    It will be appreciated that the gaming machine and system described and illustrated in FIG. 1 is only exemplary of an environment for a game of the invention. For example, it is possible to implement the events or features of the invention via other types of gaming devices, such as computing devices such as home and laptop computers, including in an on-line, web-based environment. Additionally, a gaming machine or device 100 could take the form of a gaming table, a kiosk, iTV, a set-top box, or various mobile devices (such as a smart phone, PDA, media player, or tablet computer), etc.
  • [0032]
    As detailed further below, in one or more embodiments, a gaming system may include one or more gaming machines. The gaming system may also include various other devices, such as mobile devices, servers, communication links and the like.
  • [0033]
    One aspect of the invention comprises methods of presenting and playing a game. Referring to FIG. 2, in one embodiment of a game, a game starts at a step S1. The game may be referred to as a jackpot gaming event. In one embodiment, the game may start when it is offered by a casino. The casino might start the game, for example, when a jackpot has been funded to a requisite level.
  • [0034]
    In a preferred embodiment, each player is permitted to play a plurality of individual games, as in a step S2. These individual games may be referred to as base games, score games or the like.
  • [0035]
    In one configuration, base game play may begin as soon as the jackpot gaming event is initiated. In other embodiments, the jackpot gaming event might begin and other events might occur (such as the funding of a jackpot or announcements to players) that base game play is about to initiate or be permitted.
  • [0036]
    In one embodiment, each player is permitted to play up to a predetermined maximum number of base games. Preferably, the game of the invention is a multi-player or multi-participant game. In one embodiment, base game play continues until a certain minimum number of players (at least two) participate in the game.
  • [0037]
    As indicated in step S3, an aggregate score is determined for each player. The score is preferably dependant upon the outcomes of the base games.
  • [0038]
    In a step S4, base game play closes or ends when a predetermined level of game play has occurred. Such a level of game play might comprise, for example, a predetermined number of base games, game play which funds the jackpot to a predetermined level, or participation by a predetermined minimum number of players.
  • [0039]
    In a step S5, the players' aggregate scores are evaluated for participation in the jackpot. In one embodiment, as detailed further below, in a step S6, the player or players with the highest score or scores may be awarded all or a portion of the jackpot.
  • [0040]
    Additional details of the game will now be provided. As indicated, the game or gaming event may be initiated by a casino. In one embodiment, the game may be initiated with a minimum jackpot. That jackpot could be $0, but is preferably a minimum level, such as $50,000. In the first instance of the game, this may require that the casino “seed” the jackpot.
  • [0041]
    As indicated, players play individual base games for an aggregate score. In one embodiment, the base games are wagering games played at gaming machines, such as the gaming machine 100 described above. In one embodiment, the base games may only be particular games (i.e., certain video poker games) or games played at particular gaming machines 100. For example, the base games might only comprise video poker games. In another embodiment, the base games might only comprise video poker games played at one or more designated gaming machines 100. It will be appreciated, however, that the invention is applicable to a wide variety of games. For example, players could be permitted to play games which comprise slot games, video poker games, Blackjack games or the like as instances of the individual base games of the gaming event.
  • [0042]
    As detailed herein, in one embodiment each base game may be played as a wagering game which requires the player to place a wager. In such an embodiment, a player may be paid winnings for wining outcomes of each base game (where the amount of the winnings and the outcomes which are defined as “winning” as compared to “losing” may be defined by a pay table for the game). In this manner, a player is not only given the opportunity to win the jackpot, but is given the opportunity for winnings for each individual base game which they play. In other embodiments, a player may place a single wager to play up to the maximum number of base games. In this embodiment, a player may or may not be provided the opportunity to win awards for individual base games (such as depending upon the size of the required wager). In yet other embodiments, a player may be permitted to play each base game or one or more of the base games without being required to place a wager. In this embodiment, it is preferred that a player not be given the opportunity for winnings for each individual base game.
  • [0043]
    In one embodiment, a score is assigned to a player based upon the outcome of each base game. For example, if each base game comprises a game of video poker, each game outcome may have an associated score. Losing outcomes might, for example, have scores of 0 or a negative value. On the other hand, predetermined winning outcomes may have positive values. The size of the value (positive or negative) may depend upon the odds of receiving the outcome. For example, the score awarded for receiving a Royal Flush poker game outcome may be much higher than that for receiving a Three of a Kind poker game outcome. The particular scores for game outcomes may be defined by a pay table for the game.
  • [0044]
    In another embodiment, it is possible for a single score to assigned or generated for multiple base games, such as depending upon the outcomes of a number of base games in combination. For example, a player might be awarded points for each 10 base games which the player plays. The score for winning 1 of the base games might be 100 points, while the score for winning 2 of the base games might be 500, and so on. Of course, the various ways that scores could be determined could vary. In one embodiment, the scores are numeric points, but other indicators could be used as a score.
  • [0045]
    In one embodiment, a player may aggregate scores from a plurality of base games up to a predetermined maximum number of base games. For example, a player may be permitted to aggregate scores for up to 100 base games. Beyond that number, game scores may be aggregated for a second aggregate score. For example, if a player plays 200 base games, they would receive a first aggregate score for the first 100 games and a second aggregate score for the second 100 games.
  • [0046]
    Game play may be terminated when a certain number of base games have been played. For example, once at least 10,000 base games have been played, the game play may be terminated. In other embodiments, base game play might be terminated when the jackpot grows to a certain level, as detailed below. In yet other embodiments, base game play may be terminated when a certain minimum number of players pay the game, such as 100 players.
  • [0047]
    In a preferred embodiment, the jackpot grows during base game play and base game play ends when the jackpot reaches a predetermined level. This embodiment has the advantage that it spurs players to get their games played as quickly as possible. For example, if players know that the best chance for them to maximize their score is to play all 100 of a maximum 100 games of video poker, they are incentivized to play those base games quickly. Otherwise, if game play ends before they finish their base games, their chances are diminished for receiving a sufficiently high score to qualify for the jackpot (if based upon the highest scores).
  • [0048]
    In one embodiment, the jackpot may be funded from game play. In this configuration, after the initial seeding of the jackpot, a portion of player's wagers may be used to fund future jackpots. In addition, in one embodiment the jackpot may be permitted to grow from its initial seed value. This growth may be funded by player's wagers.
  • [0049]
    For example, in one embodiment, a portion of each player's wager (whether required for each and every game or for play of the game as a whole) may be set aside to fund the jackpot. In order to maintain the same house hold (i.e. average winnings), the payouts or odds of winning for each base game may be changed. For example, if each base game is a game of video poker which normally pays 2 credits for a winning hand of a pair comprising Jacks or better, this payout may be adjusted down to a single (1) credit. The difference in payout will increase the average house hold for the base game, and that increase in house hold may be set aside to fund the jackpot.
  • [0050]
    As indicated, in one embodiment, the jackpot may grow during the game. For example, the jackpot may start at $50,000 and increase in value depending upon the level of game play. Thus, if there are a large number of players or a large number of games played in a short time, the jackpot may grow substantially.
  • [0051]
    Once base game play is terminated, the player scores are evaluated for one or more potential winners. For example, a single winner might comprise the player with the highest aggregate score. Multiple winners might comprise the players with the ten highest scores. Other winning criteria might be utilized, such as a player or players with the lowest score(s). A single player might have multiple scores. For example, if a player is permitted to play up to 100 games for a score and the player plays 200 games, the player may have two scores “in the running”. In one embodiment, the jackpot may be awarded only to those players that reach a predetermined minimum score. If no player reaches that score, the jackpot may roll to the next jackpot gaming event.
  • [0052]
    In one embodiment, all or a part of the jackpot is awarded to the one or more winners. For example, a single winning player may be awarded the entire jackpot. In another embodiment, two or more players with the highest scores may share the jackpot. The jackpot may be shared evenly or unevenly (for example, a player with the highest score may receive 50% of the jackpot, the player with the next highest score 25% of the jackpot and so on).
  • [0053]
    A player's play of base games may be tracked. For example, a player may be a member of a casino's player loyalty club and utilize a player tracking card or similar identification. This identification may link the player to game play at a gaming machine. Thus, each time a player plays a base game, the game play may be tracked as part of determining the player's aggregate score. In another embodiment, a player might be issued a ticket for game play. After a player has played one or more base games, they may be presented a ticket that bears or represents the outcome of the game play. Once the player has completed their base game play or base game play ends, they might submit their ticket for entry into the jackpot portion of the game. At that time the player might provide identification information that links them to their ticket(s) and associated score.
  • [0054]
    A player might be permitted to monitor or view their score and/or the scores of other players during the game. For example, a casino might utilize a website to post the current highest scores of various players. In this manner, a player could see if they have achieved a sufficiently high score to potentially win the jackpot. If the player determines they have not, they may wish to play another set of base games to try and receive a higher (or other qualifying) score. For example, the jackpot might be awarded to the players with the ten highest scores. If the player determines that their score is not in the top ten scores, they know they need to play additional base games in order to try and obtain a higher score (for example, if the score for their first 100 games is too low, they might play another 100 base games to try and receive a second, better score).
  • [0055]
    In another embodiment, a player might be able to check their aggregate score and the number of base games they have played. For example, a player might be permitted to access a website from a computer or from their mobile device and view the number of base games they have played and their total score. This might enable a player to see, for example, that they have only played 82 of the possible 100 maximum base games, thus causing the player to go play an additional 18 base games to try and raise their score. A player might also be permitted to check the scores for base games (if the games are scored in that manner), such as for verification purposes.
  • [0056]
    The winner or winners of the jackpot may be notified in various manners. In one embodiment, the winner(s) may be notified via their mobile device. For example, a text message or email may be transmitted to the player which notifies them that they have won.
  • [0057]
    As indicated, in one embodiment of the invention a player may be required to place a wager to play the game and/or a wager to play each base game within the jackpot game. In another embodiment, the game could be presented as a promotional game which does not require a player wager—either to play the game as a whole or to play each base game.
  • [0058]
    Casinos often implement player loyalty programs. A player might, for example, accrue player points based upon normal wagering game play. A casino may allow the player to convert those points to free game play or to a cash value. A casino might also award additional points or game play to a player, such as to further entice them into additional game play. In that event, payouts for wins of these promotional games essentially lower the average house hold, as such the payouts are made without the players having made a corresponding wager. Casinos that offer higher levels of such free play essentially “spend” a larger percentage of their originally earned revenue.
  • [0059]
    In one embodiment, a casino might reward players with free play of the jackpot gaming event of the invention. For example, based upon accrued player points, game play levels or the like, a player might be permitted to play the game of the invention without a wager. In that event, the casino may fund the jackpot from their earned revenue. The funding may be in lieu of allowing the player to play wagering games for individual awards. In another embodiment, a player might use accrued loyalty points to play the game of the invention.
  • [0060]
    A particular advantage of the promotional implementation of the game is that it may be presented at a wagering or a non-wagering gaming machine. For example, a local gaming establishment may utilize one or more non-wagering gaming machines to present video poker games. The local gaming establishment may send out game play coupons, emails, text messages or the like, such as for promotional purposes or as player rewards. The player may play hands of video poker on the non-wagering gaming machine. The player has an opportunity to win a jackpot based upon their aggregate score. In this manner, the player has an opportunity for a monetary jackpot award without having to place a wager. Further, the gaming establishment is able to present the game using much less expensive equipment (because the non-wagering gaming machine would not have the same certification/licensing requirements) and without players taking away from play on their wagering gaming machines.
  • [0061]
    In another embodiment, the base games might be presented at a mobile electronic device. For example, if each base game is a non-wagering game, the games could be presented at a user's cell phone, personal data assistant or other mobile device. In one embodiment, a user could download an application to their mobile device that includes a game engine for presenting games. In another embodiment, the user's mobile device could connect to a server that either provides game data (games could be presented in interactive format via a link to the Internet back to a gaming server, for example) or at least game results (which results might then be displayed via the game engine). In this manner, the player can play the games at their mobile device at their convenience, without having to travel to a casino to play each base game.
  • [0062]
    As one example, a casino patron might have a high level of wagering game play as tracked by the casino's player tracking system. The casino might award that player with an opportunity to play the jackpot game herein. For example, the casino might send a text message or email to a player's mobile device offering them a chance to play. If accepted, a player might send a message or response back. The casino might then send a game engine to the player's mobile device (wirelessly downloaded) or the player might download the engine from their computer (such as via a USB connection from their computer to their mobile device).
  • [0063]
    A player may then begin to play base games. Such games might comprise, for example, base games of video poker. The results of the one or more games may be transmitted to the casino's website and stored. In this manner, the player's aggregate score may be stored for use in determining if the player is a potential winner.
  • [0064]
    Once game play has ended, that player's score may be reviewed to determine if the player was a winner. If so, the player might be notified by a text message or email to their mobile device that they have won. The player might be required to travel to the casino to merely pick up their jackpot winnings.
  • [0065]
    A system for implementing this embodiment of the invention is illustrated in FIG. 3. In this embodiment, the system includes at least one server 200. The one or more servers may implement various game-related functions, such as generating game results, monitoring wagering game play, generating jackpot information, monitoring player play and the like. Of course, such functions could be performed by one or more different servers 200.
  • [0066]
    In one embodiment, the server 200 may communicate with at least one gaming machine 202. The gaming machine 202 may be similar to that described above. The gaming machine 202 may, for example, present individual wagering games. The results of those games may be tracked by the server 200, such as relative to a particular identified player.
  • [0067]
    The server 200 may also communicate with a player's mobile device 204, such as via a communication link thereto. This communication link might comprise a link from the server 200 to a standard wireless communication network and then a wireless link from that network to the player's mobile device 204.
  • [0068]
    As indicated above, in one embodiment, a user might communicate with the server 200 from a computer 206. As illustrated, this might be accomplished via communication link through the Internet to the server 200. This link might allow a user to access a game website hosted by the server 200. That website might provide game rules, mobile device game engine downloads, player score information and the like.
  • [0069]
    It will be appreciate that various aspects of the jackpot gaming event may be implemented by machine readable code or software, which software comprises instructions for implementing the various steps of the method. For example, software may reside on a storage device of a wagering gaming machine. That software may include instructions for causing the gaming machine to accept a wager and then presenting a video poker game via the display of the gaming machine. Other software may be resident upon a gaming server. That software may track game play, aggregate game scores, increment a jackpot value or the like. Software may also be resident upon a user's mobile electronic device for presenting base games or for interfacing with a game server or website.
  • [0070]
    It will be understood that the above described arrangements of apparatus and the method there from are merely illustrative of applications of the principles of this invention and many other embodiments and modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the claims.
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Classifications
U.S. Classification463/25, 463/13
International ClassificationA63F9/24
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/32, G07F17/3258, G07F17/3244
European ClassificationG07F17/32, G07F17/32K, G07F17/32K12