United States Patent 3645531

The specification discloses a gaming machine comprising a projector for projecting an endless film of horse races. The film is divided into four subframes a selected one of which is brought to a screen by means of a system of tilting mirrors. The selection of subframe is made at random twice in each race to give unpredictable variations of the race shown; a coin mechanism is provided so that bets can be made and winnings paid out in accordance with the outcome of the race.

Application Number:
Publication Date:
Filing Date:
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
352/92, 352/104, 352/109, 352/131, 353/26R, 463/6, 463/22, 463/34
International Classes:
G09B5/00; A63B7/06; A63F9/00; A63F9/14; G07F17/32; (IPC1-7): A63B71/06
Field of Search:
273/138A,139,141A,35,187,86,86B,86F,86G,142K 272
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Foreign References:
Primary Examiner:
Oechsle, Anton O.
Assistant Examiner:
Kramer, Arnold W.
What we claim as our invention and desire to secure by Letters Patent is

1. A game apparatus, comprising; an optical projection means for projecting images carried on a cinematograph film having a plurality of different film sequences disposed side by side across the lateral width of the film, each of said film sequences extending longitudinally of the film, driving means for moving the film along a longitudinal path through said projection means, optical means for deflecting the projected images onto a screen, means for producing electrical signals actuated by movement therepast of predetermined points along the length of the film, motor-driven random selection means independent of said driving means and responsive to said electrical signals for actuating said optical means to project a randomly selected one of the plurality of film sequences onto the screen, means for initially selecting by choice respective film sequences of the plurality of film sequences before actuation of said driving means, and means for indicating the correspondence between said respective choice selected film sequences and said randomly selected film sequence finally determined at the cessation of operation of the game apparatus.

2. A game apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said optical means includes independently rotatable reflecting members controlled by said random selection means so as to project only the selected one of the film sequences towards the screen.

3. A game apparatus according to claim 2, wherein said optical means further includes fixed reflector means to project images from said rotatable reflecting members onto the screen.

4. A game apparatus according to claim 2, wherein said optical means further includes solenoids for positioning said rotatable reflecting members in response actuation thereby of said random selection means.

5. A game apparatus according to claim 4, wherein said random selection means includes microswitches electrically connected to said solenoids and a disc connected to a constant speed motor, said disc having formations sensed by said microswitches for controlling said solenoids.

6. A game apparatus according to claim 5, wherein said formations are annular grooves sensed by said microswitches.

7. A game apparatus according to claim 5, wherein the initial section of a film sequence by said means for choice selecting activates said constant speed motor, and said driving means for moving the film are energized independently thereof.

8. A game apparatus according to claim 4, wherein said film has at least four subframes arranged in at least two pairs side by side to represent a plurality of sequential events, said rotatable reflecting members including two movable mirrors, one of said mirrors is in either of two alternative positions to respectively project towards the other movable mirror one pair or the other pair of said subframes, and said other movable mirror is in either of two alternative positions to respectively project towards the screen one or the other subframe of said pair of subframes reflected by said one movable mirror.

9. A game apparatus according to claim 8, wherein said at least four subframes represent different sequential events, said subframes having similar events prior to said electrical signals being produced to project a coherent sequence of events onto the screen.

10. A game apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said means for producing electrical signals includes a microswitch mounted adjacent said projector to sense said predetermined point along said film.

This invention relates to apparatus for reproducing from stored information simultaneously or sequentially coherent matter.

In one of its aspects the invention relates to apparatus for producing a sequence of visual images in which part of a sequence is chosen at random from a number of possible alternatives, and apparatus according to this aspect of the invention finds application as a gaming machine showing, for example, an animated representation of a horserace having a number of possible and unpredictable endings so that viewers may make bets on the outcome.

A normal film of a race, whether of newsreel or cartoon type, will when projected always show the same course and result. If a cycle of races is screened from an endless loop, or spooled films are screened more than once, observation would in time be expected to reveal the sequence and enable the next result to be predicted in advance. An object of the present invention is to provide apparatus to show a race the result of which can never be foreseen.

However, apparatus according to the invention also finds application in relation to a new cinematic art form in which a story can take a number of unpredictable courses and as a teaching machine. It will be appreciated that in this latter application the visual matter reproduced need not necessarily take a sequential form but can be a still or static image of which at least one portion is chosen at random from a number of possible portions. Moreover, the apparatus according to the invention is not limited to that for forming visual representations but can also form audible reproductions.

According to its broadest aspect there is provided according to the present invention apparatus for reproducing stored information to yield simultaneously or sequentially coherent matter of which at least one portion has a form or characteristics chosen at random from a number of possible different forms or characteristics, comprising storage means for storing a number of sets of information each of which is reproducible to form the one portion, selecting means for selecting one of said sets at random and reproducing means for reproducing the selected set so that when reproduced it forms a coherent portion of the matter.

According to a further aspect of the invention, there is provided, for use with one form of said apparatus, a sequentially reproducible record of which at least part comprises at least two records of different information which is sequentially coherent with preceding or subsequent stored information.

According to another aspect of the invention there is provided a method of reproducing stored information as coherent matter comprising the steps of selecting at random and reproducing one set of stored information from a multiplicity of sets each of which when reproduced forms a simultaneously or sequentially coherent portion of the matter.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention the apparatus takes the form of a gaming machine in which film of horse races is projected onto a screen; each frame of the film is divided into a number of subframes, only one of which, chosen at random, is screened at any time. Preferably each race is divided into a number of sequences, the choice of which subframe is to be shown in each sequence being made at random a corresponding number of times in each race. Each sequence of the race can therefore take one of a number of variant forms; however the subframes bridging a junction between sequences are identical to allow for a coherent transition between any variant form of one sequence and any variant form in the succeeding sequence. The winning horse of a race will be the horse shown to win on the particular subframe chosen for the final sequence.

In an automatic version the gaming machine comprises coin mechanism enabling a bet to be placed on a particular outcome of a race at given odds, the odds being adjustable to give different rates of profit, and the appropriate winning to be paid if a backed horse or horses win. The machine thus provides all the fascination of a "fruit machine" but with the addition of a coherent spectacle to stimulate the punter's interest. Moreover since more than one horse can be backed operation of the machine can be a sociable group activity not a solitary activity as normally in the case of a "fruit machine."

One such embodiment of the invention will now be described in detail, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying diagrammatic drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a front elevation partly broken away of a gaming machine according to the invention;

FIG. 2 is a section on the line II--II of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a sectional plan on the line III--III of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a view on the line IV--IV of FIG. 1 showing the construction of a mirror assembly shown in FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a section on the line V--V of FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a detail of part of a film projector shown in FIG. 2;

FIG. 7 is an elevation of a film used in the projector;

FIG. 8 is a plan of a random selection device used in the machine;

FIG. 9 is an elevation of the device of FIG. 8;

FIG. 10a is one part of a circuit diagram of the gaming machine; and

FIG. 10b is the other part of the circuit diagram of FIG. 10a.

As shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3 a gaming machine 10 comprises a cabinet 11 in the lower part of which is mounted a projector 12 cooled by a stream of air induced by a fan 13 and flowing through a flue 14 to an outlet 15 in a sidewall of the cabinet 11. The projector 12 shows an endless cartoon-type film 16, which is stored on a drum loop absorber 17 and is divided by a black leader film into a number of separate sections each of which is a different flat race in which there are eight runners. Each frame of the film 16 is divided, as shown in FIG. 7, into four elongate subframes 18, 19, 20 and 21 of sides of approximate proportions of 3:1 and extending in the direction of the film 16. Each race is divided into two separate sequences and each of the subframes 18, 19, 20 and 21 bears images corresponding to one of four possible variations of each sequence of the race. As only the four subframes 18-21 are available and there are eight runners the winning horses are allotted to the subframes as follows:

Subframe 18 Subframe 19 Subframe 20 Subframe 21 Horse no. 1 Horse no. 2 Horse No. 3 Horses nos. 4-8 (outsiders)

When a horse of given number wins it means that the corresponding subframe is being projected in the final sequence. While horses Nos. 1-3 may be backed individually horses Nos. 4-8 may be backed only collectively as outsiders.

Immediately before and after the junction between the first and second sequences the subject matter in all four subframes is momentarily similar: accordingly the consecutive projection of any one subframe, chosen at random, in each sequence will result in the screening of a coherent horse race of an unpredictable course and outcome.

A few frames after each junction the film 16 has a cutout 22 at one side thereof for a purpose to be described later.

During the screening of a race a beam from the projector 12 is directed along a path 23 by a series of mirrors 24, 25, 26 and 27 which serve to extend the length of the path 23 within a limited space; the first two mirrors 24 and 25 are also tiltable so as to back-project only a selected one of the subframes 18-21 on to a translucent picture area 28 of a screen 29; the second two mirrors 26 and 27 are permanently angled to bring a horizontally aligned image to the picture area 28. The peripheral regions of the screen 29 which carry permanent decorative matter and instructions on the operation of the gaming machine 10 are illustrated from behind by two boxed display panel lights 30. Lights are also situated behind the screen 29 to illustrate "betting open" and "betting closed" signs thereon. The lowermost part of the screen 29 covers four compartmented pairs of "bet on" lights 70 and "win" lights (not shown). Below each pair of lights is located one of four standard coin rejectors 31-34 which are associated with a payout hopper 35 and payout stepper 36. The screening of each race is initiated by depression of a start button 37 which is situated below rejectors 31-34.

The mirror system will now be described in more detail with reference to FIGS. 4 and 5. The mirror 24 which is front silvered, is mounted concentrically of the initial beam from the projector and is rotatable about its vertical axis a few degrees either side of a vertical plane lying at 45° to the axis of the light beam. The mirror 24 is carried by a stem 38 mounted for rotation in a frame 39; the stem 38 carries near its lower end opposed lever arms 40 and 41.

An arm of a solenoid 42 is connected to the arm 40 which is also connected to the arm of an opposed solenoid 43. The rotational movement of the stem 38 is limited by adjustable stop screws 44 and 45, mounted in "perspex" bearers 46, to positions in which a choice only of subframes 18 and 19 or 20 and 21 is presented to the mirror 25 for ultimate screening: the rotational movement of the mirror 24 thus corresponds to a displacement of two subframes on the picture area 28.

The mirror 25 is similarly mounted on a stem 47 which carries opposed lever arms 48 and 49, rotational movement of which is induced by solenoids 50 and 51. The travel of the mirror 25 is determined by the abutment of the arm 49 against one of the stop screws 52 and 53 in which extreme positions one complete subframe selected from the subframe pair presented by the mirror 24 is projected on to the picture area 28. An electrical connection (not shown) is provided to the arm 41 and to each of the stop screws 44 and 45 and to the arm 49 and to each of the stop screws 52 and 53, so as to provide two two-way switches.

The operation of the gaming machine 10 will now be described with reference to the circuit diagrams of FIGS. 10a and 10b showing the connection of the above-described integers with electrical components mainly housed in the chassis 55 (FIG. 2). When 12 v. DC input 60 the negative pole of which is earthed, 110 v. AC input 61 and 230 v. AC input 62 are connected to appropriate supplies the circuit is put into the condition shown. That is to say the 230 v. AC panel display lights 30 are illuminated and a solenoid in each of the coin rejectors 31, 32, 33 and 34 is energized through a 12 v. DC line 63 from a connection to start relay 64 to cause the rejectors 31-34 to be put into a condition to accept a coin.

A "betting open" sign 53 is illuminated by a 12 v. supply to a bet sign relay 54.

Considering the operation from the punter's point of view, the one or more punters will place a coin in one or more of the coin rejectors 31-34 according to which of horses Nos. 1-3 or an outsider is fancied to win, press the start button 37, watch the race projected on the picture area 28 and, if his horse or horses win, collect coins automatically fed into the payout cup 36 at the end of the race. This is achieved in the following manner.

When a coin is placed in coin rejector 31 as a result of a bet being laid on horse No. 1 (subframe 18), for example, a switch 65 is transitorily closed completing a 12v. DC circuit via lines 66, 67, 68, 69 to No. 1 bet-on light 70 and to No. 1 bet-on relay 71, causing energization of solenoid 72 and consequent movement of switches 73, 74, 75 and 76 to the dashed line positions. Movement of switch 73 causes solenoid 72 to be supplied via lines 77 and 78 thus rendering relay 71 self-holding. Movement of switch 74 breaks the connection to blocking solenoid in rejector 31 putting it in the "REJECT" condition so that no further bets may be placed on horse No. 1. Movement of switch 76 completes a path from a win circuit to be described later and movement of switch 75 breaks one possible connection between lines 77 and 80 to bet sign relay 54 and closes a path from line 77 via line 79 to start button 37.

The movement of switch 75 in relay 71 also energizes a random motor relay 81 via line 81a causing a synchronous motor 82 of a random selector 83 to be connected into a 230 v. AC circuit through lines 84 and 85.

The remainder of the operation will now be described on the assumption that the start button 37 is pressed after only one bet has been placed backing horse No. 1 to win, by virtue of subframe 18 being selected to be projected during the second and final sequence of the race.

Depression of the start button 37 energizes solenoid 86 to start relay 64 to cause movement of switches 87, 88, 89 and 90 to the dashed line positions. Movement of switch 87 deenergizes line 63 and lines 63 a-d causing deenergization of solenoids in coin rejectors 32, 33 and 34 rendering these rejectors also in the "REJECT" condition; movement of switch 87 also completes a holding circuit to solenoid 86. Closing of switch 88 causes the fan 13 and the motor and light of the projector 12 to be connected via line 91 into a 110 v. AC circuit to start the projector. Opening of switch 89 turns off the panel display lights 30. Opening of switch 90 deenergizes the solenoid of bet sign relay 54 causing movement of switch 92 to extinguish "betting open" sign 53 and illuminate "betting closed" sign 93.

FIG. 6, which is a detail of the projector 12, shows the film 16 running over a roller 100, a sprocket 101 and through a film gate 102. A lens carrier 103 may be slid forward to permit the insertion of the film 16 into the gate 102 and has mounted thereon a film--operated microswitch 104 which is normally held open by the right-hand edge of the film 16 as shown in FIG. 7 but allowed to be closed by the passage of a cutout 22.

When the projector 12 is started to show a particular race the portion of film 16 in the gate 102 will be the black leader film which separates the races one from another. During the further travel of this black leader film through the gate 102, a cutout 22 in the film 16 causes the switch 104 to be momentarily closed sending a 12 v. DC impulse to a film-operated switch relay 105 where the impulse is converted to a 110 v. AC impulse which is transmitted via line 106 to a uniselector 107 which is caused to assume a first change signal position causing a 12 v. DC circuit to be completed via lines 108 and 109 to the random selector 83.

The random selector 83 now described with reference to FIGS. 8 and 9 comprises a disc 111 which is driven by the synchronous motor 82 at a constant speed of about 1 r.p.m. The disc 111 has portions removed from two adjacent concentric annular regions of its upper surface to form a discontinuous outer groove 112 and a discontinuous inner groove 113, the grooves being so arranged as to give two sectors 114 containing only the single outer groove 112, two sectors 115 containing only the inner groove 113, two sectors 116 containing a double groove 112, 113 and two sectors 117 which are ungrooved. The arm of a two-way microswitch 118 senses the presence of or absence of the inner groove 113 and a second two-way microswitch 119 senses the presence or absence of the outer groove 112, the switches being in one condition when sensing a groove and in another when sensing the ungrooved surface in the sectors 117.

Assuming the disc 111 is in position shown in FIG. 8 at the instant that the first change signal is given from the uniselector 107, via the line 108, to the random selector both the microswitches 118 and 119 will be in the condition shown in FIG. 10a to energize the solenoids 42 and 50 respectively. Consequent movement of the arm 41 if it is not already abutting the stop 45 will cause rotation of the stem 38 and associated mirror 24 until movement is stopped by abutment of the arm 41 against the stop 45. In this position of the mirror 24 the light path 23 to the mirror 25 will be occupied only by an image from subframes 20 or 21. The actuation of solenoid 50 causes the mirror 25 to be turned in a similar manner if it is not already in position so that, in fact, the subframe 21 is shown on the picture area 28. During the first sequence of the race therefore the events particular to subframe 21 will be shown. At the end of the first sequence a further cutout 22 provided in the edge of the film 16 is sensed by the film-operated switch 104 causing a pulse through the relay 105 and the line 106 to cause the uniselector 107 to assume the second change signal position and transmit a signal along a line 120 and the line 109 to the two microswitches 118 and 119. If the condition of the switches is different from the previous condition, that is to say if they are above one of the sectors 114 to 116 then a different combination of the solenoids 42, 43, 49 and 50 will be energized to cause movement of one or both mirrors 24, 25 to screen a different one of the subframes 18-21.

It will be appreciated that the random selector 83 rotates independently of other apparatus and the position of the disc 111 when a film edge signal is received via the uniselector 107 is unpredictable. Because the motor 82 of the random selector 83 is started as already described by the first coin rejector to accept a bet, and not by the start button 37 which would tend to operate the motor 82 for a series of regular periods, the random selector 83 cannot fall into phase with the film to produce any regular pattern of results. The changes of a given subframe being selected depend entirely on the relative length of the various sectors 114-117; the odds offered on various horses can therefore be altered simply by changing the disc. As the first horse in the particular subframe being shown passes the winning post a further film edge signal is given to cause the uniselector 107 to assume a win-and-pay condition in which it connects a line 121 to the positive side of the 12 v. DC supply leading to one side of mirror-operated switches 122 and 123 one, both, or neither of the solenoids of win relays 124 and 125 is energized. Assuming that in the final sequence of the race subframe 21 is again being shown, that is to say one of the outsider horses Nos. 4-8 is winning, both the switches 122 and 123 will be in the open condition as shown and neither of the solenoids in the win relays 124, 125 will be energized, causing the switches 126-129 of relay 124 and switches 130-133 of the relay 125 to assume the conditions shown in FIG. 10a. It will be apparent that in this condition a connection 134 to the positive pole of the DC supply is transmitted via switch 129 and switch 131 through line 135 to the fourth win light 139 of the series of win lights 136-139. Since no coins have been received by the three coin rejectors 32-34 none of the other three bet on relays 140, 141, 142 has been altered in condition from that shown in FIG. 10b. Accordingly the win signal along line 135 is blocked by the open condition of the switch 76 in relay 142 and no signal is transmitted to energize a solenoid of the fourth payout stepper 147 of the series four payout steppers 144-147.

A different outcome of the race is now considered. If, when the second change film edge signal at the end of the first sequence is fed to the random selector 83, the two switches 118, 119 are above either of the two sectors 116 then both switches will be in the dashed line positions shown in FIG. 10a and solenoids 43 and 51 will be energized to bring the mirrors 24 and 25 respectively into positions in which the subframe 18 is shown. Accordingly the No. 1 horse will win and the win- and pay-film edge signal will be transmitted by uniselector 107 through the switches 122, 123 in the dashed line positions to solenoids of win relays 124 and 125 causing switches 126-133 therein to assume the dashed line position. In this energized condition of relays 124 and 125 the positive pole of the DC supply 134 will be connected, via switches 126 and 130, to line 150. It will be remembered that by virtue of the bet on the NO. 1 horse only placed in the coin rejector 31 switch 76 has been placed in this closed position, allowing a win signal to be carried by line 151 to energize a solenoid of the payout stepper 141 closing a switch of stepper 141 to send the appropriate number of 110 v. AC signals through line 152 to the payout hopper which will deliver the corresponding number of coins into the payout cup 36 in accordance with the bet placed on the horse and the odds given on the No. 1 horse.

Soon after the win and pay signal has been transmitted from the uniselector 107 a further film edge signal, which is recognized by the uniselector 107 as a stop signal is passed via line 155 to a solenoid of stop relay 156 which causes the contact between lines 66 and 67 to be broken and causes all the circuits to be restored to the initial condition.

It will be remembered that the operation of the machine was described on the assumption that bets have been made only on the No. 1 horse. If a bet is made on other horses it will be appreciated that each of the remaining coin rejectors 32-34 into which a coin is placed will thereby be rendered into a "REJECT" condition in a manner similar to that described with reference to the rejector 31 and the respective "bet on" sign 70 will be illuminated and the respective switch 76 in the appropriate one of bet on relays 140-142 will be operated to provide a path for a win signal to be transferred to the appropriate one of payout steppers 142-144.

If each of the horses Nos. 1-3 and the outsiders are backed, that is to say a bet has been placed for each of the four subframes to be shown in the final sequence, then each of switches 75 in the bet on relays 71 and 140-142 will be in the dashed line positions. There is consequently no remaining path between line 79 and line 80 to bet sign relay 54, the solenoid of which is consequently deenergized resulting in the "betting open" sign 53 being extinguished and the "betting closed" sign 93 being illuminated. It is then up to one of the punters to initiate the race by depressing the start button 37.

Any break in the film is sensed by a film break switch 157 which disconnects all circuits except one of the "betting closed" sign 93.

The invention can be realized in other embodiments than in the back-projection machine 10 incorporating a betting mechanism which has been described above: if a gaming machine according to the invention is to be used privately it may be made without the coin betting mechanism for users to carry out betting between themselves; alternatively a mechanism may be provided to enable betting to be carried out on lips or cards or by a "tote" . If on the other hand the machine is to be used publicly with a number of people in the audience then a machine according to the invention may employ a front projection system again omitting all mechanisms and indicator signs, which are transferred to the film itself and employing mirrors 24 and 25 only. The front projection model preferably also delivers a sound commentary; this is preferably achieved by the provision of a double-headed projector carrying, in addition to the picture film, a full width-magnetic sound film with four tracks sensed by four sound heads, the normal soundtrack on the picture film being used for the timing signals.

In alternative embodiments of the machine 10 films of races other than horse races may be shown, for example, motor races or dog races and instead of cartoon films suitably edited films of actual races may be screened. Any size of film may be used or alternatively videotape may be employed.

Instead of altering the light path to project a particular subframe on the screen a strobe light flashing, for example, at the rate of 24 flashes per second may be used to bring a particular transversely orientated subframe to the screen, selection of the subframe being achieved by alteration of the phase of the flashes.

Subframe selection may also be used by means of a tilting, a revolving, or a longitudinally subdivided projector lens; or by bringing all the subframes to coincide on the screen and masking all but one of the subframes by a moving shutter in or close to the projector gate.

If it is desired to dispense with the uniselector the film edge cutouts 22 may be provided in pairs, differently spaced so as to actuate different circuits to differentiate between the various change, win-and-pay signals and stop signals. It will readily be appreciated that the cutouts 22 may be replaced by optical or magnetic signals on the soundtrack space of the film. 16 or by metal strips attached to the film 16 to act as contacts.

To obtain simplification of the circuit a multidisc distributor, similar to the random device, and driven by the projector or film in synchrony therewith, may be employed in place of the film-actuated signals; this simplification would be at the expense of accepting an identical timing of signals in every race and of imposing some limitations on the repairing of the film. The multidisc distributor initiates signals to the various mechanisms including the signs.

As an alternative to the win-and-pay signal the final picture change signal may be stored electrically by a self-feeding relay, instead of being derived from the position of the mirrors 24 and 25.

In a further embodiment of the invention a wholly random result may be obtained with more horses by using two or more synchronized projectors each being focused on the screen and carrying a separate but synchronized picture; only one picture at a time is projected on the screen by masking the picture from, or switching off, all but one of the projectors.