Title:
Continuing secondary event between games
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method uses a continuing secondary event during and between slot games by continuing the event if the player begins play of an additional game within a period of time but stops the event if the player does not begin play of an additional game within the period. The method has the step of using with audio, video or a combination of them for the event. The method has the step of choosing the musical selection that will play from a selection of the player. The method integrates the event with a player's card to automatically select the music the player most enjoys. Most especially by drawing information from a player's card to provide a player preferred continuing secondary event. A method provides the event until after the end of a casino game by continuing the event while the player begins play of the additional game within the period of time, or by stopping the event if player fails to begin play of the game. The method includes having musical entertainment. The method has informational entertainment. A device for using the event between games on a slot has a first means for initiating the event during game play and after completion of play. A second means continues the event if the player begins play of an additional game within the period of time, and a third means stops the event if the player does not begin play of the additional game within the period. The second means has audio with pre-recorded music or video with or without the audio. The audio has a control to choose the musical entertainment. A card reader integrates the event with information about the player to automatically select the music for the audio apparatus that the player most enjoys. A device provides the event until after the end of the game and means continue the event if the player begins play of an additional game within period or another means stops the event if the player fail to begin play of the additional game. The event has music or informational entertainment.



Inventors:
Vancura, Olaf (Las Vegas, NV, US)
Caloiaro, Michael A. (Henderson, NV, US)
Application Number:
10/205656
Publication Date:
01/02/2003
Filing Date:
07/25/2002
Assignee:
VANCURA OLAF
CALOIARO MICHAEL A.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
G07F17/32; (IPC1-7): A63F1/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20090091086Game table with a level indicating deviceApril, 2009Debevec et al.
20040036210Tabletop game with lighted playing fieldFebruary, 2004Oister et al.
20090239651Blackjack Variation with Additional Player OptionsSeptember, 2009Eaton
20100052257GAME WITH CLUESMarch, 2010Osborne et al.
20070216102BOARD GAMES WITH PROJECTILES AND METHODS OF PLAYING THE SAMESeptember, 2007Matilla et al.
20050173860Inflatable chess gameAugust, 2005Enebo
20090066023Method for conducting a wagering gameMarch, 2009Sutton Shamosh
20040026858Wine evaluation and trivia board gameFebruary, 2004Murphy et al.
20040169333Electoral college board game, with quadrants, home territories, and popular vote columnsSeptember, 2004Wolkis et al.
20020135131Electronic dart game machine user interfaceSeptember, 2002Martin et al.
20080211190Sequential target apparatusSeptember, 2008Smith



Primary Examiner:
RADA, ALEX P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Mikohn Gaming, Corporation Aron Passman (PO BOX 98686, LAS VEGAS, NV, 89193-8686, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A method of employing a continuing secondary event for a player between games on a slot machine including the steps of: a) initiating the continuing secondary event during play of a game; b) upon completion of the game performing the steps of: continuing the continuing secondary event providing the player begins play of an additional game within a predetermined period of time; stopping the continuing secondary event if the player does not begin play of an additional game within a predetermined period of time.

2. The method of claim 1 in which the continuing secondary event step includes the step of having audio for an audible continuing secondary event.

3. The method of claim 2 in which the audible continuing secondary event includes the step of providing music.

4. The method of claim 1 in which the continuing secondary event includes the step of having video for a visual continuing secondary event.

5. The method of claim 1 in which the continuing secondary event includes the step of having audio and video for an audible and a visual continuing secondary event.

6. The method of claim 1 wherein the step of choosing the musical selection that will play from a selection by the player.

7. The method of claim 1 with the step of drawing information from a player's card to provide the player preferred continuing secondary event.

8. A method of providing a continuing secondary event until after the ending of a casino game, the method comprising the step of continuing the continuing secondary event provided the player begins play of an additional game within a predetermined period of time, or with the step of stopping the continuing secondary event should the player fail to begin play of the additional game.

9. The method of claim 8 wherein the step of continuing the continuing secondary event includes the step of providing musical entertainment.

10. The method of claim 8 wherein the step of continuing the continuing secondary event includes the step of providing informational entertainment.

11. A device for employing a continuing secondary event between games on a slot machine comprising: a first means for initiating the continuing secondary event during play of a game and until after completion of the game; a second means for continuing the continuing secondary event if the player begins play of an additional game within a predetermined period of time, and a third means for stopping the continuing secondary event if the player does not begin play of an additional game within a predetermined period of time.

12. The device of claim 11 in which the second means for continuing the continuing secondary event includes an audio apparatus for an audible continuing secondary event.

13. The device of claim 12 in which the audio apparatus includes music.

14. The device of claim 11 in which the second means for continuing secondary event includes a video apparatus for a visual continuing secondary event.

15. The device of claim 11 in which the second means for continuing secondary event includes apparatuses for audio and video for an audible and a visual continuing secondary event.

16. The device of claim 12 wherein the audio apparatus includes a control for choosing the musical selection to entertain the player.

17. The device of claim 11 wherein a player card reader is included for drawing information from a player's card to provide a player preferred continuing secondary event.

18. A device for providing a continuing secondary event until after the ending of a casino game, the device comprising means for continuing the continuing secondary event if the player begins play of an additional game within a predetermined period of time, or another means for stopping the continuing secondary event should the player fail to begin play of the additional game.

19. The device of claim 18 wherein the means for continuing the continuing secondary event includes an apparatus for providing musical entertainment.

20. The device of claim 18 wherein the means for continuing the continuing secondary event includes an equipment for providing informational entertainment.

21. A gaming machine for a player includes receives wagers and gives monetary rewards or credits, the gaming machine for operating a secondary event comprising: a game processor in the gaming machine for starting, running and ending the play of the game in accord with received wagers and credits and rule of the game therein; a game ending signaler in the gaming machine coupled to the game processor for indicating the discontinuance of play by the player by the lack of wagering or credits; an interface board in the gaming machine coupled to the game ending signaler for receipt of the indications of discontinuous of play, the interface board for signaling the starting, running and ending of the secondary event; a microprocessor based controller in the interface board for timing the period of discontinuance of play; an input/output data flow manager in the microprocessor based controller for the execution of a protocol therein; an event device coupled to the interface board for receiving starting, running and ending signals therefrom.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates to casino games and, in particular, to improvements in the apparatus and methods of enhancing continued play on slot machines.

[0003] 2. Statement of the Problem.

[0004] Slot machines are very popular to the gaming public. The following sequence of events typically occurs during play of conventional slot machines. The player wagers an amount (e.g., either by credit or coin) after which the reels are spun (either automatically, or manually by the player). Upon completion of the reel-spin, as appropriate, winning combinations are awarded. The slot machine then remains idle until the next wager and game. Often, during the reel-spin phase of the game, a musical melody is played which ends upon completion of that game. The music is a cute and enjoyable accompaniment to the reel-spin, hence it is almost universally applied.

[0005] Several difficulties exist with the current approach. First, the stoppage of music implies a definitive end to the game. Psychologically, there is no incentive for the player to continue to play additionally. This is because the machine enters a passive or idle condition and all cues, both visual and auditory, confirm this state. Additionally, the repetition of replaying the same short snippet of music, game after game can get monotonous to the player, neighboring players and casino personnel. Alternatively, should it be desirable to play a musical selection of length longer than that of the reel spin, that desired selection will necessarily have “gaps” during the periods of time when the machine is passive or idle.

[0006] Slot machines traditionally include lights, bright colors and chrome to attract and stimulate play. Often, the slot machine has a flashing or steady, “INSERT COIN” signal to attract play. Visual inducement is common, recognized and somewhat effective. Those that are familiar, with casinos know that many slot machines are strategically positioned to attract play. Often sight lines and travel paths through casinos are intentionally made circuitous to arrest the attention of players and induce play. Competition, between manufactures of casino gaming equipment, for floor space is fierce so there is a continuing need for slot improvements, particularly when these machines are passive or idle.

[0007] Many manufactures include light and sound as well as rolling progressive meters to attract players to machines not currently being played. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,445,376 has a system that operates when additional coins are not in play. Attraction mode lights and sound effects can be run periodically. U.S. Pat. No. 5,429,361 has a timer for a reservation feature that allows a player to interrupt his play and return to the machine later, resuming play where he left off. Upon entry of the reservation code, a timer is started and the machine enters the reserved mode in which no other player may use the game. The player then removes his card and may leave the machine. When the player who reserved the game reinserts his card, play may again resume. If the player does not return in a predetermined length of time, e.g., 10 minutes, the reservation feature times out and the game returns to the attract mode. The reservation mode may also be canceled by insertion of an employee card into the card reader. Employees may also invoke the reservation feature without a time limit. U.S. Pat. No. 5,882,261 has a feature for when the game is not in use, the pinball component, the rotary wheel, and/or the fourth reel can be set to an attract mode wherein a message is displayed to potential players or play is simulated.

[0008] Previously, AC Coin has implemented a game in which the player is “racing against the clock” to achieve a desirable conclusion. Typically, the clock runs while the reels are spinning, and terminates very shortly thereafter. Thus, a player who repeatedly plays successive games with no delay in between will fare better than a player who repeatedly plays successive games with, say, a 2 second delay in between. In this sense, the “clock” is an integral part of the overall house advantage. This penalizes players who, despite playing continuously, are not inclined to play “rapid fire” games, with the accompanying risk of rapid losses. No patent on that feature has been found. Conversely, the present disclosure addresses situations wherein the game has ended but the entertainment lingers on. Consequently, the need to keep the player at the machine being played is addresses by the disclosure herein presented.

[0009] 3. Solution to the Problem.

[0010] The solution as presented herein involves a slot machine capable of providing a continuing secondary event to entertain during and thereafter between games thereby encouraging additional or continued play. The continuing secondary event is preferably audible and therefore able to compete with casino sounds coming from the active slot machines and table games. Using music as the audible continuing secondary event is the most preferred embodiment. Provided the player or a subsequent player, upon completion of a previous game, initiates a new game within a predetermined period of time, the music will continue uninterrupted. Should the player fail to initiate a new game within the predetermined period of time, the music stops. This is distinguished from current gaming equipment that uses music, video, lights, meters and/or the like to attract players when the equipment is idle. The timing of the continuing secondary event attraction is important to the beneficial results of the present device and method. That is to say that, the length of the period of time for the operation of the continuing secondary event can be varied for particular circumstances or unusual situations. The start of the continuing secondary event is a function of the operation of the particular equipment to which it is applied. More particularly, initiation of the continuing secondary event can be no sooner than the play of the game and for some machines that is when the wager is committed. That is to say that when the player can no longer get the coin returned without winning play. Some progressive slot machines measure the progressive wager before the coin is no longer returnable. Recognition of coin in by the machine, depending on the particular piece of equipment, results in a pulse sent from the computer. In other machines a packet of pulses represent a bet of a plurality of credits. In any event the start of the continuing secondary event can not begin until a player has committed to a wager, can not retrieve the bet or put another way the play of the next game has started.

[0011] The exact time for starting the continuing secondary event can still vary widely after the wager is placed. For example, the initiation may occur when the player first wins more than is bet or after a preset time or upon the appearance of a certain symbol. Machine appreciation of the player's tenacity or anything special can set the start of the continuing event.

[0012] The continuing secondary event is also preferably called and considered secondary, hence it is not directly related to the overall house advantage. That is, the continuing secondary event is completely separate from the mathematically calculated return from the game. Consequently, the continuously available continuing secondary event could only indirectly act to increase continued play by minimizing idle or passive slot machine time.

[0013] The teachings herein provide several advantages. First, the player is encouraged to play and to continue to play after the completion of each game. The player, by doing so, ensures that uninterrupted music, video or a combination thereof continues to be presented for enjoyment. By virtue of the predetermined time interval in which the next game must be played, the player is also subtly encouraged to play again in a timely manner, so as not to interrupt a particular musical selection, video presentation or combination thereof.

[0014] A further advantage is that the player is encouraged to play again, but does not need to do so in a rushed, or hurried, capacity. In a preferred embodiment of this invention, the predetermined time interval may be of order two seconds, allowing the player to pause slightly in between games with no associated penalty. Of course, the length of the period of time can be adjustable at the option of the casino operator.

[0015] It is well known also that many slot players “bounce” from machine to machine, playing a short while at a particular machine, and leaving thereafter. As one measure of slot machine performance is the volume of betting it receives, it is a further advantage of this invention that individuals are less inclined to “bounce” from a machine wherein a continuing secondary event lingers after each game to fill the predetermined period of time between games.

[0016] A further advantage is that a long musical selection may be played, uninterrupted, for the player's enjoyment. Indeed, the musical selection may be any length and may envelop many games on the slot machine, provided the player continues to initiate games within the afforded predetermined time interval between games. The use of a longer musical selection is desirable as it avoids the invariability of a short snippet of music and adds variety to the overall experience of playing the slot machine.

[0017] In a most preferred embodiment, the continuing secondary event is purely secondary, hence unrelated to the mathematical underpinnings of the slot machine. That is to say, the player's and the casino's expected returns from the game are not directly affected by the continuing secondary event. Except as explained herein before. Thus, whether or not the player initiates an additional game within the allotted predetermined time interval will not changes the player's win.

[0018] In one embodiment of the present invention, the player is allowed to choose the musical selection that will play. This further allows the player to enjoy the slot playing experience, through the use of uninterrupted music that the player enjoys.

[0019] Frequent slot players often join a casino's slot club and receive a slot club card. These cards, when inserted, usually welcome the player by name. Too, players often refer to a particular slot machine as “my machine.” The audible continuing secondary event disclosed herein could be integrated with the player's card to automatically select the music the player enjoys the most. More broadly by drawing information from the player's card to provide a player preferred continuing secondary event. In this way, the player senses a more personal relationship with both the slot machine and a preference for the casino.

[0020] A device may include the continuing secondary event between games on a slot machine. A first means can initiate the continuing secondary event during play of a game upon completion of the game. The first means is preferably in a computer of the game, as for example, a slot machine or table game. The computer could also set the rules of the game, the payout for winning events and might include a random number generator. The first means can be an instruction in the computer that starts the audio, video or other specific form of continuing secondary event entertainment for the player. The instruction can be set to begin the continuing secondary event at the initiation of play or at some random time during play or after a winning event, as desired. The computer may include a memory to be accessed for the entertainment or the computer can be linked directly to a casino storage unit that contains prerecorded programming. Direct linkage may include hard wire or radio frequency transmission. The continuing secondary event preferably continues once it is initiated until after game play ceases for a predetermined period of time.

[0021] A third means for stopping the continuing secondary event is in the computer and should the player not begin to play an additional game within the predetermined period of time the first means is barred. A timer, in the preferred embodiment, couples to the computer. The timer starts when there is a break in the continuing play of the game. The exact parameter sensed and a transducer for that purpose are a function of the particular game and the configuration of the platform for the specific game. Once interruption of play is sensed, the timer starts and runs for the predetermined period of time. The timer couples with the first means to continue the continuing secondary event if the player begins play of an additional game within a predetermined period of time. Any form of time measuring device can be used to end the continuation period from capacitate discharge to sensing a break in the particular entertainment.

[0022] In particular, the computer can disconnect the first means or reduce the output of the continuing secondary event to a level that is imperceptible to the player. This is particularly so if the second means for continuing the continuing secondary event includes an audio apparatus for an audible continuing secondary event. It is perhaps preferable to start and stop the continuing secondary event so that it picks up where it left off and the reinforcement is accorded the continuing player. The audio apparatus includes prerecorded music, stories or information of interest to the player. The audio apparatus may include a control for choosing the musical selection that will be played to suit the player. A player card reader can be included for integrating the continuing secondary event with information from the player's profile to automatically select the music for the audio apparatus that the player enjoys the most. More broadly by drawing information from a player's card to provide a player preferred continuing secondary event.

[0023] The second means for continuing secondary event can be a video apparatus for a visual continuing secondary event. The second means can have apparatuses for audio and video for a combined continuing secondary event.

[0024] A device provides a continuing secondary event until after the ending of a casino game. Then the device has means for continuing the continuing secondary event if the player begins play of an additional game within a predetermined period of time. The computer is used to perform the functions of the means for continuing. Another means is for stopping the continuing secondary event should the player fail to begin play of the additional game.

[0025] The means for continuing the continuing secondary event may include an apparatus for providing musical entertainment. The means for continuing the continuing secondary event may include the timer coupled for providing informational entertainment for a predetermined period of time.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0026] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a typical slot machine including a continuing secondary event device for entertaining after a game or between games on a slot machine provided to hold a player's interest.

[0027] FIG. 2 is a flow diagram of method steps for continuing the secondary event until after the ending of a casino game including continuing if the player begins play of an additional game within a predetermined period of time, and stopping the continuing secondary event otherwise.

[0028] FIG. 3 is a schematic block circuit diagram illustrating the basic slot machine circuit and how the audible event of the preferred embodiment is coupled thereto and includes a timer.

[0029] FIG. 4 is a block diagram of one embodiment of the hardware configuration for the secondary event between games of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0030] Shown in FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a typical slot machine 10 including a continuing secondary event 11 after a game or between games on the slot machine 10 provided to hold a player's interest. Reference to continuing secondary event 11 in the FIGS. 1 and 3 is the device and the method shown in FIG. 2. Slot machines 10 such as schematically shown in FIG. 3 include computers 12 to, among other features, control the operation of the game by including a random number generator 13, rules of play and pay table information 14, instructions, record keeping and auditing memory and signaling systems for operating 15. Computers 12 are capable of storing and playing audio and video material of a wide variety of types for purposes of informing and entertaining. Whole libraries of that material can be digitized and kept in a small easily changed file for automatic access and playback or may be in the form of a picture within the picture on the video apparatus 29. The slot machine 10 of FIG. 1 has the stored library, playback and access equipment for selective use in accord with the methods of the operation of a continuing secondary event 11 between games on the slot machine 10.

[0031] At the completion of a game or between games of the slot machine 10 of FIG. 1, the computer 12 therein begins a timer 16 which runs for a preset period during which the continuing secondary event takes place. The timer 16 is started when a particular occurrence in the sequence of slot machine game play has concluded. For example, operations such as the credits are registered, a preset time has passed since the slot machine 10 was active or the pay out has been completed. During that period of time the timer 16 enables the computer 12 to supply continuing secondary event 11 in the preferred form of informational and/or entertain material of an audio and or video format, see FIGS. 1 and 4. Such material is provided in limited amounts, for brief time intervals, to stimulate the player to continue. Failure, on the player's part, to play on results in the timer 16 expiration and the end of the continuing secondary event 11. Reference to flow diagram 2 and circuit diagram 3 will be helpful in following the operation.

[0032] The player controls continuing secondary event enhancement of the excitement, of the slot machine 10 of FIG. 1. In the recent competitive field of thematic slot machine 10 games with the appeal of different games, challenges and stimuli manufacturers of machines and designers of games seek to obtain every advantage to assure play of their equipment. Most if not all slot machines 10 include a receptacle 17 for a magnetically encoded player's card 17a. In FIG. 3 a currency acceptor 18 is shown to receive money 18a and establish credits to start the game, via line 18b. Cards 1 7a are used to welcome the player and indicate the number of points accumulated in the account thereof and/or time remaining during a playing session at a screen 19. The casino is thus informed of the player's visit and activity level for purposes of delivering comps and perks. Casino record keeping associated with the player's card and the identification database 20 can optionally be used to provide specific informational and/or entertain material of an audio and or video personalized to the individual playing in a casino's database 20 in FIG. 3. In particular, the player could select a specific form of information or entertainment desired and that could be encoded on the player's card 17a of in the casino's database 20 for access by the slot machine computer 12. Alternatively, the slot machine 10 could, at the outset of play, query the player as to the desired choice of continuing secondary event 11. Perhaps the player likes Broadway, popular, jazz or rap music and that could be selected before or changed during play. The information could be the uninterrupted flow of trivia or upcoming casino opportunities, e.g., tournaments, shows or banquets. The entertainment might be tactile including a massage or heated chair, aroma therapy, selected and individual temperature or fan regulation. Skilled artisans will no doubt fathom many different ways to enhance the player's comfort and enjoyment. The particular continuing secondary event selected or provided need only be of sufficient interest to the player to encourage continued play. The timer 16 period expires and the continuing secondary event and is inevitable should player discontinue to compete on the slot machine. The computer 12 in the slot machine 10 of FIG. 3 will includes the timer 16 or is operationally coupled thereto. Consequently, the player's failure to play after the period of time preset and provided by the timer 16 will deactivate the systems for operating and in particular, the computer's 12 delivery of selected audio and video material of a wide variety of types for purposes of informing and entertaining.

[0033] A device 22 shown in FIG. 3 for employing the continuing secondary event 11 between games on the slot machine 10 has a first means such as computer 12 for initiating the continuing secondary event during play of a game. The first means 12 may be any form of computer, or information programmed into the software of the computer or instructions from memory in the controls of the device 22. The device 22 is broadly any casino game, be it a slot machine 10 with reels or video slot including card games like poker or blackjack as well as table games (not shown but well known). The computer 12, among other things, also sets the rules of the game 14, the payout for winning events and includes the random number generator 13. The first means 12 can be in the form of any instructions 15 in the computer 12 that starts the audio, video or other specific form of information or entertainment for the player. The instructions 15, as explained, can be set to begin at the initiation of play, at a random time or after a winning event, as desired.

[0034] The computer 12 includes memory 15 to be accessed for the information or entertainment or the computer 12 can be linked directly to a casino storage unit or database 20 that may contain audio, video or a combination thereof in the form of information or entertainment programs. Direct linkage 23 can include hard wires, digital telecommunications or radio frequency transmissions. The continuing secondary event 11 continues once it is initiated until after game play ceases for at least a predetermined period of time.

[0035] Timer 16 is in or coupled to the computer 12 and is started when ever there is a break in the ongoing timely play of the game. As known to skilled artisans, the exact parameter sensed and the transducer for that purpose would be a function of the particular game and the configuration of a platform for a specific game. Once interruption of play is sensed, the timer 16 is started and runs for the predetermined period of time. The timer 16 coupled with the first means 12 maintains the continuing secondary event 11 only if the player begins play of an additional game within the predetermined period of time. Any form of time measuring device can be used to end the continuation period including capacitor discharge circuits, clocks or to the sensing of a break in the particular entertainment or information provided.

[0036] A third means for stopping the continuing secondary event could in one embodiment include a comparator 24 in the computer 12. The comparator 24 thus used to compare the predetermined period of time from timer 16 to calculate the elapsed time. Should the player not begin play of an additional game within the predetermined period of time, the first means 12 is barred. In particular, the first means 12 is shut off to reduce the output of the continuing secondary event 11 through either line 25 or line 26 to a level that is imperceptible to the player. This is particularly so if the second means 15, 12 and 11 for maintaining the continuing secondary event includes audio apparatus 21. It is perhaps preferable to start and stop the continuing secondary event 11 so that it picks up where it left off for reinforcement of the influence accorded to the continuing player. The comparator 24 would check repeatedly the predetermined period time against the amount of time that has passed since the last game played and when that is equal end the continuing secondary event 11.

[0037] The audio apparatus 12, 21 and 25 may include prerecorded music, stories or information of interest to the player. The audio apparatus 12, 21 and 25 perhaps includes a control 27 in FIGS. 1 and 3 for choosing the musical selection that will play by manual selection of the player. Alternatively, player card reader 17 can be included and used for integrating the continuing secondary event 11 with information from the player's card 17a to automatically select the music for the audio apparatus that the player enjoys the most through, for example connections 23 and 28. Similarly, the selection of any other form of entertainment may be made manually or automatically by drawing information from a player's card to provide a player preferred continuing secondary event.

[0038] For example, the second means 16 and 24 for the continuing secondary event 11 can have video apparatus including screen 29 in FIGS. 1 and 4 for a visual continuing secondary event. The second means 16 and 24 for continuing can include entertainment apparatuses for audio 21 and video 29 for a combined continuing secondary event. The video apparatus 29 may be the same as used to play the game or may be separate and if the former can use a picture within a picture.

[0039] An alternate device 30, circumscribed by a dashed line in FIG. 3, provides continuing secondary event 11 until after the ending of a casino game and then the alternate device 30 can be entirely within the computer 12 for continuing the continuing secondary event if the player begins play of an additional game within a predetermined period of time. The computer 12 is used to perform the functions of the timer 16 and comparator 24 for continuing. Another means 25 may also be in or coupled to the computer 12. Means 25 is for stopping the continuing secondary event 11 should the player fail to begin play of the additional game.

[0040] The means 16, 24 and 25 for continuing the continuing secondary event includes apparatus 21 for providing musical entertainment. The means 16, 24 and 25 for continuing the continuing secondary event has the timer 16 coupled to audio and video equipment 21 and 29 respectively, for providing informational entertainment for the period of time.

[0041] In FIG. 4 is a block diagram of one embodiment of the hardware configuration for the secondary event between games of the present invention. Gaming machines such as slot machine 10 are conventionally available and any of a number of such conventional gaming machines could be used. The conventional casinos gaming equipment for accepting wagers, accounting for and displaying credits during the play of the game, activating play of the game, ending the game and delivering pay outs to players, are all well known in the industry. Upon the occurrence of an end-game state in the play of the slot machine 10 a signal is generated and sent on line 300 to the slot machine interface board 200. The slot machine interface board 200 includes a microprocessor-based controller capable of handling timing as well as input/output via a data flow manager with specific protocol. Such a slot machine interface board 200 is sold, under the name SMIB by Mikohn Gaming of Las Vegas, Nev., assignee of this invention. The slot machine interface board 200 in turn is connected via signal line 500 to an event device 400. The event device 400 has control over the actual secondary event (e.g., music) and for example, may be a modified music player, e.g. CD player, tape deck or digital memory capable of being turned off and on based on signals over line 500.

[0042] In more detail, the slot machine 10 uses a game processor 110. The game processor 110 is conventional in the gaming industry and may be any suitable computer that functionally performs the teachings of the present invention as described herein. The processor 110, in a well-known manner, communicates with the slot machine interface board 200 over lines 300. The details of the communication paths showing buffers, modems, data protocols, etc. is immaterial to the teachings of the present invention.

[0043] Upon beginning play, the slot machine 10 communicates a game start signal over one of the lines 300 to the slot machine interface board 200. The slot machine interface board 200 communicates a secondary event start signal over one of the lines 500 to the event device 400. The event device 400 initiates the secondary event (e.g., music starts playing). Upon completing game play, the slot machine 10 communicates a game end signal over one of the lines 300 to the slot machine interface board 200. The slot machine interface board 200 invokes a timer upon receiving the game end signal Such the timer 16 is conventionally associated with controllers, and the implementation of such a timer is readily apparent to one skilled in the art. If the timer 16 should reach a predetermined limit (say, 3 seconds) without the slot machine interface board 200 receiving a further game start signal over one of the lines 300, then the slot machine interface board 200 issues a secondary event stop signal over one of the lines 500 to the event device 400. The event device 400 thus terminates the secondary event (e.g., music stops playing). On the other hand, should the slot machine interface board 200 receive a further game start signal within predetermined time limit, then no further action is taken, and the event device 400 is allowed to continue to operate uninterrupted.

[0044] While the hardware description has been given in terms of specific components, including a game processor 110, slot machine interface board 200, and event device 400, it is expressly understood that two or more of the components could be combined into one device. For example, the game processor 110 could serve the dual purpose of game control and interface to the event device. Other representations and configurations are also possible. The preceding is meant to be illustrative and in no way limit the teachings as described herein.

[0045] A method of employing the continuing secondary event 11 between games on the slot machine 10 has steps including initiating the continuing secondary event 11 during play of a game best shown in the flow chart of FIG. 2. Upon completion of the game, the step of continuing the continuing secondary event if the player begins play of an additional game within a predetermined period of time ensues. Then the step of stopping the continuing secondary event 11 if the player does not begin play of an additional game within a predetermined period of time occurs. The step of continuing secondary event 11 is an audible continuing secondary event 11 at speakers 21 in FIGS. 1 and 3. While speakers 21 are shown, the use of headphones or an ear piece, perhaps even those belonging to the player, and brought to the casino by the player could be accommodated by a special jack included on the game at a place accessible to the player. The step of audible continuing secondary event includes the step of providing music.

[0046] The method, as depicted in the flow diagram of FIG. 2, entertains with the continuing secondary event 11 after the step of concluding a casino game The method includes the step of continuing the continuing secondary event 11 so long as the player follows the step of beginning an additional game within a predetermined period of time. The step of ending the continuing secondary event 11 occurs if the player fails to play an additional game within a predetermined period of time.

[0047] While the claimed method is disclosed in connection with slot machines, the claims that follow seek to protect any of the many casino games. The method may be used with other casino machines including horse races, keno, twenty-one, poker, etc. Although the terms, “continuing secondary event” as used throughout, would suggest that there is but two events, skilled artisans understand that the context of this presentation is not purely a numerical designation of the event or chronological indication of its occurrence. Any event that is timed to encourage continued play else the event ends would fit within the scope of the protection sought.