Title:
System and method of a gaming machine with special bonus attraction
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention includes a first game of chance, or base (primary) game, with a particular result or outcome that provides the player with the opportunity to play a second game, or bonus game. The bonus game is not played on the same gaming machine as the base game, but played on a bonus game attraction device. The player must physically leave the gaming machine of the first game to play the bonus game on the attraction device. The bonus game is distinct from the first game in that it is an entirely different game, with a different object and outcome, than the first game. The addition of a large bonus attraction device is a great enhancement to playing a wagering game in a casino environment.



Inventors:
Slomiany, Scott D. (Rolling Meadows, IL, US)
Brown, Duncan F. (Grayslake, IL, US)
Demar, Lawrence E. (Winnetka, IL, US)
Application Number:
11/333831
Publication Date:
07/20/2006
Filing Date:
01/17/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SHAH, MILAP
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Michael H. Baniak;BANIAK PINE & GANNON (Suite 1200, 150 N. Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL, 60606, US)
Claims:
1. A method of playing a wagering game, comprising: a base game of chance, a bonus game of chance associated with said base game, said bonus game of chance being located and played at a place physically separated from said base game.

2. An improved wagering game having a base game which is playable upon a wager input, and an associated bonus game, wherein the improvement comprises said bonus game being located and played at a place physically separated from said base game.

3. An improved bonus game where the bonus game is triggered or otherwise earned through play of a wagering game, wherein the improvement comprises: a bonus game which is playable and is different in play from the wagering game, and said bonus game is located and played at a place physically separated from the wagering game.

4. A gaming system comprising: a base game machine having a game of chance that is executable by said base game machine, with a wager input mechanism for a player to register a wager for play of said base game of chance; a bonus game machine having a game of chance that is different in play from said base game of chance and executable by said bonus game machine, said bonus game machine being located at a place which is spatially separated from said base game machine.

5. The gaming system of claim 4 wherein said spatial separation requires a player to traverse a distance greater than ten feet away from said base game machine as measured on a line from a location where the player was playing said base game.

6. The gaming system of claim 4 wherein said spatial separation requires a player to traverse a distance to reach a public attraction location where said bonus game is located.

7. The gaming system of claim 4 wherein said bonus game machine is an outsized machine as compared to said base game machine.

8. The gaming system of claim 4 wherein said bonus game is a pachinko device, with a bonus award being based upon where at least one member played on said pachinko device comes to rest after falling through said device.

9. The gaming system of claim 4 wherein said bonus game is a matrix of video monitors, with a bonus award being based upon the selection of at least one video monitor from said matrix to reveal said bonus award.

10. The gaming system of claim 8 wherein said member is discharged from said base game machine upon the occurrence of a bonus event determined by said base game play.

11. The gaming system of claim 8 wherein said member is discharged from said bonus game machine upon the occurrence of a bonus event determined by said bonus game play.

12. The gaming system of claim 8 wherein said pachinko device has a plurality of discrete locations where said member can come to rest, at least some of said locations having differing respective award values associated therewith.

13. The gaming system of claim 8 wherein said member is a puck-like disk.

14. The gaming system of claim 8 wherein said member is a puck.

15. The gaming system of claim 8 wherein said pachinko device is outsized, and said member is a hockey-puck sized disk.

16. The gaming system of claim 8 wherein said pachinko device is sized to receive and play a member which is a hockey-puck sized disk.

17. A method of playing a wagering game, comprising: providing a base game of chance, providing a bonus game of chance associated with said base game, playing said base game at a first location, said base game further providing a possibility of initiating said bonus game, and in the event that said bonus game is initiated, said bonus game is then played at a location physically remote from said base game.

18. The method of claim 17 wherein said bonus game has a manner of play that is different from a manner of play of said base game.

19. The method of claim 18 wherein said base game is played upon a video machine, and said bonus game is played upon a machine.

20. The method of claim 17 wherein said bonus game initiation includes the additional steps of: a member being discharged from said base game machine, and said member is physically carried by a player to said bonus game machine and deposited therein for said bonus game play.

21. The method of claim 19 wherein said bonus game initiation occurs upon a triggering event happening in play of said base game for a winning player, whereupon play of said base game is temporarily suspended, the winning player then traverses to said location of said bonus game, said bonus game is played by the winning player, and upon completion of play of said bonus game, the winning player traverses back to said base game and resumes play thereof.

22. The method of claim 20 further including the generation of an award based upon play of said bonus game.

23. The method of claim 22 wherein said award is registered on said base game machine.

24. The method of claim 20 wherein said bonus game is a pachinko device, with a bonus award being based upon where at least one member inserted into said pachinko device comes to rest after falling through said device.

25. The method of claim 24 wherein said member is discharged from said base game machine upon the occurrence of a bonus event determined by said base game play.

26. The method of claim 24 wherein said pachinko device has a plurality of discrete locations where said member can come to rest, at least some of said locations having differing respective award values associated therewith.

27. The method of claim 17 wherein said bonus game initiation includes the additional steps of: a member being discharged from said bonus game machine, and said member is deposited in said bonus game machine for said bonus game play.

28. The method of claim 17 wherein said bonus game initiation includes the additional steps of: a member being self contained within said bonus game machine, and said member is played on said bonus game machine for said bonus game play.

29. The method of claim 27 wherein said bonus game is a pachinko device, with a bonus award being based upon where at least one member inserted into said pachinko device comes to rest after falling through said device.

30. The method of claim 27 wherein said member is discharged from said bonus game machine upon the occurrence of a bonus event determined by said base game play.

31. The method of claim 17 wherein said bonus game is a matrix of video monitors, with a bonus award being based upon the selection of at least one video monitor from said matrix to reveal said bonus award.

Description:

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/644,757 filed Jan. 17, 2005.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to games in general, and particularly to gaming machines allowing wagers to be placed on a game, and more particularly to a wagering game with a first game and a second game where the first game offers or provides players the opportunity to play a second game on an apparatus separate and distinct from the apparatus of the first game.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Wagering games, like those in a casino environment, for example table games and slot machines, are typically each played individually by a single player who makes a wager and collects or loses coins, or credits and the like, based upon the outcome of the game played. The outcome is ordinarily independent of the result of any other player or slot machine in the casino.

Table games are well known wagering games (e.g., blackjack, craps, roulette) generally played by multiple players who sit around a physical table and make wagers on potential outcomes of a game prior to the play of the game. In some variations, the players participate in the play of the game while in other variations, the players watch the game being played, but in all such variations, each player collects or loses based on the outcome of the game as it relates to his or her own participation. In table games, generally a player makes a wager, the game is played (such as by a casino employee called the dealer or in some cases by a computer) following which the result of the game is evaluated, and payment is made to the players based on the outcome of the game. In some table games, such as roulette and keno, the player's involvement is limited to placing a bet and watching the outcome on a wheel or board. All players win or lose independent of the result for any other player.

In other table games, such as blackjack and Pai-gow poker, the player makes one or more decisions during the course of the game (such as drawing or grouping cards) and the outcome is determined by evaluating the hand of the player against the hand of the dealer. Again, all players win or lose independent of the result for any other player.

In still other table games, such as five-card draw poker and Texas-hold 'em, players play each game against other players at the table by making wagers into a common prize pot, with a single player winning the game and collecting the prize pot while all other players lose and are excluded from collecting any portion of the prize pot at the end of the game. In this type of game, the players win or lose money from each other. In a casino environment, the operator or casino takes a fixed percentage of the prize pot without any risk of loss, regardless of the skill of each player. Players enjoy playing table games in a group setting, whether competing against the house or each other.

Players participating in table games play as a community, and the group participation is a feature upon which players choose to play table games, versus the solitary play of slot machines. Although some table games, such as roulette, blackjack and certain poker games can be played by a single player against the dealer, most players typically prefer to play table games with multiple players participating in the game. Table game players share their experience with, and evaluate the result of their play, against other players at the same table. This community play aspect is a desirable feature of table games for some players.

Yet gaming machines, such as slot machines, poker machines, blackjack machines, are sometimes more desirable to a player than a table game. Gaming machines are well known in the art and typically use spinning mechanical reels or a video display to display the results of game. These machines contain a player input device, for example, mechanical buttons, a handle or a touchscreen monitor. Players wager money on plays of the game, often registered as credits on the machine. Each machine registers the money wagered by the player, whether it is through the insertion of coins or bills, voucher tickets, credit cards or electronic funds transfer. Each machine offers the player a means to cash out, whether by dispensing coins from a hopper, dispensing bills, printing a voucher ticket, applying credit to a credit card or other electronic funds transfer.

Traditional slot machines have a plurality of rotating mechanical drums, or reels, which rotate and then stop to show symbols on one or more paylines drawn across the reels. These may be actual mechanical reels, or more often a computer simulation on a video display. Players wager coins, or credits, on one or more of these paylines, actuate spins and receive a payment for certain combinations of symbols on a payline for which a wager has been placed. More recent video slot machines offer these same types of features and often add in a bonus game that occurs when a game results in a particular symbol combination. In many such cases, the outcome and play of the game is solitary to the player making the wager.

As noted above, a bonus game is offered on many slot machines. The bonus game is usually actuated for play at random times, as by certain combinations resulting from the wagered play of the game, such as the occurrence of a certain pattern of symbols on the paylines wagered upon by the player on the slot machine, for example, a row of “bonus game” symbols appearing upon a wagered payline. The bonus game, once actuated, generally consists of a separate game played on the display of a slot machine. For example, a player selects objects from a choice of objects offered, and receives coins or credits based upon the value of the objects revealed after the game is played. In other bonus games, an event is displayed for the player's amusement, and the player receives coins or credits based on the outcome of the event.

Some players enjoy playing in groups. Gaming machines are frequently arranged within a casino in groupings of like games, such as areas for video poker machines or in banks of games with the same or similar titles, themes or brands. During their individual play, players often enjoy social interchange with players on nearby machines, witness and comment upon outcomes achieved by other players, and evaluate their results against what other players achieve.

These gaming machines may not necessarily function totally independently. In certain desired instances they can be interconnected, such as through a LAN in a local environment, or a wide area network (private) or the Internet in a more global application, so that multiple players can participate at the same time.

In a casino environment, there is always a need for more exciting attractions to make wagering games more appealing to the player. Many slot machines are based on the license of a well known icon, such as a popular product or TV show. Groups of slot machines typically have large signs and wide area progressive jackpots to attract play.

There are gaming machines where multiple players play a primary game, or base game, to achieve play of a secondary game, or bonus game. The “Super Spin Wheel of Fortune” game allows multiple players to play linked slot machines for a chance to spin the giant wheel in the center of the gaming machines. Multiple players that reach the bonus game, within a specified time period, may participate jointly in spins of the bonus wheel.

Another example of an attraction used to attract players is the simultaneous multiple players racing game described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,793,575 to Brown. Multiple players simultaneously play a race game on individual gaming stations while the game is illustrated on a centralized display.

Some slot machines attract players by dispensing souvenir items, for example “Silver Strike” by Anchor Gaming as described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,397,125 to Adams. Other machines dispense items of value, for example “Raining Diamonds” by Sierra Design Group which dispenses diamond jewelry as described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,609,969 to Luciano.

Some casinos have special promotional areas and/or games that award customers in a large gameshow-like format based on random drawings or accumulation of slot machine play. For example, the Fortune Dome at the Tropicana Resort in Atlantic City, N.J., is a twelve foot glass dome booth towering over the casino floor. Players that accumulate the minimum number of tickets based on the quantity of slot machine play, are invited to step into the Fortune Dome to grab at cash swirling through the air.

The popularity of the games, and these gaming machines, derives from a number of factors, some of which are the apparent likelihood of winning (typically money in a wagering environment), the attractiveness of the gaming machine, and the basic level of entertainment provided by the game/gaming machine itself. It is therefore one general driving force in the gaming industry to come up with new and exciting games and gaming machines that will attract players, entertain them, and promote repeated play.

One way that has been tried to accomplish the foregoing has been to enhance play of a wagering game, where the base game may be a relatively standard-type game already established in the industry, with a bonus game. Such a bonus game can be completely unrelated to the base game in the sense of being a game different from that being played as the base game. For instance, the bonus game could be a separate wheel that is spun in the course of play of a slots game when triggered by some event in the slots game.

Players would enjoy playing more exciting wagering games. The purpose of the present invention is to create attractions that enhance the play and enjoyment of a gaming machine so that it is more appealing to the player to play.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The addition of a large bonus attraction device can be a great enhancement to playing a wagering game in a casino environment. It is a principal objective of the present invention to create bonus attractions that enhance the play and enjoyment of a gaming machine so that it is more appealing to the player to play. While there have been games where players participate in bonus games, there has not been (until the present invention) a bonus game that is an entirely different game, with a different object and outcome, than the first or base game. Additionally, the bonus game is played on an entirely different apparatus, spatially separate from the base game.

The present invention, in perhaps one of its broadest expressions, comprises a base game of chance, a bonus game of chance associated with the base game, and the bonus game of chance being located and played at a place physically separated from said base game.

In one preferred from, the present invention is an improved wagering game having a base game which is playable upon a wager input, and an associated bonus game, wherein the improvement comprises the bonus game being located and played at a place physically separated from the base game.

In another preferred from, the present invention is an improved bonus game where the bonus game is triggered or otherwise earned through play of a wagering game, and the bonus game is playable and is different in play from the wagering game, and the bonus game is located and played at a place physically separated from the wagering game.

In yet another preferred form, the present invention is a gaming system comprising a base game machine having a game of chance that is executable by the base game machine, with a wager input mechanism for a player to register a wager for play of the base game of chance, a bonus game machine having a game of chance that is different in play from the base game of chance and executable by the bonus game machine, the bonus game machine being located at a place which is spatially separated from the base game machine.

In yet another preferred form, the present invention is a method of playing a wagering game, by providing a base game of chance, providing a bonus game of chance associated with the base game, playing the base game at a first location, the base game further providing a possibility of initiating the bonus game, and in the event that the bonus game is initiated, the bonus game is then played at a location physically remote from the base game.

The present invention includes a first game of chance, or base (primary) game, such a slot machine (mechanical or video), video poker machine, other gaming machine, bingo or table game. The first game of chance could be any game, existing or not yet invented. A particular result or outcome from the first game provides the player with the opportunity to play a second game, or bonus game. The bonus (second) game can be any game (of skill or chance), and is not played on the same gaming machine as the base game (where the “base game” is played on a machine). The bonus game is played on a bonus game attraction device. The player must physically leave the gaming machine of the first game to play the bonus game. Additionally, the bonus game is distinct from the first game in that it is an entirely different game, with a different object and outcome, than the first game.

While the bonus game can be any type of game, it is preferred that the bonus game provides a greater opportunity for winning, or the opportunity to win a large monetary amount. It is also preferred that the bonus game is played on an attraction device that is of a larger scale than traditional gaming machines and apparatus. Playing an outsized bonus game on a large bonus attraction device is exciting to the player, as well as to others who may watch the player play the bonus game on the large attraction device.

The first game of chance can be any machine or live game. In one embodiment, the first game is a slot machine. A conventional slot machine has various reels with symbols, with a variety of symbol combinations that provide different awards. A specific combination provides the player with the opportunity to play the bonus game, for example, a single “Bonus” symbol on the last reel of a mechanical or video reel slot machine, three “Bonus” symbols on a wagered payline, or scattered on any three reels or consecutive on the first three reels. It is contemplated that any event, or symbol combination, can provide the player with the opportunity to play the bonus game.

An object of the present invention is to provide a bonus game attraction device, play thereof which is awarded from a base game played on a gaming machine. The bonus game is an entirely different game, with a different object and outcome, than the first or base game.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a bonus game attraction device that is an entirely different apparatus than the gaming machine of the first game.

It is a further object of this invention to provide a gaming machine of the first game that dispenses bonus game qualifying element to indicate that the player has earned the opportunity to operate the attraction device.

It is a further object of this invention to provide a bonus game attraction device that is placed among games of chance and preferably in a central area easily viewed from as wide an area as possible.

It is a further object of the present invention to allow the attraction device to be operated unattended. A bonus game qualifying element can be dispensed from the gaming machine and inserted into the attraction device to activate the attraction device before play. Alternatively, the gaming machine can dispense a game piece, or member, that is used by the player during play of the bonus attraction device, while simultaneously activating the attraction device. Additionally, the player can be “credited” with the opportunity to play the attraction device, via a player tracking card, voucher ticket or by assigning an ID and PIN recorded on a computer network, which can be used to activate the attraction. In fact any secure method may be used that allows the bonus attraction device to validate that the operation is the result of a legitimate win by the player on the base gaming machine.

It will of course be understood that the aspects and objectives of the invention are various, and need not be all present in any given embodiment of the invention. The features, advantages and accomplishments of the invention will be further appreciated and understood upon consideration of the following detailed description of an embodiment of the invention, taken in conjunction with the drawings, in which:

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 schematically illustrates the principal components of the system according to one configuration of the gaming machine network of the present invention;

FIGS. 2 through 4 are screens from a video display showing an embodiment of the base game according to the present invention;

FIG. 5 illustrates one embodiment of a bonus game attraction device according to the present invention; and

FIG. 6 illustrates an alternate embodiment of a bonus game attraction device according to the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

The embodiments of the first game of the present invention described hereinafter have been particularly adapted for play on a video display, whereas embodiments of the bonus game of the present invention described hereinafter have been particularly adapted for play on an attraction device, and even more particularly, for play of both games in a casino environment. The first game and bonus game could easily be adapted for play on a mechanical machine (other than video) without departing from the invention, or in other conceivable environments where wagering games are played.

The embodiments of the present invention directed to the first game, or base game, described hereinafter have been particularly adapted for play on a video display, and even more particularly, for play upon a video gaming machine in a casino environment. The base game could be a multi-line video slot, a spinning reel slot, blackjack, poker, craps, checkers, or any other game. Upon play of a base game, a second game can be achieved. The second game, or bonus game, is particularly adapted for play on an entirely different gaming machine than the first game, for example a bonus game attraction device.

The present invention electronically links an individual gaming machine and a bonus game attraction device via a network. It is further contemplated that multiple individual gaming machines are electronically linked to a bonus game attraction device via a network. By linking a gaming machine and bonus game attraction device in a common network, the expected win in the second game can depend on factors present in the first game. Regardless of the type of gaming machine or its particular configuration for registering wagers, it is preferred that the gaming machine has its own CPU. It is also contemplated that the present invention can be constructed using a single computer system that would operate the gaming machine and the bonus game attraction device.

Whether configured with a single CPU, or multiple CPUs using a computer network, and whether it is a single physical machine or multiple machines, players will each play the first game at a gaming machine.

FIG. 1 schematically illustrates the principal components of the system according to one configuration of the gaming machine network 101 of the present invention. A plurality of gaming machines 103 is connected through a computer network 101, or software is provided for a single machine to work in a similar mode of operation. The computer network 101 connects the gaming machines 103 to the bonus game attraction device 107.

The network 101 includes a plurality of gaming machines 103, or gaming stations. Each gaming machine 103 is networked (e.g., connected) to the bonus game attraction device 107. The gaming machines 103 may be of the same style machine or varied style machine, for example video slot machine, video poker machine, or mechanical reel slot machine.

Each gaming machine 103 is networked to the bonus game attraction device 107 through a network router 105. Computer networking technology is well known in the art and any appropriate networking architecture may be used, such as, but not limited to, Cat-5 Ethernet, Fiber Optic, RS-232, RS-422, 802.11 a/b/g Wi-Fi. The computers could also be networked over a larger network, such as the Internet, using any suitable connection method such as dial-up, DSL, Cable Modem, T1, wireless or other available technology.

Also connected to the network 101 is a computer that serves as the server 109. A PC such as those made by IBM, Dell, Compaq or HP could be used for the server 109 as well as a separate gaming machine unit or other embedded computer system. The CPU in the server 109 monitors operation of the first game by communicating with gaming machines 103 over the network 101, and may further control the operation of the second game. The gaming machines 103 and bonus game attraction device 107 could communicate without the use of a server 109 without departing from the invention. The gaming machines 103 and bonus game attraction device 107 could also communicate through a network structure which does not require a router 105, as is well known in the art.

In one embodiment, the bonus game attraction device 107 is a pachinko-type attraction device with an over-sized pegboard. The bonus game attraction device 107 may further include a bonus wheel device, large interactive plasma display, and the like.

As an example, the bonus game attraction device 107 begins a bonus game when a qualification is received. It is necessary for the qualifications to come from an individual gaming machine 103. Qualification to play the bonus game attraction device 107 can include, for example, a symbol combination on the base gaming machine 103.

When a game played results in a bonus game qualification, then the gaming machine 103 sends a message through the computer network 101 to the server 109, which registers this player for the bonus game. If a bonus game is in progress, then this request is queued for a future bonus game. A message is sent to the gaming machine 103 causing it to display a text message and to continue regular game play.

Once the bonus game attraction device 107 receives the required registration of a qualified player, the bonus game is initiated. As described above, the network shown in FIG. 1 is only one possible configuration of many types of networking hardware and hierarchical arrangements. The gaming machine(s) may be networked in any reasonable method that is available by current technology.

In the case where the first gaming device is not a computer (such as a table game) then a computer could be used in conjunction with the table game in order to transmit the necessary information about the bonus game initiation. The network could be an existing network such as ones commonly used in casinos to link all of the machines together for the purposes of player tracking that is well known in the art.

Another networked system being used to link gaming machines together provides “Ticket-In/Ticket-Out” functions for establishing credits and cashing out on the gaming machines on the network. For a “Ticket-In/Ticket-Out” network, the player could be issued a ticket from the first gaming machine which logs the ticket value on the system which is tracked by the “Ticket-In/Ticket-Out” network. Then, rather than automatically initiating play on the bonus game attraction device, the player inserts the ticket into the bonus game attraction device. The bonus game would be played based on the value logged for the ticket which the bonus game would access from the “Ticket-In/Ticket-Out” network as is well known in the art.

The base game could be a multi-line video slot, a spinning reel slot, blackjack, poker, craps, checkers, or any other game. Upon play of a base game, a second game can be achieved. In one embodiment, the first game is a game of chance played on a video slot machine where bonus symbols are displayed in conjunction with regular play symbols. For example, and incorporated herein by reference, U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/051,316 discloses “Deal and Win” slot game with additional award symbols displayed in conjunction with symbols of regular slot machines and video poker games.

FIGS. 2 through 4 are screens from a video display showing a first embodiment of the base game according to the present invention. FIG. 2 shows various meters and buttons of a “Deal and Win” slot game including a “Lines” meter 201, a “Credit” meter 203, a “Collect” button 205, a “Help” button 207, a “See PayTable” button 209, a “Select Lines” button 211, a “Bet Per Line” button 213, a “Max Bet Spin” button 215, a “Spin Reels” button 217, a “Paid” meter 219, a “Total Bet” meter 221, and a “Bet” meter 223. This embodiment employs a five reel multi-line slot game as the first (primary or base) game.

A player actuates the “Select Lines” button 211 to indicate the number of lines to be included in the wager of the game, ranging from one to nine lines, although any number of lines may be used. The player can actuate the “Bet Per Line” button 213 to indicate a bet for each line wagered upon, ranging from one to five coins, although any desired range for this value may be used. Here, the player has selected to play the “Deal and Win” slot game betting all nine lines at one credit per line. This comes to a total bet of nine credits, as displayed on the “Total Bet” meter 221. The player then actuates the “Spin Reels” button 217 to start the game and spin the reels 217. The nature of the primary game is incidental to the invention, unless otherwise indicated herein.

Once the player actuates either the “Spin Reels” button 217 or the “Max Bet Spin” button 215, or a mechanical button which is not shown, the well known Random Number Generator (RNG) is used to establish “stop” positions for the five reels 225, which are meanwhile shown spinning in a video display format, as shown in FIG. 3.

The bonus award values 227 are also selected by the RNG and shown to “spin” as well as the reels 225. Here, the game spins the reels 225 and the bonus award values 227 at the same time. The game “stops” the spinning reels 225 and bonus award values 227 at positions and values selected by the RNG. This method of displaying spinning the reels and establishing the positions for a slot game is well known by those skilled in the art.

FIG. 4 shows one possible outcome of the game shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. After the reels stop, the end results are evaluated. Any payout of the slot game is determined for all lines that were bet, with the resulting payout value then multiplied by the number of credits per line wagered, and the winnings are then shown in the “Paid” meter 219. This amount is then added to the “Credit” meter 203. Here, the player receives five matching bonus award values 227 of “BONUS”, and the player wins an award of playing the bonus game. The bonus game is played on a separate apparatus from the base game.

A player can receive the right to play the bonus (second) game by any contemplated method, including those listed above. In one embodiment, the player is given a game piece used in the bonus game. In this embodiment, the gaming machine dispenses the game piece to the player. The game piece can be dispensed using a standard coin hopper, a solenoid released coin tube, or a rotary merchandiser mechanism. There are many possible ways to dispense a game piece to the player and any such way may be used without departing from the invention. The first game of chance may also supply multiple game pieces to the player. Multiple game pieces could be dispensed to the player via a saucer shaped plastic packaging. For example, in reference to FIG. 4, when the player receives five “Bonus” symbols below the reels, the gaming machine would dispense a plastic package filled with three bonus game pieces. The saucer shaped package could be used as the bonus game piece and/or multiple game pieces could be dispensed at one time to supply multiple game pieces on a single win.

It is further contemplated in the embodiments where the player is “credited” with the opportunity to play the attraction device, via a player tracking card, voucher ticket, e.g., “Ticket-In/Ticket-Out”, or by assigning an ID and PIN recorded on a computer network used to activate the bonus game attraction device, the game pieces can be dispensed from the attraction device, including the game pieces being self contained within the attraction device. For example, a player inserts a player tracking card that registers the player's win on the base gaming machine and activates the bonus game attraction device. The attraction device can either dispense the game pieces to the player for play of the bonus game or the game pieces can be contained inside, or part of, the attraction device and raised, for example, on a conveyor to the player for play.

One embodiment of the bonus game requiring a game piece dispensed by the gaming machine is a pachinko-type bonus game. As shown in FIG. 5, the bonus game is a pachinko-type attraction device 301.

The attraction device 301 is a separate apparatus from the gaming machine of the base game. The player has to relocate from the gaming machine of the base game to access the attraction device 301 of the bonus game. In another embodiment, using any dispensing or validating means deemed appropriate, the player does not end their session on the base game to play the bonus. The bonus game is initiated upon a triggering event happening in play of the base game, whereupon play of the base game is temporarily suspended, and the winning player traverses to the location of the bonus game attraction device 301. The bonus game is played by the winning player, and upon completion of play of the bonus game, the winning player traverses back to the gaming machine of the base game and resumes play. It further contemplated that the award, if any, received in the bonus game is registered on the base game machine, although the other methods of delivering the bonus award described above may also be used.

It is preferred that this bonus game attraction be placed among games of chance and preferably in a central area easily viewed from as wide an area as possible. The bonus attraction device 301 can be any type of game of chance, and likewise, any type of game of skill, or any combination thereof. The larger the bonus attraction device, the more interesting it is to watch.

The pachinko-type attraction device 301 consists of a stairway 303 leading to the top of a large pegboard 305. After climbing the steps 303 to the top of the pachinko-type attraction device 301, the player inserts a bonus game piece 307 in to an acceptance slot 309 at the top of the pegboard 305. Each bottom slot 311 is given an award value, such as a credit or monetary value. It is further contemplated that the award values may be non-monetary, for example, “Win all award values”, “Win 2 additional game pieces”, “Win merchandise” etc. The award value slot 311 in which the game piece 307 ends up after caroming down the board 305 determines the value won for that game piece 307.

It is further contemplated that the award value for each slot 311 of the attraction device 301 can change on each play of the bonus game. Changing award values could be advantageous to randomize the award values about the slots 311 and revealing the award values after the game piece has been put into play. This method eliminates player skill in play of the bonus game, while still allowing the randomness of gravity and physics to determine each outcome, or result. This method is further described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,139,013 to Pierce, incorporated herein by reference.

Changing award values could also be advantageous to offer different expected results on different plays of the bonus game based on the size, or amount, of the wager on the first game. Additionally, it may be desirable to combine different types of gaming machines for the first game, which would require different expected results from play of the bonus game. The award values for each slot 311 of the attraction device 301 would be modified to achieve the expected results based on these factors discussed above.

To verify that the game piece 307 is legitimate, the game piece 307 can go through a mechanical or electronic coin acceptor, as is well known in the art, to authenticate the game piece 307. It is further contemplated that the game piece 307 can be authenticated via RFID (radio frequency identification) tagging, as is also known in the art.

In the case of RFID tagging, a preferred embodiment of dispensing a game piece 307 is to use a rotary merchandising mechanism. A rotary merchandising mechanism includes tubes for dispensing an item. If different game pieces 307 have different award values, then the game pieces 307 could be sorted into the tubes by award value. Alternatively, the rotary merchandising mechanism could contain a reader to authenticate the game piece 307, by reading the game piece ID while it is dispensed from a tube of the rotary merchandising mechanism. The gaming machine 103 that the primary game was played on could also register the award value of the game piece 307 on the network 101. Upon authentication, or identification, of the game piece, the bonus game attraction device 301, could look up the RFID tag in a network database so that the bonus game is played with the appropriate award values.

An example of a full embodiment would combine the elements shown in FIGS. 1-4. The first game of chance is the “Deal and Win” format shown in FIGS. 1-3. The first game of chance is a video slot machine with five video reels showing three symbols on each reel. Below each reel are symbols for various bonus awards, some of which could be the right to play the bonus attraction. Every time the player lines up five “Bonus Attraction” symbols 227, the first game would dispense a bonus game piece 307. Each game piece 307 contains a RFID chip, which is read by the gaming machine 103 as it passes through the rotary merchandising mechanism to the player.

It is well known in the art that a bonus game has a specific expected value. A multi-line game with nine paylines that allows a bet of one to five credits per payline has a maximum bet of forty-five credits per game. An award on the first game, that is not related to any particular payline (such as the “Deal and Win” bonus symbols 227 under the standard reels 225) usually results in a particular expected value that is multiplied by the number of coins, or credits, wagered on the spin. In the alternative, the award could be generated from a particular payline combination or any other type of payline combination, without departing from the invention.

In this example, the bonus game provides an award with an expected value of fifteen times the number of credits wagered on the spin. Thus, a player wagers one credit per line on the nine payline game and five “Bonus Attraction” symbols are obtained, as shown in FIG. 4. The gaming machine computes the expected value of the bonus game earned by this spin as nine credits wagered times fifteen (the credit multiplier for bonus games on this particular gaming machine) for a total of one hundred and thirty five credits.

The gaming machine dispenses a game piece and reads the RFID tag of the game piece as it is dispensed to the player. Assume the game piece has an RFID code of 5000621. As described above, in reference to FIG. 1, the attraction device 301 could be attached to a central server 109 using an Ethernet connection through an Ethernet switch, as is well known in the art. Each gaming machine 103 on the network 101 may also be connected to the same server 109 using an Ethernet connection through an Ethernet switch. As stated above, there are many ways to connect the gaming machines 103 in the network 101, this is just one example. The gaming machine 103 adds a data entry in the server database containing the game piece code of 5000621 along with the corresponding bonus round expected value of one hundred and thirty five credits. It is contemplated that other information can be included in the data entry, for example, date, time, ID of qualifying gaming machine or any other information that would be useful to operate the system, or as required by gaming regulators.

As another example, a player wagers five credits per payline on nine lines for a total wager of forty five credits, and the player obtains the qualifying combination of five “Bonus Attraction” symbols shown in FIG. 4. The gaming machine 103 dispenses another game piece to the player which has an RFID code of 5000724. The gaming machine 103 calculates the expected value of the bonus game played with this game piece at forty five credits multiplied by fifteen for six hundred and seventy five credits. The gaming machine 103 adds this information to the server database as a data entry, along with any other required information, using protocols that are well known in the art.

Table 1 illustrates data entries that can reside in the server database. The first two lines are from the above example that was played on a gaming machine with an ID of three. The other three lines of the table are data entries that were made from play on other gaming machines on the network.

TABLE 1
Game IDDateTimeRFIDBonus EV
3Jan. 13, 200511:235000724675
3Jan. 13, 200511:065000621135
1Jan. 13, 2005 9:255001109675
6Jan. 13, 2005 8:375000218675
8Jan. 12, 200522:095000730 75

Upon winning bonus game pieces 307, the player takes them to the bonus game attraction device 301 in FIG. 5. The player drops the first game piece 307 (RFID 5000621) into the pachinko-type peg board 305. As the bonus game piece 307 entered the pachinko-type board 305, an RFID reader determines if the game piece was valid and, if so, looks up the RFID code in the server database. If the piece was not valid, or the RFID was not found in the server database, a solenoid activates to reject the game pieces 307 from the pachinko-type board 305.

In this example, the bonus game attraction device 301 finds a data entry for RFID 5000621, which was entered into the database at 11:06 AM on Jan. 13, 2005 from the first game played on the gaming machine with an ID of three. The data entry shows the EV (expected value) of the bonus game played with this game piece should be one hundred and thirty five credits. The bonus game creates the set of values shown in column A of Table 2, all with an expected value of one hundred and thirty five. Thus, any value shown in column A may be used. It is well known in the art how to make more volatile and less volatile sets of numbers, as may be desired for the particular game.

TABLE 2
AB
Values 25100
 50175
120600
 35180
5002500 
 75375
3001500 
140625
 50250
1601000 
 30120
Total1485 7425 
EV135675

The eleven values in Column A are random, and assigned to the eleven award value slots 311 upon validation of the game piece 307. While some award values in the slots 311 are hit with higher frequency than others, randomizing the award values in the slots 311 results in an even distribution of the awards, and thus have a long run expected value as Table 2.

The game piece 307 works its way down the pachinko-type board 305, bouncing between pegs to evenly land in one of the eleven slots 311. The award value shown in slots 311 is awarded to the player. The award value may be presented to the player in any form known in the art, including dispensing coins from a hopper, printing out a voucher (“Ticket-In/Ticket-Out”), electronic funds transfer (EFT), hand pay or any other contemplated method.

The player now inserts the second game piece 307 (RFID 5000724) into the pachinko-type peg board 305. The bonus game device 301 validates the game piece 307 and its six hundred and seventy five expected value. Upon validation of the game piece 307, the bonus game randomly assigns the eleven values in column B of Table 2 to the award value slots 311, and the process repeats as described above.

While the RFID identification system was used in the example above to allow different plays of the bonus game to operate with different expected values, other systems could be used to provide the same result. The data could be tracked through a player tracking card. In this embodiment, the first gaming machine would add the data entry of a win to the server database of the network by using the player tracking card system and associating the winning player's tracking card number with the data shown in Table 1.

With a “Ticket-In/Ticket-Out” system, a specially coded ticket could be awarded to the player that is later validated by the bonus game device. The bonus game device would retrieve the expected value from a bonus game database.

A simple ID and PIN identifier could be used to log the first gaming machine win on a network, thus allowing play of the bonus game attraction device upon entering the ID and PIN information.

It is further contemplated that the system can operate more simply by each bonus game having the same expected value. Any of the above network assisted methods may be used in the example of each bonus game having the same expected value, in addition, the system can operate without a network connection. In the event the bonus game attraction device and gaming machines are not networked, the gaming machine dispenses a validation ticket or token that is authenticated by the bonus game attraction device to allow play of the fixed expected value game.

FIG. 6 illustrates an alternate embodiment of a bonus game attraction device according to the present invention. The bonus game attraction device 401 shown in FIG. 6 comprises a 3×5 matrix of video monitors 403, although any number or arrangement is contemplated. Adjacent to the matrix of video monitors 403, the bonus game attraction device 401 includes attractive signage 405 as well as a gaming terminal 407 to interface with the attraction device 401.

The bonus game illustrated in FIG. 6 is a “multiple pick” bonus game, which is well known in the art. The player selects one of multiple bonus game items until a losing item is selected, upon which the bonus game ends. Any type of bonus game is contemplated where the player makes a selection, or pick, by walking about a plurality or matrix of monitors.

In this embodiment, the player inserts a bonus game qualifying element (ticket, token, player card, number and PIN, etc.) into the interface terminal 407. The bonus game may use a fixed expected value for play of the bonus game, or may use a variable expected value as described in the pachinko-type example above.

In this bonus game attraction device 401, the player 409 walks around to select and touch one of the multiple video monitors 403. Each monitor 403 could be a touchscreen, well known in the art, or any other device that can detect when it is selected. In the most preferred form, each monitor 403 has a single bonus game item displayed on the screen and the player selects the bonus game item by touching the monitor 403. Although, multiple bonus game items on each monitor 403 could be used without departing from the invention.

Similar to the example above, once the bonus game is completed, the award value is presented to the player in any form known in the art, including dispensing coins from a hopper, printing out a voucher (“Ticket-In/Ticket-Out”), electronic funds transfer (EFT), hand pay or any other contemplated method.

While the present invention has been described with reference to particular embodiments, those skilled in the art will recognize that many changes may be made thereto without departing from the scope of the present invention. Each of these embodiments and variants thereof is contemplated as falling with the scope of the claimed invention, as set forth in the following claims.