Title:
SPORTS GAMING AND ENTERTAINMENT NETWORK
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A sports gaming and entertainment system has a plurality of kiosks to allow customers to access legal sports gaming opportunities, obtain sports information, view different sporting events, and make sports related purchases. A secure server is coupled to the plurality of kiosks. The secure server sends selected information from an internet system to the plurality of kiosks to allow the plurality of kiosks to offer legal sports gaming opportunities, obtain sports information, view different sporting events, and make sports related purchases.



Inventors:
Stearns, William Shattuck (Las Vegas, NV, US)
Matthews IV, Ernest C. (Palm Springs, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/548589
Publication Date:
04/12/2007
Filing Date:
10/11/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
LIDDLE, JAY TRENT
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WEISS & MOY PC (4204 NORTH BROWN AVENUE, SCOTTSDALE, AZ, 85251, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A sports gaming and entertainment system comprising: a plurality of kiosks to allow customers to access legal sports gaming opportunities and obtain sports information; and a secure server coupled to the plurality of kiosks, the secure server sending selected information from an internet system to the plurality of kiosks to allow the plurality of kiosks to offer legal sports gaming opportunities and obtain sports information.

2. A sports gaming and entertainment system in accordance with claim 1 wherein the plurality of kiosks further allow customers to view different sporting events and make sports related purchases.

3. A sports gaming and entertainment system in accordance with claim 1 wherein each of the plurality of kiosks comprises: a processing unit coupled to the secure server for transmitting and receiving data from the secure server; a first monitor coupled to the processing unit; a cash intake device coupled to the processing to allow the kiosk to receive monetary intake; a card reading device coupled to the processing unit wherein the card reading device can read a credit card reader and a loyalty card, the card reading device allowing the kiosk to receive monetary intake from a credit card and to allow a user to identify himself/herself as the kiosk user and for the kiosk to credit the loyalty card; and a printer coupled to the processing to allow the kiosk to print receipts evidencing one of a bet or purchase.

4. A sports gaming and entertainment system in accordance with claim 3 wherein the kiosk further comprises a bar code scanner.

5. A sports gaming and entertainment system in accordance with claim 4 wherein the receipts have a bar code that can be read by the scanner.

6. A sports gaming and entertainment system in accordance with claim 3 wherein the printer further print advertisements, promotional information, and other information.

7. A sports gaming and entertainment system in accordance with claim 3 wherein the kiosk further comprises a keyboard coupled to the processing unit.

8. A sports gaming and entertainment system in accordance with claim 3 wherein the kiosk further comprises a second monitor coupled to the processing unit.

9. A sports gaming and entertainment system in accordance with claim 3 wherein the kiosk further comprises a video camera for recording surveillance of the kiosk.

10. A sports gaming and entertainment system in accordance with claim 3 wherein the kiosk further comprises speakers coupled to the processing unit to allow audible data to be broadcast.

11. A sports gaming and entertainment system in accordance with claim 3 wherein the first monitor is a touch screen monitor to allow customers to select and input information into the kiosk.

12. A sports gaming and entertainment system in accordance with claim 1 wherein the plurality of kiosks are placed on a ship.

13. A sports gaming and entertainment system in accordance with claim 12 further comprising: a hub/server located on the ship and coupled to each of the plurality of kiosks on the ship, the hub/server wirelessly transmitting data to and from the secure server via a satellite system; and a cashier terminal coupled to the hub/server to allow one to monitor and control activity of the kiosks on the ship.

14. A sports gaming and entertainment system in accordance with claim 1 wherein the plurality of kiosks are placed on an aircraft.

15. A sports gaming and entertainment system in accordance with claim 14 further comprising: a hub/server located on the ship and coupled to each of the plurality of kiosks on the ship, the hub/server wirelessly transmitting data to and from the secure server via a satellite system; and a cashier terminal coupled to the hub/server to allow one to monitor and control activity of the kiosks on the ship.

16. A sports gaming and entertainment system comprising: a plurality of kiosks to allow customers to access legal sports gaming opportunities, obtain sports information, view different sporting events, and make sports related purchases; and a secure server coupled to the plurality of kiosks, the secure server sending selected information from an internet system to the plurality of kiosks to allow the plurality of kiosks to offer legal sports gaming opportunities and obtain sports information, wherein each of the plurality of kiosks comprises: a processing unit coupled to the secure server for transmitting and receiving data from the secure server; a first monitor coupled to the processing unit; a cash intake device coupled to the processing to allow the kiosk to receive monetary intake; a card reading device coupled to the processing unit wherein the card reading device can read a credit card reader and a loyalty card, the card reading device allowing the kiosk to receive monetary intake from a credit card and to allow a user to identify himself/herself as the kiosk user and for the kiosk to credit the loyalty card; a printer coupled to the processing to allow the kiosk to print receipts wherein the receipts having a bar code evidencing one of a bet or purchase. a bar code scanner to read the bar code on the receipts; a keyboard coupled to the processing unit to enter data into the kiosk; and a video camera for recording surveillance of the kiosk.

17. A sports gaming and entertainment system in accordance with claim 16 wherein the kiosk further comprises a second monitor coupled to the processing unit.

18. A sports gaming and entertainment system in accordance with claim 16 wherein the kiosk further comprises speakers coupled to the processing unit to allow audible data to be broadcast.

19. A sports gaming and entertainment system in accordance with claim 16 wherein the first monitor is a touch screen monitor to allow customers to select and input information into the kiosk.

20. A sports gaming and entertainment system in accordance with claim 16 wherein the printer further print advertisements, promotional information, and other information.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATION

This application is related to U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/725,254, filed Oct. 11, 2005, and entitled, “SPORTS GAMING AND ENTERTAINMENT NETWORK” and also to U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/725,253, filed Oct. 11, 2005, and entitled, “Remote Advertising System”. The present patent application claims the benefit under 35 U.S.C. §119(e).

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates generally to the gambling industry and, more specifically, to a sports gaming and entertainment network that uses kiosks to allow customers to access legal sports gaming opportunities, to obtain the latest in sports information, to view different sporting events, and make sports related purchases.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Sports wagering is the general activity of predicting sporting event results by making a wager on the outcome of a sporting event. Leaving aside various forms of animal racing (i.e., horse racing, greyhound racing, etc.), there are only two legal places in the U.S. where sporting bets may be made.

One place a sports bet may be placed legally is at licensed Nevada Sports Books. A sports book is a place where a person can wager on various sports competitions, such as golf, football, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer, tennis, boxing, horse racing, and the like. The method of betting varies with the sport and the type of game. The main types of bets are: proposition bet, money line bet, spread bet, over/under bet, parlays, and teasers. In general, to place a sporting wager with a Licensed Nevada Sports Books, one must go directly to the sports book. Licensed Nevada Sports Books can set up phone accounts. However, they will not accept wagers across state lines.

A second place to legally place a sports bet is to place the bet with an offshore (international) sports book. From the point of view of bets and odds offered, offshore sports books are similar to licensed Nevada Sports Books. However, there are now some questions as to the legality of these services. There are claims and opinions on all sides of the argument, but few legal precedents.

Thus, the places where sports bets may be placed legally are very limited. Furthermore, the legality of offshore sports books is questionable.

Therefore, it would be desirable to provide a new sports gaming system that overcomes the problems associated with the prior art. The new sports gaming system would allow customers to access legal sports gaming opportunities, to obtain the latest in sports information, to view different sporting events, and make sports related purchases.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, a sports gaming and entertainment system is disclosed. The sports gaming and entertainment system has a plurality of kiosks to allow customers to access legal sports gaming opportunities, obtain sports information, view different sporting events, and make sports related purchases. A secure server is coupled to the plurality of kiosks. The secure server sends selected information from an internet system to the plurality of kiosks to allow the plurality of kiosks to offer legal sports gaming opportunities, obtain sports information, view different sporting events, and make sports related purchases.

The foregoing and other objectives, features, and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following, more particular, description of the preferred embodiment of the invention, as illustrated in the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The novel features believed characteristic of the invention are set forth in the appended claims. The invention itself, as well as a preferred mode of use, and advantages thereof, will best be understood by reference to the following detailed description of illustrated embodiments when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein like reference numerals and symbols represent like elements.

FIG. 1 is a functional block diagram of a kiosk used in the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a functional block diagram of the sports gaming and entertainment network of the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFFERED EMBODIMENT

Referring to FIG. 1, a simplified functional block diagram of a kiosk 10 is shown. The kiosk 10 is part of an entertainment network 100 that uses the kiosks 10 to allow customers to access legal sports gaming opportunities, to obtain the latest in sports information, to view different sporting events, and make sports related purchases.

The kiosk 10 is generally comprised of a computer system 12. The computer system 12 will have a processor unit 14, a first display 16A, and a second display 16B. Input devices are coupled to the processor unit 14. The input devices may be a keyboard 18, a mouse 20 and the like. Through the execution of program instructions forming a computer program product within the computer system 12, the system 10 provides a way to allow customers to access legal sports gaming opportunities, obtain the latest sports information, to view different sporting events, and make sports related purchases.

The program instructions may be located within a memory 22 of the processor unit 14 and executed by a central processing unit 24 (CPU). Any data stored from the running of the program instructions may be stored entirely within a storage media 26 and/or the memory 22. Alternatively, the computer system 12 may be coupled via a connection 28 to a network such as a local-area network (LAN), wide-area network (WAN) or the Internet. The connection 28 may be a wired connection, a wireless connection, or the like. In a network implementation, the program instructions may be located within a secure server 30. Any data stored may be stored in a storage media 32 coupled to the database server 30. The connection 28 may further be used to upload or download data to and from the computer system 12.

The first display 16A is generally a touch screen monitor accessible by the kiosk customer. The second display 16B is generally positioned in an upper area of the kiosk 10 above the first display 16A. The second display 16B is used to display a video marketing program which runs on a loop, interspersed with a variety of odds for athletic events domestically and internationally.

The CPU 24 of the kiosk 10 downloads data from the connection 28. The data is generally from remote sources and are transmitted via satellite, wireless or land line ISP's. Depending on the jurisdiction, the kiosk 10 will further have lighting, cameras 36 and/or other devises coupled to the computer system 12. These devices are used for surveillance in order to identify the users of the kiosk 10 and to have recorded documentation of any transactions performed by the kiosk 10. Speakers 38 may be added to the computer system 12 of the kiosk 10. The speakers 38 are used to allow sports highlights, advertisements, and/or any other audible data to be broadcast. A cash intake device 34 is coupled to the computer system 12. The cash intake device 34 is used to allow the kiosk 10 to receive monetary intake such as paper currency or coins. The cash intake device 34 will allow users of the kiosk 10 to place bets, purchase the latest in sports information, and make sports related purchases using paper currency or coins.

A card reading device 40 is also coupled to the computer system 12. The card reading device 40 may be a credit card reader, a loyalty card reader, or both. Like the cash intake device 34, the card reader 40 will allow the kiosk 10 to receive monetary intake via a credit card for allowing bettors to place bets, purchase the latest in sports information, and make sports related purchases. The card reading device 40 may also allow a user to insert a loyalty card into the kiosk 10. This will allow the user to identify himself/herself as the kiosk user and for the kiosk 10 to credit the user for using the kiosk 10.

A printer 42 is coupled to the computer system 12. The printer 42 is used to allow the kiosk 10 to print receipts evidencing the bet or purchase, and to otherwise print advertisements or other information of a promotional or informational type. The receipt may be printed with a bar code that can be read by a scanner 43 in a remote location or by the kiosk itself. The entertainment network 100 uses a plurality of kiosks 10. The kiosks 10 may be linked through a secure, closed end intranet system within each individual jurisdiction. Selected information from the Internet may be accessed through and stored on the server 30 that prevents access by kiosk users to the Internet. Only that information that the owner of the entertainment network 100 desires kiosk users to access can be reached from the kiosks 10. Advertisers can be assured that only their advertisements can be accessed. Sports books can be assured that only their services can be utilized by betting kiosk users. Jurisdictional regulations can be met on an individual basis.

In operation, advertisers pay a fee to the entertainment network 100. Advertisers may include, but is not limited to, sports handicappers, sports merchandisers, marketers of memorabilia, and purveyors of distilled spirits, wine and beer.

The kiosk user may press the touch screen 16A, or may utilize the keyboard 18, if one is provided, in order to perform a particular function on the kiosk 10 with one of the advertisers. In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, the touch screen 16A will have a plurality of icons wherein each referencing icon representing an action sought to be taken. The information sought as represented by the icon of choice may be sent through the processor unit 14 over the closed end Intranet system to the secure server 30 controlled by the operators of the entertainment network 100. If sports information is sought, that information, updated continuously by the remote sponsor of that information, is sent back to the user of the kiosk 10 immediately. If an advertiser's product information is sought, then that information, as placed on the secure server 30 may be sent back to the user of the kiosk 10. If an advertiser's products are sought to be purchased over the kiosk 10, then the product or service information requested at the kiosk 10 may be retrieved through the secure server 30 and may appear on the touch screen monitor 16A, and the user of the kiosk 10 user may use the touch screen or the keyboard to provide billing information manually, may input his/her credit card in the card reading device 40, or insert currency in the cash intake device 34 to order the product or service.

This information may be sent through the processor unit 14 of the kiosk 10 and back to the secure server 30 and then on to the sponsor marketing the particular product or service. Any confirming information may then be sent back to the secure server 30 and on to the kiosk 10 where the kiosk user will receive a receipt for the action through the printer 42. The kiosks 10 will allow customers to access legal sports gaming opportunities, obtain the latest in sports information, to view different sporting events, and make sports related purchases. Gaming opportunities may be provided over each jurisdictional network twenty four hours per day/seven days per week. Where local regulations require, the schedule can be limited to assure regulatory compliance.

Betting information on a variety of sporting events may be sent from a remote sports book to the secure server 30 controlled by the operators of the entertainment network 100. The betting information is immediately transferred onto those kiosks 10 hosting sports betting activity that are part of that server's jurisdiction. The betting information may appear on the upper monitor 16B and on the lower, touch screen monitor 16A. The kiosk user may press the touch screen monitor 16A, or a keyboard 18, if one is provided, selecting the action to be taken. If a bet is being made, the kiosk user may place the money into a cash receiver 34 on the kiosk 10. The bet information is recorded on the kiosk 10. Alternatively, the kiosk user may insert a credit card into the card reader 40 or have the scanner 43 on the kiosk 10 read the bar code on a winning betting receipt received on an earlier bet in order to use the credit on the new bet. Again, the bet information is recorded on the kiosk 10. The betting information is sent through the processor unit 14 over the closed end Intranet system to the secure server 30 controlled by operators of the entertainment network 100. The server 30 will then send the betting information to the appropriate sports book. If a bet is made, then a message may be sent back immediately to the secure server 30 and on to the kiosk 10 where the bettor is located. The processor unit 14 at the kiosk 10 may receive confirmation of the bet's acceptance and may signal the printer 42 to print a receipt with a bar code evidencing the type of bet made, the team selected and the odds.

If the bet turns into a winning bet, the winning receipt may be returned to the sports book for cashing. Alternatively, the bar code on the winning receipt can be read at the kiosk 10 by the scanner 43. Depending on the amount, the kiosk 10 can payout a cash amount, credit a credit card and/or loyalty card of the bettor. A further alternative is to submit the receipt back into the kiosk 10 for valuation and credit for another subsequent bet. Thus, the bar code may be read at the kiosk 10 by the scanner 43. The person with the winning receipt may then select to have his/her account credited for another subsequent bet. The bettor's account information is stored on the server 30. The kiosk 10 may further be used to obtain the latest in sports information. Information on a variety of sporting results such as scores or highlights may be sent from a remote location to the hub/server 126 on the ship and then may be immediately transferred on to those kiosks 10 that are part of that server's jurisdiction. The information may appear on the upper monitor 16B or lower touch screen monitor 16A.

As stated above, a user may view different sporting events on a kiosk 10. Access to a variety of media through the closed end Intranet network allows the entertainment network 100 to broadcast sporting events through licensing ventures with professional leagues and other entities with broadcasting rights for play over appropriate jurisdictional networks. Facilities hosting the kiosks may be fed these broadcasts through the Intranet network for broadcast to their customers. The broadcast will be fed to the server for a particular jurisdiction and then be made available to kiosk hosts for a fee.

If an advertiser's product information is sought, then that information, as placed on the secure server 30 may be sent back to the user of the kiosk 10. If an advertiser's products are sought to be purchased over the kiosk 10, then the product or service information requested at the kiosk 10 may be retrieved through the secure server 30 and may appear on the touch screen monitor 16A, and the user of the kiosk 10 user may use the touch screen or the keyboard to provide billing information manually, may input his/her credit card in the card reading device 40, or insert currency in the cash intake device 34 to order the product or service.

These same processes can overlay other devices by the addition of a port to connect to the closed end Intranet network. Slot machines and interactive televisions can be set up to allow users at those devices to secure the same information in the same manner as described above.

The entertainment network 100 may be based on land, on water and/or in the air (the last on a variety of aircraft). If the entertainment network 100 is based on water another firewall hosted by the particular cruise line incorporating the system may be required for security purposes.

In a maritime system, a plurality of kiosks 10 would be located on the ship 120. The kiosks 10 will perform all of the functions disclosed above. In order for information to be transmitted to and from the kiosks 10, each kiosk 10 located on the ship 120 is coupled to a hub/server 126 which is also located on the ship 120. The hub/server 126 will communicate with the secure server 30 of the entertainment network 100. The hub/server 126 will wirelessly transmit data to and from the secure server 30. In general, a satellite system 128 will be used to wirelessly transmit data to and from the hub/server 126 and secure server 30. A cashier terminal 122 and network printer 124 are located on the ship 120 and coupled to the hub/server 126. The cashier terminal 122 and network printer 124 are generally located in the casino cage of the ship 120. The network of the cruise line or the owner of the ship 120 may want to include a firewall for extra security.

The cashier terminal 122, the kiosks 10 and the network printer 124 may communicate with each other through the hub/server 126 on the ship 120. Cabling on the ship may attach the components together allowing actions on the kiosks 10 to be controlled from the cash cage where the cashier terminal 122 is located. This allows management on the ship to enable and disable the kiosks 10 for betting activity remotely to comply with local gaming regulations depending on where the ship is located. Alternatively, the above components may communicate wirelessly without the need for onboard cables.

Reports from the kiosk activity can be monitored from the cashier terminal 122 and maintenance can be undertaken through software that allows each piece of equipment to talk to the others on board that make up the kiosk network. The network printer 124 can be set to copy reports of activity on the kiosks 10.

Technicians on land may be able to see the kiosks remotely through the network described above to make maintenance actions and otherwise track betting and advertising activity on the vessels.

In operation, information (betting, sports information and marketing) may be sent from the server 30 located on the land through ports opened by the vessel owner. Permission may be granted to send the data through the firewall established by the vessel owner over its network, then via satellite 128 to the hub/server 126 on the ship 120. The data is then downloaded to the kiosks 10 and is accessible via a variety of icons on the touch screen monitor 16A. The kiosk user on the ship 120 accesses the information by touching the appropriate icons, or by utilizing the keyboard 18 in the same manner as disclosed above. The kiosk user may or may not have to pay an administrative fee for use of the kiosks 10. Any betting activity may then routed through the processing unit 14 at the kiosk 10 to the hub/server 126 onboard, to the satellite 128, and to the server 30 on land through which the data was originally transmitted.

The kiosks 10 on the ship 120 will allow customers to access legal sports gaming opportunities, obtain the latest in sports information, view different sporting events, and make sports related purchases. Additionally, island trips and tours may be promoted and other services and benefits offered by the ships may be showcased.

The processes described above can also be provided on the ship 120 through slot machines, handheld and desk top computers or through interactive television systems that may be available on vessels.

Similar to the maritime system described above, the aviation system allows the kiosks 10 to be placed on aircraft, and while flying in international airspace, sports betting may occur by passengers of legal age in designated areas of the aircraft. Alternatively, the system may be integrated into the aircraft's video entertainment system located at the passengers' seats.

The aviation system would include the same equipment as the maritime system and would operate in a like manner. A plurality of kiosks 10 would be located on the aircraft 150. The kiosks 10 will perform all of the functions disclosed above. In order for information to be transmitted to and from the kiosks 10, each kiosk 10 located on the aircraft 150 is coupled to a hub/server 126 which is also located on the aircraft 150. The hub/server 126 will communicate with the secure server 30 of the entertainment network 100. The hub/server 226 will wirelessly transmit data to and from the secure server 30. In general, a satellite system 128 will be used to wirelessly transmit data to and from the hub/server 126 and secure server 30. A cashier terminal 122 and network printer 124 are located on the aircraft 120 and coupled to the hub/server 126. The cashier terminal 122 and network printer 124 are generally located in a secure location in the aircraft 120. The network of the airline or the owner of the aircraft 150 may want to include a firewall for extra security.

The cashier terminal 122, the kiosks 10 and the network printer 124 may communicate with each other through the hub/server 126. Cabling on the aircraft 150 may attach the components together allowing actions on the kiosks 10 to be controlled from the cashier terminal 122. This allows management on the aircraft to enable and disable the kiosks 10 for betting activity remotely to comply with local gaming regulations. Alternatively, the above components may communicate wirelessly without the need for onboard cables.

Reports from the kiosk activity can be monitored from the cashier terminal 122 and maintenance can be undertaken through software that allows each piece of equipment to talk to the others on board that make up the kiosk network. The network printer 124 can be set to copy reports of activity on the kiosks 10.

Technicians on land may be able to see the kiosks remotely through the network described above to make maintenance actions and otherwise track betting and advertising activity on the vessels.

In operation, information (betting, sports information and marketing) may be sent from the server 30 located on the land through ports opened by the aircraft owner. Permission may be granted to send the data through the firewall established by the aircraft owner over its network, then via satellite 128 to the hub/server 126 on the ship 120. The data is then downloaded to the kiosks 10 and is accessible via a variety of icons on the touch screen monitor 16A. The kiosk user on the aircraft 150 accesses the information by touching the appropriate icons, or by utilizing the keyboard 18 in the same manner as disclosed above. The kiosk user may or may not have to pay an administrative fee for use of the kiosks 10. Any betting activity may then routed through the processing unit 14 at the kiosk 10 to the hub/server 126 onboard, to the satellite 128, and to the server 30 on land through which the data was originally transmitted.

A winning bet may be cased on the aircraft or at such area as the aircraft owner designates. Alternatively, the winning bet may be cased at the location of the sports book(s) providing the betting lines within the system. The kiosks 10 on the aircraft 150 will allow customers to access legal sports gaming opportunities, obtain the latest in sports information, view different sporting events, and make sports related purchases. Additionally, without limitation, other aircraft related promotional events, special tours, and services may be promoted.

The same sports betting may be offered through onboard video entertainment or computer services by allowing aircraft passengers to connect to the sports betting network through at seat video or computer screens. An advertisement program may be fed into the system to allow passengers to view promotional products and services approved by the aircraft owner over these video devices at each seat.

While the invention has been particularly shown and described with reference to preferred embodiments thereof, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that the foregoing and other changes in form and details may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.