Title:
Gaming machine, gaming server, and gaming system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A gaming machine includes a storage and a processor. The storage stores a plurality of return plan information each related to a return plan defining a condition for a player to receive a return of a gaming value used in a game. The processor returns the gaming value based on one of the plurality of the return plan information stored in the storage.



Inventors:
Hosokawa, Norio (Tokyo, JP)
Application Number:
12/010524
Publication Date:
08/21/2008
Filing Date:
01/25/2008
Assignee:
ARUZE CORP. (Tokyo, JP)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
463/42
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
PINHEIRO, JASON PAUL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Mcginn Intellectual, Property Law Group Pllc (8321 OLD COURTHOUSE ROAD, SUITE 200, VIENNA, VA, 22182-3817, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A gaming machine comprising: a storage which stores a plurality of return plan information each related to a return plan defining a condition for a player to receive a return of a gaming value used in a game; and a processor which returns the gaming value based on one of the plurality of the return plan information stored in the storage.

2. The gaming machine according to claim 1, wherein the processor returns the gaming value based on return plan information corresponding to a return plan selected by the player from among the plurality of the return plan information stored in the storage.

3. The gaming machine according to claim 1, wherein each of the plurality of the return plan information stored in the storage relates to a return plan defining at least a threshold value of a number of games as a condition for the player to receive a return of the gaming value used in a game.

4. The gaming machine according to claim 2, wherein each of the plurality of the return plan information stored in the storage relates to a return plan defining at least a threshold value of a number of games as a condition for the player to receive a return of the gaming value used in a game.

5. The gaming machine according to claim 1, wherein each of the plurality of the return plan information stored in the storage relates to a return plan defining, as a condition for a player to receive a return of the gaming value used in a game, at least a threshold value of a payout ratio which is a ratio of a total amount of the gaming value which is paid out with respect to a total amount of the gaming value used in the game.

6. The gaming machine according to claim 2, wherein each of the plurality of the return plan information stored in the storage relates to a return plan defining, as a condition for a player to receive a return of the gaming value used in a game, at least a threshold value of a payout ratio which is a ratio of a total amount of the gaming value which is paid out with respect to a total amount of the gaming value used in the game.

7. A gaming server which is connected to a gaming machine in a manner to enable communication with the gaming machine, the gaming server comprising: a storage which stores a plurality of return plan information each related to a return plan defining a condition for a player of the gaming machine to receive a return of a gaming value used in a game; and a controller which causes the gaming machine to return the gaming value based on one of the plurality of the return plan information stored in the storage.

8. The gaming server according to claim 7, wherein the controller causes the gaming machine to return the gaming value based on return plan information corresponding to a return plan selected by the player from among the plurality of the return plan information stored in the storage.

9. The gaming server according to claim 7, wherein each of the plurality of the return plan information stored in the storage relates to a return plan defining at least a threshold value of a number of games as a condition for the player to receive a return of the gaming value used in a game.

10. The gaming server according to claim 8, wherein each of the plurality of the return plan information stored in the storage relates to a return plan defining at least a threshold value of a number of games as a condition for the player to receive a return of the gaming value used in a game.

11. The gaming server according to claim 7, wherein each of the plurality of the return plan information stored in the storage relates to a return plan defining, as a condition for a player to receive a return of the gaming value used in a game, at least a threshold value of a payout ratio which is a ratio of a total amount of the gaming value which is paid out with respect to a total amount of the gaming value used in the game.

12. The gaming server according to claim 8, wherein each of the plurality of the return plan information stored in the storage relates to a return plan defining, as a condition for a player to receive a return of the gaming value used in a game, at least a threshold value of a payout ratio which is a ratio of a total amount of the gaming value which is paid out with respect to a total amount of the gaming value used in the game.

13. A gaming system including a plurality of gaming machines, the gaming system comprising: a storage which stores a plurality of return plan information each related to a return plan defining a condition for a player of the gaming machine to receive a return of a gaming value used in a game; and a controller which causes the gaming machine to return the gaming value based on one of the plurality of the return plan information stored in the storage.

14. The gaming system according to claim 13, wherein the controller causes the gaming machine to return the gaming value based on return plan information corresponding to a return plan selected by the player from among the plurality of the return plan information stored in the storage.

15. The gaming system according to claim 13, wherein each of the plurality of the return plan information stored in the storage relates to a return plan defining at least a threshold value of a number of games as a condition for the player to receive a return of the gaming value used in a game.

16. The gaming system according to claim 14, wherein each of the plurality of the return plan information stored in the storage relates to a return plan defining at least a threshold value of a number of games as a condition for the player to receive a return of the gaming value used in a game.

17. The gaming system according to claim 13, wherein each of the plurality of the return plan information stored in the storage relates to a return plan defining, as a condition for a player to receive a return of the gaming value used in a game, at least a threshold value of a payout ratio which is a ratio of a total amount of the gaming value which is paid out with respect to a total amount of the gaming value used in the game.

18. The gaming system according to claim 14, wherein each of the plurality of the return plan information stored in the storage relates to a return plan defining, as a condition for a player to receive a return of the gaming value used in a game, at least a threshold value of a payout ratio which is a ratio of a total amount of the gaming value which is paid out with respect to a total amount of the gaming value used in the game.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is based upon and claims the benefit of priority from the prior Japanese Patent Application No. 2007-016712, filed on Jan. 26, 2007; the entire contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a gaming machine, a gaming server, and a gaming system.

2. Related Background of the Invention

Conventionally, a gaming machine is known in which a part of gaming values such as coins used in the game by a gamer (or a player) is returned under a certain condition. Such a gaming machine is disclosed in, for example, US Patent Publication No. 2003/0069073.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a gaming machine, a gaming server, and a gaming system having an entertainment which is not available in the above-described related art.

According to one aspect of the present invention, there is provided a gaming machine comprising a storage which stores a plurality of return plan information each related to a return plan defining a condition for a player to receive a return of a gaming value used in a game, and a processor which returns the gaming value based on one of the plurality of the return plan information stored in the storage.

In this gaming machine, a plurality of return plans are prepared, and a player can receive a return based on one of the return plans. Because of this, for example, a return plan desired by each player can be provided by allowing the player to select one of the plurality of return plans, and, as a result, the interest of the player for the game can be improved.

According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a gaming machine comprising a storage which stores a plurality of return plan information each related to a return plan defining a condition for a player to receive a return of a gaming value used in a game, and a processor which returns the gaming value based on return plan information corresponding to a return plan selected by the player from among the plurality of the return plan information stored in the storage.

In this gaming machine, a plurality of return plans are prepared, and a player can select one of the plurality of return plans and receive a return based on the selected return plan. Because of this, a desired return plan for each player can be provided, and, as a result, the interest of the player for the game can be improved.

According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a gaming machine comprising a storage which stores a plurality of return plan information each related to a return plan defining at least a threshold value of a number of games as a condition for a player to receive a return of a gaming value used in a game, and a processor which returns the gaming value based on return plan information corresponding to a return plan selected by the player from among the plurality of the return plan information stored in the storage.

In this gaming machine, a plurality of return plans are prepared, and a player can select one of the plurality of return plans and receive a return based on the selected return plan. Because of this, a desired return plan for each player can be provided, and, as a result, the interest of the player for the game can be improved. In addition, because the return plan defines at least a threshold value of a number of games, for example, a return plan can be provided for the player in which the return is executed when the threshold value is exceeded.

According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a gaming machine comprising a storage which stores a plurality of return plan information each related to a return plan defining, as a condition for a player to receive a return of a gaming value used in a game, at least a threshold value of a payout ratio which is a ratio of a total amount of the gaming value which is paid out with respect to a total amount of the gaming value used in the game, and a processor which returns the gaming value based on return plan information corresponding to a return plan selected by the player from among the plurality of the return plan information stored in the storage.

In this gaming machine, a plurality of return plans are prepared, and a player can select one of the plurality of return plans and receive a return based on the selected return plan. Because of this, a desired return plan for each player can be provided, and, as a result, the interest of the player for the game can be improved. In addition, because the return plan defines at least the payout ratio, for example, a return plan can be provided for the player in which the return is executed when the payout ratio becomes less than the payout ratio defined in the return plan.

According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a gaming server which is connected to a gaming machine in a manner to enable communication with the gaming machine, the gaming server comprising a storage which stores a plurality of return plan information each related to a return plan defining a condition for a player of the gaming machine to receive a return of a gaming value used in a game, and a controller which causes the gaming machine to return the gaming value based on one of the plurality of the return plan information stored in the storage.

In this gaming server, a plurality of return plans are prepared, and a player can receive a return based on one of the return plans. Because of this, for example, a return plan desired by each player can be provided by allowing the player to select one of the plurality of return plans, and, as a result, the interest of the player for the game can be improved.

According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a gaming server which is connected to a gaming machine in a manner to enable communication with the gaming machine, the gaming server comprising a storage which stores a plurality of return plan information each related to a return plan defining a condition for a player of the gaming machine to receive a return of a gaming value used in a game, and a controller which causes the gaming machine to return the gaming value based on return plan information corresponding to a return plan selected by the player from among the plurality of the return plan information stored in the storage.

In this gaming server, a plurality of return plans are prepared, and a player can select one of the plurality of return plans and receive a return based on the selected return plan. Because of this, a desired return plan for each player can be provided, and, as a result, the interest of the player for the game can be improved.

According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a gaming server which is connected to a gaming machine in a manner to enable communication with the gaming machine, the gaming server comprising a storage which stores a plurality of return plan information each related to a return plan defining at least a threshold value of a number of games as a condition for a player of the gaming machine to receive a return of a gaming value used in a game, and a controller which causes the gaming machine to return the gaming value based on return plan information corresponding to a return plan selected by the player from among the plurality of the return plan information stored in the storage.

In this gaming server, a plurality of return plans are prepared, and a player can select one of the plurality of return plans and receive a return based on the selected return plan. Because of this, a desired return plan for each player can be provided, and, as a result, the interest of the player for the game can be improved. In addition, because the return plan defines at least a threshold value of a number of games, for example, a return plan can be provided for the player in which the return is executed when the threshold value is exceeded.

According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a gaming server which is connected to a gaming machine in a manner to enable communication with the gaming machine, the gaming server comprising a storage which stores a plurality of return plan information each related to a return plan defining, as a condition for a player of the gaming machine to receive a return of a gaming value used in a game, at least a threshold value of a payout ratio which is a ratio of a total amount of the gaming value which is paid out with respect to a total amount of the gaming value used in the game, and a controller which causes the gaming machine to return the gaming value based on return plan information corresponding to a return plan selected by the player from among the plurality of the return plan information stored in the storage.

In this gaming server, a plurality of return plans are prepared, and a player can select one of the plurality of return plans and receive a return based on the selected return plan. Because of this, a desired return plan for each player can be provided, and, as a result, the interest of the player for the game can be improved. In addition, because the return plan defines at least the payout ratio, for example, a return plan can be provided for the player in which the return is executed when the payout ratio becomes less than the payout ratio defined in the return plan.

According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a gaming system including a plurality of gaming machines, the gaming system comprising a storage which stores a plurality of return plan information each related to a return plan defining a condition for a player of the gaming machine to receive a return of a gaming value used in a game, and a controller which causes the gaming machine to return the gaming value based on one of the plurality of the return plan information stored in the storage.

In this gaming system, a plurality of return plans are prepared, and a player can receive a return based on one of the return plans. Because of this, for example, a return plan desired by each player can be provided by allowing the player to select one of the plurality of return plans, and, as a result, the interest of the player for the game can be improved.

According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a gaming system including a plurality of gaming machines, the gaming system comprising a storage which stores a plurality of return plan information each related to a return plan defining a condition for a player of the gaming machine to receive a return of a gaming value used in a game, and a controller which causes the gaming machine to return the gaming value based on return plan information corresponding to a return plan selected by the player from among the plurality of the return plan information stored in the storage.

In this gaming system, a plurality of return plans are prepared, and a player can select one of the plurality of return plans and receive a return based on the selected return plan. Because of this, a desired return plan for each player can be provided, and, as a result, the interest of the player for the game can be improved.

According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a gaming system including a plurality of gaming machines, the gaming system comprising a storage which stores a plurality of return plan information each related to a return plan defining at least a threshold value of a number of games as a condition for a player of the gaming machine to receive a return of a gaming value used in a game, and a controller which causes the gaming machine to return the gaming value based on return plan information corresponding to a return plan selected by the player from among the plurality of the return plan information stored in the storage.

In this gaming system, a plurality of return plans are prepared, and a player can select one of the plurality of return plans and receive a return based on the selected return plan. Because of this, a desired return plan for each player can be provided, and, as a result, the interest of the player for the game can be improved. In addition, because the return plan defines at least a threshold value of a number of games, for example, a return plan can be provided for the player in which the return is executed when the threshold value is exceeded.

According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a gaming system including a plurality of gaming machines, the gaming system comprising a storage which stores a plurality of return plan information each related to a return plan defining, as a condition for a player of the gaming machine to receive a return of a gaming value used in a game, at least a threshold value of a payout ratio which is a ratio of a total amount of the gaming value which is paid out with respect to a total amount of the gaming value used in the game, and a controller which causes the gaming machine to return the gaming value based on return plan information corresponding to a return plan selected by the player from among the plurality of the return plan information stored in the storage.

In this gaming system, a plurality of return plans are prepared, and a player can select one of the plurality of return plans and receive a return based on the selected return plan. Because of this, a desired return plan for each player can be provided, and, as a result, the interest of the player for the game can be improved. In addition, because the return plan defines at least the payout ratio, for example, a return plan can be provided for the player in which the return is executed when the payout ratio becomes lower than the payout ratio defined in the return plan.

As described in the above-mentioned aspects of the present invention, a gaming machine, a gaming server, and a gaming system having an entertainment which is not available in the related art can be provided.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a diagram showing return plan information stored in a RAM of a slot machine according to a first preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view showing an overall structure of a slot machine according to a first preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a diagram showing symbol placements of first to third reels in correspondence to code number data.

FIG. 4 is a block diagram showing a slot machine mainly showing an internal structure.

FIG. 5 is a block diagram showing an example of an internal structure of an image controlling circuit.

FIG. 6 is a diagram showing an example of a winning pattern determination table.

FIG. 7 is a diagram showing a data structure of return plan information of FIG. 1, wherein (a) shows a data structure of first return plan information, (b) shows a data structure of second return plan information, and (c) shows a data structure of third return plan information.

FIG. 8 is a flowchart showing an operation procedure of a main control process.

FIG. 9 is a flowchart showing an operation procedure of an insurance mode selection process.

FIG. 10 is a flowchart showing an operation procedure of a coin insertion and start check process.

FIG. 11 is a flowchart showing an operation procedure of an internal lottery process.

FIG. 12 is a flowchart showing an operation procedure of a reel control process.

FIG. 13 is a flowchart showing an operation procedure of a payout number determination process.

FIG. 14 is a flowchart showing an operation procedure of a return process.

FIG. 15 is a diagram showing an example of a plan selection screen.

FIG. 16 is a diagram showing data structures of return plan information in a different form, wherein (a) shows a data structure of first return plan information, (b) shows a data structure of second return plan information, and (c) shows a data structure of third return plan information.

FIG. 17 is a diagram showing a data structure of return plan information in a different form, wherein (a) shows a data structure of first return plan information, (b) shows a data structure of second return plan information, and (c) shows a data structure of third return plan information.

FIG. 18 is a block diagram showing a gaming system according to a second preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 19 is a diagram showing return plan information stored in a RAM of a gaming server of a gaming system of FIG. 18.

FIG. 20 is a sequence diagram showing an operation procedure between a slot machine and a gaming server, mainly showing transmission and reception of data.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Preferred embodiments of the present invention will now be described in detail with reference to the drawings.

First Embodiment

(Description of Overall Structure of Slot Machine)

FIG. 1 is a diagram showing data stored in a RAM (storage) 33 of a slot machine (gaming machine) 1 according to a first preferred embodiment of the present invention. As shown in FIG. 1, the RAM 33 stores three return plan information (first return plan information 33a, second return plan information 33b, and third return plan information 33c). Each of the return plan information 33a, 33b, and 33c is information related to a return plan defining a condition for a player of the slot machine 1 to receive a return of coins (gaming value) used in the game.

A main CPU 32 (processor or controller) of the slot machine 1 returns the coins based on one of the three return plan information 33a, 33b, and 33c stored in the RAM 33.

More specifically, in the slot machine 1, three return plans are prepared, and the player can receive the return based on one of these return plans. Because of this, a desired return plan for each player can be provided by allowing the player to select one of the three return plans, and, as a consequence, the interest of the player for the game can be improved.

(Structure of Slot Machine)

FIG. 2 is a perspective view showing an overall structure of the slot machine 1. The slot machine 1 is constructed so that the slot machine 1 is capable of executing a slot game using a scroll image of a plurality of symbols. The slot machine 1 has a base game mode and a bonus game mode. In the base game mode, the slot machine 1 accepts a BET operation of a player and executes the slot game under the assumption of the use of the coin. In the bonus game mode, the slot machine I automatically executes the slot game without accepting the BET operation of the player (hereinafter referred to as “free game”). The slot machine 1 transitions to the bonus game mode and executes the free game when a certain condition is satisfied in the slot game of the base game mode.

The slot machine 1 has a cabinet 2 for storing electrical or mechanical components for executing the slot game. On a front side of the cabinet 2, a main display 3 is provided comprising an LCD (Liquid Crystal Display). In addition, a sub-display 4 comprising an LCD is provided above the main display 3.

As shown in FIG. 2, three symbol display areas 3A, 3B, and 3C are provided arranged horizontally on one line at an approximate center of a screen of the main display 3. A scroll image which simulates a plurality of types of symbols moving from the top to the bottom (animated image simulating rotation of a mechanical reel) is displayed in each of the symbol display areas 3A, 3B, and 3C in both the base game mode and the bonus game mode.

The symbols displayed in the symbol display areas 3A, 3B, and 3C are those shown in a symbol placement table of FIG. 3.

More specifically, on the left symbol display area 3A, the group of symbols shown in the symbol placement of a first reel is displayed in a scrolling manner repeatedly and in order from the top. In the symbol display area 3A, after the scroll display, one of the symbols in the symbol placement of the first reel is displayed in a stopped state.

Similarly, the group of symbols shown in the symbol placement of a second reel is displayed in the center symbol display area 3B in a scrolling manner repeatedly and in order from the top and one of the symbols in the symbol placement is displayed in a stopped state after the scroll display, and the group of symbols shown in the symbol placement of a third reel is displayed on the right symbol display area 3C in a scrolling manner repeatedly and in order from the top and one of the symbols in the symbol placement is displayed in a stopped state after the scroll display.

The sub-display 4 displays an image related to the game such as a payout table, an explanation of the game (for example, explanation of a game content), etc.

An approximately horizontal operation table 5 is provided in the slot machine 1 below the main display 3. On the operation table 5, a coin insertion slot 6, a bill insertion slot 7, a spin switch 8, a 1-BET switch 9, a maximum-BET switch 10, a CASHOUT switch 11, and an insurance mode selection switch 16 are provided.

The coin insertion slot 6 is provided to allow the player to insert a coin for betting in the game, and comprises an inserted coin sensor 6a which outputs a signal indicating insertion of a coin. The bill insertion slot 7 is provided in order to allow the player to insert a bill, and comprises an inserted bill sensor 7a which outputs a signal indicating insertion of a bill. The spin switch 8 is provided for the player to perform an operation to display the scroll image of the symbols and start the slot game. The 1-BET switch 9 is provided for setting betting of one coin by one BET operation. The maximum BET switch 10 is provided for setting betting of a maximum number of coins which can be betted in one game by one BET operation. The CAHOOT switch 11 is an operation button for paying out the credited coins to a coin receptacle 14.

The insurance mode selection switch 16 is a button which is operated when the player selects a game in the insurance mode. By the player operating the insurance mode selection switch 16, the return plan is set in the insurance mode selection process (refer to FIG. 9) to be described later.

The slot machine 1 also has a payout slot 13 of coins and a coin receptacle 14 which holds the paid-out coins at a bottom of the cabinet 2. In addition, speakers 12L and 12R are provided on the left and right of the payout slot 13 of coins.

FIG. 4 is a block diagram showing the slot machine 1 mainly showing the internal structure. The slot machine 1 has a plurality of constituting elements centered at a gaming board 20 and a motherboard 40.

The gaming board 20 comprises a CPU 23 and a boot ROM 21 connected to each other by an internal bus 24 and card slots 22a and 22b corresponding to a memory card 27 and a GAL 28, respectively. The gaming board 20 is a device for importing a game program and a game system program to be described later from the memory card 27 to the motherboard 40. The gaming board 20 is also a device which imports payout ratio setting data from the GAL 28 to the motherboard 40.

The CPU 23 and the boot ROM 21 connected to each other by the internal bus 24 are connected to the motherboard 40 by a PCI bus 25. The PCI bus 25 conveys signals between the motherboard 40 and the gaming board 20 and also supplies power from the motherboard 40 to the gaming board 20. The boot ROM 21 stores an authentication program and a preliminary authentication program to be described later and a program (boot code) or the like (not shown) for causing the CPU 23 to boot (start up) the preliminary authentication program.

The authentication program is described along a procedure (authentication procedure) for checking and verifying that the gaming information to be processed in the authentication importing process is not tampered, that is, a procedure for authenticating the gaming information, and is a program for the CPU 32 to be described later to authenticate the game program supplied using the memory card 27 to the slot machine 1 and the game system program. Because the authentication program checks tampering of the game program and the game system program, the authentication program is also referred to as tampering checking program.

The preliminary authentication program is described along a procedure (authentication procedure) for checking and validating that the authentication program is not tampered; that is, a procedure for authenticating the authentication program, and is a program for authenticating the authentication program for authenticating the game program and the game system program. The preliminary authentication program is executed by the CPU 23.

The card slot 22a is connected to the motherboard 40 through an IDE bus 26a. The card slot 22a is configured to enable connection of the memory card 27 in a state in which the stored game program and game system program can be read, and is a slot (physical connection unit) to which the memory card can be inserted.

The card slot 22b is connected to the motherboard 40 by an IDE bus 26b. The card slot 22b is configured such that the GAL 28 can be connected in a state in which the stored payout ratio setting data can be read, and is a slot (physical connection unit) to which the GAL 28 can be inserted.

The motherboard 40 is constructed using a commercially available general-purpose motherboard (printed substrate on which basic components of a personal computer are equipped), and comprises at least a main CPU (Central Processing Unit) 32, a ROM (Read Only Memory) 34, a RAM (Random Access Memory) 33, and an I/O port 39, and further comprises a random number generator 35, a sampling circuit 36, a clock pulse generation circuit 37, and a frequency divider 38. The PCI bus 25 and the IDE buses 26a and 26b described above are connected to the I/O port 39.

The main CPU 32 which is the processor (or controller) in the present invention operates according to the imported game program and game system program, and executes input and output of signals to and from the other constituting elements through the I/O port 39, to control the overall operation of the slot machine 1.

The RAM 33 stores data and program used when the CPU 32 operates, and stores at least the authentication program which is read through the gaming board 20, the game program, and the game system program.

The ROM 34 stores programs such as the BIOS (Basic Input/Output System; standard BIOS in the motherboard 40) executed by the main CPU 32 and permanent data. When the main CPU 32 executes the BIOS, a predetermined initialization process of a periphery device is executed, and the importing process of the game program and the game system program stored in the memory card 27 through the gaming board 20 is started. As the ROM 34, a memory device such as a flash memory is used, and both a memory device in which the contents can be rewritten and a memory device in which the contents cannot be rewritten can be used.

The random number generator 35 operates according to an instruction of the main CPU 32 and generates a random number in a certain range. The sampling circuit 36 extracts an arbitrary random number from among the random numbers generated by the random number generator 35 according to an instruction of the main CPU 32, and inputs the extracted random number into the main CPU 32. The clock pulse generation circuit 37 generates a reference clock for allowing the main CPU 32 to operate, and the frequency divider 38 divides the reference clock by a predetermined frequency and inputs the divided signal into the main CPU 32.

The slot machine 1 further comprises a touch panel 3a, a lamp driving circuit 59, a lamp 60, an LED driving circuit 61, an LED 62, a hopper driving circuit 63, a hopper 64, a payout completion signal circuit 65, and a coin detecting portion 66. The slot machine 1 also comprises an image controlling circuit 71 and a sound controlling circuit 72.

The touch panel 3a is provided covering the screen of the main display 3, detects a position of a location touched by a finger or the like of the player, and inputs a position signal corresponding to the detected position into the main CPU 32. With the touch panel 3a, the player can perform the input operation through a touching action with a finger or the like.

The lamp driving circuit 59 outputs a signal to switch the lamp 60 ON to the lamp 60 so that the lamp 60 is switched ON and OFF during execution of the game. With the switching ON and OFF of the lamp 60, the game performance is performed. The LED driving circuit 61 controls an ON/OFF display of the LED 62. The LED 62 displays the number of credited coins, the number of awarded coins, etc.

The hopper driving circuit 63 drives the hopper 64 according to a control by the main CPU 32. The hopper 64 executes an operation for paying out the coins, and pays out coins through the payout slot 13 to the coin receptacle 14.

The coin detecting portion 66 measures the number of coins paid out by the hopper 64 and notifies the data of the measured number to the payout completion signal circuit 65.

The payout completion signal circuit 65 receives an input of the data of the number of coins from the coin detecting portion 66, and inputs a signal to notify completion of payout of the coins to the main CPU 32 when the number of coins reaches set data of number of coins (for example, a numerical value on a payout number counter).

The image controlling circuit 71 controls an image display on the main display 3 and the sub-display 4, to cause various images including the scroll image of a plurality of symbols, a performance image for game performances, and a status image for notifying the game status to the player to be displayed on the main display 3 and the sub-display 4.

As shown in FIG. 5, the image controlling circuit 71 comprises an image control CPU 71a, a work RAM 71b, a program ROM 71c, an image ROM 71d, a video RAM 71e, and a VDP (Video Display Processor) 71f. The image control CPU 71a determines an image to be displayed on the main display 3 and the sub-display 4 (such as the scroll image, the image of the symbol displayed in a stopped state after the scroll image is displayed) based on parameters which are set by the main CPU 32 and according to an image control program (related to the display on the main display 3 and the sub-display 4) stored in the program ROM 71c in advance. The work RAM 71b is constructed as a temporary storage when the image control CPU 71a executes the image control program.

The program ROM 71c stores the image control program and various selection tables. The image ROM 71d stores dot data for forming the image. The dot data includes, for example, symbol image data indicating each symbol used in the slot game. The video RAM 71e is constructed as a temporary storage when the VDP 71f forms an image. The VDP 71f comprises a control RAM 71g, forms images according to display contents of the main display 3 and the sub-display 4 determined by the image control CPU 71a, and outputs the formed images to the main display 3 and the sub-display 4.

The sound controlling circuit 72 inputs into the speakers 12L and 12R sound signals for outputting sound from the speakers 12L and 12R. Sound for augmenting the game is output from the speakers 12L and 12R, for example, at an appropriate time after the game is started.

In the RAM 33 of the motherboard 40 described above, a winning pattern determination table 92 shown in FIG. 6 and three return plan information shown in FIG. 1 (first return plan information 33a, second return plan information 33b, and third return plan information 33c) are further stored.

The winning pattern determination table 92 is a table which is referred when the main CPU 32 executes winning determination of a combination of symbols displayed on the three symbol display areas 3A, 3B, and 3C of the main display 3 in a stopped state and determination of the payout number when winning is determined. The winning pattern determination table 92 comprises, as shown in FIG. 6, a symbol data area 92a, a payout number area 92b, and a winning pattern area 92c, and the areas 92a, 92b, and 92c are stored in correspondence to each other. In the table 92, combinations of symbols which are considered as winning patterns in the slot machine 1 are defined, and, when the combination of the symbols is any of the combinations of the symbols in the table 92, coins in a number corresponding to the payout number stored in the table in correspondence to the combination are paid out from the slot machine 1. For example, when the combination of the symbols is “bell”, “bell”, and “bell”, the winning of winning pattern “bell” is determined, and 10 coins are paid out.

The combination of the symbols of “7”, “7”, and “7” is a winning of a winning pattern “seven”, which is a bonus game trigger. In this winning, payout of 30 coins is determined, and, at the same time, transition to the bonus game mode is determined.

Each of the return plan information 33a, 33b, and 33c is information related to a return plan defining a condition for the player of the slot machine 1 to receive a return of the coins, and, as shown in FIG. 7, has a data structure in which a bet number, a predefined number of games (threshold value of number of games), and a number of return are correlated to each other. The return plan information 33a, 33b, and 33c will now be described in more detail. For example, in the return plan information 33a, conditions of the return plan are defined with a number of bets (advance payment) of “5”, a predefined number of games of “200”, and a number of return of “10”, which indicate that by inserting “5” coins at the start of the return plan, if the player does not win for the bonus game within “200” games, “10” coins are returned. Similarly, the return plan information 33b is information related to a return plan indicating conditions that by inserting “10” coins at the start of the return plan, if the player does not win for the bonus game within “500” games, “50” coins are returned. In addition, the return plan information 33c is information related to a return plan indicating the conditions that by inserting “50” coins at the start of the return plan, if the player does not win for the bonus game within “500” games, “500” coins are returned.

(Operation Content of Slot Machine)

In the above-described slot machine 1, the main CPU 32 controls progress of the slot game. A control process of the slot machine 1 will now be described with reference to FIGS. 8-15. FIG. 8 is a flowchart (main flowchart) showing a process procedure of a main control process repeatedly executed by the main CPU 32 after the power is switched ON. In FIGS. 8-14, steps are abbreviated with “S”.

(Operation Procedure of Main Control Process)

When the main CPU 32 starts the main control process with the switching of the power ON, the main CPU 32 executes steps 1 and 2 and proceeds to step 3, and executes a repetition routine in which steps from step 3 to step 10 are repeatedly executed. A process of step 100 is executed between steps 3 and 4.

In the slot machine 1, at step 1, the main CPU 32 executes the BIOS stored in the ROM 34, reads the authentication program from the boot ROM 21, and stores the authentication program in the RAM 33. The main CPU 32 further authenticates the game program and the game system program stored in the memory card 27 according to the authentication program, and reads the game program and the game system program through the gaming board 20. The main CPU 32 writes and imports the read game program and game system program on the RAM 33. Then, the process proceeds to step 2 where the main CPU 32 reads and imports the payout ratio setting data stored in the GAL 28 through the gaming board 20, and writes the read payout ratio setting data on the RAM 33.

Then, in step 3, the main CPU 32 executes an initialization process for starting the next slot game. The initialization process is a process to clear the data of the item which is set in a predetermined data region, etc., and is executed every time one game of the slot game is completed. The process then proceeds to step 100, and the main CPU 32 executes an insurance mode selection process to determine the return plan (insurance plan) when an insurance mode is selected by a selection of the player. The main CPU 32 then executes coin insertion and start check process, an internal lottery process, a reel control process, and a payout number determination process in the following steps 4-7. In this process, the slot game is executed in the base game mode.

The process proceeds to step 8 and the main CPU 32 transitions, when a bonus transition condition (that is, winning of a winning pattern seven (bonus trigger)) is satisfied during the base game mode, the game mode from the base game mode to the bonus game mode, and the process proceeds to step 9 and the main CPU 32 executes a bonus game process. The main CPU 32 executes a process to execute the free game once or a plurality of times in the bonus game process. The main CPU 32 then proceeds to step 10 after the bonus game process is executed. When, however, the bonus transition condition is not satisfied during the base game mode, the process proceeds to step 10 without the execution of step 9.

In step 10, the main CPU 32 executes a payout process of coins and directly or indirectly pays out the coins. If the CASHOUT switch 11 is switched “ON”, the main CPU 32 drives the hopper 64 to pay out coins of a predetermined number to the coin receptacle 14. When, on the other hand, the CASHOUT switch 11 is switched “OFF”, the main CPU 32 indirectly pays out the coins by merely adding a predetermined number to the credit number counter.

(Insurance Mode Selection Process)

The insurance mode selection process of step 100 is executed according to a flowchart of FIG. 9. When the main CPU 32 starts the insurance mode selection process, the main CPU 32 detects in step 101 whether or not the player has pressed the insurance mode selection switch 16. If the insurance mode selection switch 16 is pressed, the process proceeds to step 102, and, if the insurance mode selection switch 16 is not pressed, the insurance mode selection process is completed.

In step 102, the main CPU 32 displays a plan selection screen as shown in FIG. 15 on the main display 3 (or sub-display 4). The plan selection screen has a screen structure to ask the player to select one of the return plan information 33a, 33b, and 33c as described above, and allows the player to understand the return plans (insurance plans) of the return plan information 33a, 33b, and 33c. Because of this, the player selects one of the three return plans through a predetermined selection operation (for example, touch panel operation and button operation).

In the following step 103, the main CPU 32 accepts the selection operation of the player, determines the return plan selected by the player, and determines the return plan information corresponding to the return plan. In this process, the main CPU 32 resets the game number counter stored in the RAM 33 and starts counting a number of games with the game number counter. The game number counter has a function to count a number of games in the base game mode of the slot machine 1.

(Coin Insertion and Start Check Process)

The coin insertion and start check process of step 4 is executed based on a flowchart of FIG. 10. When the coin insertion and start check process is started, the process proceeds to step 11, and the main CPU 32 determines whether or not insertion of a coin is detected by determining whether or not a signal is input from the inserted coin sensor 6a. The process proceeds to step 12 and to step 13 after step 12 is executed if the main CPU 32 detects the coin insertion. If, on the other hand, the coin insertion is not detected, the process proceeds to step 13 without the execution of step 12. In step 12, the main CPU 32 updates a credit number counter indicating the remaining credit which includes coins that are already inserted or coins to be paid out (adds according to the number of inserted coins). In step 13, the main CPU 32 determines whether or not the credit number counter equals “0”, and, the process proceeds to step 20 if the credit number counter is “0” and to step 14 otherwise. In step 14, acceptance of operation of the BET switches (the 1-BET switch 9 and maximum-BET switch 10) is permitted.

Then, in step 15, the main CPU 32 determines whether or not an operation of the BET switch (BET operation) is detected. When the main CPU 32 has detected any BET operation, the process proceeds to step 16, and, if no operation is detected, the process proceeds to step 20. In step 16, the main CPU 32 updates the BET number counter indicating the number of bet coins and the credit number counter (add a number to the number of BETs and subtracts the number from the credit number counter) based on the BET switch for which the operation is detected. In the following step 17, the main CPU 32 determines whether or not the BET number counter is at the maximum. If the BET number counter is at the maximum, the process proceeds to step 18 where the update of the BET number counter is prohibited, and further to step 19. If, on the other hand, the BET number counter is not at the maximum, the process proceeds to step 19 without the execution of step 18. In step 19, the main CPU 32 permits acceptance of an operation of the spin switch 8. In the following step 20, the main CPU 32 determines whether or not the operation of the spin switch 8 is detected. If the operation of the spin switch 8 is detected, the coin insertion and start check process is completed. If, on the other hand, the operation of the spin switch 8 is not detected, the process returns to step 11 and the above-described processes are repeated.

In the coin insertion and start check process, the main CPU 32 accepts only once at a predetermined timing insertion of coins of a number of bets in the return plan information corresponding to the return plan selected by the player in the insurance mode selection process (step 100).

(Internal Lottery Process)

When the main CPU 32 completes the coin insertion and start check process, the process proceeds to step 5 of FIG. 8, and the internal lottery process is executed. The main CPU 32 executes the internal lottery process according to a flowchart of FIG. 11.

When the main CPU 32 starts the internal lottery process, the process proceeds to step 41, and the main CPU 32 instructs the sampling circuit 36 to extract an arbitrary random number from among random numbers generated by the random number generator 35. In the following step 42, the main CPU 32 refers to the internal lottery table (not shown) based on the random number extracted in step 41, to determine symbols (symbols to be stopped) to be displayed in the symbol display areas 3A-3C in a stopped state. In this case, the extraction of the random number is executed three times corresponding to the symbol display areas 3A-3C, and the determination of the symbol to be stopped is executed three times corresponding to the symbol display areas 3A-3C.

After the symbol to be stopped for each of the symbol display areas 3A-3C is determined, symbol data of the determined symbol to be stopped is stored in a symbol storage region secured in the RAM 33. The main CPU 32 displays the symbols in a stopped state in the symbol display areas 3A-3C based on the symbol data stored in the symbol storage region. As the symbol data, for example, code number data (refer to FIG. 3) based on the symbol placement of each reel can be used.

In the following step 43, the main CPU 32 refers to the symbol data stored in the symbol storage region of the RAM 33 and the winning pattern determination table 92 (refer to FIG. 6), to determine a winning pattern.

(Reel Control Process)

When the internal lottery process is completed, the process proceeds to step 6 in FIG. 8, and the main CPU 32 executes the reel control process. The main CPU 32 executes the reel control process according to a flowchart of FIG. 12.

When the main CPU 32 starts the reel control process, the process proceeds to step 51, and the main CPU 32 executes a scroll control process. In this process, the main CPU 32 instructs the image controlling circuit 71 to display a scroll image in each of the symbol display areas 3A-3C.

In the following step 52, the main CPU 32 waits until a reel rotation stopping timer which is set to a predetermined time in advance reaches “0”, and the process proceeds to step 53 when the reel rotation stopping timer reaches 0. The main CPU 32 instructs the image controlling circuit 71 to display in the symbol display areas 3A-3C images in which the symbols are displayed in a stopped state (symbol stop display image). When the main CPU 32 executes step 53, the reel control process is completed.

(Payout Number Determination Process)

When the reel control process is completed, the process proceeds to step 7 of FIG. 8, and the main CPU 32 executes the payout number determination process. More specifically, the main CPU 32 executes the payout number determination process according to a flowchart shown in FIG. 13.

As shown in FIG. 13, when the main CPU 32 starts the payout number determination process, the process proceeds to step 61, and the main CPU 32 determines a payout number. More specifically, the main CPU 32 determines a payout number corresponding to the winning pattern determined in the internal lottery process referring to the winning pattern determination table 92 (refer to FIG. 6), and the process proceeds to step 62. Combinations other than the combinations shown in the winning pattern determination table 92 are processed as “lose”, and the payout number is 0 in this case.

More specifically, the main CPU 32 determines the payout number of winning and the winning pattern referring to the table 92 based on the combination of the symbol data (code number data) of the symbols to be stopped displayed in the three symbol display areas 3A-3C in a stopped state. When the combination of the symbol data of the symbols to be displayed in the stopped state in the three symbol display areas 3A-3C matches any one of the winning combinations of the symbol data area 92a (for example, a combination of “bell”, “bell”, and “bell”), the payout number and the winning pattern are determined based on the payout number area 92b and the winning pattern area 92c corresponding to the combination of the winning pattern.

In the following step 62, the main CPU 32 adds the number of payouts of the coins determined in step 61 to the payout number counter stored in the RAM 33.

After step 62, the main CPU 32 executes a return process for returning coins in the insurance mode in step 63. The main CPU 32 executes the return process according to a flowchart of FIG. 14.

When the main CPU 32 starts the return process, the main CPU 32 determines in step 71 whether or not the winning pattern determined in the internal lottery process is “seven” which is the bonus game trigger, to determine whether or not the player has won for the bonus game. The process proceeds to step 72 if the player did not win for the bonus game and to step 74 if the player has won for the bonus game.

In step 72, the main CPU 32 refers to the return plan information corresponding to the return plan selected by the player in the insurance mode selection process (step 100), to determine whether or not the number of games has reached the predefined number of games in the return plan based on the game number counter as described above. When the predefined number of games has been reached, the process proceeds to step 73. The return process is completed if the predefined number of games has not been reached.

In step 73, the main CPU 32 refers to the return plan information 33a corresponding to the return plan selected by the player and adds the return number of the return plan to the payout number counter. In the following step 74, the main CPU 32 resets the game number counter of the RAM 33 (sets the counted number of games to 0). In other words, the reset of the game number counter is executed when the player wins for the bonus game and when the number of games has reached the predefined number of games in the return plan.

More specifically, in the above-described return process, when a condition of the return plan selected by the player is satisfied, the number of return defined in the condition is added to the payout number counter and coins in the number corresponding to the return number are paid out in a subsequent coin payout process (step 10). In the present embodiment, because a threshold value of the number of games is defined as the condition of the return plan, a return plan is provided for the player in which the return is executed when the threshold value is exceeded.

When the main CPU 32 completes the return process of the payout number determination process, the process proceeds to step 8 of FIG. 8, and the main CPU 32 determines whether or not the bonus game transition condition is satisfied. When the bonus game transition condition is satisfied, the process proceeds to step 9 where the main CPU 32 executes the bonus game process, and further to step 10. When, on the other hand, the bonus game transition condition is not satisfied, the process proceeds to step 10 without the execution of the bonus game process.

In step 10, the main CPU 32 refers to the payout number counter and executes a payout process of coins in a number corresponding to the number counted by the payout number counter. In this process, in the payout number counter, the payout number corresponding to the winning pattern is added when the combination of the stopped symbols is the winning pattern, the return number is added when the condition of the return plan is satisfied, and the payout number in a bonus game is added if the bonus game is executed.

As described above in detail, the main CPU 32 of the slot machine 1 returns coins based on the return plan information corresponding to the return plan selected by the player among the three return plan information 33a, 33b, and 33c stored in the RAM 33. Because of this, the player can select a desired return plan from among the three return plans in consideration of the game style of the player (game time, amount of insertion of coin, expecting payout ratio, etc.) and the game status. In this manner, in the slot machine 1, because a plurality of return plans which can be selected by each player are provided, the interest of the player for the game is improved, and, thus, entertainment which is not available in the related art is provided.

The three return plan information 33a, 33b, and 33c in the above-described first preferred embodiment may be changed to the return plan information as shown in FIG. 16. Each of the three return plan information 33a, 33b, and 33c shown in FIG. 16 is also information related to a return plan defining a condition for a player of the slot machine 1 to receive a return of coins, and has a data structure in which a number of bets, a predefined number of games, and a number of return coins are correlated to each other. These return plan information 33a, 33b, and 33c will now be described in detail. For example, in the return plan information 33a, the conditions of the return plan are defined with a number of bets (for each game) of “1”, a predefined number of games of “100”, and a number of returns of “10”. This indicates that after this return plan is started, by additionally inserting “1” coin in addition to the number of BETs for the game, if the player does not win for the bonus game within “100” games, “10” coins are returned. The return plan information 33b is information related to a return plan indicating a condition that, after the return plan is started, by additionally inserting “1” coin in addition to the number of BETs for the game, if the player does not win for the bonus game within “500” games, “100” coins are returned. Similarly, the return plan information 33c is information related to a return plan indicating a condition that, after the return plan is started, by additionally inserting “1” coin in addition to the number of BETs for the game, if the player does not win for the bonus game within “1000” games, “500” coins are returned.

When such return plan information 33a, 33b, and 33c are stored in the RAM 33, the main CPU 32 accepts, in the coin insertion and start check process, insertion of coins of the number of bets for each game and, in addition, adds, in the return process, if the condition of the return plan selected by the player is satisfied, coins corresponding to the return number defined in the condition to the payout number counter.

Therefore, even when the return plan information 33a, 33b, and 33c stored in the RAM 33 are in the form as shown in FIG. 16, the player can select a desired return plan from among the three return plans in consideration of the game style of the player and the game status. Because of this, the interest of the player for the game can be improved, and, in such a slot machine 1 also, entertainment which is not available in the related art is realized.

The three return plan information 33a, 33b, and 33c in the first preferred embodiment may alternatively be changed, for example, to the return plan information shown in FIG. 17. Each of three return plan information 33a, 33b, and 33c shown in FIG. 17 also is information related to a return plan defining a condition for a player of the slot machine 1 to receive a return of the coins, and has a data structure in which the number of bets, a predefined payout ratio (threshold value of payout ratio), and a return number are correlated to each other. The return plan information 33a, 33b, and 33c will now be described in detail. For example, in the return plan information 33a, the condition of the return plan is defined with a number of bets (advance payment) of “5”, a predefined payout ratio of “90%”, and a number of return of “10”. This indicates that, by inserting “5” coins at the start of the return plan, “10” coins are returned when the payout ratio of the slot machine 1 with reference to the start of the return plan becomes less than “90%”.

Here, the payout ratio of the slot machine 1 refers to a ratio of a total amount of coins which is paid out with respect to the total amount of coins used in the game, and can be calculated based on the total of the BET number counter and the total of the payout number counter.

The return plan information 33b is information related to a return plan indicating a condition that, by inserting “10” coins at the start of the return plan, “20” coins are returned when the payout ratio of the slot machine 1 with reference to the start of the return plan becomes less than “90%”. Similarly, the return plan information 33c is information related to a return plan indicating a condition that, by inserting “15” coins at the start of the return plan, “30” coins are returned when the payout ratio of the slot machine 1 with reference to the stat of the return plan becomes less than “90%”.

When such return plan information 33a, 33b, and 33c are stored in the RAM 33, the main CPU 32 accepts coins of the number of bets during the coin insertion and start check process only once, and, in addition, adds, in the return process, if the condition of the return plan selected by the player is satisfied, coins in a number corresponding to the number of return defined in the condition, to the payout number counter. In this case, because the threshold value of the payout ratio is defined as the condition of the return plan, a return plan is provided to the player in which the return is executed when the payout ratio becomes less than the threshold value.

Therefore, even when the return plan information 33a, 33b, and 33c stored in the RAM 33 have the form as shown in FIG. 17, the player can select a desired return plan from among the three return plans in consideration of the game style of the player and the game status. Because of this, the interest of the player for the game can be improved, and, in such a slot machine 1 also, entertainment which is not available in the related art can be realized.

Second Embodiment

A second preferred embodiment of the present invention will next be described with reference to FIGS. 18-20. A gaming system 220 of the second preferred embodiment of the present invention comprises 8 slot machines 210 and a gaming server 200 which is connected such that data can be transmitted to and received from the slot machines 210. As the slot machine 210 has a structure similar to the slot machine 1, a difference from the slot machine 1 will be primarily described, and the same elements are assigned the same reference numerals and will not be described again. In addition, of the processes executed in the slot machine 210, processes similar to those executed in the slot machine 1 will not be described again.

As shown in FIG. 18, the slot machine 210 in the second preferred embodiment comprises, in addition to the structure of the slot machine 1 of the first preferred embodiment, a communication processor 211 connected to the main CPU 32 through the I/O port 39 and a communication controller 212. The communication processor 211 operates according to an instruction of the main CPU 32, and controls connection and disconnection of a line for communication with the gaming server 200. The communication processor 211 operates according to an instruction of the communication controller 212, and executes transmission and reception of the data.

The gaming server 200 comprises a CPU 201 which corresponds to a processor (or controller) in the present invention, a ROM 202, and a RAM 203 (storage). The gaming server 200 further comprises a communication processor 204 connected to the CPU 201 via an I/O port 207, a communication controller 205, and a memory device 206.

In addition to operating according to a predetermined game system program, the CPU 201 inputs and outputs signals from and to other constituting elements through the I/O port 207, to control an overall operation of the gaming server 200. The ROM 202 stores a program such as BIOS executed by the CPU 201 and permanent data. The RAM 203 stores data and a program which are used when the CPU 201 operates, and stores at least a game system program.

In the second preferred embodiment, the above-described winning pattern determination table 92, and three return plan information 203a, 203b, and 203c are stored in the RAM 203, as shown in FIG. 19. The three return plan information 203a, 203b, and 203c stored in the RAM 203 are, for example, similar to the return plan information 33a, 33b, and 33c shown in FIG. 7, the return plan information 33a, 33b, and 33c shown in FIG. 16, or the return plan information 33a, 33b, and 33c shown in FIG. 17.

The communication processor 204 operates according to an instruction of the CPU 201 and controls connection and disconnection of a line for communication with the slot machine 210. The communication processor 204 operates according to an instruction of the communication controller 205, and executes transmission and reception of the data.

Next, a control process of the gaming system 220 will be described. In the gaming system 220, the control process executed by the slot machine 1 of the first preferred embodiment (refer to FIG. 7) is realized through a cooperation of the slot machine 210 and the gaming server 200. More specifically, in the gaming system 220, a part of the control process executed by the slot machine 1 in the first preferred embodiment is executed by the gaming server 200, and the remaining processes are executed by the slot machine 210.

FIG. 20 is a sequence diagram showing transmission and reception of data between the slot machine 210 and the gaming server 200 in the gaming system 220. In FIG. 20, the steps are described abbreviated with “S”.

More specifically, in the gaming system 220, after the slot machine 210 executes an initialization process at completion of one game (step 201) similar to the initialization process at completion of one game of the slot machine 1 of the first preferred embodiment (step 3 in FIG. 8), the completion of the process is notified to the gaming server 200, and the gaming server 200 executes an insurance mode selection process (step 202) similar to the insurance mode selection process (step 100 in FIG. 8) of the first preferred embodiment. That is, the CPU 201 of the gaming server 200 accepts a selection operation of a return plan by a player, determines the return plan selected by the player, and determines return plan information corresponding to the return plan from among the return plan information 203a, 203b, and 203c stored in the RAM 203.

In step 203 following step 202, the gaming server 200 executes a coin insertion and start check process similar to the coin insertion and start check process (step 4 in FIG. 8). During the coin insertion and start check process, the CPU 203 of the gaming server 200 accepts insertion of coins in a number corresponding to the number of bets in the return plan information corresponding to the return plan selected by the player in the insurance mode selection process.

In step 204 following step 203, the gaming server 200 executes an internal lottery process similar to the internal lottery process of the first preferred embodiment (step 5 in FIG. 8), and completion of the process is notified to the slot machine 210.

The slot machine 210 executes in step 205 a reel control process similar to the reel control process of the first preferred embodiment (step 6 in FIG. 8). In other words, the slot machine 210 displays a symbol stop display image in each of the symbol display areas 3A-3C based on a result of the internal lottery process in the gaming server 200.

On the other hand, the gaming server 200 executes a payout number determination process (step 206) similar to the payout number determination process (step 7 of FIG. 8) of the first preferred embodiment, in parallel to the reel control process by the slot machine 210. In this process, if the condition of the return plan selected by the player in the insurance mode selection process (step 203) is satisfied, the CPU 203 of the gaming server 200 adds the return number of the return plan to the payout number counter referring to the return plan information 203a, 203b, or 203c in the RAM 203 corresponding to the return plan.

After the gaming server 200 executes the payout number determination process, the gaming server 200 notifies completion of the process to the slot machine 210, and the slot machine 210 receiving the notification executes a coin payout process (step 207) similar to the coin payout process of the first preferred embodiment (step 10 of FIG. 8). In this process, if the combination of the stopped symbols is a winning pattern, coins of the payout number corresponding to the winning pattern are paid out from the slot machine 210, if the condition of the return plan is satisfied, coins of the return number are paid out from the slot machine 210, and, if a bonus game is executed, coins of the payout number corresponding to the payout number counter to which the payout number in the bonus game is added are paid out.

In the gaming system 220 and the gaming server 200 of the second preferred embodiment also, an advantage similar to the slot machine 1 of the first preferred embodiment can be obtained.

More specifically, in the gaming system 220, the CPU 201 of the gaming server 200 returns coins based on the return plan information corresponding to the return plan selected by the player from among the three return plan information 203a, 203 b, and 203c stored in the RAM 203. Because of this, the player can select a desired return plan from among the three return plans in consideration of the gaming style of the player (game time, amount of coin insertion, expecting payout ratio, etc.) and the game status. Therefore, in such a gaming system 220 also, because a plurality of selectable return plans are provided to each player similar to the slot machine 1, the interest of the player for the game is improved, and entertainment which is not available in the related art is realized.

The present invention is not limited to the above-described preferred embodiments, and various modifications may be made. For example, the gaming machine is not limited to a slot machine, and may be changed to various gaming machines such as, for example, a card gaming machine.

The number of return plan information to be stored in the slot machine (or the gaming server) is not limited to 3, and may be suitably increased or decreased as long as the number is 2 or greater. In addition, the return plans corresponding to the return plan information are not limited to those in the above-described embodiments. For example, a configuration may be employed in which coins are returned when a predetermined number of games are completed regardless of whether or not the player has won for the bonus games or in which the condition determination of the return plan is executed for a plurality of times (for example, a configuration in which the condition determination for the coin return is executed every 100 games).

Although in the above-described embodiments, three symbol display areas are provided, the number of the symbol display areas is not limited to three, and may alternatively be, for example, 5 or 7. Alternatively, it is also possible to provide a plurality of symbol display areas arranged in a plurality of rows and a plurality of columns (for example, 3×3). An activated line may be set by the plurality of symbol display areas, and a winning pattern may be won when a combination of symbols which are displayed in a stopped state on the plurality of symbol display areas on the activated line is a predetermined combination.

The above-described embodiments have been described exemplifying the slot machine which executes a slot game by displaying a scroll image on a main display comprising an LCD. Alternatively, a slot machine may be used which comprises a mechanical reel and executes a slot game by controlling rotation and stopping of the mechanical reel.