Title:
Automated Locking Method
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Systems, methods, and gaming machines having an automated locking system are disclosed herein. According to one method, one or more automated locking mechanisms are provided on a plurality of gaming machines. Each locking mechanism is connected to a locking controller such that the locking controller controls the release and locking of the locking mechanism. The automated locking system receives a request from a user to release one or more locking mechanisms. If the user is authenticated, the locking mechanism is released.



Inventors:
Dimichele, Carmen (Sparks, NV, US)
Application Number:
11/678504
Publication Date:
08/28/2008
Filing Date:
02/23/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
463/47
International Classes:
A63F11/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
PINHEIRO, JASON PAUL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
STEPTOE & JOHNSON, LLP (2121 AVENUE OF THE STARS, SUITE 2800, LOS ANGELES, CA, 90067, US)
Claims:
What is claimed:

1. A method for controlling one or more locking mechanisms of one or more gaming machines networked to a casino gaming system, the method comprising: providing one or more automated locking mechanisms on a plurality of gaming machines, wherein the locking mechanism secures the gaming machine and one or more components within the gaming machine; receiving a request from a user via an user interface to lock or unlock the locking mechanism; and releasing the locking mechanism in response to the request from the user.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein receiving the request from the user further comprises receiving the request via a wireless handheld device, keypad, touchpad, touchscreen, or a combination thereof.

3. The method of claim 1, further comprising authenticating the user.

4. The method of claim 3, wherein authenticating the user further comprises obtaining two types of data from the user, wherein the two types of information is selected from the group consisting of a password, pass-code, or security token.

5. The method of claim 3, wherein authenticating the user further comprises obtaining biometric information from the user.

6. A method for controlling one or more locking mechanisms of one or more gaming machines in a casino gaming system, the method comprising: providing one or more automated locking mechanisms on a plurality of gaming machines, wherein each locking mechanism is connected to a locking controller such that the locking controller controls the release and locking of the locking mechanism; receiving a request from a user to release one or more locking mechanisms; authenticating the user; and releasing one or more locking mechanisms if the user is authenticated.

7. The method of claim 6, wherein receiving the request from the user further comprises receiving the request via a wireless handheld device, keypad, touchpad, touchscreen, or a combination thereof.

8. The method of claim 6, wherein releasing one or more locking mechanisms further comprises sequentially releasing the locking mechanisms of a gaming machine subset.

9. The method of claim 6, wherein authenticating the user further comprises obtaining two types of data from the user, wherein the two types of information is selected from the group consisting of a password, pass-code, or security token.

10. The method of claim 6, wherein authenticating the user further comprises obtaining biometric information from the user.

11. A method for controlling one or more locking mechanisms of one or more networked gaming machines in a casino gaming system, the method comprising: providing one or more automated locking mechanisms on a plurality of gaming machines, wherein the locking mechanisms secure a main door of the gaming machine and one or more components within the gaming machine; sending a request from a back end system to one or more gaming machines to unlock the gaming machine; and releasing the locking mechanism of the main door in response to the request.

12. The method of claim 11, further comprising obtaining information to verify the identify of the user prior to releasing the locking mechanism of the main door.

13. The method of claim 12, wherein the information is a password, passcode, security token, or a combination thereof.

14. The method of claim 12, wherein the information is biometric information.

15. The method of claim 11, further comprising releasing the locking mechanism of one or more components after the main door is opened.

16. The method of claim 11, further comprising releasing the locking mechanism of one or more components within the gaming machine when the locking mechanism of the main door is released.

17. The method of claim 11, wherein releasing the locking mechanism of the main door further comprises sequentially releasing the main door locking mechanisms of a gaming machine subset.

18. The method of claim 17, further comprising releasing the locking mechanism of one or more components after the main door is opened.

19. The method of claim 17, further comprising releasing the locking mechanism of one or more components within the gaming machine when the locking mechanism of the main door is released.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is related to co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/678,502, concurrently filed on Feb. 23, 2007, entitled AUTOMATED LOCKING SYSTEM.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE

A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material that is subject to copyright protection. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent document or the patent disclosure, as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent files or records, but otherwise reserves all copyright rights whatsoever.

BACKGROUND

Generally, security is a very important concern for casinos. Typically, many casinos employ a wide variety of surveillance cameras to monitor the activity of both casino patrons and employees. Furthermore, a variety of security devices are utilized to restrict access to and from certain areas of the casino.

Additionally, various security measures are used to protect the gaming devices found on the casino floor. Traditionally, mechanical locks have been used to restrict access to the interior region of a gaming device. Commonly, the mechanical lock (or fastening device), may be released by inserting a key into the lock or by applying the correct combination to release the lock. For example, to drop coins, bills, and coupons from a gaming device, a casino employee is required to use mechanical keys to open a particular door, remove a container, and close and lock the door with the key. This can be a cumbersome and time extensive task, especially when a casino employee needs to access more than one gaming device.

In some casino gaming systems, every gaming device has a unique key. Further, components within the gaming device, such as the coin or bill box may be secured by a fastening device and may require additional keys to release the lock on the fastening device. Therefore, the number of keys needed to access the various gaming machines and components within the gaming machines, can easily grow to a large number of keys. Additionally, in the case of a lost key or security breach, gaming devices must be re-keyed. The task of re-keying machines can become very expensive and very time consuming.

What is needed is both a system and method to reduce the labor and improve the security aspects of certain manual operations performed on a gaming device.

SUMMARY

Briefly, and in general terms, various embodiments are directed to methods for controlling the locking mechanisms in a gaming machine or casino gaming system. According to one method, one or more automated locking mechanisms are provided on a plurality of gaming machines. Each locking mechanism is connected to a locking controller such that the locking controller controls the release and locking of the locking mechanism. The automated locking system receives a request from a user to release one or more locking mechanisms, and the gaming machine is locked or unlocked in response to the user request. In another method, the identity of the user is authenticated, and the locking mechanism is released if the user is authenticated.

According to another method, one or more automated locking mechanisms are provided on a plurality of networked gaming machines, wherein the locking mechanisms secure a main door of the gaming machine and one or more components within the gaming machine. A request is sent from a back end system to one or more gaming machines to unlock the gaming machine, and the locking mechanism of the main door is released in response to the request.

Other features and advantages will become apparent from the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, which illustrate by way of example, the features of the various embodiments.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

FIG. 1 is an illustration of a gaming machine having an automated locking mechanism.

FIG. 2 is the interior perspective of a gaming machine having an automated locking mechanism.

FIG. 3 is a schematic illustration of a casino gaming system for use in accordance with an embodiment of the automated locking mechanism.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Systems and methods disclosed herein provide an automated locking system for controlling one or more locking mechanisms used in combination with various devices and components of a gaming system. Generally, locks are used to secure gaming machine doors to control access to the interior of the gaming machine. Traditionally, mechanical key and lock fastening devices have been employed to secure the gaming machine. Additionally, components and devices within the gaming machine, such as cash boxes, voucher boxes, and coin boxes may also be secured with mechanical key and lock fastening devices. The systems and methods disclosed herein provide an automated locking system that removes the need for mechanical keys as the primary means for unlocking mechanical locking devices used in connection with a gaming machine, or entire casino gaming system. Additionally, the automated locking system that may be used in combination with any access panel or door requiring secure access.

Referring now to the drawings, wherein like reference numerals denote like or corresponding parts throughout the drawings and, more particularly to FIGS. 1-3, there are shown various embodiments of a method and system directed to an automated locking system for use in a casino gaming system. Generally, the automated locking system includes the use of one or more locking mechanisms that may be automatically controlled. Referring to FIG. 1, a gaming machine 10 includes an automated locking mechanism 30 to secure the main cabinet 16 of the gaming machine. More particularly, the main cabinet 16 includes a gaming machine door 35 and a main housing 37, wherein the automated locking mechanism 30 secures the gaming machine door 35 to the main housing 37. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the automated locking mechanism 30 may be used to secure other devices and components, such as, but not limited to cash boxes, bill boxes, coupon boxes, voucher boxes, server, CPU, hard drive, CD drive, memory chips, or any other device or feature that would require a locking mechanism.

The automated locking mechanism 30 may be controlled by a processor (not shown). In one embodiment, the processor controls whether the automated locking mechanism 30 is in a “release mode” or in a “lock mode.” In one embodiment, the automated locking mechanism 30 includes a first locking component 31 attached to the gaming machine door 35 and second locking component 33 connected to at least a portion of the main housing 37. When the automated locking mechanism 30 is in the lock mode, the first locking component 31 and the second locking component 33 are secured so that gaming machine door 35 cannot be opened, thereby preventing access to the interior region of the gaming machine 10. When the automated locking mechanism 30 is in the release mode, the first locking component 31 is no longer secured to the second locking component 33, thereby permitting the gaming machine door 35 to be opened.

Those skilled in the art will appreciate, the automated locking mechanism 30 may incorporate a variety of locking mechanisms. For example, in one embodiment, the automated locking mechanism 30 is a type of electronic-mechanical locking mechanism that utilizes a solenoid bolt. In this example, a solenoid is used to throw the bolt. Additionally, some solenoid bolt locks use microprocessors to perform voltage regulation, reduce power consumption, and/or provide access control. In this example embodiment, referring to FIG. 1, the automated locking mechanism 30 includes a solenoid bolt lock. The first locking component 31 serves as the front plate and is attached to the gaming machine door 35. The second locking component 33 is attached to at least a portion of the main housing 37 and serves as the counter plate.

In an alternate example embodiment, the automated locking mechanism 30 incorporates a magnetic locking system. In this example, the first locking component 31 is an electromagnet and is attached to the gaming machine door 35. The second locking component 33 is an armature plate and is attached to at least a portion of the main housing 37. When the gaming machine door 35 is closed and is in the lock mode, a current passing through the electromagnet locking component 31 attracts the armature plate locking component 33, thereby holding the gaming machine door 35 shut. Optionally, in an alternate embodiment, the first locking component 31 is an armature plate and the second locking component 33 is an electromagnet.

Optionally, in yet another example embodiment, the automated locking mechanism 30 includes an electric motor (not shown) that is used to move a deadbolt. A processor controls whether or not the lock (deadbolt) is released.

In an alternate embodiment, the automated locking mechanism 30 includes an electronic lock, which uses some form of electronics to authenticate the user attempting to access control of the lock. Additionally, in one embodiment the electronic lock includes additional features, such as the ability to track and/or audit the number of successful and failed access attempts. Optionally, in some embodiments, the electronic lock uses a two-factor authentication (or dual factor authentication) protocol. Two-factor authentication is an authentication protocol that requires two independent mechanisms for authentication. For example, one implementation of two-factor authentication requires the use of something the user would know (such as a password) and the use of either something the user possesses (such as a physical device) or the use of something that identifies the particular user (such as a biometric). In contrast, traditional password authentication requires only one authentication factor (such as knowledge of a password) in order to gain access to a system.

A variety of authentication methods may be incorporated into the electronic lock. In one embodiment, numerical codes, passwords or pass-phrases may be used for authentication. For example, an electronic lock may require entry of the correct code in order to release a lock. A device such as a keypad, or other user interface, may be provided to allow for entry of the pass code. Optionally, a user may enter the pass code on a wireless device such as, but not limited to, a PDA, cellular phone, or smart phone.

Alternately, security tokens may be used for authentication purposes. More particularly, a user may be required to scan or swipe a security token such as a smart card, to release a lock. Optionally, a security token may interact with a lock via wireless means. For example, infra-red, bluetooth, or radiofrequency data transfer methods can be used to send and receive data, thereby permitting access to a lock.

Optionally, in an alternate embodiment, biometrics are used in the authentication process. Typically, biometrics refer to unique physical and/or behavioral characteristics used to verify a personal identity. Examples of biometric data include, but are not limited to, retinal scans, iris scans, voice samples, fingerprints, facial patterns and hand measurements.

Additionally, in an optional embodiment, a physical device may be used in combination with biometrics. For example, a smart card my store particular user biometric data. In one example, the data stored on a particular smart card includes the iris scan of a specific user. When the user interacts his smart card with a card reader, the iris scan data is retrieved. Next, a device scans the user's iris and compares the new iris scan with the stored iris scan data from the smart card. If the two iris scans are determined to match, then the user is authenticated. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the security token or smart card may store any type of personal data and is not limited to iris scans.

Referring to both FIGS. 1 and 2, the main cabinet 16 of the gaming machine 10 is a self-standing unit that is generally rectangular in shape. In other embodiments, the cabinet (not shown) may be a slant-top, bar-top, or table-top style cabinet. However, any shaped cabinet may be used with any embodiment of the gaming machine 10 and sized for a player to be able to sit or stand while playing a game. Additionally, the cabinet 16 may be manufactured with reinforced steel or other rigid materials that are resistant to tampering and vandalism. Optionally, in an alternate embodiment, the gaming machine 10 may instead be a cinema-style gaming machine (not shown), as disclosed in U.S. application Ser. No. 11/225,827, entitled “Ergonomic Gaming Cabinet,” filed on Sep. 12, 2005, which is hereby incorporated by reference.

In one embodiment, the main cabinet 16 houses a game management unit (not shown) that includes a CPU, circuitry, and software for receiving signals from the player-activated buttons 18 and a handle 19, operating the games, and transmitting signals to the respective game display 12 and speakers 21.

The game display 12 is a viewing area that presents one or more games of chance such as, but not limited to, mechanical slots, video slots, video poker, video blackjack, video keno, video roulette, or Class II bingo. In alternate embodiments, the game display 12 may present games of skill or games of chance involving various levels of player skill. In other embodiments, the display 12 is a video display such as, but not limited to, a CRT (cathode ray tube), or a thin-panel display. Examples of thin-panel displays include plasma, LCD (liquid crystal display), electroluminescent, vacuum fluorescent, field emission, or any other types of thin panel displays known or developed in the art. Additionally, the video picture may be presented in either a portrait or landscape orientation and utilize standard or widescreen dimensions. Optionally, the game display 12 may also include a touch screen or touch glass system (not shown).

The plurality of player-activated buttons 18 may be used for numerous functions such as, but not limited to, selecting a wager denomination, selecting a number of games to be played, selecting a wager amount per game, initiating a game, or cashing out money from the gaming machine 10. The buttons 18 function as input mechanisms and may include mechanical buttons, electromechanical buttons or touch screen buttons. Optionally, handle 19 may be “pulled” by a player to initiate a game.

Referring to FIG. 2, an interior perspective of the gaming machine 10 is shown. The gaming machine 10 may include one or more devices that require a locking mechanism. Such devices, include, but are not limited to cash boxes, bill boxes, coupon boxes, voucher boxes, printer, CPU, hard drive or other memory devices, CD or DVD drive, or any other components know to those skilled in the art to require secure locking mechanism. In one example embodiment, the gaming machine 10 includes a component 40 having an automated locking mechanism 50 and a component 42 having an automated locking mechanism 52. In one embodiment the component 42 may be a coin box which requires the use of a secure locking mechanism 52. In this example, the locking mechanism 52 is an automated locking mechanism that may be controlled without the use of physical keys.

In addition to automated locking systems, various methods of using the automated locking systems are disclosed herein. According to one method, a casino attendant needs to service a particular gaming machine 10. The casino attendant inserts his ID card into the gaming machine card reader 20. A user interface (not shown) prompts the casino attendant to enter his service request. For example, in one embodiment, the display screen 12 is a touch-screen display, and the casino attendant enters, or selects, “open main door” as his service request. Next, the casino attendant enters his personal identification number (PIN) that is associated with the ID card. If the entered PIN is the correct code associated with the inserted ID card, then the processor triggers the release of the automated locking mechanism 30, thereby allowing the casino attendant to physically open the main gaming machine door 35 and access the interior region of the gaming machine 10.

In an optional embodiment, after the casino attendant enters his PIN, the main gaming machine door 35 automatically swings opens. In either example, once the casino attendant has completed servicing the gaming machine 10, the gaming machine door 35 is locked by closing the door, such that the first locking mechanism 31 latches securely with the second locking mechanism 33. Optionally, in an alternate embodiment, the casino attendant must specifically request that the automated locking mechanism return to a locked mode. Additionally, the casino attendant uses the same ID card to unlock and access other gaming machines in the same manner described above.

Alternately, according to another method, the casino attendant uses a handheld device (not shown) to access one or more gaming machines 10. For example, in the above described scenario, the handheld device may serve as a user interface. More particularly, if the casino attendant needs to service a particular gaming machine 10, the casino attendant may enter his request on the handheld device. The entry may require identification of the particular gaming machine 10 requiring service and the specific service request. For example, the casino attendant may enter a specific identification code associated with the particular gaming machine and then may enter an action, such as “open gaming machine door.” The casino attendant may then be required to provide additional information for authentication purposes. In another method, the casino attendant may simply aim the handheld device at the specific gaming machine required for service. The handheld device may then wirelessly transmit an action request to the gaming machine 10. In either example, once it is determined the casino attendant has permission to access the particular gaming machine, the automated locking mechanism will release the lock, thereby allowing entry into the particular gaming machine 10. Additionally, a handheld device may also be used to control access to locked components within the gaming machine 10. For example, a handheld device may be used to access a cashbox 42.

In another optional embodiment, a handheld device is used in combination with biometric authentication. For example, once a casino attendant enters his desired action, (e.g., open gaming machine door), the handheld device may prompt the casino attendant for further identifying information such as, but not limited to, a fingerprint. In one embodiment, the handheld device may require the user (e.g., casino attendant) to enter a fingerprint sample on a scanning area provided on the handheld device. The received fingerprint sample will then be compared to a previously stored fingerprint sample. If the samples match, the user is authenticated.

In another embodiment, the automated locking system employs multiple automated locking mechanisms in a casino gaming system. Referring now to FIG. 3, a casino gaming system 100 is illustrated. The casino gaming system 100 comprises one or more gaming machines 10. In various embodiments, any of the gaming machines 10 may be any type of electronic or mechanical gaming devices, such as, but not limited to, a mechanical reel spinning slot machine, video slot machine, video poker machine, keno machine, video blackjack machine, or a gaming machine offering one or more of the above-described games. Examples include, but are not limited to, the S6000 mechanical reel spinner and the Alpha video slot machine from Bally Gaming. Additionally, one or more automated locking mechanisms (not shown) are connected to one or more components of the casino gaming system 100, including one or more gaming machines 10. Further, one or more of the gaming machines 10 may comprise one or more data repositories for storing data. Examples of information stored by the gaming machines 10 include, but are not limited to, accounting data, maintenance history information, short and/or long-term play data, real-time play data, and sound data. The sound data may include, but is not limited to, audio files, sound clips, wav files, mp3 files and sound files saved in various other formats. Furthermore, each gaming machine 10 comprises an audio system (not shown) for outputting sound.

The gaming machines 10 are connected via a network to a network bridge 120, which is used for networking, routing and polling gaming machines, including slot machines. The network bridge 120 connects to a back end system 112. Optionally, the gaming machines 10 may connect to the network via a network rack 122, which provides for a few number of connections to the back end system 112. Both network bridge 120 and network rack 122 may be classified as middleware, and facilitate communications between the back end system 112 and the gaming machines 10. The network bridges 120 and network rack 122 may comprise data repositories for storing network performance data. Such performance data may be based on network traffic and other network related information. Optionally, the network bridge 120 and the network rack 122 may be interchangeable components. For example, in one embodiment, a casino gaming system may comprise only network bridges and no network racks. Alternatively, in another embodiment, a casino gaming system may comprise only network racks and no network bridges. Additionally, in an alternative embodiment, a casino gaming system may comprise any combination of one or more network bridges and one or more network racks.

The back end system 112 may be configured to comprise one or more servers. The type of server employed is generally determined by the platform and software requirements of the gaming system. In one embodiment, as illustrated in FIG. 3, the back end system 112 is configured to include three servers: a slot floor controller 114, a casino management server 116 and a casino database 118. The slot floor controller 114 is a part of the player tracking system for gathering accounting, security and player specific information. The casino management server 116 and casino database 1 18 work together to store and process information specific to both employees and players. Player specific information includes, but is not limited to, passwords, biometric identification, player card identification, and biographic data. Additionally, employee specification information may include biographic data, biometric information, job level and rank, passwords, authorization codes and security clearance levels.

Overall, the back end system 112 performs several fundamental functions. For example, the back end system 112 can collect data from the slot floor as communicated to it from other network components, and maintain the collected data in its database. The back end system 112 may use slot floor data to generate a report used in casino operation functions. Examples of such reports include, but are not limited to, accounting reports, security reports, and usage reports. The back end system 112 may also pass data to another server for other functions. Alternatively, the back end system 112 may pass data stored on its database to floor hardware for interaction with a game or game player. For example, data such as a game player's name or the amount of a ticket being redeemed at a game may be passed to the floor hardware. Additionally, the back end system 112 may comprise one or more data repositories for storing data. Examples of types of data stored in the system server data repositories include, but are not limited to, information relating to individual player play data, individual game accounting data, gaming machine accounting data, cashable ticket data, and sound data including optimum audio outputs for various casino settings.

In one embodiment of the automated locking system, an employee card is required to access a gaming machine 10. For example, a casino operator or attendant inserts an identification card into a card slot on a gaming machine 10. Typically, the identification card has a magnetic stripe to hold an identifying data specific to the attendant. Alternatively, the identification card may be a ‘smart card’ or electronic button having integrated circuits for storage and processing of user data. Optionally, the casino gaming system 100 may require authentication of the user. In one example embodiment, the casino operator must enter a password. The entered password may be sent through the casino gaming system 100 to the back end system 112 to verify and authenticate the user (e.g. casino operator). Additionally, in an optional embodiment, the authentication process may incorporate biometrics. For example, the casino operator may be required to submit a fingerprint sample, or other biometric type sample in addition to using an identification card. The back end system may store records of previously obtained employee biometric data, such as fingerprint samples, partial fingerprint samples, iris scans, etc. At the time an employee, such as a casino operator, attempts to service a gaming machine 10, an additional biometric sample is obtained. The additional obtained sample is then transmitted via the network to the back end system 112 for comparison with the originally obtained biometric sample. If the samples match, the employee's identity is authenticated, and the employee may proceed with servicing the gaming machine 10.

In another example embodiment, a drop crew must replace the cash boxes from a row of twenty-four gaming machines 10. Each cash box (not shown) is located within the interior of a gaming machine 10 and is secured by its own locking mechanism. A supervisor inserts her ID card into a gaming machine 10 at the front of the row of gaming machines. Next, the supervisor enters the desired task activity on a user interface. Specifically, for this example, the supervisor would select or enter “drop this row” as the desired entry, and then would be required to enter her PIN. The entered PIN is evaluated to determine whether is corresponds to the inserted ID card. If, the correct PIN was entered, a processor would initiate the release, or unlocking, of the cash box locking mechanisms. For example, in one embodiment, each of locking mechanisms for the cash boxes in the row of twenty-four gaming machines would simultaneously release. Alternately, in another embodiment, on each gaming machine, the locking mechanism secures an access panel to the cash box. Once the processor has authenticated the user and approved the “row drop” request, the access panels to the cash boxes release at specific time intervals. For example, the access panel may release at three second intervals, one at a time to give the drop crew a consistent flow of removing the cashbox from the open panel, and replacing it with an empty one. After replacing each cashbox, the casino attendant closes the access panel, which would automatically “lock” the panel securely shut. In this example, the drop process is efficiently and timely executed, thereby resulting in a consistent drop process. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that any predetermined time interval may be utilized.

Alternately, in an optional embodiment, the supervisor may be required to submit a biometric sample in addition to the password. Optionally, the supervisor may be required to submit a biometric sample instead of a password.

In another example, representing an optional embodiment, a wireless handheld is utilized. For example, referring to the above described embodiment, the supervisor uses a handheld device to perform the “drop row” task. The handheld device includes a user interface for interacting with a supervisor or other use. The supervisor selects the desired row of gaming machines from the handheld device and authorizes the drop. Additionally, in an optional embodiment, the supervisor may be required to enter a PIN or password before the drop is allowed. Furthermore, the handheld device permits the drop to be performed without requiring input from a gaming machine user interface.

Optionally, in another embodiment, the user must submit biometric information to verify his identity. For example, a casino employee wanting to gain access to a locked component is required to utilize a physical device, such as, but not limited to a key card and then further submit biometric data that authenticates the user.

Additionally, in another embodiment, a manual override feature is provided for use with the locking system. For example, in the case of system unavailability, a physical key unlocking mechanism may be included to operate in conjunctions with the automated locking system. This mechanism allows an operator to unlock a gaming machine's main door in case of system unavailability or electronic failure. From inside the main door, other doors and/or panels may be mechanically unlocked. Even with the addition of a mechanical lock, there would not be the need for so many sets of keys. They would also not be used most of the time.

The various embodiments described above are provided by way of illustration only and should not be construed to limit the claimed invention. Those skilled in the art will readily recognize various modifications and changes that may be made to the claimed invention without following the example embodiments and applications illustrated and described herein, and without departing from the true spirit and scope of the claimed invention, which is set forth in the following claims.