Title:
Bonus actuator attachment for gaming machines
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention relates to a bonus actuator attachment for a slot or gaming machine. More specifically, the present invention relates to an apparatus and method of selectively triggering a first bonus triggering event, by way of a bonus actuator attachment, so as to make the player eligible to participate in a bonus game upon the happening of a second bonus triggering event. Actuation of the bonus actuator attachment is a first triggering event wherein the gaming machine recognizes that the player wishes to be eligible for a bonus round within the gaming machine. The first triggering event may also require that the player make an additional wager separate from any initial wager on the game wherein the additional wager is solely to make the player eligible for a second bonus triggering event and, ultimately, a bonus round of the gaming machine.



Inventors:
Smith, Sean (Pompano Beach, FL, US)
Smith, Brian (Ft. Lauderdale, FL, US)
Application Number:
11/978159
Publication Date:
04/30/2009
Filing Date:
10/25/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
SHAH, MILAP
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CHARLES N. QUINN;FOX ROTHSCHILD LLP (2000 MARKET STREET, 10TH FLOOR, PHILADELPHIA, PA, 19103, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A gaming machine comprising; a bonus actuator attachment wherein the bonus actuator attachment may be selectively activated by a player of the gaming machine so as to trigger a first bonus event, thereby making the player eligible for a bonus round.

2. The gaming machine of claim 1 wherein the activation of the bonus actuator attachment requires an additional bonus wager to be made by the player.

3. The gaming machine of claim 1 wherein the bonus actuator attachment may be selected from the group consisting of a switch, a button, a lever, a dial and a knob.

4. The gaming machine of claim 1 wherein the bonus actuator attachment may be a touch sensitive component of a display on the gaming machine.

5. The gaming machine of claim 4 wherein the display may be comprised of a color display unit, a monochrome display, a cathode ray tube (CRT) monitor, light-emitting diode (LED), a plasma display, a liquid crystal display (LCD), and an electroluminescent display.

6. The gaming machine of claim 1 wherein the bonus actuator attachment may be present on a panel of the gaming machine wherein the panel is along a front side of the gaming machine.

7. A method for operating a gaming device comprising: entering an initial wager by a player; triggering a first bonus event by selectively actuating a bonus actuator attachment; playing the game of the gaming device thereby generating a random combination of characters; evaluating the random combination of characters against a preset menu of winning combinations so as to determine the random combination of characters matches any of the preset menu of winning combinations; evaluating the random combination for a second triggering event wherein the second triggering event requires the presence of a particular character in at least one specific location of the random combination and is dependent upon the occurrence of the first triggering event; initiating a bonus round if the first triggering event and the second triggering event occurred; and awarding a payout to the player based on any matches between the random combination and winning combinations and a bonus award earned if the bonus round was initiated

8. A method of claim 7 wherein the second triggering event is satisfied when the random combination matches one of a plurality of pre-set combinations characters.

9. A method of claim 7 wherein the first triggering event also requires a secondary wager to be made by the player.

10. A method of claim 7 wherein the bonus round is an additional game requiring the participation of the player.

11. A method of claim 7 wherein the bonus award earned is dependant upon the initial wager such that the bonus award is greater with a greater initial wager.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to gaming machines, e.g. slot machines, video poker/blackjack machines, and the like. More specifically, the present invention relates to an apparatus and method of selectively triggering a first bonus triggering event, by way of a bonus actuator attachment, so as to make the player eligible to participate in a bonus game upon the happening of a second bonus triggering event.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Gaming machines, e.g. slot machines, are well known in the art. Specifically, gaming machines involve a plurality of reels, images, cards, or the like, which, ultimately, are interpreted to produce a random generation of a combination of numbers, symbols, etc. A processor within the gaming machine typically evaluates this combination against a pre-set menu of numbers/symbol combinations. This pre-set menu is comprised of numbers/symbol combinations which are deemed winning combinations such that an award value is correlated with specific combinations. The value of the award is usually related to the odds that the particular number/symbol combination will arise, in light of all of the possible combinations of numbers, symbols, etc.

In order to initiate playing the gaming machine, the player must first enter a specified dollar amount, or coin-in, within the gaming machine. The dollar amount may be between a minimal amount, such as a penny, nickel, dollar, etc., and a maximum amount. The player then initiates and plays the particular game in accordance with the rule set of the gaming machine, which, ultimately, produces a final combination of numbers/symbols. The processor of the gaming machine then compares the generated combination with the preset menu of combinations to determine if the random generated combination is a winner. If the generated combination, or a portion of the combination, matches one of the predetermined award producing or winning combinations, the player receives the award which corresponds with the random number. Accordingly, on each turn played, a gaming operator has the chance to win a range of awards ranging depending upon the number combination generated.

To increase attraction of the slot machines to potential players, slot machines have been developed to increase the number and variety of winning combinations and provide more and varying opportunities for the player to win. This functions to hold a player's interest for longer leading, ultimately, to greater coin-in deposits made by players to play the game and larger payouts. Several formats for the play of gaming machines which are known to produce increased jackpots and increased player interest include, bonus plays, bonus awards, and progressive jackpots. Referring to bonus plays and awards, these gaming formats are usually correlated with a bonus triggering event which may be distinct from the play of the original gaming format. For example, a bonus or bonus play may be triggered with the presence of one or more designated symbols in a specific order or combination. When these designated symbols are detected by the processor, the player may be awarded a “bonus” payout or may participate in a secondary game to determine the bonus payout. Examples of such additional games include ancillary spinning wheels (See U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,848,932; 5,823,874; and 6,059,658), a player-interactive video game (See U.S. Pat. No. 6,159,097), a plurality of free spins of the slot machine reels wherein each spin generates individual random combinations which are compared to the preset menu, a separate gaming event associated with a display screen, and the like.

Typically, however, a bonus triggering event was only activated if the player's coin-in or wager on the game was the maximum amount allowed by the gaming machine. Any coin-in deposit which was less than this amount would automatically be eliminated from the bonus and/or the bonus triggering event. To this end, certain players may not desire to wager the maximum bet and would, therefore, be dissuaded from playing the bonus gaming machines.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,155,925 (hereinafter the '925 patent) and U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2005/0054429 (hereinafter the '429 publication) both disclose bonus gaming machines wherein the bonus triggering event would occur regardless of the amount of coin-in. Specifically, in the '429 publication a first bonus award was based upon a triggering event only detected if a maximum coin-in was made prior to playing. To this end, the processor evaluates the random combination for a bonus triggering event only if the maximum coin-in is played by the player. However, a player who made a wager that was less than the maximum bet was still eligible for a secondary type of bonus award, if the triggering event occurred. These secondary bonus awards were less than a bonus that may be achieved if a maximum bet is played. Ultimately, the amount of the bonus and/or the actual bonus game itself is dependent upon the amount of the wager, i.e. the more a player wagers the greater the potential bonus. Similarly, the '925 patent discloses that the bonus game and bonus payout represent a percentage that is variable with the wager amount such that the bonus game payout percentage per credit changes in response to the varying wagers.

In both of the above patents, however, players may be unaware that they have the possibility of winning or triggering a bonus round and may, therefore, limit their bet based on such ignorance. In other words, players may make a wager on any of the known gaming machines without understanding the impact that the coin-in has on the potential bonus round. As such, they will limit their potential winnings by not playing the maximum amount. To this end, a gaming machine is desirable wherein players have the option of selecting eligibility for a bonus round based upon some action taken by the player before playing the game other than the amount wagered. The present invention addresses this need as discussed herein.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a bonus actuator attachment for a slot or gaming machine. More specifically, the invention relates to an apparatus and method for a player of a gaming machine to selectively initiate a first bonus triggering event so as to be eligible for a second bonus triggering event.

The gaming machine of the present invention may be any gaming machine understood in the art. For example, in one embodiment, the gaming machine of the present invention may be comprised of a base, a panel and at least one display all of which surrounds a gaming machine interior and processor. The base may be cubical, or any similar shape, with a front face, a first side, a second side, a back, a bottom and an open top. The base may support a cash out slot adapted to return a player's coin-in and/or winnings. The first side of the base may optionally contain a lever wherein the lever is one mechanism to initiate playing a game on the slot machine.

Proximal to the open top of the base is a panel. In one embodiment, the panel may contain one or more coin-in slots adapted to accept a player's coin-in wager. The panel may also contain a plurality of actuating devices, such as buttons, switches, or the like, wherein each actuating device present a function with respect to the game. For example, one button may be a cash out button wherein the function of the cash out button is to end a player's session with a gaming machine and return to the player his or her coin-in and/or winnings, if any. Another button may be a maximum bet button to automatically wager the maximum bet allowed by the gaming machine. Another button may be a one credit wager button wherein actuation of the button increases a desired wager by one credit increments. Another button may be a gaming machine activating button wherein, in addition to or instead of the lever, actuation of the gaming machine activating button initiates the game on the slot machine. Another button may be a bonus actuator attachment. Actuation of the bonus actuator attachment signifies a first triggering event of the bonus game. By actuating the bonus actuator attachment, the first triggering event occurs and the player is eligible for the bonus round, as determined by a second triggering event (discussed below). In a further embodiment, activation of the first triggering event by the bonus actuator attachment requires the player to make an additional wager.

The plurality of buttons are not limited to buttons, as discussed above. Rather, they may be comprised of a switch, a button, a lever, a dial, a knob, a touch sensitive segment (discussed below) or any similar embodiment understood in the art. Moreover, the location of the buttons are not limited to the panel and the buttons may be present on any part of the gaming machine, as understood in the art.

Immediately above the base and panel is at least one display. In one embodiment, the display may be a lower display and an upper display each adapted to communicate at least one aspect of the game with the player. The displays may be comprised of a plurality of reels, a color display unit, monochrome display, cathode ray tube (CRT) monitor, plasma display, or liquid crystal display (LCD) or any embodiment understood in the art to communicate one or more aspects of the game to the player. In one embodiment, either or both of the displays may be adapted to replace or work in conjunction with the buttons of the panel. For example, in a non-limiting embodiment, either or both displays may have a touch sensitive or heat sensitive screens and designated segments of the screen corresponding with the plurality of buttons. One segment of the screen may correspond with the cash out button, another segment with the maximum credit button, another segment with the bonus actuator attachment, and so forth. To this end, a player touching any one of these segments results in the same effect as if the player actuated any of the corresponding buttons of the panel. Thus, the displays may have a dual function of communicating aspects/results of the game to the player and receiving the information from the player. The present invention is not limited to an upper display and a lower display, as discussed above. Rather, gaming machine of the present invention may comprise a single display unit with each of the functions above on a single display or any other display known in the art. As such, the above embodiment, is intended only for illustrative purposes, and the gaming machine is not limited to this embodiment.

The gaming machine may be comprised of any type of slot machine, electronic poker machine, blackjack machine, or any other similar gaming device known in the art to be used in a gaming setting. In any of these embodiments, the gaming machine contains a bonus actuator attachment wherein the bonus actuator serves to indicate to the processor of the gaming machine that the player wishes to trigger the first event of the bonus game.

In operation, a player inserts at least a minimum amount of money into the gaming machine, which may be translated into a number of credits. These credits are stored within the processor of the gaming machine and communicated to the player. The player then selects the number of credits to wager for the game by way of the plurality of buttons and/or the touch screen display. The player may then trigger the first triggering event in the bonus game by actuating the bonus actuator attachment. Optionally, if the first triggering event occurs, a wager from the player's available coin-in credits may be deducted. In either case, once the bonus actuating attachment is actuated, the player is eligible for the second bonus triggering event. The player may then initiate the game by actuating the gaming machine actuating button, thereby generating a random combination of numbers and/or symbols.

After generating the random combination, the gaming machine processor first determines if the first bonus triggering event occurred. If it did not, then the random combination is evaluated for any winning combinations. The presence of any winning combinations results in a specific pre-set amount paid to the player. Conversely, the absence of any combinations ends the game.

If the first triggering event did occur, then the gaming machine processor examines the random combination to determine if a second bonus triggering event occurred. The second bonus may be the presence of a particular number or symbol in a particular place within the combination, a specific combination of numbers or symbols, or any other similar event understood in the art to initiate a bonus game. If there is not a second triggering event, then the player is paid any winnings in accordance with the above and the game is over. If the second triggering event does occur, e.g. the symbol, combination, etc. was present, then the bonus is played by the player and the player is paid according to an winning result that follows.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 represents a front view of one embodiment of a gaming machine.

FIG. 2 illustrates the analysis of the results of a turn played on a gaming machine wherein the outcome of the turn is dependant upon a first triggering event and a second triggering event.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present invention relates to a bonus actuator attachment for a slot or gaming machine. More specifically, the present invention relates to an apparatus and method of selectively triggering a first bonus triggering event, by way of a bonus actuator attachment, so as to make the player eligible to participate in a bonus game upon the happening of a second bonus triggering event. For example, the player inserts his or her coin-in wager which initiates the play of the gaming machine. Additionally, prior to playing, the player may actuate the bonus actuator attachment. Actuation of the bonus actuator attachment is a first triggering event wherein the gaming machine recognizes that the player wishes to be eligible for a bonus within the gaming machine. The player then plays the game and a processor within the gaming machine evaluates the result of the game to determine if there is a winning combination and if a second bonus triggering event occurs. If there is a winning combination and no second bonus triggering event, then the player is paid the winnings and the game is over. If there is a winning and/or a second bonus triggering event, then the player participates in the bonus round and collects the resulting winnings of both the combination and the bonus. If there is neither a winning combination nor a second bonus triggering event, then the game is over.

The gaming machine of the present invention may be any gaming machine understood in the art. In one non-limiting embodiment, a gaming machine, as illustrated in FIG. 1, is a slot machine 1. The slot machine 1 may be comprised of a base 5, a lower display 10, and an upper display 15 all of which surround the gaming machine interior and processor. In one embodiment, the base 5 may be substantially cubical in shape with a front face 20, a first side 25, a second side 30, a back (not illustrated), a bottom 35 and an open top. Proximal to the bottom 35 of the front face 20 of the base 5 is, optionally, a cash out slot 40. The cash out slot 40 is intended for slot machines that cash a player out of playing the machine by returning the coin-in and/or depositing the player's winnings into the slot 40. However, the present invention is not limited to a cash-out slot as illustrated and the slot may be any device or attachment understood to “cash out” the player.

On the first side 25 of the base 5 is a lever 45 wherein the lever 45 is one mechanism a player may utilize to initiate playing a game on the slot machine. Proximal to the top of the base 5 is a panel 50. The panel 50 may contain one or more coin-in slots 55 adapted to accept a player's coin-in wager. In one embodiment, the coin-in slot 55 is adapted to accept coins or tokens. In another embodiment, the coin-in slot 55 is adapted to accept paper money, casino vouchers, credit cards, or any other form of payment understood in the art.

The panel 50 may also be comprised of a plurality of actuating devices such as buttons, switches, etc. A first button 60 may be a cash out button wherein the function of the cash out button is to end a player's session with a gaming machine and return to the player his or her coin-in and/or winnings, if any. To this end, by actuating the cash out button 60 a player may retrieve his or her coin-in or winnings from the cash out slot 40 or any other similar device on the slot machine. A second button 65 and third button 70 may be comprised of a maximum bet button and a one credit button, respectively. Actuation of the maximum bet button 65 functions to play the maximum allowable bet for each turn played by the player. Actuation of the one credit button 70 functions to determine the player's wager based on increasing increments of a minimum one credit bet for the gaming machine. For example, in a slot machine with a one dollar minimum bet, each actuation of the one credit button 70 results in an increased wager of one credit or dollar per turn. To this end, the gaming machine 1 is capable of receiving large monetary denominations in the coin-in slot 55, translating the coin-in into credits based on increments of a minimum bet, and subtracting the wager for each turn played from the total coin-in by the player.

The panel 50 may also be comprised of a gaming machine activating button 80. Actuation of the activating button 80, much like the lever 45, functions to initiate playing a game on the slot machine. By actuating the activating button 80, the player initiates the game, thereby producing the randomly generated number combination by the processor. To this end, in one embodiment, the gaming machine 1 may be comprised of either the activating button 80 or the lever 45 for initiating the game. However, the present invention is not limited to this embodiment and may be comprised of both an activating button 80 and a lever 45. The present invention is not limited to a lever 45 or activating button 80, however, to initiate the play of the gaming machine. Rather, the present invention may be comprised of any device understood in the art to activate the play of a gaming machine.

The panel 50 may also be comprised of a bonus actuator attachment 75. In one embodiment, the bonus actuator attachment 75 may be one of the plurality of actuating devices, which, when actuated, initiates a first bonus triggering event in the bonus component of the gaming machine thereby making the player eligible for the bonus round. The bonus actuator attachment is not, however, limited to a button, as illustrated. Rather, the bonus actuator may be comprised of a switch, a button, a lever, a dial, a knob, a touch sensitive component of a display, or any embodiment understood in the art to signify to the gaming machine processor (not illustrated) that the player would like to trigger the first triggering event.

The first triggering event may also require an additional wager beyond the original wager made by the player. This additional wager is not applicable to the game played by the gaming machine and is applied only to the bonus. To this end, a player may wager any amount from a minimum to a maximum with respect to the game played and must pay an additional amount to satisfy the first triggering event and be eligible for the bonus. Even if the player wages the maximum bet for the game, the player may still make the additional wager as the first triggering event. However, if there are an insufficient number of credits available to the player, then, if a wager is required, the player may not trigger the first bonus event, unless he or she adds more credits.

Immediately above the base 5 is a lower display 10. In one embodiment, the lower display 10 may be adapted to communicate an aspect of the game to the player. For example, the lower display 10 may be comprised of a plurality of reels 85, as illustrated, wherein a plurality of different numbers and/or symbols are spaced about the circumference of the reels 85. Upon activation, by way of the activating button 80 or lever 45, the reels spin and are stopped by the gaming machine's processor yielding a random combination, which may be communicated to the player as a string of symbols or numbers on each reel 85. This combination of the symbols and/or numbers is evaluated by the processor of the gaming machine for a winning combination in accordance with methods known in the art. For example, the processor may compare the random combination against a menu of preset combinations wherein each preset combination is associated with a particular winning value. If the random combination matches any of these preset combinations then the player is paid the winning value associated with the combination.

As noted above, the type of slot machine is not intended to be limited to the use of reels in the lower display. The lower display 10 may be comprised of a color display unit, a monochrome display, a cathode ray tube (CRT) monitor, a plasma display, a liquid crystal display (LCD). Accordingly, the lower display 10 may be configured to display graphics of cards, a plurality of digital reels, a plurality of numbers, etc. so as to formulate any type of gaming machine understood in the art.

In another embodiment, the lower display 10 may be adapted to replace or work in conjunction with the buttons of the panel 50. In a non-limiting example, the lower display 10 may have a touch sensitive or heat sensitive screen instead of the plurality of reels 85 illustrated in FIG. 1. To this end, each of the plurality of buttons discussed above may have a corresponding touch screen segment on the lower display 10. These touch screen segments may be in lieu of or in addition to the buttons on the panel 50. For example, one segment of the screen may correspond with the cash out button 60, another segment with the maximum credit button 65, another segment with the bonus actuator attachment 75, and so forth. To this end, a player touching any one of these segments results in the same effect as if the player actuated any of the corresponding buttons of the panel. Thus, the displays may have a dual function of communicating aspects/results of the game to the player and receiving the information from the player. Other combinations and configurations of mechanical and electronic displays, and input and activation devices will be apparent to those skilled in that art and are contemplated for use with the present invention.

Immediately above the lower display 10 is an upper display 15. In one embodiment, the upper display 15 may be simply a general advertisement or a depictional advertisement for the theme of the gaming machine which may, optionally, be illuminated by a light source within the upper display 15. In another embodiment, the upper display 15 may be a video display adapted to display the bonus game after the triggering of a second bonus triggering event (discussed below). For example, the upper display 15 may be comprised of a color display unit, a monochrome display, a cathode ray tube (CRT) monitor, light-emitting diode (LED), a plasma display, a liquid crystal display (LCD), an electroluminescent display, or the any other type of video display known in the art. The upper display 15 may be configured to display graphics indicating that the gaming machine is being played and/or that the first bonus event has been triggered, e.g. actuated the bonus actuator attachment. In the event a second bonus triggering event occurs (discussed below), the implemented on the upper display 15 and may be interactive with the player by way of the panel 50 and/or the lower display 10. Specifically, the player may control certain aspects of the bonus game so as to control the play of the bonus round by actuating one or more of the plurality of the buttons on the panel 50. To this end, for purposes of the bonus game, the plurality of buttons on the panel 50 may have an entirely different function than those described above and the new function may be defined by the upper display 15. Alternatively, a touch or heat sensitive lower display 10 may also be utilized to further the bonus round on the upper display 15 in a similar manner. For example, a plurality of touch screen segments may correspond with specific options with respect to the bonus game. A player touching any one of these segments results in the same effect as if the player actuated any of the corresponding buttons of the panel.

The present invention is not limited to an upper display 15 and a lower display 10, as discussed above. Rather, gaming machine 1 of the present invention may comprise a single display unit with each of the functions above on a single display. As such, FIG. 1 is intended only for illustrative purposes, and the gaming machine 1 is not limited to this embodiment.

Furthermore, the gaming machine of the present invention may be comprised of any type of slot machine, electronic poker machine, blackjack machine, or any other similar gaming device known in the art to be used in a gaming setting. In any of these embodiments, the gaming machine contains a bonus actuator attachment 75 wherein the bonus actuator 75 serves to indicate to the processor of the gaming machine that the player wishes to trigger the first bonus triggering event of the bonus game. In one embodiment, by actuating the bonus actuator attachment 75 the player also signals to the gaming machine that the player wishes to play an additional wager only on the bonus. To this end, the additional wager may be any preset amount and may be independent of the wager of the original game.

In operation, referring to FIG. 2, in any of the above embodiments a player first initiates the game 90 by inserting money into the coin-in slot 55. In one embodiment, the processor of the gaming machine accepts the coin-in and translates it into one or more credits wherein each credit may represent a minimum coin-in amount to play the game. The number of credits available for wager is then based upon the amount of coin-in from the player. This amount is stored within the processor and may be communicated to the player, by way of the display, such that the player is aware of how many more plays on the gaming machine he or she has, based on the number of credits available. The player then selects the number of credits to wager for the game 95 by actuating the one credit button a desired number of times such that the wager ranges between a minimum one credit bet to a predetermined maximum bet. Alternatively, the player may actuate the maximum bet button 65 to play the maximum wager. Furthermore, the player may play more than one game, line, hand, etc. per turn wherein he or she may make a range of wagers on more than one line of a reel, more than one hand of cards, or the like.

The player then selects whether to trigger the first triggering event in the bonus game 100. Specifically, in order to trigger the first bonus event, the player must actuate the bonus actuator attachment 105. Optionally, this may also require the player to make an additional wager solely on the bonus event thereby requiring a pre-determined number of coin-in credits as an additional wager. The bonus wager may be required for each line, hand, etc. played on the game. The present invention is not limited to this embodiment, however, and one bonus wager may be sufficient to cover all hands, reels, etc. played. In any case, regardless of whether the first triggering event was actuated, the player may then initiate the game 110 thereby generating a random combination of numbers and/or symbols.

After generating the random combination, the gaming machine processor then evaluates whether the player activated the bonus by triggering the first event 115. If there was not a first triggering event, then the processor determines if the random combination generated fits within any of a menu of pre-determined winning combinations 135. If it does not, then the game is over 145. Conversely, if the generated combination matches any one or plurality of winning combinations then the winner is paid 140 according to the number of credits associated with the winnings. To this end, the winnings may be deposited back into the processor such that the total number of credits available to the player is increased by a number of credits corresponding with the winnings.

If the player did trigger the first bonus triggering event, then the processor evaluates whether the second bonus event was triggered 120. The second bonus triggering event may be the presence of a particular number or symbol in a particular place within the combination, a specific combination of numbers or symbols, or any other similar event understood in the art to initiate a bonus game. If there is not a second triggering event, then the processor determines if the random combination generated fits within any of a menu of pre-determined winning combinations 135. If it does not, then the game is over 145. Conversely, if the generated combination does match any one or plurality of winning combinations then the winner is paid 140 according to the number of credits associated with the winnings and the coin-in.

If the second triggering event does occur, e.g. the symbol, combination, etc. was present, then the bonus round is played 125 by the player. The bonus may be any type of bonus understood in the art and in accordance with the above. To this end, the player may interact with the upper display 15 and/or lower display 10 so as to play the particular bonus associated with the slot machine. In one embodiment, the bonus award may be dependant upon the wager made on the game. For example, if a player wagered a maximum bet then the bonus payout may be 5× the normal payout for any winning combination. Similarly, if the player wagered a minimum amount then the bonus award may be 2× the normal payout for any winning combination. To this end, the bonus payout may be correlative with the wager on the game. However, the present invention is not limited to this embodiment and may be in accordance with any bonus payout scheme understood in the art for gaming machines. In any case, once the bonus is played, the processor determines and tallies any winnings associated with the bonus 130 and any other winnings in the random combination aside from the bonus round. The winner is thereby paid 140 winnings earned as a result of the bonus round as well any another other winnings associated with the random combination matching and preset winning combinations. Once the winner is paid, the game is over 145.

The player must then decide if he or she wishes to play again 150. If the player wishes to play again, then he or she must decide how many credits he or she would like to wager 95 and repeat the process of initiating the game and first bonus triggering event. However, if the player does not wish to play again, then they may cash out 155 of the gaming machine by actuating the cash out button.

The present invention is advantageous because it presents potential players with the option of being eligible for a bonus round. To this end, the player decides before playing the game whether they wish to trigger the first triggering event by actuating the bonus actuator attachment. Additionally, incorporating the additional wager with the first triggering event serves to increase the coin-in which may be pooled for any eventual payouts. Ultimately, the increase in the amount of coin-in leads to a larger revenue pool and can lead to larger payouts. This will attract more potential players and generate more interest in the gaming machines.