Title:
Location detection system for use with gaming devices and method of use
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A location detection and tracking system for use in a casino. The system includes several gaming devices that are configured to allow a player to place a wager and to play a game. A player locator device is configured to transmit at least one location of the player. A server is in communication with the gaming devices and the player locator device. The server determines a first location of the player, accesses a database of player preference parameters and selects at least one of the player preference parameters. A gaming device that is in proximity to the first location can be determined and the selected player preference parameter can be downloaded to the gaming device. The server causes the gaming device to display the selected player preference parameter.



Inventors:
Seelig, Jerald C. (Galloway, NJ, US)
Henshaw, Lawrence M. (Hammonton, NJ, US)
Application Number:
12/357766
Publication Date:
07/30/2009
Filing Date:
01/22/2009
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
CHIU, TSZ K
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
IAN F. BURNS & ASSOCIATES (4790 Caughlin Parkway #701, RENO, NV, 89519-0907, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A gaming system comprising: (A) a plurality of gaming devices, the gaming devices configured to allow a player to place a wager and to play a game; (B) at least one player locator device configured to transmit at least one location of the player; and (C) a server in communication with the gaming devices and the player locator device, the server being adapted to: (a) determine a first location of the player; (b) access a database of player preference parameters; (c) select at least one of the player preference parameters; (d) determine a first gaming device that is in proximity to the first location; (e) download the selected player preference parameter to the first gaming device; and (f) cause the first gaming device to display the selected player preference parameter.

2. The gaming system of claim 1, wherein the player detection device comprises a radio frequency identification device.

3. The gaming system of claim 1, wherein the server determines a second location of the player.

4. The gaming system of claim 1, wherein the server calculates a future location of the player.

5. The gaming system of claim 1, wherein the player preference parameter is a type of game.

6. The gaming system of claim 1, wherein the first gaming device displays a first game that is preferred by the player.

7. The gaming system of claim 1, wherein the server is in communication with a sign.

8. The gaming system of claim 7, wherein the server accesses the database of player preferences, determines a player message and causes the sign to display the player message.

9. A method of operating gaming devices, not necessarily in the order shown comprising: (A) receiving a signal indicative of a patron position; (B) determining a first location of the patron; (C) accessing a database of patron preference parameters; (D) selecting at least one of the patron preference parameters; (E) determining a first gaming device that is in proximity to the first location; (F) downloading the selected patron preference parameter to the first gaming device; and (G) causing the first gaming device to display the selected patron preference parameter.

10. The method of claim 9, further comprising: (A) determining a second location of the patron; and (B) calculating a third location where the patron may move to in the future.

11. The method of claim 10, further comprising: (A) determining a second gaming device that is in proximity to the third location; (B) downloading the selected patron preference parameter to the second gaming device; and (C) causing the second gaming device to display the selected patron preference parameter.

12. The method of claim 9, further comprising: (A) receiving a plurality of signals indicative of positions of a group of patrons; (B) determining a plurality of locations of the group of patrons; (C) accessing a database of patron preference parameters of the group of patrons; and (D) determining at least one common patron preference parameter.

13. The method of claim 12, further comprising: (A) determining a plurality of gaming devices that are in proximity to the locations of the group of patrons; (B) downloading the common patron preference parameter to gaming devices; and (C) causing the gaming devices to display the common patron preference parameter.

14. A gaming system comprising: (A) a plurality of gaming devices, the gaming devices adapted to allow a player to place a wager and to play a game; (B) at least one player locator device adapted to communicate a player position; (C) a server in communication with the gaming devices and the player locator device, the server having a processor; and (D) software operable on the processor to: (a) determine a first position of the player; (b) identify the player; (c) select at least one player preference parameter associated with the player from a database of player preference parameters; (d) determine a first gaming device that is in proximity to the first position; (e) determine a first display to be shown on the first gaming device; and (f) cause the first gaming device to show the first display.

15. The gaming system of claim 14, further comprising: (A) determining a second position of the player; and (B) forecasting a third position where the player may move to.

16. The gaming system of claim 15, wherein a path of travel of the player is determined.

17. The gaming system of claim 15, further comprising: (A) determining a second gaming device that is the vicinity of the third position; and (B) causing the second gaming device to show the first display.

18. A gaming system comprising: (A) means for allowing a player to place a wager and to play a game; (B) means for determining a player position; (C) means for identifying the player; (D) means for determining at least one player parameter associated with the player; and (E) means for selecting a first gaming device that is in proximity to the player position, accessing data associated the player parameter and displaying the data associated with the player parameter on the first gaming device.

19. The gaming system of claim 18, further comprising: (A) means for determining a travel path of the player.

20. The gaming system of claim 19, further comprising: (A) means for selecting a second gaming device along the path; and (B) means for accessing data associated with the player parameter and displaying the data associated with the player parameter on the second gaming device.

21. The gaming system of claim 18, further comprising: (A) means for identifying a plurality of players; and (B) means for accessing a database of player parameters and determining a common player parameter.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 61/023,403, filed Jan. 24, 2008 and 61/088,601 filed Aug. 13, 2008 the contents of which is herein incorporated by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to player tracking devices for casinos. More specifically, the present invention relates to player location detection and tracking systems that can be used in a casino to track player movement and change or reconfigure gaming devices.

BACKGROUND

Casino service is improved by efficient delivery of goods and services to game players or casino patrons as they move about the facility. It is known to track casino patrons by monitoring play at gaming devices using a card given to the patron either upon arrival or as a membership card. The length of time games are played and the amount wagered may be recorded.

In the prior art, patent application publication US 2007/0117623 A1 to Nelson et al. (Nelson) alleges to disclose a dynamic casino tracking and optimization system. The system appears to utilize a player tracking system for enhancing a game player's experience.

US 2008/0127174 A1 to Johnson (Johnson) alleges to disclose methods for transmitting and installing software on a gaming machine in a gaming network. The method appears to transmit gaming software between a gaming server and a gaming device to allow a patron to request and play an updated or new game.

SUMMARY OF ONE EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF ONE EMBODIMENT OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

In one embodiment, the present invention comprises a gaming system that includes several gaming devices that are configured to allow a player to place a wager and to play a game. A player locator device is configured to transmit at least one location of the player. A server is in communication with the gaming devices and the player locator device. The server determines a first location of the player, accesses a database of player preference parameters and selects at least one of the player preference parameters. A gaming device that is in proximity to the first location can be determined and the selected player preference parameter can be downloaded to the gaming device. The server causes the gaming device to display the selected player preference parameter.

In another embodiment, the present invention comprises a method of gaming. The method includes receiving a signal indicative of a patron position, determining a first location of the patron and accessing a database of patron preference parameters. At least one of the patron preference parameters is selected. A first gaming device is determined that is in proximity to the first location. The selected patron preference parameter is downloaded to the first gaming device and the first gaming device displays the selected patron preference parameter.

In an additional embodiment, the present invention comprises a gaming system that includes several gaming devices that are adapted to allow a player to place a wager and to play a game. A player locator device is adapted to communicate a player position. A server is in communication with the gaming devices and the player locator device. The server has a processor. Software operates on the processor to determine a first position of the player, identify the player and select at least one player preference parameter associated with the player from a database of player preference parameters. The software further operates to determine a first gaming device that is in proximity to the first position, determine a first display to be shown on the first gaming device and causes the first gaming device to show the first display.

In yet another embodiment, the present invention comprises a gaming system that includes means for allowing a player to place a wager and to play a game and means for determining a player position. A means for identifying the player and means for determining at least one player parameter associated with the player are also in the gaming system. The gaming system further has means for selecting a first gaming device that is in proximity to the player position, accessing data associated the player parameter and displaying the data associated with the player parameter on the first gaming device.

In an embodiment, the present invention comprises a location detection system for detection of a patron in the vicinity of a gaming device and configuring the gaming device on the fly to appeal to the patron as the patron walks near the gaming device. A message sent to the gaming device from a central server is based on the patron's preferences and optimized to offer special benefits to the patron or the group the patron is with to attract and engage the patron. The patron tracking system tracks the patron by means of patron identification at known locations in the facility. The patron's location is compared to the known location of gaming devices and electronic displays such as marquees. The server system is in communication with the gaming device and stores a plurality of game configurations for download to each individual gaming device.

The server is further in communication with the patron tracking system to detect the location of the patron. The server optimizes the use of the vacant gaming devices and marquee displays to entice and enhance the patron's experience by displaying announcements, game configurations and messages selected based on the patron's known preferences and other food, beverage and concierge services. These offers are displayed in real time on the fly on the gaming device screens as the patron moves into the vicinity of the gaming device. As the patron moves through the facility an optimizing means in the server continues to reconfigure gaming devices proximate to and in the field of view of the patron. Information gathered about the patron's movement in the facility, game selections and spending choices is gathered and stored in the patron profile database.

The above description sets forth, rather broadly, a summary of one embodiment of the present invention so that the detailed description that follows may be better understood and contributions of the present invention to the art may be better appreciated. Some of the embodiments of the present invention may not include all of the features or characteristics listed in the above summary. There are, of course, additional features of the invention that will be described below and will form the subject matter of claims. In this respect, before explaining at least one preferred embodiment of the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of the construction and to the arrangement of the components set forth in the following description or as illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein are for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.

ADVANTAGES OF ONE OR MORE EMBODIMENTS OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

The various embodiments of the present invention may, but do not necessarily, achieve one or more of the following advantages:

The ability to provide customized food service offerings in real time to game players or patrons based on a number of patrons having common food preferences in the casino;

The ability to update usage and preference data for a patron;

The ability to configure food and drinks for the patron and deliver quickly;

The ability to recall dealers or favorite personnel based on the patron's presence;

The ability to interactively configure vacant gaming devices and displays as the patron walks through the casino;

The ability to forecast and predict the future movement of casino patrons and game players within a casino;

The ability to provide customized game selection on games adjacent to the patron as the patron moves through the casino to entice play at such games;

The ability to provide an attractive gaming environment that can be changed in real time based on the preferences of a particular patron as they enter and browse around in the casino;

The ability to provide dynamic reconfiguration of gaming devices based on common characteristics of a group of patrons in the casino;

The ability to provide on the fly reconfiguration of gaming devices based on patron preferences of a particular patron in the casino;

The ability to instruct gaming devices to display messages about gaming, food or beverage promotions to optimize engagement of individuals in a group of patrons by message selection and download based on common preferences when members of the group are in the vicinity of the gaming device;

The ability to provide downloaded messages that are optimized to entice several members of a group to vacant gaming devices near one or more members of the group by determining the location of the group member, identifying a nearby vacant gaming device or marquee and downloading the messages to the vacant gaming devices;

The ability to reconfigure gaming devices to display different games or pay tables based on common preferences of members of a group of patrons in the casino; and

The ability to provide customized, on the fly reconfiguration of gaming devices to display different games or pay tables based on patron preferences recorded in the patron tracking system.

These and other advantages may be realized by reference to the remaining portions of the specification, claims, and abstract.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is substantially a top plan layout view of a casino gaming room of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is substantially a front plan view of a patron having a patron locater device of the present invention with a cutaway view of the patron location device showing some of the internal components.

FIG. 3 is substantially a diagrammatic view of a network topology layout of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is substantially a front view of a gaming device of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is substantially a flowchart of a method for tracking a patron of the present invention.

FIG. 6 is substantially a flowchart of a method for tracking a group of patrons of the present invention.

FIG. 7 is substantially a flowchart of a method for projecting a future path of a patron in the casino of the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF CERTAIN EMBODIMENTS OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

In the following detailed description of the embodiments, reference is made to the accompanying drawings, which form a part of this application. The drawings show, by way of illustration, specific embodiments in which the invention may be practiced. It is to be understood that other embodiments may be utilized and structural changes may be made without departing from the scope of the present invention.

Referring to FIG. 1, a layout or floor plan of a casino 32 is shown comprising a gaming system, game player identification system or patron identification system 24 for identification and location detection of a game player or patron 18 in the casino 32. The patron 18 can be tracked geographically to determine the position of the player within the casino and allow dynamic, real time or on the fly reconfiguration of the gaming devices 28 and signs or marquee 49 that are in proximity to the patron 18, as the patron 18 walks or moves through the casino 32. The patron may view signs 49 as they move within the casino.

Continuing to refer to FIG. 1, the casino may further include an entrance or front door 34 and a gaming area 36 that has gaming devices 28 that are assembled into clusters or groups of gaming devices 37. The gaming area 36 may include a blackjack table 38 and specialty gaming tables such as craps table 40. Gaming devices 28 may include a wide variety of gaming devices such as slot machines, video poker, bonus games or community games. Each gaming device 28 can have a predetermined location within the casino.

The casino 32 may also include a restaurant 42 adjacent to the gaming area 36 for providing dining services to game players and patrons. The restaurant may have several tables 44, a bar 46 and a hostess station 48. A sign or marquee 49 and a loudspeaker system 53 are located in the casino and may be used to communicate specials or promotions such as games, tournaments, news, weather, and gambling lessons. The marquee 49 has a predetermined field of view 51 from which the marquee 49 is visible. Fixed antennas 50 may be mounted in the casino 32 on the ceiling for zone monitoring, and may also be integrated into the casino fixtures like gaming devices 28, tables 38, 40 and around entrance 34.

The fixed antennas 50 are positioned in the casino for use with a locator device to determine the location and movement of game players within the casino. Antennas 50 may determine a first game player or patron location 85 and a second patron location 135 by receiving signals from a player locator device or patron detection device 10 as the patron 18 moves through the casino 32. Patron 18 may move from first location 85 to second location 135 by traveling along path 147.

Referring to FIG. 2, player location detector or patron locater apparatus or device 10 can be in communication with the fixed antenna 50. Patron locater device 10 can be worn or carried by a game player or patron 18. The patron locater device 10 is adapted to contain patron identification information such as a patron name 11 and account number 12. The patron locater device 10 may be a rewards card 13 or radio frequency identification device (RFID) 14 issued by the casino. The patron locator device may be a passive RFID device that is activated and read by an externally applied electromagnetic field or may be an active RFID device using a battery and a low power RF transmitter.

The RFID device 14 may comprise an identification card 15, or personal device 16 such as a lapel pin, or pen. Alternatively, the patron locater device 10 may be a personal electronic device 17 belonging to patron 18 that has a wireless signal output. The personal electronic device 17 may be a cell phone 19, pager, a personal data assistant (PDA) 21, or other electronic communication device.

Any signals received by antenna 50 are processed by a receiver/transmitter 50A. The processing may include amplification and filtering of the radio frequency signals and analog to digital conversion of any data and information received. Receiver/transmitter 50A may be in communication with a central server 56 through a cable or network 55. The information from receiver/transmitter 50A is communicated to server 56 and synchronized with a patron identification system 24 for detection, identification and location determination of the game player or patron 18.

The server 56 may use fixed antenna 50 to detect signals transmitted by patron detection device 10. Several fixed antennas 50 may receive a location signal sent from the patron detection device 10 for triangulation of the signal to determine the location of the respective patron 18.

The player or patron locater device 10 illustrated in FIG. 2 may further have an integrated circuit or chip 20, a patron antenna 22, a power supply 23 and message display 25. Integrated circuit 20 may be in communication with antenna 22, power supply 23 and display 25. Integrated circuit 20 may have a memory section. Patron antenna 22 may be configured to transmit information such as from an RFID tag 14, cell phone 19, a Bluetooth device or other wireless device or reflect a signal from the fixed antenna 50. The patron locater device 10 may also be adapted to receive and display a message on message display 25. The patron locater device 10 may comprise an integrated chip 20 and patron antenna 22 to provide patron identification and location signals. The patron locater device 10 may store data on the chip 20 which may be remotely retrieved. The chip 20 may be configured for storing and processing information, modulating and demodulating a (RF) signal, and other specialized functions. Alternatively, patron locater device 10 may operate with only patron antenna 22 integrated in or printed directly onto any of the devices 13, 14, 15, and 16 for the purpose of identification using radio waves. The radio frequency patron antenna 22 integrated into the patron locater device 10 may be distributed to the patron 18 upon entering the casino 32 or may be issued for patron 18 to keep and use repeatedly.

With continued reference to FIG. 2, in one embodiment, the patron locater device 10 may include an internal Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) receiver 27A that has GPS functions. Receiver 27A can receive GPS signals 27C from a satellite 27B through antenna 22 to determine the global position location of the patron locater device 10. The patron locater device 10 may also transmit from patron antenna 22, a signal comprising GPS location and patron identifier information to the fixed antenna 50 of the patron identification system 24.

Referring now to FIG. 3, a gaming system, player location detection system or patron identification and location system 24 comprises a central server 56 connected by network 55 and receiver/transmitter 50A to fixed antennas 50. Server 56 can be in communication through network 55 with gaming devices 28 and sign or marquee 49. Server 56 can be a conventional computer or computer server that contains a processor 56A that is in communication with a memory 56B. Memory 56B may be any suitable data storage device such as random access memory, hard drives or tape storage devices. Software programs may be stored in memory 56B for operation on processor 56A.

Network 55 may be an Ethernet network that is hardwired or is wireless. Bluetooth or similar wireless or hard-wired network can be used to communicate information to and from server 56. Server 56 may have a player or patron preferences parameter database 57 that contains information relative to each patron 18 registered in the casino 32. Player preference parameter database 57 can be stored in memory 56B and can be accessed by processor 56A. Patron preference parameter database 57 can comprise information and preferred gaming parameters such as, wagering information, game preferences, food ordering history, drink preferences, day and time of player visits, frequency of visits, preferred music and reward preferences that are stored to enhance the patrons gaming experience at the casino.

Server 56 can be in communication with patron locator device 10 through receiver/transmitter 50A that is connected to the fixed antennas 50 for receiving and transmitting signals from gaming devices 28 and patron locater 10. Alternatively, gaming devices 28 can be in communication with server 28 through network cable 55.

With reference to FIG. 3 and additional reference to FIG. 1, signals from patron locater device 10 are used to determine a first patron location 85 (FIG. 1) of each patron 18. Gaming devices 28 may have a remotely programmable memory 59A. Gaming devices 28 may also have a controller or processor 59B for controlling the operation of each gaming device 28. Controller 59B is in communication with programmable memory 59A. Gaming devices 28 can be located at predetermined gaming device locations in the casino. Server 56 can change the games and parameters of gaming devices 28 by downloading game software from a game database 59 stored in server memory 56B to gaming device programmable memory 59A. Gaming devices 28 may either store game data (games, graphics, pay tables, etc.) in memory 59A or the data may be downloaded as needed from central server 56.

Gaming devices 28 may be in communication with the central server 56 to allow control and communication of messages, data and commands. The gaming device 28 may display information downloaded from game database 59 such as games for play, a menu of available games, game trailers or promotional videos or trial versions of new games. Games displayed on gaming device 28 may be selected by the patron 18 at gaming device 28 or may be remotely queued by the server 56 from common characteristics between the message and the player preferences database 57. Games shown on gaming device 28 may be initiated based on the time of day, the presence of one or more game players or patrons or may be dynamically changed or optimized in real time based on the proximity of a patron or group of patrons to gaming device 28.

Server 56 may promote a particular game by displaying a logo, trademark, pay tables, rules, etc. on video display 60 to entice a player to continue playing or to attract a player to a vacant gaming device 28 that is not being played.

The plurality of fixed antennas 50 are positioned at predetermined locations to detect and locate signals from patron locater devices 10. The signals are communicated to the server 56 to calculate a first patron location 85. The first patron location 85 is stored in the server 56 with identification information identifying the patron 18. The server 56 compares the first patron location 85 with the predetermined location of gaming devices 28 to calculate a relative proximity of the patron 18 to the gaming device 28. The server 56 can determine which gaming devices 28 are vacant or unused in the vicinity of the patron 18 and may download data, information and messages containing game configurations or informational displays or announcements from game database 59 to such vacant gaming devices 28 proximate to entice the patron 18 to play. Information may also be downloaded from player preference database 57 such as preferred music.

The messages may contain information about promotions offered in the casino, display the patron's preferred game or game configuration, or other visual attractions to entice the patron 18 to play on gaming device 28. The player's preferred music may be played by gaming device 28. Furthermore, the server 56 may communicate to the restaurant 42 or bar 46 to prepare and deliver a drink or food to the patron 18 at the first patron location 85 to enhance the patron's gaming experience.

Continuing to refer to FIG. 3, the server 56 has a database of patron preferences 57 that contains information on each player or patron registered with the casino 32. The database can contain patron preference information about the patron such as for example, financial resources, employment, game preferences, food preferences and allergies, drink preferences, emergency contact information, preferred times and dates to play and other information obtained from private and public databases.

Server 56 may offer a casino wide promotion if a group of patrons having similar patron preferences is detected in the casino simultaneously. For example, if a group of five or more patrons are detected in the casino at once that all have indicated or displayed a preference for $1,000 Baccarat, the server 56 may download and configure Baccarat games at vacant gaming devices 28 by configuring and announcing an upcoming tournament to entice the patrons to join in and play. Likewise, if a group of patrons is detected in the casino that have indicated or displayed a preference for eating lobster, server 56 may to send a message to the restaurant 42 (FIG. 1) and send a message to vacant and/or other gaming devices 28 about a lobster dinner promotion.

Any information gathered by server 56 may be stored for optimization of the changes to video displays 60, signs or marquee 49, various other displays and promotional announcements to maximize the response by the game players or patrons in the casino.

Table 1 below shows an example of the types of data and information that may be stored in player preference database 57. Table 1 shows exemplary patron preferences for three different game players. Each patron may prefer different games, foods, music, drinks and may wager different amounts.

The concentration of a group of patrons at a particular location in the casino or having similar backgrounds such as a company sponsoring a meeting may cause server 56 to adapt the optimization of messages to appeal to the group of patrons. For example, if a group similar to Patron 3 favoring Roulette is entering an area, the server 56 may configure several vacant gaming devices 28 to show Roulette on the video displays 60 of the gaming devices 28 in that area.

TABLE 1
Preference
NamePatron 1Patron 2Patron3
BeverageDomestic beerScotchImport Beer
FoodSteakLobsterSteak
Game 1BaccaratBaccaratRoulette
Game 2Video SlotsBingoVideo Slots
Wager level$1,000$1,000$100
SnackNachosNachosNachos
Time of visitMorningEveningMorning
Account Balance$1,250$9,550$97,100

When a group of patrons with similar patron preferences is detected in the casino, server 56 may schedule and arrange services or ensure proper resources are available to satisfy a majority of the group's preferences. In addition, if a large group of patrons such as 500 or 1000 individuals, for example are in the casino 32, who each prefer video poker, server 56 may display video poker on the vacant gaming devices 28 or offer a special video poker tournament displayed on marquee 49 and make and announcement on loudspeaker system 53. The server 56 may be programmed to optimize the promotion of services provided to the patrons by gathering information on individual preferences and reconfiguring vacant gaming devices 28 and marquee 49 in a real time, dynamic, or on the fly manner as patrons move about the casino.

Turning now to FIG. 4, further details of gaming devices 28 will now be described. Gaming device 28 can be in communication with server 56 through network 55. Each gaming device 28 has a controller 59A and memory 59B. Gaming device 28 can include a configurable touch screen video display 60. Gaming device 28 is shown configured to play a video slots game 62 having a digital representation of a plurality of numerical reels 64. A touch display area 66 of video display 60 may be used to allow the patron 18 to select a new game from a menu of games. Alternately, another touch display area 68 may be used to select a specific game selected from a list of games stored in the patron's preference database.

The game player may use touch screen command area 70 on display 60 to input commands and information to the server 56 for functions such as placing a wager. The card reader 72 may be used to read the patron locater device 10 and identify the patron, register the patron's position in the casino 32 and reflect financial information for wagering at the gaming device 28. Card reader 72 can be in communication with controller 59A.

Alternatively, fixed antenna 50 may be disposed on gaming device 28 for receiving and transmitting signals to and from the patron locater device 10. The fixed antenna 50 is adapted to send or receive a signal for locating the patron locater device 10.

The physical exterior 74 of the gaming device 28 may be generic with a number of video displays 60 looking very similar. The video display 60 of vacant gaming devices 28 may display a message 76 to promote the casino or specific customer service resources in the casino such as the restaurant, bar, or a particular game. Message 76 may by display a text message, a logo, trademark, pay tables, rules or other communications. The video display 60 may also be used to display such rules and pay tables when the customer selects a game for play.

Referring to FIGS. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, a flowchart of a method 78 of locating patrons and configuring gaming devices in a casino is shown. Method 78 can be programmed in software stored in memory 56B and run on processor 56A of server 56 (FIG. 3) as part of an optimization routine to optimize casino revenue and game player experience. Method 78 may perform some or all of the following steps in a logical order which may not be the order listed.

At step 79, casino patrons may register with the casino and receive a patron locater device 10 or receiver/transmitter 50A may detect a patron's previously issued locator device 10 or a personal electronic device such as cell phone;

Receiver/transmitter 50A and fixed antenna 50 receive a signal from patron locator device 10 in step 80. The signal is transmitted to server 56 where the identity of the patron 18 is established at step 82.

At step 84, the location of the patron in the casino at a first patron location or position 85 is determined. Step 84 may include receiving a location signal from one or more fixed antennas 50 and triangulating the location signal between several fixed antennas 50 to locate the position of the patron locater device 10. Alternatively, a global positioning system (GPS) signal may be used to determine the first patron location 85.

Patron preference information is retrieved by server 56 from patron preference database 57 at step 86. Next, decision 88 determines if the patron is playing a gaming device 28. If the patron is currently playing a gaming device 28, the patron' game play is monitored at step 90 to detect declining or waning interest in the game. The detection of a decrease in game interest may include a decrease in the frequency of game play and a reduction in wagers.

At step 92, incentives are offered on gaming device 28 to the game player to continue game play. For example, if the rate of game play is slowing, messages may be downloaded for display on video display 68 such as an alternative pay table to increase player excitement or an alternative game that may be downloaded from server 56. Alternatively, a bonus game may be triggered upon the detection of declining player interest.

If a player is not playing a gaming device 28 in decision 88, a vacant gaming device is located nearby the patron in step 94 and selected. A vacant gaming device 28 in proximate relation to the first patron location 85 is selected by comparing a predetermined location of each vacant gaming device 28 with the first patron location 85. In addition, a marquee 49 in the field of view of the first patron location 85 is determined in step 94 by comparing the first patron location 85 with the predetermined field of view 51 of each sign or marquee 49.

Next, at step 96, server 56 selects messages, game information and games from game database 59 and player preference database 57. The games, game information and messages may comprises, games, gaming device configurations, pay tables, game promotions or food and beverage promotions.

At step 98, server 56 downloads game and message data to vacant gaming devices 28 in proximity to first patron location 85 for display on video display 60 within view of the patron. The player's preferred games as recorded in the player preference database and patron messages are shown on video display 60 and marquee 49 in step 100. After a pre-determined period of time, method 78 returns to step 80 from step 100 in order to continuously monitor and track the location and movement of the patron within the casino. Method 78 may continuously monitor and track the location of patrons and continuously download games and messages to gaming devices in real time throughout the casino as patrons continuously move about the casino.

Referring to FIGS. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6, a flowchart of a method 114 of locating a group of patrons and configuring gaming devices in a casino is shown. Method 114 can be programmed in software stored in memory 56B and run on processor 56A of server 56 (FIG. 3) as part of a dynamic real time optimization routine to optimize casino revenue and game player experience. Method 114 may perform some or all of the following steps in a logical order which may not be the order listed. Method 114 can change the configurations of gaming devices 28 on the fly to enhance the gaming experience of a group of game players.

Method 114 may locate and identify several patrons 18 that are associated with a group of patrons 21. Server 56 can access the patron preference database 57 to associate the profiles of individual members of the group to determine the most common patron preferences that are common to the group in order to appeal to the most casino patrons at the same time. The patron profiles as a group may be used and analyzed by server 56 that is adapted to run a software optimization routine to optimize casino revenue and game player enjoyment. Server 56 can download games and information to vacant gaming devices 28 and generate and display messages about promotions on the marquee 49. Method 114 may perform some or all of the following steps using server 56.

At step 116, the location of the group of patrons 21 in the casino is determined. It is assumed that a majority of the members of the group have a player locator device 10 or a device that can be accessed to determine the location of the casino patrons. The group of patrons 21 may be in relative proximity to each other within the casino. Step 116 may include receiving a position or location signal from one or more fixed antennas 50 and triangulating the location signal between several fixed antennas 50 to determine the position of the patron locater devices 10. Alternatively, a global positioning system (GPS) signal may be used to determine the patron locations.

Patron preference information for the group of patrons is retrieved by server 56 from patron preference database 57 at step 117. Also at step 117, the patron preferences are compared to determine the most common player preferences of the group of patrons.

Next, at step 118, server 56 selects messages, game information and games from game database 59 based upon the player preferences that are common to the group of players or patrons. The games, game information and messages may comprises, games, gaming device configurations, pay tables, game promotions or food and beverage promotions.

At step 119, method 114 locates gaming devices 28 that are not being played in the vicinity of the group of patrons. One or more marquees or signs 49 that are not being used may also be located in step 119.

At step 120, server 56 downloads game and message data to vacant gaming devices 28 in proximity to the location of the group of patrons for display on video displays 60 within view of the patrons. The most common games preferred by the group can be shown on video displays 60. Common interest messages can be selected by server 56 by comparison to the player preference databases 57 at step 122. At step 124, the common interest messages can be downloaded to marquees 49 for display to the group of patrons.

At step 126, the game play at the formerly vacant gaming devices 28 is monitored or measured to determine the effectiveness of the game selections displayed on gaming devices 28 and also the effectiveness of the messages displayed on marquee 49. If it is determined that the games and messages are not effective in increasing game play, server 56 may determine alternative games and messages to be displayed.

After a pre-determined period of time, method 114 may return to step 116 from step 126 in order to continuously monitor and track the location and movement of the group of patrons 21 within the casino. Method 114 may continuously monitor and track the location of one or several groups of game players or patrons and continuously download games and messages to gaming devices in real time throughout the casino as the groups of patrons continuously move about the casino.

Referring to FIGS. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 7, a flowchart of a method 160 of locating one or a group of patrons, projecting or forecasting a future location or direction of movement of the patrons and configuring gaming devices in a casino is shown. Method 160 can monitor the movement of casino patrons by calculating a change in location and can estimate the future direction of movement of casino patrons over time. Server 56 may perform portions of methods 78 and 114 in addition to method 160.

Method 160 can be programmed in software stored in memory 56B and run on processor 56A of server 56 (FIG. 3) as part of a dynamic real time optimization routine to optimize casino revenue and game player experience. Method 120 can re-configure the configurations of gaming devices 28 in real time to enhance the gaming experience of game players. Method 120 may perform some or all of the following steps in a logical order which may not be in the order listed.

Method 120 includes step 131 where a first patron location 85 is determined. At step 133, the time that the patron is at the first patron location 85 is also recorded as a time stamp in a database of server 56. It is assumed that the patron or patrons have a player locator device 10 or a device that can be accessed to determine the location of the casino patrons.

At step 134, a second patron location 135 is determined. At step 136, the time that the patron is at the second patron location 135 is recorded as a time stamp in a database of server 56.

Server 56 can calculate the distance between the first patron location 85 and the second patron location 135 to determine a change in position along path 147 (FIG. 1) of the patron in step 138. At step 140, the time interval to travel between the first patron location 85 and the second patron location 135 is calculated by the difference of the time stamps.

At step 142, server 56 calculates the velocity of travel by dividing the distance traveled by the time interval. The direction of travel of the patron is determined in step 144.

Server 56 calculates and determines a possible future path 147A of travel of the patron in step 146. Step 146 may include estimating a future third location or position 182 where the patron 18 may move to after a period of time. The third position may be along future path 147A or may be in other locations. Other future locations of patrons may also be forecasted or estimated. The future path 147A and third location 182 may be calculated by interpolation of previous player or patrons positions or maybe forecasted using other means such as least squares regression or other curve fitting and estimating techniques.

At step 148, gaming devices 28 that are not being played along or close to the future path 147A of travel of the game player are determined and identified.

Method 160 then selects and downloads messages, game information and games from game database 59 and player preference database 57 at step 149. The games, game information and messages may comprises, games, gaming device configurations, pay tables, game promotions or food and beverage promotions. Step 149 includes downloading game and message data to vacant gaming devices 28 in proximity to the future path 147 of travel or third location 182 of the patron. In addition, patron messages can be shown on video display 60 and marquee 49 in step 149. After a pre-determined period of time, method 160 returns to step 131 from step 149 in order to continuously monitor, track and determine the future location or path of movement of the patron within the casino. Method 78 may continuously monitor, track and project the future location of patrons and continuously download games and messages to gaming devices in real time throughout the casino as patrons continuously move about the casino.

Referring to FIGS. 1-7, server 56 is adapted to perform real time, dynamic reconfiguration of marquee 49, video gaming device screens 60 and public announcement broadcasts over the loudspeaker system 53, based on groups of patrons 18 having similar player or patron preferences.

Patron identification system 24 can detect one or several patrons 18 that are present and moving about in casino 32. Server 56 can optimize the configuration in real time of vacant gaming devices 28, marquee 49 and audio and computer messages to entice patrons to play gaming devices 28. Server 56 can select the reconfiguration of gaming devices 28 by use of individual patron profiles of patron preferences to appeal to a single patron or to pick common characteristics from a plurality of patron preferences relating to members of a group of patrons in order to maximize revenue to the casino.

For example, the reconfiguration may include downloading certain games that appeal to several patrons 18 in the group of patrons 21 from the server 56 to the gaming devices 28. More specifically, if the patron identification system 24 detects a number of patrons 18 in the casino that like to play poker, server 56 may download poker games on all of the gaming devices 28 that are not currently busy or vacant in the vicinity of the patron to increase the number of gaming devices 28 that display poker games.

Messages may also be changed and displayed as casino patrons 18 approach the video display 60 or come into view of a marquee 49. Non-regular patrons in the casino such as those attending a convention may be identified as a possible group and server 56 may have a message for non-regular patrons such as a message that can be displayed on the gaming devices 28 and marquee 49 that convention attendees may receive a free welcome drink at bar 46.

Server 56 may also perform a real time on the fly reconfiguration of gaming devices 28 based on an individual's patron preferences. If the system detects a certain patron 18 in the casino 32, the server 56 can downloads to vacant gaming devices 28 in the patron's area, selected games, messages or graphics that the patron 18 favors. The gaming device 28 may display different games or pay tables based on patron preferences.

For example, a “high roller” (a preferred casino visitor) may be offered a pay table with higher bonuses or higher pay back. Some gaming devices 28 can also use the video display 60 to show video presentations that are not related to the gaming device 28 such as a sporting event, news broadcast or TV show, so that the patron 18 can watch the presentation while they play. If the patron identification system 24 detects a particular patron 18, it can cause vacant gaming devices 28 in that area to display the patron's favorite show on the video display 60.

The server 56 may be programmed for optimization based upon patron locations. The patron identification system 24 can optimizes the mix of gaming device configurations that are preloaded on vacant gaming devices 28 to be coordinated with the movement or location or projected path of patrons 18. When more casino patrons play gaming devices 28 for longer periods of time, the casino earns more revenue. In one example, the patron identification system 24 may detect that there is a high density of patrons 18 around a particular entrance 34 or that there is heavy traffic in the restaurant 42.

With additional reference to table 1, the mix of the group of patrons 21 may comprise a group of 30% similar to Patron 1, 50% similar to Patron 2 and 15% having a similar profile to Patron 3. Server 56 may change the mix of games, gaming configurations, messages and promotions displayed on video displays 60 adjacent the restaurant 42 to optimize play and lure and direct the group of patrons to other parts of the casino 32.

Server 56 may display a promotion featuring a favorable pay table on gaming devices 28 in a location that is close to entrance 34 to reduce congestion in front of the restaurant. Server 56 may also configure 45% of the available or vacant gaming devices 28 adjacent to the entrance to video slots and 55% of the gaming devices 28 to display video bingo while announcing a Baccarat tournament in a remote area of the casino 32.

Furthermore, the patron identification system 24 may be used to deliver assistance to casino customers and patrons. If the patron requires assistance or is experiencing a medical condition, the patron identification system 24 may help direct emergency personnel to the precise location of the patron 18.

Server 56 may further optimize play by detecting when a patron 18, playing a particular gaming device 28 begins to reduce or slow play or decrease the amount wagered thereby indicating a waning of interest in the present game. Server 56 may flash a promotion on the video display 60 showing the patron 18 how to request the downloading of an alternate game. The alternate game may be displayed on a list with games the patron 18 has indicated an interest in playing from patron preferences database 57. The patron 18 may be directed to select a game from the list of games using a touch screen command area 70 video display 60.

Server 56 may optimize the play by members of a group of patrons 21 by gathering and storing a patron profile for each patron in the group. The server 56 can detect the location of a group of patrons in the vicinity of vacant gaming devices 28 and compare each patron profile of the members of the group and then select game configurations that have common characteristics to the patron preferences of the members of the group. Game patrons will more likely play gaming devices 28 that have games, music and graphics that appeal to the patrons preferences.

Server 56 may reconfigure unused or vacant video gaming devices 28 along a projected patron path 147 of individuals in a group. The patron path 147 may be calculated by interpolation between various patron locations such as first location 85 and second location 135. The server 56 further can analyzes the preferences of each of the patrons 18 identified in group 21. Server 56 may be adapted to perform an optimization routine that selects a message or gaming device configuration common to the patron profiles associated with the group and download the selection to unused gaming devices 28 in the vicinity of the group of patrons.

Each patron 18 in the group of patrons may be identified and assigned a location by the patron location system 24 at regular time intervals. Location readings taken at predetermined or measured time intervals are compared to previous readings to indicate movement at a velocity and in a particular direction of the group. A group path 150 (FIG. 1) may also be calculated from individual by patron path 147 calculations. Server 56 can use the movement information to predict a group path 150. Server 56 can locate unused gaming devices 28 along the projected group path 150 and determine the location of vacant gaming devices 28 adjacent to the group path 150.

Server 56 may select a mix of games and messages comprising gaming device configurations, announcements and promotions to download to vacant gaming devices 28 based on analysis of the patron preferences.

Although the description above contains many specifications, these should not be construed as limiting the scope of the invention but as merely providing illustrations of some of the embodiments of this invention. Thus, the scope of the invention should be determined by the appended claims and their legal equivalents rather than by the examples given.