Title:
GAMING MANAGEMENT SYSTEM AND GAMING MANAGEMENT METHOD
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A gaming management system including: a plurality of gaming management clients each associated with at least one of a plurality of venues; and a gaming management server adapted to store gaming management data for each venue and including a data access module arranged to control access to the data by each gaming management client so that a gaming management client can only access gaming management of a venue with which the gaming management client is associated.



Inventors:
Boesen, John Leslie (Menai, AU)
Application Number:
12/421242
Publication Date:
10/15/2009
Filing Date:
04/09/2009
Assignee:
ARISTOCRAT TECHNOLOGIES AUSTRALIA PTY LIMITED (North Ryde, AU)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
463/43
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:
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20080026829CASHLESS GAMING SYSTEM AND METHOD WITH MONITORINGJanuary, 2008Martin et al.
20090291751MEDIUM POSITION DETERMINATION APPARATUSNovember, 2009Koyama
20090131174Game Session ManagementMay, 2009Hutchinson-kay et al.
20030087688Reel-type slot machineMay, 2003Kato
20060035700Bingo gameFebruary, 2006Van Asdale
20090124330Video wagering machine including a bonus round termination enhancementMay, 2009Leger
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20090117989Wagering Game System With Player RewardsMay, 2009Arezina et al.
20030054887System for presenting table game limits and related informationMarch, 2003Dettrey et al.



Primary Examiner:
BHATIA, AJAY M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HANLEY, FLIGHT & ZIMMERMAN, LLC (150 S. WACKER DRIVE, SUITE 2100, CHICAGO, IL, 60606, US)
Claims:
1. A gaming management system comprising: a plurality of gaming management clients each associated with at least one of a plurality of venues; and a gaming management server adapted to store gaming management data for each venue and comprising a data access module arranged to control access to the data by each gaming management client so that a gaming management client can only access gaming management data of a venue with which the gaming management client is associated.

2. A gaming management system as claimed in claim 1, wherein at least one venue comprises: a plurality of gaming machines; and a plurality of data capture modules associated with respective ones of the gaming machines and arranged to collect data relating to use of the gaming machine with which it is associated.

3. A gaming management system as claimed in claim 2 wherein the gaming management server is arranged to store gaming management data based on venue data communicated from the venues.

4. A gaming management system as claimed in claim 3, wherein the venue data forms at least part of the gaming management data.

5. A gaming management system as claimed in claim 3, wherein the gaming management server is arranged to derive at least part of the gaming management data by processing the venue data.

6. A gaming management system as claimed in claim 3, wherein the venue data is communicated directly from the data collection modules to the gaming server.

7. A gaming management system as claimed in claim 3, wherein the venue data is communicated from the data collection modules to the gaming server via the gaming management client.

8. A gaming management system as claimed in claim 7, wherein at least one of the gaming management clients is arranged to buffer venue data before communicating the data to the gaming management server.

9. A gaming management system as claimed in claim 1, wherein at least one of the gaming management clients is associated with a user interface comprising a display, and the at least one gaming management client is arranged to display at least some of the gaming management data on the display in response to a user instruction input via the user interface.

10. A gaming management system as claimed in claim 9, wherein the gaming management client is arranged to display data corresponding to the current data stored by the gaming management server when the gaming management client is connected to the gaming management server and to display data corresponding to a prior version of data sent to the gaming management client when the gaming management client is not connected to the gaming management server.

11. A gaming management system as claimed in claim 2, wherein the gaming management server comprises one or more data management modules for processing venue data.

12. A gaming management method comprising: connecting a plurality of gaming management clients to a gaming management server, each gaming management client associated with at least one of a plurality of venues; storing gaming management data for each venue; and controlling access to the data by each gaming management client so that a gaming management client can only access gaming management data of a venue with which the venue-based gaming management client is associated.

13. A gaming management method as claimed in claim 12, comprising collecting data with a plurality of data capture modules associated with respective ones of the gaming machines.

14. A gaming management method as claimed in claim 12, comprising storing gaming management data based on venue data communicated from the venues.

15. A gaming management method as claimed in claim 14, wherein the venue data forms at least part of the gaming management data.

16. A gaming management method as claimed in claim 14, comprising deriving at least part of the gaming management data by processing the venue data with the gaming management server.

17. A gaming management method as claimed in claim 14, comprising communicating the venue data directly from the data collection modules to the gaming server.

18. A gaming management method as claimed in claim 14, comprising communicating the venue data from the data collection modules to the gaming server via the gaming management client.

19. A gaming management method as claimed in claim 18, comprising buffering venue data at at least one of the gaming management clients before communicating the data to the gaming management server.

20. A gaming management method as claimed in claim 12, wherein at least one of the gaming management clients is associated with a user interface comprising a display, and the method comprises displaying at least some of the gaming management data on the display in response to a user instruction input via the user interface.

21. A gaming management method as claimed in claim 20, comprising displaying data corresponding to the current data stored by the gaming management server when the gaming management client is connected to the gaming management server and displaying data corresponding to a prior version of data sent to the gaming management client when the gaming management client is not connected to the gaming management server.

22. A gaming management method comprising: providing a gaming management server adapted to store gaming management data for a plurality of venues; connecting a venue operated by the operator to the gaming management server so as to gather data from the venue; and storing gaming management data of the venue operator at the gaming management server.

23. A gaming management method as claimed in claim 22 comprising connecting the venue in exchange for a fee.

24. A gaming management method as claimed in claim 22 comprising connecting the venue by connecting a data collection module to each to be managed gaming machine of the venue and placing the data collection modules in data communication with the gaming management server.

25. A gaming management method as claimed in claim 22, comprising providing, at the venue, a gaming management client configured to view the gaming management server.

26. A gaming management method comprising connecting a venue operated by a first operator to a gaming management system operated by a second operator in exchange for a fee to thereby provide at least one gaming management function to the first operator.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application claims the benefit of priority to Australian Provisional Patent Application No. 2008901839, filed on Apr. 14, 2008, entitled “A GAMING MANAGEMENT SYSTEM AND GAMING MANAGEMENT METHOD”, which is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety.

FIELD

The presently described technology relates to a gaming management method and a gaming management system.

BACKGROUND

Large gaming venues such as casinos use “systems” to manage the deployed gaming assets such as gaming machines and gaming tables. Such gaming management systems provide a wide range of functions including player tracking, gaming analysis and jackpot controllers. In recent times, the development of such systems has been targeted at meeting the needs of the largest venues and/or venue operating companies. A disadvantage of this approach has been the trend toward producing monolithic products which cater for large venues but are not suited to the needs of smaller operators, who can often not afford to purchase and deploy complicated gaming management systems which generally far exceed their needs in terms of features.

There is a need for an alternative gaming management system and gaming management method.

SUMMARY

In a first aspect, the invention provides a gaming management system including:

a plurality of gaming management clients each associated with at least one of a plurality of venues; and

a gaming management server adapted to store gaming management data for each venue and including a data access module arranged to control access to the data by each gaming management client so that a gaming management client can only access gaming management data of a venue with which the gaming management client is associated.

In an embodiment, at least one venue includes:

a plurality of gaming machines; and

a plurality of data capture modules associated with respective ones of the gaming machines and arranged to collect data relating to use of the gaming machine with which it is associated.

In an embodiment, the gaming management server is arranged to store gaming management data based on venue data communicated from the venues.

In an embodiment, the venue data forms at least part of the gaming management data.

In an embodiment, the gaming management server is arranged to derive at least part of the gaming management data by processing the venue data.

In an embodiment, the venue data is communicated directly from the data collection modules to the gaming server.

In an embodiment, the venue data is communicated from the data collection modules to the gaming server via the gaming management client.

In an embodiment, at least one of the gaming management clients is arranged to buffer venue data before communicating the data to the gaming management server.

In an embodiment, at least one gaming management client is associated with a user interface including a display, and the gaming management client is arranged to display at least some of the gaming management data on the display in response to a user instruction input via the user interface.

In an embodiment, at least one of the gaming management clients is associated with a user interface including a display, and the at least one gaming management client is arranged to display at least some of the gaming management data on the display in response to a user instruction input via the user interface.

In an embodiment, the gaming management client is arranged to display data corresponding to the current data stored by the gaming management server when the gaming management client is connected to the gaming management server and to display data corresponding to a prior version of data sent to the gaming management client when the gaming management client is not connected to the gaming management server.

In an embodiment, the gaming management server includes one or more data management modules for processing venue data.

In a second aspect, the invention provides a gaming management method including:

connecting a plurality of gaming management clients to a gaming management server, each gaming management client associated with at least one of a plurality of venues;

storing gaming management data for each venue; and

controlling access to the data by each gaming management client so that a gaming management client can only access gaming management data of a venue with which the venue-based gaming management client is associated.

In an embodiment, the method includes collecting data with a plurality of data capture modules associated with respective ones of the gaming machines.

In an embodiment, the method includes storing gaming management data based on venue data communicated from the venues.

In an embodiment, the venue data forms at least part of the gaming management data.

In an embodiment, the method includes deriving at least part of the gaming management data by processing the venue data with the gaming management server.

In an embodiment, the method includes communicating the venue data directly from the data collection modules to the gaming server.

In an embodiment, the method includes communicating the venue data from the data collection modules to the gaming server via the gaming management client.

In an embodiment, the method includes buffering venue data at at least one of the gaming management clients before communicating the data to the gaming management server.

In an embodiment, at least one of the gaming management clients is associated with a user interface including a display, and the method includes displaying at least some of the gaming management data on the display in response to a user instruction input via the user interface.

In an embodiment, the method includes displaying data corresponding to the current data stored by the gaming management server when the gaming management client is connected to the gaming management server and displaying data corresponding to a prior version of data sent to the gaming management client when the gaming management client is not connected to the gaming management server.

In a third aspect, the invention provides a gaming management method including:

providing a gaming management server adapted to store gaming management data for a plurality of venues;

connecting a venue operated by the operator to the gaming management server so as to gather data from the venue; and

storing gaming management data of the venue operator at the gaming management server.

In an embodiment, the gaming management method includes connecting the venue in exchange for a fee.

In an embodiment, the gaming management method includes connecting the venue by connecting a data collection module to each to be managed gaming machine of the venue and placing the data collection modules in data communication with the gaming management server.

In an embodiment, the gaming management method includes providing, at the venue, a gaming management client configured to view the gaming management server.

In a fourth aspect, the invention provides a gaming management method including connecting a venue operated by a first operator to a gaming management system operated by a second operator in exchange for a fee to thereby provide at least one gaming management function to the first operator.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Certain embodiments of the invention will now be described in relation to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 shows an embodiment of a network configuration;

FIG. 2 shows a first exemplary venue configuration;

FIG. 3 shows a second exemplary venue configuration;

FIG. 4 shows an embodiment of the gaming management server; and

FIG. 5 is a flowchart of an embodiment.

Features, further aspects, and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following description of embodiments thereof, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings. Also, various embodiments of the aspects described in the preceding paragraphs will be apparent from the appended claims, the following description and/or the accompanying drawings. It should be understood, however, that the present invention is not limited to the arrangements and instrumentality shown in the attached drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Embodiments of the invention provide a gaming management system which allows a plurality of venues to share a gaming management server while maintaining segregation of the data. This allows smaller venues which would normally install a gaming management system to have access to a gaming management system hosted by an outside party. Thus, smaller venues can obtain access to some, or all of the functions of a gaming management system, for example, on a fee per service basis, rather than paying for an entire installation. In this manner venue operators can also extend the aspects of the system which they employ on an as needs basis. Accordingly, a venue can start with a minimal implementation. For example to do analysis of a gaming machines, and upgrade their system to offer additional features such as player tracking without requiring significant software update as all the functions can already be installed at the gaming server in order to accommodate other venue operators.

Referring to FIG. 1, there is shown an exemplary network connection where plurality of venues 120 are connected by means of virtual private network 130 to a gaming management server 110.

FIG. 2 show a first exemplary venue 200 which has a plurality of electronic gaming machines 201, 202, 203 each of which is associated with a player tracking module 211, 212, 213. The player tracking modules 211 are typically installed in the cabinet of the electronic gaming machines and are in data communication with the electronic gaming machines 201,202,203. Each player tracking module 211, 212, 213 acts a data capture module to capture information relating to use of the electronic gaming machine with which it is associated and store that data in a memory of the player tracking module to locally buffer the data. In this configuration, the buffered data is periodically communicated directly from the player tracking modules 211, 212, 213 to the gaming management server using a network communication protocol such as TCP/IP.

The gaming management client 240 is also in data communication with the gaming management server and can retrieve data from the gaming management server relating to the venue 200. Depending on the implementation, such data may be raw data or processed in some form as will be described in further detail below. The venue 200 may also incorporate a cash deck 230 having an associated data capture module 235 which communicates data to the management server. The gaming venue 200 may also incorporate one or more displays 200. Depending on the implementation the settings for the displays can be set at the gaming management server by the gaming management client 240.

FIG. 3 shows an alternative configuration of a venue 300. In this embodiment, the venue 300 is arranged so that data relating to the venue is buffered at a gaming management client 340. That is, all communication with the gaming management server is done by the gaming management client 340. Accordingly, in this embodiment player tracking modules 311, 312, 313 gather data from EGM's 301, 302, 303 respectively, communicate this data to the gaming management client which stores it in the local database 350. The gaming management client 340 then communicates the data from the local database to the gaming management server. Similarly, gaming management client 340 communicates data captured by data capture module 335 about the cash desk 330 to the gaming management server. The gaming management server can periodically synchronise its version of the database for the venue with the local database 350. If the gaming management server goes offline, the gaming management client 340 can employ the most recent version of the data. Thus, in this configuration, some functions of the gaming management server can be conducted by the gaming management client such as controlling the displays 320. In alternative configuration, the displays 320 461 may be connected directed to the gaming management server.

Referring to FIG. 4, there is shown an exemplary configuration of a gaming management server 400. The gaming management server 400 is connected to the venues. The gaming management server incorporates a request handler 410 which controls communication with the venues and incorporates a data access control module 411 which ensures that transaction carried out by the request handler are in respect of the correct data such that gaming management clients are restricted to accessing data related to venues with which they are associated in client/venue association database 440. This extends to ensuring that any management functions 420 which are carried out in respect of the data of the correct venue. The master database 430 stores data for each of a plurality of venues (N) 431, 432, 433. The management functions in this illustrated embodiment include player tracking 421, electronic gaming machine analysis 422 and a jackpot controller 423. Persons skilled in the art will appreciate that other functions can also be implemented including any of the functions offered by known gaming management systems, for example, such as the gaming management systems sold under the trade name “Systems 7000 Prime Enterprise” by Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty Limited.

Such a gaming management system can offer front office features, such as cash decks, desk, credit controller, player tracking, membership control, membership card design, security, VIP player management, award centres, customer relationship management, and complimentary and commissions. It can also offer gaming floor management features including of electronic gaming machines, the electronic gaming machine floor configuration management of the gaming machines, monitoring of the gaming machines, promotions, progressive jackpots, account play, ticket based play (known as ticket in ticket out), VIP player management, a rewards centre, graphics (such as for displays), and dashboards and score cards. Further, for venues which have tables it can conduct table management. The system can also provide back of house functions and typically most of these back of house functions would be hosted at the gaming server. These include electronic gaming machine analysis, marketing analysis, membership control, player tracking control, system administration, data warehousing, enterprise analysis, a provision of displays, dashboards and scorecards, customer relationship management, campaign management, channel management and customer relationship management analysis. Such systems can provide additional applications such as an integrated jackpot controller.

The method of an embodiment is summarised in FIG. 5. The method 500 involves providing a gaming management server 510, connecting a venue to a game management server in exchange for a fee 520, storing data for the venue 530 at the gaming server; and controlling 540 access to the data so it can only be accessed by a client associated with the venue.

It will be appreciated that while in the above example, clients are shown as being at the venues, in other configurations a client may be located elsewhere. It will also be appreciated that some clients may be associated with more than one venue and be able to access data of multiple venues or institute processing of data across multiple venues with which they are associated.

It will be understood to persons skilled in the art of the invention that many modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, in particular, that various features of the embodiments can be combined to form further embodiments.

In the claims which follow and in the preceding description of the invention, except where the context indicates otherwise due to express language or necessary implication, the word “comprise” or variations such as “comprises” or “comprising” is used in an inclusive sense, i.e. to specify the presence of the stated features but not to preclude the presence or addition of further features in various embodiments of the invention.

It is to be understood that, if any prior art publication is referred to herein, such reference does not constitute an admission that the publication forms a part of the common general knowledge in any country.

It will be appreciated by persons skilled in the art that numerous variations and/or modifications may be made to the invention as shown in the specific embodiments without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention as broadly described. The present embodiments are, therefore, to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive. Several embodiments are described above with reference to the drawings. These drawings illustrate certain details of specific embodiments that implement the systems and methods and programs of the present invention. However, describing the invention with drawings should not be construed as imposing on the invention any limitations associated with features shown in the drawings. It will be understood that the invention disclosed and defined in this specification extends to all alternative combinations of two or more of the individual features mentioned or evident from the text or drawings. All of these different combinations constitute various alternative aspects of the invention.

The present invention contemplates methods, systems and program products on any electronic device and/or machine-readable media suitable for accomplishing its operations. Certain embodiments of the present invention may be implemented using an existing computer processor and/or by a special purpose computer processor incorporated for this or another purpose or by a hardwired system, for example.

Embodiments within the scope of the present invention include program products comprising machine-readable media for carrying or having machine-executable instructions or data structures stored thereon. Such machine-readable media can be any available media that can be accessed by a general purpose or special purpose computer or other machine with a processor. By way of example, such machine-readable media may comprise RAM, ROM, PROM, EPROM, EEPROM, Flash, CD-ROM or other optical disk storage, magnetic disk storage or other magnetic storage devices, or any other medium which can be used to carry or store desired program code in the form of machine-executable instructions or data structures and which can be accessed by a general purpose or special purpose computer or other machine with a processor. When information is transferred or provided over a network or another communications connection (either hardwired, wireless, or a combination of hardwired or wireless) to a machine, the machine properly views the connection as a machine-readable medium. Thus, any such a connection is properly termed a machine-readable medium. Combinations of the above are also included within the scope of machine-readable media. Machine-executable instructions comprise, for example, instructions and data which cause a general purpose computer, special purpose computer, or special purpose processing machines to perform a certain function or group of functions.