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This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/383,633, filed on Sep. 16, 2010. The disclosure of such provisional application is hereby incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
The present invention relates to a lottery game that has a guaranteed winner and where the number of winners and/or the size of a cash jackpot may vary with the number of tickets sold and/or the amount of revenue generated prior to the determination of the winner.
Lottery or raffle games are popular with consumers hoping to win a prize associated with such game. In the United States and elsewhere, such games are widely promoted at various levels, such as at a city, county, or state level. Some games are jointly administered and may be regionally played, encompassing multiple states within the United States, such as the popular Powerball® and Mega Millions® games. Joint administration permits offering of bigger jackpots. In many locations the games serve a charitable beneficiary, such as a state's educational system.
Many lottery games with large jackpots use a series of numbers assigned to a particular ticket. If the numbers on a consumer's ticket match the selected series of numbers, that ticket is determined to be a winner. In most games, consumers may select whether they choose their own series of numbers or whether they permit the point of sale machine to select the series of numbers for them. This selection process may result in issuance of multiple tickets with the same series of numbers, resulting in multiple winners of a jackpot. In this situation, a single jackpot is divided among all winners.
Due to the allure of a possible win, millions of people play the lottery each week, all over the world. However, it is well known that the actual chances of winning an individual lottery are minimal. When there is no winner in a given drawing, players may become discouraged with the game as a whole. To maintain consumer interest, the jackpot may grow with each successive drawing without a winner. It has been observed that lottery ticket sales increase when people believe that their chances of winning are better and/or when the advertised jackpot is large.
However, an alternative method of driving ticket sales and maintaining consumer interest in a lottery game would be to offer a game where at least one player is certain to win a jackpot. Thus a need exists for a lottery game with a guaranteed winner in order to keep players interested and motivated to buy tickets. The present invention provides such a game.
The present invention relates to a lottery game and a method of administering the same.
In one aspect the invention relates to a lottery game having a guaranteed winner, wherein the method includes: a) selling one or more lottery tickets to lottery consumers, wherein the sales are conducted at geographically distributed lottery ticket sales outlets; b) assigning a unique identifier to each lottery ticket sold; c) evaluating the number of tickets sold or an amount of revenue obtained from the sale of the one or more lottery tickets; d) establishing one or more jackpots, each independently comprising a cash prize, wherein the number of jackpots established is based on the evaluation of the number of tickets sold or an amount of revenue obtained from the sale of the one or more lottery tickets; and e) selecting one or more of the assigned unique identifiers as a winner of the lottery game, wherein the number of winners selected is based on the number of jackpots and wherein each winner receives a jackpot.
In another aspect the invention relates to a method of increasing consumer interest in a lottery game.
Other aspects, features and embodiments of the invention will be more fully apparent from the ensuing disclosure and appended claims.
FIG. 1 is a flowchart of the lottery game of the invention.
FIG. 2 is an exemplary lottery ticket issued in a lottery game of the invention.
The present invention relates to a lottery game and a method of administering the same, where the promise of a guaranteed winner will keep lottery consumers interested and willing to purchase tickets.
In a particular embodiment the lottery game of the invention provides at least one jackpot that is guaranteed to be distributed to at least one winner. The number of jackpots and the number of winners may vary, as set forth in detail herein, however, at least one purchaser of a lottery ticket is guaranteed to win the lottery when a winner is selected.
FIG. 1, provided herewith illustrates a general embodiment of the invention. As described in FIG. 1, the lottery is conducted as follows. Lottery tickets are offered for sale 10 at various geographically distributed lottery ticket sales outlets. Lottery consumers purchase lottery tickets for a flat fee and a unique identifier is assigned 20 to each lottery ticket sold.
At a time prior to the selection of a winner, an evaluation is made of the number of tickets sold and/or the revenue generated from all tickets sold to that point 30. Based on the evaluation, additional jackpots may be established and/or the initial jackpot may be increased 40. In one embodiment all jackpots are of equal value. In another embodiment not all jackpots are of equal value.
The establishment of additional jackpots and/or increase of the initial jackpot may occur at any time prior to the selection of a winner. Accordingly, additional jackpots and/or increased jackpot size may be used in advertisement or other marketing 50, in order to encourage sales of additional tickets.
Once the number and/or amounts of jackpots are finally established, a number of winners corresponding to the number of jackpots are selected from the unique identifiers 60.
As used herein the term “consumer” is any person who purchases a lottery ticket. A consumer may also be referred to as a “customer,” a “buyer,” or a “patron.” A potential consumer or potential customer is a person who is eligible to purchase a lottery ticket.
As used herein the term “ticket” or “lottery ticket” refers to a chance to win a jackpot offered as a prize in a lottery game. A ticket may be issued in paper or may be maintained digitally. In a preferred embodiment a record of a purchased ticket is provided to the consumer as a receipt and is also maintained in a central database.
In a method of the invention, the lottery tickets are offered for sale at various geographically distributed lottery ticket sales outlets. The ticket sales outlets may be distributed within the region from which the winner is to be selected. Accordingly the geographic region may be a city, a county, a state or any region administering a lottery. In one embodiment the tickets are offered for sale within a single geographic region. In another embodiment the tickets are offered for sale in more than one geographic region, where the regions are jointly participating in the lottery game. Ticket sales outlets may be stores, storefronts, counters within stores, lottery specific stores, convenience stores, grocery stores, and the like. Ticket sales outlets may also be automated machines. Exemplary such machines may be made by companies such as, but not limited to, Shenzhew Molen Technology Co. LTD, Guangzhou Hopegames Electronic Business Dept, San Star Ltd, Hongjia International, Q's Billiards Imports & Exports, and Vartech Systems Inc. An exemplary method of purchasing a lottery ticket on an automated machine is provided in Example 1 below. In a particular embodiment the automated machine has a touch screen interface, through use of which a consumer may purchase one or more lottery tickets.
Ticket sales outlets may also be any machine that can access the internet and/or can be linked to a network. Accordingly, tickets may be offered for sale over the internet, on home computers, personal computers, laptops, tablet pcs, e-readers, mobile devices, personal digital assistants, and the like.
A lottery consumer may maintain a paper copy or a digital copy of the ticket purchased. In a particular embodiment the lottery ticket sales outlet provides the consumer with a paper or electronic receipt of the purchase of the ticket.
In one embodiment, lottery consumers are not limited in the number of tickets that they are permitted to purchase. In an alternative embodiment, lottery consumers are limited in the number of tickets that they are permitted to purchase.
The tickets sold may further comprise a branch number for identification to an administrator of the ticket sale outlet at which the ticket was purchased.
Regardless of the locale at which the ticket is offered for sale, each ticket sold in the lottery game is assigned a unique identifier. The unique identifier is unique as compared to all other tickets sold for the same game, such that no two tickets sold have the same identifier. The unique identifier is preferably automatically assigned at the time of sale of a ticket. The unique identifier may be assigned by communication with a central computer that tracks the tickets sold and the unique identifier of each ticket sold. The consumer does not choose the unique identifier. The unique identifier can be comprised of letters, numbers, symbols and the like, in order to ensure that all identifiers assigned in a game are unique from one another. The unique identifier may be a barcode, or otherwise encoded on or associated with the ticket sold.
The ticket sales outlet will store information regarding each ticket sold and/or will communicate that information to a central computer via a network or the internet. All information regarding each ticket sold during administration of a game is stored in a single database or multiple databases accessible by a computer determining the winner.
As illustrated in FIG. 1, at a time prior to the selection of a winner, an evaluation is made of the number of tickets sold and/or the revenue generated from all tickets sold until that time. Based on the evaluation, additional jackpots may be established and/or the initial jackpot amount may be increased.
In one embodiment, prior to any ticket sales for the game, an initial jackpot is assigned a predetermined minimum value. Until a sufficient number of tickets are sold or a sufficient amount of revenue is generated to fund the initial jackpot, it is the only jackpot available to a winner. Once the predetermined minimum value of the initial jackpot is reached, additional revenue generated by further ticket sales may be used to either increase the value of the initial jackpot, or to fund additional jackpots. Additional jackpots may of the same value as the initial jackpot or they may have values that differ from the initial jackpot. In a further embodiment, each jackpot added subsequent to the funding of the initial jackpot has an assigned predetermined minimum value. In one embodiment all jackpots are of equal value. In another embodiment not all jackpots are of equal value.
The establishment of additional jackpots and/or increase of the jackpot values may occur at any time prior to the selection of a winner of the lottery game.
The number of jackpots available in the game is increased relative to the number of lottery tickets sold and/or the amount of revenue generated from the lottery tickets sold. The number of winners of the game correlates to the number of jackpots available. Where there are x jackpots, x winners will be selected. Each winner will receive a jackpot and no jackpot will be split between or among multiple winners.
In one embodiment the odds of an individual purchaser of winning will increase with the number of tickets sold and/or the amount of revenue generated from the lottery tickets sold.
At a time prior to the selection of a winner of the game, ticket sales are ceased and a final determination of the number of jackpot or jackpots is determined. A final determination of the values of the jackpots is also determined. These final determinations are made based on the final number of lottery tickets sold in the game.
In an alternate embodiment the number of winners is a predetermined number. Accordingly, the number of jackpots is also a predetermined number. Once all jackpots are fully funded to their predetermined minimum value, the jackpots are permitted to increase in value in an amount relative to the increased relative to the number of lottery tickets sold and/or the amount of revenue generated from the lottery tickets sold.
Once the number and values of jackpots are finally determined, a number of winners corresponding to the number of jackpots are selected from the unique identifiers. In one embodiment of the invention the selection of one or more winners occurs at a predetermined interval, e.g., daily, weekly, or monthly.
It is an advantage of the present invention that each time a selection of winners is made, one of the unique identifiers assigned to a ticket that was sold will be a winner. Accordingly, the lottery game of the invention provides a guaranteed winner. Additionally, when the initial jackpot is assigned a predetermined minimum value, the guaranteed winner will receive a guaranteed minimum prize.
From an administrative perspective, for each lottery ticket sold, the revenue obtained from the consumer is divided among administrative and other costs. Monies generated from the sale of lottery tickets may be used to fund the one or more jackpots, to fund administrative expenses incurred in lottery operation, to compensate those with interests in the game (e.g. the creators of the game), to pay vendors (e.g. point of sale machine operators; licensing costs). Additional money may be provided to a charitable beneficiary, such as a state's educational system. An exemplary financial breakdown of the revenue from ticket sales is provided in Example 2, below. Example 2 is an example and is not limiting of the financial distribution of the revenue generated by ticket sales in a method of the invention.
The advantages and features of the invention are further illustrated with reference to the following example, which is not to be construed as in any way limiting the scope of the invention but rather as illustrative of one embodiment of the invention in a specific application thereof.
An Electronic Touch Screen System may be supplied in a lottery ticket sales outlet. The System permit purchase of a lottery ticket.
A lottery consumer will insert payment into the system and a screen will prompt the consumer to insert the number of tickets desired. After entering the desired amount of tickets to purchase, unique identifiers will be assigned to that number of lottery tickets. The system will communicate those assigned unique identifiers to a central database. A receipt or other record of the assigned unique identifiers will be automatically supplied to the lottery consumer. An exemplary ticket is illustrated in FIG. 2.
The system will inquire whether another transaction is desired.
Any change will be returned to the consumer.
A lottery ticket will be sold for $3.00. Of the $3.00 paid by the consumer, the money may be in a manner similar to the following:
Miscellaneous administrative costs may include, for example, costs of establishing and operating the ticket sales outlets, marketing, advertising, costs of printing tickets, costs of operating the central computer/database from which unique identifiers are assigned, etc.
Miscellaneous compensation costs may be any compensation of lottery employees, licensees, and the like. Compensation may be considered an administrative cost or may be separately evaluated.
While the invention has been has been described herein in reference to specific aspects, features and illustrative embodiments of the invention, it will be appreciated that the utility of the invention is not thus limited, but rather extends to and encompasses numerous other variations, modifications and alternative embodiments, as will suggest themselves to those of ordinary skill in the field of the present invention, based on the disclosure herein. Correspondingly, the invention as hereinafter claimed is intended to be broadly construed and interpreted, as including all such variations, modifications and alternative embodiments, within its spirit and scope.