Title:
BINGO GAME
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A bingo game is disclosed in which players select one or more numbers prior to game play. If the player obtains a bingo on one of the selected numbers, an additional prize is awarded.


Inventors:
Kepler, Joseph B. (Louisville, KY, US)
Fersheman, Peter P. (St. Paul, MN, US)
Application Number:
13/007290
Publication Date:
07/19/2012
Filing Date:
01/14/2011
Assignee:
KEPLER JOSEPH B.
FERSHEMAN PETER P.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A gaming console comprising programmable electronics including at least one processor and a computer readable medium, the computer readable medium storing data instructions, which when executed by the programmable electronics, cause the programmable electronics to: identify one or more numbers as special numbers; display at least one bingo card including a plurality of card numbers arranged in a grid; receive called numbers; graphically display marks in the grid for card numbers that match one of the called numbers; determine that a pattern of the marks in the grid forms a bingo pattern; and identify the at least one bingo card as a special winning card if a last of the called numbers matches one of the special numbers.

2. The gaming console of claim 1, wherein the special numbers are selected from numbers in a range from 1 to 75.

3. The gaming console of claim 1, wherein the special numbers are player-selected numbers.

4. The gaming console of claim 1, wherein the bingo card includes 24 numbers arranged in the grid, and wherein the grid is a five-by-five grid with a free space in the center.

5. The gaming console of claim 1, wherein the pattern is selected from four corners, a single line, and a double line.

6. The gaming console of claim 1, wherein the marks are graphical elements displayed in a space of the grid, wherein the marks do not completely obscure a number in the space from view.

7. The gaming console of claim 1, wherein the data instructions further cause the programmable electronics to award the player with a payment, the payment being at least a portion of sales of special numbers.

8. The gaming console of claim 1, wherein the gaming console sends data to another computing device resulting in a payout of a prize to the player for getting a bingo on one of the player's bingo cards, and a payout of an additional prize to the player for having a special winning card.

9. The gaming console of claim 1, further comprising a touch sensitive display configured to receive inputs from the player, a wireless network communication device configured to communicate data across a network, and a housing that is a portable size and configured to be held with the player's hands.

10. The gaming console of claim 1, wherein the gaming console is a personal computer.

11. A method of playing a bingo game, the method comprising: identifying one or more player-specific numbers for a player; identifying a set of called bingo numbers; determining, with a computing device, that at least some numbers on a player's bingo card match numbers in the set of called bingo numbers, and that at least some of the matching numbers form a predetermined pattern; and determining that one of the matching numbers that form the predetermined pattern is a last of the called bingo numbers and is also one of the player-specific numbers.

12. The method of claim 11, further comprising: highlighting, with a display device, the player-specific numbers that are possible winners prior to determining that at least some of the matching numbers form a predetermined pattern.

13. The method of claim 11, further comprising generating a sound after determining that one of the matching numbers is the last of the called bingo numbers and also one of the player-specific numbers.

14. The method of claim 11, wherein identifying one or more player-specific numbers comprises retrieving the player-specific numbers from a point of sale computing device by sending a request to the point of sale computing device, the request including an identification number received from an input provided by the player.

15. The method of claim 14, further comprising providing the player with a printed receipt, the receipt including the identification number and a list of the player-specific numbers.

16. A method of playing a bingo game, the method comprising: receiving an identification of at least one selected number from a player, along with a payment for each of the at least one selected numbers; providing at least one bingo card to the player; calling a plurality of bingo numbers; determining that at least some of the numbers on the player's bingo card that match the bingo numbers form a predetermined pattern; comparing a most recently called of the called bingo numbers with the numbers on the player's bingo card that form the predetermined pattern and with the at least one selected numbers to identify a matching number; and awarding at least a portion of payments received from all players to the player after identifying a matching number.

17. The method of claim 16, further comprising computing a value of a pot by computing at least a percentage of payments of selected numbers to players, and wherein the pot is seeded with an initial value.

18. The method of claim 17, wherein the percentage of payments is about 50 percent.

19. The method of claim 16, wherein the at least one bingo card is a physical card having numbers printed thereon, and further comprising marking each of the called bingo numbers on the at least one bingo card with a first dauber having a first color.

20. The method of claim 19, further comprising marking each of the selected numbers on the at least one bingo card with a second dauber having a second color, the second color being different than the first color.

Description:

BACKGROUND

Bingo is a popular game played with cards, in which randomly selected numbers between 1 and 75 are arranged in a five by five grid. Numbers are randomly drawn one at a time, and announced to all players. As a number is called, the player determines if his or her cards contain the number, and if so, the square containing the number is marked. Players compete against each other to obtain particular patterns. A one-line bingo, for example is obtained when a player's card has five adjacent squares marked to form a straight horizontal, vertical, or diagonal line. A four corner bingo is obtained when all four corners of a player's card have been marked. Bingo games can be played on printed cards or electronically through a handheld or desktop computing device.

SUMMARY

In general terms, this disclosure is directed to a bingo game in which players have the option of selecting one or more numbers prior to game play. The game is won when a player obtains a bingo on one of the selected numbers.

One aspect is a gaming console comprising programmable electronics including at least one processor and a computer readable medium, the computer readable medium storing data instructions, which when executed by the programmable electronics, cause the programmable electronics to: identify one or more numbers as special numbers; display at least one bingo card including a plurality of card numbers arranged in a grid; receive called numbers; graphically display marks in the grid for card numbers that match one of the called numbers; determine that a pattern of the marks in the grid forms a bingo pattern; and identify the at least one bingo card as a special winning card if a last of the called numbers matches one of the special numbers.

Another aspect is a method of playing a bingo game, the method comprising: identifying one or more player-specific numbers for a player; identifying a set of called bingo numbers; determining, with a computing device, that at least some numbers on a player's bingo card match numbers in the set of called bingo numbers, and that at least some of the matching numbers form a predetermined pattern; and determining that one of the matching numbers that form the predetermined pattern is a last of the called bingo numbers and is also one of the player-specific numbers.

A further aspect is a method of playing a bingo game, the method comprising: receiving an identification of at least one selected number from a player, along with a payment for each of the at least one selected numbers; providing at least one bingo card to the player; calling a plurality of bingo numbers; determining that at least some of the numbers on the player's bingo card that match the bingo numbers form a predetermined pattern; comparing a most recently called of the called bingo numbers with the numbers on the player's bingo card that form the predetermined pattern and with the at least one selected numbers to identify a matching number; and awarding at least a portion of payments received from all players to the player after identifying a matching number.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a schematic block diagram illustrating an example gaming facility.

FIG. 2 is a schematic block diagram illustrating an example point of sale computing device of the gaming facility shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a screen shot of an example user interface display of the point of sale computing device shown in FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 is a top plan view of an example receipt provided to a player at the point of sale counter of the gaming facility shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is a top plan view of an example wireless gaming console of the gaming facility shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 6 is a screen shot of an example gaming interface of the gaming console shown in FIG. 5.

FIG. 7 is a screen shot of the example gaming interface shown in FIG. 6 during game play.

FIG. 8 is another screen shot of the example gaming interface shown in FIG. 6 during game play.

FIG. 9 is a top plan view of physical cards and daubers of the gaming facility shown in FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Various embodiments will be described in detail with reference to the drawings, wherein like reference numerals represent like parts and assemblies throughout the several views. Reference to various embodiments does not limit the scope of the claims attached hereto. Additionally, any examples set forth in this specification are not intended to be limiting and merely set forth some of the many possible embodiments for the appended claims.

FIG. 1 is schematic block diagram illustrating an example gaming facility 100. In this example, gaming facility 100 includes a point of sale counter 102, a bingo desk 104, and a game room 106. The point of sale counter 102 includes, for example, a computing device 110, and a printer 112, which are operated by a cashier. The bingo desk 104 includes, for example, a bingo board 120, a bingo board control system 122, a blower 124, and an audio system 126, which are operated by an announcer. The game room 106 includes the playing floor where players participate in game play. In this example, the game room 106 includes tables 130, 132, and 134, with player positions 136. In addition, gaming consoles 138 are provided, which can include fixed gaming consoles 140 and wireless gaming consoles 142. Some embodiments include printed bingo cards 144 and dauber 146. Data communication occurs across a network 148.

In some embodiments, gaming facility 100 is a building or portion of a building. Some gaming facilities 100 are dedicated bingo halls. Other gaming facilities are rooms of a larger gaming facility, such as a casino. Other gaming facilities 100 are part or all of a multi-use building, such as a gymnasium of a school, fellowship hall of a church, or even a living room of a home. Gaming facility 100 can also include multiple rooms, which can all be in the same building, or spread out among various buildings. Video or audio conferencing can be used to link the various rooms together, if desired. In some embodiments, gaming facility 100 includes the location of network-connected server.

Point of sale counter 102 is the location where players buy in to participate in a bingo game. For example, bingo cards 144 can be purchased at point of sale counter 102. In some embodiments, bingo cards 144 are physical cards. In other embodiments, bingo cards are displayed by a display device of a gaming console 138. A cashier takes the players order and enters the order into a computing device 110. Wild ball purchases can also be made at point of sale counter 102, in some embodiments. A receipt 114 is then printed with printer 112, which identifies the wild ball numbers that were purchased. Wireless gaming consoles 142 are also be provided to players at point of sale counter 102, in some embodiments. An example computing device 110 is illustrated in greater detail in FIG. 2. An example receipt is illustrated in FIG. 3. Although point of sale counter 102 is illustrated as a physical counter, in other embodiments, orders are placed by the players electronically through a computing device, and need not be performed at a physical point of sale counter 102.

Bingo desk 104 includes the devices used by the game announcer. In this example, the bingo desk 104 includes a bingo board 120 and associated board control system 122, a blower 124, and an audio system 126.

A bingo board 120 is used in some embodiments to automatically determine the number of a ball that has been called, and communicates the number to the gaming consoles 138. Further, some embodiments include an electronic display, that displays the numbers of balls that have been called, such as by illuminating the number on the display. In an example embodiment, the bingo board 120 includes 75 receptacles, each receptacle being numbered with a number from 1 to 75. When a new ball is drawn, the announcer views the number printed on the ball, sometime referred to herein as a called number, and places the ball in the appropriate receptacle. An electronic switch within the receptacle registers the insertion of the ball, and the board control system identifies the number associated with the receptacle. The number is then communicated to the gaming consoles across network 148. The number is also illuminated on a wall-mounted display in some embodiments. The number is also called by the announcer, such as by speaking into the audio system 126.

A blower 124 is provided in some embodiments to mix the balls and to randomly select a ball for the announcer. Other embodiments include other devices, such as a cage ball mixer. For less formal games, balls can simply be placed into a container and manually selected at random by the announcer. Yet other embodiments utilize a computer to randomly select a number, such as using a random number generation algorithm.

For large or noisy gaming facilities, an audio system 126 can be provided. The audio system includes, for example, a microphone, an amplifier, and one or more speakers. The announcer speaks into the microphone, such as to announce each number as the balls are drawn, and the sound is amplified and output by the speakers to permit the players to hear the numbers more easily. In some embodiments, the audio system is coupled to network 148, such as to transmit data encoding the audio to remote players, rooms, or facilities.

Game room 106 is, in some embodiments, the physical space where the players are located during game play, and may include one or more rooms or facilities. In this example, game room 106 includes tables 130, 132, and 134 with various player positions where players can sit while playing the game. Players are free to move around the game room 106 as they please, however, particularly those with wireless gaming consoles 142.

In the example illustrated in FIG. 1, the bingo game can be played on gaming consoles (including fixed gaming consoles 140 or wireless gaming consoles 142) or with printed bingo cards 144 and a dauber 146. An example of a fixed gaming console is a computing device, similar to that shown in FIG. 2, such as a personal computer. An example of a wireless gaming console 142 is illustrated in FIG. 5. Other possible examples of wireless gaming consoles 142 include smartphones, cell phones, laptop or tablet computers, or other mobile computing devices.

When the bingo game is played on gaming consoles 138, bingo cards are displayed by a display device. Some embodiments include a touch sensitive display that players can use to mark numbers as they are called. In some embodiments, gaming consoles 138 are in data communication with board control system 122 through network 148, and gaming consoles 138 can be operated to automatically mark numbers as they are called with or without player input.

When the bingo game is played on printed bingo cards 144, dauber 146 are used to mark numbers as they are called by the announcer. Examples of printed bingo cards 144 and dauber 146 are illustrated in FIG. 10.

Network 148 is a data communication network that permits data communication between computing devices, such as board control system 122, fixed gaming consoles 140, and wireless gaming consoles 142. Examples of network 148 include a local area network, a wide area network, and the Internet. Other communication networks are used in other embodiments.

Some embodiments include one or more wireless access points 150 for wireless data communication between computing devices, such as the wireless gaming consoles 142, and network 148. Examples of wireless access points 150 include Wi-Fi communication devices, Bluetooth® communication devices, and other radio frequency communication devices.

FIG. 2 is a schematic block diagram illustrating an example computing device 110. Although described as being part of the point of sale counter 102, computing device 110 is also an example of a computing device that can be used to perform one or more of the methods, operations, computations, or processes discussed herein by other computing devices. For example, referring to FIG. 1, computing device 110 is an example of fixed gaming console 140, wireless gaming console 142, board control system 122, or various other possible computing devices, such as a remote player computing device, or a server computing device. The various computing devices described herein can include some or all of the components of the example computing device illustrated in FIG. 2. Because computing device 110 is a suitable example of these other computing devices, they will not be separately described herein in detail.

In one example embodiment, computing device 110 is a personal computer. Other embodiments include other computing devices 110, such as a tablet computer, a smartphone, a personal digital assistant (PDA), or other device configured to process data instructions. In some embodiments, computing device 110 is an example of programmable electronics. Programmable electronics can include one or more computing devices.

Computing device 110 includes, in some embodiments, at least one processing device 202 and memory 204. A variety of processing devices 202 are available from a variety of manufacturers, for example, Intel or Advanced Micro Devices. In some embodiments, the processing device 202 is configured to perform one or more methods or operations as defined by instructions stored in a memory device. Examples of such methods and operations are described herein.

Computing device 110 also includes, in some embodiments, at least one memory device 204. Examples of memory devices 204 include read-only memory 208 and random access memory 210. Basic input/output system 212, containing the basic routines that act to transfer information within computing device 110, such as during start up, is typically stored in read-only memory 208. Memory device 204 can be a part of processing device 202 or can be separate from processing device 202.

In this example, computing device 110 also includes system bus 206 that couples various system components including memory 204 to processing device 202. System bus 206 is one of any number of types of bus structures including a memory bus, or memory controller; a peripheral bus; and a local bus using any of a variety of bus architectures.

In some embodiments, computing device 110 also includes secondary storage device 214 for storing digital data. An example of a secondary storage device is a hard disk drive. Secondary storage device 214 is connected to system bus 206 by secondary storage interface 216. Secondary storage devices 214 and their associated computer readable media provide nonvolatile storage of computer readable instructions (including application programs and program modules), data structures, and other data for computing device 110.

Although the exemplary architecture described herein employs a hard disk drive as a secondary storage device, other types of computer readable media are included in other embodiments. Examples of these other types of computer readable media include magnetic cassettes, flash memory cards, digital video disks, Bernoulli cartridges, compact disc read only memories, digital versatile disk read only memories, random access memories, read only memories, or other memory devices.

A number of program modules can be stored in secondary storage device 214 or memory 204, including operating system 218, one or more application programs 220, other program modules 222, and program data 224. In some embodiments, program modules include data instructions that are stored in computer readable media (such as computer readable storage media). The data instructions, when executed by the processing device 202, cause the processing device 202 to perform one or more of the methods or operations described herein.

In some embodiments, a user, such as a cashier, provides inputs to the computing device 110 through one or more input devices 230. Examples of input devices 230 include keyboard 232, mouse 234, touchpad 236, and touch sensitive display input device 238. Other embodiments include other input devices 230. Input devices 230 are often connected to the processing device 202 through input/output interface 240 that is coupled to system bus 206. These input devices 230 can be connected by any number of input/output interfaces, such as a parallel port, serial port, game port, or a universal serial bus. Wireless communication between input devices and interface 240 is possible as well, and includes infrared, BLUETOOTH® wireless technology, 802.11a/b/g/n/z etc. wireless communication, cellular communication, or other radio frequency communication systems in various possible embodiments.

In some embodiments, a display device 242, such as a monitor, liquid crystal display device, projector, or touch screen display device, is connected to system bus 206 via an interface, such as display adapter 244. In addition to display device 242, the computing device 110 can include various other peripheral devices, such as speakers or a printer (shown in FIG. 1). In some embodiments the display device 242 and touch sensitive display input device 238 are portions of the same device.

When used in a local area networking environment or a wide area networking environment (such as the Internet), computing device 110 is typically connected to network 252 through a network interface or adapter 250. Other possible embodiments use other communication devices. For example, some embodiments of computing device 110 include a modem for communicating across network 252.

Computing device 110 typically includes at least some form of computer-readable media. Computer readable media include any available media that can be accessed by computing device 110. By way of example, computer-readable media include computer readable storage media and communication media.

The term computer readable media as used herein includes computer storage media. Computer storage media includes volatile and nonvolatile, removable and non-removable media implemented in any method or technology for storage of information, such as computer readable instructions, data structures, program modules, or other data. Computer readable storage media includes, but is not limited to, read-only memory 208, random access memory 210, electrically erasable programmable read only memory, flash memory or other memory technology, compact disc read only memory, digital versatile disks or other optical storage, magnetic cassettes, magnetic tape, magnetic disk storage or other magnetic storage devices, or any other medium that can be used to store the desired information and that can be accessed by computing device 110. In some embodiments, computer readable storage media is non-transitory media.

Communication media can be embodied by computer readable instructions, data structures, program modules or other data in a modulated data signal, such as a carrier wave or other transport mechanism and includes any information delivery media. The term “modulated data signal” refers to a signal that has one or more of its characteristics set or changed in such a manner as to encode information in the signal. By way of example, communication media includes wired media such as a wired network or direct-wired connection, and wireless media such as acoustic, radio frequency, infrared, and other wireless media. In some embodiments, communication media is transitory media. Combinations of any of the above are also included within the scope of computer readable media.

FIG. 3 is a screen shot of an example user interface display 302 of the point of sale computing device 110. In some embodiments, when a player wishes to join into a game, the player goes to the point of sale counter 102 (shown in FIG. 1) and requests to purchase bingo cards.

During the transaction, the cashier asks the player whether the player would like to purchase any special numbers, sometimes referred to herein as wild balls or wild ball numbers. If so, the player tells the cashier how many wild balls the player would like to purchase, and then identifies the specific numbers. In another possible embodiment, the player selects the numbers without first identifying the quantity of numbers to be selected. The player can select up to the full quantity of numbers used in the bingo game, such as up to 75 numbers, however, the gaming facility can place a limit on the number of wild ball purchases if desired.

The example user interface display 302 is displayed to the cashier to permit the cashier to select the wild ball numbers as they are selected by the player. The user interface includes a table displaying all available numbers. Each number can be selected by the cashier, such as by pressing on the number with a finger, or by using an input device, such as a keyboard or mouse. In another possible embodiment, the display is accessible to the player, and the player can select the numbers directly through the point of sale computing device 110, or another device, such a smartphone or the player's own computing device.

Upon selection of a number by the cashier, the number is displayed in the selection display 306. In this example, a player has decided to purchase 15 wild balls. The wild ball numbers of 3, 8, 11, 13, 18, 20, 23, 28, 30, 335, 38, 39, 40, 44, and 50 were identified by the player, and selected by the cashier through user interface 302. The numbers are then displayed in the selection display 306 where the cashier can confirm that the correct numbers have been entered. Once confirmed, the OK control is selected to conclude the wild ball selections. Payment can then be obtained from the player to conclude the transaction, and a receipt 114 is printed, such as shown in FIG. 4.

Some embodiments include random selection algorithm that can be used to quickly select one or more random numbers for a player. In this example, the user interface prompts the cashier to identify a quantity of wild balls, and, if desired, whether the ball should be selected from the set of numbers associated with a letter B (1-15), I (16-30), N (31-45), G (46-60), or O (61-75) sets of numbers. One of more of the letters can be selected using the letter selection controls 308. Then, the Add control is selected to randomly select a quantity of numbers according to the request. A random number generator (or pseudo-random number generator) can be used to select the random numbers. In some embodiments the numbers are then highlighted in user interface display 304 and displayed in the selections display 306.

In an example embodiment, to accept the wild ball numbers, the OK control is selected. To clear the selections, the clear control is selected. To cancel wild ball number selection and exit the user interface display 302, the cancel control is selected.

In some embodiments, a player's wild ball numbers can be saved to a player's club profile. Once saved, the numbers can be retrieved from memory by the point of sale computing device rather than requiring the player to reselect the players numbers each time.

FIG. 4 illustrates an example receipt 114 provided to a player at the point of sale counter 102. In this example, receipt 114 includes an itemized listing of charges 402 and 404, a total amount due and paid 406, a listing of wild ball selections 408, and a login code 410. Additional transaction information can also be provided, such as illustrated in FIG. 4, including the date and time of the transaction, the name and contact information for the gaming facility, a license number, a point of sale desk identifier, a receipt identification number, identification numbers for bingo cards purchased, a level, or other desired information.

In this example, the player has purchased a wireless package, as indicated by the itemized charge 402. The wireless package includes, for example, rental of a wireless console, and a set of bingo cards (e.g., 54 cards) that will be displayed on the wireless console.

Also in this example, the player has purchased 15 wild balls, as was shown in FIG. 3, and as indicated by the itemized charge 404. In this example, a charge of one dollar was added to the bill for each wild ball that was purchased. Other embodiments include different charges for the wild ball purchases. The total amount of the bill is shown by total 406, which is also the amount that was tendered.

A list 408 of the wild ball numbers that were purchased is printed on receipt 114 so that the player can later refer to it if the player forgets what number(s) were selected. If the player were to claim a wild ball win, the list 408 can also be used by gaming facility 100 representatives to verify that the last number called was one of the player's wild ball numbers.

A login code 410 is provided on receipt 114 in some embodiments. Players use the login code by entering the code at an initial login screen of a gaming console 138. The login code acts like a username and password to prevent players from using the gaming console 138 without making a purchase at the point of sale counter 102. Upon entry of the login code into the gaming console 138, the gaming console validates the login code as a valid code, and displays the game interface to the player. An example of the game interface is shown in FIG. 6.

If an entered code is not able to be validated, the user is prompted to try again. In some embodiments, a game console is locked after a series (e.g., 3, 5, etc.) of unsuccessful tries. A representative of the gaming facility can also or alternatively be alerted.

The data printed on receipt 114 is also stored in memory of point of sale computing device 110, in some embodiments. In another embodiment, the data is stored transferred to another computing device, such as a server, across network 148, where it is stored in memory. When a player logs into a gaming console 138, at least some of the data is transferred to the gaming console automatically, in some embodiments. For example, the login code 410 is sent from the gaming console 138 to the point of sale computing device 110 with a request for the data associated with the login code. The point of sale computing device 110 retrieves the data and sends it to the gaming console. This enables the gaming console 138 to automatically identify the number of bingo cards that have been purchased, for example, and to identify the wild ball numbers that have been purchased.

FIG. 5 is a top plan view of an example wireless gaming console 142. In this example, the wireless gaming console 142 includes a housing 502, a touch sensitive display 504, an input button 506, and a speaker 508.

The housing 502 provides a protective enclosure for electronics of the wireless gaming console 142. In some embodiments, the electronics are a computing device, such as illustrated in FIG. 2. The housing 502 is sized and configured as a handheld unit to permit the wireless gaming console to be easily moved with the player around the game room 106 (shown in FIG. 1).

A touch sensitive display 504 generates the game interface that is viewed by the player, such as shown in FIG. 6. The touch sensitive display is configured to receive inputs from the player by detecting when the player touches the screen, and where the player touched. The gaming console then interprets the input and performs the appropriate operations in response. In one example, the touch screen is a 7 inch screen, although other embodiments include other sized displays.

One or more input buttons 506 are included in some embodiments, to receive input from the user separate from the touch sensitive display. An example of an input button is an ON/OFF switch, which toggles the device between an energy saving mode and full operational mode. Additional input buttons are provided in some embodiments, particularly in embodiments that do not include a touch sensitive display.

Some embodiments include speaker 508. Speaker 508 can be used to generate sounds related to the game. A variety of sounds can be played, such as a cougar roaring sound when a wild ball is won, or a click when an input is received through the touch sensitive display. In some embodiments the audio of the announcer received through the audio system 126 (shown in FIG. 1) is output from speaker 508.

FIG. 6 is a screen shot of an example gaming interface 602 of a gaming console 138. In this example, gaming interface 602 includes card display window 604, game status window 606, and option controls 608.

Card display window 604 displays at least some of the player's cards during game play. In this example, two cards are displayed, including card 610 and card 612. Each card includes 24 numbers, sometimes referred to herein as card numbers, arranged in a five by five grid of numbers, with the center space in the grid being a free space. Each column includes five (or four, for the center column) randomly selected numbers from the 15 possible options. Each column is aligned below one of the letters in the word “bingo.” For example, the furthest left column is aligned below the letter “b”, the second column is aligned below the letter “i,” etc.

In some embodiments, the gaming interface 602 includes a graphical element that indicates whether any of the numbers on the card are wild ball numbers that have been selected by the player. For example, the number 3 of card 610 includes a graphical element 614 that shows that the 3 is a wild ball number. Any of a variety of other graphical elements can be used, such as an image, animation, graphic, symbol, background or foreground color, different font (including different font style or size), etc. In addition, the list of currently active wild balls is also displayed in the game status window 606. In this case, the 3 is displayed, indicating that 3 is an active wild ball number.

As numbers are called by the announcer, gaming interface 602 is updated to include graphical elements to mark the numbers that are found on the player's bingo cards 610 and 612. In some embodiments the numbers are automatically marked by the gaming console when the number is called. In other embodiments, the player manually presses on the number, and then the gaming console marks that number. In yet another embodiment, the gaming console 138 waits for the player to touch anywhere on the screen before updating the display. In this example, the gaming console 138 automatically marks the called number, if present on one or more cards 610, 612, but waits to do so until the user has touched the screen. This allows the player to remain actively involved with the game, even though the marking occurs automatically.

Game status window 606 provides information to the player throughout game play. In this example embodiment, the game status window 606 includes a session name display 620, game number display 622, card quantity display 624, ball count display 626, current ball display 628, alert window 630, active wild ball display 632, game type display 634, and game type graphic display 636.

The session name display 620 provides the name of the current session. The game number display 622 identifies the number of games that have been played in the session (including a current game, if applicable). Ball count display 626 displays the quantity of balls that have been called in the current game. The current ball display 628 displays the number of the ball most recently called by the announcer.

Alert window 630 displays messages to the player to alert the player to the occurrence of an event in the game, or to alert the player that the player is approaching an event. For example, if the player is only one number away from a bingo, the alert window 630 can display a message, such as “one away on 1 card!” If the player achieves a bingo, the alert window 630 can display “BINGO!” Other messages can be displayed throughout game play.

Active wild ball display 632 shows a list of any wild balls that are actively in play in the cards.

Game type display 634 and game type graphic display 636 describe the type of bingo game that is currently underway. For example, the current bingo game is described in game type display 634 as “four corners” and is graphically depicted on the left side of game type graphic display 636. Game type graphic display 636 also illustrates the game types that will be played after the current game is completed, such as a single line game and a double line game. Each game type has a different bingo pattern that is required to win the bingo game. For example, a four corner game requires that a winning card have marks on card numbers at each of the four corners. A single line pattern typically requires that a card have five marks on card numbers, all in a straight line. A double line pattern typically requires that a card have two straight lines of marks, where the two lines can share overlapping marks. Other embodiments include bingo games having other patterns.

Option controls 608 provide access to additional options for the gaming console 138. For example, when the view cards control is selected, the gaming interface 602 is adjusted to an alternate view in which the player can view a larger number of cards at once. When the scroll cards control is selected, the gaming interface 602 is adjusted to include scrolling tools, such as left and right arrows or a scroll bar, to permit the user to quickly scroll between the various cards.

When the options button is selected, the game interface displays an options page where the player can select between the available options. Examples of options include selection of a custom dauber graphic or adjustment of dauber display settings, adjustment of automatic marking settings, brightness adjustment, sound volume adjustment, and options for ordering food and drink from a bar or concessions stand.

Selection of the flash board control causes gaming console 138 to display a graphical representation of the bingo board so that the player can review what numbers have been called and what numbers have not been called in the current game.

FIG. 7 is a screen shot of the example gaming interface 602 during game play. In this example, several balls have been called, and the balls have been located in the player's bingo cards 610 and 612.

Game status window 606 indicates in game number display 622 that this is the first game in the session. Ball count display 626 indicates that three balls have been called in this game. Current ball display 628 indicates that the last ball called was 73. The wild ball list 632 indicates that 3 is an active wild ball.

Card display window has updated to mark the three numbers that have been called, including 13, 62, and 73. In this example, the player has selected a dauber that changes the background color in the grid for spaces that contain a number that have been called, and so the backgrounds of the numbers 13, 62, and 73 are all colored.

Alert window 630 includes the message “1 away on 1 card(s)” to alert the player that card 610 is only one number away from a four corner bingo. The graphical element 614 displayed on the number 3, also reminds the player that the number 3 is one of the player's wild ball numbers.

FIG. 8 is another screen shot of the example gaming interface 602 during game play. In this example, the player has just obtained a bingo, causing the gaming console to generate various alerts.

Game status window 606 indicates that four balls have been called, as shown in ball count display 626, and that the last ball called was the three, as shown in current ball display 628. The gaming console then evaluates the marks and determines that a pattern of marks on the bingo card 610 matches a predetermined pattern (e.g., four corners) for the current game. As a result, the gaming console determines that the bingo card 610 is a winning card.

The gaming console then further evaluates the marks to determine if the last number that was called (e.g., 3) is one of the player's wild ball numbers. If so, the gaming console determines that the card is a special winning card. In some embodiments, the gaming console also confirms that the last ball that was called is one of the marks in the pattern. As a result, the gaming console has determined that the player has obtained a four corner bingo, and alert window 630 displays the message “WILD BALL BINGO!”

In some embodiments, gaming interface 602 generates an animation 802 that further alerts the player to the wild ball bingo. In addition, some embodiments generate sounds, such as the sound of a bell ringing, a cougar roaring, money falling, or a variety of other possible sounds.

If a player is playing with printed cards, the rules of the game may require the player to shout out a word or phrase, such as BINGO. A representative of the gaming facility 100 then reviews the cards to confirm that a bingo has occurred, and also that the wild ball was the last number called, and was a number that was selected as a wild ball for that player.

In some embodiments, upon winning the wild ball a prize is paid out to the winner. As one example, a percentage of the money that is collected from all wild ball purchases is collected into a progressive pot specifically set aside for a wild ball winner. The pot can be seeded, if desired, with an initial amount, such as 50 dollars to ensure that at least a minimum payout is always made to a winner. In some embodiments the point of sale computing device keeps track of the amount of money in the pot. The pot continues to grow until a player obtains a bingo on one of that player's wild ball numbers. At that time the wild ball game ends, and the prize money is awarded to the winner. The wild ball game then comes to an end and no further winners are awarded until the next game begins, but bingo play can continue without consideration of wild ball numbers.

Other prizes are awarded in other embodiments. For example, in some embodiments the prize money is awarded to a charity on behalf of the winner. In another embodiment, the player is recognized as the winner but no payout is made. In another embodiment, a prize is awarded to the winner, such as an electronic device (e.g., a television), etc. In some embodiments, the prize is a payout of a fixed value.

FIG. 9 is a top plan view illustrating and example of printed bingo cards 144 and daubers 146. Printed bingo cards 144 include cards 902 and 904. Daubers 146 include daubers 906 and 908. Marks 910 and 912 are made on cards 902 and 904 using daubers 146.

In this example, the game is played using physical printed cards 902 and 904, which appear similar to the cards displayed by gaming consoles 138.

One or more daubers can be used to mark numbers on cards 902 and 904. In this example, daubers 906 and 908 are different, such as having a different color, a different shape, or another difference. For example, dauber 906 includes a yellow marker that is easy to see through. Dauber 906 is used by the player to mark any of the player's wild ball numbers that appear on cards 902 and 904.

For example, the player reviews the list of wild ball numbers printed on receipt 114 and then determines that the number 3 on card 902 is one of the player's wild ball numbers. The number 3 is then marked with a mark 910 (e.g., yellow) from dauber 906. The different dauber 908 can then be used during game play to mark numbers as they are called by the announcer. Dauber 908 leaves a different mark 912 (e.g., blue) on cards 902 and 904 so that the player can visually distinguish between marks 910 and 912. This helps to avoid confusion as to whether a number has already been called or whether the number is a wild ball number.

Although the game has been largely described with reference to an example gaming facility, some embodiments are not played in a gaming facility. One example embodiment is an online game in which players participate by connecting to a server computing device through client computing devices.

In some embodiments, rules of the game described herein are defined in data instructions, which when executed by at least one processor, cause the at least one processor to implement the rules of the game. In some embodiments, the at least one processor is a part of a gaming console, or part of one or more computing devices. In another possible embodiment, the rules of the game are enforced by one or more people, such as representatives of a gaming facility.

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