Title:
Sleeve apparatus for a gaming coin bucket
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Apparatus for use with a coin bucket is disclosed and includes a string and a flexible body defining a tubular sleeve. The sleeve can be manipulated so as to define a passage having an inlet and an outlet and which is shaped and dimensioned to permit travel of the bucket, bottom-first, through the inlet to an operative position whereat the top of the bucket is disposed within the passage, spaced from the inlet. A channel is formed in the sleeve which encircles the bucket when same is disposed at the operative position, and at least one opening is formed on the sleeve exterior leading into the channel. The string is positioned within the channel with its ends each emerging from the at least one opening so that same can be drawn to form, in the passage, a constriction which grips around and retains the bucket at the operative position.



Inventors:
Reid, Terri J. (Brampton, CA)
Application Number:
10/135263
Publication Date:
10/30/2003
Filing Date:
04/30/2002
Assignee:
REID TERRI J.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/.815, 220/730, 383/36, 206/.8
International Classes:
A45C11/24; (IPC1-7): A45C1/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MOHANDESI, JILA M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KUSNER & JAFFE (Mayfield Heights, OH, US)
Claims:

The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:



1. An apparatus for use with a gaming coin bucket, said apparatus comprising: a flexible main body portion defining a tubular sleeve having a top and a bottom, the tubular sleeve being manipulable into an operative configuration wherein it defines a passage having a passage inlet located at the top of the sleeve and a passage outlet located at the bottom of the sleeve, the passage being shaped and dimensioned to permit travel of the bucket, bottom-first, into the passage through the passage inlet to an operative position whereat the top of the bucket is positioned within the passage in spaced relation to the top of the sleeve and the bottom of the bucket is positioned adjacent the passage outlet; and cinching means for selectively, releasably configuring said sleeve to form a constriction in said passage adjacent the passage outlet, said constriction being shaped and dimensioned to grip around the bucket between its top and bottom so as to retain same at the operative position.

2. Apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the passage is shaped and dimensioned to permit travel of the bucket from the operative position, top-first, through the passage inlet.

3. Apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the passage is shaped and dimensioned to permit travel of the bucket from the operative position, bottom-first, through the passage outlet.

4. Apparatus according to claim 2, wherein the passage is shaped and dimensioned to permit travel of the bucket from the operative position, bottom-first, through the passage outlet.

5. Apparatus according to claim 3, wherein the passage is shaped and dimensioned to permit travel of the bucket, top-first, into the passage through the passage outlet to the operative position.

6. Apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 5, wherein the cinching means comprises: a drawstring channel formed in the sleeve and arranged to encircle the bucket when same is disposed at the operative position; at least one opening formed on the exterior of the sleeve leading into the drawstring channel; a drawstring positioned within the channel and having a first drawstring end and a second drawstring end each emerging from said at least one opening.

7. Apparatus according to claim 6, further comprising coupling means for selectively, releasably connecting a segment of the first drawstring end to a segment of the second drawstring end.

8. Apparatus according to claim 7, wherein the coupling means comprises a tubular clasp through which the first drawstring end and the second drawstring end each extend.

9. Apparatus according to claim 8, wherein said at least one opening is a single opening.

10. Apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 5, wherein the bottom of the bucket is disposed exteriorly of the sleeve when the bucket is at the operative position.

11. Apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 5, wherein the cinching means is further adapted to selectively, releasably configure said sleeve to form a blockage in said passage adjacent the bottom of the sleeve.

12. Apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 5, wherein the sleeve comprises a band that divides the tubular sleeve into a inlet portion which includes the passage inlet and an outlet portion which includes the passage outlet, the top of the bucket being located between the band portion and the passage outlet when the bucket is at the operative configuration.

13. Apparatus according to claim 12, further comprising: a flexible ancillary body portion that defines a tubular chute having a top and a bottom, the chute including a tubular rim portion at the top thereof which is connected about its external periphery to the internal periphery of the band, the chute being manipulable into an operative configuration wherein it defines a coin conduit having a conduit inlet located at the top of the chute and bounded by the rim, and a conduit outlet located at the bottom of the chute and disposed within the bucket when said bucket is at the operative position, the chute being shaped and dimensioned to permit travel of the bucket, bottom-first, into the conduit inlet, through the conduit and out the conduit outlet.

14. Apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 5, wherein the main body member defines finger slots adjacent the top of the sleeve which define openings oriented towards the bottom of the sleeve.

15. An apparatus for use with a gaming coin bucket, said apparatus comprising: a flexible main body portion defining a tubular sleeve having a top and a bottom, the tubular sleeve being manipulable into an operative configuration wherein it defines a passage having a passage inlet located at the top of the sleeve and a passage outlet located at the bottom of the sleeve, the passage being shaped and dimensioned to permit travel of the bucket top-first, into the passage through the passage outlet to an operative position whereat the top of the bucket is positioned within the passage in spaced relation to the top of the sleeve and the bottom of the bucket is positioned adjacent the passage outlet; and from the operative position, bottom-first, through the passage outlet; and cinching means for selectively, releasably configuring said sleeve to form a constriction in said passage adjacent the passage outlet, said constriction being shaped and dimensioned to grip around the bucket between its top and bottom so as to retain same at the operative position.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to gaming accessories, and particularly, to a sleeve apparatus for use in combination with a coin bucket of the type typically provided to patrons of gaming establishments.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Slot machine gaming is an increasingly popular leisure activity. In such activity, patrons of gaming establishments typically handle relatively large quantities of coinage. In order to improve the gaming experience, many gaming establishments provide patrons with coin buckets However, while these buckets provide for adequate containment of coinage, the gaming experience can still be improved. For one thing, the buckets, when filled, can be heavy, and fairly difficult to transport, particularly for seniors. Additionally, when collecting payouts, the patron is typically required to repeatedly withdraw coinage from the coin tray provided on the unit. This is not only unhygienic, but can also lead to the possibility of bruised knuckles and soiled hands and/or garments, and loss of coins through mishandling and then either misplacement or theft.

[0003] Accessories for facilitating transport of coin buckets are well-known. Such accessories typically include a body portion which forms an upwardly-opening pocket adapted to receive a coin bucket of the aforementioned type, as well as a strap or straps which may be slung over the shoulder of a user to support the body portion of the accessory and any coin bucket received therewithin. U.S. Pat. No. 5,836,497 (Pelish), issued Nov. 17, 1998; U.S. Pat. No. 5,158,220(Glass), issued Oct. 27, 1992; U.S. Pat. No. 4,974,761(Luque), issued Dec. 4, 1990; and U.S. Design Pat. No. 432,785 (Berg et al.), issued Oct. 31, 2000, are exemplary in this regard.

[0004] However, no prior art devices are known which ameliorate the above-noted problems caused by the need to repeatedly withdraw coins from the coin tray, with the exception of gloves, which are inconvenient, to the extent that they render it difficult to manipulate coinage both during play, that is, while inserting coins into the slot machine, and during the collection of coins.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] In accordance with the present invention there is disclosed a sleeve apparatus for use with a gaming coin bucket.

[0006] As one aspect of the invention, the apparatus comprises a flexible main body portion defining a tubular sleeve. The tubular sleeve has a top and a bottom, and is manipulable into an operative configuration wherein it defines a passage having a passage inlet located at the top of the sleeve and a passage outlet located at the bottom of the sleeve. The passage is shaped and dimensioned to permit travel of the bucket, bottom-first, into the passage through the passage inlet to an operative position whereat the top of the bucket is positioned within the passage in spaced relation to the top of the sleeve and the bottom of the bucket is positioned adjacent the passage outlet. The apparatus further comprises cinching means for selectively, releasably configuring said sleeve to form a constriction in the passage adjacent the passage outlet, the constriction being shaped and dimensioned to grip around the bucket between its top and bottom so as to retain same at the operative position.

[0007] According to other aspects of the invention, the passage is preferably shaped and dimensioned to permit travel of the bucket from the operative position, top-first, through the passage inlet, and from the operative position, bottom-first, through the passage outlet.

[0008] As another aspect of the invention, the passage is preferably shaped and dimensioned to permit travel of the bucket, top-first, into the passage through the passage outlet to the operative position.

[0009] Other advantages, features and characteristics of the present invention, as well as methods of operation and functions of the related elements of the structure, and the combination of parts and economies of manufacture, will become more apparent upon consideration of the following detailed description and the appended claims with reference to the accompanying drawings, the latter of which is briefly described hereinbelow.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0010] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a sleeve apparatus according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

[0011] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a gaming coin bucket of the prior art.

[0012] FIG. 3 is a view similar to FIG. 1.

[0013] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the gaming coin bucket of FIG. 2 about to be inserted, bottom-first, into the sleeve apparatus of FIG. 1.

[0014] FIG. 5 is a view similar to FIG. 4, showing the gaming coin bucket disposed at an operative position within the sleeve apparatus.

[0015] FIG. 6 is a view similar to FIG. 5, with the sleeve apparatus configured to retain the gaming coin bucket at the operative position.

[0016] FIG. 7 is a view similar to FIG. 6, showing the fingers of a user inserted into finger slots provided in the sleeve apparatus.

[0017] FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the sleeve apparatus of FIG. 1, with portions cut away for clarity.

[0018] FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the sleeve apparatus of FIG. 1, shown with the bottom closed.

[0019] FIG. 10 is a view of the sleeve apparatus of FIG. 9, with the fingers of a user inserted into the finger slots.

[0020] FIG. 11 is a perspective view of an interior portion of the sleeve apparatus of FIG. 1, with the balance of the sleeve apparatus and a gaming coin bucket shown in phantom outline.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0021] Referring now to FIG. 1 of the drawings, a sleeve apparatus according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention is illustrated and designated with general reference numeral 20.

[0022] As will be more fully described in the following paragraphs, the apparatus 20 is for use with a gaming coin bucket of the type often distributed by casinos and other gaming establishments and exemplified by the coin bucket illustrated in FIG. 2 and designated with general reference numeral 22. It will be expressly understood that the bucket 22 is prior art, and does not form part of the present invention.

[0023] The apparatus 20 includes a flexible main body portion 24, formed of fabric and defining a tubular sleeve 26. The sleeve 26 has a top 28 and a bottom 30, and is manipulable into an operative configuration, shown in FIG. 3, wherein it defines a passage 32 having a passage inlet 34 located at the top 28 of the sleeve 26 as well as a passage outlet 36 located at the bottom 30 of the sleeve 26 The sleeve 26 comprises a band, bounded in dotted outline and designated with general reference numeral 38 in FIG. 3, that divides the sleeve 26 into a tubular inlet portion 40 which includes the passage inlet 34 and a tubular outlet portion 42 which includes the passage outlet 36.

[0024] The passage 32 is shaped and dimensioned to permit travel of the bucket 22, bottom-first, into the passage 32 through the passage inlet 34, as indicated by the direction of arrow 44 in FIG. 4, to an operative position, as shown in FIG. 5.

[0025] At the operative position, the top of the bucket 22 (shown in phantom outline in FIG. 5) is positioned within the passage 32 in spaced relation to the top 28 of the sleeve 26, between the band 38 and the passage outlet 36, and the bottom of the bucket 22 is positioned exteriorly of the sleeve 26, adjacent the passage outlet 36.

[0026] The apparatus 20 additionally comprises cinching means, designated with general reference numeral 46 in FIG. 3 and discussed more fully in following paragraphs, for selectively, releasably configuring said sleeve 26 to form a constriction in the passage 32 adjacent the passage outlet 36. The constriction is designated by general reference numeral 48 in FIG. 6, and is shaped and dimensioned to grip around the bucket 22 between its top and bottom so as to retain same at the operative position, as indicated in FIG. 6.

[0027] It will be evident that these features alone provide a useful structure, to the extent that, with a coin bucket 22 located at the operative position and retained thereat by the cinching means 46, the sleeve 26 can be held by a user at the base of a slot machine (not shown), to permit coins to slide down through the passage 32 and into the coin bucket 22, as indicated by FIG. 7.

[0028] It will similarly be evident that, as desired, the cinching means 46 may be selectively released, to permit travel of the bucket 22 from the operative position, top-first, through the passage inlet 34, whereupon the apparatus 20, being formed of flexible material may be rolled up (not shown) and conveniently stored, for example, in a purse or a pocket.

[0029] However, additional features are also provided in the preferred embodiment illustrated.

[0030] As one such feature, the passage 32 is shaped and dimensioned to permit travel of the bucket 22 from the operative position, bottom-first, through the passage outlet 36, so as to facilitate removal of the bucket 22 from within the sleeve 26.

[0031] As another feature, the passage 32 is shaped and dimensioned to permit travel of the bucket 22, top-first, into the passage 32 through the passage outlet 36 to the operative position.

[0032] As further features, and as illustrated in FIG. 8, the apparatus 20 includes a tubular clasp 50, and the cinching means 46 comprises a drawstring 52. The drawstring 52 is positioned within a channel 54 formed in the sleeve 26 which is arranged to encircle the bucket 22 when same is disposed at the operative position, and has a first drawstring end 56 and a second drawstring end 58, which each emerge from an opening 60 formed on the exterior of the sleeve 26 that leads into the drawstring channel 54.

[0033] The clasp 50 is provided as a coupling means for selectively, releasably connecting a segment of the first drawstring end 56 to a segment of the second drawstring end 58, and for this purpose, is arranged with the first drawstring end 56 and the second drawstring end 58 extending therethrough. The construction of such clasps 50 is well-known to persons of ordinary skill in the art, and accordingly, is not detailed herein.

[0034] In any event, with the cinching means 46 so structured, part of the drawstring 52 can be withdrawn from the channel 54 by the first drawstring end 56 and the second drawstring end 58 so as to selectively, releasably configure the sleeve 26 to form a constriction 48 in the passage 32 as aforedescribed, whereupon the clasp 50 may be engaged upon the segments of the first drawstring end 56 and the second drawstring end 58 immediately exterior to the opening 60 in the sleeve 26, to maintain the constriction 48. As well, as indicated in FIG. 9, the drawstring 52 can be further withdrawn from the drawstring channel 54, so as to selectively, releasably configure the sleeve 26 to form a blockage 62 in the bottom 30, whereupon the clasp 50 can again be operatively coupled to the segments of the first drawstring end 56 and the second drawstring end 58 disposed immediately exteriorly of the opening 60, thereby to form a coin collection bag, as shown in FIG. 9.

[0035] The coin collection bag can be held at the base of the slot machine in a manner similar to that described previously to collect coins, as indicated by FIG. 10, or actually be placed in the tray of the slot machine to collect coins (not shown).

[0036] As a yet further feature, best illustrated in FIG. 8, the main body member 24 forms finger slots 64 adjacent the top 28 of the sleeve 26. The finger slots 64 define openings oriented towards the bottom 28 of the sleeve 26, to facilitate manipulation of the top 38 of the sleeve apparatus 26, as shown in FIGS. 7 and 10.

[0037] As a yet further feature, the sleeve 26 further comprises a flexible ancillary body portion 66, illustrated in FIG. 11, that defines a tubular chute 68 having a top 70 and a bottom 72 and includes a tubular rim portion 74 at the top 70. Rim portion 74 is connected about its external periphery to the internal periphery of the band 38, although for clarity, in FIG. 11, all portions of the sleeve apparatus 20 other than the ancillary body portion 66, as well as the bucket 22 are shown in phantom outline. The chute 68 is manipulable into an operative configuration wherein it defines a coin conduit 76 having a conduit inlet 78 located at the top 70 of the chute 68 and bounded by the rim 74, and a conduit outlet 80 located at the bottom 72 of the chute 68.

[0038] The conduit outlet 80 is disposed within the bucket 22 when said bucket 22 is at the operative position, thereby to direct coins only into the bucket 22 during use. As well, the conduit 76 is shaped and dimensioned to permit travel of the bucket 22, bottom-first, into the conduit inlet 78, through the conduit 76 and out the conduit outlet 80, so as to facilitate removal of the bucket 22 from the sleeve apparatus 20. In the preferred embodiment illustrated, the ancillary body portion 66, the tubular inlet portion 40 and the tubular outlet portion 42 are formed integrally, from a single flexible tubular member (not shown), with the tubular inlet portion 40 and the tubular outlet portion 42 being spaced apart by an intermediate tubular portion (not shown). In manufacture, the tubular inlet portion 40 and the tubular outlet portion 42 are drawn together and stitched, such that band 38 is defined by the stitched-together portions, and ancillary body portion 66 is constructed of overlapped layers of the intermediate tubular portion 24 of main body portion 24.

[0039] As a yet further feature, a key ring 82 is preferably provided at the top 28 of the sleeve 26, as shown in FIG. 8 and in FIG. 9.

[0040] Various modifications and alterations may be used in the design and manufacture of the sleeve apparatus according to the present invention without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.

[0041] For example, whereas in the preferred embodiment illustrated, the passage is shaped and dimensioned to permit travel of the bucket, bottom-first, into the passage through the passage inlet, to the operative position; from the operative position, bottom-first, through the passage outlet; from the operative position, top-first, through the passage inlet; and, top-first, into the passage through the passage outlet to the operative position, it is possible to construct the invention such that ingress and egress of the bucket occurs only through the passage outlet. Additionally, whereas in the preferred embodiment illustrated the bottom of the bucket is positioned exteriorly of the sleeve when operatively positioned, it is equally possible that the bucket could be entirely disposed within the sleeve at the operative position. As well, whereas in the preferred embodiment a tubular clasp is provided, and the first drawstring end and the second drawstring end emerge from a single opening, it is of course possible to construct the invention with each drawstring end emerging from a separate opening, whereupon the tubular clasp could be readily omitted, and the ends simply tied together, in the manner of shoelaces, for example. Also, whereas the finger slots, the drawstring channel and the ancillary body portion are formed in the preferred embodiment illustrated by folded-over portions of the main body member, suitably stitched together, it will be evident that separate pieces of flexible material could equally be provided, and attached to the main body portion. As such, it will be evident that the scope of the invention is limited only by the accompanying claims, purposively construed.