Title:
SYSTEM AND METHOD OF PLAYING LOTTERY GAMES, BUYING AND PRINTING LOTTERY TICKETS USING SOFTWARE ON MOBILE COMPUTING DEVICES
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A system for enabling state lottery game play from mobile computing devices includes a first software module that stores player account information and validates state lottery game play purchase information. A second software module runs on a wireless player computing device and facilitates a player authenticating himself with the first software module. The second software module facilitates selection of numbers to be played in a lottery game, and the first software module and the second software module communicate player authentication information, user account information, player lottery game play purchase information, and player registration information. A third software module receives lottery game play purchase data from the first software module and transmits winning game information.



Inventors:
White, David (Boca Raton, FL, US)
Kumbhat, Abhishek (Rajasthan, IN)
Application Number:
11/550328
Publication Date:
05/24/2007
Filing Date:
10/17/2006
Assignee:
LottoSoft Corporation (Boca Raton, FL, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
D'AGOSTINO, PAUL ANTHONY
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GREENBERG TRAURIG, LLP (DC/ORL) (Chicago, IL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A system for enabling state lottery game play from mobile computing devices, comprising: a first software module, wherein the first software module stores player account information and validates state lottery game play purchase information; a second software module, wherein the second software module runs on a wireless player computing device, wherein the second software module facilitates a player authenticating himself with the first software module, wherein the first software module and the second software module communicate player authentication information, user account information, player lottery game play purchase information, and player registration information, wherein the second software module facilitates selection of numbers to be played in a lottery game; and, a third software module, wherein the third software module receives lottery game play purchase data from the first software module, and wherein the third software module transmits winning game information.

2. The system of claim 1, wherein each of the first software module, second software module, and third software module include functionality for securely communicating over networks such that data can be securely exchanged between two or more of the modules.

3. The system of claim 1, wherein the second software module facilitates the printing of lottery tickets.

4. The system of claim 1, wherein said wireless computing device comprises a mobile phone.

5. The system of claim 1, wherein said wireless computing device comprises a personal digital assistant.

6. The system of claim 1, wherein said third software module transmits winning game information to said second software module.

7. The system of claim 1, wherein the system implements a method comprising: creating a player's profile during a registration process wherein a user name and password for accessing the player's account are created; managing the player's account balance available for lottery play, said account balance being paid either by credit card, check sent to a service provider's office, or electronic funds transfer; allowing said player to play a selected game, said selected game being selected from a plurality of games; allowing said player to purchase and print a lottery ticket; managing a database of information concerning each play and each player on a server in said service provider's control and duplicating a copy of the same on a server at a state lottery office when requested by said state lottery office; updating the second software module with new games offered by the state lottery office and new security patches; and, transferring data identifying lottery games played to a state lottery office.

8. The system of claim 1, wherein said first, second and third software modules communicate over a secure data communication network in serial fashion.

9. The system of claim 1, wherein the system prevents direct communication between said second software module and said third software module.

10. The system of claim 1, whereby said second software module communicates with said first software using a wireless mobile communication network.

11. The system of claim 10, wherein said wireless mobile communication network comprises at least one of: a Global System for Mobile (GSM) network, a Universal Mobile Telecommunication Services (UMTS) network, a High Speed Circuit Switched Data (HSCSD) network, a General Packet Radio Services (GPRS) network or a Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) network.

12. The system of claim 1, further comprising a plurality of mobile player terminals running said second software module.

13. The system of claim 1, wherein said second software module operates to: auto self check for security against any intrusion; register one or multiple players and communicate information to said first software module; login a player before any game can be played, and authenticate a player through secure communication with said first software module; allow the player, once logged into the system, to access his balance, increase his account balance by credit card or by check posted to service provider; provide a player with an option to select any of a plurality of games offered by a state lottery office; allow a player to manually select a number or numbers for a lottery game as an alternative to auto selection; randomly select a number or numbers for a lottery game at a player's request; allow a player to play the same numbers for any number of advance games or drawings; allow a player to buy multiple tickets with same number for the same game or drawing; confirm with a player information about a lottery game, drawing and numbers selected by the player, before communicating the information to said first software module; after receiving acknowledgement from said first software module regarding a transaction, display a preview of a printable ticket on screen; allow a player to print a ticket instantly or at a later time using a printer connected directly or indirectly to a mobile computing device; allow a player to update his profile and password after secure login; regularly check said first software module for updates, including new lottery games offered by a state lottery office and security patches available; display an updated balance before and after each lottery play.

14. The system of claim 1, wherein said first software module operates to: check for authenticity of said second software module; manage a player's profile and unique identification to allow him to access his account; manage a player's balance available for playing lottery games; allow a player to play only after logging in to the system using a unique identifier and corresponding password; allow player to play only those games whose bounded time is yet not over and winning numbers are yet not declared; update a player's balance after every purchase of a lottery ticket and communicate the same to said second software module; manage a database of information describing each play and player on a server at a service provider's premises and duplicate a copy of the same onto a server at under the control of a state lottery office when requested by said state lottery office; keep said second software module updated for new lottery games offered by a state lottery office and for new security patches which become available; keep a record of winning numbers for all lottery games and provide the same information to said second software module when requested; allow authenticated officers at a service provider's office to run queries regarding software identification code, player identification code, games or draw played, lottery tickets purchased, or lottery results and provide results of said queries.

15. The system of claim 1, wherein said third software module operates to: request said first software module to send all the data regarding each play for a game whose bounded time is over and whose winning number are to be drawn; receive requested data from said first software module over a secure data communication network and maintain a data base of each play of a particular game; computerize maintenance of records of balances and financial transactions relating to lottery games at a state lottery office; once winning numbers are declared, communicate the same to said first software module; read a bar code printed on a ticket, received in connection with a claim of winnings, using a bar code reader; decode a read bar code using a secure algorithms and keys, and generate information out from said code; receive a response from an authentic state lottery officer for manual checking of information printed on a ticket against decoded information; check decoded information against respective data received from said first software module; allow authenticated officers at a state lottery office to run queries regarding a software identification code, a player identification code, games or draw played, lottery tickets purchased, or lottery tickets carrying a winning number; provide a final determination that a security check is positive once all security checks confirm authentication of a claimed ticket; and, upon return of a claimed ticket which is valid for advance games, print a special ticket valid for said advance games with the same lottery numbers as said claimed ticket.

16. The system of claim 1, wherein said first, second, and third software modules collectively or individually operate to: require a player to receive a printed copy of a lottery ticket; provide a printed lottery ticket which includes not only numbers chosen by a player for a particular game but which further includes other information selected from: game type, player's unique user identification number or code, second software module authentication identification number or code, time and date of play, or amount paid printed on said printed lottery ticket; print lottery tickets in a manner whereby each lottery ticket printed using the system is unique from each other lottery ticket printed using the system, said ticket being unique therefrom by virtue of a unique encrypted code which encrypts information selected from: player end software used, game, draw, numbers selected, advance plays, date and time of purchase, and number of tickets purchased; print lottery tickets in a manner whereby a single lottery ticket can be printed only once and no duplicity of lottery tickets is allowed; obtain permission from said first software module before a player is permitted to select numbers for a selected game and drawing; transmit to said third software component records regarding every play for a particular game before a bounded time for said game is over.

Description:

This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/466,735 filed Aug. 23, 2006, and claims the benefit of Provisional U.S. Patent Application Ser. No. 60/726,705, filed Oct. 17, 2005, the teachings of which are hereby incorporated by reference in their entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This disclosure relates to the field of lottery games, and in particular to systems and methods for buying and printing lottery tickets, and providing lottery tickets and related services on player demand at player premises regardless of his location using a software on player's mobile computing devices, which is networked with centralized service provider's office and ultimately to state lottery office over secure data communication network.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Passion to play on chance and dreams to become a millionaire have made the state lottery an attractive game of chance. Every year, billions of dollars are spent playing state lotteries and people try their luck day after day. There are thousands of retail stores in various states that sell lottery tickets. The player must physically visit a retail store in order to purchase a lottery ticket and play the game. At the retail store, the player may receive a lottery slip for the particular game from the retailer and select a number or numbers out of the printed numbers on the lottery slip as per game rules. In return, after submitting the filled-out lottery slip or otherwise selecting one or more numbers to play, the player receives a ticket with his selected numbers( ) printed on the ticket from the retailer. Retailers transfer the relevant information to the state lottery office via electronic communication setup using ticket printing machines. Once a winning number/numbers are drawn for a particular game at a state lottery office, the player can claim his winnings by presenting the printed ticket to the state lottery office or, in the case of a small winning, to the retailer. The state lottery office typically checks for the claimed ticket and provides the winnings to ticket owner. The prospect of visiting the retailer premises each time the player desires to play a lottery game is inconvenient and time consuming. In addition, the presence of a plurality of retailers between players and state lottery offices makes the lottery game process chain longer, thus complicating the overall system.

Additionally, recent wireless communication technologies and the development of small computing devices have freed people from wires using various small mobile computing devices such as mobile phones, personal digital assistants (PDA) etc. Beyond just basic telephonic usage of mobile phones and schedule/diary management usage of PDAs, technology advancements have transferred a heavy work load to these small mobile computing devices from conventional computers. These small mobile computing devices are becoming smarter and more powerful, and people feel comfortable while working on user-friendly software on their mobile devices with a substantially similar user interface as that provided by conventional computers. Advancements in wireless data communication networks have also connected these small wireless/mobile devices to other computer networks or the internet with a high speed connection. Despite the significant success of wireless technologies over these small mobile computing devices, a wireless/mobile option to play lottery games, and to buy and print tickets at a player's location has never been materialized.

The combination of advanced wireless technology and the desire of a player to avoid visiting a retail store each time he desires to play the state lottery raises the need for playing lottery games via software on small mobile computing devices regardless of the player's location. Also, as conventional lottery games must typically be updated and refreshed frequently, while remaining secure, connecting the retailer to the centralized service provider's office and ultimately with state lottery office in a complex manner is also required.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a new system and method for playing a state lottery, and for buying and printing lottery tickets using software on a small mobile computing device such as mobile phone or PDA regardless of player's location. A first software module stores player account information and validates state lottery game play purchase information. A second software module runs on a wireless player computing device and facilitates a player authenticating himself with the first software module. The second software module facilitates selection of numbers to be played in a lottery game, and the first software module and the second software module communicate player authentication information, user account information, player lottery game play purchase information, and player registration information. A third software module receives lottery game play purchase data from the first software module and transmits winning game information. Numerous security measures are disclosed and may be embedded into the system. The system and method shortens and simplifies the process chain of a lottery game by eliminating retailers from the chain, and provides significant advantages to both the players and the state lottery office.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a block diagram illustrating an architecture of the lottery system in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a flow chart illustrating a process using the system and method in accordance with the present invention in one embodiment;

FIGS. 3a and 3b show a flow chart showing an exemplary process for playing a lottery game at a mobile player's terminal using LottoMobile.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

In view of the above discussion, what is needed is a means to facilitate playing of a state lottery, and buying and printing of lottery tickets, using small wireless/mobile computing devices such as mobile phones, PDAs, etc. regardless of the player's location. There is also a need to simplify the process chain of the lottery game and to provide more convenient solutions to users desiring to play lottery games. The present invention provides a system and method of playing lottery games, and buying and printing lottery tickets, using user-friendly software on small mobile/wireless computing devices such as mobile phone, PDA etc. The system is transparent to the players as far as method of playing the games is concerned. Typically, players play the game in much the same manner as they have played in past. However, the user interface is provided through software operating on a small hand held mobile computing device such as a mobile phone, PDA, or other suitable mobile computer. The graphical user interface on software at the mobile player's end has been optimized for a wide range of small mobile computing devices starting from low range mobile phones to high end mobile phones and PDAs. Thousands of retailers are replaced by software running on the server at a service provider's premises. Each of the plays is observed and recorded by software running at service provider's premises. Data relevant to each play is also provided to software running at a state lottery office. The system not only makes it convenient for players to play and buy lottery tickets while being anywhere in the access area of a wireless communication network but also creates a convenient alternative to the retailer chain model of lottery game play, thus shortening and simplifying the process chain of the game.

The system and method of the present invention in one embodiment provides the following services relevant to lottery game play:

    • 1) Create player's profile while registration and create his user name and password for accessing his account;
    • 2) Manage player's balance for the game, paid either by credit card or check posted to the withholding service provider's office;
    • 3) Play a selected game out of several games offered by state lottery office;
    • 4) Buy and print the lottery ticket for the same;
    • 5) Manage database for each of the plays and players on a server at service provider's end and duplicating a copy of the same on server at state lottery office whenever requested by state lottery office;
    • 6) Keep the software updated for all the new games offered by the state lottery office and new security patches;
    • 7) Provide a way to transfer data to state lottery office which is simpler than that of retailer chain model.

FIG. 1 shows the system architecture for the lottery playing system in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. The lottery game is played at a mobile Player's end 101 and a plurality of such mobile player end terminals are controlled by the service provider's premises terminal 102. Finally, the state lottery office 103 receives data regarding each play to cross check for numerous security measures embedded into the system against any winnings claimed by the player. In one embodiment, the lottery play system consists of three software modules running at these three locations. The first module, referred to herein as ‘LottoMaster’, runs on a server 105 at a service provider's premises 102. The second module, referred to herein as ‘LottoMobile’, runs on small mobile computing devices such as mobile phones, PDAs, or other mobile computers 104 at the mobile player's end. The third module, referred to herein as ‘LottoState’, runs on server 106 at a state lottery office 103.

LottoMobile 104 is preferably designed to run on a wide range of small mobile/wireless computing devices, from low-end mobile phones to high-end mobile phones, PDAs, and other high-end mobile devices. Such mobile devices may be designed to operate over any existing and future mobile communication network. However, as per existing mobile devices and mobile communication networks, there are two basic requirements for small mobile computing devices to run LottoMobile 104 to play lottery games via the present system, which are as follows.

The small mobile computing device should be enabled to run one or more external software applications based on a mobile application development environment, such as Java, BREW (Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless), or Microsoft .NET Compact Framework;

The small mobile computing device should be enabled for one or more wireless data communication protocols, such as High Speed Circuit Switched Data (HSCSD), General Packet Radio Services (GPRS), Universal Mobile Telecommunication Services (UMTS) or Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA), to communicate with LottoMaster 105 running on the server at service provider's premises.

The LottoMobile module 104 is preferably optimized for best performance as per the supported mobile application environment and mobile communication network. The graphical user interface of the LottoMobile module 104 is also preferably optimized as per screen size and other features of small mobile computing device on which it is running. LottoMobile enables players to play the offered lottery games, select numbers, and buy lottery tickets from their mobile computing device regardless of their location. Player can print their previously purchased lottery tickets using a printer 107 connected directly to a mobile device using a data cable, infrared communication link, or other wireless technology such as Bluetooth. The mobile device can also be indirectly connected to the printer 107 via a computer using a customized software interface.

The LottoMaster module 105 monitors a plurality of LottoMobile modules 104 and manages databases containing information concerning each lottery play. The LottoMaster module 105 also manages account balances of players, paid either by credit card or check posted to service provider office. The LottoState module 106 receives a copy of all data regarding each play from the LottoMaster module 105 before the winning number drawing for each game, and crosschecks for each claim of winnings; it also maintains records of each play and account balances with the service provider. All three of the software modules communicate over one or more secure data communication networks in a serial fashion, as shown for example in FIG. 1. Communication in serial fashion among these software modules means information flows from LottoMobile to LottoMaster, and is then transferred to LottoState from LottoMaster. There is no direct access to the state lottery office data bank from the plurality of mobile player end terminals/software modules, thereby providing substantially improved security. The network 108 between the LottoMobile module 104 and the LottoMaster module 105 may be a combination of wireless and wired communications. For example, the network from the mobile device to the mobile service carrier end may be wireless while from there onwards to LottoMaster at the service provider's premises is wired communication. On the other hand, the network 109 between LottoMaster 105 and LottoState 106 is a secure data communication network using infrastructure such as the internet. Various network security features may be deployed over both the networks to keep the data protected.

FIG. 2 is a flowchart 200 of the steps in a complete process of the state lottery game in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. When the LottoMaster module 105 is up and running at a service provider's end 102, it monitors all of the games played at mobile player end 101 using the LottoMobile module 104. At this time, if a new player wants to play a game, then in accordance with step 201 of FIG. 2, the player installs the LottoMobile module on his mobile computing device. At the same time, the software is also remotely checked for authentication by the LottoMaster module. Once installed, the player must register himself in the lottery system using LottoMobile as per step 202 of FIG. 2, and this registration information is then sent to LottoMaster using a secure data communication network. In step 203 the LottoMaster module at a service provider's terminal manages the player's account balance to play. The player makes one or more payments to the service provider by credit card, by check, by electronic funds transfer, or by other suitable payment method. At the same step of execution, LottoMobile is checked to determine if any update is available to provide new games being offered by the state lottery, any new security patch, or other updated functionality.

As is shown in step 204, the player elects to play for a particular lottery game and selects one or more numbers for the same using a user-friendly graphical user interface provided by the LottoMobile module on a mobile computing device. However, the player can play only for those games/drawings, which are valid to play at the particular moment of time, i.e., those games for which the bounded time for playing the game/drawing is not over. This check is performed by the LottoMobile module using secure communication with the LottoMaster module. Once the particular game and numbers for the game are selected, the information concerning same is communicated to LottoMaster and the player's balance is updated in step 205 of FIG. 2. In step 206, the player can print the ticket using a printer connected directly or indirectly to his mobile computing device (mobile phone/PDA), as described above. The printed ticket may include several security measures to avoid any fraudulent claims.

Once the bounded time for a particular game is over, the service provider's software module, LottoMaster, submits the data and respective payments for the number of transactions associated with the game, in step 207, to the LottoState module running at the state lottery office. At a certain date and time, the winning numbers for the game are drawn at the state lottery office and information identifying the same is passed to the LottoMaster module. In accordance with step 208, the player can check for the winning number either from the official web-site of state lottery office or from LottoMobile via LottoMaster at service provider's premises. Winners claim their prize money, for example, by showing the printed tickets at the state lottery office in step 209, and state lottery office checks for authentication of the ticket by various security measures over the ticket in step 210. After authentication of the winning ticket, winnings can be provided to the player/owner of the claimed ticket as per step 211, and this completes a session for the game.

A more detailed flowchart of a process for playing state lottery games and buying and printing of lottery tickets using the LottoMobile module running on a player's small mobile computing device, such as mobile phone or PDA at the mobile player's end, is shown in FIGS. 3a and 3b. As is shown in the flowchart 300, once the player has installed the LottoMobile software and registered with the LottoMaster software, the player is asked to enter a PlayerName and Password to log into the lottery system, as is shown in step 301. In step 302, the LottoMobile module communicates the entered PlayerName and Password to LottoMaster over a secure data communication network. In step 303, the LottoMaster module, running on a server at the service provider's premises, validates the PlayerName and Password using its database or an external database. If the PlayerName is not registered or the Password is incorrect as determined in step 304, LottoMobile reports the unauthorized/unknown player in step 305; otherwise, the LottoMaster module communicates the player's balance information to LottoMobile, as shown in step 306. In the case of an unauthorized/unknown entry, step 305, LottoMobile asks the player either to login again or to exit. It should be noted that while a player is registered, LottoMaster ensures that every player has a unique player identification, e.g., PlayerName. No duplicity of PlayerName is allowed.

After displaying balance information to the player, LottoMobile checks whether the amount is sufficient to play at least a single game or not, as is shown in step 307 of FIG. 3a. In the case of an insufficient balance, or if player wishes to pay more, the LottoMobile module provides a means by which the player may add more credit to his account at this time using, e.g., a credit card or a check sent to the service provider, in step 308. In the case of a check sent by mail to the service provider, the player may communicate the check number and relevant information using LottoMobile, and the player's balance will be updated once the service provider receives the check. However, in the case where payment is made by credit card, the player's balance can be updated instantly. The disclosed lottery system may utilize other payment methods, such as prepaid cards, debit cards, or other electronic funds transfer means. The updated balance is shown once again in step 309 and game play begins in step 310 of FIG. 3a.

Once the game has started, LottoMobile offers the option to play any of a plurality of lottery games offered by the state lottery office, in step 311. The player selects the game to play. In the same step, the player also chooses the draw in which to participate (i.e. Daily/Weekly/Monthly etc. draws). It should be noted that final selection of the game and draw is done after a data interchange with LottoMaster is performed to check that the bounded time for the game is still not over and the player is authenticated to play the selected game and draw. The LottoMobile module may also allow the player to play the same numbers for advance lottery games. In this case, player provides input indicating the number of advance games he wishes to play. Thus, the player will select whether he wishes to play only for the current game or for advance games as well, and how many advance games, in the same step 311 of FIG. 3a. The option for advance play may vary depending on the particular game selected by the player, and per state lottery office rules.

After finalization of all the options regarding selection of game, the player enters into a selected game. A range of numbers is displayed on screen as per rules of the selected game in step 312 of FIG. 3a. In step 313, the player can select a number or numbers using a user-friendly graphical interface provided by the LottoMobile module. The player can either pick the numbers of his choice manually or he can request that the software randomly select numbers for him. At this moment of the game, the LottoMobile module requests player input as to the number of tickets to buy with the selected numbers for the selected game for the selected draw, in the same step 313 of FIG. 3b.

Before the selected numbers and game are finalized, the player is preferably requested to confirm for the selected game and selected numbers, with all of his selections explicitly displayed, three times, in step 314. This is significant in the case of auto selection of numbers by software. If the player denies confirming, in step 315, the selected game/numbers, LottoMobile starts the game once again, bringing the player back to the game selection page, i.e., step 310 of FIG. 3a. After confirmation from the player, the LottoMobile module determines whether the player's balance is sufficient to buy the desired tickets or not in step 316. If the balance is not sufficient, as in step 317, the player is notified regarding the same. In this case, the player may either pay more as per the usual method of payment, or change his ticket buying preferences, or completely exit from the game, depending on his choice in step 318. On the contrary, if the balance is sufficient to buy the selected tickets, the LottoMobile module communicates the relevant information to the LottoMaster module running on the remote server at the service provider's premises in step 319 of FIG. 3b.

The LottoMaster module maintains all data regarding every play, and transmits acknowledgements to LottoMobile for receipt of information regarding the play, in step 320 of FIG. 3b. In step 321, the LottoMobile module reports the player confirmation for the game after receiving acknowledgement from LottoMaster. The LottoMobile module displays the image of printable tickets on screen in accordance with purchased lottery tickets in the same step. The player can print the ticket instantly or at later time at his election in step 322. The LottoMobile module saves the information about the game in its data base in step 323 and the player is also updated as to the remaining balance. If the player wishes to play more in step 324, the LottoMobile module returns the player to the balance acquisition page from LottoMaster, and a new game is started; otherwise, the current login session for the player is terminated. Thus the disclosed method of playing lottery games using software on small mobile computing devices retains the basic manner of playing the game intact while making the same more automatic, user friendly, mobile and convenient by avoiding visits to the retail store each time the player wishes to play. This provides significant advantages to both the players and the state alike.

Once the bounded time for a particular game is over, i.e., before the drawing of winning numbers for a particular game, the LottoState module requests from the LottoMaster module the complete data regarding each play for the game. The LottoMaster module transfers the requested data to the LottoState module over the secure data communication network. This process not only makes all data available to the state lottery office before any drawing to securely handle any claims of winnings, but also makes the system secure against intruders attempting to buy a ticket for a game whose winning numbers are already declared, as once the data regarding any game has been forwarded to LottoState, LottoMaster does not allow players to play for that game and none of the players has access to the state lottery office server. Once the winning numbers are drawn, they are transmitted to the LottoMaster module so that LottoMobile users can check for winning numbers, using LottoMobile via LottoMaster. After declaring winning numbers and gathering the relevant data from LottoMaster, the state lottery office is ready to handle any claims for winnings for the game, using LottoState. The LottoState module preferably includes an interface with bar code reader 110, as shown in FIG. 1, to read the bar code printed on the ticket. The LottoState module decodes the read code using secure algorithm and keys which are only accessible to LottoState, and generates the relevant information. The information is first checked against the printed information on the ticket in order to confirm that the player has not changed the printed numbers by improper means since it is extremely difficult to have a properly encoded bar code equivalent to a modified number. In addition, the LottoState module also cross checks the same information with the data collected from LottoMaster to provide added security. The system and method in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention enables state lottery officials to know, in advance, the identification and location of winning tickets and their owners, prior to the claims made by the players. This facilitates authentication of the lottery ticket against any claim for winnings, and makes the same more secure. Once all the information is matched and printed ticket is authenticated, the winnings can be handed over to the owner.

The LottoState module may include special provisions to handle advance-play tickets. Whenever a player makes a claim for winnings with a ticket which is valid for next games as well, the player receives a special re-printed ticket upon return of the submitted ticket. The state lottery office prints such special ticket using LottoState and a printer 111, as shown in FIG. 1, connected to the server, on receipt of submitted ticket. The re-printed ticket is valid for next advance games in place of the submitted ticket.

The system and method of the invention in certain embodiments thus not only provides a very convenient alternative to visiting a retail store each time a player desires to play a lottery game, but also simplifies the process chain of the game. The system and method in certain embodiments incorporates numerous security measures to assure a secure game. In accordance with one embodiment, security measures are embedded into the system and method as follows.

    • Even though a lottery game is played from a small mobile computing device, the player receives a printed copy of the lottery ticket. This equates to the current security level of printed lottery tickets.
    • Lottery tickets printed using the LottoMobile module include not only the numbers chosen by the player for a particular game but also other information such as game type, player's unique user identification number/code, LottoMobile software authentication identification number/code, time and date of play, amount paid, and other information printed on it. This makes the printed lottery ticket itself resistant to theft or modification.
    • Every lottery ticket printed using the system is unique, regardless of player end software, game, draw, numbers selected, advanced plays, date and time of purchase and number of tickets purchased using the unique encrypted code out of all this information. This facilitates tracing of any ticket purchased.
    • The printed lottery ticket also includes an encoded bar code printed on it containing substantial information. Reading and decoding of this bar code can only be performed at the state lottery office using LottoState interfaced with a bar code reader. The decoding of the bar code uses secure algorithms and keys.
    • The LottoMobile module allows only one time printing of a ticket for a play. No duplicity of lottery tickets is allowed. Loss of a printed ticket is the responsibility of the player, as in prior retail-based systems.
    • Before a player is allowed to select numbers for a selected game and drawing, the LottoMobile module obtains permission from the LottoMaster module. This allows each play to be monitored, and allows the player to play only for those games for which time permits and his balance permits.
    • The LottoMaster module retains a record of each play and maintains a player's account balance available to play lottery games.
    • The LottoState module receives all the records regarding every play for a particular game before the bounded time is over. Once the data has been transferred to the LottoState module, play for the particular game is halted.
    • Multiple backups are kept of all the data at service provider's server end and state lottery office end, along with printed hard copy of all data at both locations. This gives full assurance against any system failure.
    • Communication between the LottoMobile module and the LottoMaster module, and between the LottoMaster module and the LottoState module, are performed using secure data communication protocols with numerous security features taken into account, including digital signatures, firewalls, encryption and other known security measures.
    • The server at the state lottery office is not kept on open web access; only a secure communication link with this server may be used.
    • The LottoState module enables state lottery officials to know, in advance, the identification and location of winning tickets and their owners, prior to claims being made by the players. This facilitates authentication of the lottery ticket against any claim for winnings, and makes the same more secure.

The invention in various embodiments described above provides significant improvements in convenience of playing lottery games, and buying and printing lottery tickets, by enabling the same to be performed from small mobile computing devices. The invention further provides, in certain aspects, a simplified process utilizing an automatic and secure system, which has significant advantages for both the state lottery office and the players. The present invention in certain embodiments further provides a system and method for playing lottery games, and buying and printing lottery tickets, using software on small mobile computing devices, as many times as the player wishes while providing numerous security measures embedded into the system. Software may be provided at the service provider's premises to monitor every play for each of the games offered on the system, and maintain players' account balances available to play lottery games. The invention can be utilized to shorten and simplify the process chain of lottery play by eliminating thousands of retailers from the chain. Software and systems at a state lottery office receive copies of all play records in a manner whereby claims for winnings can be securely handled.

While the invention has been particularly explained with reference to a preferred software implementation, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes in form and detail may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. For example, each module described above may be implemented via one or a plurality of software components.