Title:
Method of Reading Gaming Documents in a Gaming Terminal, and a Set of Gaming Elements for Implementing the Method
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention relates to reading gaming documents in a gaming terminal suitable for reading two types of document: rectangular gaming grids on which information is printed in lines parallel to the edge for presentation to an insertion window, and elongate rectangular gaming receipts of varying lengths on which information is printed in lines parallel to the short side; the gaming receipts are presented to the window with their long sides in the prone position; they possess a characteristic different from that of the gaming grids and suitable for being detected in the terminal so as to enable presented documents to be identified as gaming receipts rather than gaming grids; the detected data read parallel to the long side of a receipt is converted into real data corresponding to information printed on the receipt in lines parallel to the short side.



Inventors:
Chaussade, Xavier (Paris, FR)
Lallemant, Jean F. (Paris, FR)
Application Number:
11/612386
Publication Date:
07/05/2007
Filing Date:
12/18/2006
Assignee:
SAGEM DEFENSE SECURITE (Paris, FR)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
KIM, KEVIN Y
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MARSHALL, GERSTEIN & BORUN LLP (CHICAGO, IL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method of reading gaming documents in a gaming terminal, the terminal comprising: an elongate window for inserting a document to be read; drive means for driving the document transversely to the long direction of the window; and a strip of CIS sensors disposed parallel to the window over the entire length thereof and downstream from the window (in the document travel direction); the terminal being suitable for reading the following two types of document: gaming grids of rectangular format on which information is printed in lines parallel to the edge whereby the grids are presented to the window; and gaming receipts of elongate rectangular format of varying lengths on which information is printed in lines parallel to the short side; wherein the gaming receipts are presented to the window via their long side in the prone position, wherein the gaming receipts possess a characteristic different from that of gaming grids and suitable for being detected in the terminal so as to identify the documents presented as gaming receipts rather than gaming grids, and wherein the detected data read parallel to the long side of the receipts is converted into real data corresponding to the information printed on the receipts in lines parallel to the short side thereof.

2. A method according to claim 1, wherein one edge of a gaming receipt, constituting the edge for presentation to the window, includes at least one mark suitable for identifying the presented document as a gaming receipt rather than a gaming grid.

3. A method according to claim 2, wherein the mark is a sign printed on the receipt.

4. A method according to claim 2, wherein the marks are alphanumeric signs printed on the receipt.

5. A method according to claim 4, wherein the marks are alphanumeric signs constituting a code for verifying the authenticity of gaming receipts.

6. A method according to claim 1, wherein the mark is printed on gaming receipts in at least one color that is different from the color of the information carried on the receipts.

7. A method according to claim 1, wherein gaming grids and gaming receipts are made of different materials, and wherein the material of a document inserted into the terminal is detected in order to identify the document as a gaming receipt rather than a gaming grid.

8. A set of elements for use in gaming to implement the method according to claim 1, the set comprising: a gaming terminal including: an elongate window for inserting a document to be read; drive means for driving the document transversely to the long direction of the window; and a strip of CIS sensors disposed parallel to the window over its entire length and downstream from the window in the document travel direction; rectangular format gaming grids on which information is printed in lines parallel to the edge whereby said grids are suitable for being presented to the window of the terminal in order for them to be read in the terminal; and elongate rectangular format gaming receipts on which information is printed in lines parallel to the short side, the gaming receipts being suitable for being presented to the window of the terminal in order to be read in the terminal; wherein the gaming receipts possess a characteristic that distinguishes them from gaming grids, wherein the terminal includes means for detecting said characteristic identifying the document presented as a gaming receipt rather than a gaming grid, and wherein the terminal includes shifter means suitable for converting the detected data read parallel to the long side of the document, identified as a receipt presented prone via its long side to the insertion window, into real data corresponding to the information printed on the receipt in lines parallel to the short side thereof, whereby the terminal is suitable for processing gaming receipts presented with their long sides prone to the insertion window.

9. A set according to claim 8, wherein one edge of a gaming receipt, the edge for presentation to the window of the terminal, includes at least one mark suitable for identifying the presented document as a gaming receipt rather than a gaming grid.

10. A set according to claim 9, wherein the mark is a sign printed on the receipt.

11. A set according to claim 9, wherein the mark is a sign printed on the receipt, and wherein the marks are alphanumeric signs printed on the receipt.

12. A set according to claim 9, wherein the mark is a sign printed on the receipt, wherein the marks are alphanumeric signs printed on the receipt, and wherein the marks formed by alphanumeric signs constitute a code for verifying the authenticity of gaming receipts.

13. A set according to claim 8, wherein the mark printed on the gaming receipt is printed in at least one color different from that of the information carried on the receipt.

14. A set according to claim 8, wherein the gaming grids and the gaming receipts are made of different materials, and wherein the terminal includes means for detecting the material constituting a document, which means are suitable for identifying said document as a gaming receipt rather than a gaming grid.

Description:

The present invention relates to improvements in the field of reading gaming documents.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

With reference to FIGS. 1A and 1B of the accompanying drawings, a gaming terminal given overall reference 1 comprises:

    • an elongate window 2 for inserting a document to be read;
    • drive means 3 (such as pinch wheels) for driving the document transversely to the long direction of the window (arrow 4); and
    • a strip 5 of optical contact image sensors (CIS) disposed parallel to the window 2 along the length thereof and downstream from the window 2 in the document travel direction. A terminal of this type is conventionally suitable for reading the following two types of document:
    • gaming grids 6 (drawn in chain-dotted lines in FIG. 1A) of rectangular format on which information is printed in lines parallel to the edge whereby such gaming grids 6 are presented to the window 2 (in the example shown it is assumed that the gaming grid 6 is an elongate rectangular card inserted into the window via one of its long sides); and
    • gaming receipts 7 of elongate rectangular format on which information is printed in lines parallel to the short side, such gaming receipts 7 being conventionally presented to the window 2 via a short side.

In other words, both types of document are presented to the window 2 head first, i.e. in the direction that enables the information written thereon to be read.

It is recalled that a player's bets can be represented on gaming grids, with one grid per game, which grids are read in the terminal and recorded. Bets can also be entered directly into the terminal using a keyboard or a touch-sensitive screen. Either way, the terminal issues a single receipt on which information is printed about all of the bets that a player has placed. Subsequently, the receipt is itself read in turn by the terminal in order to read the information carried on the receipt and validate or invalidate the receipt as a function of whether bets are winning or losing (special marking is applied to a receipt, at least in the event of a winning bet being validated).

The receipts 7 are segments cut from a roll of strip material (in practice paper), and they are cut to varying lengths depending on the amount of information written thereon. Thus, if a player makes bets in a plurality of successive games, the receipt will combine all of the information relating to those bets in the successive games as a list. For a clearer idea, FIG. 2A shows an example of a receipt 7A having information 8A recorded thereon relating to a single game, while FIG. 2B shows a receipt 7B having recorded thereon information 8B relating to three games: comparing the receipts 7A and 7B shown in FIGS. 2A and 2B respectively makes it perfectly clear that they have different respective lengths.

Under such conditions, the receipts 7 may have a wide variety of lengths (e.g. 100 millimeters (mm) to 200 mm) depending on the number of games recorded, whereas they are constant in width (e.g. 80 mm) and their width is shorter than their length, as shown diagrammatically in FIG. 1A.

The relatively long length of a receipt that varies from one receipt to another leads to practical difficulties in operation since the time required for reading the document, given that the document is driven at constant predetermined speed, varies as a function of the length of the document. The user of the gaming terminal is thus unable to predict how long it will take to process some given number of players. Given the above dimensions, this travel direction is thus penalizing from the performance point of view, particularly when the document is long.

Furthermore, receipts obtained by cutting segments from a roll of strip material possess a certain amount of curvature that becomes more pronounced on approaching the end of the roll. As a result, on leaving the terminal, receipts are curved to a greater or lesser extent, or even rolled up, and they drop onto a receiver tray 9 in higgledy-piggledy manner. This means that the tray needs to be overdimensioned and leads to the terminal being relatively voluminous.

It is also emphasized that it is difficult, without help from an appropriate guide device, to insert a long receipt into the window 2 via its short side in a position that ensures it is properly aligned. From this ergonomic point of view, inserting long receipts into the window 2 via their short sides can be difficult, particularly when the receipts are very long.

Also, longer travel is unfavorable to the quality of the resulting image, and consequently increases the risk of the receipt being read wrongly.

OBJECTS AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An essential object of the invention is to provide an improved solution that enables the above-encountered drawbacks to be avoided.

To this end, in a first aspect, the invention provides a method of reading gaming documents in a gaming terminal, the terminal comprising:

    • an elongate window for inserting a document to be read;
    • drive means for driving the document transversely to the long direction of the window; and
    • a strip of CIS sensors disposed parallel to the window over the entire length thereof and downstream from the window;
    • the terminal being suitable for reading the following two types of document:
    • gaming grids of rectangular format on which information is printed in lines parallel to the edge whereby the grids are presented to the window; and
    • gaming receipts of elongate rectangular format of varying lengths on which information is printed in lines parallel to the short side;

wherein the gaming receipts are presented to the window via their long side in the prone position, wherein the gaming receipts (7) possess a characteristic different from that of gaming grids and suitable for being detected in the terminal (1) so as to identify the documents presented as gaming receipts rather than gaming grids, and wherein the detected data read parallel to the long side of the receipts is converted into real data corresponding to the information printed on the receipts in lines parallel to the short side thereof.

Implementing the provisions in accordance with the invention is made possible by the fact that the terminal is fitted with optical CIS sensors that operate independently of the patterns presented thereto. The strip of optical CIS sensors thus detects data that is meaningless on the receipt traveling through in a prone position. However electronic shifter means are commonly available, in particular computer means, of the matrix register type that are suitable for playing back the detected data in the order that is appropriate for reconstituting real data corresponding to the information actually printed on the receipt in lines parallel to the short side of the receipt.

Thus, by implementing the method of the invention, gaming receipts are read from a document traveling sideways, where the document is relatively narrow (typically 80 mm, for example) so that reading time is constant and independent of the length of information written on the receipt. The time taken to read such receipts is therefore fixed and predetermined regardless of length, and it is also shorter.

Furthermore, even if the receipt is relatively curved (end of roll), a receipt that is inserted into the window in the prone position becomes curved transversely by the drive means (in practice a set of drive wheels distributed along the length of the insertion window and beneath it), so that it is ejected from the terminal in a substantially flattened configuration. Successive receipts can therefore stack correctly in a receptacle which can now be smaller dimensions. Overall the terminal becomes significantly more compact.

It is emphasized again that it is difficult to insert a long receipt into the insertion window 2 in a position that is properly aligned without help from an appropriate guide device, which guide device is also necessary for controlling skew while the document is traveling. This drawback is avoided by inserting a receipt in the prone position that encourages proper positioning.

Naturally, implementing the method of the invention assumes that receipts are of a length that does not exceed the length of the insertion window and the length of its bar of optical CIS sensors. In practice, this condition is satisfied given the maximum number of games that can be played as a group (e.g. of the order of about ten or 12).

In a practical configuration that is simple to implement, provision is made for one of the edges of a receipt, the edge for presentation to the terminal, to include at least one mark suitable for identifying the document being presented as a gaming receipt rather than a gaming grid. Other solutions could be envisaged, for example detecting the nature of the paper used to make receipts being different from the nature of the paper used for making gaming grids, e.g. by means of suitable lighting (e.g. gaming grids on normal paper while gaming receipts are on thermal paper).

Advantageously, the edge for presenting the receipt in the window may carry a plurality of marks following one another along said edge.

Preferably, the mark is a sign printed on the receipt.

Also preferably, the marks may be alphanumeric signs printed on the receipt that are suitable for being organized so as to constitute a code for verifying the authenticity of the gaming receipt. Still for the purpose of improving security, the mark may be printed on the gaming receipt in at least one color that is different from the color used for the information carried on the receipt, so as to avoid fraud, in particular by simple photocopying.

Otherwise, it is also possible to provide for gaming grids and gaming receipts to be made of different materials and for the material of a document inserted into the terminal to be detected in order to identify the document as a gaming receipt rather than a gaming grid.

In a second of its aspects, the invention also provides, for implementing the above method, a set of elements for gaming, the set comprising:

    • a gaming terminal including:
      • an elongate window for inserting a document to be read;
      • drive means for driving the document transversely to the long direction of the window; and
      • a strip of CIS sensors disposed parallel to the window over its entire length and downstream from the window in the document travel direction;
    • rectangular format gaming grids on which information is printed in lines parallel to the edge whereby said grids are suitable for being presented to the window of the terminal in order for them to be read in the terminal; and
    • elongate rectangular format gaming receipts on which information is printed in lines parallel to the short side, the gaming receipts being suitable for being presented to the window of the terminal in order to be read in the terminal;

wherein the gaming receipts possess a characteristic that distinguishes them from gaming grids, wherein the terminal includes means for detecting said characteristic identifying the document presented as a gaming receipt rather than a gaming grid, and wherein the terminal includes shifter means suitable for converting the detected data read parallel to the long side of the document, identified as a receipt presented prone via its long side to the insertion window, into real data corresponding to the information printed on the receipt in lines parallel to the short side thereof,

whereby the terminal is suitable for processing gaming receipts presented with their long sides prone to the insertion window.

In a preferred embodiment, provision is made for one of the edges of a gaming receipt, the edge that is presented to the window of the terminal, to include at least one mark suitable for identifying the presented document as a gaming receipt rather than a gaming grid.

Advantageously, the edge whereby the receipt is presented to the window may include a plurality of marks following one another along said edge. Preferably, the marks may be a sign printed on the receipt. Also preferably, the marks may be alphanumeric signs printed on the receipt, which signs can then be organized to constitute a code for verifying the authenticity of the gaming receipt. For security reasons, the mark printed on the gaming receipt can be printed in at least one color that is different from the color of the information carried on the receipt, so as to avoid frauds.

In a variant embodiment of the set in accordance with the invention, gaming grids and gaming receipts are made of different materials and the terminal includes means for detecting the material constituting a document and suitable for identifying said document as a gaming receipt rather than a gaming grid.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention can be better understood on reading the following detailed description of certain preferred embodiments given purely as non-limiting examples. In the description, reference is made to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1A is a simplified perspective of a gaming terminal to which the invention applies;

FIG. 1B is a simplified cross-section view of the FIG. 1A gaming terminal;

FIGS. 2A and 2B show examples of gaming receipts of different lengths and arranged in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 3A is a simplified perspective view of a gaming terminal arranged in accordance with the invention, showing how receipts are processed in accordance with the invention; and

FIG. 3B is a simplified cross-section view of the FIG. 3A gaming terminal arranged in accordance with the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIGS. 3A and 3B (in which the same elements are designated by the same numerical references) show a terminal of the kind shown in FIGS. 1A and 1B, having the short receipt 7A of FIG. 3A presented to its window 2 in an insertion position that is prone, in accordance with the provisions of the invention. To enable the procedure of the invention and the main advantage obtained therefrom to be understood, there can also be seen (in chain-dotted lines) the long receipt 7B of FIG. 3B in its insertion position that is likewise prone.

With reference to FIGS. 3A and also 3B, it can readily be understood that since both receipts 7A and 7B have the same dimension (the same width) in the travel direction (arrow 4) they will be subjected to read times that are equal and independent of their length, providing they are caused to move at identical constant speed past the strip 5 of sensors.

In accordance with the invention, provision is made for gaming receipts 7 to possess at least one specific characteristic, e.g. a physical and/or chemical characteristic, that is either applied thereto (e.g. by printing) or else is intrinsic, serving to distinguish them from gaming grids. The terminal 1 then includes detection means suitable for detecting this characteristic identifying the document that is presented as a gaming receipt rather than a gaming grid.

Numerous solutions are available to the person skilled in the art for implementing this provision effectively. In particular, if the characteristic is an intrinsic physical and/or chemical characteristic, it is appropriate for the detector means to be adapted to detecting this characteristic. Thus, provision can be made for gaming receipts and grids to be provided on media of different kinds, and to implement detection of the kind of material that constitutes the medium in order to identify a document as being a receipt rather than a gaming grid. For this purpose, means (not shown in FIGS. 3A, 3B) are incorporated in the terminal in order to determine the material from which inserted documents are made, thus making it possible to identify a document as a gaming receipt rather than a gaming grid. For example, while gaming grids can be made on paper or thin grid, gaming receipts can be made on thermal paper. The detector means can then include lighting adapted to reveal the “thermal paper” characteristic (e.g. by using ultraviolet lighting and a corresponding sensor).

Nevertheless, a solution that is simple to implement, both when issuing receipts and when reading them, consists in modifying the physical nature of the receipt, in other words in applying a characteristic thereto (i.e. a characteristic that is not intrinsic). Thus, as shown on the receipts 7A and 7B of FIGS. 3A and 3B respectively, each receipt may include or receive along one of its longitudinal edges 10, constituting its edge for insertion into the window 2 of the terminal, at least one mark 9 suitable for identifying the presented document as a gaming receipt rather than a gaming grid. Advantageously, the edge of the receipt that is presented to the window has a plurality of marks 9 following one another along said edge, and in particular all along its length so that it is possible to verify the integrity of the receipt. In particular, the mark may be a sign printed on the receipt, and under such conditions, it is the strip 5 of CIS sensors itself that constitutes the sensor suitable for detecting the characteristic formed by the printed sign.

In an advantageous embodiment, the marks may be alphanumeric signs printed on the receipt, thus making it possible to devise a very large number of possible combinations. It is then possible to envisage that the marks in the form of alphanumeric signs constitute a code for checking the authenticity of the gaming receipt.

Advantageously, still for the purpose of checking the authenticity of the receipt and avoiding fraud, e.g. by photocopying, it is possible to provide for the marks to be printed on the gaming receipt in at least one color that is different from the color of the gaming information carried by the receipt.

Nevertheless, it should be emphasized that newly-issued gaming receipts may include a line of authenticity-checking digits printed along a longitudinal edge (typically the right edge) of the receipt and that these digits may be printed in a color (typically red) that is different from the color used for printing receipts (typically black). Under such circumstances, the contribution of the invention lies in the additional function given to this line of digits, for identifying the edge of the receipt that is to be inserted into the window of the terminal.

Finally, as shown very diagrammatically in FIG. 3B, the terminal 1 is fitted with shifter means 11 suitable for converting the data detected by the strip 5 of sensors and read parallel to the long side of the receipt, into real data corresponding to the information printed on the receipt in lines parallel to its short side. The person skilled in the art has commonly available electronic shifter means, in particular computer means, of the matrix register type that are suitable for playing back the data detected by the sensors in the order appropriate for reconstituting the real data corresponding to the information actually printed on the receipt in lines parallel to its short side. In practice, gaming terminals of the type to which the invention applies are fitted with powerful computer means and the data conversion made necessary by reading receipts while in the prone position can be obtained in practice by means of a particular application defined in the computer means and without requiring any additional equipment to be provided.





 
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