Title:
SYSTEM FOR FACILITATING PARTICIPATION IN THE OUTCOME OF COMPETITIVE EVENTS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A system for facilitating participation in rewards arising from the outcome of a competitive event, including at least one computer server carrying a share issuance website accessible via a computer network. On request by one or more participants, the website issues shares to the said one or more participants from a set of shares in each of a plurality of players or teams who are to compete in a competitive event. After completion of the competitive event, the website issues a dividend to each of the participants who at a defined point in time hold shares in the player or team who has won the competitive event, which dividend is in proportion to the number of shares in the player or team held by the respective participants.



Inventors:
Hachem, Joseph (Victoria, AU)
Neophitou, Andrew (Victoria, AU)
Silver, Harvey (Victoria, AU)
Application Number:
11/769555
Publication Date:
07/03/2008
Filing Date:
06/27/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B71/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BLAISE, MALINA D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CHRISTENSEN O'CONNOR JOHNSON KINDNESS PLLC (Seattle, WA, US)
Claims:
1. A system for facilitating participation in rewards arising from the outcome of a competitive event, including: creating a set of shares in each of a plurality of players or teams who are to compete in a competitive event; issuing shares from each set to one or more participants; and, after completion of the competitive event, issuing a dividend to each of the participants who at a defined point in time hold shares in the player or team who has won the competitive event, which dividend is in proportion to the number of shares in the player or team held by the respective participants.

2. A system according to claim 1 further including overseeing or managing conduct of the competitive event.

3. A system according to claim 1 further including a step, before creating the sets of shares, of contracting the plurality of players or teams to compete in the competitive event.

4. A system according to claim 3 wherein a controller of the system has said contracts with said players or teams and oversees or manages conduct of the competitive event, and said issuance of shares includes issuance of parcels of shares to each of a number of other entities who operate websites at which services include said issuance of those shares to participants via a computer network.

5. A system according to claim 1 wherein said participants include intermediate entities and the system further includes said intermediate entities purchasing one or more of the sets of shares and then issuing shares to a plurality of further participants.

6. A system according to claim 5 wherein said issuance of shares to the participants, or to the further participants by said intermediate entities, is by an online transaction from a website at a computer server via a computer network.

7. A system according to claim 6 wherein said computer network is the Internet.

8. A system according to claim 1 wherein said issuance of shares to the participants is by an online transaction from a website at a computer server via a computer network.

9. A system according to claim 1 wherein said issuance of the shares is for a fee or price per share.

10. A system according to claim 1 wherein said issuance of shares is for redemption of loyalty or frequent customer points.

11. A system according to claim 6 including operating an online share register for trading the issued shares prior to, or during, or up to and during, a defined event.

12. A system according to claim 11 wherein said defined event is the final outcome of said competitive event.

13. A system according to claim 8 including operating an online share register for trading the issued shares prior to, or during, or up to and during, a defined event.

14. A system according to any claim 1 further including operating an online broadcast and or telecast of said competitive event.

15. A system according to claim 14 wherein said broadcast or telecast is time-delayed.

16. A system according to claim 1 wherein said competitive event is a sporting tournament.

17. A system according to claim 1 wherein said competitive event is a card game tournament.

18. A system according to claim 6 wherein said issuance of the dividend to each of the participants who are at the defined point in time holds shares in the player or team who has won the competitive event, is by electronic funds transfer or a similar process to an account in the name of the participant.

19. A system according to claim 18 wherein said participants include intermediate entities and the system further includes said intermediate entities purchasing one or more of the sets of shares and then issuing shares to a plurality of further participants, and said account is with said intermediate entity operating a website through which the shares have been issued.

20. A system according to claim 8 wherein said issuance of the dividend to each of the participants who are at the defined point in time holds shares in the player or team who has won the competitive event, is by electronic funds transfer or a similar process to an account in the name of the participant.

21. A system for participating in rewards arising from the outcome of a competitive event, including: receiving shares from one or more sets of shares that have respectively been created in each of a plurality of players or teams who are to compete in a competitive event; and, after completion of the competitive event, receiving a dividend for shares held at a defined point in time in the player or team who has won the competitive event, which dividend is in proportion to the number of shares held in the player or team.

22. A system according to claim 21 wherein said receipt of shares is by an online transaction from a website at a computer server via a computer network.

23. A system according to claim 22 wherein said computer network is the Internet.

24. A system for facilitating participation in rewards arising from the outcome of a competitive event, including at least one computer server carrying a share issuance website accessible via a computer network that, on request by one or more participants, issues shares to said one or more participants from a set of shares in each of a plurality of players or teams who are to compete in a competitive event, and that after completion of the competitive event, issues a dividend to each of the participants who at a defined point in time hold shares in the player or team who has won the competitive event, which dividend is in proportion to the number of shares in the player or team held by the respective participants.

25. A system according to claim 24 including a further computer server carrying a website in relation to said competitive event, at which website said participants may access an online broadcast and or telecast of the event.

26. A system according to claim 25 wherein said broadcast and or telecast is time-delayed.

27. A system according to claim 24 wherein said computer network is the Internet.

28. A system according to claim 24 wherein there are a plurality of said share issuance websites operated by intermediate entities for issuing shares from respective parcels of shares issued by a controller of the system.

29. A system according to claim 28 further including an online share register for trading the issued shares prior to, or during, or up to and during, a defined event.

30. A system according to claim 24 further including an online share register for trading the issued shares prior to, or during, or up to and during, a defined event.

31. A system according to claim 24 wherein said competitive event is a sporting tournament.

32. A system according to claim 24 wherein said competitive event is a card game tournament.

33. A system according to claim 24 further including an account at said share issuance website(s) for the or each said participant to which said dividends are issued by electronic funds transfer or a similar process.

34. A system according to claim 27 further including an account at said share issuance website(s) for the or each said participant to which said dividends are issued by electronic funds transfer or a similar process.

35. A system according to claim 24 further including a computer or other network accessing device for the or each participant.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates broadly to systems that facilitate public participation in the outcome of competitive events, but would typically be implemented by facilitating online participation via a computer network such as the Internet. The invention is especially suitable for use in connection with tournament-style competitive events, particularly but not exclusively tournaments in which individuals are competitors, in fields as diverse as tennis and poker.

The invention will be described herein with particular reference to facilitating online participation in poker tournaments but it is emphasised that this is merely exemplary and that the invention has much wider application.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Worldwide interest by individuals in the outcomes of competitive tournaments has been greatly enhanced in recent decades by advances in international telecommunications that allow individuals across the globe to feel an intimate presence at the event, whether it be world cup football, grand slam tennis, motor car racing or poker. For many, the interest is enhanced by a variety of opportunities to gamble on the outcome of the tournaments, or on successive rounds of the tournaments. In particular, online gambling is a growth industry, fuelled in part by the difficulty that national regulatory authorities have in controlling, licensing and taxing gambling websites on servers beyond their jurisdiction.

In many instances, the sense of participation in tournaments at remote locations has been enhanced by innovative techniques in audiovisual broadcasting of the events. For example, in the case of poker tournaments, the techniques include flash animation, the display of players' hole cards and chip counts, and displays of players' hands on a delayed transmission basis. In sporting tournaments, innovations include devices that measure ball velocity and the placement of cameras and microphones in the midst of the fray.

It is an object of the invention to provide further opportunities for enhancing the sense of participation by outside viewers in competitive events, and to enhance the degree of their stake in the outcome of such events.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention meets the aforementioned objects by issuing shares in each of the players or teams competing in an event and issuing dividends to the shareholders in the player or team who wins the event in proportion to the number of shares held.

The invention broadly provides, in one aspect, a system for facilitating participation in rewards arising from the outcome of a competitive event, comprising:

    • creating a set of shares in each of a plurality of players or teams who are to compete in a competitive event;
    • issuing shares from each set to one or more participants; and,
    • after completion of the competitive event, issuing a dividend to each of the participants who at a defined point in time hold shares in the player or team who has won the competitive event, which dividend is in proportion to the number of shares in the player or team held by the respective participants.

The system may further include, before creating the sets of shares, contracting the plurality of players or teams to compete in the competitive event.

The system may further include overseeing or managing conduct of the competitive event.

The invention further includes, in a second aspect, a system for participating in rewards arising from the outcome of a competitive event, comprising:

    • receiving shares from one or more sets of shares that have respectively been created in each of a plurality of players or teams who are to compete in a competitive event;
    • and, after completion of the competitive event, receiving a dividend for shares held at a defined point in time in the player or team who has won the competitive event, which dividend is in proportion to the number of shares held in the player or team.

The participants may include intermediate entities who can purchase one or more of the sets of shares and then issue the shares to a plurality of further participants.

For example, a controller of the system may have the contracts with the players or teams and oversee or manage conduct of the competitive event, and may issue parcels of shares to each of a number of other entities who may, for example, operate websites at which services include the issuance of the shares to participants via a computer network such as the Internet.

More generally, it is preferred that the participants, such as the further participants in the instance of there being an intermediate entity, are issued with their shares in an online transaction, e.g. via a computer network such as an intranet or local area network, or the Internet.

In a third aspect, the invention provides a system for facilitating participation in the outcome of a competitive event, comprising at least one computer server carrying a share issuance website accessible via a computer network that on request by one or more participants issues shares to said one or more participants from a set of shares in each of a plurality of players or teams who are to compete in a competitive event, and, after completion of the competitive event, issues a dividend to each of the participants who at a defined point in time hold shares in the player or team who has won the competitive event, which dividend is in proportion to the number of shares in the player or team held by the respective participants.

Preferably, there are a plurality of said share issuance websites operated by intermediate entities for issuing shares from respective parcels of shares issued by a controller of the system.

The issuance of the shares may typically be for a fee or price per share. Additionally or alternatively, issuance may be for redemption of loyalty or frequent customer points gained by the issuee participants.

The system in any of its aspects preferably includes operating an online share register for trading the issued shares prior to, or during, or up to and during, a defined event. It would be expected that the shares would be traded for amounts different from those for which they were issued, the differences reflecting, e.g. partial completion of the competitive event or changing perceptions of likely outcomes. The “defined event” may be the final outcome of the competitive event.

The system in any of its aspects may further include operating an online broadcast and or telecast of the event, preferably time delayed.

In any of the aspects of the invention, the competitive event may be a sporting tournament, or a card game tournament such as a poker tournament.

Issuance of the dividend to each of the participants who are at the defined point in time holds shares in the player or team who has won the competitive event, is preferably by electronic funds transfer or a similar process to an account in the name of the participant. This account would typically be with the aforementioned intermediate entity operating a website through which the shares have been issued.

Dividends may also be issued to shareholders in other players or teams who achieve defined outcomes or results.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawing. The drawing is a diagram of a system for practising of a preferred embodiment of the invention by a first entity that organises and manages a poker tournament and the players in the tournament, and issues shares in the players via intermediate entities operating separate websites for online issuance of shares in the players.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS

The illustrated embodiment of the invention involves the issuance of shares in each of a number of players P1 . . . Pn competing in a poker tournament at a poker table 12. Each player P1 . . . Pn is exclusively contracted to a respective poker participation entity that operates a poker participation website W1 . . . Wn on a computer server 141 . . . 14n that may be accessed by a network such as the Internet (represented notionally at I). There may of course be more than one player contracted to a website, or more than one website affiliated to an individual player or players from various poker participation websites at poker table 12. The poker game at table 12 is overseen and managed by a management entity that operates a tournament website T on a computer server 20.

It will be understood that poker table may be a physical location at which the players sit or it may be merely a virtual representation of a game between a number of players playing online at the same time from their computers at different locations around the world rather than simply all being in the same place at the same time.

Each poker participation entity pays the management entity a fee (represented by line 22) for which it is licensed or otherwise authorised (line 23) to hold a set of shares in the player or players with which it is contracted, and to issue those shares to participants XA . . . XM via website W1 . . . Wn. Participants XA . . . XM log on via the Internet via their own computers or other network accessing devices MA . . . MM, and purchase shares, either for a fee or price per share or by redemption of loyalty or frequent customer points gained by the issuee participants. Each shareholder participant has an account 30M in a database at computer server 141 . . . 14n at the respective website W1 . . . Wn.

The management entity would typically include in its website 20 access to a database comprising a share registry 40 on which shares in the players P1 . . . Pn can be traded prior to a defined event, in this case typically the final outcome of the tournament. Alternatively, the share registry 40 might be at a separate website to which there are links at website 20. Once shares have been issued to individual shareholders from websites W1 . . . Wn, the shareholding is or can be registered with share registry 40. Just as with other stockmarkets, buyers and sellers can bid for shares in each player P1 . . . Pn, with holders nominating a sell price and buyers putting in their bids.

For example, our on-line participant who exchanged his frequent player points for 1000 shares in player X may consider that he never paid “real” money for the shares, and, though they are valued at $1000, might be happy to sell them for $800. A smart buyer might snap them up, knowing that, should X win, the payout on the 1000 shares will be, eg, $10,000, so he is obtaining odds of better than 12-1 on a 10-1 shot.

Conversely, a shareholder participant might retain his shares and back that X makes the last five at the table and still has a decent chip stack. Then, during play, when trading of shares will be at its most frenzied, he might put in a sell offer for his 1000 shares of $1800 knowing that he is offering better than 5-1 odds and will thus have no shortage of takers.

The share registry 40 will typically be administered by a reputable stockbroking firm, with contract notes issued for shareholdings and a percentage brokerage fee charged per trade in the usual manner.

The management entity supervises and manages the poker tournament, which may typically be held in a suitable venue and be broadcast “live” 50 on the Internet so that the many investors XA . . . XM who are shareholders in players P1 . . . Pn can follow the tournament, and therefore their investment, in substantially real time as the tournament is being played. At the completion of the tournament the management entity issues a dividend to each of the shareholders in the winning player in proportion to the number of shares in that player held by the respective participants. Typically the dividend will be transferred online to their nominated account 30M at the website W1 . . . Wn to which the winning player is contracted.

As mentioned, the tournament would typically be broadcast “live” 50 on the Internet. The broadcast would be via a flash animation, similar to the way online poker tournaments are presently portrayed. The broadcast would include features such as identification of hole cards, winning percentages and chip stacks. A full Internet broadcast of the tournament may be also available, for example by pay per view registration and might be a streaming video version of the television broadcast.

The broadcast would necessarily be on a delayed basis to ensure integrity of the event.

By way of example only, the poker tournament might have ten of the world's leading poker players at table 12. In each player a million shares are issued at a face value of, say, US$1.00 each. All or a substantial proportion of the shareholders' funds would be distributed as a dividend to the shareholders in the winning player, a very substantial return on investment.

It will be appreciated that, while the above embodiment has been described in terms of a poker tournament, the event could well be any sporting event such as a grand slam tennis tournament and the players P1 . . . Pn the world's leading ranked players. Moreover, P1 . . . Pn might be teams rather than individual players in a team tournament such as a World Cup in a football, cricket or other sports code. Moreover, shareholders described as participants herein may of course be either individuals or companies or syndicates or other forms of joint ownership by multiple individuals.