Title:
Cushioned gaming device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A gaming device provides enhanced player comfort by way of one or more cushions, bumpers or other padded members ergonomically located to prevent harmful, injurious or offensive player contact. The gaming device is configured with one or more cushions situated for contact with a player's knees, legs, shins or combinations thereof. For gaming devices configured with a coin tray, the invention provides a coin tray that is centrally located and is flanked on each side by a cushion or padded member. The cushions and/or coin tray may be mounted to the housing or front door of the gaming device.



Inventors:
Mou, Oliver (North Las Vegas, NV, US)
Borissov, Milo (Dubai, AE)
Application Number:
11/818420
Publication Date:
12/18/2008
Filing Date:
06/13/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
KAMAL, SHAHID
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WEIDE & MILLER, LTD. (LAS VEGAS, NV, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A gaming device configured to present at least one wagering game, the gaming device having a housing, at least one device configured to display game information, and a coin tray into which one or more coins may be dispensed, the coin tray located at a front portion of the gaming device, the coin tray having a pair of ends, the improvement comprising: at least one cushion mounted to said gaming device and located adjacent to each end of the coin tray.

2. The gaming device in accordance with claim 1 wherein said gaming device further comprises a door located at a front of said housing, and wherein said coin tray is mounted to said door.

3. The gaming device in accordance with claim 1 wherein said coin tray is mounted to said housing of said gaming device.

4. The gaming device in accordance with claim 1 wherein said gaming device further comprises a door located at a front of said housing and said at least one cushion is mounted to said door.

5. The gaming device in accordance with claim 1 wherein said at least one cushion is mounted to said housing of said gaming device.

6. The gaming device in accordance with claim 1 wherein said at least one cushion is fabricated from an impact absorbing material.

7. The gaming device in accordance with claim 1 wherein said coin tray is generally centrally located between a pair of sides of said housing.

8. The gaming device in accordance with claim 1 wherein said a first cushion is located at a first end of said coin tray and a second cushion is located at a second end of said coin tray.

9. A gaming device comprising: a housing having a width, said width defined by a first side and an opposing second side; an access door pivotally connected to said housing, said access door having a width, said width defined by a first side and an opposing second side; a coin tray having a front wall, an opposing back wall, a first side wall, an opposing second side wall and a bottom wall, said coin tray mounted to said gaming device, said coin tray having a width defined by said first side wall and said second side wall, said coin tray positioned centrally with respect to a centerline extending between said first and second sides of said door; a first cushion having a front player surface, an opposing back surface, a first side surface, an opposing second side surface, a top surface and a bottom surface, said cushion mounted to said gaming device, wherein said second side surface of said cushion is adjacent said first side wall of said coin tray, said cushion extending from said first side wall of said coin tray to said first side of said door; and a second cushion having a front player surface, an opposing back surface, a first side surface, an opposing second side surface, a top surface and a bottom surface, said cushion mounted to said gaming device, wherein said first side surface of said cushion is adjacent said second side wall of said coin tray, said cushion extending from said second side wall of said coin tray to said second side of said door.

10. The gaming device in accordance with claim 9 wherein said width of said coin tray is a fraction of said width of said access door.

11. The gaming device in accordance with claim 10 wherein said fraction is about ⅓ of said width of said access door.

12. The gaming device in accordance with claim 9 wherein said coin tray is mounted to said door of said gaming device.

13. The gaming device in accordance with claim 12 wherein said back wall of said coin tray is mounted to said door.

14. The gaming device in accordance with claim 9 wherein said coin tray is mounted to said housing of said gaming device.

15. The gaming device in accordance with claim 9 wherein said back wall of said coin tray is mounted to said housing.

16. The gaming device in accordance with claim 9 wherein said first cushion and said second cushion is fabricated from an energy absorbing material.

17. The gaming device in accordance with claim 9 wherein said first cushion and said second cushion extend outwardly beyond said coin tray.

18. The gaming device in accordance with claim 17 wherein said gaming device further comprises at least one display configured to display wagering game information.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to wagering-type gaming devices. More specifically, the present invention relates to a gaming device including player comfort cushions or bumpers.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Gaming devices such as slot machines, video poker machines, and many of the new computerized multi-game devices have become extremely popular and are a primary customer attraction for many gaming and entertainment establishments. These gaming devices are typically arranged and configured to attract players. The player may engage in game play by sitting or standing at the gaming device. Because these gaming devices are income producing, the player is encouraged to play for extended periods of time. Frequently, a player may stay at a gaming device for several hours while attempting to win a large jackpot or obtain other cumulative winnings.

To promote extended gaming device participation, the player must be provided with a comfortable environment in which to play. Providing such an environment is a primary objective of gaming establishments. If the player is not comfortable, the player will likely cease game play and engage other activities, resulting in potential loss of revenue to the gaming establishment. To this end, gaming device designers and gaming establishments may provide refreshments, padded chairs, ashtrays, foot rests and other services or features for maintaining the comfort of the player.

Nonetheless, there are still various aspects of gaming devices which are not conducive to player comfort. In particular, many aspects of gaming devices are still configured primarily either with reference to historical design or for game functionality, and not player comfort.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is a cushioned gaming device providing increased player comfort and reducing the potential for injurious player contact. The gaming device provides one or more cushions, bumpers or other padded members ergonomically located to prevent harmful, injurious or offensive player contact and enhance the player's gaming experience. In a preferred embodiment, the gaming device is configured with one or more cushions situated for contact with a player's knees or legs. For gaming devices including a coin tray, the invention provides a coin tray that is centrally located and is flanked on each side by a cushion or padded member.

In one embodiment, the gaming device is configured to present at least one wagering game. The gaming device has a housing, at least one device configured to display game information, and a coin tray into which one or more coins may be dispensed. The coin tray is preferably located at a front portion of the gaming device and configured to receive coins dispensed from the gaming device. The coin tray has a pair of ends with at least one cushion mounted to the gaming device and located adjacent to each end of the coin tray. If the gaming device does not use a coin tray, at least one cushion is provided to protect various portions of a player's body such that the risk of player injury is reduced.

In other variations, the cushion and coin tray may be mounted to either the frontal access door or the housing of the gaming device. Additionally, a configuration in accordance with the invention may implement various mounting combinations for the cushion and/or coin tray. The coin tray maybe configured to occupy various locations and laterally extend across the front of the gaming device in various proportions. The cushions may be configured to protect the player from contact with various components of the gaming device such as the housing corners.

For a fuller understanding of the nature and advantages of the present invention over the prior art, reference should be made to the ensuing detailed description and claims, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a cushioned gaming device in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 illustrates an exploded view of a cushioned portion of the gaming device illustrated in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a gaming device in accordance with one configuration of the invention; and

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a gaming device in accordance with another configuration of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

In the following description, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a more thorough description of the present invention. It will be apparent, however, to one skilled in the art, that the present invention may be practiced without these specific details. In other instances, well-known features have been indicated but not described in detail so as not to obscure the invention.

In general, the invention is an improved gaming device. The gaming device includes one or more cushions, bumpers or other padded members for contact by a player. In a preferred embodiment, the gaming device is configured with one or more cushions for contact by a player's knees or legs. In one configuration of the invention, a coin tray of a gaming device is centrally located and is flanked on each side by a cushion or padded member for contact with a player's knees or shins.

FIG. 1 illustrates one embodiment of a gaming device 100 for use by a player in a seated or standing position. Preferably, the gaming device 100 is a wager-based gaming device configured to present one or more games to a player for the opportunity to acquire winnings or awards. The gaming device 100 traditionally comprises a housing or cabinet 102 for supporting and/or enclosing various components required for operation of the gaming device. The housing 102 has a width established between a first side 102a and an opposing second side 102b. A frontal primary access door 103 is pivotally connected to the housing 102 such that the door may be opened to access the internal components of the gaming device 100. The access door 103 has a width defined by a first side 103a and an opposing second side 103b. The door 103 may also comprise a support structure for other components of the gaming device 100 such as a coin tray or player input/control devices as described below.

Also illustrated in FIG. 1, the gaming device 100 has a value acceptor for accepting value which may be utilized for placing a wager. The value acceptor may comprise a coin slot 104 and/or a bill acceptor 106 by which the player may insert currency or tokens to establish credits used in placing wagers on the gaming device. The value acceptor might also comprise a card reader, such as for accepting and reading a credit, debit or similar card, a ticket reader or other devices know known or later developed.

Subsequent to the player inserting currency and establishing a credit base from which to wager, the gaming device 100 may display the number of credits on at least one display device 108, as well as game information. The display device 108 may comprise an electronic video display or be rotating reels or other elements for displaying game information to a player. The display device 108 in electronic video form may include but is not limited to one or more video displays of various types such as cathode ray tubes (CRT), high resolution flat panel liquid crystal displays (LCD), projection LCD, plasma displays, field emission displays, digital micro-mirror displays (D.M.D.), digital light processing displays (D.P.), LCD touchscreens, flat panel TV displays or other suitable displays now known or later developed. Preferably, the display 108 is capable of projecting or displaying images, symbols and other indicia such as images of people, characters, places, card faces or other elements or information associated with game play. The gaming device 100 also preferably includes one or more player input devices 110 (such as a touch-screen display, joystick, touch-pad, spin handle, control buttons or the like) that may be utilized by the player to facilitate game play.

In one embodiment of operation of the gaming device 100, the player initiates game play by placing a wager by activating a player input device 110 such as a control button that places a one credit wager button 112 or another control button that may place the maximum wager button 114. When the player actuates either the one credit wager button 112 or the maximum wager button 114, a wager in that amount is placed and the player's credit base is decreased by the number of credits wagered. The player's remaining credit base is typically displayed to the player by way of the display device 108. Upon placing a wager the game may begin automatically, or the player may initiate the game by activating another player input device such as spin button 116 or by pulling or actuating a spin handle 118.

Upon completion of a round of game play, any winnings or awards the player received for a successful game outcome may be added to the player's credit base. The player may at this juncture, either continue game play or “cash out”. The term “cash(es) out” is used herein to define an event initiated by the player wherein the player receives a number of coins or currency that is equivalent to the value of the player's accrued credit base. Typically when a player cashes out, the player receives either a paper currency voucher or currency in the form of a coin disbursement. If the player decides to receive a coin disbursement, the gaming device 100 generally activates a coin hopper or coin handling device (not shown) which physically counts and delivers the proper number of coins to the player. The coin handling device is commonly configured to transport coins from a supply source (hopper or bin filled with coins) to a coin tray 120 or payout receptacle where the player physically receives the coins.

In reference to FIG. 2, one exemplary embodiment is illustrated in exploded view of a portion of the gaming device 100. As indicated above, in one embodiment, the invention comprises a gaming device having one or more cushions, bumpers or other padded, relatively soft or compliant members for contact by a player.

In one embodiment, the gaming device 100 includes one or more cushions ergonomically located in areas corresponding to a player's knees or legs, so when the player is utilizing the gaming device 100 the player is less likely to make discomforting or harmful contact with the gaming device. For example, the cushions maybe ergonomically located in the lower areas of the gaming device and/or the areas in which the gaming device protrudes outwardly towards the player's knees/legs.

In one embodiment, the gaming device 100 includes one or more cushions located in the vicinity of the coin tray 120 of the gaming device. In a preferred embodiment, the invention provides a centrally located coin tray 120 with at least one cushioned or padded member 200 located adjacent each end of the coin tray. This preferred configuration provides enhanced player protection from harmful, injurious and offensive contact with the gaming device.

The coin tray 120 may have a variety of configurations. In one embodiment, the coin tray 120 comprises a front wall 120a, an opposing back wall 120b, a first side wall 120c, an opposing second side wall 120d and a bottom wall 120e. Each of the walls includes an inner surface that generally faces the interior of the coin tray 120 and an outer surface that generally faces outwardly from the coin tray. The coin tray 120 is substantially open at the top or with respect to the upward direction. This opening permits coins transported by the coin handling device to be delivered into the interior of the coin tray, such as during a cash-out event. As shown, the coin tray 120 is basically rectangular in geometric shape. However, many other geometric configurations are contemplated and possible within the breadth of the invention. For example, the coin tray could have one or more portions which are rounded, curved, arcuate or angular.

The coin tray 120 may be fabricated from a variety of suitable and durable materials such as metal, one or more alloys, or synthetic polymers. Some examples of these materials may include brass, stainless steel, aluminum or fiber reinforced plastics. It is contemplated that various surface treatments may be applied to the coin tray 120 for both aesthetic appearance and enhanced performance characteristics. These characteristics may include sound generation when coins are dispensed into the tray, structural support and tactile feel. The surface treatments may be various platings, texturing (e.g., bead-blasting, brushing, etc.) and laminates that provide aesthetics or other desired characteristics.

As illustrated in FIG. 2, in one embodiment, the gaming device 100 includes at least one cushion or bumper 200. In one embodiment, each cushion 200 is pliant and energy or impact absorbing, so that if contacted or impacted by a portion of a player's body, the cushion 200 is perceived as soft.

In a preferred embodiment, the gaming device 100 includes at least two cushions 200, the cushions located at either end or at either side of the coin tray 120.

The one or more cushions 200 may have a variety of configurations. In one embodiment, each cushion 200 has a front player surface 200a, an opposing back surface 200b, a first side surface 200c, an opposing second side surface 200d, a bottom surface 200e and a top surface 200f. It is contemplated that the player surface 200a may form a primary surface that generally faces the player (i.e. faces outwardly from the gaming device 100 towards the player, when the cushion 200 is mounted to the gaming device).

In one embodiment, each cushion 200 is constructed at least partly from an impact or energy absorbing material such as urethane, foam, rubber, flexible polymers, polyvinylchloride or other suitable impact absorptive materials now known or later developed. In one embodiment, such materials may be supported by an inner structure, such as a steel frame or support member. Further, each cushion 200 may have a surface treatment that enhances aesthetic appearance or durability thereof, such as a vinyl or a leather covering. Such a covering may enhance the appearance and performance of the cushion 200 by providing a wide selection of colors, textures and may facilitate ease of cleaning.

In one exemplary embodiment, the coin tray 120 is generally centrally located between the sides of the gaming device 100. Correspondingly, in this embodiment, the cushions 200 are located at each end of the coin tray 120. As illustrated, the cushions 200 may extend from either side of the coin tray 120 to the corresponding sides of the gaming device housing or door. In one specific example, the coin tray 120 is centered with respect to the gaming device 100 and equally extends about the device's center line to occupy about ⅓ the entire width of the gaming device. The remaining ⅓ distance or width at either side of the coin tray 120 is occupied by a cushion 200.

It is further contemplated that many other configurations and proportions are within the scope of the invention and these proportions should not limit or restrict the various configurations and proportions that are possible. For example, the coin tray may occupy the center ¼ of the gaming device's width and the cushions 200 being fitted to the remaining region extending to the sides of the gaming device housing or door. Additionally the coin tray 120 may be offset or biased to either side of the gaming device 100 centerline. For example, the coin tray 120 may be biased to the left side to accommodate a left-handed player and conversely, the coin tray may be offset towards the right to accommodate right-handed players. Traditionally the coin tray 120 of a gaming device 100 is generally located along a bottom portion of the frontal access door 103. However, it is contemplated that the coin-tray 120 and cushion 200 configuration disclosed herein, may be located along other portions of the gaming device 100 as appropriate to provide enhanced player comfort. For example, in a table-top gaming device configuration, the coin-tray 120 and cushion 200 configuration maybe located beneath the playing surface of the device. An important aspect of the coin tray configuration is that the center region be generally occupied by the coin tray and the remaining regions be substantially occupied by the cushions such that any likely contact with the player's body will occur adjacent a region fitted with a cushion or padded member. While these configurations benefit from various advantages of the invention, it will be appreciated that, as detailed below, the embodiment illustrated in the figures (where in the coin tray is centrally located and flanked by cushions) enjoys particular advantages.

It is possible for the gaming device 100 to include one or more cushions without having a coin tray. For example, the gaming device 100 may be configured to dispense winnings via a ticket, electronic credits or the like. In that embodiment, the gaming device may not have a coin tray. Preferably, however, the gaming device includes at least one cushion in an area corresponding to a player's knees or legs when the player is using the machine.

It is also possible for the configuration of the at least one cushion 200 to vary. For example, the gaming device 100 might include a single cushion having end portions at either end of the coin tray and a central portion which extends in front of, or below, the coin tray. The gaming device 100 might also have more than two cushions 200, such as two or more smaller cushions located on either side of the coin tray.

As indicated, in a preferred embodiment, a pair of cushions 200 are located at opposing ends or sides of a coin tray 120. The cushions 200 may extend directly out from the coin tray 120 or maybe spaced therefrom. In one embodiment, the cushions 200 may extend inwardly from opposing sides of the door and/or housing of the gaming device 100 towards the coin tray 100.

In one embodiment of the invention, the at least one cushion 200 extends outwardly beyond the furthest-most point of the gaming device 100, or at least that portion of the gaming device 100 near the cushion(s) 200. Thus, as illustrated in FIG. 1, in that particular embodiment, the cushions 200 extend outwardly at least as far as, or beyond, the coin tray 120.

The configuration of the invention may be implemented in various fashions. For example, during manufacture of the gaming device 100, the coin tray 120 maybe fitted to the primary access door 103 and located generally in the lower region of the door and substantially centered across the width of the gaming device. In this configuration, the coin tray 120 is adapted to be structurally joined or affixed to the door 103 using mechanical connection means between the back wall 120b of the coin tray and a corresponding portion of the door 103. It is contemplated that several known mechanical connection/fastening means may be adequately implemented such as machine screws, bolts, rivets, pins, snaps, clips, adhesives or other suitable fasteners now known or later developed. In an alternate construction, the first and second side walls 120c,d may provide the mechanical connection/fastening means necessary to attache the coin tray 120 to a corresponding cushions 200.

In similar fashion, the cushions 200 may be securely attached to the door 103, such as using any one of the mechanical connection/fastening means previously discussed by which the cushions extend from either the first or second side wall 120c,d of coin tray 120 towards a corresponding external surface of housing 102. The cushions 200 maybe attached by embedding a mounting plate within the member in which the mounting plate is fitted with fasting means such as threaded screw holes, bolts or protruding studs. The mounting plate may be embedded along or adjacent to any suitable side of the cushions 200. For example, if the cushions 200 are fitted directly to the door 103, one possible configuration is to secure the back surface 200b of each cushion 200 to a corresponding region of the door 103. In this case, the mounting plate would be aligned and embedded along the back surface such that the fasting means may be appropriately assembled. Alternately, if the cushion 200 is fitted to a side wall 120c,d of the coin tray 120, the mounting plate may be embedded along a corresponding side surface of the cushion to facilitate mechanical connection there between.

In an alternate fitting process, the cushions 200 may be securely attached to the coin tray 120, such as the first or second side walls 120c,d thereof, and then this subassembly may be fitted to the door 103 by attaching the cushions to the door. As a result, the coin tray 120 or cushions 200 maybe used as a mutual anchor attachment and either the coin tray or cushion subsequently attached to the door 103. For example, the coin tray 120 may be attached directly to the door 103 and then the cushions 200 attached to the coin tray. Conversely, the cushions 200 maybe attached to the door 103 and then the coin tray 120 attached to the cushion(s).

FIG. 3 illustrates a perspective view of one exemplary embodiment coin tray 120 and cushion 200 configuration that is integrally coupled with the access door 103 (which is shown in a partially open position). In this embodiment, when the access door 103 is opened or pivoted the coin tray and cushions associated therewith will translate and/or rotate with the door.

An alternate embodiment of the invention is illustrated in FIG. 4, which is a perspective view of a gaming device 100 having a coin tray and cushion(s) that are directly attached to the housing 102 and which are independent of the access door 103 (which is shown in a partially open position). In contrast to the construction and fitting of the coin tray 120 and cushions 200 previously discussed, this embodiment permits the access door 103 to be actuated while leaving the coin tray and cushions members in place. To effectuate this configuration, the coin tray 120 and/or cushions 200 are directly attached or affixed to the housing 102 of the gaming device 100 using similar mechanical connectors or fasteners to that discussed above.

In yet another embodiment, there may be various suitable combinations of mounting configurations implemented for the coin tray 120 and cushions 200. For example, the coin tray 120 may be directly attached to the housing 102 while the cushions 200 may be directly attached to the appropriate region of the access door 103. It is contemplated that the inverse may also be implemented where the coin tray 120 is mounted to the center region of the access door 103 and the cushions 200 are mounted to the corresponding region of the housing 102. In these variations, the coin tray or cushion(s) may be moved with the door while at the same time leaving the other components attached to the housing.

The invention has a number of advantages. Most importantly, the cushioned gaming device provides increased comfort for the player. The increased comfort is by way of reducing the potential of player discomfort or injury which may result from contact with the gaming machine, such as during repositioning movements made during interaction with the gaming device. Consequently, the player may enjoy prolonged game play without enduring painful or harmful physical contact with the gaming device.

In the preferred embodiment, the one or more cushions are configured to engage the knees or legs of a player by being positioned in the corresponding region of the gaming device. For example, a player repositioning herself(i.e., crossing her legs) during game play may accidently force her shin into the lower corner of the gaming device. In accordance with the invention, the player's physical contact or impact would contact the cushions, thus absorbing the impact. In contrast, with existing gaming machine configurations, the player's leg would contact an un-cushioned or un-padded region of the gaming device, which might result in painful, injurious and harmful contact.

A particular advantage of the invention over previous gaming devices and associated coin tray configurations is that increased player comfort contributes to continued and prolonged game play. In particular, because there is a lower probability of accidental contact with the gaming device which is harmful or offensive, the player's experience will be more enjoyable. Correspondingly, the gaming establishment will enjoy increased profits and revenue generation due to the player's extended game play.

In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the width and position of the coin tray, as well as the width and position of the cushions, are selected to optimize the cushioning effect. In particular, having a reduced width and centered on the machine, the coin tray is likely to be positioned between a player's legs when the player is playing the gaming device. At the same time, the cushions on either side of the coin tray are likely to be aligned with the player's legs or knees. In this manner, if the player's knees or leg bump, impact or other wise contact the gaming machine, the player's legs are most likely to contact one or both of the cushions.

Although the above provides a full and complete disclosure of the preferred embodiments of the invention, various modifications, alternate constructions and equivalents will occur to those skilled in the art. It will be understood that the above described arrangements of apparatus and the method there from are merely illustrative of applications of the principles of this invention and many other embodiments, combinations and modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Therefore, the above should not be construed as limiting the invention as defined in the claims.