Title:
Method and System for Tracking Wagering Relation Donations
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A system and method allows a player of an electronic game to designate a portion of their wagers and/or winnings to be donated to a third party. For example, the player places a wager on a game device, event or proposition; the game is played, or the event or position occurs, and if the player's wager is successful, a portion of the amount won by the player being deducted from the player's winnings. A portion of the amount won by the player is transferred to a third party's account, and may be recorded and associating with the player the portion of the amount won by the player and the identity of the third party account to which the portion is transferred.



Inventors:
Herrington, Brian D. (Okemos, MI, US)
Application Number:
12/389298
Publication Date:
08/20/2009
Filing Date:
02/19/2009
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
463/42
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHIU, TSZ K
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Brian D. Herrington (Okemos, MI, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A system for allowing a player to play a game, comprising: an electronic gaming machine playable by the player; and, a donation tracking system coupled to the electronic gaming machine for tracking an amount associated with the player's play of the game and establishing a predetermined percentage of the amount be designated for donation to a predetermined charitable organization.

2. A system, as set forth in claim 1, wherein the amount is one of an amount wagered and an amount won.

3. A system, as set forth in claim 1, wherein the electronic gaming machine or the donation tracking system allows the user to specify one or more donation parameters.

4. A system, as set forth in claim 3, wherein the donation parameters includes one or more of the following: the percentage of the amount to be donated; the charitable organization to which the predetermined percentage of the amount is to be donated; a threshold amount to be won or wagered over a particular time span before donations are made; a cap on the amount to be donated; and, whether the player wants the donation to be made in the player's name or anonymously.

5. A system, as set forth in claim 3, wherein the donation tracking system is part of a player tracking system, and wherein donation parameters are stored within a player tracking record for the player.

6. A system, as set forth in claim 3, the electronic gaming machine includes a user interface for allowing the user to designate the donation parameters.

7. A system, as set forth in claim 1, wherein the donation tracking system allows an operator of the system to make donations to the charitable organization.

8. A system, as set forth in claim 7, wherein the donation to the charitable organization made by the operator of the system is equal to or a predetermined percentage of the amount donated by the player.

9. A system, as set forth in claim 7, wherein the donation to the charitable organization made by the operator of the system is based on an amount wagered or lost by the player.

10. A system, as set forth in claim 1, wherein the donation tracking system establishes an account for the charity and donations made by the player to the charitable organization are deposited into the account.

11. A method, comprising the steps of: allowing a player to play an electronic gaming machine; and, tracking, by a donation tracking system coupled to the electronic gaming machine, an amount associated with the player's play of the game; and, establishing a predetermined percentage of the amount be designated for donation to a predetermined charitable organization.

12. A method, as set forth in claim 11, wherein the amount is one of an amount wagered and an amount won.

13. A method, as set forth in claim 11, including the step of allowing the user to specify one or more donation parameters.

14. A method, as set forth in claim 13, wherein the donation parameters includes one or more of the following: the percentage of the amount to be donated; the charitable organization to which the predetermined percentage of the amount is to be donated; a threshold amount to be won or wagered over a particular time span before donations are made; a cap on the amount to be donated; and, whether the player wants the donation to be made in the player's name or anonymously.

15. A method, as set forth in claim 13, wherein the donation tracking system is part of a player tracking system, the method including the step of storing the donation parameters within a player tracking record for the player.

16. A method, as set forth in claim 13, the electronic gaming machine including a user interface for allowing the user to designate the donation parameters.

17. A method, as set forth in claim 11, including the step of allowing an operator of the system to make donations to the charitable organization.

18. A method, as set forth in claim 17, wherein the donation to the charitable organization made by the operator of the system is equal to or a predetermined percentage of the amount donated by the player.

19. A method, as set forth in claim 17, wherein the donation to the charitable organization made by the operator of the system is based on an amount wagered or lost by the player.

20. A method, as set forth in claim 11, including the step of establishing an account for the charity and donations made by the player to the charitable organization are deposited into the account.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/030,006, filed Feb. 20, 2008, which is hereby incorporated by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to gaming machines, and more particularly to an electronic gaming machine which allows a player to play a game and to designate a portion of their winnings and/or monies wagered to be donated to a charitable organization/entity.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The gambling/gaming industry (including both commercial and native American casinos) is always seeking new ways to attract, entice, amuse and retain players/customers. To date, these efforts have focused on rewarding the player through “comps” for free goods or services (such as a free meal, hotel room, etc) based on the amount of wagering, randomly awarded drawings/prizes, various contests, bonus features or progressive jackpots associated with playing certain games, and the like. These efforts are frequently utilized in casinos today, particularly in the context of slot machines or other similar electronic gaming devices (“EGM”), e.g., video poker) Such systems also enable tracking of a player's various other gaming, e.g., table games and non-gaming activities.

The development and promulgation of sophisticated computerized player tracking databases and systems which monitor, track, and analyze detailed information regarding a player's wagering and other habits and information has enabled new variations on such marketing and player enhancement efforts. The player enrolls in the tracking system, mainly because it is a way to accumulate “comps” and other rewards, discounts, and/or incentives the casino may offer the player based on casino-determined criteria. These systems are typically in communication/data-exchange with a casino's slot and table performance/accounting system(s), thereby allowing the compilation of very detailed information regarding a player's wagering. The accounting and player systems also enable many casino's slot machines to operate on a cashless or near-cashless basis (e.g., reconciling wins/losses during a gaming session through the printing of redeemable “tickets,” electronic funds transfers to/from a player's account, and other means well known in the industry). The systems are often thus capable of capturing data on a per-spin/gameplay basis and/or on a per-session/per-time-span basis, and keeping track of amounts wagered, won, and lost by a player.

Despite the growing popularity of gambling in the U.S. and worldwide, there are still many negative perceptions and opponents of legalized gambling. Presumably, this negativity has some impact on a portion of players or potential players, causing them to either avoid gambling altogether or to gamble less than they might otherwise desire out of guilt, peer pressure, or public perception. The gaming industry and its advocates and trade associations, spend vast resources attempting to counter the negative perceptions and minimize those aspects of gambling (e.g., precluding/treatment of addictive gamblers) which help generate these negative perceptions/publicity.

It is the object of the present invention to provide a method to address both the goal of providing the player with an enhanced experience (which benefits both the player and the casino) and the goal of enhancing the perception of the gaming industry and the players who choose to participate in it.

The present invention is aimed at one or more of the problems identified above.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In a first aspect of the present invention, a system and method for allowing a player of an electronic game to designate that a portion of their wagers and/or winnings to be donated to a charity.

In a second aspect of the present invention, a system for allowing a player to play a game is provided. The system includes an electronic gaming machine and a donation tracking system. The electronic gaming machine is playable by the player. The donation tracking system is coupled to the electronic gaming machine for tracking an amount associated with the player's play of the game and establishing a predetermined percentage of the amount be designated for donation to a predetermined charitable organization.

In a third aspect of the present invention, a method is provided. The method includes the steps of allowing a player to play an electronic gaming machine, tracking, an amount associated with the player's play of the game, and establishing a predetermined percentage of the amount be designated for donation to a predetermined charitable organization.

In a fourth aspect of the present invention, a system and method allows a player 28 of an electronic game to designate a portion of their wagers and/or winnings to be donated to a third party. For example, the player 28 places a wager on a game device, event or proposition; the game is played, or the event or position occurs, and if the player's wager is successful, a portion of the amount won by the player 28 being deducted from the player's winnings. A portion of the amount won by the player 28 is transferred to a third party's account, and may be recorded and associating with the player 28 the portion of the amount won by the player 28 and the identity of the third party account to which the portion is transferred.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Other advantages of the present invention will be readily appreciated as the same becomes better understood by reference to the following detailed description when considered in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is diagrammatic illustration of a method for allowing a player of a gaming machine to designated a portion of their winnings to a charitable organization.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF INVENTION

Referring to the Figure, wherein like numerals indicate like or corresponding parts throughout the several views, a system 10 and method for allowing a player 28 to play a game and to designate that a portion of the monies wagered and/or won are to be donated to a specified charitable organization or entity 26.

The method/system 10 of the present invention allows a player 28 to optionally specify that a fixed or percentage portion of any monies won and/or wagered be donated to a charitable organization/entity.

Player tracking system and slot accounting systems 22 existing in nearly all casinos enable the tracking of such donations, and effectuating accurate compilations of amounts to be donated in the player's name to a particular casino if desired by the player 28. Alternatively, a separate system 22 could be used to enable the tracking of donations and the transferring of such donated amounts. The system 22 may be located at, or within a gaming machine 30 or may be located at a remote location and linked to one or multiple gaming machines 30.

The player 28 benefits from the donations in multiple ways, including altruistic/benevolent “feel good” aspects associated with aiding a charity or charity of their choice and, importantly, the potential tax benefits resulting from accurately tracked and transferred donations being made to the charity 26. The casino benefits by being able to offer such benefits to players, and by being able to publicize the casino's role in enabling positive, charitable activities. The casino may additionally benefit from the ability to hold (and thus collect interest upon) the donated amounts up until the time the donations are actually transferred to the charities The charities obviously benefit from the donations and increased publicity/awareness. The casino may optionally elect to make donations in its own name that could, for instance, be offered as a whole or percentage match to the player's donations, or as a percentage of amounts lost (again, either on a per-play/spin or a net per-session or net per-time-span basis) by the player. Instead of making the donations on a regular basis throughout the year, the casino may also optionally hold the amounts targeted for the charities based on the player's winnings until year end, and then make all the donations to the various charities at that time; this would enable the casino to earn interest on those funds until the end of year distributions. This would help offset the costs of implementing this method/system.

The method/system of the invention would be relatively straightforward to implement, given that the systems are already in place in virtually all casinos (a) that are capable of capturing the necessary detailed wagering activity data on a player-specific basis and (b) which would, with modification/enhancement, enable donation-play parameters and options to be selected by a player 28 and the resulting donation-play data to be collected and associated with a specific player 28. Additionally/alternatively, a separate database/system may be utilized, in conjunction and communication with the casino's existing systems, to provide any or all of the functionality necessary to implement the method herein if the current systems are not, for regulatory or other reasons, readily modifiable.

The method/system for such charitable donation wagering (“donation-play”) comprises all or a portion of the following elements thereof, and as shown generally in Figure.

The player 28 is provided the opportunity participate in donation-play, i.e., to specify that a portion of the player's winnings and/or wagers (on either a per-play/spin basis or on a net-win per gaming session at a particular game or over a particular time-span) be donated to one or more charities.

The choice to participate in donation-play and the parameters 20 thereof may be selected by the player 28 as part of initially setting up and/or modifying the player's Player Tracking system profile/information, through any number of existing means of inputting and accessing such information (e.g., casino personnel, kiosk, internet, etc). Some of the parameters that could be offered to the player include, only by way of example:

    • selection of charity(s) 26 played for (the charity(s) to which the donations can be directed may be, for example, pre-defined by the casino, selected by the player 28 from a list of participating charities, or a combination thereof)
    • what percentage of amount won or wagered is to be donated (e.g., 1%)
    • threshold/floor amount to be won or wagered over a particular time-span before donation-play begins
    • selection of particular games or types of games subject to donation-play
    • capping the amount of donations in a specific time-span to be made before donation-play ceases
    • whether the player 28 wants the donations made in the player's name vs. anonymously

Other options that may be defined by the casino include the basis upon which donations are calculated (e.g., per-play/per-spin or net per-session/per-time-span).

Alternatively/additionally, players 28 may be given the opportunity to enroll/participate in donation-play at the game itself 32. This may occur either as an option driven by the game interface, or an option driven by an interface to the player tracking system at the game device. If the casino chooses, the player 28 may be offered to participate in donation-play, regardless of whether the player 28 is enrolled in the player tracking system or not (although, if not, this would defeat the tax deduction benefits to the unknown player).

If the casino chooses, only specific games may be designated as donation-play.

The casino optionally may offer to match (equally or in some proportion) the amounts that are donated pursuant to players' donation-play. Alternatively/additionally, the casino optionally may offer to make donations based on the amount lost by a player 28 (either on a per-play/spin basis, or a net per-session or net per-time-span basis).

The player 28 playing a wagering game or activity (such as play, and when the player 28 wins a particular spin/play/wager (or, alternatively, when he completes a session at a particular gaming machine 30 and “cashes out”) the system will deduct the portion the player 28 designated for the player's chosen charity(s) 26 from the amount won or wagered by the player 28. This can occur at whatever stage(s) that the game device (or server), sports book, existing slot accounting system and/or player tracking system are designed to record the player's game play result and credit or debit the player's associated account/credit balance.

Alternatively, if donation-play is configured to apply to net win during a gaming session (as opposed to per play/spin), the deduction can occur when the player 28 finishes that session and “cashes out” (e.g., by deducting the donated amount from the total being paid out in currency/coin at the machine 30, from the amount printed to a “ticket” or voucher/coupon, from the amount credited to the player's centralized wagering account, or from the amount stored on any other manner of storing the player's credits/winnings that are well-known in the art such as magnetic stripe and/or “smart” cards. In either scenario, the amounts deducted as a donation are recorded as being directed to a particular charity 26, resulting from the particular player's wagering, and may be transferred to account maintained by the casino (or third party administrator) for each charity 26.

The casino, utilizing its existing player tracking and/or slot accounting systems in conjunction with any new databases required to accumulate such information which may be presently lacking in the existing systems, tracking the amounts donated by players, including cumulative amounts per charity, and specific donated amounts by each player's wagering 24. This function may be performed by the casino, or a 3rd party administrator responsible for compiling and maintaining such data/records

The casino (or 3rd party administrator) holding such donated funds and then transferring the appropriate donations to the appropriate charities on a predetermined schedule (for example, quarterly or at year-end).

If desired by the player 28, the casino (or 3rd party administrator) providing the charity 26 with information regarding the identity of the player 28 and the amount donated by the player 28, sufficient to allow the charity 26 to provide tax-related donation documentation to the player 28.

If the player 28 elected to have his/her name associated with his/her donations, the casino, 3rd party administrator, and/or the charities provide the player 28 with documentation of the donation for tax deduction purposes.

The casino may partner with certain charities to hold charity-specific events wherein donation-play and/or casino matching/loss-based donations are directed to the specific charity 26.

The present invention, while currently best suited for use in connection with slot machine play, is usable in connection with any manner of electronic gaming device, including video-based card games such as video poker or blackjack, electronic lottery terminals. It is also well-suited to sports wagering.

The present invention is also well-suited to online/internet-based wagering, including not only with regard to virtual slot machines, but also with respect to virtual table games, pari-mutual wagering events, and sports wagering.

Obviously, many modifications and variations of the present invention are possible in light of the above teachings. The invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described within the scope of the appended claims.