Title:
Method for lottery corporations to run online gaming
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method that allows lottery corporations the ability to easily allow players to participate in online games played over the Internet, TV, or mobile phone by allowing players the ability to purchase entry into online games, such as a Texas Holdem poker tournament, from any Point Of Sale (POS), or Lottery Terminal, say found in a convenience store likely in the form of a printed or pre-printed ticket with some activation coding identifying each ticket as unique. Participants would access locations where games are held, say the Internet, enter a game of their choice using the unique activation code on their ticket, participate in said game and possibly win money or prizes through participation. Players may then take their tickets back to a retailer, any POS or Lottery Terminal and have their ticket Validated and could then collect winnings in the form of cash or other prizes, depending on the game offered.



Inventors:
Mcbride, Scott Melvin (North Bay, CA)
Application Number:
12/381322
Publication Date:
09/10/2009
Filing Date:
03/12/2009
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24; G06Q50/34
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
COLEMAN, WILLIAM D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SCOTT McBRIDE (NORTH BAY, ON, CA)
Claims:
The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:

1. A method for allowing a lottery player to buy entry and participate in online gaming on the Internet, comprising the steps of: providing the lottery player with a lottery ticket purchased from a lottery retailer; providing the lottery ticket with a unique activation coding information number thereon; providing an Internet web site where on-line gaming is conducted; allowing the lottery player to play at the Internet web site, the play being activated through entry of the unique activation coding information on the lottery ticket; and awarding prizes to the lottery player if they win at the on-line gaming.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the lottery player can access the Internet web site remotely and enter their assigned activation coding information number to participate in the on-line gaming in a virtual gaming environment.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein, when the lottery player activates the lottery ticket through entry of the unique activation coding information number at the Internet web site, the Internet web site opens a corresponding unique playing account solely associated with the lottery ticket for the lottery player to access.

4. The method of claim 1, further comprising the step of, when any winnings are accumulated by the lottery player at the on-line gaming, crediting the unique playing account for the lottery player with the amount of those winnings.

5. A system for enabling lottery purchasing transactions for a purchaser to engage in a lottery comprising: a lottery data processing system; a controller including a storage device, the controller adapted to receive lottery information from the lottery data processing system, the lottery information including at least one lottery ticket having a unique activation coding information number thereon for activation of on-line gaming at a remote site through entry of the unique activation coding information number at the remote site; at least one POS (point of sale) terminal connected to the controller, for performing the lottery purchasing transactions in accordance with the received lottery information; and said POS terminal including a printer for printing on a lottery ticket the lottery information for the purchaser.

6. A system for performing a lottery transaction to generate a lottery ticket for a customer, comprising the steps of: initiating the lottery transaction at a POS (point of sale) terminal adapted to perform the lottery transaction; inputting a request for the lottery ticket for the customer to the POS terminal; inputting a request for at least one unique activation coding information number for the lottery ticket to the POS terminal; communicating from the POS terminal to a POS controller operatively connected to the POS terminal, that the lottery transaction has been initiated; establishing communication between the POS controller and a lottery data processing system adapted to communicate with the POS controller; sending the request for the lottery ticket and the request for the unique activation coding information number to the lottery data processing system; requesting the lottery ticket and the at least one unique activation coding information number be transmitted from the lottery data processing system to the POS controller; generating the lottery ticket and the at least one unique activation coding information number in the lottery data processing system; transmitting the lottery ticket and the at least one unique activation coding information number from the lottery data processing system to the POS terminal by the POS controller; outputting the lottery ticket and the at least one unique activation coding information number on the lottery ticket issued by the POS terminal; providing a remote site where on-line gaming is conducted; allowing the lottery player to play at the remote site, the play being activated through entry of the unique activation coding information on the lottery ticket; and awarding prizes to the lottery player if they win at the on-line gaming.

7. The system of claim 6, wherein the remote site is an Internet web site.

8. The system according to claim 6, wherein the storage device stores the lottery information received from the lottery data processing system that includes randomly selected lottery ticket numbers.

9. The system according to claim 6, wherein the controller communicates in substantially real-time with the lottery data processing system.

10. The system according to claim 6, wherein the controller is a network server.

11. The system according to claim 6, wherein the controller is a data network.

12. The system according to claim 11, wherein the data network is a public switched telephone network, an integrated service digital network (ISDN), a packet switched network, a private data communication network, or a wireless network

13. The system of claim 6, wherein the lottery player can access the Internet web site remotely and enter their assigned activation coding information number to participate in the on-line gaming in a virtual gaming environment.

14. The system of claim 6, wherein the on-line gaming is accessed by means of a Mobile phone, palm held type device, television or other remote device, a Video Lottery Terminal (VLT) or a slot machine.

15. The system of claim 6, wherein the on-line gaming further comprises games of chance, card games, casino games, slot machines, lotteries, horse racing, poker, betting on sporting events, bingo games, pull tabs, scratch tickets, casino games, card games and board games or gambling.

16. The system of claim 6, wherein, when the lottery player activates the lottery ticket through entry of the unique activation coding information number at the Internet web site, the Internet web site opens a corresponding unique playing account associated with the lottery ticket for the lottery player to access.

17. The system of claim 16, further comprising the step of, when any winnings are accumulated by the lottery player at the on-line gaming, crediting the unique playing account for the lottery player with the amount of those accumulated winnings.

18. The system of claim 17, wherein the lottery player can redeem at least a portion of the accumulated winnings from the unique playing account at the POS (point of sale) terminal.

19. The system of claim 17, wherein the lottery player can redeem all of the accumulated winnings from the unique playing account at the POS (point of sale) terminal.

20. The system of claim 17, wherein the lottery ticket purchased by the lottery player is for a variable numerical amount, the variable numerical amount constituting a currency amount available for the lottery player to conduct on-line gaming.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The application relates in general to methods and systems allowing lottery corporations to operate online Internet gaming. More particularly, the present invention relates to a process allowing players to buy special tickets at a lottery terminal and go on the Internet and join a game or tournament using information on their ticket. Players who win prizes would then be able to send in their tickets to the prize offices or simply return to any participating retailer and claim their prize. The present invention allows lotteries to place boundaries on the Internet for online Internet gaming.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

There are numerous ways people gamble their money. In more recent times the more unfriendly word “Gamble” has been replaced with less negative terms such as “Gaming”. Regardless of what you call it, people have been spending money in hopes of winning more money long before such things as patents even existed.

In modern times some of the more popular forms of gaming involve casinos, sports betting, lotteries, and the online Internet casinos and poker rooms. The present invention is going to concentrate mainly on those latter forms of gaming, Lotteries and Internet gaming.

Throughout the industrialized world many governments run the Lotteries within their countries. The part of the government over seeing the lotteries is usually called the lottery commission or corporation. Sometimes even within the same country there are more then one corporation. For instance in Canada there are five separate corporations and in the United States there is almost a separate lottery corporation for each State. These corporations offer a variety of games ranging from the operation of casinos, Internet games, sport wagering, pre-printed scratch tickets and progressive jackpot tickets usually sold from their lottery terminals, such as Powerball, Lotto 6/49 and Mega Millions.

With the invention of the Internet came the invention of a new form of gaming, online gaming or Internet gaming. The most popular of these forms appear now to be the online poker rooms like Poker Stars, Party Poker, Poker, Paradise Poker and so forth with a long list of .com's and other extensions that exist on the Internet. Of course this is to take nothing away from the online world or sports betting, fantasy sports, and online casinos that offer most any game land based casinos offer, but right from the luxury of your own very home.

Player's playing online has reached a record high as is easily to see by the number of players qualifying for such prestigious tournaments like the World Series Of Poker (WSOP), a Texas Holdem poker tournament held each year on Las Vegas, Nev. In 2003 there were 839 entrants in the WSOP main event in Las Vegas. Within three years, 8,773 players entered the $10,000 tournament and competed for a top prize of $12,000,000 in 2006. The majority of these players won their qualifying seat online, including three of the most recent online winners of the entire tournament.

Although there seems to be no end in sight to the Internet's popularity and growth, not everyone is happy. The United States Justice Department has discouraged people in North America to play in these games by making it extremely difficult for North American's to open accounts, wire money in the form of transactions, visas and so forth. Instead of stopping players from playing, the United States governments have stopped financial institutions from dealing with online casinos and poker rooms in various parts of the world. This has caused many would be players to be discouraged and just not participate. In turn the World Courts have listened to court cases where certain countries that currently allow the hosting and operating of these Internet Casinos and Poker to exist, and think the actions taken by the U.S. governments are illegal in themselves. It would come as no surprise that governments within the same country are all over the board on how to handle this situation. Some politicians are dead set against any form of online gaming, while others think it should be regulated, so it can be monitored and taxed and others still think the government has no right in either of the previous two sides and people should be allowed to spend their money as they see fit. One embodiment of the current invention is a method and solution for politicians to come to agreement and to not only satisfy online players who are currently discouraged, but also create many new players who will now play.

One online poker room, Party Poker stated that they made almost $1 billion in revenue in 2005 and again in 2006. This is only one online poker room. At any one time of the day, over 100,000 players play online at another site called Poker Stars. Collectively speaking, there are billions of dollars being gambled online, in many different forms. Clearly it can be argued that the biggest reason governments oppose online gaming is they simply are upset they are losing so much money and the solution to stop this from happening seems like draining the ocean with a small tin cup. It is however one goal of the present invention to stop money from leaving countries bound for the operators of these online casinos and poker sites and keep that money in the hands of the governments within each country.

Yet another problem is regulation of the Internet in itself. How can one control something like the Internet which appears to have no boundaries or divisions? The Internet makes it easy to do business with sites set up anywhere in the world. When we relate this to Internet gaming, how do you regulate a poker site that rests within a country with completely different laws and regulations? It is however another goal of the present invention to place boundaries on the Internet allowing corporations to retain money currently being spend in other countries of the world and stop money from leaving any specific country or bound for the operators of these online casinos and poker sites.

One of the biggest problems facing the online world is player's lack of trust for the operators of these games and sites. Spending millions of dollars in advertising has helped the online sites compete and build confidence amongst players and this is shown by their rising profits. It is a goal of the present invention to allow players to overcome their fear and trust issues in allowing local governments, namely lottery commissions to operate these games locally as they do their other current lotteries.

The need clearly remains for an efficient lottery gaming system that overcomes all the faults as they currently exist, allowing players to easily participate in playing on the Internet for money, without the headaches of trust, opening accounts, transferring of money, transaction fees as well as being made to feel you are doing something wrong simply by enjoying yourself and spending your hard earned money. It is the belief of the current invention that there needs to be a simply way to stop funds from heading outside a country destine for another country without a simple way to place boundaries that the public will gladly except and trust, allowing not only the money to stay localized, but also capitalize in the form of taxes for the government on money currently just being lost. According to the present invention there remains a need to take control of the Internet stopping Internet Poker sites and casinos in their tracks.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The process and method of the present invention integrates lottery corporations with Internet gaming. Players will be able to purchase tickets to play online as easy as they would a Powerball ticket. For explanation purposes lets give these tickets a name, calling them a “Game With Us” ticket or a GWU Ticket. Players would then take their GWU ticket to a location, namely an Internet website and join in any game they desire to play using a unique activation code found on their purchased ticket. Players would win or lose. Players who win would then be able to return to any participating retailer and “Redeem” their ticket just as one would a current Powerball or Lotto 6/49 winning type of ticket.

In one embodiment of the present invention players would now be able to participate and play online games that are currently offered in Internet sites like Poker Star or Party Poker. Currently players play in these sites from all over the world. Players may play for fun, no monetary value, or may open accounts and play for real money. When opening an account players are asked for personal information such as names, addresses, emails and phone numbers. Many people are reluctant to give this information out over the Internet and simply will not open an account with a company they know little or nothing about. Also when opening an account for real money, a real money deposit must be made into that players new account. Currently players may use credit cards, money orders, money wiring services like Western Union, as well as online payment methods such as Pay Pal or NETELLER, where applicable to transfer money. Of course players are charged transaction fees associated with almost every type of transfer. Players are also inconvenienced as these methods are not instant and delays to verify the money is in the account may take anywhere from 24 hours to weeks. Even when all this goes without a hitch, there are still problems of the money transfer method going belly up so to speak, as was the case with NETELLER who simply stopped taking money from Americans and ended up causing a class action suit with people who could no longer access the money they put into these services. If these aren't enough restrictions, many players who would enjoy playing simply don't have credit cards to begin with. Collectively, these are many reasons why many people just can't be bothered to play in the online Internet sites, even if they did trust these sites to begin with.

On the other hand lottery corporations are already running local games and are trusted within each country where they operate. These corporations have the technology in place to run their current lotteries as well as new games as they are invented. These corporations oversee the games to ensure fairness and put profits back into the economy in the form of retailer profits, employees, taxes and charity. Often corporation's profits are placed in health care, education and other great areas such as building new roads, sports complexes and other worthwhile causes. Corporations already have the infrastructure in place to sell lottery tickets, namely to sell lottery tickets printed on their terminals within participating retailers. For instance, one of the bigger corporations in the world resides in Ontario, Canada, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG). The OLG has 11,000 retailers with machines across the Province of Ontario where they operate the lotteries. The 11,000 retailers sell lottery products such as scratch tickets and progressive jackpot tickets such as Lotto 6/49, likely Canada's biggest lottery. When a player enters a retailer to buy a ticket they simply ask for the ticket they would like to purchase and are printed their request from the lottery terminal that exists within the retailers. These lottery terminals are connected through a secure system to the OLG's main computers where all information is stored and backed up. The actual purchase of a ticket is instant. An employee at a retailer would input the request into the terminal, as an example, one Lotto 6/49 ticket, simply buy pressing a touch screen or some similar device and the ticket would instantly be printed. Information on the ticket is pertinent to the game played and usually includes a date, the type of game, information about the retailer, some lottery numbers relevant to the game played, a draw date and security usually in the form of a bar code so the ticket may be validated at a later date to determine if the ticket is a winning ticket associated with some prize, usually monetary in value.

With the current invention players would now purchase their GWU ticket, in exactly the same method they would other lottery tickets, at a participating retailer who sells these tickets. Most tickets will likely be printed right at the terminals, however one skilled in the art would understand these tickets may also be pre-printed, like a scratch ticket, or a pre-loaded card, like a pay-as-you-go phone or credit card, or in the form of a pouch type ticket, that one would tear open, similar to tickets currently sold or pull tabs. Countless other ticket methods could be used to disperse tickets to the players from the lottery corporation, however, in the preferred embodiment these thickets will be printed right from the terminals in the amounts requested by the player or purchaser of the ticket. As an example a player could now ask for a $2, $20, $100, GWU ticket and the retailer would print this ticket in the exact same method as they do currently as Powerball or Lotto 6/49 ticket. Of course the lottery corporation who operates each individual game will decide the minimums and maximums a player may spend on a ticket if such limits exist. For instance, the OLG may say that GWU tickets range from $2 to $200, however the New York Lottery may offer their own GWU game and have limits ranging from $1 to $100.

Some information printed on the GWU ticket would be similar to a regular lottery ticket printed at the terminal, such as a date the ticket was purchased, corporation and retailer information, the price or amount of the ticket and of course a bar code to identify and validate the ticket at a later date. A GWU ticket would also include some information as to where the ticket may be used, say an Internet website address. A GWU ticket would likely surely have some unique identifier such as an “Activation Code” that, like a bar code, is unique to only that ticket. This Activation Code or Number would be used later by the player when they use the ticket and would help the lottery corporation identify this ticket allowing the player the right to use the ticket, proving ownership.

In another embodiment of the present invention the process would continue now that the player has purchased a GWU ticket. The next step in the process would allow the player to use their ticket to participate in some event or game. One skilled in the art would now understand the player could also play Mobile on a phone or palm held type device, a TV, using a remote control or other remote device, a Video Lottery Terminal (VLT) found in a casino, corner store or other location, a slot machine or similar game, to use their ticket. However, in the preferred embodiment of the present invention the player would likely access an Internet website to use the ticket. As an example, information printed on the purchased ticket the player has, may direct them to the Internet site, www.GameWithUs.com, to play and use their ticket. Of course the corporations will decide what location they send their customers. A corporation may use their own site, like the OLG using their Internet site www.OLG.ca, the mentioned Game With Us site or any other location. It is possible players may be allowed to use their tickets at existing online casino and poker sites that are then regulated by the local lottery. So in essence a player may purchase their ticket for cash at the local corner store, go home and join at game at PokerStars.com Regardless of the website the player would visit to use their ticket, upon entering this site or other method, the player would easily be able to walk through the process of using their ticket. For instance if the player was playing the OLG GWU game and entered the website as directed on their GWU ticket the player would now be able to use their ticket to join in and play online. The website they are now on would likely be run by the corporation offering the game but this is not essential.

In another embodiment of the present invention each corporation would likely have their very own unique website or location to play. These websites would be very similar to current online Poker sites such as Poker Stars or Party Poker or any online casinos. These sites would offer a plethora of gaming options for the player such as Poker, Blackjack, Bingo, Slot Machines and countless other games players can play. Some games offered may include games of chance such as Bingo while others may include games of skill like Texas Holdem. Regardless of the games offered, what is offered would be found in the corporation's site that they are sending their GWU players too which would likely again be found on the actual ticket.

Upon entering the website in the preferred embodiment the player would then select the game they want to participate in. This game may be played against the house, a jackpot game such as a progressive bingo, slot machine or games of skill where players are competing against one another as in many card games like Texas Holdem. Games may be played individually, head to head, in groups such as an entire table of players or in tournament style whereas thousands of people could complete in one tournament at one time for a top prize or number of prizes that are posted after entry for that game has stopped. Games in these sites may be played 24 hours a day seven days a week. Some games may have set times such as a nightly tournament while other games could be what is known as ‘sit-and-go’ where a tournament is announced and once it fills up to a certain number of players the game is immediately held. Other games could include tables that are open and players come and go and play the games, such as walking through a land based casino, just spending your money at any games, jumping from game to game. In the preferred embodiment of the present invention players would play in tournaments such as Bingo or card games like Texas Holdem. Once a player chooses the game they want to join the player would go through the process of joining in this game. With the power of the present invention players could join a tournament or game as easily as clicking ‘join’ with their computer's mouse and when prompted for information the corporation has set to capture, filling in this information and be joined in this game. In the preferred embodiment of the present invention a player could be asked as little as the ‘Activation Code’ number found on their ticket. This code which would be stored with the corporation's computers would be validated instantly and would allow a player access to join in their desired game. The built in security system would ensure this is a valid Activation Code and that the game the player is joining is not more then what is allowed for play depending on the amount of monetary value of the GWU ticket.

Currently corporations take an amount of each ticket sold and using mathematics which vary from game to game, amounts of each ticket purchased for games, such as Lotto 6/49 are put into prize pools. For instance the OLG advertises that 47% of the purchase price of a Lotto 6/49 ticket that currently sells for $2 is placed in a prize pool to possibly be won by the players. Different corporations offer different games and different games are based on different mathematical odds of not only winning, but percentages of sales being possibly won as prizes for the players. In our example here, the remaining 53% of the OLG Lotto 6/49 ticket is distributed to the retailer, kept by the OLG to cover costs of operating the game and of course the OLG's profits.

In the preferred embodiment of the present invention the corporations would take a percentage of each GWU ticket sold, which may vary from corporation to corporation, and place this amount into prizes that may be in turn won by the players of the games. Let's say the OLG was an operator of the Ontario, Canada, GWU game and they were taking 50% of the ticket and giving 50% of the ticket into the form of possible play for the players. So at the time the ticket was sold the corporation would instantly take 50% in our example off the purchase price of a ticket. If a player bought a GWU $20 ticket, the actual printed ticket would likely reflect this as well as the current amount left over, in this case $10, so the player would know this is the amount they could play with when joining their game of choice. Again, these amounts are set by the corporations or operators of the game. The OLG may offer their players 80% back, so a $20 GWU ticket would have $16 showing as the amount a player may use to play with. With the current invention it would be understood by those skilled in the art that the less amount corporations kept for themselves the more attractive it would be for players to choose to play their game over any competition, such as other online Internet Poker sites or online casinos.

So if a player chooses to play in a Texas Holdem tournament that had a $10 entry, a player would need a GWU ticket that is valid with at least that amount. In the preferred embodiment of the present invention players would not be able to play in games that they did not have the required amount of entry fee, however they could have a ticket with more then that amount and join in the game. So if a player's ticket was worth $100 and they played in a $10 game, in essence their ticket would have $90 still available for further play. Players would have options available to them on the site to check their tickets to see how much is still left and available for play. Of course a ticket could be used until it initially reaches zero as long as the player is conforming to all the posted rules and regulations of the corporation. For instance the corporation may only give a player 365 days to use a ticket after purchase. These rules would be posted in the Terms and Conditions of Use just as every current games have rules. So in our example here if a player joined a $10 entry required game and had $10 available on their GWU ticket, this player would be joined in this tournament. If 1,000 players joined this tournament at $10 each, a prize pool of $10,000 for this tournament would exist. Different games may have different prize allotments. If this tournament was a winner-take-all style, the winner of the tournament would win $10,000. This same tournament might have several prizes and first prize may only be 20% of the total prize pool of $10,000. In this example first prize would get $2,000. Furthermore in the last example players may win prizes for finishing 2nd, 3rd, 4th and so on and so forth. These prizes will likely be posted as is common place at the start of a tournament. In this example maybe 100th place wins $2. Any players who won a prize at the end of the tournament would have their winnings attached to their tickets.

In the preferred embodiment of the present invention players who win prizes will have their prizes associated and attached to their ticket, similar to current lotteries offered the players having a ticket. For most lotteries a draw date and draw occur for the game associated with the ticket. In Ontario, one such lottery offered by the OLG is a lottery called Lotto 6/49. After the draw players will usually check their tickets themselves in the newspapers, online, at a retailer or go to a retailer with the ticket and have it validated in the lottery terminal or other devices which allow players to scan in their own tickets. The system instantly validates this ticket and checks it for certain criteria. The most common events that occur when people check their ticket is they have lost. Another common occurrence is the ticket is a winner of some sort. Depending on the lottery rules some prizes may be claimed right at the retailer while other major prizes, say over $1,000 must be redeemed at other locations, like a casino or the corporations head office. In most instances players win smaller prizes like free tickets that are printed for them for further draws or smaller cash prizes that are paid to them by the retailer. GWU tickets are usually not much different than other lotteries when it comes to redemption of the actual ticket.

In the preferred embodiment of the present invention a players winnings are attached to their ticket and players would bring their tickets to a retailer to validate and redeem. Of course players who spent their entry without winning would have losing tickets that would not pay anything, in essence a losing ticket. Players who win will have prizes attached to their tickets in the amount of their winnings, plus any possibly unused amount of the tickets purchase prize that still exists and is attached to the ticket. In the preferred embodiment of the present invention a players winnings would be redeemable but not re-playable. The difference here is a player would only be able to play with the amount they purchased from the retailer and any winnings, although attached to the ticket when redeemed, are separate, in the fact that when a player uses the full amount attached with the purchased ticket, no matter their winnings, this ticket is now no longer of use in playing, as it is empty or used up if you will. The ticket may still have worth or value when redeemed, as that is when the prizes won are paid out. In one example mentioned earlier the player who finished in 1st place in the winner take all $10,000 prized tournament, when his ticket is scanned back in to verify he is a winner, this player would be owed $10,000. This amount may require the player to send their ticket in or bring it in person to a number of locations that can pay that larger amount. The player who finished 1st when the top prize was 20% of the $10,000 would have won $2,000 and this player too may not be allowed to collect at the retailer, unless the retailer can pay that amount. However, usually prizes under $1,000 may be collected right at the retailer. So the player who finished 100th place and won the $2 prize, they would be paid $2 when their ticket is validated.

In the preferred embodiment of the present invention a player may purchase a ticket, not use it all and win a prize. Instead of having to wait until they use the rest of the unused ticket portion, they may redeem this ticket for their winnings, be paid for their winnings and be given a new GWU ticket for the unused portion of the ticket. So in this example if a player had a $50 ticket, played a $10 game and still have $40 left to play with, but during this $10 game they won $500, this player could bring this ticket into a retailer and redeem the winnings. This player would likely be given the $500 in winnings and have a new ticket printed for $40 for which this player may continue to play. This $40 is the unused portion of the original $50, minus the $10 that was played. Obviously one skilled in the art would understand certain rules may be implemented such as giving this person their full $540 if they requested.

In the preferred embodiment of the present invention a player likely will not be required to use their full ticket all at once but be able to break down a ticket so to use it in pieces. For instance, a player could have a $50 ticket and join in a $10 game, a $5 game, another $5 game and finally a $30 games if they choose. This could be further broken down to very small games, say a penny or nickel. These variations will ultimately be left to the discretion of each corporation that offers and sells GWU tickets.

In yet another embodiment it is possible that a player's winnings may be attached to the player's ticket and this player may be allowed to use this ticket over and over, as desired, where as the ticket then acts like a player's account. The ticket or account in this case may fluctuate as the player plays all the while keeping a total of what is owed or still available to the player. In this example if the player had a $100 ticket, played $10 and won $2,000, this player's ticket would be worth $2,090 ($100 starting ticket—$10=$90+$2,000=$2,090). In this variation the player could keep playing with this ticket until they reached zero available by losing all remaining $2090. Again in this embodiment this amount may fluctuate as the player wins and loses. This player may of course cash this ticket in at any time and be paid the amount owing or won on the ticket depending on corporations rules. In this embodiment a player may still only be paid the winnings and a second ticket would be generated for the amount still unused.

In the preferred embodiment of the present invention the corporation or operator of the game would take the amount of their profits directly off the ticket upon purchase of the ticket and place the amount the purchaser has remaining right on the actual ticket that is printed. This however does not have to be the case and the corporation may take off their profits at any time, for instance when a player joins in a game. It may be argued that by taking the profits at the time the ticket is purchased the corporation did not take money from the act of gaming but only for the consideration of printing this ticket. If the corporation's profits come out at the time of the printing, in essence they would be giving 100% on the games entry back to the players. A variation of the present invention could allow the corporations to withdraw their profits at the time the ticket is printed or purchased and by doing so allow this ticket to be played at other online sites, like Poker Stars or Party Poker. This variation goes against the main premise of this invention but is very possible for countries that do not operator their current lotteries and want to share in the profits being made by the online Internet poker rooms and casinos. This variation however does allow for say the BC Lottery Corporation in British Columbia, Canada, to decide not to operate their own game but to allow their players to play and join in the Canadian game or Ontario's game if this is what they decide to do. It would be obvious to one skilled in the art that the lottery could also have a raked game as is most common throughout online poker rooms. In this embodiment the lotteries would take a percentage of the pot of each poker hand played as their profits.

In the preferred embodiment of the present invention each different lottery corporation would run their own game. This is very powerful. Part of the problems existing with Internet gaming now is that there are no boundaries across the Internet. This is the very reason companies run online casino and poker rooms from the countries they do, to circumvent certain laws that may prohibit certain things they do. This may be as simple as to avoid paying taxes or being regulated. It may also be they are crooks. The present invention by its nature places boundaries on the Internet that simply have never existed. Any corporation that operates a GWU game will now be able to capitalize on the online gaming market and in essence take back some or all of what is currently leaving the country. Money leaving the country is not coming back and is not being taxed, hurting an economy. If Ontario operates an Ontario GWU game they are not competing with any other corporation that does or does not offer a game as they are only capitalizing on their own market. In the preferred embodiment of the present invention tickets are printed and purchased at lottery terminals. So to play in the Ontario game one would need a ticket purchased at an Ontario retailer. People in New York State, California or Australia would not be affected by Ontario's game, even if they did not offer their own game as the people in their areas would not be able to purchase a ticket at an Ontario retailer. If each corporation operated their own GWU game none would compete with each other but collectively could promote the same game in their advertisements and marketing. Game With Us Ontario, Game With Us Texas, Game With Us Australia could work hard at advertising their games but yet none of these places ever compete for the other's customers. This is in contrast to the online casinos and poker rooms who each separately compete for people across the old Internet that knew no boundaries. For this simple reason alone it is believed the current invention if implemented by each corporation would destroy online casinos and poker rooms as they exist today.

In the preferred embodiment of the present invention players need not go through the entire process of creating accounts when they play. These accounts rely on personal information about the player that in our day and age many people fear handing out to shady or un-reputable companies. Many people are fearful of things like identity theft, credit card or account information being stolen or just simply being spammed in their email when they give out their email address when opening accounts online. For these reasons and many others the present invention makes players less apprehensive about playing online. Although account information can always be gathered if the corporation deems fit, either once or each time a player accesses the site directed to them by the corporation, likely found on the GWU Ticket, in the preferred embodiment of the present invention no account information will ever be asked. The corporation's outstanding efforts are always ensured at the point of sale to prevent anyone underage from buying tickets, just as underage people cannot by alcohol or tobacco at corner stores. When players play online, all they need to do is enter the Activation Code number and they are permitted to play. Players need not fear what shows up on account statements or their email's being spammed or identity theft occurring or their identity is in jeopardy of being abused as they are basically anonymous. By offering the present invention players need not fear their credit card or banking information is being misused for it is never asked for nor required. Of course when a player redeems their tickets they may be required to do certain things the corporation asks, such as security measures like signing their ticket before validation or possible showing identification if required.

The current invention also discloses a game that is built around speed. Currently with all the methods players use to transfer and wire money just to open an account the process involved may be ridiculously slow to many. The current invention is about the speed a player may play also. This speed is not the ‘speed of the game’ but yet how fast a player may go from wanting to play to playing for real money online. A player may purchase a GWU ticket as easy as going to their local, nearest, corner store. In the future corporations may allow the purchasing of tickets at any point of sale and other locations such as ATM machines. Most people in cities live minutes from a terminal and can leave their residence and be back with a ticket ready to play in much less than 15 minutes or less. This is compared with people having to open accounts and waiting for money to be transferred and for authorization that money has been transferred and received. Under current methods this may take weeks. Of course when you win, to receive your winnings may take just as long a process again. Under the current invention a player could purchase a ticket, play the game online and immediately go back to the lottery retailer and collect their winnings in cash, all within the time it takes them to come from the retailers with their ticket, play the game and return to the retailers.

By implementing the current invention it is our belief that new players will appear who never before have played online games for money. The reasons for this are plentiful and too many to list. The main reasons for this are the ease of the entire process to the trust of playing with your local government over someone set up “Off-shore”, likely for a reason. The majority of players who play online for free would now be money paying customers of the corporations. The ease in which a player may obtain a ticket to play, find and join a game and cash out their winnings, will almost certainly destroy the corporations competition, that is, if online casinos and poker rooms would even be thought of as competition for GWU anymore. With the huge dip in profits from an area that offers GWU it can be predicted the online casinos and poker rooms would no longer promote their games as competing would be obviously frivolous. The very fact that players currently without accounts online and those who could not be bothered with the process of opening accounts, would now just buy GWU tickets, for cash, and instantly become new found players.

The current invention also has a bigger impact on the local economy then just the profits the corporations return back. Big winners would emerge in the form of lottery retailers who now profit from the selling of tickets. Of course under the current system of online casinos and poker rooms taking all the money out of the country, these retailers are getting absolutely zero of this amount. These tables would turn in a very positive way and in turn create healthier businesses who many in turn hire more people, expand, or at the very least have their owners make more and spend more on things that drive economies. All this without the mention of the more in taxes they'd pay from their higher profits!

In the preferred embodiment of the present invention a controlled winning system is created. Although most concentration is always focused on the profits these online companies are making and where this is coming from, a much larger amount then this is currently being won and lost by the players playing these games. For example, recently it was announced that an Ontario, Canada man won $300,000 playing in an online site called Poker Stars. This was not money won from Poker Stars, but from the players playing at Poker Stars. In essence this money is recycled between winners and losers. If one area of the world was arguable better at playing poker, they can arguable get more of these winnings, further taking from other areas. The present invention creates what we call, controlled winning. For example, all winners in the Ontario game would also be from Ontario. So in the example of the person who won $300,000, the amount won would be kept in Ontario, won by a person in Ontario. So with the present invention there is never more winnings coming into an area or more losses going out and this is what we call controlled winning and is a very powerful form of gaming that does not currently exist online where boundaries do not exist.

The current invention would also allow the corporations to have bonus games, like a second chance for players who lose, competing for real cash prizes in the form of unclaimed prizes that are in turn still given out in prizes to the players. The corporations would also make money selling advertising in their sites by drawing in a huge number of daily players. These profits are all not realized under the current system which is only working for companies that the average person never sees. These companies don't have employees here, buildings here, pay taxes here and so forth. They'd be invisible if it weren't for the realization billions are leaving the industrialized countries and ending up in their pockets, all because the current players just want to play. The current players want the current invention to be realized.

The present invention is so powerful we have realized its future importance already. On one hand the corporations have everything to gain while the online casinos and poker rooms have everything to lose. If this patent was not granted, in essence the lottery corporations could do this unabated and so swiftly kill online gaming as we know it exists today in North America. If the corporations buy or license the rights to use this patent the same can easily be said, it is game over for the online casinos and poker rooms. However, if the ownership of this patent falls in the hands of the online casinos and poker rooms they could then license it to the lottery corporations at a very high price, gouging we'd expect, or they could simply prevent the lottery corporations from ever realizing what could have been. This is clearly the power of the present invention. Like simple things such as Priceline, eBay, YouTube or Facebook, everyone will ask themselves how come they didn't think of that.

According to one aspect of the present invention there is provide a method for allowing a lottery player to buy entry and participate in online gaming on the Internet, comprising the steps of: providing the lottery player with a lottery ticket purchased from a lottery retailer; providing the lottery ticket with a unique activation coding information number thereon; providing an Internet web site where on-line gaming is conducted; allowing the lottery player to play at the Internet web site, the play being activated through entry of the unique activation coding information on the lottery ticket; and awarding prizes to the lottery player if they win at the on-line gaming.

According to one aspect of the present invention there is provide the method, wherein the lottery player can access the Internet web site remotely and enter their assigned activation coding information number to participate in the on-line gaming in a virtual gaming environment.

According to one aspect of the present invention there is provide the method wherein, when the lottery player activates the lottery ticket through entry of the unique activation coding information number at the Internet web site, the Internet web site opens a corresponding unique playing account solely associated with the lottery ticket for the lottery player to access.

BRIEF DESCRIPTIONS OF THE DRAWINGS

A preferred embodiment of the present invention is described below with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a hardware configuration for a lottery ticket purchasing system in accordance with the lottery playing method of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a block diagram of one possible embodiment of the POS controller of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a block diagram of one possible embodiment of the POS terminal of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a block diagram of one possible embodiment of the lottery data processing system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is an Example Ticket from one lottery corporation, the OLG which could be printed in FIG. 3.

FIG. 6 is an Example Ticket from second lottery corporation, the New York Lottery which could be printed in FIG. 3.

FIG. 7 is a Flow Chart that shows an overview of the preferred method of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a process or method for allowing lotteries to run online gaming and poker by selling tickets preferable printed at lottery terminals, sold by lottery retailers, with unique coding on each ticket to identify it which would allow the purchaser of the ticket to access for example an Internet web site where they may join online gaming, using this unique coding found on the ticket they purchased. Players would not be able to return to the retailers that sell the tickets to redeem their tickets and collect their winnings if they won while playing.

The process is powerful, although simple, and allows Lottery Corporations to run online gaming where:

1. Players purchase tickets at the lottery retailers, printed at the terminals.

2. Printed tickets have an activation code printed on the ticket.

3. Players go online to a corporation run site.

4. Players join online gaming by using activation code.

5. Winners return with ticket to retailers for validation and to receive winnings.

The following is a detailed look at the process and how it can work. All facets of the process are currently being used by lotteries and in online poker rooms to make the current invention work when the two are connected via the printing of the tickets at the retailers with the activation coding.

As illustrated in FIG. 1, the POS controller 10 is also linked to a lottery data processing system 50, discussed in detail below, via a data network 40. Preferably, the controller communicates in substantially real-time with the lottery data processing system. The data network 40 can be any one or more of a variety of networks capable of data communications. For example, the data network 40 can be a public switched telephone network, an integrated service digital network (ISDN), a packet switched network, a private data communication network, a wireless network or any other suitable network.

The POS terminals 20 and the POS controller 10 depicted in FIG. 1 may be embodied in hardware specifically provided to implement the present invention. Alternatively, they may be implemented using existing cash registers and central in-store servers.

FIG. 2 is a block diagram of the POS controller 10. The POS controller 10 comprises a CPU 21 which performs the processing functions. POS controller 10 also includes a read only memory 22 (ROM) and a random access memory 23 (RAM). The ROM 22 is used to store at least some of the program instructions that are to be executed by the CPU 21, such as portions of the operating system or basic input-output system (BIOS), and the RAM 23 is used for temporary storage of data. A clock circuit 24 provides a clock signal which is required by the CPU 21.

The POS controller 10 also includes a communication port 25 connected to a data network interface 71 and a POS network interface 72. The communication port 25 enables the CPU 21 to communicate with devices external to the POS controller 10. In particular, the communication port 25 permits communication with the POS terminals 20 and also with the lottery data processing system 50. While a modem (not shown) and a dedicated telephone line for establishing communication with the lottery data processing system 50 is preferred, it should be understood that other data network interfaces, including an ISDN terminal to interface with an ISDN network, a radio communications interface, and an Internet interface, may be used as well.

The CPU 21 can also store information to, and read information from, a data storage device 26. The data storage device 26 includes a local lottery ticket database 26a and other databases (not shown) which that store or location may conventionally maintain. The local lottery ticket database 26a is described below. In addition, the data storage device 26 includes instructions which can be read by and executed by the CPU 21, thereby enabling the CPU 21 to process transactions.

FIG. 3 is a block diagram of the preferred POS terminal 20, which can be located at any location where consumer lottery transactions are performed. As previously discussed above, there can be any number of POS terminals 20 linked to one POS controller 10. The POS terminal 20 includes a CPU 31, ROM 32, RAM 33, clock circuit 34, communication port 35 and a data storage device 36. The communication port 35 interfaces with the POS network 30 which facilitates communication between the POS terminal 20 and the POS controller 10.

The POS terminal 20 includes an input device 37 to receive input from an operator. Any one of a variety of input devices would be suitable for this purpose, including, for example, depression-actuated buttons, keys, membranes, a mouse, touch screens, bar code scanners, and the like. The input device 37 may interface directly with the CPU 31, as shown in FIG. 3. Alternatively, an appropriate interface circuit may be placed between the CPU 31 and the input device 37. The POS terminal 20 also includes a display device 38 for conveying information to the operator, customer or both. Any one or a variety of display devices would be suitable for this purpose, including, for example a CRT, LCD, LED or thin film transistor panel.

The POS terminal 20 also includes a data storage device 36, in which transaction processor instructions are stored. These instructions can be read by and executed by the CPU 31, enabling the POS terminal 20 to process a variety of transaction types. By way of example, these transaction types may include, but are not limited to, “quick-pick” lottery tickets and lottery tickets other than “quick-pick” tickets. The POS terminal 20 further includes a printer 39 for recording the transaction performed by the POS terminal 20. The printer 39 may interface directly with the CPU 31, as shown in FIG. 3. Alternatively, an appropriate interface circuit may be placed between the CPU 31 and the printer 39. When a customer requests the purchase of the ticket the lottery retailer would input the transaction and the ticket would be printed by the printer 39.

Shown in FIG. 4 is a block diagram of one possible embodiment of the lottery data processing system 50. Like the POS controller 10 described above, the lottery data processing system 50 includes a CPU 51, ROM 52, RAM 53, a clock circuit 54, and a communication port 55. The communication port 55 is connected to the data network interface 71. The data network interface 71 depicted is equivalent to the data network interface shown in FIG. 2. One POS controller 10 is depicted in FIG. 1, but any number of POS controllers 10 can be linked to the lottery data processing system 50 via the data network 40 and the data network interface 71.

The CPU 51 can store information to, and read information from the data storage device 58. The data storage device 58 includes a lottery ticket database 58a, a POS controller database 58b, and a winning lottery ticket number database 58c which are described below. In addition, the data storage device 58 includes instructions which can be read by and executed by the CPU 51, thereby enabling the CPU 51 to process lottery transactions. While FIG. 4 depicts separate databases, a single database that incorporates all the functions of databases 58a, 58b and 58c can also be used. It is also to be understood that additional databases may be utilized as needed to store a variety of other information that may be useful in maintaining and administrating a lottery system, as would be apparent to one skilled in the art.

The lottery data processing system 50 also includes a random number generator 56 that creates the unique activation codes found on the tickets. When requested by the CPU 51, the random number generator 56 generates the random unique activation codes found on the tickets and ensures that each unique activation code is only in use once at any one time. This is the coding that is found on each ticket.

While the illustrated embodiment depicts the random number generator 56 as separate elements within the lottery data processing system 50, it should be understood that other methods of performing their functions may be used. For example, these functions may also be implemented in a computer program stored in the data storage device 58 and executed by the CPU 51, or other variations thereof, as would be apparent to one skilled in the art.

Shown in FIG. 5 is an example lottery ticket which may be printed in FIG. 3 from the lottery terminal at the lottery retailer. In FIG. 5 we show a ticket printed in Ontario by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG)—It is a $20 ticket, but the OLG is giving 80% of the ticket amount back to the player, so their ticket shows $16.

Shown in FIG. 6 is an example lottery ticket similar to that in FIG. 5. In FIG. 6 we show a ticket printed in New York State by the New York State lottery (NYL)—It is a $100 ticket, but they only give 75% back to the players, so the ticket shows it is worth $75.

The major differences between FIG. 5 and FIG. 6 example tickets is to show one skilled in the art that the tickets may have different activation coding used by the different lottery corporations that offer the game. The two tickets are also priced differently as each corporation may take different amount off the ticket as their profits, while other still may take nothing at the time of printing and instead take a percentage such as a rake or entry fee when playing.

In FIG. 5 and FIG. 6, both send the player to the same web site on the ticket, but of course from their, Ontario players would join in the Ontario game and the New York players the New York game (not shown). All players could game in the same site and in the same game, in an alternate embodiment. For example all tickets in the United States could allow players to play against each other, crossing over the different State lines just as Powerball sells tickets for the same jackpot, but sold in different States. However, in the preferred embodiment each corporation will likely want players playing local and so no winnings are ever leaving the area where the ticket was sold, in essence the controlled gaming.

In FIG. 6 of the NYL—With a very simple security feature of 12 characters as shown, using only 30 of the possible 36 numbers and letters (Characters such as A, B, C, D, E, F . . . and Numbers, but only using 30 of the possible 36) in each location (So Ontario's system would be separate for New York's system) of the 12 digit long string, over 531,441,000,000,000,000 combinations of tickets, all with unique activation codes could be printed. This number is 531 quadrillion (higher then a trillion). If this method was used as a Validation Code and 3 billion different tickets in any one location were currently in use, only one of every 177,000,000 (177 million) tickets would be in use at any one time. Of course as added security features players could be asked for information, say such as an email but in the preferred embodiment of the present invention this would not even be necessary. Not shown in FIG. 5 and FIG. 6 as additional ticket information that one skilled in the art would see could be asked for at the time the player joins in online gaming in the Internet web site. Things such as the following could be asked for like, ticket amount or time ticket was printed (not shown), which could be printed in Hour, Minutes and Seconds right on the ticket. There would be no possible way to guess a 1 in 177 million combination unique activation code plus an exact printed time of hour, minute and second the ticket was printed. There are 86,400 seconds in a day and 531 quadrillion (higher then a trillion) ticket combinations, but with even 3 billion tickets in play in one location (such as New York State) the odds of guessing the Validation Code of one of those tickets in play is over 15 Quadrillion to 1. Of course even guessing a Validation Code does a person no good. It could conceivable allow a person to play by joining in a game they do not have a corresponding ticket for, this does a person little good as they cannot collect on any winnings without the actual printed ticket. A player needs the actual ticket to collect their winnings back at the lottery retailer. Without the ticket this would be similar to collecting a Powerball prize without a ticket. It is not going to happen.

The Internet is very well known and understood. Websites are common place and most of the industrialized world is “online” and has access to the Internet. Players with Tickets in FIG. 5 and FIG. 6 would go onto the Internet and visit the web sites listed on the printed ticket. Although one skilled in the art would understand that this website could be any web site, even that of existing poker and card rooms such as Poker Stars (www.PokerStars.com) in our example they are directed to www.GameWithUs.com. With ticket in hand a player could now easily play by following the instructions at the web site. When a player joins in a game they could be prompt for the unique activation code found on the ticket. The website would validate your ticket through the unique activation code and communicate FIG. 4 the lottery ticket database to validate your ticket. Players entering invalid information would be told at the web site that the information is incorrect. Players joining games that are of a higher monetary value than they currently have on their ticket would be told how much they have left on their tickets and may then decide to join a smaller monetary game. In the preferred embodiment players who have a small amount on one ticket may be prompt to enter information from another ticket, in essence combining amounts remaining on two tickets (maybe an older ticket and a new ticket they just bought) thus using all of one ticket and a portion of maybe a newer ticket to join in online gaming.

If a player wins while playing this winning amount is added to and associated with the unique identification code, in essence this person's ticket. Players would receive their winnings by taking their tickets back to the very locations that printed them, or in some cases send tickets in to the lottery corporations prize offices and collect their winnings. Players returning to the POS, lottery retailers would have their tickets validated at the terminals previously shown. The ticket is the players account in the current invention. Under current methods used on the internet in gaming, a personal's private information is associated with their account. This is not so for the present invention and the ticket is the account. Everything that is associated with this ticket is unique to this ticket, such as how much it has remaining, how much was won with it and it's current value. Moral issues of who played with the ticket are taken care of at the POS. This is no different than an adult buying alcohol or cigarettes. At the POS we determine if they are of age to legally make this purchase. It is possible for the adult to leave and give the alcohol to a person not of age but society realizes only so many checks and balances can be taken to prevent this kind of activity for occurring, as is the case with the present invention. Each lottery corporation will set their own laws and regulations regarding the sale and use of the tickets.

Shown in FIG. 7 is a flow chart that shows the preferred embodiment of the present invention. Although FIG. 7 shows the steps in more detail the process can be broken down into the following most general of steps:

1. Players purchase tickets at the lottery retailers, printed at the terminals.

2. Printed tickets have an activation code printed on the ticket.

3. Players go online to a corporation run site.

4. Players join online gaming by using activation code.

5. Winners return with ticket to retailers for validation and to receive winnings.

The present invention has been described herein with regard to preferred embodiments. However, it will be obvious to persons skilled in the art that a number of variations and modifications can be made without departing from the scope of the invention as described herein.





 
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