Title:
System and Method for Management of Multiple Independent Lottery Tickets
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A system and methodology for using electronic computer systems for the management of electronically generated lottery tickets having a plurality of statuses whereas the lottery ticket is created as an electronic lottery ticket record, allowing one or more lottery tickets to be linked to a printed lottery ticket in a sold status, allowing one or more tickets to linked to a printed lottery ticket in a reserved status, and allowing unsold tickets previously linked to a printed ticket to be released and linked to new lottery ticket at a later time.



Inventors:
Honour, Edward S. (Schaumburg, IL, US)
Application Number:
12/399962
Publication Date:
10/08/2009
Filing Date:
03/08/2009
Assignee:
Multiplayer Gaming Technologies LLC (Elk Grove Village, IL, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ENAD, CHRISTINE A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LESAVICH HIGH-TECH LAW GROUP, S.C. (Kenosha, WI, US)
Claims:
1. A method for creating, storing, printing, and redeeming lottery tickets having one or more independent lottery ticket games represented on each printed lottery ticket.

2. A method for creating electronic lottery tickets as in claim 1 where each electronic lottery ticket is stored in a computer database.

3. A method for creating printed lottery tickets as in claim 1 where each printed lottery ticket is stored in a computer database.

4. A method for creating printed lottery tickets as in claim 1 where multiple electronic lottery tickets are linked to each printed lottery ticket.

5. A method for creating printed lottery tickets as in claim 1 having optional continuation games.

6. A method for storing lottery tickets as in claim 1 where multiple electronic lottery tickets are reserved and linked to optional continuation games.

7. A method for storing lottery tickets as in claim 1 where a player chooses to play an optional continuation game.

8. A method for redeeming lottery tickets as in claim 1 where electronic lottery tickets reserved and linked to optional continuations games are released for reuse.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to lottery games in which a lottery ticket is used and more particularly to a lottery ticket game in which the printed lottery ticket contains one or more independent lottery ticket outcomes. One or more of these lottery ticket outcomes may be required as part of the ticket purchase, or optional as in the case of a bonus game or a continued play game.

Governmental lotteries typically include ticket based games in which the outcome of the game is determined when the ticket is printed. In most cases the lottery publishes the player's odds of winning each prize on the ticket or on the lottery's web site. The odds of a player winning each of the prizes is based on the number tickets created having of each of the winning outcomes, along with the number of tickets created having no redemption value. For example, if one winning ticket is created out of a total of one million tickets, the odds of a player receiving the winning ticket is one in one million.

Most lottery tickets provide a limited number of possible game outcomes and each lottery ticket usually only contains a single redemption value calculated for the ticket as a whole and not for individual games printed on the ticket. Although these tickets may contain one or more graphic images which are revealed separately and totaled to determine the redemption value of the ticket, the redemption value of the ticket is one of the limited number of possible outcomes.

The lottery ticket may also provide the player with optional bonus or continuation games that allows the play to decide whether or not they want to participate in the optional game. This is common when the lottery ticket is used to provide the player with access to an electronic game that allows the player to reveal the outcome of each lottery ticket using an entertaining graphical display.

Competition for players with other forms of gaming such as casinos and horse racing is tight and lotteries are often looking for ways to attract and keep players. One method is to provide lottery tickets having multiple independent lottery ticket games included on a single ticket. Including multiple independent lottery tickets on a single printed ticket allows the lottery to provide a wider range of winning outcomes providing for more exciting games. The creation of a wider range of game outcomes on a single ticket also makes it possible for government lotteries to expand the methods used to present the winning outcomes to include interesting electronic displays.

A system and method for creating and printing each of the winning tickets along with each of the non-winning tickets is required in order to provide a game having the odds published by the governmental lottery.

Prior to the present invention, there is no system and method for creating lottery tickets containing multiple independent lottery ticket games where the total redemption value of the ticket is based on the sum of all the independent game outputs and the player may also choose to play optional or additional games presented on the same lottery ticket.

Therefore, it would be advantageous to provide a system and method that provides for the creation and management of lottery tickets that are stored as electronic lottery tickets and may be printed as a group on a printed lottery ticket that provide the player with the opportunity to purchase multiple independent lottery ticket games printed on the same ticket.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a pictorial representation of a lottery ticket in which the present invention may be implemented is depicted in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a pictorial representation showing the relationship between lottery ticket data structures is depicted in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a flowchart depicting the creation of electronic lottery tickets is depicted in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a flowchart depicting the creation of printed lottery tickets is depicted in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a flowchart depicting the process of a player choosing to participate in a continuation game is depicted in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a flowchart depicting the process of a player redeeming a lottery ticket is depicted in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Starting now with FIG. 1, a pictorial representation of a lottery ticket in which the present invention may be implemented is depicted in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention. A substrate 101 which may be printed using a computer printer or thermal receipt printer or printed on card stock using traditional printing methods is used to print a lottery ticket identified in a preferred embodiment of the present invention. An optional printed area 102 may be used by the lottery to provide game instructions to the player or identify other important information about the game. The optional printed area 102 may also contain a covering which may be removed by the player to reveal additional information including game results. A unique machine readable barcode 103 is printed on the substrate to identify the ticket to the lottery and any machine used to verify or validate the ticket. The machine readable barcode 103 is used as the unique identifier to represent the printed ticket throughout all aspects of the current invention. An optional internet access number 104 is printed on the ticket to allow a player to validate the ticket using a computer connected to the Internet.

With reference now to FIG. 2, a pictorial representation showing the relationship between lottery ticket data structures depicted in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention. A data structure containing electronic lottery tickets 201 contains one record for each electronic lottery ticket created in accordance with the current invention. Electronic lottery ticket records are created using the method described in FIG. 3 and a created when a new game is created or when the number of electronic lottery tickets sold reaches a level where the lottery chooses to create new electronic lottery tickets. A data structure containing printed lottery tickets 202 contains one record for each lottery ticket printed to physical paper. The creation of printed lottery tickets as represented in 202 is done either as part of a large print run, in the case of pre-printed tickets, or at the point of sale device as in the case of lottery tickets used with electronic display machines. The one to many relationship 203 identifies that for each printed ticket represented in 202 there may be one or more electronic lottery tickets represented in 201, but it is also possible for electronic lottery ticket records stored in 201 to not be linked to a printed lottery ticket in 202.

With reference now to FIG. 3, a flowchart depicting the creation of electronic lottery tickets depicted in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention. The process starts with the system reading configuration information 301 related to the game in which electronic tickets are created. This information includes the minimum number of tickets that must be created as part of the process, a list of winning prize amounts that must be created, along with the number of each winning prize amount that must be created. The system uses a temporary data structure to create the electronic lottery ticket records, in case a computer error occurs requiring the process to be restarted. The system clears all records from the temporary data structure in Step 302. The system next creates electronic lottery tickets having no redemption value in Step 303 into the temporary data structure. Each electronic lottery ticket is assigned a unique identifier that is defined internally to the system. The number of zero-value lottery tickets created is the minimum value read from the configuration information in Step 301. Step 303 is the only step in which new electronic lottery tickets are inserted into the temporary data structure. In the next Step 304 a counter is initialized to track the creation of each of the winning prize amounts. This counter is used to determine whether all available prize amounts have been created during this process. In the next Step 305, the counter is checked to determine if all of the prize amounts have been assigned. If all prize amounts have been created, the process moves to Step 314, otherwise the process moves to Step 306. In Step 306, system memory is read to determine how many tickets with the prize amount being processed needs to be created. Step 307 initializes the counter required to ensure that the correct number of prizes have been created for the prize amount being processed. In Step 308, the value of the second counter is compared with the number of winning tickets that must be created for the prize amount being processed to determine if all prizes for the current prize amount have been created. If the correct number prizes have been created, the process moves to Step 309 where the first counter is incremented and the process is moved back to Step 305 where the process of Step 305, 306, 307, and 308 is continued until electronic lottery tickets have been created for each available prize. Back in Step 308, if all lottery tickets for the current prize have not been created, the process moves to Step 310 where a random number is generated between 1 and the total number of electronic lottery tickets being created as part of this process. The system moves to the location in the temporary data structure represented by the random number generated in 310 and the lottery ticket is checked in Step 311 to determine if a prize has already been assigned to the ticket. If the electronic lottery ticket represented by the random number generated in Step 310 has already been assigned a winning value, the process moves back to Step 310 to generate a new random number. This process, Step 310 and Step 311, is repeated until the electronic lottery ticket represented by the random number generated in Step 310 has not been assigned a winning value. Once Step 311 identifies a ticket that has not been assigned a winning value, the winning value for the prize currently being processed is assigned to the electronic lottery ticket in Step 312. The process then moves to Step 313 where the counter representing the number of tickets created for the prize currently being processed is incremented, and the process moves back to Step 308 to determine whether all the winning tickets have been assigned for the current prize. The steps used to assign all of the winning tickets for the current prize value is repeated until Step 308 determines that all of the tickets for the current prize have been assigned. The process then increments the first counter in Step 309 and moves back to Step 305 to determine if all prizes have been assigned. If Step 305 determines that all prizes have been assigned for all prize values, the process moves to Step 314 where the system operator views the results of the entire process to ensure that the process was performed correctly. If the operator in Step 314 determines that the process has not been completed successfully, the process moves to Step 302 and the entire process is repeated. If the operator in Step 314 determines that the process was completed successfully, the process moves to Step 315 where the electronic lottery ticket records are moved from the temporary data structure to the production data structure and the process ends in Step 316.

With reference now to FIG. 4, a flowchart depicting the creation of printed lottery tickets depicted in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention. In the first Step 400, the system reads the game configuration information to retrieve critical information used to assign electronic lottery tickets to printed lottery tickets. This information includes, the number of electronic lottery tickets assigned to the printed ticket as part of the initial lottery ticket purchase, the number of optional continuation games to be linked to the ticket, and the number of electronic lottery tickets that are reserved for each of the continuation games. In Step 401, the record representing the printed lottery ticket being processed is created and inserted into the data structure representing printed lottery tickets. This step includes assigning the unique identifier that represents the printed lottery ticket and is printed on the lottery ticket as a machine readable barcode and shown in FIG. 1 as 103. In Step 402 a counter is initialized to track the number of electronic lottery tickets that have been linked to the printed lottery ticket for the initial purchased game represented on the printed lottery ticket. Step 403 compares the value of the counter with the number of electronic lottery tickets that are to be assigned to the printed lottery ticket as part of the initial purchased game. If the number of the counter is equal to the required number of lottery tickets, the process moves to Step 407, otherwise the process moves to Step 404. In Step 404, a random number is generated between 1 and the number of unsold and unreserved electronic lottery tickets remaining for the game being processed. In Step 405, the electronic lottery ticket represented by the random number generated in Step 404 is linked to the printed lottery ticket by assigning the unique ID representing the printed lottery ticket to a field on the data record identifying the printed lottery ticket. Step 405 also sets the status of the electronic lottery ticket to the value representing an electronic ticket that has been sold. Step 406 increments the counter representing the number of electronic lottery tickets assigned to the printed ticket prior to the process moving back to Step 403. If the number of electronic lottery tickets assigned to the printed lottery ticket is equal to the number of required for the game, the process moves to Step 407 where the system determines if there are continuation or bonus games that require additional electronic lottery tickets to be attached to the printed lottery ticket. If Step 407 determines that there are no additional bonus or continuation games, the process moves to Step 408 and the process ends. If Step 407 determines that additional games exist, a counter is initialized to keep track of each of the continuation or bonus games that have been processed. In Step 410, the counter is compared to the number of continuation or bonus games for the ticket to determine if all continuation games have been processed. If Step 410 determines that all continuation games have been processed, the process moves to Step 408 and the process ends. Otherwise, the process moves to Step 411 where a second counter is initialized to track the number of electronic lottery tickets that have been linked to the current continuation game being processed. Step 412 determines whether the number of electronic lottery tickets linked to the current continuation game matches the correct number of electronic lottery tickets, then the process moves to Step 416 where the counter tracking the number of continuation games is incremented and the process is moved back to Step 410. If Step 412 determines that additional electronic lottery tickets must be attached to the current continuation game, the process moves to Step 413 where a random number between 1 and the number of unassigned electronic lottery tickets for the type of game being processed is generated. The process then moves to Step 414 where the lottery ticket is linked to both the printed ticket being processed and the continuation game being processed. Step 414 also sets the status field representing the status of the electronic lottery ticket to a value representing a reserved lottery ticket. The process next moves to Step 415 where the counter tracking the number of electronic lottery tickets linked to the current continuation game is incremented and the process moves back to Step 412 to determine if the process of assigning electronic lottery tickets to the current lottery game is complete. If Step 412 determines that the proper amount of electronic lottery tickets for the current continuation game have been linked to the printed lottery ticket, the process moves to Step 416 where the counter representing the current continuation game is incremented. The process moves to Step 410 to determine if the overall process of creating the printed lottery ticket and assigning electronic lottery ticket records to it is complete. The process ends at Step 408.

With reference now to FIG. 5, a flowchart depicting the process of a player choosing to participate in a continuation game depicted in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention. Continuation or bonus games are optional to the player but linked to the printed lottery ticket to allow the player to decide whether they want to risk some of their current prize winning to play another game. When this happens, the data structures representing the printed lottery ticket and the reserved electronic lottery tickets must be updated to represent that a continuation game has been played. The process starts in Step 501 where the player chooses to participate in a continuation or bonus game. Next, in Step 502 information identifying the printed lottery ticket and the continuation game being played is transmitted to the computer system managing this process. In the next Step 503, the system determines whether or not additional electronic lottery tickets are linked to the continuation game the player identified that they wish to play. If Step 503 determines that no additional electronic lottery tickets are linked to the continuation game identified by the player in Step 502, a failure message is sent to the player in Step 504 and the process is terminated in Step 505. If Step 503 determines that electronic lottery tickets have been reserved for the continuation game identified by player in Step 502, the process moves to Step 507 where a sales record is created in a data structure to represent that the electronic lottery tickets have move to a status representing a sold lottery ticket. The next Step 508 sets the status of all electronic lottery tickets linked to both the printed lottery ticket and the continuation game identified by the player in Step 502 to the status representing a sold electronic lottery ticket. In Step 509, the record representing the printed lottery ticket is updated to represent the additional continuation game as played. In Step 510, a success message is sent to the player identifying that the process of activating the continuation game is complete. The process completes in Step 505.

With reference now to FIG. 6, a flowchart depicting the process of a player redeeming a lottery ticket depicted in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention. The process starts in Step 601 with the player determining that they want to redeem the printed lottery ticket for its cash value. In Step 602, the printed ticket number is sent to the electronic computer system managing the process to identify the ticket being redeemed. In Step 603, the redemption value of the ticket is calculated using the rules established for the lottery game identified by the printed ticket. Step 604 identifies whether there are additional reserved electronic tickets attached to the printed lottery ticket that are part of continuation games that the player decided not to play. If Step 604 determines that there are additional reserved electronic lottery tickets linked to the printed lottery ticket, the process moves to Step 607 where the status of the reserved electronic lottery tickets linked to the printed ticket is set to the status representing an unsold lottery ticket. In Step 608 all electronic lottery tickets linked to the printed ticket that are in unsold status are unlinked from the printed lottery ticket by removing the printed lottery ticket identifier from the electronic lottery ticket records. The process then moves to Step 605 where the redemption value of the ticket calculated in Step 603 is transmitted to the location redeeming the printed lottery ticket. The process is then terminated in Step 606.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

In view of the deficiencies described above, it is an objective of the present invention to provide a novel system and method to create and manage electronic lottery tickets which may be provided to the player as a single printed lottery ticket and which one or more of the electronic lottery tickets provided on the printed ticket may be optional to the player.

Each lottery ticket game has a purchase price which defines the amount the player must pay in order to play the game. In a multiple ticket game, the player may have purchased more than one independent lottery tickets where the total purchase price of each of the independent tickets totals the total purchase price of the ticket.

When a new lottery game is created or a batch of new tickets is added to the existing tickets for the game, a large number of tickets are created at the same time in order to maintain the correct odds of winning each prize. The set of new tickets is first created as electronic records in a computer database prior to the tickets being assigned to a printed ticket. The lottery tickets having winning outcomes are distributed randomly throughout the database providing each player with the same odds of winning a prize. A field on the electronic lottery ticket record contains the status of the electronic lottery ticket. When the electronic lottery ticket first created, the status of the ticket is unsold, which is represented in the status fields as a unique code. When an electronic lottery ticket is linked to a printed lottery ticket, a unique identifier representing the printed lottery ticket, which may be represented on the ticket as a machine readable barcode, is stored in a field on the electronic lottery ticket record. Additionally, the status of the electronic lottery ticket is either set to a value representing a ‘sold’ ticket, or a value representing a ‘reserved’ ticket, depending on whether playing the electronic lottery ticket is required or optional when the ticket is printed.

When an electronic lottery ticket status is represented as a ‘reserved’ ticket, the redemption value of the electronic ticket is not included in the redemption value of the printed ticket. If the player chooses to play the optional ‘reserved’ ticket, the status of the ticket is changed to a value representing a ‘sold’ ticket prior to being included in the redemption value of the printed ticket.

In order to create a printed ticket containing the outcomes of multiple electronic lottery tickets, game configuration values are used to determine how many electronic lottery tickets are included on each printed lottery ticket. Within the computerized database an additional table data structure is required to represent each printed lottery ticket. The unique identifier representing each record contained in the printed ticket data structure is represented on the printed lottery ticket either as a machine readable barcode, a numeric sequence, or both. Each record contained in the data table representing the printed ticket is related to multiple records contained in the electronic lottery ticket data table. When the printed lottery ticket is created and linked to multiple electronic lottery tickets, the configuration data representing the lottery game also determines the number of continuation games and additional electronic lottery tickets are set to a status representing a ‘reserved’ ticket and linked to both the printed lottery ticket and the identifier representing the continuation game.

When a player purchases a printed ticket, the redemption value of the ticket is predetermined by totaling the outcomes of each of the electronic lottery tickets which are represented as a ‘sold’ status and linked to the printed ticket. If the player chooses to participate in a continuation game, the redemption value of the ticket may be reduced by a specified amount as part of the rules of the continuation game. If the redemption values of the printed lottery ticket is displayed using a electronic computer display, the player identifies to the lottery computer system whether or not they choose to play the continuation game. If the player chooses to play a continuation game, the electronic lottery tickets represented by a ‘reserved’ status, linked to the printed ticket, and identified by a continuation game identifier are set to a status representing a ‘sold’ ticket, and the outcomes related to the electronic lottery ticket are included in the redemption value of the printed lottery ticket. The migration of a electronic lottery ticket from a status representing a ‘reserved’ ticket to a status representing a ‘sold’ ticket may represent additional sales revenue to the lottery. Each time a ticket is changed to a status representing a ‘sold’ ticket, the electronic lottery ticket purchase price is added to a database structure representing the sales ledger for the lottery. This allows the lottery to record the play of a continuation game as a sale.

When the player redeems a printed lottery ticket having a redemption value greater than zero, any electronic lottery ticket records linked to the ticking being redeemed that have a status represented as ‘reserved’, are released from the printed lottery ticket and set to a status representing an ‘unsold’ ticket. This allows the ‘unsold’ ticket to be linked to another printed ticket the next time tickets are printed and maintains the correct odds of winning each prize.