Title:
Management system for a group of gaming machines
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A management system and a method to implement secure control of a player's gaming round on a site having several gaming machines linked to a centralized server containing a directory of player accounts. The system includes a registration terminal linked to said server. The registration terminal includes elements which receive a gaming amount and open a gaming session by issuing the player with a passive medium carrying a unique personalized code which remains unchanged throughout at least one gaming session, and by recording in the server's player account the total available gaming amount correlated with the code. Each of the gaming machines includes elements which read the code of the passive medium and, in correlation therewith read the total available gaming amount at any time, and of update the total available gaming amount in the server memory in relation to the player's winnings or losses.



Inventors:
Tranchant, Sebastien (Paris, FR)
Ferreira Lopes, Jorge (Villeneuve Saint Georges, FR)
Application Number:
12/017461
Publication Date:
11/26/2009
Filing Date:
01/22/2008
Assignee:
TRANCHANT GAMING TECHNOLOGY (Saint-Denis La Plaine, FR)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
463/42
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BLAISE, MALINA D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
NIXON & VANDERHYE, PC (ARLINGTON, VA, US)
Claims:
1. Secure management and control system of a player's gaming round on a site having several gaming machines (4, 5) linked to a centralized server (1) which contains a directory of player accounts, this system comprising a registration terminal (8, 8′) linked to said server (1), characterized in that: the registration terminal (8, 8′) comprises means able to receive a gaming amount and to open a gaming session by issuing the player with a passive medium carrying a unique personalized code which remains unchanged throughout at least one gaming session, and by recording in the player's account in the server the total available gaming amount correlated with said code, each of the gaming machines comprises means able to read the code of the passive medium and, in correlation with this code, is capable firstly of reading said total available gaming amount at any time and secondly of keeping said gaming total up to date in the player's account in the server memory in relation to the player's winnings or losses, it comprises means able to authorize or refuse play in relation to specific rules.

2. Secure management and control system according to claim 1, characterized in that the passive medium (12, 17) consists of a medium in light, flexible material such as paper or cardboard in particular.

3. Secure management and control system according to claim 2, characterized in that the passive medium consists of a ticket.

4. Secure management and control system according to claim 1, characterized in that said code is carried on the passive medium in the form of a bar code.

5. Secure management and control system according to claim 1, characterized in that at least one gaming machine comprises means able to receive a gaming amount and to update the total available gaming amount in a player account of the server in correlation with said code.

6. Secure management and control system according to claim 1 characterized in that it comprises a terminal (8, 8′) which, after reading the code carried by the passive medium, is able to close a gaming session.

7. Secure management and control system according to claim 6, characterized in that the terminal (8, 8′) able to close the gaming session is the same as the terminal which opened the session.

8. Secure management and control system according to claim 6, characterized in that the terminal comprises means allowing payout to a player, after reading the code carried by the passive medium and reading said total available gaming amount in the server.

9. Secure management and control system according to claim 1, characterized in that the registration terminal (8, 8′) and at least one gaming machine (4, 5) comprise reading means (31) to read at least one biometric parameter of the player.

10. Secure management and control system of a player's gaming round on a site having several gaming machines (4, 5) linked to a centralized server (1) which contains a directory of player accounts, this system comprising a registration terminal (8, 8′) linked to said server (1), characterized in that it comprises the steps consisting of: registering the player via the registration terminal which receives a gaming amount from the player and creates a unique personalized code stored in memory in a player account of the server in correlation with said gaming amount, and by issuing the player with a passive medium provided with said code, identifying a player logging onto a gaming machine by reading the code carried by the passive medium, verifying in the server's player account the total available gaming amount correlated with this code, authorizing or refusing access to the gaming machine, crediting or debiting the player account in relation the player's winnings or losses, so as to update the total available gaming amount after each game, at the end of a gaming session, paying the player the total available gaming amount.

11. Secure management and control system according to claim 7, characterized in that the terminal comprises means allowing payout to a player, after reading the code carried by the passive medium and reading said total available gaming amount in the server.

Description:

The present invention concerns the area of gaming machines, of the type used in casinos such as slot machines in particular or roulettes, and more specifically concerns a system intended to control and manage access by a player to a group of various available gaming machines, on the basis of the recognition of a series of unique, specific signs present on a medium. It also concerns a method to implement said system.

A secure method is known in particular from patent FR-A-2.762.118 whose object is to control transfers of units of value between a card of chip card type and a plurality of gaming machines. Systems of this type have a certain number of disadvantages, in particular the high cost of the card.

Control systems for gaming machines are also known which function by issuing a paper ticket, at the start of gaming, which carries recognition marking consisting of a bar-code system. This ticket is distributed to the player on entering a casino in exchange of payment of a certain amount of money representing the player's gaming total. With this ticket the player can successively access various gaming machines and, on completion of each of the different game steps, a new ticket is issued to the player, this ticket indicating the amount of the total allocated after this game step i.e. the balance remaining taking into account winnings and losses during the game step. The gaming ticket is therefore permanently renewed which entails major technical constraints for the casino.

On each changeover from one machine to another, it is effectively necessary to take back the ticket from the player and to issue a new one. These two operations are the source of complications as the ticket is taken back via the banknote accepting device, and therefore sorting must subsequently be made between the tickets and banknotes inserted in the device, and the issue of a new ticket to the customer implies that each gaming machine has its own printer which leads to heavy costs with regard to the purchase of these machines and their maintenance.

The permanent renewal of gaming tickets also places constraints on the player who, on each change of machine, must withdraw a new ticket.

It has also been proposed in application PCT WO 01/82176 to have recourse to a biometric print of the player in order to gain access to gaming machines. The application of said recognition means of biometric type involves the installation of complex electronic means whose use is not easy since it places constraints on the player to input a biometric sample. It has been found that if the position taken up by the player when logging onto a machine for access thereto is not strictly identical to the position taken up for initial registering, there is a risk that the player may not be recognized by the machine. Such a situation is hardly acceptable in a gaming location on account of the serious disturbances such an error may generate.

The present invention proposes to overcome the various above-cited drawbacks, notably by improving player security, making access to the different machines more pleasant and easier, and additionally enabling the casino to reduce investment costs for the purchase of gaming machines and their maintenance. With the present invention it is also possible to eliminate any risk of failed player recognition and unjustified refusal of access to a gaming machine.

The subject-matter of the present invention is therefore a secure management and control system of a player's round of gaming on a site having several gaming machines, which are linked to a centralized server containing a directory of player accounts, this system comprising a registration terminal linked to said server, characterized in that:

    • the registration terminal comprises means able to receive amounts of gaming money and to open a gaming session by issuing players with a passive medium carrying a unique personalized code which remains unchanged throughout at least one gaming session, and by recording in the player's account in the server the total available gaming amount correlated with said code,
    • each of the gaming machines comprises means capable of reading the code of the passive medium and, in correlation with this code, they are firstly able to read said total available gaming amount at any time and secondly to keep said available gaming total up to date in the player's account held in the memory of the server, in relation to the player's winnings or losses.
    • it comprises means able to authorize or refuse play in relation to specific rules.

The present invention is of particular advantage in that said controlled management can be achieved by means of a low-cost passive medium, consisting in particular of a ticket in a light, flexible material such as paper or cardboard.

The unique code, produced by a generator of random numbers for example, is carried on the passive medium in the form of figures and/or bar codes.

Preferably a gaming machine is provided with means able to receive gaming money in the form of coins, notes or bank card, and to update the total available gaming amount in a player's account in the server memory, in correlation with said code.

The system of the invention comprises a terminal which, after reading the code carried by the passive medium, is able to close a gaming session if the player wishes to stop playing. This terminal may advantageously be the same as the terminal which opened the gaming session.

This terminal may comprise payout means to pay a player after reading the code carried by the passive support and after reading the total available gaming amount recorded in the server.

A further subject of the invention is a secure management and control method of a player's gaming round on a site having several gaming machines linked to a centralized server which contains a directory of players' accounts, this system comprising a registration terminal linked to said server, characterized in that it comprises the steps consisting of:

    • registering the player via the registration terminal by receiving gaming money from the player, and creating a unique personalized code stored in memory in a player account of the server in correlation with said gaming money, and by issuing the player with a passive medium provided with said code,
    • identifying the player logging onto a gaming machine by reading the code carried by the passive medium,
    • checking the total available gaming amount in the server's player account correlated with said code,
    • authorizing or refusing access to the gaming machine,
    • crediting or debiting the player account in relation to the player's winnings or losses, so as to update the total available gaming amount after each game,
    • paying the player the total available gaming amount, on completion of a gaming session.

It will be appreciated that the present invention is of particular advantage in that the medium carrying the code has no value of its own, which is advantageous regarding the implementation and management costs of the system, compared in particular with chip card devices of the prior art. Another advantage is that, even if the user loses or inadvertently destroys a ticket, it is possible evidently after usual verifications to issue another ticket for the total available gaming amount stored in memory.

One embodiment of the present invention is described below as a non-limiting example with reference to the appended drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is general schematic view showing the arrangement of the various parts of a secure management and control system of the invention,

FIG. 2 is a schematic view of a registration terminal used in the system of the invention,

FIG. 3a is an outside view of a slot machine used according to the invention,

FIG. 3b is a schematic view of the inner electronic parts of the slot machine shown FIG. 3a,

FIG. 4 is a second example of a gaming machine, namely a roulette used in the system of the invention,

FIG. 5 is a schematic view of a variant of a registration terminal used in the system of the invention,

FIG. 6 is a schematic view of a variant of implementation of a slot machine.

The system of the invention which is shown FIG. 1 consists of a server 1 containing a memory 2 provided with a database containing players' accounts, which is linked via a data transmission line 3 possibly by wireless link, to gaming machines consisting for example of slot machines 4 and an electronic roulette table 5.

The server 1 is also linked via a data transmission line 6 to a registration terminal 8 which, as also illustrated FIG. 2, comprises a printer 10 intended to issue gaming tickets 12, and a reader 14 able to receive banknotes 15 and gaming tickets 12. The terminal 8 preferably comprises a microcomputer 16 provided in particular with means able to manage the different communications with the server 1. In one variant shown FIG. 1, this registration terminal may also consist of an automatic terminal 8′.

Terminal 8 is also provided with an encoder consisting in particular of a generator of random numbers and verification means with which to control that, for one gaming session, two players do not have the same code.

The microcomputer 16 also comprises means able to send to the server 1 the amount paid by the player (which therefore forms the total available gaming amount) and the generated unique code correlated therewith. It also comprises means which, via the printer 10, allow this code to be printed on the ticket 12 in the form of a bar code 13 for example.

Under these conditions, at the start of a gaming session, the player goes to the registration terminal 8 and inserts in the banknote reader/receiver 14 thereof one or more banknotes 15 representing the amount the player wishes to spend on the future gaming session, and this amount is read by the reader/receiver 14, then the code generator edits the unique code which is correlated with this amount, and these two parameters are sent by the data transmission line 6 into the player account in the memory 2 of the server 1. At the same time the printer 10 prints out a ticket 12 for the player carrying the printed code, in particular in the form of a bar code 13.

The player can then go to any of the gaming machines chosen 4 or 5 and can subsequently change machine if so wished during his/her gaming session whilst keeping the same ticket 12.

In a first example of embodiment of the invention, the gaming machine is a slot machine 4 shown FIGS. 3a and 3b. This slot machine consists of a structure 20 inside which its management means are arranged and carries a display screen 22 representing the rotating reels 23 of a slot machine, a score display screen 24 and command knobs 25. It also comprises a banknote reader/receiver 26 of the same type as the reader 14 i.e. which is able to receive and read both tickets 12 and banknotes 15.

The reader/receiver 26 is linked to the electronic management assembly 28 which ensures both management of the functioning of the slot machine, known per se, and also management particular to the new functions added by the present invention. This electronic management assembly is therefore in communication with the server 1 via the data transmission line 6 so that, as soon as the gaming ticket 12 has been read, it can search the unique code and correlated amount in the player's account in the memory 2, and can send this amount towards the machine 4 whose display screen 24 displays this amount i.e. the total available gaming amount. If this amount is positive the player has the possibility to play this amount during a game. When the game is over, the player can request collection of any winnings by pressing on an appropriate command knob, and the value of any winnings or losses is sent to the server 1 which calculates the balance and enters into the player's account in the memory 2 the new total available gaming amount correlated with the code, and displays the same on the display screen 24 of the machine, and the ticket is returned to the player. The player has the option either to play on the same machine again, and in this case procedure is identical, or to change machine or to terminate the gaming session. Should, during a game, the total available gaming amount fall to zero, the management assembly 28 blocks the machine and invites the player to insert a new gaming amount in the reader/receiver 26. If the player chooses not to do so, the gaming session is interrupted until the player adds to the amount in progress or decides to stop playing.

If the player changes machine, the gaming session continues on the new machine in the same manner, starting with the new total available gaming amount recorded in the memory 2 of the server 1 and using the same gaming ticket 12.

If the player wishes to close the gaming session, the gaming ticket 12 must be inserted in the registration terminal 8 which reads the code 13 and sends it to the server which, as previously, will read off from the player's account in the memory 2 the total available gaming amount correlated with the code, and this amount is sent to the registration terminal 8 where it is displayed for payment to the player.

The ticket 12 can then be destroyed without detriment to the player or the casino since its intrinsic value is negligible.

In one variant of embodiment of the invention, the server 1 may have verification means allowing control over player access i.e. to refuse access to a particular gaming machine or all the machines of a gaming site if players do not meet one or more specific given conditions. For example, use of the gaming ticket a certain number of times or during a determined time period, money losses reaching a ceiling amount, insufficient total available gaming amount, etc.

Although the functioning mode of the gaming machine management system according to the present invention has been described with respect to slot machines 4, it can evidently be used with numerous other types of gaming machines as illustrated FIGS. 1 and 4 in which the gaming machine is an electronic roulette 5.

This roulette 5 consists of a structure 20′ which carries a roulette wheel 30 and contains an electronic management assembly 28′ which, in the same way as for the slot machines, comprises management means particular to electronic roulette, known per se, and means to manage the various functions related to the present invention. The management assembly 28′ is in communication with a reader/receiver 26′ able to read both tickets 12 and banknotes 15, and also communicates with a display counter 32. The functioning of said gaming machine is identical to that described previously for slot machines 4.

It is possible, as and when necessary, to increase the security level provided by the system of the present invention, in particular by adjoining control means of biometric type. It is possible for example during the player registration phase to take a biometric sample of the player, in particular a fingerprint, and to provide some or all of the gaming machines with means to read said samples.

FIG. 5 illustrates said embodiment in which the registration terminal 8 or 8′ is provided with a printer 10, with a reader/receiver of banknotes 14 and tickets 12, and a biometric sample sensor 31. Under these conditions, as soon as the player has firstly paid the gaming amount and secondly placed a finger on the fingerprint sensor 31, the unique code is generated and is then printed on the ticket 12 which, as previously, is issued to the player, and the three parameters i.e. the gaming amount, the unique code and the biometric characteristics are sent in correlation together to a player account in the memory 2 of the server 1.

Thereafter, the system functions substantially as described previously. In said configuration, as illustrated FIG. 6, some gaming machines can be provided both with a ticket reader/bank note receiver 26 and with a biometric print sensor 31 controlled by a data management assembly 28″.

It will be appreciated that with said embodiment the security given to the player is maximal insofar as no third party in possession of the ticket 12 is able to access a gaming machine unduly and/or to be receive payout of an amount for a ticket which does not belong to such person. Conversely, with said system it is also possible, if desired, to authorize greater flexibility of use for a player. The system can for example authorize the player, as freely wished, to use either the ticket 12 or the biometric print to gain access to a gaming machine.