Title:
GAMING SYSTEM HAVING A PLURALITY OF GAMING MACHINES LINKED BY NETWORK AND CONTROL METHOD THEREOF
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
According to a gaming system of the present invention, game media are paid out based on a cumulative value, when a first payout condition has been established in which the cumulative value reaches a predetermined value or when a second payout condition has been established which is different from the first payout condition. Moreover, based on information about bets, the gaming machine is determined in which game media are to be paid out based on the cumulative value when the second payout condition has been established.



Inventors:
Okada, Kazuo (Tokyo, JP)
Application Number:
12/500509
Publication Date:
01/28/2010
Filing Date:
07/09/2009
Assignee:
Aruze Gaming America, Inc. (Las Vegas, NV, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
463/42, 463/25
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
MOSSER, ROBERT E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SHEPPARD, MULLIN, RICHTER & HAMPTON LLP (Costa Mesa, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed as new and desired to be secured by Letters Patent of the United States:

1. A gaming system comprising: a plurality of gaming machines each including an input device and a controller; a control device including a processor; and a network enabling communication between said plurality of gaming machines and said control device, wherein said controller is programmed to execute the processing of: (a) accepting from said input device an input indicating a placement of a bet of a game medium; and (b) transmitting number-of-game-media information indicative of the number of game media betted in said processing (a), to said processor, and said processor is programmed to execute the processing of (A) cumulatively counting a part of the number of betted game media, as a cumulative value, based on the number-of-game-media information transmitted in said processing (b); (B) selecting one or a plurality of gaming machines out of the gaming machines connected through said network, when a first payout condition has been established in which said cumulative value reaches a predetermined value; (C) selecting one or a plurality of gaming machines, based on the number-of-game-media information transmitted in said processing (b) or on other information about bets, when a second payout condition has been established which is different from said first payout condition; and (D) paying out game media to the gaming machine selected in said processing (B) or said processing (C), based on said cumulative value.

2. The gaming system according to claim 1, wherein said processor is further programmed to execute the processing of (E) cumulatively counting, based on the number-of-game-media information transmitted in said processing (b), the number of betted game media for each of the gaming machines that have transmitted the number-of-game-media information, and said processing (C) is the processing of selecting one or a plurality of gaming machines, based on the number of game media cumulatively counted in said processing (E), when said second payout condition has been established.

3. The gaming system according to claim 1, wherein said processing (A) includes cumulatively counting a part of the number of betted game media, as a first cumulative value, based on the number-of-game-media information transmitted in said processing (b), and cumulatively counting another part of the number of betted game media, as a second cumulative value, based on the number-of-game-media information transmitted in said processing (b); said processing (B) includes selecting one or a plurality of gaming machines out of the gaming machines connected through said network, when a first payout condition has been established in which said first cumulative value reaches a predetermined value; and said processing (D) includes paying out game media, based on said first cumulative value, to the gaming machine selected in said processing (B), and paying out game media, based on said second cumulative value, to the gaming machine selected in said processing (C).

4. A gaming system comprising: a plurality of gaming machines each including an input device and a controller; a control device including a processor; and a network enabling communication between said plurality of gaming machines and said control device, wherein said controller is programmed to execute the processing of: (a) accepting from said input device an input indicating a placement of a bet of a game medium; and (b) transmitting number-of-game-media information indicative of the number of game media betted in said processing (a), to said processor; and said processor is programmed to execute the processing of: (A) cumulatively counting a part of the number of betted game media, as a cumulative value, based on the number-of-game-media information transmitted in said processing (b); (B) determining one or a plurality of gaming machines out of the gaming machines connected through said network, as a winning machine, when a predetermined payout condition has been established; (C) determining one or a plurality of gaming machines as a substitute winning machine, based on bets inputted from said respective input devices after establishment of said predetermined payout condition; and (D) paying out game media to the gaming machine determined as the winning machine in said processing (B) and the gaming machine determined as the substitute winning machine in said processing (C), based on said cumulative value.

5. The gaming system according to claim 4, wherein said gaming machine or said control device includes a storage device capable of storing a first notification data for notifying that said predetermined payout condition has been established, and/or a second notification data for notifying that game media are to be paid out, based on said cumulative value, to the gaming machine determined as the substitute winning machine based on bets inputted from respective said input devices after establishment of said predetermined payout condition; each of said gaming machines includes an output device capable of performing output based on said first notification data and/or said second notification data; and said controller is further programmed to execute the processing of (c) providing a notification through said output device, based on said first notification data and/or said second notification data, when said predetermined payout condition has been established, said notification being a notification that said predetermined payout condition has been established, and/or a notification that game media are to be paid out, based on said cumulative value, to the gaming machine determined as a substitute winning machine based on bets inputted from said respective input devices after establishment of said predetermined payout condition.

6. The gaming system according to claim 4, wherein said control device includes a storage device capable of storing a first notification data for notifying that said predetermined payout condition has been established, and/or a second notification data for notifying that game media are to be paid out, based on said cumulative value, to the gaming machine determined as the substitute winning machine based on bets inputted from respective said input devices after establishment of said predetermined payout condition; said gaming system includes an output device capable of performing output based on said first notification data and/or said second notification data; and said processor is further programmed to execute the processing of (E) providing a notification through said output device, based on said first notification data and/or said second notification data, when said predetermined payout condition has been established, said notification being a notification that said predetermined payout condition has been established, and/or a notification that game media are to be paid out, based on said cumulative value, to the gaming machine determined as a substitute winning machine based on bets inputted from said respective input devices after establishment of said predetermined payout condition.

7. The gaming system according to claim 4, wherein said gaming machine or said control device includes a storage device capable of storing a third notification data for notifying of the gaming machine determined as said winning machine; each of said gaming machines includes an output device capable of performing an output based on said third notification data; said processor is further programmed to execute the processing of (F) transmitting winning machine information to said controller indicative of the gaming machine determined as the winning machine in said processing (B); said controller is programmed to execute the processing of (d) notifying of the gaming machine determined as the winning machine in said processing (B), through said output device, based on said third notification data and the winning machine information transmitted in said processing (F); and said processing (C) includes determining one or a plurality of gaming machines as the substitute winning machine, based on bets inputted from said respective input devices after notification of the gaming machine determined as the winning machine in said processing (d).

8. The gaming system according to claim 4, wherein said control device includes a storage device capable of storing a third notification data for notifying of the gaming machine determined as said winning machine; said gaming system includes an output device capable of performing an output based on said third notification data; said processor is further programmed to execute the processing of (G) notifying of the gaming machine determined as the winning machine in said processing (B), through said output device, based on said third notification data stored in said storage device and winning machine information indicative of the gaming machine determined as the winning machine in said processing (B); and said processing (C) includes determining one or a plurality of gaming machines as the substitute winning machine, based on bets inputted from said respective input devices after notification of the gaming machine determined as the winning machine in said processing (G).

9. A gaming system comprising: a plurality of gaming machines each including an input device and a controller; a control device including a processor; and a network enabling communication between said plurality of gaming machines and said control device, wherein said controller is programmed to execute the processing of: (a) accepting from said input device an input indicating a placement of a bet of a game medium; and (b) transmitting number-of-game-media information indicative of the number of game media betted in said processing (a), to said processor, and said processor is programmed to execute the processing of: (A) cumulatively counting a part of the number of betted game media, as a cumulative value, based on the number-of-game-media information transmitted in said processing (b); (B) selecting one or a plurality of specific gaming machines out of said plurality of gaming machines, based on a normal probability set for each of said gaming machines, when a predetermined payout condition has been established; (C) selecting one or a plurality of specific gaming machines out of said plurality of gaming machines, based on a special probability different from said normal probability, when said predetermined payout condition has been established during a predetermined period after establishment of a predetermined probability-change condition; and (D) paying out game media to the gaming machine selected in said processing (B) or said processing (C), based on said cumulative value.

10. The gaming system according to claim 9, wherein said processing (C) includes selecting one or a plurality of specific gaming machines out of said plurality of gaming machines, based on the special probability different from said normal probability, when said predetermined payout condition has been established during a period corresponding to the number-of-game-media information transmitted in said processing (b) after establishment of the predetermined probability-change condition.

11. The gaming system according to claim 9, wherein said processing (C) includes selecting one or a plurality of specific gaming machines out of said plurality of gaming machines, based on the special probability that is specified by the number-of-game-media information transmitted in said processing (b), when said predetermined payout condition has been established during the predetermined period after establishment of the predetermined probability-change condition.

12. The gaming system according to claim 9, wherein said gaming machine is a slot machine including a symbol display to which a plurality of symbols can be displayed; said controller is further programmed to execute the processing of (c) variably displaying said plurality of symbols to said symbol display after game media have been betted in said processing (a), and then stop-displaying the symbols such that a probability of stop-displaying the symbols in a predetermined stop mode becomes a normal probability, and (d) variably displaying said plurality of symbols to said symbol display after game media have been betted in said processing (a) during a predetermined period which comes after establishment of a predetermined probability-change condition, and then stop-displaying the symbols such that the probability of stop-displaying the symbols in said predetermined stop mode becomes a special probability different from said normal probability; said predetermined payout condition is a condition that the symbols stop-displayed in said processing (c) or said processing (d) are in the predetermined stop mode; said processing (B) includes selecting any of the slot machines having the symbols stop-displayed in the predetermined stop mode to the symbol display, as the specific slot machine, when the symbols stop-displayed in said processing (c) are in the predetermined stop mode; said processing (C) includes selecting any of the slot machines having the symbols stop-displayed in the predetermined stop mode to the symbol display, as the specific slot machine, when the symbols stop-displayed in said processing (d) are in the predetermined stop mode; and said processing (D) includes paying out game media to the slot machine selected in said processing (B) or said processing (C), based on said cumulative value.

13. A gaming system comprising: a plurality of gaming machines each including an input device and a controller; a control device including a processor; and a network enabling communication between said plurality of gaming machines and said control device, wherein said controller is programmed to execute the processing of: (a) accepting from said input device, an input showing a bet of a game medium; and (b) transmitting to said processor, number-of-game-media information indicative of the number of game media betted in said processing (a), and said processor is programmed to execute the processing of: (A) cumulatively counting, as a cumulative value, a part of the number of betted game media based on said number-of-game-media information transmitted through said processing (b); (B) selecting a single specific gaming machine or a plurality of specific gaming machines out of said plurality of gaming machines, when a predetermined payout condition is established; and (C) paying out, to the gaming machine selected in said processing (B), game media of a determined number of payouts, the number of payouts determined based on said cumulative value and a payout ratio set for the selected gaming machine.

14. The gaming system according to claim 13, wherein said gaming machines or said control device includes a storage device capable of storing notification data for notifying said number of payouts, each of said gaming machines includes an output device capable of conducting an output based on said notification data, and said controller is further programmed to execute the processing of: (c) notifying, by using said output device, said number of payouts in the gaming machine including the controller, based on data corresponding to said cumulative value and said notification data.

15. The gaming system according to claim 13, wherein said control device includes a storage device capable of storing notification data for notifying said number of payouts, said gaming system includes an output device capable of conducting an output based on said notification data, and said processor is further programmed to execute the processing of: (D) notifying, by using said output device, said number of payouts in each of said gaming machines, based on cumulative-value data indicative of said cumulative value and notification data stored in said storage device.

16. The gaming system according to claim 13, wherein said controller is further programmed to execute the processing of (c) determining a game result such that a probability that the game result satisfies a predetermined payout condition has a condition establishment probability set for the gaming machine including the controller; said processing (B) includes selecting the gaming machine with the game result satisfying said predetermined payout condition, as the specific gaming machine, when the game result determined in said processing (c) satisfies said predetermined payout condition; and said processing (C) includes paying out game media to the gaming machine with the game result, determined in said processing (c), satisfying said predetermined payout condition, the number of the game media to be paid out being equal to the number of payouts determined based on said cumulative value and a payout ratio corresponding to the condition establishment probability set for that gaming machine.

17. A gaming system comprising: a plurality of gaming machines each including an input device and a controller; a control device including a processor; and a network enabling communication between said plurality of gaming machines and said control device, wherein said plurality of gaming machines includes a plurality of types of gaming machines each having a condition establishment probability different from one another, said condition establishment probability referring to a probability that a game result determined for each gaming machine satisfies a predetermined individual payout condition, said controller is programmed to execute the processing of: (a) accepting from said input device, an input showing a bet of a game medium; (b) transmitting to said processor, number-of-game-media information indicative of the number of game media betted in said processing (a); and (c) determining a game result such that said condition establishment probability has a probability corresponding to the type of the gaming machine including the controller, and said processor is programmed to execute the processing of: (A) cumulatively counting, as an individual cumulative value, a part of the number of betted game media, based on the number-of-game-media information transmitted through said processing (b), the calculation executed for each type of the gaming machine acting as a transmission source of the number-of-game-media information; and (B) paying out game media, when the game result determined in said processing (c) satisfies said predetermined individual payout condition, based on said individual cumulative value corresponding to the type of the gaming machine having satisfied said predetermined individual payout condition in its game result, to the gaming machine having satisfied said predetermined individual payout condition.

18. The gaming system according to claim 17, wherein said processing (A) includes cumulatively counting, as an individual cumulative value, not only a part of the number of betted game media, based on the number-of-game-media information transmitted through said processing (b), the calculation executed for each type of the gaming machine acting as a transmission source of the number-of-game-media information, but also an other part of the number of betted game media as a common cumulative value independently of the type of the gaming machine as a transmission source of the number-of-game-media information; said processor is further programmed to execute the processing of (C) paying out game media based on said common cumulative value to a single specific gaming machine or a plurality of specific gaming machines selected out of said plurality of gaming machines, when a predetermined common payout condition different from said predetermined individual payout condition is established.

19. The gaming system according to claim 17, wherein said controller is further programmed to execute the processing of: (d) paying out game media in number determined based on the game result determined in said processing (c), said processing (A) includes cumulatively counting, as an individual cumulative value, not only a part of the number of betted game media, based on the number-of-game-media information transmitted through said processing (b), the calculation executed for each type of the gaming machine acting as a transmission source of the number-of-game-media information, but also an other part of the number of betted game media as a common cumulative value independently of the type of the gaming machine as a transmission source of the number-of-game-media information, and said processor is further programmed to execute the processing of (C) paying out game media, when a balance number calculated for each gaming machine indicative of the balance between the number of game media betted in said processing (a) and the number of game media paid out in said processing (d) has reached a predetermined value in any gaming machine, to the gaming machine in which said balance number has reached the predetermined value, based on said common cumulative value.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims benefit of priority based on U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/083,632 filed on Jul. 25, 2008, U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/084,174 filed on Jul. 28, 2008, U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/084,163 filed on Jul. 28, 2008, U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/084,167 filed on Jul. 28, 2008, U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/083,675 filed on Jul. 25, 2008. The contents of this application are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a gaming system having a plurality of gaming machines linked by a network and a control method thereof.

2. Discussion of the Background

Conventionally, there have existed gaming systems having a plurality of gaming machines linked by networks as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,068,553, U.S. Pat. No. 6,210,275, U.S. Pat. No. 6,224,484, U.S. Pat. No. 7,056,215, US 2003/0236110-A1, US 2005/0079911-A1, US 2005/0119044-A1, US 2006/0205468-A1, US 2005/0187014-A1, US 2006/0287043-A1, US 2006/0073897-A1, US 2007/0087824-A1, and US 2007/0167217-A1. In such gaming systems, a game medium inserted into each gaming machine is pooled in one place and the pooled game media are paid out to the gaming machine having won a progressive jackpot (winning machine).

A player playing a game in the aforementioned gaming system plays the game for the sake of acquiring pooled game media.

However, normally, only a single ordinary condition of when the number of pooled game media reaches a predetermined number is adopted as a timing triggering a payout of pooled game media. Hence, there has been a problem where it is difficult to make the player have interest and concern in winning a progressive jackpot, thereby having led to a problem where the player easily gets tired of the game.

The present invention was made in view of the aforementioned problems and an object thereof is to provide a gaming system which hardly makes a player tired of the game by making him or her have interest and concern in winning of a progressive jackpot, and a control method thereof.

A player playing a game in the aforementioned gaming system plays the game for the sake of acquiring pooled game media. However, normally, only the player playing on the gaming machine having won the progressive jackpot can acquire the pooled game media. Namely, even when the player has played the game for a long period of time and has contributed to the pool of game media, the player cannot acquire the pooled game media unless the gaming machine wins the progressive jackpot.

Hence, there has been a problem in which a player having not been able to acquire the pooled game media feels dissatisfied.

The present invention was made in view of the aforementioned problem and an object thereof is to provide a gaming system with which a player hardly feels dissatisfied and a control method thereof.

Usually, when a condition for those pooled game media to be paid out is established (e.g. when the number of pooled game media reaches a predetermined number), one or a plurality of gaming machines are selected as a winning machine. The pooled game media are paid out to the gaming machine selected as the winning machine. Generally, a probability for each of the gaming machines to be selected as the winning machine is a previously determined probability.

However, since the probability does not change according to progress of the game, the game has lacked interesting aspects for the player.

The present invention was made in view of the aforementioned problem and an object thereof is to provide a gaming system in which a probability for each of the gaming machines to win the progressive jackpot changes according to progress of the game, and a control method thereof.

Conventionally, the gaming machines forming this kind of gaming system are generally of the same model. The reason for this is a concern about a sense of unfairness, which may be caused by the amount of the game media, which is to be paid out when the progressive jackpot is won, being constant regardless of the differences in investment amounts by the players and probabilities of winning of the progressive jackpot according to the models of the gaming machines.

However, there is a problem that the gaming system incapable of concurrently using a plurality of models of gaming machines lacks a convenience.

The present invention was made in view of the above-described problem, and has an object to provide: a gaming system not causing the sense of unfairness even when a plurality of models of gaming machines are concurrently used; and a control method of the gaming system.

The contents of U.S. Pat. No. 6,068,553, U.S. Pat. No. 6,210,275, U.S. Pat. No. 6,224,484, U.S. Pat. No. 7,056,215, US 2003/0236110-A1, US 2005/0079911-A1, US 2005/0119044-A1, US 2006/0205468-A1, US 2005/0187014-A1, US 2006/0287043-A1, US 2006/0073897-A1, US 2007/0087824-A1, and US 2007/0167217-A1 are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a gaming system having the following configuration.

Namely, the gaming system comprises: a plurality of gaming machines each including an input device and a controller; a control device including a processor; and a network enabling communication between the plurality of gaming machines and the control device. The controller is programmed to execute the processing of (a) accepting from the input device an input indicating a placement of a bet of a game medium, and (b) transmitting number-of-game-media information indicative of the number of game media betted in the processing (a), to the processor, and the processor is programmed to execute the processing of (A) cumulatively counting a part of the number of betted game media, as a cumulative value, based on the number-of-game-media information transmitted in the processing (b), (B) selecting one or a plurality of gaming machines out of the gaming machines connected through the network, when a first payout condition has been established in which the cumulative value reaches a predetermined value, (C) selecting one or a plurality of gaming machines, based on the number-of-game-media information transmitted in the processing (b) or on other information about bets, when a second payout condition has been established which is different from the first payout condition, and (D) paying out game media to the gaming machine selected in the processing (B) or the processing (C), based on the cumulative value.

According to the above gaming system, when the first payout condition has been established in which the cumulative value reaches the predetermined value or when the second payout condition has been established which is different from the first payout condition, game media are paid out based on the cumulative value.

As thus described, since game media are paid out based on the cumulative value not only when the cumulative value has reached the predetermined value but also when the second payout condition has been established, it is possible to make the player have interest and concern in the condition that “the cumulative value reaches the predetermined value”, which is different from those generally-adopted conditions. Hence, it is possible to increase the player's interest and concern in winning a progressive jackpot, and provide a game with which the player hardly gets tired of.

Further, the player generally plays the game, expecting establishment of the condition for game media to be paid out based on the cumulative value; however, when only one type of condition is set, the object of which the player has expectation in the game becomes extremely limited. As a result, there is a possibility for the player to feel that the game is monotone and soon get tired of the game. From this point of view, there are set in the above gaming system a plurality of types of conditions, i.e. the first payout condition and the second payout condition, thereby making it possible to decrease the possibility for the player to feel that the game is monotone and to prevent the player from soon getting tired of the game.

Furthermore, according to the above gaming system, based on information about bets, the gaming machine is determined in which game media are paid out based on the cumulative value when the second payout condition has been established. Examples of information about bets include information indicative of the minimum bet-unit (the minimum unit of bets that can be placed), the cumulative number of bets in each gaming machine (the number of betted game media cumulatively counted for each gaming machine), and the like.

As just described, since the progressive jackpot relating to the second payout condition is heavily involved with “bet”, it is possible to make the player conscious of the progressive jackpot relating to the second payout condition every time he or she places a bet. Thus, it is possible to raise the player's expectation of the progressive jackpot relating to the second payout condition and to make the player fascinated with the game.

It is desirable that the gaming system further has the following configuration.

Namely, the processor is further programmed to execute the processing of (E) cumulatively counting, based on the number-of-game-media information transmitted in the processing (b), the number of betted game media for each of the gaming machines that have transmitted the number-of-game-media information, and the processing (C) is the processing of selecting one or a plurality of gaming machines, based on the number of game media cumulatively counted in the processing (E), when the second payout condition has been established.

According to the above gaming system, based on the number of betted game media cumulatively counted for each gaming machine (the cumulative number of bets in each gaming machine), the gaming machine is determined in which game media are paid out based on the cumulative value when the second payout condition has been established.

Accordingly, the player, having betted a larger amount of game media before establishment of the second payout condition, has a higher possibility of receiving game media paid out based on the cumulative value. It is therefore possible to encourage the player to bet a large amount of game media, and to increase the profit of the game parlor. Since the player having betted a larger amount of game media has a higher possibility of receiving a profit of the progressive jackpot, it is possible to give the player an unbiased impression and provides him or her a feeling of satisfaction.

The present invention further provides a gaming system having the following configuration.

Namely, the gaming system comprises: a plurality of gaming machines each including an input device and a controller; a control device including a processor; and a network enabling communication between the plurality of gaming machines and the control device. The controller is programmed to execute the processing of (a) accepting from the input device an input indicating a placement of a bet of a game medium, and (b) transmitting number-of-game-media information indicative of the number of game media betted in the processing (a), to the processor, and the processor is programmed to execute the processing of (A) cumulatively counting a part of the number of betted game media, as a first cumulative value, based on the number-of-game-media information transmitted in the processing (b), and cumulatively counting another part of the number of betted game media, as a second cumulative value, based on the number-of-game-media information transmitted in the processing (b), (B) selecting one or a plurality of gaming machines out of the gaming machines connected through the network, when a first payout condition has been established in which the first cumulative value reaches a predetermined value, (C) selecting one or a plurality of gaming machines, based on the number-of-game-media information transmitted in the processing (b) or on other information about bets, when a second payout condition has been established which is different from the first payout condition, and (D) paying out game media, based on the first cumulative value, to the gaming machine selected in the processing (B), and paying out game media, based on the second cumulative value, to the gaming machine selected in the processing (C).

According to the above gaming system, a part of the number of betted game media are cumulatively counted as the first cumulative value, and another part of the number of betted game media are cumulatively counted as the second cumulative value. When the first payout condition has been established in which the first cumulative value reaches the predetermined value, game media are paid out based on the first cumulative value. On the other hand, when the second payout condition has been established which is different from the first payout condition, game media are paid out based on the second cumulative value.

As thus described, separately from a payout of when the first cumulative value has reached the predetermined value, game media are paid out based on the second cumulative value when the second payout condition has been established; thus, it is possible to make the player have interest and concern in the condition that “the cumulative value reaches the predetermined value”, which is different from those generally-adopted conditions. Hence, it is possible to increase the player's interest and concern in winning a progressive jackpot, and provide a game with which the player hardly gets tired of.

Further, the player generally plays the game, expecting establishment of the condition for game media to be paid out based on the cumulative value; however, when only one type of condition is set, the object of which the player has expectation in the game becomes extremely limited. As a result, there is a possibility for the player to feel that the game is monotone and soon get tired of the game. From this point of view, there are set in the above gaming system a plurality of types of conditions, i.e. the first payout condition and the second payout condition, thereby making it possible to decrease the possibility for the player to feel that the game is monotone and to prevent the player from soon getting tired of the game.

Furthermore, according to the above gaming system, based on information about bets, the gaming machine is determined in which game media are paid out based on the second cumulative value when the second payout condition has been established. Examples of information about bets include information indicative of the minimum bet-unit (the minimum unit of bets that can be placed), the cumulative number of bets in each gaming machine (the number of betted game media cumulatively counted for each gaming machine), and the like.

As just described, since the progressive jackpot relating to the second payout condition is heavily involved with “bet”, it is possible to make the player conscious of the progressive jackpot relating to the second payout condition every time he or she places a bet. Thus, it is possible to raise the player's expectation of the progressive jackpot relating to the second payout condition and to make the player fascinated with the game.

Generally, since the player plays the game with a major purpose of receiving game media paid out based on the cumulative value, he or she tends to quit the game at the timing of when the game media are paid out based on the cumulative value. From this point of view, the above gaming system accumulates a part of the number of betted game media, separately for each condition for game media to be paid out. Accordingly, even in a case where one of the conditions are established and game media are paid out based on the first cumulative value or the second cumulative value, and where one of the cumulative values decreases by an amount corresponding to the number of paid game media (e.g. where the cumulative value becomes zero), the other cumulative value is maintained without decreasing.

Thus, after the first payout condition or the second payout condition has been established and game media have been paid out based on the first cumulative value or the second cumulative value, it is possible to make the player continue to play the game, with expectation of receiving game media paid out based on the other cumulative value that has not been the payout object.

The present invention provides a game control method having the following configuration.

Namely, the game control method comprises the steps of: (a) a gaming machine accepting from the input device an input indicating a placement of a bet of a game medium, (b) the gaming machine transmitting number-of-game-media information indicative of the number of game media betted in the step (a), to a control device, (A) the control device cumulatively counting a part of the number of betted game media, as a cumulative value, based on the number-of-game-media information transmitted in the step (b), (B) the control device selecting one or a plurality of gaming machines out of the gaming machines connected through the network, when a first payout condition has been established in which the cumulative value reaches a predetermined value, (C) the control device selecting one or a plurality of gaming machines, based on the number-of-game-media information transmitted in the step (b) or on other information about bets, when a second payout condition has been established which is different from the first payout condition, and (D) the control device paying out game media to the gaming machine selected in the processing (B) or the processing (C), based on the cumulative value.

According to the above game control method, when the first payout condition has been established in which the cumulative value reaches the predetermined value or when the second payout condition has been established which is different from the first payout condition, game media are paid out based on the cumulative value.

As thus described, since game media are paid out based on the cumulative value not only when the cumulative value has reached the predetermined value but also when the second payout condition has been established, it is possible to make the player have interest and concern in the condition that “the cumulative value reaches the predetermined value”, which is different from those generally-adopted conditions. Hence, it is possible to increase the player's interest and concern in winning a progressive jackpot, and provide a game with which the player hardly gets tired of.

Further, the player generally plays the game, expecting establishment of the condition for game media to be paid out based on the cumulative value; however, when only one type of condition is set, the object of which the player has expectation in the game becomes extremely limited. As a result, there is a possibility for the player to feel that the game is monotone and soon get tired of the game. From this point of view, there are set in the above game control method a plurality of types of conditions, i.e. the first payout condition and the second payout condition, thereby making it possible to decrease the possibility for the player to feel that the game is monotone and to prevent the player from soon getting tired of the game.

Furthermore, according to the above game control method, based on information about bets, the gaming machine is determined in which game media are paid out based on the cumulative value when the second payout condition has been established. Examples of information about bets include information indicative of the minimum bet-unit (the minimum unit of bets that can be placed), the cumulative number of bets in each gaming machine (the number of betted game media cumulatively counted for each gaming machine), and the like.

As just described, since the progressive jackpot relating to the second payout condition is heavily involved with “bet”, it is possible to make the player conscious of the progressive jackpot relating to the second payout condition every time he or she places a bet. Thus, it is possible to raise the player's expectation of the progressive jackpot relating to the second payout condition and to make the player fascinated with the game.

The present invention further provides a game control method having the following configuration.

Namely, the game control method comprises the steps of: (a) a gaming machine accepting from the input device an input indicating a placement of a bet of a game medium, (b) the gaming machine transmitting number-of-game-media information indicative of the number of game media betted in the step (a), to a control device, (A) the control device cumulatively counting a part of the number of betted game media, as a first cumulative value, based on the number-of-game-media information transmitted in the step (b), and cumulatively counting another part of the number of betted game media, as a second cumulative value, based on the number-of-game-media information transmitted in the step (b), (B) the control device selecting one or a plurality of gaming machines out of the gaming machines connected through the network, when a first payout condition has been established in which the first cumulative value reaches a predetermined value, (C) the control device selecting one or a plurality of gaming machines, based on the number-of-game-media information transmitted in the step (b) or on other information about bets, when a second payout condition has been established which is different from the first payout condition, and (D) the control device paying out game media, based on the first cumulative value, to the gaming machine selected in the step (B), and paying out game media, based on the second cumulative value, to the gaming machine selected in the step (C).

According to the above game control method, a part of the number of betted game media are cumulatively counted as the first cumulative value, and another part of the number of betted game media are cumulatively counted as the second cumulative value. When the first payout condition has been established in which the first cumulative value reaches the predetermined value, game media are paid out based on the first cumulative value. On the other hand, when the second payout condition has been established which is different from the first payout condition, game media are paid out based on the second cumulative value.

As thus described, separately from a payout of when the first cumulative value has reached the predetermined value, game media are paid out based on the second cumulative value when the second payout condition has been established; thus, it is possible to make the player have interest and concern in the condition that “the cumulative value reaches the predetermined value”, which is different from those generally-adopted conditions. Hence, it is possible to increase the player's interest and concern in winning a progressive jackpot, and provide a game with which the player hardly gets tired of.

Further, the player generally plays the game, expecting establishment of the condition for game media to be paid out based on the cumulative value; however, when only one type of condition is set, the object of which the player has expectation in the game becomes extremely limited. As a result, there is a possibility for the player to feel that the game is monotone and soon get tired of the game. From this point of view, there are set in the above game control method a plurality of types of conditions, i.e. the first payout condition and the second payout condition, thereby making it possible to decrease the possibility for the player to feel that the game is monotone and to prevent the player from soon getting tired of the game.

Furthermore, according to the above game control method, based on information about bets, the gaming machine is determined in which game media are paid out based on the second cumulative value when the second payout condition has been established. Examples of information about bets include information indicative of the minimum bet-unit (the minimum unit of bets that can be placed), the cumulative number of bets in each gaming machine (the number of betted game media cumulatively counted for each gaming machine), and the like.

As just described, since the progressive jackpot relating to the second payout condition is heavily involved with “bet”, it is possible to make the player conscious of the progressive jackpot relating to the second payout condition every time he or she places a bet. Thus, it is possible to raise the player's expectation of the progressive jackpot relating to the second payout condition and to make the player fascinated with the game.

Generally, since the player plays the game with a major purpose of receiving game media paid out based on the cumulative value, he or she tends to quit the game at the timing of when the game media are paid out based on the cumulative value. From this point of view, the above game control method accumulates a part of the number of betted game media, separately for each condition for game media to be paid out. Accordingly, even in a case where one of the conditions are established and game media are paid out based on the first cumulative value or the second cumulative value, and where one of the cumulative values decreases by an amount corresponding to the number of paid game media (e.g. where the cumulative value becomes zero), the other cumulative value is maintained without decreasing.

Thus, after the first payout condition or the second payout condition has been established and game media have been paid out based on the first cumulative value or the second cumulative value, it is possible to make the player continue to play the game, with expectation of receiving game media paid out based on the other cumulative value that has not been the payout object.

The present invention provides a gaming system having the following configuration.

Namely, the gaming system comprises: a plurality of gaming machines each including an input device and a controller; a control device including a processor; and a network enabling communication between the plurality of gaming machines and the control device. The controller is programmed to execute the processing of (a) accepting from the input device an input indicating a placement of a bet of a game medium, and (b) transmitting number-of-game-media information indicative of the number of game media betted in the processing (a), to the processor, and the processor is programmed to execute the processing of (A) cumulatively counting a part of the number of betted game media, as a cumulative value, based on the number-of-game-media information transmitted in the processing (b), (B) determining one or a plurality of gaming machines out of the gaming machines connected through the network, as a winning machine, when a predetermined payout condition has been established, (C) determining one or a plurality of gaming machines as a substitute winning machine, based on bets inputted from the respective input devices after establishment of the predetermined payout condition, and (D) paying out game media to the gaming machine determined as the winning machine in the processing (B) and the gaming machine determined as the substitute winning machine in the processing (C), based on the cumulative value.

According to the above gaming system, when the predetermined payout condition has been established (e.g. when the cumulative value has reached the predetermined value), game media are paid out, based on the cumulative value, to the gaming machine determined as the winning machine (the gaming machine having won the progressive jackpot) and the gaming machine determined as the substitute winning machine (including the gaming machines having not won the progressive jackpot).

Accordingly, even when the gaming machine on which the player is playing the game is not determined as the winning machine, there is a possibility for the player to receive game media paid out based on the cumulative value when the gaming machine is determined as the substitute winning machine.

As thus described, the gaming system described above is possible to provide an opportunity of acquiring the game media paid out based on the cumulative value, to the player playing the game on the gaming machine having not won the progressive jackpot. It is thus possible to give the player a certain sense of satisfaction.

Further, there is a high possibility that the player, placing many bets after establishment of the predetermined payout condition, has also placed many bets before establishment of the predetermined payout condition. Namely, there is a high possibility that such a player has made a great contribution to the pool of game media.

From this perspective, the gaming system described above determines the substitute winning machine based on bets inputted from the respective input devices after establishment of the predetermined payout condition. It is therefore possible to let the player having contributed to the pool of game media acquire the game media paid out based on the cumulative value by determining as the substitute winning machine the gaming machine on which he or she is playing the game. With this configuration, a gaming system with which such a player hardly feels dissatisfaction can be provided.

It is desirable that the gaming system further has the following configuration.

Namely, the gaming machine or the control device includes a storage device capable of storing a first notification data for notifying that the predetermined payout condition has been established, and/or a second notification data for notifying that game media are to be paid out, based on the cumulative value, to the gaming machine determined as the substitute winning machine based on bets inputted from respective the input devices after establishment of the predetermined payout condition; each of the gaming machines includes an output device capable of performing output based on the first notification data and/or the second notification data; and the controller is further programmed to execute the processing of (c) providing a notification through the output device, based on the first notification data and/or the second notification data, when the predetermined payout condition has been established, the notification being a notification that the predetermined payout condition has been established, and/or a notification that game media are to be paid out, based on the cumulative value, to the gaming machine determined as a substitute winning machine based on bets inputted from the respective input devices after establishment of the predetermined payout condition.

According to the above gaming system, there is provided a notification that the predetermined payout condition has been established, and/or a notification that game media are paid out, based on the cumulative value, to the gaming machine determined as the substitute winning machine based on bets inputted from the respective input devices after establishment of the predetermined payout condition.

Providing a notification that the predetermined payout condition has been established can give the player feelings of hope and tension about which of the gaming machines will receive the game media paid out based on the cumulative value, thereby being able to make the player fully enjoy the game.

Further, it is possible to encourage the player to bet a large amount of game media, by providing a notification that the game media are to be paid out, based on the cumulative value, to the gaming machine determined as the substitute winning machine based on bets inputted from the respective input devices after establishment of the predetermined payout condition. Hence, profit of the game parlor can be increased. Furthermore, it becomes possible to make a plurality of players have the same feeling of placing many bets in order for the gaming machine on which the player is playing the game to be determined as the substitute winning machine, thereby generating a sense of unity among the players. As a result, a lot of excitement can be added to the game.

It is desirable that the gaming system further has the following configuration.

Namely, the control device includes a storage device capable of storing a first notification data for notifying that the predetermined payout condition has been established, and/or a second notification data for notifying that game media are to be paid out, based on the cumulative value, to the gaming machine determined as the substitute winning machine based on bets inputted from respective the input devices after establishment of the predetermined payout condition; the gaming system includes an output device capable of performing output based on the first notification data and/or the second notification data; and the processor is further programmed to execute the processing of (E) providing a notification through the output device, based on the first notification data and/or the second notification data, when the predetermined payout condition has been established, the notification being a notification that the predetermined payout condition has been established, and/or a notification that game media are to be paid out, based on the cumulative value, to the gaming machine determined as a substitute winning machine based on bets inputted from the respective input devices after establishment of the predetermined payout condition.

According to the above gaming system, there is provided a notification that the predetermined payout condition has been established, and/or a notification that game media are paid out, based on the cumulative value, to the gaming machine determined as the substitute winning machine based on bets inputted from the respective input devices after establishment of the predetermined payout condition.

Providing a notification that the predetermined payout condition has been established can give the player feelings of hope and tension about which of the gaming machines will receive the game media paid out based on the cumulative value, thereby being able to make the player fully enjoy the game. Further, it is possible to encourage the player to bet a large amount of game media, by providing a notification that the game media are to be paid out, based on the cumulative value, to the gaming machine determined as the substitute winning machine based on bets inputted from the respective input devices after establishment of the predetermined payout condition. Hence, profit of the game parlor can be increased. Furthermore, it becomes possible to make a plurality of players have the same feeling of placing many bets in order for the gaming machine on which the player is playing the game to be determined as the substitute winning machine, thereby generating a sense of unity among the players. As a result, a lot of excitement can be added to the game.

It is desirable that the gaming system further has the following configuration.

Namely, the gaming machine or the control device includes a storage device capable of storing a third notification data for notifying of the gaming machine determined as the winning machine; each of the gaming machines includes an output device capable of performing an output based on the third notification data; the processor is further programmed to execute the processing of (F) transmitting winning machine information to the controller indicative of the gaming machine determined as the winning machine in the processing (B); the controller is programmed to execute the processing of (d) notifying of the gaming machine determined as the winning machine in the processing (B), through the output device, based on the third notification data and the winning machine information transmitted in the processing (F); and the processing (C) is the processing of determining one or a plurality of gaming machines as the substitute winning machine, based on bets inputted from the respective input devices after notification of the gaming machine determined as the winning machine in the processing (d).

Generally, when the gaming machine determined as the winning machine is notified and the player finds that the gaming machine on which he or she is playing the game has not been determined as the winning machine, he or she tends to stop playing the game at this point. On the other hand, according to the above gaming system, the substitute winning machine is determined based on the bets placed after this notification.

Namely, game media can be paid out, based on the cumulative value, to the player who has not stopped playing the game and has continued to place a bet even though the gaming machine on which he or she is playing the game has not been determined as the winning machine. Accordingly, it is possible to give feelings of satisfaction and some sort of accomplishment about having continued to place bets, to such a player.

It is desirable that the gaming system further has the following configuration.

Namely, the control device includes a storage device capable of storing a third notification data for notifying of the gaming machine determined as the winning machine; the gaming system includes an output device capable of performing an output based on the third notification data; the processor is further programmed to execute the processing of (G) notifying of the gaming machine determined as the winning machine in the processing (B), through the output device, based on the third notification data stored in the storage device and winning machine information indicative of the gaming machine determined as the winning machine in the processing (B); and the processing (C) is the processing of determining one or a plurality of gaming machines as the substitute winning machine, based on bets inputted from the respective input devices after notification of the gaming machine determined as the winning machine in the processing (G).

Generally, when the gaming machine determined as the winning machine is notified and the player finds that the gaming machine on which he or she is playing the game has not been determined as the winning machine, he or she tends to stop playing the game at this point. On the other hand, according to the above gaming system, the substitute winning machine is determined based on the bets placed after this notification.

Namely, game media can be paid out, based on the cumulative value, to the player who has not stopped playing the game and has continued to place a bet even though the gaming machine on which he or she is playing the game has not been determined as the winning machine. Accordingly, it is possible to give feelings of satisfaction and some sort of accomplishment about having continued to place bets, to such a player.

The present invention further provides a game control method having the following configuration.

Namely, the game control method comprises the steps of: (a) a gaming machine accepting from an input device an input indicating a placement of a bet of a game medium, (b) the gaming machine transmitting number-of-game-media information indicative of the number of game media betted in the step (a), to a control device, (A) the control device cumulatively counting a part of the number of betted game media, as a cumulative value, based on the number-of-game-media information transmitted in the step (b), (B) the control device determining one or a plurality of gaming machines out of the gaming machines connected through a network, as a winning machine, when a predetermined payout condition has been established, (C) the control device determining one or a plurality of gaming machines as a substitute winning machine, based on bets inputted from the respective input devices after establishment of the predetermined payout condition, and (D) the control device paying out game media to the gaming machine determined as the winning machine in the step (B) and the gaming machine determined as the substitute winning machine in the step (C), based on the cumulative value.

According to the above game control method, when the predetermined payout condition has been established (e.g. when the cumulative value has reached the predetermined value), game media are paid out, based on the cumulative value, to the gaming machine determined as the winning machine (the gaming machine having won the progressive jackpot) and the gaming machine determined as the substitute winning machine (including the gaming machines having not won the progressive jackpot).

Accordingly, even when the gaming machine on which the player is playing the game is not determined as the winning machine, there is a possibility for the player to receive game media paid out based on the cumulative value when the gaming machine is determined as the substitute winning machine.

As thus described, the game control method described above is possible to provide an opportunity of acquiring the game media paid out based on the cumulative value, to the player playing the game on the gaming machine having not won the progressive jackpot. It is thus possible to give the player a certain sense of satisfaction.

Further, there is a high possibility that the player, placing many bets after establishment of the predetermined payout condition, has also placed many bets before establishment of the predetermined payout condition. Namely, there is a high possibility that such a player has made a great contribution to the pool of game media.

From this perspective, the game control method described above determines the substitute winning machine based on bets inputted from the respective input devices after establishment of the predetermined payout condition. It is therefore possible to let the player having contributed to the pool of game media acquire the game media paid out based on the cumulative value by determining as the substitute winning machine the gaming machine on which he or she is playing the game. With this configuration, a game control method with which such a player hardly feels dissatisfaction can be provided.

The present invention provides a gaming system having the following configuration.

Namely, the gaming system comprises: a plurality of gaming machines each including an input device and a controller; a control device including a processor; and a network enabling communication between the plurality of gaming machines and the control device. The controller is programmed to execute the processing of (a) accepting from the input device an input indicating a placement of a bet of a game medium, and (b) transmitting number-of-game-media information indicative of the number of game media betted in the processing (a), to the processor, and the processor is programmed to execute the processing of (A) cumulatively counting a part of the number of betted game media, as a cumulative value, based on the number-of-game-media information transmitted in the processing (b), (B) selecting one or a plurality of specific gaming machines out of the plurality of gaming machines, based on a normal probability set for each of the gaming machines, when a predetermined payout condition has been established, (C) selecting one or a plurality of specific gaming machines out of the plurality of gaming machines, based on a special probability different from the normal probability, when the predetermined payout condition has been established during a predetermined period after establishment of a predetermined probability-change condition, and (D) paying out game media to the gaming machine selected in the processing (B) or the processing (C), based on the cumulative value.

According to the above gaming system, when the predetermined payout condition has been established during the predetermined period after establishment of the predetermined probability-change condition, one or a plurality of specific gaming machines out of the plurality of gaming machines are selected as the winning machine.

As just described, establishment of the predetermined probability-change condition triggers a change in the probability for each of the gaming machines to be selected as the winning machine from the normal probability to the special probability; it is therefore possible to provide a game that is interesting to a player.

Further, the special probability having a higher value than that of the normal probability can make the player have expectation about establishment of the predetermined probability-change condition. On the other hand, the special probability having a lower value than that of the normal probability can make the player have some kind of fear about establishment of the predetermined probability-change condition. As thus described, since there is a possibility that establishment of the predetermined probability-change condition triggers an increase or decrease in the probability for the player to receive a profit of the progressive jackpot, it is possible to make the player have interest and concern in the predetermined probability-change condition. It is therefore possible to make the player fascinated with the game.

It is desirable that the gaming system further has the following configuration.

Namely, the processing (C) is the processing of selecting one or a plurality of specific gaming machines out of the plurality of gaming machines, based on the special probability different from the normal probability, when the predetermined payout condition has been established during a period corresponding to the number-of-game-media information transmitted in the processing (b) after establishment of the predetermined probability-change condition.

According to the above gaming system, the length of the period, during which the probability for each of the gaming machines to be selected as the winning machine is changed from the normal probability to the special probability, can be different according to the number of game media betted (the number of bets) in the gaming machine.

Accordingly, when the player places bets, it is possible to make the player conscious of the length of the period during which the probability changes from the normal period to the special period, and see what kind of bets should be placed in order to generate an advantageous length of the period, by trial and error. As a result, it is possible to make the player more fascinated with the game.

Moreover, for example, in a case where the period, during which the probability changes to the special probability that is higher than the normal probability, becomes long when the number resulting from cumulatively counting the number of betted game media for each of the gaming machines (the cumulative number of bets in each of the gaming machines) is high, it is possible to encourage the player to bet a large number of game media in order to lengthen the period during which the probability changes to the special probability that is higher than the normal probability. Accordingly, the profits of the game parlor can be increased.

It is desirable that the gaming system further has the following configuration.

Namely, the processing (C) is the processing of selecting one or a plurality of specific gaming machines out of the plurality of gaming machines, based on the special probability that is specified by the number-of-game-media information transmitted in the processing (b), when the predetermined payout condition has been established during the predetermined period after establishment of the predetermined probability-change condition.

According to the above gaming system, the special probability (the extent of an increase or the extent of a decrease in the probability, when compared with the normal probability for seeing whether or not it is higher or lower than the normal probability) can be different according to the number of betted game media (the number of bets) in the gaming machine.

Thus, it is possible to make the player conscious of what kind of a relationship there is between the number of betted game media and the value of the special probability, and see what kind of bets should be placed in order to generate an advantageous special probability, by trial and error. It is therefore possible to make the player more fascinated with the game.

Moreover, for example, in a case where the probability for the gaming machine to be selected as the winning machine is changed to the special probability that is higher than the normal probability when the number resulting from cumulatively counting the number of betted game media for each of the gaming machines (the cumulative number of bets in each of the gaming machines) is large, it is possible to encourage the player to bet a large number of game media in order to increase the probability for the gaming machine, on which he or she is playing the game, to be selected as the winning machine. Accordingly, the profits of the game parlor can be increased.

Further, the present invention provides a gaming system having the following configuration.

Namely, the gaming system comprises: a plurality of slot machines each including a symbol display to which a plurality of symbols can be displayed, an input device, and a controller; a control device including a processor; and a network enabling communication between the plurality of slot machines and the control device. The controller is programmed to execute the processing of (a) accepting from the input device an input indicating a placement of a bet of a game medium, (b) transmitting number-of-game-media information indicative of the number of game media betted in the processing (a), to the processor, (c) variably displaying the plurality of symbols to the symbol display after game media have been betted in the processing (a), and then stop-displaying the symbols such that a probability of stop-displaying the symbols in a predetermined stop mode becomes a normal probability, and (d) variably displaying the plurality of symbols to the symbol display after game media have been betted in the processing (a) during a predetermined period which comes after establishment of a predetermined probability-change condition, and then stop-displaying the symbols such that the probability of stop-displaying the symbols in the predetermined stop mode becomes a special probability different from the normal probability, and the processor is programmed to execute the processing of (A) cumulatively counting a part of the number of betted game media, as a cumulative value, based on the number-of-game-media information transmitted in the processing (b), and (B) paying out game media to the slot machine, based on the cumulative value, when the symbols stop-displayed in the processing (c) or the processing (d) are in the predetermined stop mode, the slot machine being the slot machine provided with the symbol display having the symbols stop-displayed thereto in the predetermined stop mode.

According to the above gaming system, when symbols are stop-displayed in the predetermined stop mode in a slot machine, game media are paid out to this slot machine, based on the cumulative value. When the predetermined probability-change condition has been established, the probability for symbols to be stop-displayed in the predetermined stop mode is changed from the normal probability to the special probability.

As just described, establishment of the predetermined probability-change condition triggers a change in the probability for each of the gaming machines to be selected as the winning machine from the normal probability to the special probability; it is therefore possible to provide a game that is interesting to a player.

Further, the special probability having a higher value than that of the normal probability can make the player have expectation about establishment of the predetermined probability-change condition. On the other hand, the special probability having a lower value than that of the normal probability can make the player have some kind of fear about establishment of the predetermined probability-change condition. As thus described, since there is a possibility that establishment of the predetermined probability-change condition triggers an increase or decrease in the probability for the player to receive a profit of the progressive jackpot, it is possible to make the player have interest and concern in the predetermined probability-change condition. It is therefore possible to make the player fascinated with the game.

Also, for example in a case where the displayed symbols appear different to the eyes of the player (e.g. in a case where the number of symbols to be rearranged increases) in accordance with the change in the probability for the symbols to be stop-displayed in the predetermined stop mode from the normal probability to the special probability, it is possible to let the player visually enjoy the change. Further, it is possible to let the player play the game, having expectation of a change in the appearance of the displayed symbols.

Furthermore, through the change in the appearance of those displayed symbols, the player can be notified of the change in the probability for the symbols to be stop-displayed in the predetermined stop mode. It is thus possible to prevent a situation where the player quits the game without noticing that the probability for the symbols to be stop-displayed in the predetermined stop mode has changed from the normal probability to the special probability.

The present invention provides a game control method having the following configuration.

Namely, the game control method comprises the steps of: (a) a gaming machine accepting from an input device an input indicating a placement of a bet of a game medium, (b) the gaming machine transmitting number-of-game-media information indicative of the number of game media betted in the step (a), to a control device, (A) the control device cumulatively counting a part of the number of betted game media, as a cumulative value, based on the number-of-game-media information transmitted in the step (b), (B) the control device selecting one or a plurality of specific gaming machines out of a plurality of the gaming machines, based on a normal probability set for each of the gaming machines, when a predetermined payout condition has been established, (C) the control device selecting one or a plurality of specific gaming machines out of the plurality of the gaming machines, based on a special probability different from the normal probability, when the predetermined payout condition has been established during a predetermined period after establishment of a predetermined probability-change condition, and (D) the control device paying out game media to the gaming machine selected in the step (B) or the step (C), based on the cumulative value.

According to the above game control method, when the predetermined payout condition has been established during the predetermined period after establishment of the predetermined probability-change condition, one or a plurality of specific gaming machines out of the plurality of gaming machines are selected as the winning machine.

As just described, establishment of the predetermined probability-change condition triggers a change in the probability for each of the gaming machines to be selected as the winning machine from the normal probability to the special probability; it is therefore possible to provide a game that is interesting to a player.

Further, the special probability having a higher value than that of the normal probability can make the player have expectation about establishment of the predetermined probability-change condition. On the other hand, the special probability having a lower value than that of the normal probability can make the player have some kind of fear about establishment of the predetermined probability-change condition. As thus described, since there is a possibility that establishment of the predetermined probability-change condition triggers an increase or decrease in the probability for the player to receive a profit of the progressive jackpot, it is possible to make the player have interest and concern in the predetermined probability-change condition. It is therefore possible to make the player fascinated with the game.

The present invention further provides a game control method having the following configuration.

Namely, the game control method comprises the steps of: (a) a slot machine accepting from an input device an input indicating a placement of a bet of a game medium, (b) the slot machine transmitting number-of-game-media information indicative of the number of game media betted in the step (a), to a control device, (c) the slot machine variably displaying a plurality of symbols to a symbol display, provided in this slot machine, after game media have been betted in the step (a), and then stop-displaying the symbols such that a probability of stop-displaying the symbols in a predetermined stop mode becomes a normal probability, (d) the slot machine variably displaying the plurality of symbols to the symbol display after game media have been betted in the step (a) during a predetermined period which comes after establishment of a predetermined probability-change condition, and then stop-displaying the symbols such that the probability of stop-displaying the symbols in the predetermined stop mode becomes a special probability different from the normal probability, (A) the control device cumulatively counting a part of the number of betted game media, as a cumulative value, based on the number-of-game-media information transmitted in the step (b), and (B) the control device paying out game media to the slot machine, based on the cumulative value, when the symbols stop-displayed in the step (c) or the step (d) are in the predetermined stop mode, the slot machine being the slot machine provided with the symbol display having the symbols stop-displayed thereto in the predetermined stop mode.

According to the above game control method, when symbols are stop-displayed in the predetermined stop mode in a slot machine, game media are paid out to this slot machine, based on the cumulative value. When the predetermined probability-change condition has been established, the probability for symbols to be stop-displayed in the predetermined stop mode is changed from the normal probability to the special probability.

As just described, establishment of the predetermined probability-change condition triggers a change in the probability for each of the gaming machines to be selected as the winning machine from the normal probability to the special probability; it is therefore possible to provide a game that is interesting to a player.

Further, the special probability having a higher value than that of the normal probability can make the player have expectation about establishment of the predetermined probability-change condition. On the other hand, the special probability having a lower value than that of the normal probability can make the player have some kind of fear about establishment of the predetermined probability-change condition. As thus described, since there is a possibility that establishment of the predetermined probability-change condition triggers an increase or decrease in the probability for the player to receive a profit of the progressive jackpot, it is possible to make the player have interest and concern in the predetermined probability-change condition. It is therefore possible to make the player fascinated with the game.

Also, for example in a case where the displayed symbols appear different to the eyes of the player (e.g. in a case where the number of symbols to be rearranged increases) in accordance with the change in the probability for the symbols to be stop-displayed in the predetermined stop mode from the normal probability to the special probability, it is possible to let the player visually enjoy the change. Further, it is possible to let the player play the game, having expectation of a change in the appearance of the displayed symbols.

Furthermore, through the change in the appearance of those displayed symbols, the player can be notified of the change in the probability for the symbols to be stop-displayed in the predetermined stop mode. It is thus possible to prevent a situation where the player quits the game without noticing that the probability for the symbols to be stop-displayed in the predetermined stop mode has changed from the normal probability to the special probability.

The present invention provides a gaming system having the following configuration.

Namely, the gaming system comprises: a plurality of gaming machines each including an input device and a controller; a control device including a processor; and a network enabling communication between the plurality of gaming machines and the control device. The controller is programmed to execute the processing of: (a) accepting from the input device, an input showing a bet of a game medium; and (b) transmitting to the processor, number-of-game-media information indicative of the number of game media betted in the processing (a). The processor is programmed to execute the processing of: (A) cumulatively counting, as a cumulative value, a part of the number of betted game media based on the number-of-game-media information transmitted through the processing (b); (B) selecting a single specific gaming machines or a plurality of specific gaming machines out of the plurality of gaming machines, when a predetermined payout condition is established; and (C) paying out, to the gaming machine selected in the processing (B), a game media of a determined number of payouts, the number of payouts determined based on the cumulative value and a payout ratio set for the selected gaming machine.

According to the gaming system, the number of game media to be paid out to the gaming machine selected as a winning machine is determined based on the cumulative value and the payout ratio set for the gaming machine.

Accordingly, the number of payouts of the game media can be set to the value corresponding to the invested amount by the player and the probability of winning of the progressive jackpot, by setting the payout ratio for each model of the gaming machine in accordance with a minimum BET unit (minimum unit to bet) and the probability of winning of the progressive jackpot.

As a result, it becomes possible to concurrently use a plurality of models of gaming machines varied in the minimum BET unit and the probability of winning of the progressive jackpot without concerning about the possibility to cause the sense of unfairness, and therefore, the convenience in constructing a gaming system is improved.

Further, by having the gaming system formed by a plurality of models of gaming machines, it becomes easier to provide an interesting game having wide variations.

It is desirable that the gaming system further has the following configuration.

Namely, the gaming machines or the control device includes a storage device capable of storing notification data for notifying the number of payouts. Each of the gaming machines includes an output device capable of conducting an output based on the notification data. The controller is further programmed to execute the processing of: (c) notifying, by using the output device, the number of payouts in the gaming machine including the controller, based on data corresponding to the cumulative value and the notification data.

In the case that the payout ratio is set for each gaming machine, it is possible that the player does not know the number of payouts until the player actually wins the progressive jackpot and the game media is paid out. In this regard, according to the gaming system, the number of payouts is notified to the player.

Accordingly, the player can recognize the number of game media to be paid out when the player wins the progressive jackpot.

Consequently, it is possible to increase the player's expectation for winning of the progressive jackpot, in the case that the large number of payouts is notified to the player.

On the other hand, it is also possible to provide the player with an opportunity to move to a gaming machine of the model to which the bigger payout ratio is set so as to continue the game, in the case that the number of payouts notified to the player is not so large.

It is desirable that the gaming system further has the following configuration.

Namely, the control device includes a storage device capable of storing notification data for notifying the number of payouts, the gaming system includes an output device capable of conducting an output based on the notification data, and the processor is further programmed to execute the processing of: (D) notifying, by using the output device, the number of payouts in each of the gaming machines, based on cumulative-value data indicative of the cumulative value and notification data stored in the storage device.

In the case that the payout ratio is set for each gaming machine, it is possible that the player does not know the number of payouts until the player actually wins the progressive jackpot and the game media is paid out. In this regard, according to the gaming system, the number of payouts is notified to the player.

Accordingly, the player can recognize the number of game media to be paid out when the player wins the progressive jackpot.

Consequently, it is possible to increase the player's expectation for winning of the progressive jackpot, in the case that the large number of payouts is notified to the player.

On the other hand, it is also possible to provide the player with an opportunity to move to a gaming machine of the model to which the bigger payout ratio is set so as to continue the game, in the case that the number of payouts notified to the player is not so large.

The present invention provides a gaming system having the following configuration.

Namely, the gaming system comprises: a plurality of gaming machines each including an input device and a controller; a control device including a processor; and a network enabling communication between the plurality of gaming machines and the control device. The controller is programmed to execute the processing of: (a) accepting from the input device, an input showing a bet of a game medium; (b) transmitting to the processor, number-of-game-media information indicative of the number of game media betted in the processing (a); and (c) determining a game result such that a probability that the game result satisfies a predetermined payout condition has a condition establishment probability set for the gaming machine including the controller. The processor is programmed to execute the processing of: (A) cumulatively counting, as a cumulative value, a part of the number of betted game media based on the number-of-game-media information transmitted through the processing (b); (B) paying out the game media to the gaming machine when the game result determined in the processing (c) satisfies the predetermined payout condition, the number of game media to be paid out has the number of payouts determined based on the cumulative value and a payout ratio corresponding to the condition establishment probability set for the gaming machine with the game result satisfying the predetermined payout condition.

According to the gaming system, the number of game media to be paid out to the gaming machine selected as the winning machine is determined based on the cumulative value and the payout ratio set for the gaming machine. The payout ratio is a value corresponding to a probability that the game result satisfies a predetermined payout condition (condition establishment probability), namely, a value corresponding to the probability of winning of the progressive jackpot. Accordingly, the number of payouts becomes the value corresponding to the probability of winning of the progressive jackpot.

As a result, it becomes possible to concurrently use a plurality of models of gaming machines varied in the probability that the game result satisfies the predetermined payout condition, without concerning about the possibility to cause the sense of unfairness, and the convenience in constructing a gaming system is improved.

Further, by having the gaming system formed by a plurality of models of gaming machines, it becomes easier to provide an interesting game having wide variations.

The present invention further provides a game control method having the following configuration.

Namely, the game control method comprises the steps of: (a) a gaming machine accepting from an input device, an input showing a bet of a game medium; (b) the gaming machine transmitting to a control device, number-of-game-media information indicative of the number of game media betted in the step (a); (A) the control device cumulatively counting, as a cumulative value, a part of the number of betted game media based on the number-of-game-media information transmitted through the step (b); (B) the control device selecting a single specific gaming machine or a plurality of specific gaming machines out of a plurality of the gaming machines connected by a network, when a predetermined payout condition is established; and (C) the control device paying out, to the gaming machine selected in the processing (B), a game media of a determined number of payouts, the number of payouts determined based on the cumulative value and a payout ratio set for the selected gaming machine.

According to the game control method, the number of game media to be paid out to the gaming machine selected as a winning machine is determined based on the cumulative value and the payout ratio set for the gaming machine.

Accordingly, the number of payouts of the game media can be set to the value corresponding to the invested amount by the player and the probability of winning of the progressive jackpot, by setting the payout ratio for each model of the gaming machine in accordance with a minimum BET unit (minimum unit to bet) and the probability of winning of the progressive jackpot.

As a result, it becomes possible to concurrently use a plurality of models of gaming machines varied in the minimum BET unit and the probability of winning of the progressive jackpot without concerning about the possibility to cause the sense of unfairness, and therefore, the convenience in constructing a gaming system is improved.

Further, by having the gaming system formed by a plurality of models of gaming machines, it becomes easier to provide an interesting game having wide variations.

The present invention further provides a game control method having the following configuration.

Namely, the game control method comprises the steps of: (a) a gaming machine accepting from an input device, an input showing a bet of a game medium; (b) the gaming machine transmitting to a control device, number-of-game-media information indicative of the number of game media betted in the step (a); (c) the gaming machine determining a game result such that a probability that the game result satisfies a predetermined payout condition has a condition establishment probability set for the gaming machine; (A) the control device cumulatively counting, as a cumulative value, a part of the number of betted game media based on the number-of-game-media information transmitted through the step (b); and (B) the control device paying out the game media to the gaming machine when the game result determined in the step (c) satisfies the predetermined payout condition, the number of game media to be paid out has the number of payouts determined based on the cumulative value and a payout ratio corresponding to the condition establishment probability set for the gaming machine with the game result satisfying the predetermined payout condition.

According to the game control method, the number of game media to be paid out to the gaming machine selected as the winning machine is determined based on the cumulative value and the payout ratio set for the gaming machine. The payout ratio is a value corresponding to a probability that the game result satisfies a predetermined payout condition (a condition establishment probability), namely, a value corresponding to the probability of winning of the progressive jackpot. Accordingly, the number of payouts becomes the value corresponding to the probability of winning of the progressive jackpot.

As a result, it becomes possible to concurrently use a plurality of models of gaming machines varied in the probability that the game result satisfies the predetermined payout condition, without concerning about the possibility to cause the sense of unfairness, and the convenience in constructing a gaming system is improved.

Further, by having the gaming system formed by the plurality of models of gaming machines, it becomes easier to provide an interesting game having wide variations.

The present invention provides a gaming system having the following configuration.

Namely, the gaming system comprises: a plurality of gaming machines each including an input device and a controller; a control device including a processor; and a network enabling communication between the plurality of gaming machines and the control device. Further, the plurality of gaming machines includes a plurality of types of gaming machines each having a condition establishment probability different from one another, the condition establishment probability referring to a probability that a game result determined for each gaming machine satisfies a predetermined individual payout condition. The controller is programmed to execute the processing of: (a) accepting from the input device, an input showing a bet of a game medium; (b) transmitting to the processor, number-of-game-media information indicative of the number of game media betted in the processing (a); and (c) determining a game result such that the condition establishment probability has a probability corresponding to the type of the gaming machine including the controller. Furthermore, the processor is programmed to execute the processing of: (A) cumulatively counting, as an individual cumulative value, a part of the number of betted game media, based on the number-of-game-media information transmitted through the processing (b), the calculation executed for each type of the gaming machine acting as a transmission source of the number-of-game-media information; and (B) paying out the game media, when the game result determined in the processing (c) satisfies the predetermined individual payout condition, based on the individual cumulative value corresponding to the type of the gaming machine having satisfied the predetermined individual payout condition in its game result, to the gaming machine having satisfied the predetermined individual payout condition.

According to the gaming system, a probability that a game result satisfies a predetermined individual payout condition (condition establishment probability), that is, probability of winning of a progressive jackpot is varied in accordance with the type (model) of the gaming machine. A part of the betted game media is cumulatively counted (stored) as an individual cumulative value for each type of the gaming machine. When the gaming machine wins the progressive jackpot, a payout of the game media is conducted based on the individual cumulative value corresponding to the type of the winning gaming machine.

As above, the individual cumulative value is handled individually for each model of the gaming machine both in the storage and in the payout. Accordingly, there may not be caused a case where a player playing a game on the gaming machine of the model having a high probability of winning of the progressive jackpot steals the game media, which have been stored by the bet placed by a player playing the game on the gaming machine of the model having a low probability of winning of the progressive jackpot.

As a result, it becomes possible to concurrently use a plurality of models of gaming machines varied in the probability that the game result satisfies the predetermined payout condition, without concerning about the possibility to cause the sense of unfairness, and the convenience in constructing a gaming system is improved.

Further, by having the gaming system formed by a plurality of models of gaming machines, it becomes easier to provide an interesting game having wide variations.

It is desirable that the gaming system further has the following configuration.

Namely, the gaming system comprises: a plurality of gaming machines each including an input device and a controller; a control device including a processor; and a network enabling communication between the plurality of gaming machines and the control device. Further, the plurality of gaming machines comprises a plurality of types of gaming machines each having a condition establishment probability different from one another, the condition establishment probability referring to a probability that a game result determined for each gaming machine satisfies a predetermined individual payout condition. Furthermore, the controller is programmed to execute the processing of: (a) accepting from the input device, an input showing abet of a game medium; (b) transmitting to the processor, number-of-game-media information indicative of the number of game media betted in the processing (a); and (c) determining a game result such that the condition establishment probability has a probability corresponding to the type of the gaming machine including the controller. Moreover, the processor is programmed to execute the processing of: (A) cumulatively counting, as an individual cumulative value, not only a part of the number of betted game media, based on the number-of-game-media information transmitted through the processing (b), the calculation executed for each type of the gaming machine acting as a transmission source of the number-of-game-media information, but also an other part of the number of betted game media as a common cumulative value independently of the type of the gaming machine as a transmission source of the number-of-game-media information; (B) paying out the game media, when the game result determined in the processing (c) satisfies the predetermined individual payout condition, based on the individual cumulative value corresponding to the type of the gaming machine having satisfied the predetermined individual payout condition in its game result, to the gaming machine having satisfied the predetermined individual payout condition; and (C) paying out the game media based on the common cumulative value to a single gaming machine or a plurality of specific gaming machines selected out of the plurality of gaming machines, when a predetermined common payout condition different from the predetermined individual payout condition is established.

According to the gaming system, a probability that a game result satisfies a predetermined individual payout condition (condition establishment probability), that is, probability of winning of a progressive jackpot is varied in accordance with the type (model) of the gaming machine. A part of the betted game media is cumulatively counted (stored) as an individual cumulative value for each type of the gaming machine. When the gaming machine wins the progressive jackpot, a payout of the game media is conducted based on the individual cumulative value corresponding to the type of the winning gaming machine.

As above, the individual cumulative value is handled individually for each model of the gaming machine both in the storage and in the payout. Accordingly, there may not be caused a case where a player playing a game on the gaming machine of the model having a high probability of winning of the progressive jackpot steals the game media, which have been stored by the bet placed by a player playing the game on the gaming machine of the model having a low probability of winning of the progressive jackpot.

As a result, it becomes possible to concurrently use a plurality of models of gaming machines varied in the probability that the game result satisfies the predetermined payout condition, without concerning about the possibility to cause the sense of unfairness, and the convenience in constructing a gaming system is improved.

Further, by having the gaming system formed by a plurality of models of gaming machines, it becomes easier to provide an interesting game having wide variations.

Further, according to the gaming system, though the individual cumulative value is handled individually for each model of the gaming machine both in the storage and in the payout, the common cumulative value is handled independently of the model of the gaming machine both in the storage and in the payout. Since two types of the cumulative values on different spheres are provided, it is possible to give the player a novel impression and to have the player find it interesting.

The present invention provides a gaming system having the following configuration.

Namely, the gaming system comprises: a plurality of gaming machines each including an input device and a controller; a control device including a processor; and a network enabling communication between the plurality of gaming machines and the control device. Further, the plurality of gaming machines comprises a plurality of types of gaming machines each having a condition establishment probability different from one another, the condition establishment probability referring to a probability that a game result determined for each gaming machine satisfies a predetermined individual payout condition. The controller is programmed to execute the processing of: (a) accepting from the input device, an input showing a bet of a game medium; (b) transmitting to the processor, number-of-game-media information indicative of the number of game media betted in the processing (a); (c) determining a game result such that the condition establishment probability has a probability corresponding to the type of the gaming machine including the controller; and (d) paying out game media in number determined based on the game result determined in the processing (c). Further, the processor is programmed to execute the processing of: (A) cumulatively counting, as an individual cumulative value, not only a part of the number of betted game media, based on the number-of-game-media information transmitted through the processing (b), the calculation executed for each type of the gaming machine acting as a transmission source of the number-of-game-media information, but also an other part of the number of betted game media as a common cumulative value independently of the type of the gaming machine as a transmission source of the number-of-game-media information; (B) paying out the game media, when the game result determined in the processing (c) satisfies the predetermined individual payout condition, based on the individual cumulative value corresponding to the type of the gaming machine having satisfied the predetermined individual payout condition in its game result, to the gaming machine having satisfied the predetermined individual payout condition; and (C) paying out the game media, when a balance number indicative of the balance between the number of game media betted in the processing (a) and the number of game media paid out in the processing (d) has reached a predetermined value in any gaming machine, to the gaming machine in which the balance number has reached the predetermined value, based on the common cumulative value.

According to the gaming system, a probability that a game result satisfies a predetermined individual payout condition (condition establishment probability), that is, probability of winning of a progressive jackpot is varied in accordance with the type (model) of the gaming machine. A part of the betted game media is cumulatively counted (stored) as an individual cumulative value for each type of the gaming machine. When the gaming machine wins the progressive jackpot, a payout of the game media is conducted based on the individual cumulative value corresponding to the type of the winning gaming machine.

As above, the individual cumulative value is handled individually for each model of the gaming machine both in the storage and in the payout. Accordingly, there may not be caused a case where a player playing a game on the gaming machine of the model having a high probability of winning of the progressive jackpot steals the game media, which have been stored by the bet placed by a player playing the game on the gaming machine of the model having a low probability of winning of the progressive jackpot.

As a result, it becomes possible to concurrently use a plurality of models of gaming machines varied in the probability that the game result satisfies the predetermined payout condition, without concerning about the possibility to cause the sense of unfairness, and the convenience in constructing a gaming system is improved.

Further, by having the gaming system formed by a plurality of models of gaming machines, it becomes easier to provide an interesting game having wide variations.

Further, conventionally, there has been a case where a relief was provided to the losing player by conducting the payout of the game media based on the cumulative value.

However, since the gaming machine of the model having the high condition establishment probability is more likely to win the progressive jackpot, the individual cumulative value corresponding thereto is difficult to be large. Accordingly, there has been a case where the enough relief could not be provided to the losing player, since the game media stored as the individual cumulative value did not exist even when the payout of the game media based on the individual cumulative value was to be conducted.

In this regard, according to the gaming system, the relief is provided to the player by using the common cumulative value, thereby preventing such a problem from occurring.

The present invention further provides a game control method having the following configuration.

Namely, the game control method comprises the steps of: (a) a gaming machine accepting from an input device, an input showing a bet of a game medium; (b) the gaming machine transmitting to a control device, number-of-game-media information indicative of the number of game media betted in the step (a); (c) the gaming machine determining a game result such that a condition establishment probability has a probability corresponding to the type of the gaming machine, the condition establishment probability referring to a probability that the game result determined for each gaming machine satisfies an individual payout condition; (A) the control device cumulatively counting, as an individual cumulative value, a part of the number of betted game media, based on the number-of-game-media information transmitted through the step (b), the calculation executed for each type of the gaming machine acting as a transmission source of the number-of-game-media information; and (B) the control device paying out the game media, when the game result determined in the step (c) satisfies the predetermined individual payout condition, based on the individual cumulative value corresponding to the type of the gaming machine having satisfied the predetermined individual payout condition in its game result, to the gaming machine having satisfied the predetermined individual payout condition.

According to the game control method, a probability that a game result satisfies a predetermined individual payout condition (condition establishment probability), that is, probability of winning of a progressive jackpot is varied in accordance with the type (model) of the gaming machine. A part of the betted game media is cumulatively counted (stored) as an individual cumulative value for each type of the gaming machine. When the gaming machine wins the progressive jackpot, a payout of the game media is conducted based on the individual cumulative value corresponding to the type of the winning gaming machine.

As above, the individual cumulative value is handled individually for each model of the gaming machine both in the storage and in the payout. Accordingly, there may not be caused a case where a player playing a game on the gaming machine of the model having a high probability of winning of the progressive jackpot steals the game media, which have been stored by the bet placed by a player playing the game on the gaming machine of the model having a low probability of winning of the progressive jackpot.

As a result, it becomes possible to concurrently use a plurality of models of gaming machines varied in the probability that the game result satisfies the predetermined payout condition, without concerning about the possibility to cause the sense of unfairness, and the convenience in constructing a gaming system is improved.

Further, by having the gaming system formed by a plurality of models of gaming machines, it becomes easier to provide an interesting game having wide variations.

The present invention further provides a game control method having the following configuration.

Namely, the game control method comprises the steps of: (a) a gaming machine accepting from an input device, an input showing a bet of a game medium; (b) the gaming machine transmitting to a control device, number-of-game-media information indicative of the number of game media betted in the step (a); (c) the gaming machine determining a game result such that a condition establishment probability has a probability corresponding to the type of the gaming machine, the condition establishment probability referring to a probability that a game result determined for each gaming machine satisfies a predetermined individual payout condition; (A) the control device cumulatively counting, as an individual cumulative value, not only a part of the number of betted game media, based on the number-of-game-media information transmitted through the step (b), the calculation executed for each type of the gaming machine acting as a transmission source of the number-of-game-media information, but also an other part of the number of betted game media as a common cumulative value independently of the type of the gaming machine as a transmission source of the number-of-game-media information; (B) the control device paying out the game media, when the game result determined in the step (c) satisfies the predetermined individual payout condition, based on the individual cumulative value corresponding to the type of the gaming machine having satisfied the predetermined individual payout condition in its game result, to the gaming machine having satisfied the predetermined individual payout condition; and (C) the control device paying out the game media based on the common cumulative value to a single specific gaming machine or a plurality of specific gaming machines selected out of the plurality of gaming machines connected via a network, when a predetermined common payout condition different from the predetermined individual payout condition is established.

According to the game control method, a probability that a game result satisfies a predetermined individual payout condition (condition establishment probability), that is, probability of winning of a progressive jackpot is varied in accordance with the type (model) of the gaming machine. A part of the betted game media is cumulatively counted (stored) as an individual cumulative value for each type of the gaming machine. When the gaming machine wins the progressive jackpot, a payout of the game media is conducted based on the individual cumulative value corresponding to the type of the winning gaming machine.

As above, the individual cumulative value is handled individually for each model of the gaming machine both in the storage and in the payout. Accordingly, there may not be caused a case where a player playing a game on the gaming machine of the model having a high probability of winning of the progressive jackpot steals the game media, which have been stored by the bet placed by a player playing the game on the gaming machine of the model having a low probability of winning of the progressive jackpot.

As a result, it becomes possible to concurrently use a plurality of models of gaming machines varied in the probability that the game result satisfies the predetermined payout condition, without concerning about the possibility to cause the sense of unfairness, and the convenience in constructing a gaming system is improved.

Further, by having the gaming system formed by a plurality of models of gaming machines, it becomes easier to provide an interesting game having wide variations.

Further, according to the game control method, though the individual cumulative value is handled individually for each model of the gaming machine both in the storage and in the payout, the common cumulative value is handled independently of the model of the gaming machine both in the storage and in the payout. Since two types of the cumulative values on different spheres are provided, it is possible to give the player a novel impression and to have the player find it interesting.

The present invention further provides a game control method having the following configuration.

Namely, the game control method comprises the steps of: (a) a gaming machine accepting from an input device, an input showing a bet of a game medium; (b) the gaming machine transmitting to a control device, number-of-game-media information indicative of the number of game media betted in the step (a); (c) the gaming machine determining a game result such that a condition establishment probability has a probability corresponding to a type of the gaming machine, the condition establishment probability referring to a probability that the game result determined for each gaming machine satisfies a predetermined individual payout condition; (d) the gaming machine paying out game media in number determined based on the game result determined in the step (c); (A) the control device cumulatively counting, as an individual cumulative value, not only a part of the number of betted game media, based on the number-of-game-media information transmitted through the step (b), the calculation executed for each type of the gaming machine acting as a transmission source of the number-of-game-media information, but also an other part of the number of betted game media as a common cumulative value independently of the type of the gaming machine as a transmission source of the number-of-game-media information; (B) the control device paying out the game media, when the game result determined in the step (c) satisfies the predetermined individual payout condition, based on the individual cumulative value corresponding to the type of the gaming machine having satisfied the predetermined individual payout condition in its game result, to the gaming machine having satisfied the predetermined individual payout condition; and (C) the control device paying out the game media, when a balance number indicative of the balance between the number of game media betted in the step (a) and the number of game media paid out in the step (d) has reached a predetermined value in any gaming machine, to the gaming machine in which the balance number has reached the predetermined value, based on the common cumulative value.

According to the game control method, a probability that a game result satisfies a predetermined individual payout condition (condition establishment probability), that is, probability of winning of a progressive jackpot is varied in accordance with the type (model) of the gaming machine. A part of the betted game media is cumulatively counted (stored) as an individual cumulative value for each type of the gaming machine. When the gaming machine wins the progressive jackpot, a payout of the game media is conducted based on the individual cumulative value corresponding to the type of the winning gaming machine.

As above, the individual cumulative value is handled individually for each model of the gaming machine both in the storage and in the payout. Accordingly, there may not be caused a case where a player playing a game on the gaming machine of the model having a high probability of winning of the progressive jackpot steals the game media, which have been stored by the bet placed by a player playing the game on the gaming machine of the model having a low probability of winning of the progressive jackpot.

As a result, it becomes possible to concurrently use a plurality of models of gaming machines varied in the probability that the game result satisfies the predetermined payout condition, without concerning about the possibility to cause the sense of unfairness, and the convenience in constructing a gaming system is improved.

Further, by having the gaming system formed by a plurality of models of gaming machines, it becomes easier to provide an interesting game having wide variations.

Further, conventionally, there has been a case where a relief was provided to the losing player by conducting the payout of the game media based on the cumulative value.

However, since the gaming machine of the model having the high condition establishment probability is more likely to win the progressive jackpot, the individual cumulative value corresponding thereto is difficult to be large. Accordingly, there has been a case where the enough relief could not be provided to the losing player, since the game media stored as the individual cumulative value did not exist even when the payout of the game media based on the individual cumulative value was to be conducted.

In this regard, according to the gaming system, the relief is provided to the player by using the common cumulative value, thereby preventing such a problem from occurring.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a view illustrating a second winning machine selection table.

FIG. 2 is a diagrammatic view illustrating an entire configuration of a gaming system according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view illustrating an external view of a slot machine forming the gaming system according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a block diagram illustrating an internal configuration of the slot machine shown in FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is a block diagram illustrating an internal configuration of a control device forming the gaming system according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a flowchart illustrating slot machine game execution processing conducted in the slot machine.

FIG. 7 is a view illustrating correspondence relationships among types and the numbers of rearranged symbols and amounts of payouts.

FIG. 8 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of first payout processing conducted in the control device.

FIG. 9 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of second payout processing conducted in the control device.

FIG. 10 is a view illustrating an example of symbols rearranged in display blocks.

FIG. 11 is a flowchart illustrating slot machine game execution processing executed in the slot machine.

FIG. 12 is a flowchart illustrating the second payout processing conducted in the slot machine.

FIG. 13 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of the second payout processing conducted in the control device.

FIG. 14 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of the second payout processing.

FIG. 15 is a view illustrating another second winning machine selection table.

FIG. 16A is a view illustrating an example of images displayed to a lower image display panel that is included in a slot machine forming a gaming system according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 16B is another view illustrating an example of images displayed to the lower image display panel that is included in the slot machine forming the gaming system according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 17 is a diagrammatic view illustrating an entire configuration of a gaming system according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 18 is a perspective view illustrating an external view of a slot machine forming the gaming system according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 19 is a block diagram illustrating an internal configuration of the slot machine shown in FIG. 18.

FIG. 20 is a block diagram illustrating an internal configuration of a control device forming the gaming system according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 21 is a flowchart illustrating slot machine game execution processing conducted in the slot machine.

FIG. 22 is a view illustrating correspondence relationships among types and the numbers of rearranged symbols and amounts of payouts.

FIG. 23 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of number-of-game-media information reception processing.

FIG. 24 is a view illustrating an example of symbols rearranged in display blocks.

FIG. 25 is a flowchart illustrating slot machine game execution processing executed in the slot machine.

FIG. 26 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of payout-request-signal reception processing.

FIG. 27 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of number-of-game-media information reception processing.

FIG. 28A is a view illustrating a winning machine determination table for normal period.

FIG. 28B is a view illustrating a winning machine determination table for special period.

FIG. 28C is a view illustrating a special period determination table.

FIG. 29 is a diagrammatic view illustrating an entire configuration of a gaming system according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 30 is a perspective view illustrating an external view of a slot machine forming the gaming system according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 31 is a block diagram illustrating an internal configuration of the slot machine shown in FIG. 30.

FIG. 32 is a block diagram illustrating an internal configuration of a control device forming the gaming system according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 33 is a flowchart illustrating slot machine game execution processing conducted in the slot machine.

FIG. 34 is a view illustrating correspondence relationships among types and the numbers of rearranged symbols and amounts of payouts.

FIG. 35 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of number-of-game-media information reception processing conducted in the control device.

FIG. 36 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of probability-change signal reception processing conducted in the control device.

FIG. 37 is a flowchart illustrating jackpot payout signal transmission processing conducted in the control device.

FIG. 38 is a view illustrating an example of symbols rearranged in display blocks.

FIG. 39 is a flowchart illustrating slot machine game execution processing conducted in the slot machine.

FIG. 40 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of symbol rearrangement processing.

FIG. 41 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of number-of-game-media information reception processing conducted in the control device.

FIG. 42 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of payout request signal reception processing.

FIG. 43 is a view illustrating correspondence relationships among models of slot machines, minimum BET units, and payout ratios.

FIG. 44 is a diagrammatic view illustrating an entire configuration of a gaming system according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 45 is a perspective view illustrating an external view of a slot machine forming the gaming system according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 46 is a block diagram illustrating an internal configuration of the slot machine shown in FIG. 45.

FIG. 47 is a block diagram illustrating an internal configuration of a control device forming the gaming system according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 48 is a flowchart illustrating slot machine game execution processing executed in a slot machine.

FIG. 49 is a view illustrating correspondence relationships among types and the numbers of rearranged symbols, and amounts of payouts.

FIG. 50 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of number-of-game-media information reception processing executed in the control device.

FIG. 51 is a view illustrating an exemplary image displayed to a lower image display panel.

FIG. 52 is a view illustrating correspondence relationships among models of slot machines, condition establishment probabilities, and payout ratios.

FIG. 53 is a flowchart illustrating slot machine game execution processing executed in the slot machine.

FIG. 54 is a flowchart illustrating level meter display processing executed in the slot machine.

FIG. 55 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of number-of-game-media information reception processing executed in the control device.

FIG. 56 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of payout-amount-inquiry-signal reception processing.

FIG. 57 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of payout-request-signal reception processing.

FIG. 58A is an exemplary view of an image displayed to an upper image display panel.

FIG. 58B is an exemplary view of an image displayed to a lower image display panel.

FIG. 59 is a diagrammatic view illustrating an entire configuration of a gaming system according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 60 is a perspective view illustrating an external view of a slot machine forming the gaming system according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 61 is a block diagram illustrating an internal configuration of the slot machine shown in FIG. 60.

FIG. 62 is a block diagram illustrating an internal configuration of a control device forming the gaming system according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 63 is a flowchart illustrating slot machine game execution processing executed in the slot machine.

FIG. 64 is a view illustrating correspondence relationships among types and the numbers of rearranged symbols, and amounts of payouts.

FIG. 65 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of jackpot payout processing executed in the slot machine.

FIG. 66 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of number-of-game-media information reception processing executed in the control device.

FIG. 67 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of payout-request-signal reception processing.

FIG. 68 is a flowchart illustrating slot machine game execution processing executed in the slot machine.

FIG. 69 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of jackpot payout processing executed in the slot machine.

FIG. 70 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of number-of-game-media information reception processing executed in the control device.

FIG. 71 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of number-of-payouts information reception processing executed in the control device.

FIG. 72 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of payout-request-signal reception processing.

DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS

First Embodiment

FIG. 1 is a view illustrating a second winning machine selection table.

In a gaming system 100 (see FIG. 2) according to a first embodiment, a part of coins betted in each slot machine 10 are cumulatively counted as a cumulative value. When a first payout condition has been established in which the cumulative value reaches a predetermined value, coins are paid out as a jackpot to the slot machine 10 selected as a first winning machine. Further, every time a predetermined time (three hours in the present embodiment) elapses, coins are paid out as the jackpot to the slot machine 10 selected as a second winning machine.

The second winning machine selection table shown in FIG. 1 is a table used for selecting the second winning machine.

In the second winning machine selection table, “0 to 100”, “101 to 1000”, “1001 to 3000”, and “3001 or more” each indicates a range to which the cumulative number of bets can belong. The cumulative number of bets is the number of coins cumulatively counted for each of the slot machines 10, the coins being betted in each of the slot machines 10.

In the second winning machine selection table, the respective ranges to which the cumulative number of bets can belong are set in association with random-number ranges, and with this table, it is determined whether or not the slot machine 10 should be selected as the second winning machine. The symbol “∘” (selectable) in the figure indicates that the slot machine 10 should be selected as the second winning machine. Also, the symbol “x” (unselectable) in the figure indicates that the slot machine 10 should not be selected as the second winning machine.

In the first embodiment, every time the predetermined time (three hours) elapses, whether or not each of the slot machines 10 (a slot machine 0A, a slot machine 10B, and so forth) should be selected as the second winning machine is determined based on the second winning machine selection table.

For example, whether or not the slot machine 10A should be selected as the second winning machine is determined as in the following (i) to (ii).

(i) One random number is extracted.

(ii) When the value of the extracted random number is 11 and the cumulative number of bets in the slot machine 10A is 111, the slot machine 10A should be selected as the second winning machine.

Whether or not the slot machine 10B should be selected as the second winning machine is determined as in the following (i) to (ii).

(i) One random number is extracted.

(ii) When the value of the extracted random number is 222 and the cumulative number of bets in the slot machine 10B is 1111, the slot machine 10B should not be selected as the second winning machine.

Similarly, whether or not this slot machine 10 should be selected as the second winning machine is determined for the other slot machines 10.

Then, coins are paid out as the jackpot to the slot machine 10 selected as the second winning machine.

FIG. 2 is a diagrammatic view illustrating an entire configuration of a gaming system according to the first embodiment.

As shown in FIG. 2, the gaming system 100 is provided with a control device 200. The control device 200 is connected, through communication lines 101, with a plurality of (10 in the first embodiment) slot machines 10. The plurality of respective slot machines 10 are capable of transmitting and receiving data to and from the control device 200, through the communication lines 101. Further, the respective slot machines 10 are connected to one another in a manner enabling communication there among, through the communication lines 101.

In the first embodiment, a case will be described where the slot machines 10 and the control device 200 are connected through wired connections. However, the present invention is not limited to this example, and may wirelessly conduct transmission and reception of data. Namely, a communication line (network) in the present invention includes wired and wireless transmission lines.

Moreover, in the first embodiment, a case will be described where the gaming system 100 is installed in a single game hall or the like; however, in the present invention, respective gaming apparatuses may be installed in different facilities.

Next, a configuration of the slot machine 10 is described.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view illustrating an external view of a slot machine forming a gaming system according to the first embodiment.

In the slot machine 10, a coin, a bill, or electronic valuable information corresponding to those is used as a game medium. However, in the present invention, the game medium is not particularly limited. Examples of the game medium may include a medal, a token, electronic money and a ticket. It is to be noted that the ticket is not particularly limited, and examples thereof may include a ticket with a barcode as described later.

The slot machine 10 comprises a cabinet 11, a top box 12 installed on the upper side of the cabinet 11, and a main door 13 provided at the front face of the cabinet 11.

On the main door 13, there is provided a lower image display panel 16. The lower image display panel 16 includes a transparent liquid crystal panel which displays fifteen display blocks 28 along five columns and three rows. A single symbol is displayed in each display block 28.

Further, although not illustrated, various types of images relating to an effect, as well as the aforementioned images, are displayed to the lower image display panel 16.

Further, a number-of-credits display portion 31 and a number-of-payouts display portion 32 are provided on the lower image display panel 16. The number-of-credits display portion 31 displays an image indicative of the number of credited coins. The number-of-payouts display portion 32 displays an image indicative of the number of coins to be paid out.

Moreover, although not shown, a touch panel 69 is provided at the front face of the lower image display panel 16. The player can operate the touch panel 69 to input a variety of commands.

Below the lower image display panel 16, there are provided a control panel 20 including a plurality of buttons 23 to 27 with each of which a command according to game progress is inputted by the player, a coin receiving slot 21 through which a coin is accepted into the cabinet 11, and a bill validator 22.

The control panel 20 is provided with a start button 23, a change button 24, a CASHOUT button 25, a 1-BET button 26 and a maximum BET button 27. The start button 23 is used for inputting a command to start scrolling of symbols. The change button 24 is used for making a request of staff in the recreation facility for exchange. The CASHOUT button 25 is used for inputting a command to pay out credited coins to a coin tray 18.

The 1-BET button 26 is used for inputting a command to bet one coin on a game out of credited coins. The maximum BET button 27 is used for inputting a command to bet the maximum number of coins that can be bet on one game (50 coins in the present embodiment) out of credited coins. The 1-BET button 26 and the maximum BET button 27 (hereinafter, also referred to simply as “BET buttons”) correspond to the input device in the present invention.

The bill validator 22 not only discriminates a regular bill from a false bill, but also accepts the regular bill into the cabinet 11. It is to be noted that the bill validator 22 may be configured so as to be capable of reading a later-described ticket 39 with a barcode. At the lower front of the main door 13, namely, below the control panel 20, there is provided a belly glass 34 on which a character or the like of the slot machine 10 is drawn.

On the front surface of the top box 12, there is provided an upper image display panel 33. The upper image display panel 33 includes a liquid crystal panel, which displays, for example, images indicative of introductions of the contents of games and explanations about the rules of games.

Further, a speaker 29 is provided in the top box 12. Under the upper image display panel 33, there are provided a ticket printer 35, a card reader 36, a data display 37, and a key pad 38. The ticket printer 35 prints on a ticket a barcode as coded data of the number of credits, a date, an identification number of the slot machine 10, and the like, and outputs the ticket as the ticket 39 with a barcode. The player can make another slot machine read the ticket 39 with a barcode to play a game thereon, or exchange the ticket 39 with a barcode with a bill or the like at a predetermined place in the recreation facility (e.g. a cashier in a casino).

The card reader 36 reads data from a smart card and writes data into the smart card. The smart card is a card owned by the player, and for example, data for identifying the player and data concerning a history of games played by the player are stored therein. Data corresponding to a coin, a bill or a credit may be stored in the smart card. Further, a magnetic stripe card may be adopted in place of the smart card. The data display 37 includes a fluorescent display and the like, and displays, for example, data read by the card reader 36 or data inputted by the player via the key pad 38. The key pad 38 is used for inputting a command and data concerning issuing of a ticket, and the like.

FIG. 4 is a block diagram showing an internal configuration of the slot machine shown in FIG. 3.

A gaming board 50 is provided with a CPU (Central Processing Unit) 51, a ROM 55, and a boot ROM 52 which are interconnected to one another by an internal bus, a card slot 53S corresponding to a memory card 53, and an IC socket 54S corresponding to a GAL (Generic Array Logic) 54.

The memory card 53 includes a nonvolatile memory such as CompactFlash (registered trade mark), and stores a game program. The game program includes a symbol determination program. The symbol determination program is a program for determining symbols to be rearranged in the display blocks 28. For the symbols that are determined by the symbol determination program, there exist eight types of symbols of “RIBBON”, “HEART”, “STAR”, “MOON”, “SUN”, “JEWEL”, “CROWN”, and “SMILE”.

Moreover, the game program includes odds data indicative of correspondence relationships among the types and the numbers of rearranged symbols and amounts of payouts (see FIG. 7).

Further, the card slot 53S is configured so as to allow the memory card 53 to be inserted thereinto or removed therefrom, and is connected to the mother board 40 by an IDE bus. Therefore, the type and contents of a game played on the slot machine 10 can be changed by removing the memory card 53 from the card slot 53S, writing another game program into the memory card 53, and inserting the memory card 53 into the card slot 53S. The game program includes a program according to progress of the game. Further, the game program includes image data and sound data which are to be outputted during the game.

The CPU 51, the ROM 55 and the boot ROM 52 interconnected to one another by an internal bus are connected to the mother board 40 through the PCI bus. The PCI bus not only conducts signal transmission between the mother board 40 and the gaming board 50, but also supplies power from the mother board 40 to the gaming board 50.

The mother board 40 is configured using a commercially available general-purpose mother board (a print wiring board on which fundamental components of a personal computer are mounted), and provided with a main CPU 41, a ROM (Read Only Memory) 42, a RAM (Random Access Memory) 43, and a communication interface 44. The mother board 40 corresponds to the controller of the present invention.

The ROM 42 comprises a memory device such as a flash memory, and stores a program such as a BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) executed by the main CPU 41 and permanent data. When the BIOS is executed by the main CPU 41, processing for initializing a predetermined peripheral device is conducted, concurrently with start of processing for loading the game program stored in the memory card 53 via the gaming board 50. It is to be noted that, in the present invention, the ROM 42 may or may not be data rewritable one.

The RAM 43 stores data and a program to be used at the time of operation of the main CPU 41. Further, the RAM 43 is capable of storing a game program.

Moreover, the RAM 43 stores data of the number of credits, the numbers of coin-ins and coin-outs in one game, and the like.

Moreover, the mother board 40 is connected with a later-described body PCB (Printed Circuit Board) 60 and a door PCB 80 through respective USBs. Further, the mother board 40 is connected with a power supply unit 45 and the communication interface 44.

The body PCB 60 and the door PCB 80 are connected with an instrument and a device that generate an input signal to be inputted into the main CPU 41 and an instrument and a device operations of which are controlled by a control signal outputted from the main CPU 41. The main CPU 41 executes the game program stored in the RAM 43 based on the input signal inputted into the main CPU 41, and thereby executes the predetermined arithmetic processing, stores the result thereof into the RAM 43, or transmits a control signal to each instrument and device as processing for controlling each instrument and device.

The body PCB 60 is connected with a lamp 30, a hopper 66, a coin detecting portion 67, a graphic board 68, the speaker 29, the touch panel 69, the bill validator 22, the ticket printer 35, the card reader 36, a key switch 38S, the data display 37, and a random number generator 62. The lamp 30 is lighted in a predetermined pattern based on control signals outputted from the main CPU 41.

The hopper 66 is installed inside the cabinet 11, and pays out a predetermined number of coins from a coin payout exit 19 to the coin tray 18, based on the control signal outputted from the main CPU 41. The coin detecting portion 67 is provided inside the coin payout exit 19, and outputs an input signal to the main CPU 41 in the case of detecting payout of the predetermined number of coins from the coin payout exit 19.

The random number generator 62 generates a random number at a predetermined timing.

The graphic board 68 controls image display to the upper image display panel 33 and the lower image display panel 16 based on the control signal outputted from the main CPU 41. In the respective display blocks 28 on the lower image display panel 16, symbols are displayed in a scrolling manner or in a stopped state. The number of credits stored in the RAM 43 is displayed to the number-of-credits display portion 31 of the lower image display panel 16. Further, the number of coin-outs is displayed to the number-of-payouts display portion 32 of the lower image display panel 16.

The graphic board 68 comprises a VDP (Video Display Processor) for generating image data based on the control signal outputted from the main CPU 41, a video RAM for temporarily storing image data generated by the VDP, and the like. It is to be noted that image data used in generation of the image data by the VDP is included in the game program read from the memory card 53 and stored into the RAM 43.

The bill validator 22 not only discriminates a regular bill from a false bill, but also accepts the regular bill into the cabinet 11. Upon acceptance of the regular bill, the bill validator 22 outputs an input signal to the main CPU 41 based on a face amount of the bill. The main CPU 41 stores in the RAM 43 the number of credits corresponding to the face amount of the bill transmitted with the input signal.

Based on the control signal outputted from the main CPU 41, the ticket printer 35 prints on a ticket a barcode as coded data of the number of credits stored in the RAM 43, a date, and an identification number of the slot machine 10, and the like, and outputs the ticket as the ticket 39 with a barcode. The card reader 36 reads data from the smart card and transmits the read data to the main CPU 41, and writes data onto the smart card based on the control signal from the main CPU 41. The key switch 38S is provided on the key pad 38, and outputs a predetermined input signal to the main CPU 41 when the key pad 38 is operated by the player. The data display 37 displays data read by the card reader 36 and data inputted by the player via the key pad 38, based on the control signal outputted from the main CPU 41.

The door PCB 80 is connected with the control panel 20, a reverter 21S, a coin counter 21C, and a cold cathode tube 81. The control panel 20 is provided with a start switch 23S corresponding to the start button 23, a change switch 24S corresponding to the change button 24, a CASHOUT switch 25S corresponding to the CASHOUT button 25, a 1-BET switch 26S corresponding to the 1-BET button 26, and a maximum BET switch 27S corresponding to the maximum BET button 27. Each of the switches 23S to 27S outputs an input signal to the main CPU 41 when each of the buttons 23 to 27 corresponding thereto is operated by the player.

The coin counter 21C is provided inside the coin receiving slot 21, and discriminates a regular coin from a false coin inserted into the coin receiving slot 21 by the player. Coins other than the regular coin are discharged from the coin payout exit 19. Further, the coin counter 21C outputs an input signal to the main CPU 41 in detection of the regular coin.

The reverter 21S operates based on the control signal outputted from the main CPU 41, and distributes a coin recognized by the coin counter 21C as the regular coin into a cash box (not shown) or the hopper 66, which are disposed in the slot machine 10. Namely, when the hopper 66 is filled with coins, the regular coin is distributed into the cash box by the reverter 21S. On the other hand, when the hopper 66 is not filled with coins, the regular coin is distributed into the hopper 66. The cold cathode tube 81 functions as a back light installed on the rear face side of the lower image display panel 16 and the upper image display panel 33, and lighted up based on the control signal outputted from the main CPU 41.

FIG. 5 is a block diagram illustrating an internal configuration of a control device forming the gaming system according to the first embodiment.

The control device 200 includes a CPU 201, a ROM 202, a RAM 203, a communication interface 204, a random number generator 206, and a hard disk drive 205. The random number generator 206 generates a random number at a predetermined timing. The communication interface 204 is connected, through communication lines 101, to the communication interfaces 44 in the respective slot machines 10.

The ROM 202 stores a system program for controlling the operation of a processor, permanent data, and the like. The CPU 201 corresponds to the processor in the present invention.

Further, the RAM 203 temporarily stores data received from the respective slot machines 10.

The RAM 203 is provided with a cumulative-value storage region and the cumulative number of bets storage region.

The cumulative-value storage region stores cumulative-value data indicative of the cumulative value.

The cumulative number of bets storage region stores cumulative number of bets data indicative of the cumulative number of bets in each of the slot machines 10, in association with the identification number of the slot machine 10.

The hard disk drive 205 stores second winning machine selection table data indicative of the second winning machine selection table (see FIG. 1).

Next, descriptions of processing conducted in the slot machine 10 will be given.

The main CPU 41 reads the game program and executes the game program, in order to proceed with the slot machine game.

FIG. 6 is a flowchart illustrating slot machine game execution processing conducted in a slot machine.

FIG. 7 is a view illustrating correspondence relationships among types and the numbers of rearranged symbols and amounts of payouts.

First, the main CPU 41 determines whether or not a coin has been betted (step S11). In this processing, the main CPU 41 determines whether or not it has received an input signal that is outputted from the 1-BET switch 26S when the 1-BET button 26 is operated, or an input signal that is outputted from the maximum BET switch 27S when the maximum BET button 27 is operated. When determining that the coin has not been betted, the CPU 41 returns the processing to step S11.

On the other hand, when determining that the coin has been betted in step S11, the main CPU 41 conducts processing for making a subtraction from the number of credits stored in the RAM 43 according to the number of betted coins (step S12). It is to be noted that, when the number of coins to be betted is larger than the number of credits stored in the RAM 43, the main CPU 41 returns the processing to step S11 without conducting the processing for making a subtraction from the number of credits stored in the RAM 43. Further, when the number of coins to be betted exceeds the upper limit of the number of coins that can be betted in one game (50 coins in the present embodiment), the main CPU 41 advances the processing to step S13 without conducting the processing for making a subtraction from the number of credits stored in the RAM 43.

Next, the main CPU 41 determines whether or not the start button 23 has been turned on (step S13). In this processing, the main CPU 41 determines whether or not it has received an input signal that is outputted from the start switch 23S when the start button 23 is pressed.

When the main CPU 41 determines that the start button 23 has not been turned on, the processing is returned to step S11.

It is to be noted that, when the start button 23 is not turned on (e.g. when the start button 23 is not turned on and a command to end the game is inputted), the main CPU 41 cancels a subtraction result in step S12.

On the other hand, when determining in step S13 that the start button 23 has been turned on, the main CPU 41 transmits the number-of-game-media information indicative of the number of betted coins to the control device 200 (step S14). The number-of-game-media information includes information indicative of the identification number of the slot machine 10.

Next, the main CPU 41 executes symbol rearrangement processing (step S15).

In this processing, the main CPU 41 starts with scroll-display of symbols in the display blocks 28. Then, the main CPU 41 executes the aforementioned symbol determination program, so as to determine the symbols to be rearranged, and then rearranges the symbols in the display blocks 28.

Next, the main CPU 41 determines whether or not a prize has been established (step S16). Here, the establishment of a prize refers to a rearrangement of at least one combination of three or more symbols of the same type out of “RIBBON”, “HEART”, “STAR”, “MOON”, “SUN”, “JEWEL”, “CROWN”, and “SMILE”, in the display blocks 28 (see FIG. 7). In this processing, the main CPU 41 counts the number of symbols for each type, about the symbols rearranged in step S15. Then, the main CPU 41 determines whether or not the counted number is three or more.

When determining that a prize has been established, the main CPU 41 executes processing relating to the payout of coins (step S17). In the processing, the main CPU 41 determines the amount of payout based on the numbers of rearranged symbols with reference to the odds data stored in the RAM 43. The odds data is data indicative of the correspondence relationships between the numbers of symbols rearranged in the display blocks 28 and the amounts of payouts (see FIG. 7).

For example, in the case that two coins have been betted, when three symbols of “SUN” are rearranged, 20(=2×10) coins are paid out.

In the case of accumulating coins, the main CPU 41 conducts processing for adding the number of credits corresponding to the determined amount of payout, to the number of credits stored in the RAM 43. On the other hand, in the case of paying out coins, the main CPU 41 transmits a control signal to the hopper 66 in order to pay out coins in an amount corresponding to the determined amount of payout.

When determining in step S16 that a prize has not been established or after executing the processing of step S17, the main CPU 41 determines whether or not it has received a jackpot payout signal (step S21). A jackpot payout signal is a signal transmitted to the slot machine 10 selected as the first winning machine or the second winning machine, when the cumulative value has reached the predetermined value or a predetermined time (three hours) has elapsed (see step S105 in FIG. 8 and step S113 in FIG. 9). A jackpot payout signal includes information indicative of the number of coin-outs.

When determining that the main CPU 41 has received a jackpot payout signal, the main CPU 41 conducts jackpot payout processing (step S22). In this processing, based on the information indicative of the number of coin-outs included in the jackpot payout signal, the main CPU 41 pays out coins of this number. Examples of the processing conducted by the main CPU 41 in step S22 include outputting a notification sound from the speaker 29, lighting the lamp 30, and printing the ticket 39 with a barcode on which a barcode indicative of the number of payouts is printed.

When determining in step S21 that the main CPU 41 has not received a jackpot payout signal or after executing the processing of step S22, the main CPU 41 completes the present subroutine.

With reference to FIG. 6 to FIG. 7, descriptions of the processing conducted in the slot machine 10 have been given.

Subsequently, descriptions of the processing conducted in the control device 200 will be described with reference to FIG. 8 to FIG. 9.

FIG. 8 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of first payout processing conducted in the control device.

First, the CPU 201 determines whether or not it has received number-of-game-media information from the slot machines 10 at a predetermined timing (step S101). Number-of-game-media information is information indicative of the number of coins betted in the slot machine 10 (see step S14 in FIG. 6). When determining that the CPU 201 has not received number-of-game-media information, the CPU 201 completes the present subroutine.

On the other hand, when determining that the CPU 201 has received number-of-game-media information, the CPU 201 updates cumulative-value data indicative of the cumulative value in the cumulative-value storage region in the RAM 203 (step S102). In this processing, the CPU 201 adds a value corresponding to a part (10% in the present embodiment) of the number of game media indicated by the number-of-game-media information received in step S101, to the cumulative value indicated by the cumulative-value data stored in the cumulative-value storage region in the RAM 203.

Further, although not illustrated, based on the number-of-game-media information received in step S101, the CPU 201 updates the cumulative number of bets indicative of the cumulative number of bets in the slot machine 10 that has transmitted the number-of-game-media information, in the cumulative number of bets storage region in the RAM 203.

Next, the CPU 201 determines whether or not the cumulative value has reached the predetermined value, based on the cumulative-value data stored in the RAM 203 (step S103).

When determining that the cumulative value has not reached the predetermined value, the CPU 201 completes the present subroutine.

On the other hand, when determining that the cumulative value has reached the predetermined value, the CPU 201 selects one slot machine 10 as the first winning machine (step S104). In this processing, the CPU 201 extracts the random number generated by the random number generator 206. Then the CPU 201 selects one slot machine 10 out of ten slot machines 10, based on the extracted random number. The CPU 201 determines the selected slot machine 10 as the first winning machine.

It is to be noted that, when the CPU 201 has not received number-of-game-media information from the slot machine 10 selected as the first winning machine for a predetermined period of time or longer, the CPU 201 re-extracts a random number and re-determines the first winning machine. It is thus possible to prevent a payout of coins relating to the jackpot to the slot machine 10 in which a game is not played.

Next, the CPU 201 transmits a jackpot payout signal to the slot machine 10 selected as the first winning machine in step S104 (step S105). A jackpot payout signal includes information indicative of the cumulative value, as information indicative of the number of coin-outs.

Receipt of a jackpot payout signal causes the slot machine 10 to conduct jackpot payout processing (see step S22 in FIG. 6).

Thereafter, the CPU 201 completes the present subroutine.

FIG. 9 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of the second payout processing conducted in the control device.

First, the CPU 201 determines whether or not the predetermined time (three hours) has elapsed at a predetermined timing (step S111).

When determining that the predetermined time has not elapsed, the CPU 201 completes the present subroutine.

On the other hand, when determining that the predetermined time has elapsed, the CPU 201 selects the slot machine 10 as the second winning machine (step S112). In this processing, the CPU 201 starts with extraction of the random number generated by the random number generator 206. Then, the CPU 201 selects one or a plurality of slot machines 10 as the second winning machine, based on the extracted random number, the cumulative number of bets data indicative of the cumulative number of bets in each of the slot machines 10, and the second winning machine selection table data indicative of the second winning machine selection table (see FIG. 1).

Next, the CPU 201 transmits a jackpot payout signal to the slot machine 10 selected as the second winning machine in step S112 (step S113). A jackpot payout signal includes information indicative of the number of coin-outs. The number of coin-outs is the number obtained by dividing the cumulative value by the number of slot machines 10 selected as the second winning machine.

Receipt of a jackpot payout signal causes the slot machine 10 to conduct jackpot payout processing (see step S22 in FIG. 6).

Thereafter, the CPU 201 completes the present subroutine.

Descriptions of the first embodiment have been given above.

According to the gaming system 100 relating to the first embodiment, since coins are paid out based on the cumulative value not only when the cumulative value has reached the predetermined value but also when the second payout condition has been established, it is possible to make the player have interest and concern in the condition that “the cumulative value reaches the predetermined value”, which is different from those generally-adopted conditions. Hence, it is possible to increase the player's interest and concern in winning a progressive jackpot, and provide a game with which the player hardly gets tired of.

Further, the player generally plays the game, expecting establishment of the condition for a game medium to be paid out based on the cumulative value; however, when only one type of condition is set, the object of which the player has expectation in the game becomes extremely limited. As a result, there is a possibility for the player to feel that the game is monotone and soon get tired of the game. From this point of view, there are set in the gaming system 100 relating to the first embodiment a plurality of types of conditions, i.e. the first payout condition and the second payout condition, thereby making it possible to decrease the possibility for the player to feel that the game is monotone and to prevent the player from soon getting tired of the game.

Furthermore, according to the gaming system 100 relating to the first embodiment, since the progressive jackpot relating to the second payout condition is heavily involved with “bet”, it is possible to make the player conscious of the progressive jackpot relating to the second payout condition every time he or she places a bet. Thus, it is possible to raise the player's expectation of the progressive jackpot relating to the second payout condition and to make the player fascinated with the game.

According to the gaming system 100 relating to the first embodiment, based on the cumulative number of bets in each of the slot machines 10, the slot machine 10 is determined in which coins are paid out based on the cumulative value when the second payout condition has been established.

Accordingly, the player, having betted a larger amount of coins before establishment of the second payout condition, has a higher possibility of receiving coins paid out based on the cumulative value. It is therefore possible to encourage the player to bet a large amount of coins, and to increase the profit of the game parlor. Since the player having betted a larger amount of coins has a higher possibility of receiving a profit of the progressive jackpot, it is possible to give the player an unbiased impression and provides him or her a feeling of satisfaction.

In the first embodiment, descriptions have been given in which each of the slot machines 10 is selected as the second winning machine with a probability set according to the cumulative number of bets, regardless of the number of slot machines 10 having the game played therein. As described above, in the present invention, it is desirable to adopt a configuration in which the probability for each of the slot machines 10 to be selected as the second winning machine is irrelative to the number of slot machines 10 having the game played therein. The reasons thereof are described below.

Normally, the larger number of gaming machines having the game played therein shortens the time required for the cumulative value to reach the predetermined value, and the player gets more opportunities to be able to receive a profit of the jackpot. On the other hand, when the cumulative value has reached the predetermined value, one gaming machine out of the gaming machines having the game played therein is selected as the winning machine, by lottery. Thus, the larger the number of gaming machines having the game played therein, the lower the probability for the player to be able to receive a profit of the jackpot each time when the cumulative value reaches the predetermined value.

Here, as in the first embodiment, in a case of adopting a configuration in which the probability for each of the gaming machines to be selected as the second winning machine is irrelative to the number of gaming machines having the game played therein, the probability for the player to receive a profit of the jackpot does not decrease even when the number of gaming machines having the game played therein increases.

As thus described, the larger number of gaming machines having the game played therein shortens the time required for the cumulative value to reach the predetermined value, and yet maintains the probability for the player to receive a profit of the jackpot. Hence, the appeal of the jackpot can be enhanced.

Second Embodiment

FIG. 10 is a view illustrating an example of symbols rearranged to the display blocks.

In the following descriptions, the same signs are applied to constituent elements that are same as the constituent elements of the gaming system 100 according to the first embodiment.

Further, omitted are descriptions of parts to which descriptions in the first embodiment are applicable in a second embodiment.

In the first embodiment, a condition has been adopted in which “the predetermined time (three hours) elapses”, as the second payout condition. However, the second payout condition in the present invention is not limited to this example. For example, a condition may be adopted in which “the predetermined number or more of game media have not been paid out for a predetermined period of time or longer”, as the second payout condition. As a result, since a big hit has not been won for a while, it is possible to make the player have expectation.

In the second embodiment, a condition is set in which “the jackpot trigger is established in any of the slot machines 10”, as the second payout condition. Here, “establishment of the jackpot trigger” means that three or more jackpot trigger symbols “JP” (see FIG. 10) are rearranged in the display blocks 28. As described above, for the second payout condition in the present invention, a condition can be adopted in which “symbols are stop-displayed in a predetermined stop mode”.

It is to be noted that the second payout condition in the present invention may include a plurality of conditions.

Further, descriptions have been given in the first embodiment where the slot machine 10 as the second winning machine is determined based on the cumulative number of bets. However, in the present invention, information about bets to be referred in selecting the gaming machine as the second winning machine is not limited to this example. For example, the gaming machine as the second winning machine may be selected based on an average value of the numbers of bets in the respective games (a value obtained by dividing the cumulative number of bets by the number of games played). Furthermore, the gaming machine as the second winning machine may be selected based on the number of game media betted in the predetermined number of latest games. In the second embodiment, a case will be described where the gaming machine as the second winning machine is selected based on the minimum bet-unit (the minimum unit of bets that can be placed) in each of the slot machines 10.

Among the slot machines 10 according to the second embodiment, there are slot machines 10 of machine-type A, machine-type B, and machine-type C. The minimum bet-unit in the slot machines 10 of machine-type A is 20¢. The minimum bet-unit in the slot machines 10 of machine-type B is 1$. The minimum bet-unit in the slot machines 10 of machine-type C is 10$.

In the second embodiment, a configuration is adopted where the probabilities for the slot machines 10 to be selected as the second winning machine are different according to the minimum bet-units (see FIG. 15).

Moreover, a case has been described in the first embodiment where coins are paid out based on the common cumulative value both when the first payout condition has been established and when the second condition has been established.

In the second embodiment, a part of the number of betted coins is cumulatively counted as the first cumulative value, and another part of the number of betted coins is cumulatively counted as the second cumulative value. A payout is conducted based on the first cumulative value when the first payout condition has been established, and a payout is conducted based on the second cumulative value when the second payout condition has been established.

FIG. 11 is a flowchart illustrating slot machine game execution processing conducted in the slot machine.

First, the main CPU 41 executes the processing of step S31 to step S37; however, since the processing is substantially the same as the processing of step S11 to step S17 in FIG. 6, descriptions thereof are omitted here.

When determining in step S36 that a prize has not been established or after executing the processing of step S37, the main CPU 41 determines whether or not the jackpot trigger has been established (step S41). In this processing, the main CPU 41 determines whether or not the number of jackpot trigger symbols “JP” (see FIG. 10) rearranged in the display blocks 28 is three or more.

When determining that the jackpot trigger has been established, the main CPU 41 transmits a payout request signal to the control device 200 (step S42). A payout request signal is a signal requesting the control device 200 to conduct a payout according to the jackpot.

When determining in step S41 that the jackpot trigger has not been established or after executing the processing of step S42, the main CPU 41 determines whether or not it has received a first jackpot payout signal (step S43). A first jackpot payout signal is a signal transmitted to the slot machine 10 selected as the first winning machine, when the cumulative value has reached the predetermined value (see step S125 in FIG. 13). A first jackpot payout signal includes information indicative of the first cumulative value as the number of coin-outs.

When determining that the main CPU 41 has received a first jackpot payout signal, the main CPU 41 conducts first jackpot payout processing (step S44). In this processing, based on the information indicative of the first cumulative value included in the first jackpot payout signal, the main CPU 41 pays out coins in number corresponding to the first cumulative value. Examples of the processing conducted by the main CPU 41 in step S44 include outputting a notification sound from the speaker 29, lighting the lamp 30, and printing the ticket 39 with a barcode on which a barcode indicative of the number of payouts is printed.

When determining in step S43 that the main CPU 41 has not received a first jackpot payout signal or after executing the processing of step S44, the main CPU 41 completes the present subroutine.

FIG. 12 is a flowchart illustrating second payout processing conducted in the slot machine.

First, the main CPU 41 determines whether or not it has received a second jackpot payout signal (step S51). A second jackpot payout signal is a signal transmitted to the slot machine 10 selected as the second winning machine when the jackpot trigger has been established in any of the slot machines 10 (see step S133 in FIG. 14). A second jackpot payout signal includes information indicative of the second cumulative value as the number of coin-outs.

When determining that the main CPU 41 has received a second jackpot payout signal, the main CPU 41 conducts second jackpot payout processing (step S52). In this processing, the main CPU 41 pays out coins in number corresponding to the second cumulative value, based on the information indicative of the second cumulative value which is included in the second jackpot payout signal. Examples of the processing conducted by the main CPU 41 in step S52 include outputting a notification sound from the speaker 29, lighting the lamp 30, and printing the ticket 39 with a barcode on which a barcode indicative of the number of payouts is printed.

When determining in step S51 that the main CPU 41 has not received a second jackpot payout signal or after executing the processing of step S52, the main CPU 41 completes the present subroutine.

FIG. 13 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of the second payout processing conducted in the control device.

First, the CPU 201 determines whether or not it has received number-of-game-media information from the slot machines 10 at a predetermined timing (step S121). Number-of-game-media information is information indicative of the number of coins betted in the slot machine 10 (see step S14 in FIG. 6). When determining that the CPU 201 has not received number-of-game-media information, the CPU 201 completes the present subroutine.

On the other hand, when determining that the CPU 201 has received number-of-game-media information, the CPU 201 updates the first cumulative-value data indicative of the first cumulative value in the first cumulative-value storage region in the RAM 203, and updates the second cumulative-value data indicative of the second cumulative value in the second cumulative-value storage region in the RAM 203 (step S122). In this processing, the CPU 201 adds a value corresponding to a part (5% in the present embodiment) of the number of game media indicated by the number-of-game-media information received in step S121, to the first cumulative value indicated by the first cumulative-value data stored in the first cumulative-value storage region in the RAM 203; and the CPU 201 adds a value corresponding to a part (5% in the present embodiment) of the number of game media indicated by the number-of-game-media information received in step S121, to the second cumulative value indicated by the second cumulative-value data stored in the second cumulative-value storage region in the RAM 203.

Next, the CPU 201 determines whether or not the first cumulative value has reached the predetermined value, based on the first cumulative-value data stored in the RAM 203 (step S123).

When determining that the first cumulative value has not reached the predetermined value, the CPU 201 completes the subroutine.

On the other hand, when determining that the first cumulative value has reached the predetermined value, the CPU 201 selects one slot machine 10 as the first winning machine (step S124). In this processing, the CPU 201 extracts the random number generated by the random number generator 206. Then, the CPU 201 selects one slot machine 10 out of ten slot machines 10, based on the extracted random number. The CPU 201 then determines the selected slot machine 10 as the first winning machine.

Next, the CPU 201 transmits a first jackpot payout signal to the slot machine 10 selected as the first winning machine in step S124 (step S125). A first jackpot payout signal includes information indicative of the first cumulative value as information indicative of the number of coin-outs.

Receipt of a first jackpot payout signal causes the slot machine 10 to conduct the first jackpot payout processing (see step S44 in FIG. 11).

Thereafter, the CPU 201 completes the present subroutine.

FIG. 14 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of second payout processing.

FIG. 15 is a view illustrating a second winning machine selection table.

First, the CPU 201 determines whether or not it has received a payout request signal from the slot machine 10 at a predetermined timing (step S131). A payout request signal is a signal transmitted from the slot machine 10 when the jackpot trigger has been established (see step S42 in FIG. 11).

When determining that the CPU 201 has not received a payout request signal, the CPU 201 completes the present subroutine.

On the other hand, when determining that the CPU 201 has received a payout request signal, the CPU 201 selects the second winning machine based on the minimum bet-units in the respective slot machines 10 (step S132). In this processing, the CPU 201 extracts the random number generated by the random number generator 206, as in the first embodiment. Then, the CPU 201 determines whether or not each of the slot machines 10 is to be selected as the second winning machine, based on the value of the extracted random number, with reference to the second winning machine selection table data (see FIG. 15).

Next, the CPU 201 transmits a second jackpot payout signal to the slot machine 10 selected as the second winning machine in step S132 (step S133). A second jackpot payout signal includes information indicative of the second cumulative value as information indicative of the number of coin-outs.

Receipt of a second jackpot payout signal causes the slot machine 10 to conduct the second jackpot payout processing (see step S52 in FIG. 12).

Thereafter, the CPU 201 completes the present subroutine.

Descriptions of the second embodiment have been given above.

Generally, since the player plays the game with a major purpose of receiving coins paid out based on the cumulative value, he or she tends to quit the game at the timing of when the coins are paid out based on the cumulative value. From this point of view, the gaming system 100 relating to the second embodiment accumulates a part of the number of betted coins, separately for each condition for coins to be paid out. Accordingly, even in a case where one of the conditions is established and coins are paid out based on the first cumulative value or the second cumulative value, and where one of the cumulative values decreases by an amount corresponding to the number of paid coins (e.g. where the cumulative value becomes zero), the other cumulative value is maintained without decreasing.

Thus, after the first payout condition or the second payout condition has been established and coins have been paid out based on the first cumulative value or the second cumulative value, it is possible to make the player continue to play the game, with expectation of receiving coins paid out based on the other cumulative value that has not been the payout object.

Further, according to the gaming system 100 relating to the second embodiment, a configuration is adopted in which the larger value of the minimum bet-unit generates a higher probability of being selected as the second winning machine; it is therefore unlikely to give a sense of inequality.

In the second embodiment, a case has been described where a payout according to the jackpot is conducted when the jackpot trigger is established in any of the slot machines 10. However, in the present invention, a payout according to the jackpot may be conducted when the jackpot trigger is established in one or a plurality of specific gaming machines selected from the plurality of gaming machines connected to the network. In this case, a configuration may be adopted where the aforementioned specific gaming machines can be changed at a predetermined timing. Examples of the predetermined timing include the time when the player playing the game on the aforementioned specific gaming machine quits the game. In this case, for example, a configuration can be adopted where it is determined that the player has quit the game when the control device has not received number-of-game-media information from this gaming machine for a certain period of time or longer.

Third Embodiment

First, a general description of a third embodiment will be given with reference to FIG. 16.

FIG. 16A to FIG. 16B are views illustrating an example of images displayed to a lower image display panel that is included in a slot machine forming a gaming system according to one embodiment of the present invention.

A letter image 600 in FIG. 16A indicates that a cumulative value has reached a predetermined value.

In a gaming system 1100 (see FIG. 17) according to the third embodiment, a part of coins betted in each slot machine 1010 are cumulatively counted as the cumulative value. When the cumulative value has reached the predetermined value, coins are paid out as a jackpot to any of the slot machines 1010.

A letter image 1601 indicates that a winning machine is about to be determined when the cumulative value has reached the predetermined value. The winning machine refers to the slot machine 1010 in which coins are to be paid out as the jackpot.

A letter image 1602 in FIG. 16B indicates that “No. 3 unit” has been determined as the winning machine.

A letter image 1603 and a letter image 1604 give a sign that continuing to place bets without quitting the game provides some merits, to players playing a game on the slot machines 1010 other than the No. 3 unit.

More specifically, in the third embodiment, coins in number corresponding to a part of the cumulative value are paid out to the slot machine 1010 determined as a substitute winning machine. The slot machine 1010 to be determined as the substitute winning machine is the slot machine in which the largest number of coins are betted within a predetermined period of time after the cumulative value has reached the predetermined value.

As just described, according to the gaming system 1100 relating to the third embodiment, even when the slot machine 1010 on which the player is playing the game is not determined as the winning machine, the player can receive coins in number corresponding to a part of the cumulative value when the slot machine 1010 is determined as the substitute winning machine.

Hereinbefore, general descriptions of the third embodiment have been given with reference to FIG. 16.

Hereinafter, more detailed descriptions will be given.

FIG. 17 is a diagrammatic view illustrating an entire configuration of a gaming system according to one embodiment of the present invention.

As shown in FIG. 17, the gaming system 1100 is provided with a control device 1200. The control device 1200 is connected, through communication lines 1101, with a plurality of (10 in the third embodiment) slot machines 1010. The plurality of respective slot machines 1010 are capable of transmitting and receiving data to and from the control device 1200, through the communication lines 1101. Further, the respective slot machines 1010 are connected to one another in a manner enabling communication thereamong, through the communication lines 1101.

In the third embodiment, a case will be described where the slot machines 1010 and the control device 1200 are connected through wired connections. However, the present invention is not limited to this example, and may wirelessly conduct transmission and reception of data. Namely, a communication line (network) in the present invention includes wired and wireless transmission lines.

Moreover, in the third embodiment, a case will be described where the gaming system 1100 is installed in a single game hall or the like; however, in the present invention, respective gaming apparatuses may be installed in different facilities.

Next, a configuration of the slot machine 1010 is described.

FIG. 18 is a perspective view illustrating an external view of a slot machine forming a gaming system according to one embodiment of the present invention.

In the slot machine 1010, a coin, a bill, or electronic valuable information corresponding to those is used as a game medium. However, in the present invention, the game medium is not particularly limited. Examples of the game medium may include a medal, a token, electronic money and a ticket. It is to be noted that the ticket is not particularly limited, and examples thereof may include a ticket with a barcode as described later.

The slot machine 1010 comprises a cabinet 1011, a top box 1012 installed on the upper side of the cabinet 1011, and a main door 1013 provided at the front face of the cabinet 1011.

On the main door 1013, there is provided a lower image display panel 1016. The lower image display panel 1016 includes a transparent liquid crystal panel which displays fifteen display blocks 1028 along five columns and three rows. A single symbol is displayed in each display block 1028.

The letter images 1600 to 1604 (see FIG. 16) are also displayed to the lower image display panel 1016.

Further, although not illustrated, various types of images relating to an effect, as well as the aforementioned images, are displayed to the lower image display panel 1016.

Further, a number-of-credits display portion 1031 and a number-of-payouts display portion 1032 are provided on the lower image display panel 1016. The number-of-credits display portion 1031 displays an image indicative of the number of credited coins. The number-of-payouts display portion 1032 displays an image indicative of the number of coins to be paid out.

Moreover, although not shown, a touch panel 1069 is provided at the front face of the lower image display panel 1016. The player can operate the touch panel 1069 to input a variety of commands.

Below the lower image display panel 1016, there are provided a control panel 1020 including a plurality of buttons 1023 to 1027 with each of which a command according to game progress is inputted by the player, a coin receiving slot 1021 through which a coin is accepted into the cabinet 1011, and a bill validator 1022.

The control panel 1020 is provided with a start button 1023, a change button 1024, a CASHOUT button 1025, a 1-BET button 1026 and a maximum BET button 1027. The start button 1023 is used for inputting a command to start scrolling of symbols. The change button 1024 is used for making a request of staff in the recreation facility for exchange. The CASHOUT button 1025 is used for inputting a command to pay out credited coins to a coin tray 1018.

The 1-BET button 1026 is used for inputting a command to bet one coin on a game out of credited coins. The maximum BET button 1027 is used for inputting a command to bet the maximum number of coins that can be bet on one game (50 coins in the present embodiment) out of credited coins. The 1-BET button 1026 and the maximum BET button 1027 (hereinafter, also referred to simply as “BET buttons”) correspond to the input device in the present invention.

The bill validator 1022 not only discriminates a regular bill from a false bill, but also accepts the regular bill into the cabinet 1011. It is to be noted that the bill validator 1022 may be configured so as to be capable of reading a later-described ticket 1039 with a barcode. At the lower front of the main door 1013, namely, below the control panel 1020, there is provided a belly glass 1034 on which a character or the like of the slot machine 1010 is drawn.

On the front surface of the top box 1012, there is provided an upper image display panel 1033. The upper image display panel 1033 includes a liquid crystal panel, which displays, for example, images indicative of introductions of the contents of games and explanations about the rules of games.

Further, a speaker 1029 is provided in the top box 1012. Under the upper image display panel 1033, there are provided a ticket printer 1035, a card reader 1036, a data display 1037, and a key pad 1038. The ticket printer 1035 prints on a ticket a barcode as coded data of the number of credits, a date, an identification number of the slot machine 1010, and the like, and outputs the ticket as the ticket 1039 with a barcode. The player can make another slot machine read the ticket 1039 with a barcode to play a game thereon, or exchange the ticket 1039 with a barcode with a bill or the like at a predetermined place in the recreation facility (e.g. a cashier in a casino).

The card reader 1036 reads data from a smart card and writes data into the smart card. The smart card is a card owned by the player, and for example, data for identifying the player and data concerning a history of games played by the player are stored therein. Data corresponding to a coin, a bill or a credit may be stored in the smart card. Further, a magnetic stripe card may be adopted in place of the smart card. The data display 1037 includes a fluorescent display and the like, and displays, for example, data read by the card reader 1036 or data inputted by the player via the key pad 1038. The key pad 1038 is used for inputting a command and data concerning issuing of a ticket, and the like.

FIG. 19 is a block diagram showing an internal configuration of the slot machine shown in FIG. 18.

A gaming board 1050 is provided with a CPU (Central Processing Unit) 1051, a ROM 1055, and a boot ROM 1052 which are interconnected to one another by an internal bus, a card slot 1053S corresponding to a memory card 1053, and an IC socket 1054S corresponding to a GAL (Generic Array Logic) 1054.

The memory card 1053 includes a nonvolatile memory such as CompactFlash (registered trade mark), and stores a game program. The game program includes a symbol determination program. The symbol determination program is a program for determining symbols to be rearranged in the display blocks 1028. For the symbols that are determined by the symbol determination program, there exist eight types of symbols of “RIBBON”, “HEART”, “STAR”, “MOON”, “SUN”, “JEWEL”, “CROWN”, and “SMILE”.

Moreover, the game program includes odds data indicative of correspondence relationships among the types and the numbers of rearranged symbols and amounts of payouts (see FIG. 22).

Further, the card slot 1053S is configured so as to allow the memory card 1053 to be inserted thereinto or removed therefrom, and is connected to the mother board 1040 by an IDE bus. Therefore, the type and contents of a game played on the slot machine 1010 can be changed by removing the memory card 1053 from the card slot 1053S, writing another game program into the memory card 1053, and inserting the memory card 1053 into the card slot 1053S. The game program includes a program according to progress of the game. Further, the game program includes image data (e.g. letter image data indicative of the letter images 1600 to 1604) and sound data which are to be outputted during the game. The letter image data indicative of the letter image 1600 corresponds to the first notification data in the present invention. The letter image data indicative of the letter images 1603 and 1604 corresponds to the second notification data in the present invention. The letter image data indicative of the letter image 1602 corresponds to the third notification data in the present invention.

The CPU 1051, the ROM 1055 and the boot ROM 1052 interconnected to one another by an internal bus are connected to the mother board 1040 through the PCI bus. The PCI bus not only conducts signal transmission between the mother board 1040 and the gaming board 1050, but also supplies power from the mother board 1040 to the gaming board 1050.

The mother board 1040 is configured using a commercially available general-purpose mother board (a print wiring board on which fundamental components of a personal computer are mounted), and provided with a main CPU 1041, a ROM (Read Only Memory) 1042, a RAM (Random Access Memory) 1043, and a communication interface 1044. The mother board 1040 corresponds to the controller of the present invention.

The ROM 1042 comprises a memory device such as a flash memory, and stores a program such as a BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) executed by the main CPU 1041 and permanent data. When the BIOS is executed by the main CPU 1041, processing for initializing a predetermined peripheral device is conducted, concurrently with start of processing for loading the game program stored in the memory card 1053 via the gaming board 1050. It is to be noted that, in the present invention, the ROM 1042 may or may not be data rewritable one.

The RAM 1043 stores data and a program to be used at the time of operation of the main CPU 1041. Further, the RAM 1043 is capable of storing a game program.

Moreover, the RAM 1043 stores data of the number of credits, the numbers of coin-ins and coin-outs in one game, and the like.

Moreover, the mother board 1040 is connected with a later-described body PCB (Printed Circuit Board) 1060 and a door PCB 1080 through respective USBs. Further, the mother board 1040 is connected with a power supply unit 1045 and the communication interface 1044.

The body PCB 1060 and the door PCB 1080 are connected with an instrument and a device that generate an input signal to be inputted into the main CPU 1041 and an instrument and a device operations of which are controlled by a control signal outputted from the main CPU 1041. The main CPU 1041 executes the game program stored in the RAM 1043 based on the input signal inputted into the main CPU 1041, and thereby executes the predetermined arithmetic processing, stores the result thereof into the RAM 1043, or transmits a control signal to each instrument and device as processing for controlling each instrument and device.

The body PCB 1060 is connected with a lamp 1030, a hopper 1066, a coin detecting portion 1067, a graphic board 1068, the speaker 1029, the touch panel 1069, the bill validator 1022, the ticket printer 1035, the card reader 1036, a key switch 1038S, the data display 1037, and a random number generator 1062. The lamp 1030 is lighted in a predetermined pattern based on control signals outputted from the main CPU 1041.

The hopper 1066 is installed inside the cabinet 1011, and pays out a predetermined number of coins from a coin payout exit 1019 to the coin tray 1018, based on the control signal outputted from the main CPU 1041. The coin detecting portion 1067 is provided inside the coin payout exit 1019, and outputs an input signal to the main CPU 1041 in the case of detecting payout of the predetermined number of coins from the coin payout exit 1019.

The random number generator 1062 generates a random number at a predetermined timing.

The graphic board 1068 controls image display to the upper image display panel 1033 and the lower image display panel 1016 based on the control signal outputted from the main CPU 1041. In the respective display blocks 1028 on the lower image display panel 1016, symbols are displayed in a scrolling manner or in a stopped state. The number of credits stored in the RAM 1043 is displayed to the number-of-credits display portion 1031 of the lower image display panel 1016. Further, the number of coin-outs is displayed to the number-of-payouts display portion 1032 of the lower image display panel 1016.

The graphic board 1068 comprises a VDP (Video Display Processor) for generating image data based on the control signal outputted from the main CPU 1041, a video RAM for temporarily storing image data generated by the VDP, and the like. It is to be noted that image data used in generation of the image data by the VDP is included in the game program read from the memory card 1053 and stored into the RAM 1043.

The bill validator 1022 not only discriminates a regular bill from a false bill, but also accepts the regular bill into the cabinet 1011. Upon acceptance of the regular bill, the bill validator 1022 outputs an input signal to the main CPU 1041 based on a face amount of the bill. The main CPU 1041 stores in the RAM 1043 the number of credits corresponding to the face amount of the bill transmitted with the input signal.

Based on the control signal outputted from the main CPU 1041, the ticket printer 1035 prints on a ticket a barcode as coded data of the number of credits stored in the RAM 1043, a date, and an identification number of the slot machine 1010, and the like, and outputs the ticket as the ticket 1039 with a barcode. The card reader 1036 reads data from the smart card and transmits the read data to the main CPU 1041, and writes data onto the smart card based on the control signal from the main CPU 1041. The key switch 1038S is provided on the key pad 1038, and outputs a predetermined input signal to the main CPU 1041 when the key pad 1038 is operated by the player. The data display 1037 displays data read by the card reader 1036 and data inputted by the player via the key pad 1038, based on the control signal outputted from the main CPU 1041.

The door PCB 1080 is connected with the control panel 1020, a reverter 1021S, a coin counter 1021C, and a cold cathode tube 1081. The control panel 1020 is provided with a start switch 1023S corresponding to the start button 1023, a change switch 1024S corresponding to the change button 1024, a CASHOUT switch 1025S corresponding to the CASHOUT button 1025, a 1-BET switch 1026S corresponding to the 1-BET button 1026, and a maximum BET switch 1027S corresponding to the maximum BET button 1027. Each of the switches 1023S to 1027S outputs an input signal to the main CPU 1041 when each of the buttons 1023 to 1027 corresponding thereto is operated by the player.

The coin counter 1021C is provided inside the coin receiving slot 1021, and discriminates a regular coin from a false coin inserted into the coin receiving slot 1021 by the player. Coins other than the regular coin are discharged from the coin payout exit 1019. Further, the coin counter 1021C outputs an input signal to the main CPU 1041 in detection of the regular coin.

The reverter 1021S operates based on the control signal outputted from the main CPU 1041, and distributes a coin recognized by the coin counter 1021C as the regular coin into a cash box (not shown) or the hopper 1066, which are disposed in the slot machine 1010. Namely, when the hopper 1066 is filled with coins, the regular coin is distributed into the cash box by the reverter 1021S. On the other hand, when the hopper 1066 is not filled with coins, the regular coin is distributed into the hopper 1066. The cold cathode tube 1081 functions as a back light installed on the rear face side of the lower image display panel 1016 and the upper image display panel 1033, and lighted up based on the control signal outputted from the main CPU 1041.

FIG. 20 is a block diagram illustrating an internal configuration of a control device forming the gaming system according to one embodiment of the present invention.

The control device 1200 includes a CPU 1201, a ROM 1202, a RAM 1203, a communication interface 1204, a random number generator 1206, and a hard disk drive 1205. The random number generator 1206 generates a random number at a predetermined timing. The communication interface 1204 is connected, through communication lines 1101, to the communication interfaces 1044 in the respective slot machines 1010.

The ROM 1202 stores a system program for controlling the operation of a processor, permanent data, and the like. The CPU 1201 corresponds to the processor in the present invention.

Further, the RAM 1203 temporarily stores data received from the respective slot machines 1010.

The RAM 1203 is provided with a cumulative-value storage region and the number of after-reaching bets storage region.

The cumulative-value storage region stores cumulative-value data indicative of the cumulative value.

The number of after-reaching bets storage region stores number of after-reaching bets data indicative of the number of after-reaching bets in each of the slot machines 1010, in association with the identification number of the slot machine 1010. The number of after-reaching bets is the number of coins betted in each of the slot machines 1010 from the time the cumulative value has reached the predetermined value until the predetermined period passes.

Next, descriptions of processing conducted in the slot machine 1010 will be given.

The main CPU 1041 reads the game program and executes the game program, in order to proceed with the slot machine game.

FIG. 21 is a flowchart illustrating slot machine game execution processing conducted in a slot machine.

FIG. 22 is a view illustrating correspondence relationships among types and the numbers of rearranged symbols and amounts of payouts.

First, the main CPU 1041 determines whether or not a coin has been betted (step S1011). In this processing, the main CPU 1041 determines whether or not it has received an input signal that is outputted from the 1-BET switch 1026S when the 1-BET button 1026 is operated, or an input signal that is outputted from the maximum BET switch 1027S when the maximum BET button 1027 is operated. When determining that the coin has not been betted, the CPU 41 returns the processing to step S1011.

On the other hand, when determining that the coin has been betted in step S1011, the main CPU 1041 conducts processing for making a subtraction from the number of credits stored in the RAM 1043 according to the number of betted coins (step S1012). It is to be noted that, when the number of coins to be betted is larger than the number of credits stored in the RAM 1043, the main CPU 1041 returns the processing to step S1011 without conducting the processing for making a subtraction from the number of credits stored in the RAM 1043. Further, when the number of coins to be betted exceeds the upper limit of the number of coins that can be betted in one game (50 coins in the present embodiment), the main CPU 1041 advances the processing to step S1013 without conducting the processing for making a subtraction from the number of credits stored in the RAM 1043.

Next, the main CPU 1041 determines whether or not the start button 1023 has been turned on (step S1013). In this processing, the main CPU 1041 determines whether or not it has received an input signal that is outputted from the start switch 1023S when the start button 1023 is pressed.

When the main CPU 1041 determines that the start button 1023 has not been turned on, the processing is returned to step S1011.

It is to be noted that, when the start button 1023 is not turned on (e.g. when the start button 1023 is not turned on and a command to end the game is inputted), the main CPU 1041 cancels a subtraction result in step S1012.

On the other hand, when determining in step S1013 that the start button 1023 has been turned on, the main CPU 1041 transmits the number-of-game-media information indicative of the number of betted coins to the control device 1200 (step S1014). The number-of-game-media information includes information indicative of the identification number of the slot machine 1010.

Next, the main CPU 1041 executes symbol rearrangement processing (step S1015).

In this processing, the main CPU 1041 starts with scroll-display of symbols in the display blocks 1028. Then, the main CPU 1041 executes the aforementioned symbol determination program, so as to determine the symbols to be rearranged, and then rearranges the symbols in the display blocks 1028.

Next, the main CPU 1041 determines whether or not a prize has been established (step S1016). Here, the establishment of a prize refers to a rearrangement of at least one combination of three or more symbols of the same type out of “RIBBON”, “HEART”, “STAR”, “MOON”, “SUN”, “JEWEL”, “CROWN”, and “SMILE”, in the display blocks 1028 (see FIG. 22). In this processing, the main CPU 1041 counts the number of symbols for each type, about the symbols rearranged in step S1015. Then, the main CPU 1041 determines whether or not the counted number is three or more.

When determining that a prize has been established, the main CPU 1041 executes processing relating to the payout of coins (step S1017). In the processing, the main CPU 1041 determines the amount of payout based on the numbers of rearranged symbols with reference to the odds data stored in the RAM 1043. The odds data is data indicative of the correspondence relationships between the numbers of symbols rearranged in the display blocks 1028 and the amounts of payouts (see FIG. 22).

For example, in the case that two coins have been betted, when three symbols of “SUN” are rearranged, 20(=2×10) coins are paid out.

In the case of accumulating coins, the main CPU 1041 conducts processing for adding the number of credits corresponding to the determined amount of payout, to the number of credits stored in the RAM 1043. On the other hand, in the case of paying out coins, the main CPU 1041 transmits a control signal to the hopper 1066 in order to pay out coins in an amount corresponding to the determined amount of payout.

When determining in step S1016 that a prize has not been established or after executing the processing of step S1017, the main CPU 1041 determines whether or not it has received a cumulative-value-reaching signal (step S1021). A cumulative-value-reaching signal is a signal transmitted from the control device 1200 to the slot machines 1010 when the cumulative value has reached the predetermined value (see step S1107 in FIG. 23). A cumulative-value-reaching signal includes information indicative of the identification number of the slot machine 1010 determined as the winning machine.

When determining that the main CPU 1041 has received a cumulative-value-reaching signal, the main CPU 1041 executes notification processing (step S1022). In this processing, the main CPU 1041 starts with displaying the letter images 1600 and 1601 to the lower image display panel 1016 (see FIG. 16A). Subsequently, the main CPU 1041 displays the letter images 1602 to 1604 to the lower image display panel 1016 (see FIG. 16B) When determining in step S1021 that the main CPU 1041 has not received a cumulative-value-reaching signal or after executing the processing of step S1022, the main CPU 1041 determines whether or not it has received a jackpot payout signal (step S1023). A jackpot payout signal is a signal transmitted to the slot machine 1010 determined as the winning machine when a predetermined time elapses after the cumulative value has reached the predetermined value (see step S1112 in FIG. 23). A jackpot payout signal includes information indicative of the cumulative value.

When determining that the main CPU 1041 has received a jackpot payout signal, the main CPU 1041 conducts jackpot payout processing (step S1024). In this processing, the main CPU 1041 pays out coins in number corresponding to 90% of the cumulative value, based on the information indicative of the cumulative value which is included in the jackpot payout signal. Examples of the processing conducted by the main CPU 1041 in step S1024 include outputting a notification sound from the speaker 1029, lighting the lamp 1030, and printing the ticket 1039 with a barcode on which a barcode indicative of the number of payouts is printed.

When determining in step S1023 that the main CPU 1041 has not received a jackpot payout signal or after executing the processing of step S1024, the main CPU 1041 determines whether or not it has received a jackpot substitute payout signal (step S1025). A jackpot substitute payout signal is a signal transmitted to the slot machine 1010 determined as the substitute winning machine when the predetermined time passes after the cumulative value has reached the predetermined value (see step S1111 in FIG. 23). A jackpot substitute payout signal includes information indicative of the cumulative value.

When determining that the main CPU 1041 has received a jackpot substitute payout signal, the main CPU 1041 conducts jackpot substitute payout processing (step S1026). In this processing, the main CPU 1041 pays out coins in number corresponding to 10% of the cumulative value, based on the information indicative of the cumulative value which is included in the jackpot substitute payout signal. Examples of the processing conducted by the main CPU 1041 include outputting a notification sound from the speaker 1029, lighting the lamp 1030, and printing the ticket 1039 with a barcode on which a barcode indicative of the number of payouts is printed.

When determining in step S1025 that the main CPU 1041 has not received a jackpot substitute payout signal or after executing the processing of step S1026, the main CPU 1041 completes the present subroutine.

With reference to FIG. 21 to FIG. 22, descriptions of the processing conducted in the slot machine 1010 have been given.

Subsequently, descriptions of the processing conducted in the control device 1200 will be described with reference to FIG. 23.

FIG. 23 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of number-of-game-media information reception processing.

First, the CPU 1201 determines whether or not it has received number-of-game-media information from the slot machines 1010 at a predetermined timing (step S1101). Number-of-game-media information is information indicative of the number of coins betted in the slot machine 1010 (see step S1014 in FIG. 21). When determining that the CPU 1201 has not received number-of-game-media information, the CPU 1201 completes the present subroutine.

On the other hand, when determining that the CPU 1201 has received number-of-game-media information, the CPU 1201 updates cumulative-value data indicative of the cumulative value in the cumulative-value storage region in the RAM 1203 (step S1102). In this processing, the CPU 1201 adds a value corresponding to a part (10% in the present embodiment) of the number of game media indicated by the number-of-game-media information received in step S1101, to the cumulative value indicated by the cumulative-value data stored in the cumulative-value storage region in the RAM 1203.

The CPU 1201 then determines whether or not a reaching flag is set (step S1103). A reaching flag is a flag that is set in the RAM 1203 when the cumulative value has reached the predetermined value, and is a flag that is cleared when the predetermined time elapses after the cumulative value has reached the predetermined value (see step S1105 and step S1113)

When determining that a reaching flag is not set, the CPU 1201 determines whether or not the cumulative value has reached the predetermined value, based on the cumulative-value data stored in the RAM 1203 (step S1104).

When determining that the cumulative value has not reached the predetermined value, the CPU 1201 completes the present subroutine.

On the other hand, when determining that the cumulative value has reached the predetermined value, the CPU 1201 sets a reaching flag in the RAM 1203 (step S1105).

The CPU 1201 then determines one slot machine 1010 as the winning machine (step S1106). In this processing, the CPU 1201 extracts the random number generated by the random number generator 1206. Then the CPU 1201 determines one slot machine 1010 out of ten slot machines 1010, based on the extracted random number. The CPU 1201 determines the determined slot machine 1010 as the winning machine.

It is to be noted that, when the CPU 1201 has not received number-of-game-media information from the slot machine 1010 determined as the winning machine for a predetermined period of time or longer, the CPU 1201 re-extracts a random number and re-determines the winning machine. It is thus possible to prevent a payout of coins relating to the jackpot to the slot machine 1010 in which a game is not played.

Next, the CPU 1201 transmits a cumulative-value-reaching signal to the slot machines 1010 (step S1107). A cumulative-value-reaching signal is a signal triggering the letter images 1600 to 1604 (see FIG. 16) to be displayed to the lower image display panel 1016.

After executing the processing of step S1107, the CPU 1201 completes the present subroutine.

When determining in step S1103 that a reaching flag is set, the CPU 1201 determines whether or not a predetermined time (e.g. 5 minutes) has elapsed after the cumulative value reaching the predetermined value (step S1108).

When determining that the predetermined time (e.g. 5 minutes) has not elapsed after the cumulative value reaching the predetermined value, the CPU 1201 updates, based on the number-of-game-media information received in step S1101, the number of after-reaching bets data indicative of the number of after-reaching bets in the slot machine 1010 that has transmitted the number-of-game-media information, in the number of after-reaching bets storage region in the RAM 1203 (step S1109).

After executing the processing of step S1109, the CPU 1201 completes the present subroutine.

When determining in step S1108 that the predetermined time (e.g. 5 minutes) has elapsed after the cumulative value reaching the predetermined value, the CPU 1201 determines as the substitute winning machine the slot machine with the largest number of after-reaching bets, based on the number of after-reaching bets data stored in the number of after-reaching bets storage region in the RAM 1203 (step S1110).

Next, the CPU 1201 transmits a jackpot substitute payout signal to the slot machine 1010 determined as the substitute winning machine in step S1110 (step S1111). Receipt of a jackpot substitute payout signal causes the slot machine 1010 to conduct jackpot substitute payout processing (see step S1026 in FIG. 21).

The CPU 1201 then transmits a jackpot payout signal to the slot machine 1010 determined as the winning machine in step S1106 (step S1112). Receipt of a jackpot payout signal causes the slot machine 1010 to conduct jackpot payout processing (see step S1024 in FIG. 21).

Thereafter, the CPU 1201 clears the reaching flag (step S1113), and completes the present subroutine.

Descriptions of the third embodiment have been given above.

According to the gaming system 1100 relating to the third embodiment, when the cumulative value has reached the predetermined value, coins are paid out according to the jackpot, to the slot machine 1010 determined as the winning machine and the slot machine determined as the substitute winning machine.

Accordingly, even when the slot machine 1010 on which the player is playing the game is not determined as the winning machine, there is a possibility for the player to receive coins paid out according to the jackpot when the slot machine 1010 is determined as the substitute winning machine.

As thus described, the gaming system 1100 according to the third embodiment is possible to provide an opportunity of acquiring the coins paid out according to the jackpot, to the player playing the game on the slot machine 1010 having not been determined as the winning machine. It is thus possible to give the player a certain sense of satisfaction.

Further, there is a high possibility that the player, placing many bets after the cumulative value reaching the predetermined value, has also placed many bets before the cumulative value reaching the predetermined value. Namely, there is a high possibility that such a player has made a great contribution to rising of the cumulative value.

From this perspective, the gaming system 1100 according to the third embodiment determines the substitute winning machine, based on bets inputted from the respective slot machines 1010 after the cumulative value reaching the predetermined value. It is therefore possible to let the player having contributed to rising of the cumulative value acquire the coins paid out according to the jackpot by determining as the substitute winning machine the slot machine 1010 on which he or she is playing the game. With this configuration, a gaming system with which such a player hardly feels dissatisfaction can be provided.

According to the gaming system 1100 relating to the third embodiment, there is provided a notification that the cumulative value has reached the predetermined value, by displaying the letter image 1600 to the lower image display panel 1016.

It is therefore possible to give the player feelings of hope and tension about which of the slot machines 1010 will receive the coins paid out according to the jackpot, thereby being able to make the player fully enjoy the game.

Further, the gaming system 1100 according to the third embodiment displays the letter images 1603 and 1604 to the lower image display panel 1016, so as to give a sign to the players that the players playing the game on the slot machines 1010 having not been determined as the winning machine could receive some merits when continuing to place bets without quitting the game. It is thus possible to encourage the player to bet a large amount of coins. Accordingly, profit of the game parlor can be increased. Furthermore, it becomes possible to make a plurality of players have the same feeling of placing many bets in order for the slot machine 1010 on which the player is playing the game to be determined as the substitute winning machine, thereby generating a sense of unity among the players. As a result, a lot of excitement can be added to the game.

Generally, when the slot machine 1010 determined as the winning machine is notified and the player finds that the slot machine 1010 on which he or she is playing the game has not been determined as the winning machine, he or she tends to stop playing the game at this point. On the other hand, according to the gaming system 1100 relating to the third embodiment, the substitute winning machine is determined based on the bets placed after this notification provided by display of the letter image 1602.

Namely, coins can be paid out according to the jackpot, to the player who has not stopped playing the game and has continued to place a bet even though the slot machine 1010 on which the player is playing the game has not been determined as the winning machine. Accordingly, it is possible to give feelings of satisfaction and some sort of accomplishment about having continued to place bets, to such a player.

Descriptions have been given in the third embodiment on the premise that coins are paid out according to the jackpot when the cumulative value has reached the predetermined value. “The cumulative value reaching the predetermined value” corresponds to the predetermined payout condition in the present invention. However, the predetermined payout condition in the present invention is not particularly limited, and a desired condition can be appropriately adopted.

In the second embodiment, a case will be described where a condition different from “the cumulative value reaching the predetermined value” is set.

Fourth Embodiment

FIG. 24 is a view illustrating an example of symbols rearranged to the display blocks.

According to the gaming system 1100 relating to the fourth embodiment, a condition of “establishment of a jackpot trigger in any of the slot machines 1010” is set. “Establishment of a jackpot trigger” refers to rearrangement of three or more jackpot trigger symbols “JP” (see FIG. 24) in the display blocks 1028. For the predetermined payout condition in the present invention, a condition of “stop-display of symbols in a predetermined stop mode” can be adopted as described above.

In the following descriptions, the same signs are applied to constituent elements that are same as the constituent elements of the gaming system 1100 according to the third embodiment.

Further, omitted are descriptions of parts to which descriptions in the third embodiment are applicable in the fourth embodiment.

FIG. 25 is a flowchart illustrating slot machine game execution processing conducted in the slot machine.

First, the main CPU 1041 executes the processing of step S1031 to step S1037; however, since the processing is substantially the same as the processing of step S1011 to step S1017 in FIG. 21, descriptions thereof are omitted here.

When determining in step S1036 that a prize has not been established or after executing the processing of step S1037, the main CPU 1041 determines whether or not the jackpot trigger has been established (step S1041). In this processing, the main CPU 1041 determines whether or not the number of jackpot trigger symbols “JP” (see FIG. 24) rearranged in the display blocks 1028 is three or more.

When determining that the jackpot trigger has been established, the main CPU 1041 transmits a payout request signal to the control device 1200 (step S1042). A payout request signal is a signal requesting the control device 1200 to conduct a payout according to the jackpot. A payout request signal includes information indicative of the identification number of the slot machine 1010.

When determining in step S1041 that the jackpot trigger has not been established or after executing the processing of step S1042, the main CPU 1041 executes the processing of step S1043 to step S1046. However, since the processing is substantially the same as the processing of step S1023 to step S1026 in FIG. 21, descriptions thereof are omitted here.

With reference to FIG. 25, the processing conducted in the slot machine 1010 has been described above.

Subsequently, the processing conducted in the control device 1200 will be described with reference to FIG. 26 to FIG. 27.

FIG. 26 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of payout request signal reception processing.

First, the CPU 1201 determines whether or not it has received a payout request signal from the slot machine 1010 at a predetermined timing (step S1130). A payout request signal is a signal transmitted from the slot machine 1010 when the jackpot trigger has been established (see step S1042 in FIG. 25).

When determining that the CPU 1201 has not received a payout request signal, the CPU 1201 completes the present subroutine.

On the other hand, when determining that the CPU 1201 has received a payout request signal, the CPU 1201 sets a trigger establishment flag in the RAM 1203 (step S1131).

The CPU 1201 then determines as the winning machine the slot machine 1010 that has transmitted the payout request signal (step S1132).

Thereafter, the CPU 1201 completes the present subroutine.

FIG. 27 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of number-of-game-media information reception processing.

First, the CPU 1201 executes the processing of step S1121 to step S1122. However, since the processing is substantially the same as the processing of step S1101 to step S1102 in FIG. 23, descriptions thereof are omitted here.

Subsequently, the CPU 1201 determines whether or not a trigger establishment flag is set (step S1123). A trigger establishment flag is a flag that is set in the RAM 1203 when the jackpot trigger has been established in any of the slot machines 1010 (see step S1131 in FIG. 26).

When determining that a trigger establishment flag is not set, the CPU 1201 completes the present subroutine.

On the other hand, when determining that a trigger establishment flag is set, the CPU 1201 determines whether or not a predetermined time (e.g. 5 minutes) has been elapsed after receipt (see step S1130 in FIG. 26) of a payout request signal transmitted from the slot machine 1010 in which the jackpot trigger has been established (step S1124).

When determining that the predetermined time has not elapsed after receipt of a payout request signal, the CPU 1201 updates, based on the number-of-game-media information received in step S1101, the number of after-reaching bets data indicative of the number of after-reaching bets in the slot machine 1010 that has transmitted the received number-of-game-media information, in the number of after-reaching bets storage region (step S1125).

Here, in the fourth embodiment, the number of after-reaching bets refers to the number of coins betted from the respective slot machines 1010 from the time the CPU 1201 has received a payout request signal until the predetermined time elapses.

After executing the processing of step S1125, the CPU 1201 completes the present subroutine.

When determining in step S1124 that the predetermined time has elapsed after receipt of a payout request signal, the CPU 1201 determines as the substitute winning machine the slot machine 1010 with the largest value of the number of after-reaching bets, based on the number of after-reaching bets data stored in the number of after-reaching bets storage region in the RAM 1203 (step S1126).

The CPU 1201 then transmits a jackpot substitute payout signal to the slot machine 1010 determined as the substitute winning machine in step S1126 (step S1127). Receipt of a jackpot substitute signal causes the slot machine 1010 to conduct jackpot substitute payout processing (see step S1046 in FIG. 25).

Next, the CPU 1201 transmits a jackpot payout signal to the slot machine 1010 determined as the winning machine in step S1132 in FIG. 26 (step S1128). Receipt of a jackpot payout signal causes the slot machine 1010 to conduct jackpot payout processing (see step S1044 in FIG. 25).

Thereafter, the CPU 1201 clears the trigger establishment flag (step S1129), and completes the present subroutine.

Descriptions of the fourth embodiment have been given above.

The gaming system 1100 according to the fourth embodiment is possible to provide an opportunity of acquiring the coins paid out according to the jackpot, to the player playing the game on the slot machine 1010 in which the jackpot trigger has not been established. It is thus possible to give the player a certain sense of satisfaction.

Further, the substitute winning machine is determined based on bets inputted from the respective slot machines 1010 after establishment of the jackpot trigger in any of the slot machines 1010. Normally, there is a high possibility that the player, placing many bets after establishment of the jackpot trigger in any of the slot machines 1010, has also placed many bets before establishment of the jackpot trigger in any of the slot machines 1010. Namely, there is a high possibility that such a player has made a great contribution to rising of the cumulative value.

It is therefore possible to let the player having contributed to rising of the cumulative value acquire the coins paid out according to the jackpot by determining as the substitute winning machine the slot machine 1010 on which he or she is playing the game. With this configuration, a gaming system with which such a player hardly feels dissatisfaction can be provided.

In the fourth embodiment, a case has been described where a payout according to the jackpot is conducted when the jackpot trigger is established in any of the slot machines 1010. However, in the present invention, a payout according to the jackpot may be conducted when the jackpot trigger is established in one or a plurality of specific gaming machines selected from the plurality of gaming machines connected to the network. In this case, a configuration may be adopted where the aforementioned specific gaming machines can be changed at a predetermined timing. Examples of the predetermined timing include the time when the player playing the game on the aforementioned specific gaming machine quits the game. In this case, for example, a configuration can be adopted where it is determined that the player has quit the game when the control device has not received number-of-game-media information from this gaming machine for a certain period of time or longer.

In the aforementioned embodiments (the third embodiment and the fourth embodiment), cases have been described where the letter image data indicative of the letter images 1600 to 1604 is stored in the RAM 1043 included in the slot machine 1010. As in these cases, in the present invention, the first notification data, the second notification data, and the third notification data may be stored in the storage device included in the gaming machine. Further, the first notification data, the second notification data, and the third notification data may be stored in the storage device included in the control device, and may be transmitted from the control device to the gaming machines.

Moreover, in the present embodiments, cases have been described where displaying the letter images 1600 to 1604 to the lower image display panel 1016 included in the slot machine 1010 provides a notification that the cumulative value has reached the predetermined value, and the like. As in these cases, in the present invention, the display included in the gaming machine may provide a notification of establishment of the predetermined payout condition and the like. Further, this notification may be provided through a common display connected to the network. Furthermore, this notification is not limited to the case where the notification is provided by displaying images to the display. For example, this notification may be provided by outputting a sound from the speaker.

In the present embodiments, the substitute winning machine is determined to be the slot machine 1010 in which the largest number of coins have been betted from the time the predetermined payout condition has been established until the predetermined time elapses (special period). Here, the maximum number of coins that can be betted on one game during the special period is the same as the maximum number of coins (50 coins) that can be betted on one game during the period other than the special period.

However, in the present invention, a configuration may be adopted where the maximum number of coins that can be betted on one game during the special period may be larger than the maximum number of coins that can be betted on one game during the period (normal period) other than the special period. It is therefore possible to motivate the player to place many bets in order for the gaming machine on which he or she is playing the game to be determined as the substitute winning machine, thereby adding more excitement to the game.

Further, in this case, a configuration may be adopted where the difference between the maximum number of coins that can be betted on one game during the normal period and the maximum number of coins that can be betted on one game during the special period is determined based on the number of game media betted in the respective gaming machines before establishment of the predetermined payout condition (the difference becomes bigger in the gaming machine in which the number of game media, betted before establishment of the predetermined payout condition, is larger). Hence, the maximum number of coins that can be betted on one game during the special period becomes larger in the gaming machine on which the player having contributed to rising of the cumulative value is playing the game. It is therefore possible to create a situation where the gaming machine on which such a player is playing the game is easily determined as the substitute winning machine.

Fifth Embodiment

First, general descriptions of a fifth embodiment will be given with reference to FIG. 28A to FIG. 28C.

FIG. 28A is a view illustrating a winning machine determination table for normal period.

FIG. 28B is a view illustrating a winning machine determination table for special period.

FIG. 28C is a view illustrating a special period determination table.

In the present specification, a period, during which a probability for a slot machine 2010 (see FIG. 29) to be determined as a winning machine is a normal probability, will be referred to as a “normal period”. Further, a period, during which a probability for the slot machine 2010 to be determined as the winning machine is a special probability, will be referred to as a “special period”.

The winning machine determination table for normal period shown in FIG. 28A is a table used for determining the winning machine during the normal period.

The winning machine determination table for special period shown in FIG. 28B is a table used for determining the winning machine during the special period.

In the winning machine determination table for normal period and the winning machine determination table for special period, “0 to 100”, “101 to 1000”, “1001 to 3000”, and “3001 or more” each indicates a range to which the cumulative number of bets can belong. The cumulative number of bets is the number of coins cumulatively counted for each of the slot machines 2010, the coins being betted in each of the slot machines 2010.

In the winning machine determination table for normal period and the winning machine determination table for special period, whether or not the slot machine 2010 should be selected as the winning machine is set in association with the respective ranges to which the cumulative number of bets can belong and random-number ranges. The symbol “∘” (selectable) in the figure indicates that the slot machine 2010 should be selected as the winning machine. Also, the symbol “x” (unselectable) in the figure indicates that the slot machine 2010 should not be selected as the winning machine.

In the fifth embodiment, a configuration is adopted where the special probability has a higher value (the same value, when the cumulative number of bets is 100 or less) than the normal probability does, as illustrated in FIG. 28A and FIG. 28B.

In the fifth embodiment, establishment of a predetermined payout condition triggers determination of whether or not each of the slot machines 2010 (a slot machine 2010A, a slot machine 2010B, and so forth) should be selected as the winning machine. At this time, when the predetermined payout condition has been established during the normal period, the winning machine determination table for normal period is referred; when the predetermined payout condition has been established during the special period, the winning machine determination table for special period is referred.

For example, when the predetermined payout condition has been established during the normal period, whether or not the slot machine 2010A should be selected as the winning machine is determined as in the following (i) to (ii).

(i) One random number is extracted.

(ii) When the value of the extracted random number is 80 and the cumulative number of bets in the slot machine 2010A is 1500, the slot machine 2010A should not be selected as the winning machine.

When the predetermined payout condition has been established during the special period, whether or not the slot machine 2010A should be selected as the winning machine is determined as in the following (i) to (ii).

(i) One random number is extracted.

(ii) When the value of the extracted random number is 80 and the cumulative number of bets in the slot machine 2010A is 1500, the slot machine 2010A should be selected as the winning machine.

Similarly, for the other slot machines 2010, whether or not this slot machine 2010 should be selected as the winning machine is determined.

Then, coins are paid out as the jackpot to the slot machine 2010 determined as the winning machine.

The special period determination table illustrated in FIG. 28C is a table used for determining the length of the special period. In the special period determination table, “0 to 100”, “101 to 1000”, “1001 to 3000”, and “3001 or more” each indicates a range to which the cumulative number of bets can belong.

In the special period determination table, the length of the special period is set in association with the respective ranges to which the cumulative number of bets can belong and random-number ranges.

As shown in FIG. 28C, a configuration is adopted where a larger cumulative number of bets generates a higher probability for the length of the special period to be longer.

It is to be noted that the change from the normal period to the special period is conducted separately in each of the slot machines 2010, in the fifth embodiment. Namely, the change from the normal period to the special period is conducted when the probability-change condition has been established; and only in the slot machine 2010 having the condition established therein, the period changes from the normal period to the special period.

In the fifth embodiment, as the probability-change condition, a condition is set where “three or more symbols of ‘SUN’ and three or more symbols of ‘MOON’ are displayed to display blocks 2028”.

Hereinabove, general descriptions of the fifth embodiment have been given with reference to FIG. 28A to FIG. 28C.

Hereinafter, detailed descriptions will be further given.

FIG. 29 is a diagrammatic view illustrating an entire configuration of a gaming system according to the fifth embodiment.

As shown in FIG. 29, the gaming system 2100 is provided with a control device 2200. The control device 2200 is connected, through communication lines 2101, with a plurality of (10 in the fifth embodiment) slot machines 2010. The plurality of respective slot machines 2010 are capable of transmitting and receiving data to and from the control device 2200, through the communication lines 2101. Further, the respective slot machines 2010 are connected to one another in a manner enabling communication thereamong, through the communication lines 2101.

In the fifth embodiment, a case will be described where the slot machines 2010 and the control device 2200 are connected through wired connections. However, the present invention is not limited to this example, and may wirelessly conduct transmission and reception of data. Namely, a communication line (network) in the present invention includes wired and wireless transmission lines.

Moreover, in the fifth embodiment, a case will be described where the gaming system 2100 is installed in a single game hall or the like; however, in the present invention, respective gaming apparatuses may be installed in different facilities.

Next, a configuration of the slot machine 2010 is described.

FIG. 30 is a perspective view illustrating an external view of a slot machine forming a gaming system according to the fifth embodiment.

In the slot machine 2010, a coin, a bill, or electronic valuable information corresponding to those is used as a game medium. However, in the present invention, the game medium is not particularly limited. Examples of the game medium may include a medal, a token, electronic money and a ticket. It is to be noted that the ticket is not particularly limited, and examples thereof may include a ticket with a barcode as described later.

The slot machine 2010 comprises a cabinet 2011, a top box 2012 installed on the upper side of the cabinet 2011, and a main door 2013 provided at the front face of the cabinet 2011.

On the main door 2013, there is provided a lower image display panel 2016. The lower image display panel 2016 includes a transparent liquid crystal panel which displays fifteen display blocks 2028 along five columns and three rows. A single symbol is displayed in each display block 2028.

Further, although not illustrated, various types of images relating to an effect, as well as the aforementioned images, are displayed to the lower image display panel 2016.

Further, a number-of-credits display portion 2031 and a number-of-payouts display portion 2032 are provided on the lower image display panel 2016. The number-of-credits display portion 2031 displays an image indicative of the number of credited coins. The number-of-payouts display portion 2032 displays an image indicative of the number of coins to be paid out.

Moreover, although not shown, a touch panel 2069 is provided at the front face of the lower image display panel 2016. The player can operate the touch panel 2069 to input a variety of commands.

Below the lower image display panel 2016, there are provided a control panel 2020 including a plurality of buttons 2023 to 2027 with each of which a command according to game progress is inputted by the player, a coin receiving slot 2021 through which a coin is accepted into the cabinet 2011, and a bill validator 2022.

The control panel 2020 is provided with a start button 2023, a change button 2024, a CASHOUT button 2025, a 1-BET button 2026 and a maximum BET button 2027. The start button 2023 is used for inputting a command to start scrolling of symbols. The change button 2024 is used for making a request of staff in the recreation facility for exchange. The CASHOUT button 2025 is used for inputting a command to pay out credited coins to a coin tray 2018.

The 1-BET button 2026 is used for inputting a command to bet one coin on a game out of credited coins. The maximum BET button 2027 is used for inputting a command to bet the maximum number of coins that can be bet on one game (50 coins in the present embodiment) out of credited coins. The 1-BET button 2026 and the maximum BET button 2027 (hereinafter, also referred to simply as “BET buttons”) correspond to the input device in the present invention.

The bill validator 2022 not only discriminates a regular bill from a false bill, but also accepts the regular bill into the cabinet 2011. It is to be noted that the bill validator 2022 may be configured so as to be capable of reading a later-described ticket 2039 with a barcode. At the lower front of the main door 2013, namely, below the control panel 2020, there is provided a belly glass 2034 on which a character or the like of the slot machine 2010 is drawn.

On the front surface of the top box 2012, there is provided an upper image display panel 2033. The upper image display panel 2033 includes a liquid crystal panel, which displays, for example, images indicative of introductions of the contents of games and explanations about the rules of games.

Further, a speaker 2029 is provided in the top box 2012. Under the upper image display panel 2033, there are provided a ticket printer 2035, a card reader 2036, a data display 2037, and a key pad 2038. The ticket printer 2035 prints on a ticket a barcode as coded data of the number of credits, a date, an identification number of the slot machine 2010, and the like, and outputs the ticket as the ticket 2039 with a barcode. The player can make another slot machine read the ticket 2039 with a barcode to play a game thereon, or exchange the ticket 2039 with a barcode with a bill or the like at a predetermined place in the recreation facility (e.g. a cashier in a casino).

The card reader 2036 reads data from a smart card and writes data into the smart card. The smart card is a card owned by the player, and for example, data for identifying the player and data concerning a history of games played by the player are stored therein. Data corresponding to a coin, a bill or a credit may be stored in the smart card. Further, a magnetic stripe card may be adopted in place of the smart card. The data display 2037 includes a fluorescent display and the like, and displays, for example, data read by the card reader 2036 or data inputted by the player via the key pad 2038. The key pad 2038 is used for inputting a command and data concerning issuing of a ticket, and the like.

FIG. 31 is a block diagram showing an internal configuration of the slot machine shown in FIG. 30.

A gaming board 2050 is provided with a CPU (Central Processing Unit) 2051, a ROM 2055, and a boot ROM 2052 which are interconnected to one another by an internal bus, a card slot 2053S corresponding to a memory card 2053, and an IC socket 2054S corresponding to a GAL (Generic Array Logic) 2054.

The memory card 2053 includes a nonvolatile memory such as CompactFlash (registered trade mark), and stores a game program. The game program includes a symbol determination program. The symbol determination program is a program for determining symbols to be rearranged in the display blocks 2028. For the symbols that are determined by the symbol determination program, there exist eight types of symbols of “RIBBON”, “HEART”, “STAR”, “MOON”, “SUN”, “JEWEL”, “CROWN”, and “SMILE”.

Moreover, the game program includes odds data indicative of correspondence relationships among the types and the numbers of rearranged symbols and amounts of payouts (see FIG. 34).

Further, the card slot 2053S is configured so as to allow the memory card 2053 to be inserted thereinto or removed therefrom, and is connected to the mother board 2040 by an IDE bus. Therefore, the type and contents of a game played on the slot machine 2010 can be changed by removing the memory card 2053 from the card slot 2053S, writing another game program into the memory card 2053, and inserting the memory card 2053 into the card slot 2053S. The game program includes a program according to progress of the game. Further, the game program includes image data and sound data which are to be outputted during the game.

The CPU 2051, the ROM 2055 and the boot ROM 2052 interconnected to one another by an internal bus are connected to the mother board 2040 through the PCI bus. The PCI bus not only conducts signal transmission between the mother board 2040 and the gaming board 2050, but also supplies power from the mother board 2040 to the gaming board 2050.

The mother board 2040 is configured using a commercially available general-purpose mother board (a print wiring board on which fundamental components of a personal computer are mounted), and provided with a main CPU 2041, a ROM (Read Only Memory) 2042, a RAM (Random Access Memory) 2043, and a communication interface 2044. The mother board 2040 corresponds to the controller of the present invention.

The ROM 2042 comprises a memory device such as a flash memory, and stores a program such as a BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) executed by the main CPU 2041 and permanent data. When the BIOS is executed by the main CPU 2041, processing for initializing a predetermined peripheral device is conducted, concurrently with start of processing for loading the game program stored in the memory card 2053 via the gaming board 2050. It is to be noted that, in the present invention, the ROM 2042 may or may not be data rewritable one.

The RAM 2043 stores data and a program to be used at the time of operation of the main CPU 2041. Further, the RAM 2043 is capable of storing a game program.

Moreover, the RAM 2043 stores data of the number of credits, the numbers of coin-ins and coin-outs in one game, and the like.

Moreover, the mother board 2040 is connected with a later-described body PCB (Printed Circuit Board) 2060 and a door PCB 2080 through respective USBs. Further, the mother board 2040 is connected with a power supply unit 2045 and the communication interface 2044.

The body PCB 2060 and the door PCB 2080 are connected with an instrument and a device that generate an input signal to be inputted into the main CPU 2041 and an instrument and a device operations of which are controlled by a control signal outputted from the main CPU 2041. The main CPU 2041 executes the game program stored in the RAM 2043 based on the input signal inputted into the main CPU 2041, and thereby executes the predetermined arithmetic processing, stores the result thereof into the RAM 2043, or transmits a control signal to each instrument and device as processing for controlling each instrument and device.

The body PCB 2060 is connected with a lamp 2030, a hopper 2066, a coin detecting portion 2067, a graphic board 2068, the speaker 2029, the touch panel 2069, the bill validator 2022, the ticket printer 2035, the card reader 2036, a key switch 2038S, the data display 2037, and a random number generator 22062. The lamp 2030 is lighted in a predetermined pattern based on control signals outputted from the main CPU 2041.

The hopper 2066 is installed inside the cabinet 2011, and pays out a predetermined number of coins from a coin payout exit 2019 to the coin tray 2018, based on the control signal outputted from the main CPU 2041. The coin detecting portion 2067 is provided inside the coin payout exit 2019, and outputs an input signal to the main CPU 2041 in the case of detecting payout of the predetermined number of coins from the coin payout exit 2019.

The random number generator 2062 generates a random number at a predetermined timing.

The graphic board 2068 controls image display to the upper image display panel 2033 and the lower image display panel 2016 based on the control signal outputted from the main CPU 2041. In the respective display blocks 2028 on the lower image display panel 2016, symbols are displayed in a scrolling manner or in a stopped state. The number of credits stored in the RAM 2043 is displayed to the number-of-credits display portion 2031 of the lower image display panel 2016. Further, the number of coin-outs is displayed to the number-of-payouts display portion 2032 of the lower image display panel 2016.

The graphic board 2068 comprises a VDP (Video Display Processor) for generating image data based on the control signal outputted from the main CPU 2041, a video RAM for temporarily storing image data generated by the VDP, and the like. It is to be noted that image data used in generation of the image data by the VDP is included in the game program read from the memory card 2053 and stored into the RAM 2043.

The bill validator 2022 not only discriminates a regular bill from a false bill, but also accepts the regular bill into the cabinet 2011. Upon acceptance of the regular bill, the bill validator 2022 outputs an input signal to the main CPU 2041 based on a face amount of the bill. The main CPU 2041 stores in the RAM 2043 the number of credits corresponding to the face amount of the bill transmitted with the input signal.

Based on the control signal outputted from the main CPU 2041, the ticket printer 2035 prints on a ticket a barcode as coded data of the number of credits stored in the RAM 2043, a date, and an identification number of the slot machine 2010, and the like, and outputs the ticket as the ticket 2039 with a barcode. The card reader 2036 reads data from the smart card and transmits the read data to the main CPU 2041, and writes data onto the smart card based on the control signal from the main CPU 2041. The key switch 2038S is provided on the key pad 2038, and outputs a predetermined input signal to the main CPU 2041 when the key pad 2038 is operated by the player. The data display 2037 displays data read by the card reader 2036 and data inputted by the player via the key pad 2038, based on the control signal outputted from the main CPU 2041.

The door PCB 2080 is connected with the control panel 2020, a reverter 2021S, a coin counter 2021C, and a cold cathode tube 2081. The control panel 2020 is provided with a start switch 2023S corresponding to the start button 2023, a change switch 2024S corresponding to the change button 2024, a CASHOUT switch 2025S corresponding to the CASHOUT button 2025, a 1-BET switch 2026S corresponding to the 1-BET button 2026, and a maximum BET switch 2027S corresponding to the maximum BET button 2027. Each of the switches 2023S to 2027S outputs an input signal to the main CPU 2041 when each of the buttons 2023 to 2027 corresponding thereto is operated by the player.

The coin counter 2021C is provided inside the coin receiving slot 2021, and discriminates a regular coin from a false coin inserted into the coin receiving slot 2021 by the player. Coins other than the regular coin are discharged from the coin payout exit 2019. Further, the coin counter 2021C outputs an input signal to the main CPU 2041 in detection of the regular coin.

The reverter 2021S operates based on the control signal outputted from the main CPU 2041, and distributes a coin recognized by the coin counter 2021C as the regular coin into a cash box (not shown) or the hopper 2066, which are disposed in the slot machine 2010. Namely, when the hopper 2066 is filled with coins, the regular coin is distributed into the cash box by the reverter 2021S. On the other hand, when the hopper 2066 is not filled with coins, the regular coin is distributed into the hopper 2066. The cold cathode tube 2081 functions as a back light installed on the rear face side of the lower image display panel 2016 and the upper image display panel 2033, and lighted up based on the control signal outputted from the main CPU 2041.

FIG. 32 is a block diagram illustrating an internal configuration of a control device forming the gaming system according to the fifth embodiment.

The control device 2200 includes a CPU 2201, a ROM 2202, a RAM 2203, a communication interface 2204, a random number generator 2206, and a hard disk drive 2205. The random number generator 2206 generates a random number at a predetermined timing. The communication interface 2204 is connected, through communication lines 2101, to the communication interfaces 22044 in the respective slot machines 2010.

The ROM 2202 stores a system program for controlling the operation of a processor, permanent data, and the like. The CPU 2201 corresponds to the processor in the present invention.

Further, the RAM 2203 temporarily stores data received from the respective slot machines 2010.

The RAM 2203 is provided with a cumulative-value storage region and the cumulative number of bets storage region.

The cumulative-value storage region stores cumulative-value data indicative of the cumulative value.

The cumulative number of bets storage region stores cumulative number of bets data indicative of the cumulative number of bets in each of the slot machines 2010, in association with the identification number of the slot machine 2010.

The hard disk drive 2205 stores: winning machine determination table data for normal period indicative of the winning machine determination table for normal period (see FIG. 28A); winning machine determination table data for special period indicative of the winning machine determination table for special period (see FIG. 28B); and the special period determination table data indicative of the special period determination table (see FIG. 28C).

Next, descriptions of processing conducted in the slot machine 2010 will be given.

The main CPU 2041 reads the game program and executes the game program, in order to proceed with the slot machine game.

FIG. 33 is a flowchart illustrating slot machine game execution processing conducted in a slot machine.

FIG. 34 is a view illustrating correspondence relationships among types and the numbers of rearranged symbols and amounts of payouts.

First, the main CPU 2041 determines whether or not a coin has been betted (step S2011). In this processing, the main CPU 2041 determines whether or not it has received an input signal that is outputted from the 1-BET switch 2026S when the 1-BET button 2026 is operated, or an input signal that is outputted from the maximum BET switch 2027S when the maximum BET button 2027 is operated. When determining that the coin has not been betted, the CPU 41 returns the processing to step S2011.

On the other hand, when determining that the coin has been betted in step S2011, the main CPU 2041 conducts processing for making a subtraction from the number of credits stored in the RAM 2043 according to the number of betted coins (step S2012). It is to be noted that, when the number of coins to be betted is larger than the number of credits stored in the RAM 2043, the main CPU 2041 returns the processing to step S2011 without conducting the processing for making a subtraction from the number of credits stored in the RAM 2043. Further, when the number of coins to be betted exceeds the upper limit of the number of coins that can be betted in one game (50 coins in the present embodiment), the main CPU 2041 advances the processing to step S2013 without conducting the processing for making a subtraction from the number of credits stored in the RAM 2043.

Next, the main CPU 2041 determines whether or not the start button 2023 has been turned on (step S2013). In this processing, the main CPU 2041 determines whether or not it has received an input signal that is outputted from the start switch 2023S when the start button 2023 is pressed.

When the main CPU 2041 determines that the start button 2023 has not been turned on, the processing is returned to step S2011.

It is to be noted that, when the start button 2023 is not turned on (e.g. when the start button 2023 is not turned on and a command to end the game is inputted), the main CPU 2041 cancels a subtraction result in step S2012.

On the other hand, when determining in step S2013 that the start button 2023 has been turned on, the main CPU 2041 transmits the number-of-game-media information indicative of the number of betted coins to the control device 2200 (step S2014). The number-of-game-media information includes information indicative of the identification number of the slot machine 2010.

Next, the main CPU 2041 executes symbol rearrangement processing (step S2015).

In this processing, the main CPU 2041 starts with scroll-display of symbols in the display blocks 2028. Then, the main CPU 2041 executes the aforementioned symbol determination program, so as to determine the symbols to be rearranged, and then rearranges the symbols in the display blocks 2028.

Next, the main CPU 2041 determines whether or not a prize has been established (step S2016). Here, the establishment of a prize refers to a rearrangement of at least one combination of three or more symbols of the same type out of “RIBBON”, “HEART”, “STAR”, “MOON”, “SUN”, “JEWEL”, “CROWN”, and “SMILE”, in the display blocks 2028 (see FIG. 34). In this processing, the main CPU 2041 counts the number of symbols for each type, about the symbols rearranged in step S2015. Then, the main CPU 2041 determines whether or not the counted number is three or more.

When determining that a prize has been established, the main CPU 2041 executes processing relating to the payout of coins (step S2017). In the processing, the main CPU 2041 determines the amount of payout based on the numbers of rearranged symbols with reference to the odds data stored in the RAM 2043. The odds data is data indicative of the correspondence relationships between the numbers of symbols rearranged in the display blocks 2028 and the amounts of payouts (see FIG. 34).

For example, in the case that two coins have been betted, when three symbols of “SUN” are rearranged, 20(=2×10) coins are paid out.

In the case of accumulating coins, the main CPU 2041 conducts processing for adding the number of credits corresponding to the determined amount of payout, to the number of credits stored in the RAM 2043. On the other hand, in the case of paying out coins, the main CPU 2041 transmits a control signal to the hopper 2066 in order to pay out coins in an amount corresponding to the determined amount of payout.

When determining in step S2016 that a prize has not been established or after executing the processing of step S2017, the main CPU 2041 determines whether or not the probability-change condition is established (step S2021). In the present embodiment, the probability-change condition is that “three or more symbols of ‘SUN’ and three or more symbols of ‘MOON’ are displayed to the display blocks 2028”. In the processing, the main CPU 2041 determines whether or not the number of symbols of “SUN” rearranged to the display blocks 2028 is three or more, and the number of symbols of “MOON” rearranged to the display blocks 2028 is three or more.

When determining that the probability-change condition has been established, the main CPU 2041 transmits a probability-change signal to the control device 2200 (step S2022). A probability-change signal is a signal triggering a change from the normal period to the special period.

When determining in step S2021 that the probability-change condition has not been established or after executing the processing of step S2022, the main CPU 2041 determines whether or not it has received a jackpot payout signal (step S2023). A jackpot payout signal is a signal transmitted to the slot machine 2010 determined as the winning machine, when the predetermined payout condition has been established (see step S2123 in FIG. 37). A jackpot payout signal includes information indicative of the number of payouts.

When determining that the main CPU 2041 has received a jackpot payout signal, the main CPU 2041 conducts jackpot payout processing (step S2024). In this processing, based on the information indicative of the number of payouts included in the jackpot payout signal, the main CPU 2041 pays out coins of this number. Examples of the processing conducted by the main CPU 2041 in step S2024 include outputting a notification sound from the speaker 2029, lighting the lamp 2030, and printing the ticket 2039 with a barcode on which a barcode indicative of the number of payouts is printed.

When determining in step S2023 that the main CPU 2041 has not received a jackpot payout signal or after executing the processing of step S2024, the main CPU 2041 completes the present subroutine.

With reference to FIG. 33 to FIG. 34, descriptions of the processing conducted in the slot machine 2010 have been given.

Subsequently, descriptions of the processing conducted in the control device 2200 will be described with reference to FIG. 35 to FIG. 37.

FIG. 35 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of number-of-game-media information reception processing conducted in the control device.

First, the CPU 2201 determines whether or not it has received number-of-game-media information from the slot machines 2010 at a predetermined timing (step S2101). Number-of-game-media information is information indicative of the number of coins betted in the slot machine 2010 (see step S2014 in FIG. 33). When determining that the CPU 2201 has not received number-of-game-media information, the CPU 2201 completes the present subroutine.

On the other hand, when determining that the CPU 2201 has received number-of-game-media information, the CPU 2201 updates, based on the number-of-game-media information received in step S2101, the cumulative number of bets data, indicative of the cumulative number of bets in the slot machine 2010 that has transmitted the number-of-game-media information, in the cumulative number of bets storage region in the RAM 2203 (step S2102).

Next, the CPU 2201 updates cumulative-value data indicative of the cumulative value in the cumulative-value storage region in the RAM 2203 (step S2103). In this processing, the CPU 2201 adds a value corresponding to a part (10% in the present embodiment) of the number of game media indicated by the number-of-game-media information received in step S2101, to the cumulative value indicated by the cumulative-value data stored in the cumulative-value storage region in the RAM 2203.

Thereafter, the CPU 2201 completes the present subroutine.

FIG. 36 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of probability-change signal reception processing conducted in the control device.

First, the CPU 2201 determines whether or not it has received a probability-change signal from the slot machine 2010 at a predetermined timing (step S2111). A probability-change signal is a signal transmitted from the slot machine 2010 when the probability-change condition has been established (see step S2022 in FIG. 33).

When determining that the CPU 2201 has not received a probability-change signal, the CPU 2201 completes the present subroutine.

On the other hand, when determining that the CPU 2201 has received a probability-change signal, the CPU 2201 determines the length of the special period, based on the cumulative number of bets data indicative of the cumulative number of bets in the slot machine 2010 that has transmitted the probability-change signal and on the special period determination table data (see FIG. 28C) (step S2112).

Next, the CPU 2201 sets a special period flag, in association with the identification number of the slot machine 2010 that has transmitted the probability-change signal (step S2113). A special period flag is a flag indicative of being in the special period. This special period flag is cleared after the time corresponding to the length determined in step S2112 has elapsed.

After executing the processing of step S2113, the CPU 2201 completes the present subroutine.

FIG. 37 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of jackpot payout signal transmission processing conducted in the control device.

First, the CPU 2201 determines whether or not the predetermined payout condition has been established at a predetermined timing (step S2121). In this processing, the CPU 2201 extracts a random number, and determines whether or not the extracted random number belongs to a predetermined random range.

When determining that the predetermined payout condition has not been established, the CPU 2201 completes the present subroutine.

On the other hand, when determining that the predetermined payout condition has been established, the CPU 2201 determines whether or not each of the slot machines 2010 should be selected as the winning machine, based on the winning machine determination table data for normal period (see FIG. 28A) or the winning machine determination table data for special period (see FIG. 28B) (step S2122). In this processing, the CPU 2201 determines whether or not the slot machine 2010 having no special period flag set therein should be selected as the winning machine, based on the winning machine determination table data for normal period. Further, the CPU 2201 determines whether or not the slot machine 2010 having a special period flag set therein should be selected as the winning machine, based on the winning machine determination table data for special period.

Next, the CPU 2201 transmits a jackpot payout signal to the slot machine 2010 selected as the winning machine in step S2122 (step S2123). A jackpot payout signal includes information indicative of the number of coin-outs. The number of coin-outs is a number obtained by dividing the cumulative value by the number of slot machines 2010 selected as the winning machine.

Receipt of a jackpot payout signal causes the slot machine 2010 to conduct jackpot payout processing (see step S2022 in FIG. 33).

Thereafter, the CPU 2201 completes the present subroutine.

Descriptions of the fifth embodiment have been given above.

According to the gaming system 2100 relating to the fifth embodiment, establishment of the probability-change condition triggers a change in the probability for each of the slot machines 2010 to be selected as the winning machine from the normal probability to the special probability; it is therefore possible to provide a game that is interesting to the player.

Further, the special probability having a higher value than that of the normal probability can make the player have expectation about establishment of the predetermined probability-change condition.

According to the gaming system 2100 relating to the fifth embodiment, since a larger cumulative number of bets has a higher possibility for the special period to be long, it is possible to encourage the player to bet a large number of coins in order to make the special period long. Accordingly, the profits of the game parlor can be increased, and the player's motivation for participating in the game can be generated.

Further, according to the gaming system 2100 relating to the fifth embodiment, the difference between the special probability and the normal probability gets large as the cumulative number of bets becomes large. It is therefore possible to encourage the player to bet a large number of coins in order to increase the probability for the slot machine 2010 on which he or she is playing the game to be selected as the winning machine. Thus, the profits of the game parlor can be increased, and the player's motivation for participating in the game can be generated.

In the fifth embodiment, a case has been described where the probability-change condition is that “three or more symbols of ‘SUN’ and three or more symbols of ‘MOON’ are rearranged to the display blocks 2028”. However, the predetermined probability-change condition in the present invention is not limited to this example.

For example, a condition that the cumulative value satisfies a predetermined condition may be adopted. In this case, a configuration will be adopted where the control device determines whether or not the probability-change condition has been established.

Sixth Embodiment

FIG. 38 is a view illustrating an example of symbols rearranged to the display blocks.

In the following descriptions, the same signs are applied to constituent elements that are same as the constituent elements of the gaming system 2100 according to the fifth embodiment.

Further, omitted are descriptions of parts to which descriptions in the fifth embodiment are applicable in a sixth embodiment.

In the fifth embodiment, a condition has been adopted in which “a random number being extracted at a predetermined timing, belongs to the predetermined numerical value range”, as the predetermined payout condition. However, the predetermined payout condition in the present invention is not limited to this example. For example, a condition may be adopted in which “the predetermined number or more of game media have not been paid out for a predetermined period of time or longer”, as the predetermined payout condition. As a result, since a big hit has not been won for a while, it is possible to make the player have expectation.

In the sixth embodiment, a condition is set in which “the jackpot trigger is established in any of the slot machines 2010”, as the predetermined payout condition. Here, “establishment of the jackpot trigger” means that three or more jackpot trigger symbols “JP” (see FIG. 38) are rearranged in the display blocks 2028. As described above, for the predetermined payout condition in the present invention, a condition can be adopted in which “symbols are stop-displayed in a predetermined stop mode”.

In the sixth embodiment, the probability of establishment of the jackpot trigger during the normal period is the normal probability. Also, the probability of establishment of the jackpot trigger during the special period is the special probability. The symbol determination program according to the sixth embodiment includes the symbol determination program for normal period and the symbol determination program for special period. The symbol determination program for normal period is a program used for determining symbols to be rearranged to the display blocks 2028 during the normal period. The symbol determination program for special period is a program used for determining symbols to be rearranged to the display blocks 2028 during the special period. A configuration is adopted where the probability of rearrangement of the jackpot trigger symbol “JP” during the special period becomes higher than that in the normal period.

Hence, based on the frequency of rearrangement of the jackpot trigger symbol “JP”, the player can see whether or not the period is the special period.

FIG. 39 is a flowchart illustrating slot machine game execution processing conducted in the slot machine.

First, the main CPU 2041 executes the processing of step S2031 to step S2034; however, since the processing is substantially the same as the processing of step S2011 to step S2014 in FIG. 33, descriptions thereof are omitted here.

Subsequently, the main CPU 2041 executes symbol rearrangement processing (step S2035).

Here, the symbol rearrangement processing will be described with reference to FIG. 40.

FIG. 40 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of the symbol rearrangement processing.

First, the main CPU 2041 determines whether or not the special period flag is set (step S2051).

When determining that the special period flag has not been set, the main CPU 2041 determines symbols, based on the symbol determination program for normal period (step S2052). On the other hand, when determining that the special period flag has been set, the main CPU 2041 determines symbols, based on the symbol determination program for special period (step S2053).

After executing the processing of step S2052 or step S2053, the main CPU 2041 rearranges the determined symbols to the display blocks 2028 (step S2054).

Thereafter, the main CPU 2041 completes the present subroutine.

Go back to the descriptions of FIG. 39.

After executing the processing of step S2035, the main CPU 2041 executes the processing of step S2036 to step S2037 and step S2041; however, since the processing is substantially the same as the processing of step S2016 to step S2017 and step S2021, descriptions thereof are omitted here.

When determining in step S2041 that the probability-change condition has been established, the main CPU 2041 sets a special period flag (step S2042).

When determining in step S2041 that the probability-change condition has not been established or after executing the processing of step S2042, the main CPU 2041 determines whether or not the jackpot trigger has been established (step S2043). In this processing, the main CPU 2041 determines whether or not the number of jackpot trigger symbols “JP” (see FIG. 38) rearranged in the display blocks 2028 is three or more.

When determining that the jackpot trigger has been established, the main CPU 2041 transmits a payout request signal to the control device 2200 (step S2044). A payout request signal is a signal requesting the control device 2200 to conduct a payout according to the jackpot.

When determining in step S2043 that the jackpot trigger has not been established or after executing the processing of step S2044, the main CPU 2041 determines whether or not it has received a jackpot payout signal (step S2045). A jackpot payout signal is a signal transmitted, when the jackpot trigger has been established in any of the slot machines 2010, to this slot machine 2010 having the jackpot trigger established therein (see step S2142 in FIG. 42). A jackpot payout signal includes information indicative of the cumulative value as the number of coin-outs.

When determining that the main CPU 2041 has received a jackpot payout signal, the main CPU 2041 conducts jackpot payout processing (step S2046). In this processing, based on the information indicative of the cumulative value included in the jackpot payout signal, the main CPU 2041 pays out coins in number corresponding to the cumulative value. Examples of the processing conducted by the main CPU 2041 in step S2046 include outputting a notification sound from the speaker 2029, lighting the lamp 2030, and printing the ticket 2039 with a barcode on which a barcode indicative of the number of payouts is printed.

When determining in step S2045 that the main CPU 2041 has not received a jackpot payout signal or after executing the processing of step S2046, the main CPU 2041 completes the present subroutine.

FIG. 41 is a flowchart illustrating number-of-game-media information reception processing conducted in the control device.

The CPU 2201 executes the processing of step S2131 to step S2133; however, since the processing is substantially the same as the processing of step S2101 to step S2103 in FIG. 35, descriptions thereof are omitted here.

FIG. 42 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of payout request signal reception processing.

First, the CPU 2201 determines whether or not it has received a payout request signal from the slot machine 2010 at a predetermined timing (step S2141). A payout request signal is a signal transmitted from the slot machine 2010 when the jackpot trigger has been established (see step S2044 in FIG. 39).

When determining that the CPU 2201 has not received a payout request signal, the CPU 2201 completes the present subroutine.

On the other hand, when determining that the CPU 2201 has received a payout request signal, the CPU 2201 transmits a jackpot payout signal to the slot machine 2010 that has transmitted the payout request signal (step S2142). A jackpot payout signal includes information indicative of the cumulative value as information indicative of the number of coin-outs.

Receipt of a jackpot payout signal causes the slot machine 2010 to conduct the jackpot payout processing (see step S2046 in FIG. 39).

Thereafter, the CPU 2201 completes the present subroutine.

Descriptions of the sixth embodiment have been given above.

According to the gaming system 2100 relating to the sixth embodiment, establishment of the probability-change condition triggers a change in the probability of establishment of the jackpot trigger in each of the slot machines 2010 from the normal probability to the special probability; it is therefore possible to provide a game that is interesting to the player.

Further, the special probability having a higher value than that of the normal probability can make the player have expectation about establishment of the predetermined probability-change condition.

Also, according to the gaming system 2100 relating to the sixth embodiment, since the displayed symbols appear different to the eyes of the player in accordance with the change in the probability of establishment of the jackpot trigger from the normal probability to the special probability, it is possible to let the player visually enjoy the change. Further, it is possible to let the player play the game, having expectation of a change in the appearance of the displayed symbols.

Furthermore, through the change in the appearance of those displayed symbols, the player can be notified of the change in the probability of establishment of the jackpot trigger. It is thus possible to prevent a situation where the player quits the game without noticing that the probability of establishment of the jackpot trigger has changed from the normal probability to the special probability.

In the embodiments (the fifth embodiment and the sixth embodiment) described above, the height of the special probability and the length of the special period are determined based on the cumulative number of bets. However, in the present invention, the information about bets to be referred in determination of the height of the special probability and the length of the special period is not limited to this example. For example, the height of the special probability and the length of the special period may be selected based on an average value of the numbers of bets in the respective games (a value obtained by diving the cumulative number of bets by the number of games). Further, the height of the special probability and the length of the special period may be selected based on the number of game media betted in the predetermined number of latest games.

Seventh Embodiment

FIG. 43 is a view illustrating correspondence relationships among models of slot machines, minimum BET units, and payout ratios.

In a gaming system 3100 (see FIG. 44) according to the seventh embodiment, a part of coins betted in each slot machine 3010 are cumulatively counted as a cumulative value. When a payout condition that the cumulative value reaches a predetermined value is established, payout of coins as a jackpot is conducted to the slot machine 3010 selected as a winning machine.

Here, an amount of the coin to be paid out is determined based on the cumulative value and the payout ratio determined for the model of the slot machine 3010 selected as the winning machine.

As shown in FIG. 43, as the slot machine 3010 according to the seventh embodiment, there are three models of the slot machines 3010 comprising model A, model B and model C. The minimum BET unit in the model A is 20¢. The minimum BET unit in the model B is $1. The minimum BET unit in the model C is $10.

In the seventh embodiment, the payout ratio is set in accordance with the minimum BET unit in the slot machine 3010 selected as the winning machine.

For example, when the cumulative value is $100,000 and the model of the slot machine selected as the winning machine is A, the payout amount is 2,000(=100,000×0.02) dollars.

FIG. 44 is a diagrammatic view illustrating an entire configuration of a gaming system according to the seventh embodiment.

As shown in FIG. 44, the gaming system 3100 is provided with a control device 3200. The control device 3200 is connected, through communication lines 3101, with a plurality of (10 in the seventh embodiment) slot machines 3010. The plurality of respective slot machines 3010 are capable of transmitting and receiving data to and from the control device 3200, through the communication lines 3101. Further, the respective slot machines 3010 are connected to one another in a manner enabling communication thereamong, through the communication lines 3101.

In the seventh embodiment, a case will be described where the slot machines 3010 and the control device 3200 are connected through wired connections. However, the present invention is not limited to this example, and may wirelessly conduct transmission and reception of data. Namely, a communication line (network) in the present invention includes wired and wireless transmission lines.

Moreover, in the seventh embodiment, a case will be described where the gaming system 3100 is installed in a single game hall or the like; however, in the present invention, respective gaming apparatuses may be installed in different facilities.

Next, a configuration of the slot machine 3010 is described.

FIG. 45 is a perspective view illustrating an external view of a slot machine forming a gaming system according to the seventh embodiment.

In the slot machine 3010, a coin, a bill, or electronic valuable information corresponding to those is used as a game medium. However, in the present invention, the game medium is not particularly limited. Examples of the game medium may include a medal, a token, electronic money and a ticket. It is to be noted that the ticket is not particularly limited, and examples thereof may include a ticket with a barcode as described later.

The slot machine 3010 comprises a cabinet 3011, a top box 3012 installed on the upper side of the cabinet 3011, and a main door 3013 provided at the front face of the cabinet 3011.

On the main door 3013, there is provided a lower image display panel 3016. The lower image display panel 3016 includes a transparent liquid crystal panel which displays fifteen display blocks 3028 along five columns and three rows. A single symbol is displayed in each display block 3028.

Further, although not illustrated, various types of images relating to an effect, as well as the aforementioned images, are displayed to the lower image display panel 3016.

Further, a number-of-credits display portion 3031 and a number-of-payouts display portion 3032 are provided on the lower image display panel 3016. The number-of-credits display portion 3031 displays an image indicative of the number of credited coins. The number-of-payouts display portion 3032 displays an image indicative of the number of coins to be paid out.

Moreover, although not shown, a touch panel 3069 is provided at the front face of the lower image display panel 3016. The player can operate the touch panel 3069 to input a variety of commands.

Below the lower image display panel 3016, there are provided a control panel 3020 including a plurality of buttons 3023 to 3027 with each of which a command according to game progress is inputted by the player, a coin receiving slot 3021 through which a coin is accepted into the cabinet 3011, and a bill validator 3022.

The control panel 3020 is provided with a start button 3023, a change button 3024, a CASHOUT button 3025, a 1-BET button 3026 and a maximum BET button 3027. The start button 3023 is used for inputting a command to start scrolling of symbols. The change button 3024 is used for making a request of staff in the recreation facility for exchange. The CASHOUT button 3025 is used for inputting a command to pay out credited coins to a coin tray 3018.

The 1-BET button 3026 is used for inputting a command to bet one coin on a game out of credited coins. The maximum BET button 3027 is used for inputting a command to bet the maximum number of coins that can be bet on one game (50 coins in the present embodiment) out of credited coins. The 1-BET button 3026 and the maximum BET button 3027 (hereinafter, also referred to simply as “BET buttons”) correspond to the input device in the present invention.

The bill validator 3022 not only discriminates a regular bill from a false bill, but also accepts the regular bill into the cabinet 3011. It is to be noted that the bill validator 3022 may be configured so as to be capable of reading a later-described ticket 3039 with a barcode. At the lower front of the main door 3013, namely, below the control panel 3020, there is provided a belly glass 3034 on which a character or the like of the slot machine 3010 is drawn.

On the front surface of the top box 3012, there is provided an upper image display panel 3033. The upper image display panel 3033 includes a liquid crystal panel, which displays, for example, images indicative of introductions of the contents of games and explanations about the rules of games.

Further, a speaker 3029 is provided in the top box 3012. Under the upper image display panel 3033, there are provided a ticket printer 3035, a card reader 3036, a data display 3037, and a key pad 3038. The ticket printer 3035 prints on a ticket a barcode as coded data of the number of credits, a date, an identification number of the slot machine 3010, and the like, and outputs the ticket as the ticket 3039 with a barcode. The player can make another slot machine read the ticket 3039 with a barcode to play a game thereon, or exchange the ticket 3039 with a barcode with a bill or the like at a predetermined place in the recreation facility (e.g. a cashier in a casino).

The card reader 3036 reads data from a smart card and writes data into the smart card. The smart card is a card owned by the player, and for example, data for identifying the player and data concerning a history of games played by the player are stored therein. Data corresponding to a coin, a bill or a credit may be stored in the smart card. Further, a magnetic stripe card may be adopted in place of the smart card. The data display 3037 includes a fluorescent display and the like, and displays, for example, data read by the card reader 3036 or data inputted by the player via the key pad 3038. The key pad 3038 is used for inputting a command and data concerning issuing of a ticket, and the like.

FIG. 46 is a block diagram showing an internal configuration of the slot machine shown in FIG. 45.

A gaming board 3050 is provided with a CPU (Central Processing Unit) 3051, a ROM 3055, and a boot ROM 3052 which are interconnected to one another by an internal bus, a card slot 3053S corresponding to a memory card 3053, and an IC socket 3054S corresponding to a GAL (Generic Array Logic) 3054.

The memory card 3053 includes a nonvolatile memory such as CompactFlash (registered trade mark), and stores a game program. The game program includes a symbol determination program. The symbol determination program is a program for determining symbols to be rearranged in the display blocks 3028. For the symbols that are determined by the symbol determination program, there exist eight types of symbols of “RIBBON”, “HEART”, “STAR”, “MOON”, “SUN”, “JEWEL”, “CROWN”, and “SMILE”.

Moreover, the game program includes odds data indicative of correspondence relationships among the types and the numbers of rearranged symbols and amounts of payouts (see FIG. 49).

Further, the card slot 3053S is configured so as to allow the memory card 3053 to be inserted thereinto or removed therefrom, and is connected to the mother board 3040 by an IDE bus. Therefore, the type and contents of a game played on the slot machine 3010 can be changed by removing the memory card 3053 from the card slot 3053S, writing another game program into the memory card 3053, and inserting the memory card 3053 into the card slot 3053S. The game program includes a program according to progress of the game. Further, the game program includes image data and sound data to be outputted during the game.

The CPU 3051, the ROM 3055 and the boot ROM 3052 interconnected to one another by an internal bus are connected to the mother board 3040 through the PCI bus. The PCI bus not only conducts signal transmission between the mother board 3040 and the gaming board 3050, but also supplies power from the mother board 3040 to the gaming board 3050.

The mother board 3040 is configured using a commercially available general-purpose mother board (a print wiring board on which fundamental components of a personal computer are mounted), and provided with a main CPU 3041, a ROM (Read Only Memory) 3042, a RAM (Random Access Memory) 3043, and a communication interface 3044. The mother board 3040 corresponds to the controller of the present invention.

The ROM 3042 comprises a memory device such as a flash memory, and stores a program such as a BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) executed by the main CPU 3041 and permanent data. When the BIOS is executed by the main CPU 3041, processing for initializing a predetermined peripheral device is conducted, concurrently with start of processing for loading the game program stored in the memory card 3053 via the gaming board 3050. It is to be noted that, in the present invention, the ROM 3042 may or may not be data rewritable one.

The RAM 3043 stores data and a program to be used at the time of operation of the main CPU 3041. Further, the RAM 3043 is capable of storing a game program.

Moreover, the RAM 3043 stores data of the number of credits, the numbers of coin-ins and coin-outs in one game, and the like. The RAM 3043 also stores a maximum number of special symbols.

Moreover, the mother board 3040 is connected with a later-described body PCB (Printed Circuit Board) 3060 and a door PCB 3080 through respective USBs. Further, the mother board 3040 is connected with a power supply unit 3045 and the communication interface 3044.

The body PCB 3060 and the door PCB 3080 are connected with an instrument and a device that generate an input signal to be inputted into the main CPU 3041 and an instrument and a device operations of which are controlled by a control signal outputted from the main CPU 3041. The main CPU 3041 executes the game program stored in the RAM 3043 based on the input signal inputted into the main CPU 3041, and thereby executes the predetermined arithmetic processing, stores the result thereof into the RAM 3043, and transmits a control signal to each instrument and device as processing for controlling each instrument and device.

The body PCB 3060 is connected with a lamp 3030, a hopper 3066, a coin detecting portion 3067, a graphic board 3068, the speaker 3029, the touch panel 3069, the bill validator 3022, the ticket printer 3035, the card reader 3036, a key switch 3038S, the data display 3037, and a random number generator 3062. The lamp 3030 is lighted in a predetermined pattern based on control signals outputted from the main CPU 3041.

The hopper 3066 is installed inside the cabinet 3011, and pays out a predetermined number of coins from a coin payout exit 3019 to the coin tray 3018, based on the control signal outputted from the main CPU 3041. The coin detecting portion 3067 is provided inside the coin payout exit 3019, and outputs an input signal to the main CPU 3041 in the case of detecting payout of the predetermined number of coins from the coin payout exit 3019.

The random number generator 3062 generates a random number at a predetermined timing.

The graphic board 3068 controls image display to the upper image display panel 3033 and the lower image display panel 3016 based on the control signal outputted from the main CPU 3041. In the respective display blocks 3028 on the lower image display panel 3016, symbols are displayed in a scrolling manner or in a stopped state. The number of credits stored in the RAM 3043 is displayed to the number-of-credits display portion 3031 of the lower image display panel 3016. Further, the number of coin-outs is displayed to the number-of-payouts display portion 3032 of the lower image display panel 3016.

The graphic board 3068 comprises a VDP (Video Display Processor) for generating image data based on the control signal outputted from the main CPU 3041, a video RAM for temporarily storing image data generated by the VDP, and the like. It is to be noted that image data used in generation of the image data by the VDP is included in the game program read from the memory card 3053 and stored into the RAM 3043.

The bill validator 3022 not only discriminates a regular bill from a false bill, but also accepts the regular bill into the cabinet 3011. Upon acceptance of the regular bill, the bill validator 3022 outputs an input signal to the main CPU 3041 based on a face amount of the bill. The main CPU 3041 stores in the RAM 3043 the number of credits corresponding to the face amount of the bill transmitted with the input signal.

Based on the control signal outputted from the main CPU 3041, the ticket printer 3035 prints on a ticket a barcode as coded data of the number of credits stored in the RAM 3043, a date, and an identification number of the slot machine 3010, and the like, and outputs the ticket as the ticket 3039 with a barcode. The card reader 3036 reads data from the smart card and transmits the read data to the main CPU 3041, and writes data onto the smart card based on the control signal from the main CPU 3041. The key switch 3038S is provided on the key pad 3038, and outputs a predetermined input signal to the main CPU 3041 when the key pad 3038 is operated by the player. The data display 3037 displays data read by the card reader 3036 and data inputted by the player via the key pad 3038, based on the control signal outputted from the main CPU 3041.

The door PCB 3080 is connected with the control panel 3020, a reverter 3021S, a coin counter 3021C, and a cold cathode tube 3081. The control panel 3020 is provided with a start switch 3023S corresponding to the start button 3023, a change switch 3024S corresponding to the change button 3024, a CASHOUT switch 3025S corresponding to the CASHOUT button 3025, a 1-BET switch 3026S corresponding to the 1-BET button 3026, and a maximum BET switch 3027S corresponding to the maximum BET button 3027. Each of the switches 3023S to 3027S outputs an input signal to the main CPU 3041 when each of the buttons 3023 to 3027 corresponding thereto is operated by the player.

The coin counter 3021C is provided inside the coin receiving slot 3021, and discriminates a regular coin from a false coin inserted into the coin receiving slot 3021 by the player. Coins other than the regular coin are discharged from the coin payout exit 3019. Further, the coin counter 3021C outputs an input signal to the main CPU 3041 in detection of the regular coin.

The reverter 3021S operates based on the control signal outputted from the main CPU 3041, and distributes a coin recognized by the coin counter 3021C as the regular coin into a cash box (not shown) or the hopper 3066, which are disposed in the slot machine 3010. Namely, when the hopper 3066 is filled with coins, the regular coin is distributed into the cash box by the reverter 3021S. On the other hand, when the hopper 3066 is not filled with coins, the regular coin is distributed into the hopper 3066. The cold cathode tube 3081 functions as a back light installed on the rear face side of the lower image display panel 3016 and the upper image display panel 3033, and lighted up based on the control signal outputted from the main CPU 3041.

FIG. 47 is a block diagram illustrating an internal configuration of a control device forming the gaming system according to the seventh embodiment.

The control device 3200 includes a CPU 3201, a ROM 3202, a RAM 3203, a communication interface 3204, a random number generator 3206, and a hard disk drive 3205. The random number generator 3206 generates a random number at a predetermined timing. The communication interface 3204 is connected, through communication lines 3101, to the communication interfaces 3044 in the respective slot machines 3010.

The ROM 3202 stores a system program for controlling the operation of a processor, permanent data, and the like. The CPU 3201 corresponds to the processor in the present invention.

Further, the RAM 3203 temporarily stores data received from the respective slot machines 3010.

The RAM 3203 is provided with a cumulative-value storage region.

The cumulative-value storage region stores cumulative-value data indicative of the cumulative value.

The hard disk drive 3205 stores payout ratio table data indicative of the payout ratio table in which an identification number of the slot machine 3010 and the payout ratio are associated with each other.

Next, descriptions of processing executed in the slot machine 3010 will be given.

The main CPU 3041 reads the game program and executes the game program, in order to proceed with the slot machine game.

FIG. 48 is a flowchart illustrating slot machine game execution processing executed in a slot machine.

FIG. 49 is a view illustrating correspondence relationships among types and the numbers of rearranged symbols, and amounts of payouts.

First, the main CPU 3041 determines whether or not a coin has been betted (step S3011). In this processing, the main CPU 3041 determines whether or not it has received an input signal that is outputted from the 1-BET switch 3026S when the 1-BET button 3026 is operated, or an input signal that is outputted from the maximum BET switch 3027S when the maximum BET button 3027 is operated. When determining that the coin has not been betted, the CPU 41 returns the processing to step S3011.

On the other hand, when determining that the coin has been betted in step S3011, the main CPU 3041 conducts processing for making a subtraction from the number of credits stored in the RAM 3043 according to the number of betted coins (step S3012). It is to be noted that, when the number of coins to be betted is larger than the number of credits stored in the RAM 3043, the main CPU 3041 returns the processing to step S3011 without conducting the processing for making a subtraction from the number of credits stored in the RAM 3043. Further, when the number of coins to be betted exceeds the upper limit of the number of coins that can be betted in one game (50 coins in the present embodiment), the main CPU 3041 advances the processing to step S3013 without conducting the processing for making a subtraction from the number of credits stored in the RAM 3043.

Next, the main CPU 3041 determines whether or not the start button 3023 has been turned on (step S3013). In this processing, the main CPU 3041 determines whether or not it has received an input signal that is outputted from the start switch 3023S when the start button 3023 is pressed.

When the main CPU 3041 determines that the start button 3023 has not been turned on, the processing is returned to step S3011.

It is to be noted that, when the start button 3023 is not turned on (e.g. when the start button 3023 is not turned on and a command to end the game is inputted), the main CPU 3041 cancels a subtraction result in step S3012.

On the other hand, when determining in step S3013 that the start button 3023 has been turned on, the main CPU 3041 transmits the number-of-game-media information indicative of the number of betted coins to the control device 3200 (step S3014). The number-of-game-media information includes information indicative of the identification number of the slot machine 3010.

Next, the main CPU 3041 executes symbol rearrangement processing (step S3015).

In this processing, first, the main CPU 3041 starts scroll-display of the symbols in the display blocks 3028. Then, the main CPU 3041 executes the aforementioned symbol determination program, so as to determine the symbols to be rearranged, and then rearranges the symbols in the display blocks 3028.

Next, the main CPU 3041 determines whether or not a prize has been established (step S3016). Here, the establishment of a prize refers to a rearrangement of at least one combination of three or more normal symbols of the same type out of “RIBBON”, “HEART”, “STAR”, “MOON”, “SUN”, “JEWEL”, “CROWN”, and “SMILE”, in the display blocks 3028 (see FIG. 49). In this processing, the main CPU 3041 counts the number of symbols for each type with regard to the symbols rearranged in step S3015. Then, the main CPU 3041 determines whether or not the counted number of symbols is three or more.

When determining that a prize has been established, the main CPU 3041 executes processing relating to the payout of coins (step S3017). In the processing, the main CPU 3041 determines the amount of payout based on the numbers of rearranged symbols with reference to the odds data stored in the RAM 3043. The odds data is data indicative of the correspondence relationships between the numbers of symbols rearranged in the display blocks 3028 and the amounts of payouts (see FIG. 49).

For example, in the case that two coins have been betted, when three symbols of “SUN” are rearranged, 20(=2×10) coins are paid out.

In the case of accumulating coins, the main CPU 3041 conducts processing for adding the number of credits corresponding to the determined amount of payout, to the number of credits stored in the RAM 3043. On the other hand, in the case of paying out coins, the main CPU 3041 transmits a control signal to the hopper 3066 in order to pay out coins in an amount corresponding to the determined amount of payout.

When determining in step S3016 that a prize has not been established or after executing the processing of step S3017, the main CPU 3041 determines whether or not it has received a jackpot payout signal (step S3021). The jackpot payout signal is a signal transmitted to the slot machine 3010 selected as the winning machine when the cumulative value has reached the predetermined value (see step S3106 in FIG. 50). The jackpot payout signal includes information indicative of the payout amount of coins.

When determining that the main CPU 3041 has received a jackpot payout signal, the main CPU 3041 conducts jackpot payout processing (step S3022). In this processing, the main CPU 3041 pays out coins in amount corresponding to the payout amount of coins, based on the information indicative of the payout amount of coins which is included in the jackpot payout signal. Examples of the processing conducted by the main CPU 3041 in step S3024 include outputting a notification sound from the speaker 3029, lighting the lamp 3030, and printing the ticket 3039 with a barcode on which a barcode indicative of the number of payouts is printed.

When determining that the main CPU 3041 has not received a jackpot payout signal in step S3021 or after executing the processing of step S3022, the main CPU 3041 completes the present subroutine.

With reference to FIG. 48 to FIG. 49, descriptions of the processing executed in the slot machine 3010 have been given.

Subsequently, descriptions of the processing executed in the control device 3200 will be described with reference to FIG. 50 to FIG. 51.

FIG. 50 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of number-of-game-media information reception processing executed in the control device.

First, the CPU 3201 determines whether or not it has received number-of-game-media information from the slot machines 3010 at a predetermined timing (step S3101). The number-of-game-media information is information indicative of the number of coins betted in the slot machine 3010 (see step S3014 in FIG. 48). When determining that the CPU 3201 has not received the number-of-game-media information, the CPU 3201 completes the present subroutine.

On the other hand, when determining that the CPU 3201 has received number-of-game-media information, the CPU 3201 updates cumulative-value data indicative of the cumulative value in the cumulative-value storage region in the RAM 3203 (step S3102). In this processing, the CPU 3201 adds a value corresponding to a part (10% in the present embodiment) of the number of game media indicated by the number-of-game-media information received in step S3101, to the cumulative value indicated by the cumulative-value data stored in the cumulative-value storage region in the RAM 3203.

Next, the CPU 3201 determines whether or not the cumulative value has reached the predetermined value, based on the cumulative-value data stored in the RAM 3203 (step S3103).

When determining that the cumulative value has not reached the predetermined value, the CPU 3201 completes the present subroutine.

On the other hand, when determining that the cumulative value has reached the predetermined value, the CPU 3201 selects a single slot machine 3010 as a first winning machine (step S3104). In this processing, the CPU 3201 extracts the random number generated by the random number generator 3206. Then the CPU 3201 selects a single slot machine 3010 out of ten slot machines 3010, based on the extracted random number. The CPU 3201 determines the selected slot machine 3010 as the winning machine.

It is to be noted that, when the CPU 3201 has not received number-of-game-media information from the slot machine 3010 determined as the winning machine for a predetermined period of time or longer, the CPU 3201 re-extracts a random number and re-determines the winning machine. It is thus possible to prevent a payout of coins relating to the jackpot to the slot machine 3010 in which a game is not played.

Next, the CPU 3201 calculates a payout amount based on the payout ratio corresponding to the model of the slot machine 3010 selected as the winning machine (step S3105). In the processing, the CPU 3201 calculates the payout amount based on the cumulative value and the payout ratio associated with the identification number of the slot machine 3010 by reference to the cumulative-value data and the payout ratio table data.

Next, the CPU 3201 transmits a jackpot payout signal to the slot machine 3010 selected as the winning machine in step S3104 (step S3106). The jackpot payout signal includes information indicative of the payout amount calculated in step S3105.

Receipt of the jackpot payout signal causes the slot machine 3010 to execute jackpot payout processing (see step S3022 in FIG. 48).

Next, the CPU 3201 updates the cumulative-value data indicative of the cumulative value in the cumulative-value storage region of the RAM 3203 (step S3107). In the processing, the CPU 3201 subtracts the payout amount calculated in step S3105 from the cumulative value indicated by the cumulative-value data stored in the cumulative-value storage region of the RAM 3203.

The smaller the value of the payout ratio set for the slot machine 3010 in which the payout according to the jackpot is conducted is, the larger the cumulative value after the subtraction in step S3107 becomes.

After executing the processing of step S3107, the CPU 3201 completes the present subroutine.

There has been given the description on the seventh embodiment.

According to the gaming system 3100 of the seventh embodiment, the amount of coins to be paid out to the slot machine 3010 selected as the winning machine is determined based on the cumulative value and the payout ratio set for the slot machine 3010. The payout ratio is a value corresponding to the minimum BET unit (minimum unit to bet).

Accordingly, the payout amount according to the jackpot may be set to the value corresponding to the invested amount by the player.

As a result, it becomes possible to concurrently use a plurality of models of slot machines 3010 varied in the minimum BET unit without concerning about the possibility to cause the sense of unfairness, and the convenience in constructing a gaming system is improved.

Further, by having the gaming system formed by the plurality of models of slot machines 3010, it becomes easier to provide an interesting game having wide variations.

In the seventh embodiment, there has been described a case where the payout ratio table data is stored in the control device 3200 and the control device 3200 calculates the payout amount by using the payout ratio table data. However, in the present invention, the payout ratio data indicative of the payout ratio corresponding to the gaming machine may be stored in the storage device of the gaming machine and the controller provided in the gaming machine may calculate the payout amount based on the payout ratio data and the cumulative-value data provided from the control device.

Further, in the seventh embodiment, there has been described a case where a condition “the cumulative value reaches the predetermined value” is set as the predetermined payout condition. Here, in the present invention, the predetermined value as a target for the cumulative value to reach in the condition may be a value which is variable in accordance with the progress of the game (e.g. at the timing when the symbols are stop-displayed in a predetermined stopped state in the slot machine). As a result, it is possible to have the player play the game while always anticipating when the payout according to the jackpot may be conducted.

The predetermined payout condition in the present invention is not limited to the condition “the cumulative value reaches the predetermined value”.

For example, the condition “the payout of the game media in number equal to or more than a predetermined number has not been conducted for equal to or more than a predetermined time” may be employed as a second payout condition. Accordingly, it becomes possible to have the player have a sense of expectation, since a big jackpot has not been hit for a while.

In the second embodiment, there will be described a case where another condition is employed as the predetermined payout condition.

Eighth Embodiment

FIG. 51 is a view illustrating an exemplary image displayed to a lower image display panel.

FIG. 52 is a view illustrating correspondence relationships among models of slot machines, condition establishment possibilities, and payout ratios.

In the following descriptions, the same signs are applied to constituent elements that are same as the constituent elements of the gaming system 3100 according to the seventh embodiment.

Further, omitted are descriptions of parts to which descriptions in the seventh embodiment are applicable in the eighth embodiment.

In the eighth embodiment, as the predetermined payout condition, a condition “a jackpot trigger is established in any slot machine 3010” is set. It is to be noted that “establishment of the jackpot trigger” refers to the rearrangement of three or more jackpot trigger symbols “JP” (see FIG. 51) in the display blocks 3028. Accordingly, the condition “symbols are stop-displayed in a predetermined stopped state” may be employed as the predetermined payout condition in the present invention.

In the seventh embodiment, there has been described a case where the payout ratio is set in association with the minimum BET unit in the slot machine 3010. On the other hand, in the eighth embodiment, the payout ratio is set in association with a condition establishment probability in the slot machine 3010 (see FIG. 53). The condition establishment probability is a probability that the jackpot trigger is established.

As shown in FIG. 53, the bigger payout ratio is set for the lower condition establishment probability.

Further, in the eighth embodiment, when two jackpot trigger symbols “JP” are rearranged in the display blocks 3028 (when the jackpot trigger would have been established with the rearrangement of one more jackpot trigger symbol “JP”), the amount of coins which was to be paid out if the jackpot trigger was established is notified to the player.

A notification image 3300 in FIG. 51 indicates the current cumulative value and the amount which would have been paid out if the jackpot trigger had been established (hereinafter, also referred to as “a current payout amount”).

Further, level meter display portions 3301A to 3301C are for showing rough indications of the current payout amounts. The level meter display portion 3301A is lighted when the current payout amount reaches 100,000 dollars. The level meter display portion 3301B is lighted when the current payout amount reaches 10,000 dollars. The level meter display portion 3301C is lighted when the current payout amount reaches 1,000 dollars.

FIG. 51 shows a state that the level meter display portions 3301B and 3301C are lighted caused by the current payout amount being 12345 dollars.

FIG. 53 is a flowchart illustrating slot machine game execution processing executed in the slot machine.

First, the main CPU 3041 executes the processing of step S3031 to step S3037; however, since the processing is substantially the same as the processing of step S3011 to step S3017 in FIG. 48, descriptions thereof are omitted here.

When determining that the prize has not been established in step S3036 or after executing the processing of step S3037, the main CPU 3041 determines whether or not the number of jackpot trigger symbols “JP” (see FIG. 51) is two (step S3041).

When determining that the number of the jackpot trigger symbols “JP” is two, the main CPU 3041 transmits a payout amount inquiry signal to the control device 3200. The payout amount inquiry signal is a signal for requesting the transmission of information on the current payout amount and the cumulative-value data. On receiving the information on the current payout amount and the like, the main CPU 3041 displays a letter image 300 (see FIG. 51) to the lower image display panel 3016 based on the received information.

When determining in step S3041 that the number of jackpot trigger symbols “JP” is not two or after executing the processing of step S3042, the main CPU 3041 determines whether or not the jackpot trigger has been established (step S3043). In this processing, the main CPU 3041 determines whether or not the number of jackpot trigger symbols “JP” (see FIG. 51) rearranged in the display blocks 3028 is three or more.

When determining that the jackpot trigger has been established, the main CPU 3041 transmits a payout request signal to the control device 3200 (step S3044). The payout request signal is a signal requesting the control device 3200 to conduct a payout according to the jackpot.

When determining in step S3043 that the jackpot trigger has not been established or after executing the processing of step S3044, the main CPU 3041 executes the processing of step S3045 to step S3046. However, since the processing is substantially the same as the processing of step S3021 to step S3022 in FIG. 48, descriptions thereof are omitted here.

FIG. 54 is a flowchart illustrating level meter display processing executed in the slot machine.

First, the main CPU 3041 determines whether or not a level meter display signal has been received at a predetermined timing (step S3051). The level meter display signal is a signal that triggers lighting of the level meter display portions 301.

When determining that the main CPU 3041 has not received the level meter display signal, the main CPU 3041 completes the present subroutine.

On the other hand, when determining that the main CPU 3041 has received the level meter display signal, the main CPU 3041 lights the level meter display portion 301. When it is the first time to receive the level meter display signal after a predetermine timing, the main CPU 3041 lights the level meter display portion 3301C. When it is the second time to receive the level meter display signal after the predetermined timing, the main CPU 3041 lights the level meter display portion 3301B. When it is the third time to receive the level meter display signal after the predetermined timing, the main CPU 3041 lights the level meter display portion 3301A.

After executing the processing of step S3052, the main CPU 3041 completes the present subroutine.

FIG. 55 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of number-of-game-media information reception processing executed in the control device.

First, the CPU 3201 determines whether or not it has received number-of-game-media information from the slot machine 3010 (step S3111). The number-of-game-media information is information indicative of the number of coins betted in the slot machine 3010 (see step S3034 in FIG. 53).

When determining that the CPU 3201 has not received the number-of-game-media information, the CPU 3201 completes the present subroutine.

On the other hand, when determining that the CPU 3201 has received the number-of-game-media information, the CPU 3201 updates the cumulative-value data indicative of the cumulative value in the cumulative-value storage region of the RAM 3203 (step S3112). In the processing, the CPU 3201 adds a part (10%, in the present embodiment) of the number of game media indicated by the number-of-game-media information received in step S3111 to the cumulative value indicated by the cumulative-value data stored in the cumulative-value storage region of the RAM 3203.

Next, the CPU 3201 determines whether or not the cumulative value has reached the set value determined for each model of the slot machines 3010, based on the cumulative-value data stored in the RAM 3203 (step S3113).

Here, it is to be noted that the set value is C×100/P (“C” being a value displayed to each of the level meter display portions 3301A to 3301C and “P” being a value corresponding to the payout ratio (%)), and is a value varied for each model of the slot machines 3010.

For example, the set values for the model B are “10,000 (dollars)”, “100,000 (dollars)”, and “1,000,000 (dollars)”.

When determining that the cumulative value has not reached the set value, the CPU 3201 completes the present subroutine.

On the other hand, when determining that the cumulative value has reached the set value, the CPU 3201 transmits a level meter display signal to the slot machine 3010 of the model corresponding to the set value to which the cumulative value has reached (step S3114).

Then, the CPU 3201 completes the present subroutine.

FIG. 56 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of payout-amount-inquiry-signal reception processing.

First, the CPU 3201 determines whether or not it has received a payout amount inquiry signal from the slot machine 3010 (step S3121). The payout amount inquiry signal is a signal to be transmitted from the slot machine 3010 when two jackpot trigger symbols “JP” are rearranged (see step S3042 in FIG. 53).

When determining that the CPU 3201 has not received the payout amount inquiry signal, the CPU 3201 completes the present subroutine.

On the other hand, when determining that the CPU 3201 has received the payout amount inquiry signal, the CPU 3201 calculates the current payout amount based on the cumulative value indicated by the cumulative-value data stored in the RAM 3203 and the payout ratio associated with the identification number of the slot machine 3010 as a transmission source of the payout amount inquiry signal (step S3122).

Then, the CPU 3201 transmits the current-payout-amount information indicative of the calculated current payout amount to the slot machine 3010 as a transmission source of the payout amount inquiry signal received in step S3121 (step S3123).

Then, the CPU 3201 completes the present subroutine.

FIG. 57 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of payout-request-signal reception processing.

First, the CPU 3201 determines whether or not it has received a payout request signal from the slot machine 3010 at a predetermined timing (step S3130). The payout request signal is a signal to be transmitted from the slot machine 3010 when the jackpot trigger is established (see step S3044 in FIG. 53).

When determining that the CPU has not received the payout request signal, the CPU 3201 completes the present subroutine.

On the other hand, when determining that the CPU 3201 has received the payout request signal, the CPU 3201 calculates the payout amount based on the cumulative value indicated by the cumulative-value data stored in the RAM 3203 and the payout ratio associated with the identification number of the slot machine 3010 as a transmission source of the payout request signal (step S3131).

Next, the CPU 3201 transmits a jackpot payout signal to the slot machine 3010 as a transmission source of the payout request signal (step S3132). The jackpot payout signal includes the payout amount information indicative of the payout amount calculated in step S3131.

On receiving the jackpot payout signal, jackpot payout processing is conducted in the slot machine 3010 (see step S3046 in FIG. 53).

Then, the CPU 3201 updates the cumulative-value data indicative of the cumulative value in the cumulative-value storage region of the RAM 3203 (step S3133). In the processing, the CPU 3201 subtracts the payout amount calculated in step S3132 from the cumulative value indicated by the cumulative-value data stored in the cumulative-value storage region of the RAM 3203.

Subsequently, the CPU 3201 completes the present subroutine.

There has been given the description on the eighth embodiment.

According to the gaming system 3100 of the eighth embodiment, the amount of coins to be paid out to the gaming machine selected as the winning machine is determined based on the cumulative value and the payout ratio set for the gaming machine. The payout ratio is a value corresponding to a probability that the jackpot trigger is established (condition establishment probability), namely, a value corresponding to the probability of winning of the progressive jackpot. Accordingly, the number of payouts becomes the value corresponding to the probability of winning of the progressive jackpot.

As a result, it becomes possible to concurrently use a plurality of models of slot machines 3010 varied in the probability that the jackpot trigger is established, without concerning about the possibility to cause the sense of unfairness, and the convenience in constructing a gaming system is improved.

Further, by having the gaming system formed by a plurality of models of slot machines 3010, it becomes easier to provide an interesting game having wide variations.

In the case that the payout ratio is set for each slot machine, it is possible that the player does not know the number of payouts until the player actually wins the progressive jackpot and the coins are paid out. In this regard, according to the gaming system 3100 of the eighth embodiment, the number of payouts is notified to the player.

Accordingly, the player can recognize the amount of coins to be paid out when the player wins the progressive jackpot.

Consequently, it is possible to increase the player's expectation for winning of the progressive jackpot, in the case that the large number of payouts is notified to the player.

On the other hand, it is also possible to provide the player with an opportunity to move to a gaming machine of the model to which the bigger payout ratio is set so as to continue the game, in the case that the number of payouts notified to the player is not so large.

Ninth Embodiment

FIG. 58A is an exemplary view of an image displayed to an upper image display panel.

FIG. 58B is an exemplary view of an image displayed to a lower image display panel.

As shown by a text image 4600 in FIG. 58A, two types of jackpots are provided in a gaming system 4100 (see FIG. 59) according to the ninth embodiment.

First, when a jackpot trigger is established as a result of rearrangement of symbols in a slot machine 4010, a payout of coins as the jackpot is conducted based on an individual cumulative value. This is a first jackpot (see a text image 4601). Here, “establishment of the jackpot trigger” refers to rearrangement of three or more jackpot trigger symbols “JP” (see FIG. 58B).

On the other hand, when a common cumulative value reaches a predetermined value, the payout of coins as the jackpot is conducted based on the common cumulative value. This is a second jackpot (see a text image 4602).

Here, there is described the individual cumulative value and the common cumulative value.

As the slot machine 4010 according to the ninth embodiment, there are a plurality of models (model A, model B, and model C). Each model of the slot machine 4010 has a probability that the jackpot trigger is established (condition establishment probability) different from one another.

The individual cumulative value is a value obtained by cumulatively counting a part of the coins betted from the slot machine 4010 for each model of the slot machine 4010 in which a bet has been placed. For example, a part of the coins betted from the slot machine 4010 of model A is cumulatively counted as an individual cumulative value A, and a part of the coins betted from the slot machine 4010 of model B is cumulatively counted as an individual cumulative value B.

On the other hand, the common cumulative value is a value obtained by cumulatively counting a part of coins betted from the slot machine 4010 independently of the model of the slot machine in which a bet has been placed.

Both a part of coins betted from the slot machine 4010 of model A and a part of coins betted from the slot machine 4010 of model B are cumulatively counted as the common cumulative value.

FIG. 59 is a diagrammatic view illustrating an entire configuration of a gaming system according to the ninth embodiment.

As shown in FIG. 59, the gaming system 4100 is provided with a control device 4200. The control device 4200 is connected, through communication lines 4101, with a plurality of (10 in the ninth embodiment) slot machines 4010. The plurality of respective slot machines 4010 are capable of transmitting and receiving data to and from the control device 4200, through the communication lines 4101. Further, the respective slot machines 4010 are connected to one another in a manner enabling communication thereamong, through the communication lines 4101.

In the ninth embodiment, a case will be described where the slot machines 4010 and the control device 4200 are connected through wired connections. However, the present invention is not limited to this example, and may wirelessly conduct transmission and reception of data. Namely, a communication line (network) in the present invention includes wired and wireless transmission lines.

Moreover, in the ninth embodiment, a case will be described where the gaming system 4100 is installed in a single game hall or the like; however, in the present invention, respective gaming apparatuses may be installed in different facilities.

Next, a configuration of the slot machine 4010 is described.

FIG. 60 is a perspective view illustrating an external view of a slot machine forming a gaming system according to the ninth embodiment.

In the slot machine 4010, a coin, a bill, or electronic valuable information corresponding to those is used as a game medium. However, in the present invention, the game medium is not particularly limited. Examples of the game medium may include a medal, a token, electronic money and a ticket. It is to be noted that the ticket is not particularly limited, and examples thereof may include a ticket with a barcode as described later.

The slot machine 4010 comprises a cabinet 4011, a top box 4012 installed on the upper side of the cabinet 4011, and a main door 4013 provided at the front face of the cabinet 4011.

On the main door 4013, there is provided a lower image display panel 4016. The lower image display panel 4016 includes a transparent liquid crystal panel which displays fifteen display blocks 4028 along five columns and three rows. A single symbol is displayed in each display block 4028.

Further, although not illustrated, various types of images relating to an effect, as well as the aforementioned images, are displayed to the lower image display panel 4016.

Further, a number-of-credits display portion 4031 and a number-of-payouts display portion 4032 are provided on the lower image display panel 4016. The number-of-credits display portion 4031 displays an image indicative of the number of credited coins. The number-of-payouts display portion 4032 displays an image indicative of the number of coins to be paid out.

Moreover, although not shown, a touch panel 4069 is provided at the front face of the lower image display panel 4016. The player can operate the touch panel 4069 to input a variety of commands.

Below the lower image display panel 4016, there are provided a control panel 4020 including a plurality of buttons 4023 to 4027 with each of which a command according to game progress is inputted by the player, a coin receiving slot 4021 through which a coin is accepted into the cabinet 4011, and a bill validator 4022.

The control panel 4020 is provided with a start button 4023, a change button 4024, a CASHOUT button 4025, a 1-BET button 4026 and a maximum BET button 4027. The start button 4023 is used for inputting a command to start scrolling of symbols. The change button 4024 is used for making a request of staff in the recreation facility for exchange. The CASHOUT button 4025 is used for inputting a command to pay out credited coins to a coin tray 4018.

The 1-BET button 4026 is used for inputting a command to bet one coin on a game out of credited coins. The maximum BET button 4027 is used for inputting a command to bet the maximum number of coins that can be bet on one game (50 coins in the present embodiment) out of credited coins. The 1-BET button 4026 and the maximum BET button 4027 (hereinafter, also referred to simply as “BET buttons”) correspond to the input device in the present invention.

The bill validator 4022 not only discriminates a regular bill from a false bill, but also accepts the regular bill into the cabinet 4011. It is to be noted that the bill validator 4022 may be configured so as to be capable of reading a later-described ticket 4039 with a barcode. At the lower front of the main door 4013, namely, below the control panel 4020, there is provided a belly glass 4034 on which a character or the like of the slot machine 4010 is drawn.

On the front surface of the top box 4012, there is provided an upper image display panel 4033. The upper image display panel 4033 includes a liquid crystal panel, which displays, for example, images indicative of introductions of the contents of games and explanations about the rules of games. Further, to the upper image display panel 4033, the text images 4600 to 4 602 (see FIG. 58A) are displayed.

Further, a speaker 4029 is provided in the top box 4012. Under the upper image display panel 4033, there are provided a ticket printer 4035, a card reader 4036, a data display 4037, and a key pad 4038. The ticket printer 4035 prints on a ticket a barcode as coded data of the number of credits, a date, an identification number of the slot machine 4010, and the like, and outputs the ticket as the ticket 4039 with a barcode. The player can make another slot machine read the ticket 4039 with a barcode to play a game thereon, or exchange the ticket 4039 with a barcode with a bill or the like at a predetermined place in the recreation facility (e.g. a cashier in a casino).

The card reader 4036 reads data from a smart card and writes data into the smart card. The smart card is a card owned by the player, and for example, data for identifying the player and data concerning a history of games played by the player are stored therein. Data corresponding to a coin, a bill or a credit may be stored in the smart card. Further, a magnetic stripe card may be adopted in place of the smart card. The data display 4037 includes a fluorescent display and the like, and displays, for example, data read by the card reader 4036 or data inputted by the player via the key pad 4038. The key pad 4038 is used for inputting a command and data concerning issuing of a ticket, and the like.

FIG. 61 is a block diagram showing an internal configuration of the slot machine shown in FIG. 60.

A gaming board 4050 is provided with a CPU (Central Processing Unit) 4051, a ROM 4055, and a boot ROM 4052 which are interconnected to one another by an internal bus, a card slot 4053S corresponding to a memory card 4053, and an IC socket 4054S corresponding to a GAL (Generic Array Logic) 4054.

The memory card 4053 includes a nonvolatile memory such as CompactFlash (registered trade mark), and stores a game program. The game program includes a symbol determination program. The symbol determination program is a program for determining symbols to be rearranged in the display blocks 4028. For the symbols that are determined by the symbol determination program, there exist nine types of symbols of “RIBBON”, “HEART”, “STAR”, “MOON”, “SUN”, “JEWEL”, “CROWN”, “SMILE”, and “JP”.

Moreover, the game program includes odds data indicative of correspondence relationships among the types and the numbers of rearranged symbols and amounts of payouts (see FIG. 64).

Further, the card slot 4053S is configured so as to allow the memory card 4053 to be inserted thereinto or removed therefrom, and is connected to the mother board 4040 by an IDE bus. Therefore, the type and contents of a game played on the slot machine 4010 can be changed by removing the memory card 4053 from the card slot 4053S, writing another game program into the memory card 4053, and inserting the memory card 4053 into the card slot 4053S. The game program includes a program according to progress of the game. Further, the game program includes image data and sound data to be outputted during the game.

The CPU 4051, the ROM 4055 and the boot ROM 4052 interconnected to one another by an internal bus are connected to the mother board 4040 through the PCI bus. The PCI bus not only conducts signal transmission between the mother board 4040 and the gaming board 4050, but also supplies power from the mother board 4040 to the gaming board 4050.

The mother board 4040 is configured using a commercially available general-purpose mother board (a print wiring board on which fundamental components of a personal computer are mounted), and provided with a main CPU 4041, a ROM (Read Only Memory) 4042, a RAM (Random Access Memory) 4043, and a communication interface 4044. The mother board 4040 corresponds to the controller of the present invention.

The ROM 4042 comprises a memory device such as a flash memory, and stores a program such as a BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) executed by the main CPU 4041 and permanent data. When the BIOS is executed by the main CPU 4041, processing for initializing a predetermined peripheral device is conducted, concurrently with start of processing for loading the game program stored in the memory card 4053 via the gaming board 4050. It is to be noted that, in the present invention, the ROM 4042 may or may not be data rewritable one.

The RAM 4043 stores data and a program to be used at the time of operation of the main CPU 4041. Further, the RAM 4043 is capable of storing a game program.

Moreover, the RAM 4043 stores data of the number of credits, the numbers of coin-ins and coin-outs in one game, and the like. The RAM 4043 also stores a maximum number of special symbols.

Moreover, the mother board 4040 is connected with a later-described body PCB (Printed Circuit Board) 4060 and a door PCB 4080 through respective USBs. Further, the mother board 4040 is connected with a power supply unit 4045 and the communication interface 4044.

The body PCB 4060 and the door PCB 4080 are connected with an instrument and a device that generate an input signal to be inputted into the main CPU 4041 and an instrument and a device operations of which are controlled by a control signal outputted from the main CPU 4041. The main CPU 4041 executes the game program stored in the RAM 4043 based on the input signal inputted into the main CPU 4041, and thereby executes the predetermined arithmetic processing, stores the result thereof into the RAM 4043, and transmits a control signal to each instrument and device as processing for controlling each instrument and device.

The body PCB 4060 is connected with a lamp 4030, a hopper 4066, a coin detecting portion 4067, a graphic board 4068, the speaker 4029, the touch panel 4069, the bill validator 4022, the ticket printer 4035, the card reader 4036, a key switch 4038S, the data display 4037, and a random number generator 4062. The lamp 4030 is lighted in a predetermined pattern based on control signals outputted from the main CPU 4041.

The hopper 4066 is installed inside the cabinet 4011, and pays out a predetermined number of coins from a coin payout exit 4019 to the coin tray 4018, based on the control signal outputted from the main CPU 4041. The coin detecting portion 4067 is provided inside the coin payout exit 4019, and outputs an input signal to the main CPU 4041 in the case of detecting payout of the predetermined number of coins from the coin payout exit 4019.

The random number generator 4062 generates a random number at a predetermined timing.

The graphic board 4068 controls image display to the upper image display panel 4033 and the lower image display panel 4016 based on the control signal outputted from the main CPU 4041. In the respective display blocks 4028 on the lower image display panel 4016, symbols are displayed in a scrolling manner or in a stopped state. The number of credits stored in the RAM 4043 is displayed to the number-of-credits display portion 4031 of the lower image display panel 4016. Further, the number of coin-outs is displayed to the number-of-payouts display portion 4032 of the lower image display panel 4016.

The graphic board 4068 comprises a VDP (Video Display Processor) for generating image data based on the control signal outputted from the main CPU 4041, a video RAM for temporarily storing image data generated by the VDP, and the like. It is to be noted that image data used in generation of the image data by the VDP is included in the game program read from the memory card 4053 and stored into the RAM 4043.

The bill validator 4022 not only discriminates a regular bill from a false bill, but also accepts the regular bill into the cabinet 4011. Upon acceptance of the regular bill, the bill validator 4022 outputs an input signal to the main CPU 4041 based on a face amount of the bill. The main CPU 4041 stores in the RAM 4043 the number of credits corresponding to the face amount of the bill transmitted with the input signal.

Based on the control signal outputted from the main CPU 4041, the ticket printer 4035 prints on a ticket a barcode as coded data of the number of credits stored in the RAM 4043, a date, and an identification number of the slot machine 4010, and the like, and outputs the ticket as the ticket 4039 with a barcode. The card reader 4036 reads data from the smart card and transmits the read data to the main CPU 4041, and writes data onto the smart card based on the control signal from the main CPU 4041. The key switch 4038S is provided on the key pad 4038, and outputs a predetermined input signal to the main CPU 4041 when the key pad 4038 is operated by the player. The data display 4037 displays data read by the card reader 4036 and data inputted by the player via the key pad 4038, based on the control signal outputted from the main CPU 4041.

The door PCB 4080 is connected with the control panel 4020, a reverter 4021S, a coin counter 4021C, and a cold cathode tube 4081. The control panel 4020 is provided with a start switch 4023S corresponding to the start button 4023, a change switch 4024S corresponding to the change button 4024, a CASHOUT switch 4025S corresponding to the CASHOUT button 4025, a 1-BET switch 4026S corresponding to the 1-BET button 4026, and a maximum BET switch 4027S corresponding to the maximum BET button 4027. Each of the switches 4023S to 4027S outputs an input signal to the main CPU 4041 when each of the buttons 4023 to 4027 corresponding thereto is operated by the player.

The coin counter 4021C is provided inside the coin receiving slot 4021, and discriminates a regular coin from a false coin inserted into the coin receiving slot 4021 by the player. Coins other than the regular coin are discharged from the coin payout exit 4019. Further, the coin counter 4021C outputs an input signal to the main CPU 4041 in detection of the regular coin.

The reverter 4021S operates based on the control signal outputted from the main CPU 4041, and distributes a coin recognized by the coin counter 4021C as the regular coin into a cash box (not shown) or the hopper 4066, which are disposed in the slot machine 4010. Namely, when the hopper 4066 is filled with coins, the regular coin is distributed into the cash box by the reverter 4021S. On the other hand, when the hopper 4066 is not filled with coins, the regular coin is distributed into the hopper 4066. The cold cathode tube 4081 functions as a back light installed on the rear face side of the lower image display panel 4016 and the upper image display panel 4033, and lighted up based on the control signal outputted from the main CPU 4041.

FIG. 62 is a block diagram illustrating an internal configuration of a control device forming the gaming system according to the ninth embodiment.

The control device 4200 includes a CPU 4201, a ROM 4202, a RAM 4203, a communication interface 4204, a random number generator 4206, and a hard disk drive 4205. The random number generator 4206 generates a random number at a predetermined timing. The communication interface 4204 is connected, through communication lines 4101, to the communication interfaces 4044 in the respective slot machines 4010.

The ROM 4202 stores a system program for controlling the operation of a processor, permanent data, and the like. The CPU 4201 corresponds to the processor in the present invention.

Further, the RAM 4203 temporarily stores data received from the respective slot machines 4010.

The RAM 4203 is provided with an individual-cumulative-value storage region and a common-cumulative-value storage region.

The individual-cumulative-value storage region stores individual-cumulative-value data indicative of the individual cumulative value for each model of the slot machine 4010.

The common-cumulative-value storage region stores common-cumulative-value data indicative of the common cumulative value.

Further, the hard disk drive 4205 stores data indicative of a correspondence relationship of an identification number and a model of the slot machine 4010.

Next, descriptions of processing executed in the slot machine 4010 will be given.

The main CPU 4041 reads the game program and executes the game program, in order to proceed with the slot machine game.

FIG. 63 is a flowchart illustrating slot machine game execution processing executed in a slot machine.

FIG. 64 is a view illustrating correspondence relationships among types and the numbers of rearranged symbols, and amounts of payouts.

First, the main CPU 4041 determines whether or not a coin has been betted (step S4011). In this processing, the main CPU 4041 determines whether or not it has received an input signal that is outputted from the 1-BET switch 4026S when the 1-BET button 4026 is operated, or an input signal that is outputted from the maximum BET switch 4027S when the maximum BET button 4027 is operated. When determining that the coin has not been betted, the CPU 41 returns the processing to step S4011.

On the other hand, when determining that the coin has been betted in step S4011, the main CPU 4041 conducts processing for making a subtraction from the number of credits stored in the RAM 4043 according to the number of betted coins (step S4012). It is to be noted that, when the number of coins to be betted is larger than the number of credits stored in the RAM 4043, the main CPU 4041 returns the processing to step S4011 without conducting the processing for making a subtraction from the number of credits stored in the RAM 4043. Further, when the number of coins to be betted exceeds the upper limit of the number of coins that can be betted in one game (50 coins in the present embodiment), the main CPU 4041 advances the processing to step S4013 without conducting the processing for making a subtraction from the number of credits stored in the RAM 4043.

Next, the main CPU 4041 determines whether or not the start button 4023 has been turned on (step S4013). In this processing, the main CPU 4041 determines whether or not it has received an input signal that is outputted from the start switch 4023S when the start button 4023 is pressed.

When the main CPU 4041 determines that the start button 4023 has not been turned on, the processing is returned to step S4011.

It is to be noted that, when the start button 4023 is not turned on (e.g. when the start button 4023 is not turned on and a command to end the game is inputted), the main CPU 4041 cancels a subtraction result in step S4012.

On the other hand, when determining in step S4013 that the start button 4023 has been turned on, the main CPU 4041 transmits the number-of-game-media information indicative of the number of betted coins to the control device 4200 (step S4014). The number-of-game-media information includes information indicative of the identification number of the slot machine 4010.

Next, the main CPU 4041 executes symbol rearrangement processing (step S4015).

In this processing, first, the main CPU 4041 starts scroll-display of the symbols in the display blocks 4028. Then, the main CPU 4041 executes the aforementioned symbol determination program, so as to determine the symbols to be rearranged, and then rearranges the symbols in the display blocks 4028.

Next, the main CPU 4041 determines whether or not a prize has been established (step S4016). Here, the establishment of a prize refers to a rearrangement of at least one combination of three or more normal symbols of the same type out of “RIBBON”, “HEART”, “STAR”, “MOON”, “SUN”, “JEWEL”, “CROWN”, and “SMILE”, in the display blocks 4028 (see FIG. 64). In this processing, the main CPU 4041 counts the number of symbols for each type with regard to the symbols rearranged in step S4015. Then, the main CPU 4041 determines whether or not the counted number of symbols is three or more.

When determining that a prize has been established, the main CPU 4041 executes processing relating to the payout of coins (step S4017). In the processing, the main CPU 4041 determines the amount of payout based on the numbers of rearranged symbols with reference to the odds data stored in the RAM 4043. The odds data is data indicative of the correspondence relationships between the numbers of symbols rearranged in the display blocks 4028 and the amounts of payouts (see FIG. 64).

For example, in the case that two coins have been betted, when three symbols of “SUN” are rearranged, 20(=2×10) coins are paid out.

In the case of accumulating coins, the main CPU 4041 conducts processing for adding the number of credits corresponding to the determined amount of payout, to the number of credits stored in the RAM 4043. On the other hand, in the case of paying out coins, the main CPU 4041 transmits a control signal to the hopper 4066 in order to pay out coins in an amount corresponding to the determined amount of payout.

When determining in step S4016 that a prize has not been established or after executing the processing of step S4017, the main CPU 4041 determines whether or not the jackpot trigger has been established (step S4021). In this processing, the main CPU 4041 determines whether or not the number of jackpot trigger symbols “JP” (see FIG. 58B) rearranged in the display blocks 4028 is three or more.

When determining that the jackpot trigger has been established, the main CPU 4041 transmits a payout request signal to the control device 4200 (step S4022). The payout request signal is a signal requesting the control device 4200 to conduct a payout according to the jackpot. The payout request signal included information indicative of the identification number of the slot machine 4010.

When determining in step S4021 that the jackpot trigger has not been established or after executing the processing of step S4022, the main CPU 4041 completes the present subroutine.

FIG. 65 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of jackpot payout processing executed in the slot machine.

First, the main CPU 4041 determines whether or not it has received a common-jackpot payout signal (step S4031). The common-jackpot payout signal is a signal to be transmitted to the slot machine 4010 selected as the winning machine when the common cumulative value has reached the predetermined value (see step S4105 in FIG. 66). The common-jackpot payout signal includes information indicative of the common cumulative value.

When determining it has received the common-jackpot payout signal, the main CPU 4041 conducts common-jackpot payout processing (step S4032). In this processing, the main CPU 4041 pays out coins in amount corresponding to the common cumulative value based on the information indicative of the common cumulative value included in the common-jackpot payout signal. Processing conducted by the main CPU 4041 in step S4032 include output of a notification sound from the speaker 4029, lighting of the lamp 4030, and print of the ticket 4039 with a barcode indicative of the number of payouts.

When determining that it has not received the common-jackpot payout signal in step S4031 or after executing the processing of step S4032, the main CPU 4041 determines whether or not it has received an individual-jackpot payout signal (step S4033). The individual-jackpot payout signal is a signal to be transmitted, when the jackpot trigger has been established in any slot machine 4010, to the slot machine 4010 in which the jackpot trigger has been established (see step S4112 in FIG. 67). The individual-jackpot payout signal includes information indicative of the individual cumulative value in accordance with the model corresponding to the slot machine 4010.

When determining that it has received the individual-jackpot payout signal, the main CPU 4041 conducts individual-jackpot payout processing (step S4034). In this processing, the main CPU 4041 pays out coins in amount corresponding to the individual cumulative value in accordance with the model corresponding to the slot machine 4010, based on the information indicative of the individual cumulative value included in the individual-jackpot payout signal. Processing conducted by the main CPU 4041 in step S4034 includes output of a notification sound from the speaker 4029, lighting of the lamp 4030, and print of the ticket 4039 with a barcode indicative of the number of payouts.

When determining it has not received the individual-jackpot payout signal in step S4033 or after executing the processing of step S4034, the main CPU 4041 completes the present subroutine.

As above, there has been described the processing executed in the slot machine 4010 by using FIG. 63 to FIG. 65.

Subsequently, there is described processing executed in the control device 4200 by using FIG. 66 to FIG. 67.

FIG. 66 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of number-of-game-media information reception processing executed in the control device.

First, the CPU 4201 determines whether or not it has received number-of-game-media information from the slot machine 4010 (step S4101). The number-of-game-media information is information indicative of the number of coins betted in the slot machine 4010 (see step S4014 in FIG. 63).

When determining that the CPU 4201 has not received the number-of-game-media information, the CPU 4201 completes the present subroutine.

On the other hand, when determining that the CPU 4201 has received the number-of-game-media information, the CPU 4201 updates the common-cumulative-value data indicative of the common cumulative value in the cumulative-value storage region of the RAM 4203 and the individual-cumulative value data indicative of the individual cumulative value in the individual-cumulative-value storage region (step S4102). In the processing, the CPU 4201 adds a value corresponding to a part (10%, in the present embodiment) of the number of game media indicated by the number-of-game-media information received in step S4101 to the individual cumulative value indicated by the individual-cumulative-value data stored in association with the identification number of the slot machine 4010 as a transmission source of the number-of-game-media information in the individual-cumulative-value storage region of the RAM 4203. Further, the CPU 4201 adds a value corresponding to a part (1%, in the present embodiment) of the number of game media indicated by the number-of-game-media information received in step S4101 to the common cumulative value indicated by the common-cumulative-value data stored in the common-cumulative-value storage region of the RAM 4203.

Next, the CPU 4201 determines whether or not the common cumulative value has reached a predetermined value, based on the common-cumulative-value data stored in the RAM 4203 (step S4103).

When determining that the common cumulative value has not reached the predetermined value, the CPU 4201 completes the present subroutine.

On the other hand, when determining that the common cumulative value has reached the predetermined value, the CPU 4201 selects a single slot machine 4010 as a winning machine (step S4104). In the processing, the CPU 4201 extracts a random number generated by the random number generator 4206. Then, the CPU 4201 selects a single slot machine 4010 out of ten units of the slot machines 4010, based on the extracted random number. The CPU 4201 determines the selected slot machine 4010 as the winning machine.

Here, in the case that the CPU 4201 determines that the number-of-game-media information has not been received for a predetermined time or more from the slot machine 4010 determined as the winning machine, the CPU 4201 re-determines the winning machine by extracting the random number again. Accordingly, it becomes possible to prevent the payout of coins according to the jackpot from being conducted to the slot machine 4010 on which the game is not played.

Next, the CPU 4201 transmits a common-jackpot payout signal to the slot machine 4010 selected as the winning machine in step S4104 (step S4105). The common-jackpot payout signal includes information indicative of the common cumulative value.

On receiving the common-jackpot payout signal, the common-jackpot payout processing is conducted in the slot machine 4010 (see step S4032 in FIG. 65).

After executing the processing of step S4105, the CPU 4201 completes the present subroutine.

FIG. 67 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of payout-request-signal reception processing.

First, the CPU 4201 determines whether or not it has received a payout request signal from the slot machine 4010 at a predetermined timing (step S4111). The payout request signal is a signal to be transmitted from the slot machine 4010 when the jackpot trigger is established (see step S4022 in FIG. 63).

When determining that the CPU has not received the payout request signal, the CPU 4201 completes the present subroutine.

On the other hand, when determining that it has received the payout request signal, the CPU 4201 transmits an individual-jackpot payout signal to the slot machine 4010 as a transmission source of the payout request signal (step S4112). The individual-jackpot payout signal includes individual-cumulative-value data stored in association with the model information of the slot machine 4010 as a transmission source of the payout request signal.

After executing the processing of step S4112, the CPU 4201 completes the present subroutine.

As above, there has been described the ninth embodiment.

According to the gaming system 4100 of the ninth embodiment, a probability that the jackpot trigger is established (condition establishment probability), that is, probability of winning of a progressive jackpot is varied in accordance with the type (model) of the slot machine 4010. A part of the betted coins is cumulatively counted (stored) as an individual cumulative value for each type of the slot machine. When the slot machine 4010 wins the progressive jackpot, a payout of the coin is conducted based on the individual cumulative value corresponding to the type of the winning slot machine 4010.

As above, the individual cumulative value is handled individually for each model of the gaming machine both in the storage and in the payout. Accordingly, there may not be caused a case where a player playing a game on the gaming machine of the model having a high probability of winning of the progressive jackpot steals the game media, which have been stored by the bet placed by a player playing the game on the gaming machine of the model having a low probability of winning of the progressive jackpot.

As a result, it becomes possible to concurrently use a plurality of models of slot machines 4010 varied in the probability that the jackpot trigger is established, without concerning about the possibility to cause the sense of unfairness, and the convenience in constructing a gaming system is improved.

Further, by having the gaming system formed by a plurality of models of slot machines 4010, it becomes easier to provide an interesting game having wide variations.

Further, according to the gaming system 4100 of the ninth embodiment, though the individual cumulative value is handled individually for each model of the gaming machine both in the storage and in the payout, the common cumulative value is handled independently of the model of the gaming machine both in the storage and in the payout. Since two types of the cumulative values on different spheres are provided, it is possible to give the player a novel impression and to have the player find it interesting.

Tenth Embodiment

In the ninth embodiment, there has been described a case where the payout of coins based on the common cumulative value is conducted when the common cumulative value has reached the predetermined value. A state where “The common cumulative value reaches the predetermined value” corresponds to a predetermined common payout condition in the present invention.

It is to be noted that the predetermined common payout condition in the present invention is not limited to this example.

In the tenth embodiment, there is described a case where a condition “a balance number in any slot machine 4010 reaches a predetermined value” is set as the predetermined common payout condition.

Here, the balance number refers to a numeral indicative of the balance between the number of betted coins and the number of paid-out coins.

FIG. 68 is a flowchart illustrating slot machine game execution processing executed in the slot machine.

First, the main CPU 4041 executes processing of step S4031 to step S4037. The processing is virtually the same as the processing of step S4011 to step S4017 in FIG. 63, and therefore, the description thereof is omitted here.

After executing the processing of step S4037, the main CPU 4041 transmits number-of-payouts information indicative of the number of paid-out coins to the control device 4200 (step S4038). The number-of-payouts information includes information indicative of the identification number of the slot machine 4010.

When determining that the prize has not been established in step S4036 or after executing the processing of step S4038, the main CPU 4041 executes processing of step S4041 to step S4042. The processing is virtually the same as the processing of step S4021 to step S4022 in FIG. 63, and therefore, the description thereof is omitted here.

FIG. 69 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of jackpot payout processing executed in the slot machine.

The jackpot payout processing illustrated in FIG. 69 is virtually the same as the jackpot payout processing illustrated in FIG. 65, and therefore, the description thereof is omitted here.

FIG. 70 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of number-of-game-media information reception processing executed in the control device.

First, the CPU 4201 executes the processing of step S4121 to step S4122. The processing is virtually the same as the processing of step S4101 to step S4102 in FIG. 66, and therefore, the description thereof is omitted here.

Subsequently, the CPU 4201 updates the balance number data indicative of the balance number in the slot machine 4010 as a transmission source of the number-of-game-media information in a balance-number storage region of the RAM 4203, based on the number-of-game-media information received in step S4121 (step S4123). The balance-number storage region stores the balance-number data indicative of the balance number in each slot machine 4010 in association with the identification number of the slot machine 4010.

Next, the CPU 4201 determines whether or not the balance number in the slot machine 4010 as a transmission source of the number-of-game-media information received in step S4121 has reached the predetermined value, based on the balance-number data stored in the RAM 201 (step S4124).

When determining that the balance number has not reached the predetermined value, the CPU 4201 transmits a common-jackpot payout signal to the slot machine 4010 as a transmission source of the number-of-game-media information received in step S4121 (step S4125).

Then, the CPU 4201 completes the present subroutine.

FIG. 71 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of number-of-payouts information reception processing.

First, the CPU 4201 determines whether or not the number-of-payouts information (see step S4038 in FIG. 68) has been received from the slot machine 4010 at a predetermined timing (step S4131).

When determining that the number-of-payouts information has been received, the CPU 4201 updates the balance-number data indicative of the balance number in the slot machine 4010 as a transmission source of the number-of-payouts information in the balance-number storage region of the RAM 4203 based on the number-of-payouts information (step S4132).

When determining that the number-of-payouts information has not been received in step S4131 or after executing the processing of step S4132, the CPU 4201 completes the present subroutine.

FIG. 72 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of payout-request-signal reception processing.

The payout-request-signal reception processing illustrated in FIG. 72 is virtually the same as the payout-request-signal reception processing illustrated in FIG. 65, and therefore, the description thereof is omitted here.

As above, there has been described the tenth embodiment.

According to the gaming system 4100 of the tenth embodiment, a probability that the jackpot trigger is established (condition establishment probability), that is, probability of winning of a progressive jackpot is varied in accordance with the type (model) of the slot machine 4010. A part of the betted coins is cumulatively counted (stored) as an individual cumulative value for each type of the slot machine. When the slot machine 4010 wins the progressive jackpot, a payout of the coin is conducted based on the individual cumulative value corresponding to the type of the winning slot machine 4010.

As above, the individual cumulative value is handled individually for each model of the gaming machine both in the storage and in the payout. Accordingly, there may not be caused a case where a player playing a game on the gaming machine of the model having a high probability of winning of the progressive jackpot steals the game media, which have been stored by the bet placed by a player playing the game on the gaming machine of the model having a low probability of winning of the progressive jackpot.

As a result, it becomes possible to concurrently use a plurality of models of slot machines 4010 varied in the probability that the jackpot trigger is established, without concerning about the possibility to cause the sense of unfairness, and the convenience in constructing a gaming system is improved.

Further, by having the gaming system formed by a plurality of models of slot machines 4010, it becomes easier to provide an interesting game having wide variations.

Further, conventionally, there has been a case where a relief was provided to the losing player by conducting the payout of the game media based on the cumulative value.

However, since the gaming machine of the model having the high probability that the jackpot trigger is established is more likely to win the progressive jackpot, the individual cumulative value corresponding thereto is difficult to be large. Accordingly, there has been a case where the enough relief could not be provided to the losing player, since the game media stored as the individual cumulative value did not exist even when the payout of the game media based on the individual cumulative value was to be conducted.

In this regard, according to the gaming system 4100 of the tenth embodiment, the relief is provided to the player by using the common cumulative value, thereby preventing such a problem from occurring.

In the tenth embodiment, there has been described a case where the payout of coins based on the common cumulative value is conducted when the balance number in any slot machine 4010 has reached the predetermined value. In the present invention, the payout of coins based on the common cumulative value may be conducted when the balance numbers for each type of the gaming machines (a total number of the balance numbers in the gaming machines belonging to each type) have reached the predetermined number. For example, in a case where the gaming machines belonging to model I are a gaming machine A, a gaming machine B, and a gaming machine C, when a total number of the balance numbers of the gaming machine A, the gaming machine B, and the gaming machine C has reached the predetermined value, the payout of coins based on the common cumulative value is conducted to the gaming machine A, the gaming machine B, and the gaming machine C. Accordingly, it is possible to make the players playing on the gaming machine of the same model have fellow feelings.

In the above-described embodiments (the ninth embodiment and the tenth embodiment), the individual cumulative value is a value obtained by cumulatively counting a part of coins betted from the slot machine 4010 for each model of the slot machine on which a bet has been placed, and the common cumulative value is a value obtained by cumulatively counting another part of coins betted from the slot machine 4010 independently of the model of the slot machine on which a bet has been placed. In the present invention, it may be adopted a configuration that a part of the game media betted from the slot machine 4010 is stored as the individual cumulative value first, and the game media having been stored as the individual cumulative value may be stored as the common cumulative value at a predetermined timing (e.g. when the individual cumulative value has reached a predetermined value [the predetermined value may be varied in accordance with the type of the gaming machine]). Accordingly, it is possible to have the player enjoy a process in which the storage as the individual cumulative value is shifted to the storage as the common cumulative value.

Although the embodiments of the present invention were described above, they were just illustrations of specific examples, and hence do not particularly restrict the present invention. A specific configuration of each step and the like is appropriately changeable in terms of design. Further, the effects described in the embodiments of the present invention are just recitations of the most suitable effects generated from the present invention. The effects of the present invention are thus not limited to those described in the embodiments of the present invention.

Further, the foregoing detailed descriptions centered the characteristic parts of the present invention in order to facilitate understanding of the present invention. The present invention is not limited to the embodiments in the foregoing specific descriptions but applicable to other embodiments with a variety of application ranges. Further, terms and phrases in the present specification were used not for restricting interpretation of the present invention but for precisely describing the present invention. It is considered easy for the skilled in the art to conceive other configurations, systems, methods and the like included in the concept of the present invention from the concept of the invention described in the specification. Therefore, it should be considered that recitations of the claims include uniform configurations in a range not departing from the range of technical principles of the present invention. Moreover, an object of the abstract is to enable a patent office, a general public institution, an engineer belonging to the technical field who is unfamiliar with patent, technical jargon or legal jargon, and the like, to smoothly determine technical contents and an essence of the present application with simple investigation. Accordingly, the abstract is not intended to restrict the scope of the invention which should be evaluated by recitations of the claims. Furthermore, for thorough understanding of an object of the present invention and an effect specific to the present invention, it is desired to make interpretation in full consideration of documents already disclosed and the like.

The foregoing detailed descriptions include processing executed on a computer or a computer network. Explanations and expressions above are described with the aim of being most efficiently understood by the skilled person in the art. In the specification, each step for use in deriving one result should be understood as the self-consistent processing. Further, in each step, transmission/reception, recording or the like of an electrical or magnetic signal is performed. While such a signal is expressed by using a bit, a value, a symbol, a letter, a term, a number or the like in processing of each step, it should be noted that those are used simply for the sake of convenience in description. While there are cases where processing in each step may be described using an expression in common with that of action of a human, processing described in the specification is essentially executed by a variety of devices. Further, another configuration requested for performing each step should become apparent from the above descriptions.





 
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