Title:
PRE-PRINTED INSTANT WIN LOTTERY TICKETS WITH UNLIMITED NUMBER OF MAXIMUM PRIZES
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A process is provided. The process generates an initial lot of instant lottery tickets. The initial lot has an initial lottery prize structure. The initial lottery prize structure has an initial lot size. Further, the process randomly selects an extracted lot of instant lottery tickets from an aggregate lot. The extracted lot has (i) an extracted lottery prize structure that has identical odds to the initial lottery prize structure without being limited to the predetermined number of maximum prizes in the maximum prize category and the predetermined number of secondary prizes in the secondary prize category, and (ii) an extracted lot size that is less than the aggregate lot size.



Inventors:
Frick, Michael D. (Crawfordville, FL, US)
Davis, Mark (San Juan, PR, US)
Mizeur, David Richard (Springfield, IL, US)
Pade, Stan (North Arlington, NJ, US)
Surmacz, Andrzej (Las Vegas, NV, US)
Application Number:
12/206596
Publication Date:
03/11/2010
Filing Date:
09/08/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:



Foreign References:
WO2005122732A22005-12-29
Primary Examiner:
LEE, WEI
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PATENT INGENUITY, P.C. (Beverly Hills, CA, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A method comprising: generating an initial lot of instant lottery tickets, the initial lot having an initial lottery prize structure, the initial lottery prize structure having an initial lot size, the initial lottery prize structure having (i) a maximum prize category and corresponding maximum odds to win a maximum prize in the maximum prize category, and (ii) a secondary prize category and corresponding secondary odds to win a secondary prize in the secondary prize category, the initial lot having a predetermined number of maximum prizes in the maximum prize category and a predetermined number of secondary prizes in the secondary prize category, each of the instant lottery tickets having at least one concealer that an instant lottery player removes to determine if a match exists; generating a plurality of reproduced lots such that each of the reproduced lots in the plurality of reproduced lots is identical to the initial lot of instant lottery tickets; shuffling the plurality of reproduced lots into an aggregate lot; randomly selecting an extracted lot of instant lottery tickets from the aggregate lot, the extracted lot having (i) an extracted lottery prize structure that has identical odds to the initial lottery prize structure without being limited to the predetermined number of maximum prizes in the maximum prize category and the predetermined number of secondary prizes in the secondary prize category, and (ii) an extracted lot size that is identical to the initial lot size; providing the instant lottery tickets from the extracted lot of instant lottery tickets to a plurality of instant lottery players; distributing the maximum prize to a player that obtains a match corresponding to the maximum prize; and distributing the secondary prize to a player that obtains a match corresponding to the secondary prize.

2. The method of claim 1, further comprising scanning, prior to the providing the instant lottery tickets from the extracted lot of instant lottery tickets to the plurality of instant lottery players, validation codes printed on the instant lottery tickets from the extracted lot of instant lottery tickets to ensure a minimum number of instant lottery tickets having a maximum prize match is within the extracted lot of instant lottery tickets.

3. The method of claim 1, further comprising randomly selecting an additional extracted lot of instant lottery tickets from the aggregate lot to add to remaining tickets from the extracted lot of instant lottery tickets if a threshold number of instant lottery tickets from the extracted lot of instant lottery tickets having a maximum prize match is provided to the plurality of lottery players.

4. The method of claim 1, further comprising scanning, prior to the providing the instant lottery tickets from the extracted lot of instant lottery tickets to the plurality of instant lottery players, validation codes printed on the instant lottery tickets from the extracted lot of instant lottery tickets to determine if a minimum number of instant lottery tickets having a secondary prize match is within the extracted lot of instant lottery tickets.

5. The method of claim 1, wherein payment of the maximum prize is guaranteed by self-insurance.

6. The method of claim 1, wherein payment of the maximum prize is guaranteed by partial self-insurance.

7. The method of claim 1, wherein payment of the maximum prize is guaranteed by a third party entity.

8. The method of claim 1, wherein payment of the secondary prize is guaranteed by self-insurance.

9. The method of claim 1, wherein payment of the secondary prize is guaranteed by partial self-insurance.

10. The method of claim 1, wherein payment of the secondary prize is guaranteed by a third party entity.

11. The method of claim 1, wherein the providing the instant lottery tickets from the extracted lot of instant lottery tickets to a plurality of instant lottery players is effectuated through ticket sales at a predetermined ticket price.

12. The method of claim 1, further comprising storing the plurality of reproduced lots in a reproduced lot virtual file.

13. The method of claim 1, further comprising storing the aggregate lot in an aggregate lot virtual file.

14. The method of claim 1, wherein the aggregate lot has a number of maximum prizes that is greater than the extracted lot size.

15. A method comprising: generating an initial lot of instant lottery tickets, the initial lot having an initial lottery prize structure, the initial lottery prize structure having an initial lot size, the initial lottery prize structure having (i) a maximum prize category and corresponding maximum odds to win a maximum prize in the maximum prize category, and (ii) a secondary prize category and corresponding secondary odds to win a secondary prize in the secondary prize category, the initial lot having a predetermined number of maximum prizes in the maximum prize category and a predetermined number of secondary prizes in the secondary prize category, each of the instant lottery tickets having at least one concealer that an instant lottery player removes to determine if a match exists; generating a plurality of reproduced lots such that each of the reproduced lots in the plurality of reproduced lots is identical to the initial lot of instant lottery tickets; shuffling the plurality of reproduced lots into an aggregate lot; randomly selecting an extracted lot of instant lottery tickets from the aggregate lot, the extracted lot having (i) an extracted lottery prize structure that has identical odds to the initial lottery prize structure without being limited to the predetermined number of maximum prizes in the maximum prize category and the predetermined number of secondary prizes in the secondary prize category, and (ii) an extracted lot size that is a whole number multiple of the initial lot size such that the extracted lot is a subset of the aggregate lot; providing the instant lottery tickets from the extracted lot of instant lottery tickets to a plurality of instant lottery players; distributing the maximum prize to a player that obtains a match corresponding to the maximum prize; and distributing the secondary prize to a player that obtains a match corresponding to the secondary prize.

16. The method of claim 15, further comprising scanning, prior to the providing the instant lottery tickets from the extracted lot of instant lottery tickets to the plurality of instant lottery players, validation codes printed on the instant lottery tickets from the extracted lot of instant lottery tickets to ensure a minimum number of instant lottery tickets having a maximum prize match is within the extracted lot of instant lottery tickets.

17. The method of claim 15, further comprising randomly selecting an additional extracted lot of instant lottery tickets from the aggregate lot to add to remaining tickets from the extracted lot of instant lottery tickets if a threshold number of instant lottery tickets from the extracted lot of instant lottery tickets having a maximum prize match is provided to the plurality of lottery players.

18. The method of claim 15, further comprising scanning, prior to the providing the instant lottery tickets from the extracted lot of instant lottery tickets to the plurality of instant lottery players, validation codes printed on the instant lottery tickets from the extracted lot of instant lottery tickets to determine if a minimum number of instant lottery tickets having a secondary prize match is within the extracted lot of instant lottery tickets.

19. The method of claim 15, wherein payment of the maximum prize is guaranteed by self-insurance.

20. The method of claim 15, wherein payment of the maximum prize is guaranteed by partial self-insurance.

21. The method of claim 15, wherein payment of the maximum prize is guaranteed by a third party entity.

22. The method of claim 15, wherein payment of the secondary prize is guaranteed by self-insurance.

23. The method of claim 15, wherein payment of the secondary prize is guaranteed by partial self-insurance.

24. The method of claim 15, wherein payment of the secondary prize is guaranteed by a third party entity.

26. The method of claim 15, wherein the providing the instant lottery tickets from the extracted lot of instant lottery tickets to a plurality of instant lottery players is effectuated through ticket sales at a predetermined ticket price.

27. The method of claim 15, further comprising storing the plurality of reproduced lots in a reproduced lot virtual file.

28. The method of claim 15, further comprising storing the aggregate lot in an aggregate lot virtual file.

29. The method of claim 15, wherein the aggregate lot has a number of maximum prizes that is greater than the extracted lot size.

30. A method comprising: generating an initial lot of instant lottery tickets, the initial lot having an initial lottery prize structure, the initial lottery prize structure having an initial lot size, the initial lottery prize structure having (i) a maximum prize category and corresponding maximum odds to win a maximum prize in the maximum prize category, and (ii) a secondary prize category and corresponding secondary odds to win a secondary prize in the secondary prize category, the initial lot having a predetermined number of maximum prizes in the maximum prize category and a predetermined number of secondary prizes in the secondary prize category, each of the instant lottery tickets having at least one concealer that an instant lottery player removes to determine if a match exists; generating a plurality of reproduced lots such that each of the reproduced lots in the plurality of reproduced lots is identical to the initial lot of instant lottery tickets; shuffling the plurality of reproduced lots into an aggregate lot that has an aggregate lot size; randomly selecting an extracted lot of instant lottery tickets from the aggregate lot, the extracted lot having (i) an extracted lottery prize structure that has identical odds to the initial lottery prize structure without being limited to the predetermined number of maximum prizes in the maximum prize category and the predetermined number of secondary prizes in the secondary prize category, and (ii) an extracted lot size that is less than the aggregate lot size; providing the instant lottery tickets from the extracted lot of instant lottery tickets to a plurality of instant lottery players; distributing the maximum prize to a player that obtains a match corresponding to the maximum prize; and distributing the secondary prize to a player that obtains a match corresponding to the secondary prize.

31. The method of claim 30, further comprising scanning, prior to the providing the instant lottery tickets from the extracted lot of instant lottery tickets to the plurality of instant lottery players, validation codes printed on the instant lottery tickets from the extracted lot of instant lottery tickets to ensure a minimum number of instant lottery tickets having a maximum prize match is within the extracted lot of instant lottery tickets.

32. The method of claim 30, further comprising randomly selecting an additional extracted lot of instant lottery tickets from the aggregate lot to add to remaining tickets from the extracted lot of instant lottery tickets if a threshold number of instant lottery tickets from the extracted lot of instant lottery tickets having a maximum prize match is provided to the plurality of lottery players.

33. The method of claim 30, further comprising scanning, prior to the providing the instant lottery tickets from the extracted lot of instant lottery tickets to the plurality of instant lottery players, validation codes printed on the instant lottery tickets from the extracted lot of instant lottery tickets to determine if a minimum number of instant lottery tickets having a secondary prize match is within the extracted lot of instant lottery tickets.

34. The method of claim 30, wherein payment of the maximum prize is guaranteed by self-insurance.

35. The method of claim 30, wherein payment of the maximum prize is guaranteed by partial self-insurance.

36. The method of claim 30, wherein payment of the maximum prize is guaranteed by a third party entity.

37. The method of claim 30, wherein payment of the secondary prize is guaranteed by self-insurance.

38. The method of claim 30, wherein payment of the secondary prize is guaranteed by partial self-insurance.

39. The method of claim 30, wherein payment of the secondary prize is guaranteed by a third party entity.

40. The method of claim 30, wherein the providing the instant lottery tickets from the extracted lot of instant lottery tickets to a plurality of instant lottery players is effectuated through ticket sales at a predetermined ticket price.

41. The method of claim 30, further comprising storing the plurality of reproduced lots in a reproduced lot virtual file.

42. The method of claim 30, further comprising storing the aggregate lot in an aggregate lot virtual file.

43. The method of claim 30, wherein the aggregate lot has a number of maximum prizes that is greater than the extracted lot size.

44. A system comprising: a lot generator module that generates an initial lot of instant lottery tickets, the initial lot having an initial lottery prize structure, the initial lottery prize structure having an initial lot size, the initial lottery prize structure having (i) a maximum prize category and corresponding maximum odds to win a maximum prize in the maximum prize category, and (ii) a secondary prize category and corresponding secondary odds to win a secondary prize in the secondary prize category, the initial lot having a predetermined number of maximum prizes in the maximum prize category and a predetermined number of secondary prizes in the secondary prize category, each of the instant lottery tickets having at least one concealer that an instant lottery player removes to determine if a match exists; a lot reproducer module that generates a plurality of reproduced lots such that each of the reproduced lots in the plurality of reproduced lots is identical to the initial lot of instant lottery tickets; a shuffler module that shuffles the plurality of reproduced lots into an aggregate lot that has an aggregate lot size; a random selection module that randomly selects an extracted lot of instant lottery tickets from the aggregate lot, the extracted lot having (i) an extracted lottery prize structure that has identical odds to the initial lottery prize structure without being limited to the predetermined number of maximum prizes in the maximum prize category and the predetermined number of secondary prizes in the secondary prize category, and (ii) an extracted lot size that is less than the aggregate lot size; an instant lottery ticket distribution module that provides the instant lottery tickets from the extracted lot of instant lottery tickets to a plurality of instant lottery players; a maximum prize distribution module that distributes the maximum prize to a player that obtains a match corresponding to the maximum prize; and a secondary prize distribution module that distributes the secondary prize to a player that obtains a match corresponding to the secondary prize.

45. The system of claim 44, further comprising a scanning module that scans, prior to the providing the instant lottery tickets from the extracted lot of instant lottery tickets to the plurality of instant lottery players, validation codes printed on the instant lottery tickets from the extracted lot of instant lottery tickets to ensure a minimum number of instant lottery tickets having a maximum prize match is within the extracted lot of instant lottery tickets.

46. The system of claim 44, wherein the random selection module randomly selects an additional extracted lot of instant lottery tickets from the aggregate lot to add to remaining tickets from the extracted lot of instant lottery tickets if a threshold number of instant lottery tickets from the extracted lot of instant lottery tickets having a maximum prize match is provided to the plurality of lottery players.

47. The system of claim 44, further comprising a scanning module that scans, prior to the providing the instant lottery tickets from the extracted lot of instant lottery tickets to the plurality of instant lottery players, validation codes printed on the instant lottery tickets from the extracted lot of instant lottery tickets to determine if a minimum number of instant lottery tickets having a secondary prize match is within the extracted lot of instant lottery tickets.

48. The system of claim 44, wherein payment of the maximum prize is guaranteed by self-insurance.

49. The system of claim 44, wherein payment of the maximum prize is guaranteed by partial self-insurance.

50. The system of claim 44, wherein payment of the maximum prize is guaranteed by a third party entity.

51. The system of claim 44, wherein payment of the secondary prize is guaranteed by self-insurance.

52. The system of claim 44, wherein payment of the secondary prize is guaranteed by partial self-insurance.

53. The system of claim 44, wherein payment of the secondary prize is guaranteed by a third party entity.

54. The system of claim 44, wherein the instant lottery ticket distribution module provides the instant lottery tickets from the extracted lot of instant lottery tickets to a plurality of instant lottery players through ticket sales at a predetermined ticket price.

55. The system of claim 44, further comprising a storage medium that stores the plurality of reproduced lots in a reproduced lot virtual file.

56. The system of claim 44, further comprising a storage medium that stores the aggregate lot in an aggregate lot virtual file.

57. The system of claim 44, wherein the aggregate lot has a number of maximum prizes that is greater than the extracted lot size.

Description:

BACKGROUND

1. Field

This disclosure generally relates to the field of gaming. More particularly, the disclosure relates to pre-printed lottery tickets.

2. General Background

In the lottery industry, instant lottery tickets are pre-printed lottery tickets with predetermined outcomes. These instant lottery tickets are produced and distributed in finite lot sizes that are referred to as print runs. Each print run is assigned a game number. A predetermined number of prize categories exist within each print run. Prize categories may also be referred to as prize tiers. Further, a finite number of predetermined prizes exist with each prize category.

Once the prizes in any give prize category have been won, players can no longer win any of those prizes within that specific print run. However, players can continue to play for remaining prizes in the other prize categories.

Even though prizes from the maximum prize category represent only a small percentage of the prizes and the prize fund available in any given instant game, many lotteries are now recalling print runs in which all the prizes from the maximum price category have been won. The recall response is a lottery industry's response to litigation surrounding the possibility of instant players purchasing instant lottery tickets with the perception that maximum prizes were still available even though all of the maximum prizes had already been won. However, the recall process is an extremely inefficient response to the problem and results in direct and indirect financial losses to government lotteries, ticket printers, retailers, and players.

SUMMARY

In one aspect of the disclosure, a process is provided. The process generates an initial lot of instant lottery tickets. The initial lot has an initial lottery prize structure. The initial lottery prize structure has an initial lot size. The initial lottery prize structure has (i) a maximum prize category and corresponding maximum odds to win a maximum prize in the maximum prize category, and (ii) a secondary prize category and corresponding secondary odds to win a secondary prize in the secondary prize category. The initial lot has a predetermined number of maximum prizes in the maximum prize category and a predetermined number of secondary prizes in the secondary prize category. Each of the instant lottery tickets has at least one concealer that an instant lottery player removes to determine if a match exists. Further, the process generates a plurality of reproduced lots such that each of the reproduced lots in the plurality of reproduced lots is identical to the initial lot of instant lottery tickets. The process also shuffles the plurality of reproduced lots into an aggregate lot. Further, the process randomly selects an extracted lot of instant lottery tickets from the aggregate lot. The extracted lot has (i) an extracted lottery prize structure that has identical odds to the initial lottery prize structure without being limited to the predetermined number of maximum prizes in the maximum prize category and the predetermined number of secondary prizes in the secondary prize category, and (ii) an extracted lot size that is identical to the initial lot size. The process provides the instant lottery tickets from the extracted lot of instant lottery tickets to a plurality of instant lottery players. Further, the process distributes the maximum prize to a player that obtains a match corresponding to the maximum prize. In addition, the process distributes the secondary prize to a player that obtains a match corresponding to the secondary prize.

In another aspect of the disclosure, a process is provided. The process generates an initial lot of instant lottery tickets. The initial lot has an initial lottery prize structure. The initial lottery prize structure has an initial lot size. The initial lottery prize structure has (i) a maximum prize category and corresponding maximum odds to win a maximum prize in the maximum prize category, and (ii) a secondary prize category and corresponding secondary odds to win a secondary prize in the secondary prize category. The initial lot has a predetermined number of maximum prizes in the maximum prize category and a predetermined number of secondary prizes in the secondary prize category. Each of the instant lottery tickets has at least one concealer that an instant lottery player removes to determine if a match exists. The process generates a plurality of reproduced lots such that each of the reproduced lots in the plurality of reproduced lots is identical to the initial lot of instant lottery tickets. In addition, the process shuffles the plurality of reproduced lots into an aggregate lot. The process also randomly selects an extracted lot of instant lottery tickets from the aggregate lot. The extracted lot has (i) an extracted lottery prize structure that has identical odds to the initial lottery prize structure without being limited to the predetermined number of maximum prizes in the maximum prize category and the predetermined number of secondary prizes in the secondary prize category, and (ii) an extracted lot size that is a whole number multiple of the initial lot size such that the extracted lot is a subset of the aggregate lot. In addition, the process provides the instant lottery tickets from the extracted lot of instant lottery tickets to a plurality of instant lottery players. The process distributes the maximum prize to a player that obtains a match corresponding to the maximum prize. Finally, the process distributes the secondary prize to a player that obtains a match corresponding to the secondary prize.

In yet another aspect of the disclosure, a process is provided. The process generates an initial lot of instant lottery tickets. The initial lot has an initial lottery prize structure. The initial lottery prize structure has an initial lot size. The initial lottery prize structure has (i) a maximum prize category and corresponding maximum odds to win a maximum prize in the maximum prize category, and (ii) a secondary prize category and corresponding secondary odds to win a secondary prize in the secondary prize category. The initial lot has a predetermined number of maximum prizes in the maximum prize category and a predetermined number of secondary prizes in the secondary prize category. Each of the instant lottery tickets has at least one concealer that an instant lottery player removes to determine if a match exists. The process generates a plurality of reproduced lots such that each of the reproduced lots in the plurality of reproduced lots is identical to the initial lot of instant lottery tickets. In addition, the process shuffles the plurality of reproduced lots into an aggregate lot that has an aggregate lot size. The process also randomly selects an extracted lot of instant lottery tickets from the aggregate lot. The extracted lot has (i) an extracted lottery prize structure that has identical odds to the initial lottery prize structure without being limited to the predetermined number of maximum prizes in the maximum prize category and the predetermined number of secondary prizes in the secondary prize category, and (ii) an extracted lot size that is less than the aggregate lot size. In addition, the process provides the instant lottery tickets from the extracted lot of instant lottery tickets to a plurality of instant lottery players. The process distributes the maximum prize to a player that obtains a match corresponding to the maximum prize. Finally, the process distributes the secondary prize to a player that obtains a match corresponding to the secondary prize.

In another aspect of the disclosure, a system is provided. The system includes a lot generator module that generates an initial lot of instant lottery tickets. The initial lot has an initial lottery prize structure. The initial lottery prize structure has an initial lot size. The initial lottery prize structure has (i) a maximum prize category and corresponding maximum odds to win a maximum prize in the maximum prize category, and (ii) a secondary prize category and corresponding secondary odds to win a secondary prize in the secondary prize category. The initial lot has a predetermined number of maximum prizes in the maximum prize category and a predetermined number of secondary prizes in the secondary prize category. Each of the instant lottery tickets has at least one concealer that an instant lottery player removes to determine if a match exists. Further, the system includes a lot reproducer module that generates a plurality of reproduced lots such that each of the reproduced lots in the plurality of reproduced lots is identical to the initial lot of instant lottery tickets. The system includes a shuffler module that shuffles the plurality of reproduced lots into an aggregate lot that has an aggregate lot size. Further, the process includes a random selection module that randomly selects an extracted lot of instant lottery tickets from the aggregate lot. The extracted lot has (i) an extracted lottery prize structure that has identical odds to the initial lottery prize structure without being limited to the predetermined number of maximum prizes in the maximum prize category and the predetermined number of secondary prizes in the secondary prize category, and (ii) an extracted lot size that is less than the aggregate lot size. In addition, the system includes an instant lottery ticket distribution module providing the instant lottery tickets from the extracted lot of instant lottery tickets to a plurality of instant lottery players. The system includes a maximum prize distribution module that distributes the maximum prize to a player that obtains a match corresponding to the maximum prize. Further, the system includes a secondary prize distribution module that distributes the secondary prize to a player that obtains a match corresponding to the secondary prize.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above-mentioned features of the present disclosure will become more apparent with reference to the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings wherein like reference numerals denote like elements and in which:

FIG. 1A illustrates an instant lottery ticket.

FIG. 1B illustrates a prize structure for a single lot.

FIG. 1C illustrates an example of the instant lottery ticket of FIG. 1A after the concealer has been removed.

FIG. 2 illustrates a lot generation configuration.

FIG. 3 illustrates a lot reproduction configuration that may be utilized to reproduce the lot for the lottery prize structure illustrated in FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 illustrates a lot shuffling configuration that may be utilized in conjunction with the lot reproduction configuration illustrated in FIG. 3.

FIG. 5A illustrates a lot extraction configuration that may be utilized to extract an extracted lot from the aggregate lot.

FIG. 5B illustrates the lot extraction configuration of FIG. 5A that may be utilized to generated more than one extracted lot or more than one group of extracted lots.

FIG. 6 illustrates a process that may be utilized to extract a lot from an aggregate lot.

FIG. 7 illustrates a block diagram of a station or system that extracts lots from an aggregate lot.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

A method and apparatus are disclosed that allow a prize structure and lot size for an instant game to be created. The prize structure and lot size may be stored in a virtual file for subsequent reproduction. Accordingly, a large quantity of identical lots may be reproduced. The quantity is less than infinite, but large enough to ensure statistical randomness if lots are reproduced from the virtual file and the tickets in the reproduced lots are shuffled into an aggregate lot such that one or more extracted lots, or a subset of an extracted lot or extracted lots, may be extracted. With this approach, the odds of winning a prize in the maximum prize category are purely a function of probabilities.

FIGS. 1A-1C illustrate an instant lottery ticket configuration. In particular, FIG. 1A illustrates an instant lottery ticket 100. As an example, the instant lottery ticket 100 may have three rows and three columns of numbers that are covered by a concealer 102. The concealer 102 is placed over the numbers so that a player can scratch off the concealer 102 to determine if a match exists. The requisite match may be three of a prize value in a row, column diagonal, corners, center, any location, or any combination of these criteria. For example, a row of three two thousand dollar symbols may lead to a win of the prize of two thousand dollars in the maximum prize category. In one embodiment, the concealer 102 is composed from a material such as latex. However, other materials may be utilized. Further, in one embodiment, a separate concealer 102 is placed over each individual number. Each separate concealer 102 may be a geometric shape such as a square, rectangle, circle, etc., or a non-geometric shape such as a shamrock, heart, pot of gold, etc. In another embodiment, the concealer 102 is a strip of material that covers an entire set of numbers. For example, the concealer 102 may be a rectangular latex strip that covers a row of game numbers. Accordingly, a strip of concealer would cover each row of game numbers. The rectangular latex strip may be large enough to cover all the rows of the game numbers.

FIG. 1B illustrates a prize structure 150 for a single lot. For example, the prize structure 150 may be configured for a lot size of ten million tickets that may each be purchased for one dollar. The prize structure 150 may have a plurality of different prize categories. A predetermined number of tickets may be present in each prize category. Accordingly, based on the predetermined number of tickets and the lot size, odds of winning a prize in a particular prize category can be determined. For example, the prize structure 150 may have a two thousand dollar prize category for which twenty tickets having a winning match are printed. Accordingly, the odds of winning a prize in the two thousand dollar prize category are twenty divided by ten million, which equals one in five hundred thousand. The prize structure 150 may also have a five hundred dollar prize category for which fifty tickets having a winning match are printed. Accordingly, the odds of winning a prize in the five hundred dollar prize category are fifty divided by ten million, which equals one in two hundred thousand. Further, the prize structure 150 may also have a one hundred dollar prize category for which five hundred tickets having a winning match are printed. Accordingly, the odds of winning a prize in the one hundred dollar prize category are five hundred divided by ten million, which equals one in twenty thousand. In addition, the prize structure 150 may also have a fifty dollar prize category for which five thousand tickets having a winning match are printed. Accordingly, the odds of winning a prize in the fifty dollar prize category are five thousand divided by ten million, which equals one in two thousand. The prize structure 150 may also have a twenty dollar prize category for which fifty thousand tickets having a winning match are printed. Accordingly, the odds of winning a prize in the twenty dollar prize category are fifty thousand divided by ten million, which equals one in two hundred. The prize structure 150 may also have a ten dollar prize category for which eighty thousand tickets having a winning match are printed. Accordingly, the odds of winning a prize in the ten dollar prize category are eighty thousand divided by ten million, which equals one in one hundred twenty five. Further, the prize structure 150 may also have a five dollar prize category for which four hundred thousand tickets having a winning match are printed. Accordingly, the odds of winning a prize in the five dollar prize category are four hundred thousand divided by ten million, which equals one in twenty five. In one possible configuration, the number of prizes in a lower prize category may be the same or higher than the number of prizes in a higher prize category. In such a configuration, the odds in the lower prize category would be the same or better than the odds in the higher prize category. For example, the prize structure 150 may also have a two dollar prize category for which four hundred thousand tickets having a winning match are printed. Accordingly, the odds of winning a prize in the two dollar prize category are four hundred thousand divided by ten million, which equals one in twenty five. Further, the prize structure 150 may also have a one dollar prize category for which five hundred thousand tickets having a winning match are printed. Accordingly, the odds of winning a prize in the one dollar prize category are five hundred thousand divided by ten million, which equals one in twenty. Prizes other than cash prizes may be provided. For example, in one possible configuration, a prize category may be a free ticket. As an example, the prize structure 150 may also have a free ticket prize category for which one million tickets having a winning match are printed. Accordingly, the odds of winning a prize in the free ticket prize category are on million divided by ten million, which equals one in ten. The non-cash prizes are not limited to free tickets. An example of another non-cash prize is a redemption ticket for merchandise.

FIG. 1C illustrates an example of the instant lottery ticket 100 of FIG. 1A after the concealer 102 has been removed. A row of three amounts of two thousand dollars appears such that the instant lottery ticket 100 is a winning ticket for a prize of two thousand dollars from the maximum prize category.

FIG. 2 illustrates a lot generation configuration 200. The lottery prize structure 150 is provided to a lot generator 202. The lot generator 202 may be a module, computer, computer code, system, or the like. In one embodiment, the lot generator has a printer to print instant lottery tickets. Accordingly, the lot generator 202 generates a lot 204 that corresponds to the lottery prize structure 150. In the example of the lottery prize structure 150 discussed in FIG. 1B, the lot generator 202 would print ten million tickets and ensure that the specific number of winning tickets in each prize category are printed to be consistent with the odds for that particular prize category. For example, the lot generator 202 would print twenty tickets in the lot 204 that have a match for the prize in the two thousand dollar prize category. Similarly, the lot generator 202 would print fifty tickets for the five hundred dollar prize category, five hundred tickets for the one hundred dollar prize category, five thousand tickets for the fifty dollar prize category, fifty thousand tickets for the twenty dollar prize category, eighty thousand tickets for the ten dollar prize category, four hundred thousand tickets for the five dollar prize category, four hundred thousand tickets for the two dollar prize category, five hundred thousand dollars for the one dollar prize category, and one million tickets for the free ticket prize category that are winning tickets for their respective prize categories. In one embodiment, the lot generator 202 also ensures that the remaining tickets are not winning tickets so that the odds of winning tickets are predetermined.

The lot generator 202 may print the instant lottery tickets according to a variety of different approaches. In one embodiment, the lot generator 202 may print the instant lottery tickets with random amounts on the instant lottery ticket until the predetermined number of matches occur for a prize category and then prevent any further matches. For example, the lot generator 202 may print five million tickets until the twenty prizes for the two thousand dollar prize category are reached. The lot generator 202 may then prevent any further matches for the two thousand dollar prize category. The lot generator 202 may alternatively print the matches at predetermined positions within the lot. For example, every five hundred thousandth ticket may be the ticket for which a match is printed for a prize in the two thousand dollar prize category.

FIG. 3 illustrates a lot reproduction configuration 300 that may be utilized to reproduce the lot 204 for the lottery prize structure illustrated in FIG. 2. The lot 204 is provided to a lot reproducer 302. The lot reproducer 302 may be a module, computer, computer code, system, or the like. In one embodiment, the lot reproducer 302 has a printer to print instant lottery tickets. Accordingly, the lot reproducer 302 generates one or more reproduced lots 304. Each of the reproduced lots 304 is an identical replication of the lot 204 that corresponds to the lottery prize structure 150. Accordingly, each of the reproduced lots 304 has the same odds of winning a prize in each of the prize categories of the lottery prize structure 150. In one embodiment, the one or more reproduced lots 304 are stored in a reproduced lot virtual file 308 in a storage medium 306. The virtual file 308 may be a physical file of the printed reproduced lots 304 in a storage medium. Alternatively, the virtual file may be an electronic file from which some or all of the reproduced lots may be printed.

FIG. 4 illustrates a lot shuffling configuration 400 that may be utilized in conjunction with the lot reproduction configuration 300 illustrated in FIG. 3. In one embodiment, the lot shuffling configuration 400 provides the reproduced lots 304 to a lot shuffler 402. The lot shuffler 402 shuffles the reproduced lots 304 and outputs an aggregate lot 404. In one embodiment, the aggregate lot is stored in an aggregate lot virtual file 406 in a storage medium 408. In alternative embodiment, the reproduced lot virtual file 308 and the aggregate lot virtual file 406 are stored on the same storage medium. By shuffling the reproduced lots 304, the contents of each of the reproduced lots are intermixed with the other reproduced lots 304.

FIG. 5A illustrates a lot extraction configuration 500 that may be utilized to extract an extracted lot 504 from the aggregate lot 404. The lot extraction configuration 500 provides the aggregate lot to a lot extractor 502. The lot extractor 502 selects a number of tickets from the aggregate lot that equals the lot size of the prize structure 150. For example, the prize structure 150 illustrated in FIG. 1B has a lot size of ten million tickets. Further, the lot reproducer 302 reproduced three lots in the example illustrated in FIG. 3. Each of those three lots has a lot size of ten million instant lottery tickets. The lot shuffler 402 in FIG. 4 shuffles these three lots into the aggregate lot 404, which has thirty million instant lottery tickets. The lot extractor 502 then selects ten million instant lottery tickets from the aggregate lot 404 to extract an extracted lot 504 having the same lot size as the lottery prize structure 150. As a result, the extracted lot 504 is not limited the number of prizes in the lottery prize structure 150. For example, the lottery prize structure 150 illustrated FIG. 1B has twenty prizes in the two thousand dollar prize category. Accordingly, the aggregate lot resulting from three reproduced lots has sixty prizes in the two thousand dollar prize category. The odds of winning a prize in the two thousand dollar prize category are still one in five hundred thousand since the a multiple of the lots does not change the odds, i.e., sixty tickets in the two thousand dollar prize category divided by thirty million tickets still equals one in five hundred thousand. Further, an extraction of a lot of tickets also does not change the odds. In other words, if ten million tickets are extracted from the aggregate lot 404, the odds of obtaining a prize in the two thousand dollar prize category are still one in five hundred thousand since that lot was extracted from the aggregate lot that has been shuffled. Although the odds stay the same, the number of prizes may actually be higher than the lottery prize structure 150 for a single lot. For example, the extracted lot 504 may have all sixty prizes from the two thousand dollar prize category. The extracted lot 504 may also have potentially less than twenty prizes from the two thousand dollar prize category. If the number of reproduced lots is significantly large, e.g., twenty, the number of possible maximum prizes in the extracted lot 504 is significantly larger than the number of prizes in the lottery prize structure 150. In one embodiment, a group of extracted lots 504 may be extracted. For example, ten lots may be extracted.

In one embodiment, the lot extractor 502 randomly selects which instant lottery tickets are extracted from the aggregate lot 404. For example, a random selection process may be utilized to select ten million instant lottery tickets from the thirty million instant lottery tickets.

In yet another embodiment, the lot extractor 502 may select the instant lottery tickets from the aggregate lot 404 according to a sequential selection process. For example, the lot extractor 502 may select the first ten million instant lottery tickets from the aggregate lot 404.

FIG. 5B illustrates the lot extraction configuration 500 of FIG. 5A that may be utilized to generated more than one extracted lot or more than one group of extracted lots. The lot extractor 502 may output the extracted lot 504 or group of extracted lots 504, and one or more additional extracted lots 506. For example, in the example described in FIG. 5A, a first lot of ten million instant lottery tickets and a second lot of twenty million instant lottery tickets may be extracted. Three lots could potentially be extracted as the aggregate lot 404 included a lot size of thirty million instant lottery tickets. If more instant lottery tickets are needed, the lot reproducer 302 in FIG. 3 may be utilized generated more reproduced lots for the virtual file 308 to then be shuffled by the lot shuffler 402 in FIG. 4. The number of potential prizes, not the odds, change with an increase in the number of extracted lots.

In one embodiment, as the instant lottery tickets are printed with predetermined prize outcomes an validation codes, a process may be utilized such that subsets may be scanned to ensure that a minimum number of maximum prizes are present within any given subset prior to distribution. Accordingly, an extracted lot 504 would not be distributed to retailers without at least a minimum number of prizes in the maximum prize category being included within the extracted lot 504. However, no upper limit is established for the number of prizes in the maximum prize category within a given extracted lot. The ability to win a prize in the maximum prize category would remain a function of random selection and statistical probabilities.

In another embodiment, to ensure that instant lottery tickets would not be available for resale without one or more prizes in the maximum prize category remaining in the extracted lot 504, a fail-safe parameter may be utilized to trigger the production of one or more additional extracted lots 506 for retail distribution if the number of prizes in the maximum prize category remaining in non-activated books of unsold instant lottery ticket stock in the extracted lot 504 or group of extracted lots 504 reaches a specified value. For example, an additional extracted lot 506 may be extracted from the aggregate lot 404 when the number of the number of prizes in the maximum prize category remaining in non-activated books of unsold ticket stock in the extracted lot 504 reaches two. Accordingly, the additional extracted lots 506 may be printed, packaged into books, and made available for distribution to retailers so that the number of prizes in the maximum prize category would constantly be replenished and never reach zero.

In yet another embodiment, preservation is provided for a guaranteed low-end prize structure (“GLEPS”). As the instant lottery tickets may be printed with predetermined prize outcomes and validation codes, a process may be utilized prior to packaging and distribution such that extracted lots could be scanned to ensure that each book of instant lottery tickets includes a GLEPS. Accordingly, an extracted lot would not be provided to retailers without at least a minimum number of low-end prizes being included within each book of tickets within the extracted lot 504. However, no upper limit is established for the number of other prizes within a given extracted lot. The ability to win a prize would remain a function of random selection and statistical probabilities.

FIG. 6 illustrates a process 600 that may be utilized to extract a lot from an aggregate lot. At a process block 602, the process 600 generates an initial lot of instant lottery tickets. The initial lot has an initial lottery prize structure. The initial lottery prize structure has an initial lot size. The initial lottery prize structure has (i) a maximum prize category and corresponding maximum odds to win a maximum prize in the maximum prize category, and (ii) a secondary prize category and corresponding secondary odds to win a secondary prize in the secondary prize category. The initial lot has a predetermined number of maximum prizes in the maximum prize category and a predetermined number of secondary prizes in the secondary prize category. Each of the instant lottery tickets has at least one concealer that an instant lottery player removes to determine if a match exists. Further, at a process block 604, the process 600 generates a plurality of reproduced lots such that each of the reproduced lots in the plurality of reproduced lots is identical to the initial lot of instant lottery tickets. In one embodiment, the process 600 stores the plurality of reproduced lots in the reproduced lot virtual file 308. At a process block 606, the process 600 also shuffles the plurality of reproduced lots into an aggregate lot. In one embodiment, the aggregate lot has an aggregate lot size. Further, at a process block 608, the process 600 randomly selects an extracted lot of instant lottery tickets from the aggregate lot. The extracted lot has (i) an extracted lottery prize structure that has identical odds to the initial lottery prize structure without being limited to the predetermined number of maximum prizes in the maximum prize category and the predetermined number of secondary prizes in the secondary prize category, and (ii) an extracted lot size that is identical to the initial lot size. In one embodiment, the extracted lot size is a whole number multiple of the initial lot size such that the extracted lot is a subset of the aggregate lot. In another embodiment, the extracted lot size is less than the aggregate lot size. In yet another embodiment, the extracted lot size is less than or equal to the aggregate lot size. Accordingly, the extracted lot may be larger than the initial lot size. However, the odds for the extracted lot will still be identical to the odds for the initial lot. At a process block 610, the process 600 provides the instant lottery tickets from the extracted lot of instant lottery tickets to a plurality of instant lottery players. For example, an instant lottery ticket may be sold to a player for one dollar. Further, at a process block 612, the process 600 distributes the maximum prize to a player that obtains a match corresponding to the maximum prize. In addition, at a process block 614, the process 600 distributes the secondary prize to a player that obtains a match corresponding to the secondary prize.

In one embodiment, the possibility of having a number of maximum prizes that is limited only by the size of the extracted lot is ensured by the aggregate lot 404 having a number of maximum prizes that is greater than the extracted lot size. For example, if the aggregate lot 404 has one hundred million tickets with six thousand maximum prizes, then an extracted lot having a lot size of five thousand tickets has a possibility that all five thousand tickets are a maximum prize. That possibility is small, but still exists. The lot extraction may be accomplished physically or simulated using a stochastic/“Monte Carlo” process such as the selection of n random numbers from a uniform distribution. The stochastic/“Monte Carlo” process may take any form provided that a) There exists a probability greater than 0 that every item in the selected lot is a “winner” of the maximum prize and b) that all Cumulative Distribution/Probability Density functions, all parameters of the Cumulative Distribution/Probability Density Functions, and any other parameters that are needed to fully define the stochastic/“Monte Carlo” process are specified and set forth prior to game initiation.

The term maximum prize is defined herein to be the highest amount of a prize that may be won for an instant lottery game corresponding to an instant lottery ticket. Further, the term secondary prize is defined herein to be an amount of a prize less than the maximum that may be won for an instant lottery game corresponding to an instant lottery ticket. The secondary prize may be a prize that is the next lowest prize amount after the maximum prize or may be a prize that has a lower amount than the maximum prize and other prizes. In one embodiment, the process 600 may be utilized for more a maximum prize and a plurality of different secondary prizes that each have different prize amounts.

Any of the processes described above may be utilized with a configuration that aggregates or pools risk. The configuration may spread the risk of excess prize liability across multiple games regardless of price point. Within a single lottery entity, the configuration may allow the lottery to self-insure all the risk, partially self-insure the risk, i.e., insure some of the risk and allow a third party to insure the remainder of the risk, or fully transfer the risk to a third party entity. The risk is with respect to the payment of one or more prizes. With respect to multiple lottery entities, the configuration also allows the multiple lottery entities to self-insure all the risk, partially self-insure the risk, or fully transfer the risk to a third party entity.

The processes described herein allow games to be produced with a minimum expected payout expressed as a percentage of sales. Since, however, the total numbers of prizes within any single prize category are ultimately based on probabilities and random selection, no necessary maximum or finite numbers of prizes are implemented, no maximum expected payout expressed as a percentage of sales is implemented. Therefore, a lottery may advertise variable prize payout expectations with a lower expected value, but without any maximum expected payout percentage. The lower expected value could be given as a percentage of sales excluding any unclaimed prizes.

Further, the process described herein may be utilized for determination to end a game. A lottery may publish a date certain upon which sales of a given game will end. Alternatively, the lottery may announce the end of sales for a game at any time subsequent to the sale of all tickets in a first extracted lot or group of extracted lots made available for resale in the game. The amount of notice may be published in the official game rules for each game. In yet another alternative, a lottery may by game rule discontinue sale of any game if prize payout expressed as a percentage of total sales for the game reaches a specified value. For example, a lottery may establish a formula and publish a corresponding game rule permitting sales to end if prize payout for a given game reaches three hundred percent of sales. In one embodiment, the formula is inclusive of prizes in the maximum prize category. In another embodiment, the formula is exclusive of prizes in the maximum prize category. In yet another embodiment, the formula may be a combination of being inclusive of prizes in the maximum prize category and being exclusive of prizes in the maximum prize category.

The processes described herein may be implemented in a general, multi-purpose or single purpose processor. Such a processor will execute instructions, either at the assembly, compiled or machine-level, to perform the processes. Those instructions can be written by one of ordinary skill in the art following the description of the figures corresponding to the processes and stored or transmitted on a computer readable medium. The instructions may also be created using source code or any other known computer-aided design tool. A computer readable medium may be any medium capable of carrying those instructions and include a CD-ROM, DVD, magnetic or other optical disc, tape, silicon memory (e.g., removable, non-removable, volatile or non-volatile), packetized or non-packetized data through wireline or wireless transmissions locally or remotely through a network.

A computer is herein intended to include any device that has a general, multi-purpose or single purpose processor as described above. For example, a computer may be a lottery terminal, a kiosk, a vending machine, a set top box (“STB”), cell phone, portable media player, or the like.

FIG. 7 illustrates a block diagram of a station or system 700 that extracts lots from an aggregate lot. In one embodiment, the station or system 700 is implemented utilizing a general purpose computer or any other hardware equivalents. Thus, the station or system 700 comprises a processor 710, a memory 720, e.g., random access memory (“RAM”) and/or read only memory (ROM), a lot extraction module 740, and various input/output devices 730, (e.g., audio/video outputs and audio/video inputs, storage devices, including but not limited to, a tape drive, a floppy drive, a hard disk drive or a compact disk drive, a receiver, a transmitter, a speaker, a display, an image capturing sensor, e.g., those used in a digital still camera or digital video camera, a clock, an output port, a user input device (such as a keyboard, a keypad, a mouse, and the like, or a microphone for capturing speech commands)).

It should be understood that the lot extraction module 740 may be implemented as one or more physical devices that are coupled to the processor 710. For example, the lot extraction module 740 may include a plurality of modules. Alternatively, the lot extraction module 740 may be represented by one or more software applications (or even a combination of software and hardware, e.g., using application specific integrated circuits (ASIC)), where the software is loaded from a storage medium, (e.g., a magnetic or optical drive, diskette, or non-volatile memory) and operated by the processor in the memory 720 of the computer. As such, the lot extraction module 740 (including associated data structures) of the present disclosure may be stored on a computer readable medium, e.g., RAM memory, magnetic or optical drive or diskette and the like. In one embodiment, the processor 710 includes the lot extraction module 740 or performs the functions of the lot extraction module 740 without the need of the lot extraction module 740.

It is understood that the processes and systems described herein may also be applied in other types of processes and systems. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the various adaptations and modifications of the embodiments of the processes and systems described herein may be configured without departing from the scope and spirit of the present processes and systems. Therefore, it is to be understood that, within the scope of the appended claims, the present processes and systems may be practiced other than as specifically described herein.