Title:
SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR A LOTTERY GAME
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A lottery system that includes a device including a processor, a device storage, an input device, and a display and a server to communicate with the device. The server includes a datastore which includes a table of unique identifiers associated with predetermined outcomes and software. The server compares a unique identifier to the identifiers in the table and upon a match of the unique identifier with one of the identifiers in the table, the server validates the device to access the software. The software is retrievable from the server by the device and the software is downloadable by the device processor and storable on the device storage. The downloaded software is executable by the device and the unique identifier is transmitted to the software. The predetermined outcome of the unique identifier is revealed on the display.



Inventors:
Wolfe, William (ANNAPOLIS, MD, US)
Application Number:
12/632508
Publication Date:
07/08/2010
Filing Date:
12/07/2009
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
463/42, 463/43, 463/29
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
HOANG, BACH V
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
VENABLE LLP (WASHINGTON, DC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A lottery system, comprising: a device including a processor, a device storage, and a display; and a server to communicate with the device, the server including a datastore, wherein the datastore stores a table of unique identifiers and respective predetermined outcomes associated with the unique identifier, and software stored on the datastore, wherein the device transmits a unique identifier with a respective predetermined outcome to the server and the server compares the unique identifier to the identifiers in the table and upon a match of the unique identifier with one of the identifiers in the table, the server validates the device to access the software, wherein the software is retrievable and downloadable from the server by the device and storable on the device storage, wherein the downloaded software is executable by the processor and the unique identifier is transmitted to the software, and wherein the predetermined outcome of the unique identifier is revealed on the display.

2. The lottery system according to claim 1, wherein the unique identifier is associated with either a physical lottery ticket or a virtual lottery ticket.

3. The lottery system according to claim 1, wherein the physical lottery ticket comprises an electronic memory, circuit, or code with the unique identifier for storing the predetermined outcome.

4. The lottery system according to claim 3, wherein the device reads the electronic memory, the circuit, or the code to receive the unique identifier with associated predetermined outcome.

5. The lottery system according to claim 1, wherein the unique identifier comprises a barcode and/or a serial number.

6. The lottery system according to claim 1, wherein the device further comprises an input device, wherein the input device transmits the unique identifier with associated predetermined outcome to the software.

7. The lottery system according to claim 1, wherein the device comprises one of a phone, a computer, an electronic kiosk, a hand held electronic player, a custom reader, a wireless handheld device, or a personal digital assistant.

8. The lottery system according to claim 1, wherein the software comprises a game, a puzzle, an animation, or an electronic display.

9. The lottery system according to claim 1, wherein the predetermined outcome is a winning result or a message display.

10. The lottery system according to claim 1, wherein the predetermined outcome is independent of a winning result of a game of the software.

11. A lottery system, comprising: a device including a processor, a device storage containing software and a table of identifiers associated with respective predetermined outcomes, and a display, wherein the processor runs the software and a unique identifier with associated predetermined outcome is transmitted to the software, the unique identifier is compared to the identifiers in the table and upon a match of the unique identifier with one of the identifiers in the table, the predetermined outcome of the unique identifier is revealed on the display.

12. The lottery system according to claim 11, wherein the device further comprises an input device to transmit the unique identifier to the software

13. A lottery system, comprising: a device including a processor, a device storage, and a display; an account including a username, a password, settings, and financial information; and a server to communicate with the device, the server including software, and a datastore, wherein the datastore stores (a) a table of unique identifiers, (b) associated predetermined outcomes of the unique identifiers in the table, (c) the account, and (d) software, wherein the server communicates with the device to obtain entries for the username, password, settings, and financial information and stores the entries in the datastore, wherein upon a signal from the settings, the server transfers a unique identifier and associated predetermined outcome from the table to the account and the server permits the device to access to the software, wherein the software is downloadable by the processor and storable on the device storage, wherein the downloaded software is executable by the processor and the unique identifier of the account is transmittable to the downloaded software, and wherein the predetermined outcome of the unique identifier is revealed on the display.

14. The lottery system according to claim 13, wherein the device further comprises an input device to request the software from the server.

15. The lottery system according to claim 13, wherein the server transfers a prize to the account if the reveal of the predetermined outcome is a win.

16. A lottery system, comprising: a device including a processor, a device storage containing software and a first table of unique identifiers with associated predetermined outcomes, and a display; an account including a username, a password, settings, and financial information; and a server to communicate with the device, the server including a datastore, wherein the datastore stores the account and a second table of unique identifiers with associated predetermined outcomes, wherein the server communicates with the device to obtain entries for at least two of the username, password, settings, and financial information and stores the entries in the datastore, wherein upon a signal from the account, the server transfers a unique identifier with an associated predetermined outcome from the second table to the account and the unique identifier of the account is accessible by the device, wherein the software is executable by the processor and the unique identifier of the account is transmittable to the software, and the predetermined outcome of the unique identifier is revealed on the display.

17. A lottery method, comprising: storing software and a table of identifiers with associated predetermined outcomes on a datastore of a server; comparing, by the server, a unique identifier to the identifiers in the table; matching, by the server, the unique identifier with one of the identifiers in the table; validating, by the server, the device to access the software on the datastore; retrieving and downloading, by a device processor of the device, the software on the datastore; storing, by the device processor, the downloaded software on a device storage of the device; executing, by the device processor, the downloaded software on the device; transmitting the unique identifier with associated predetermined outcome to the software; and revealing, by the device processor, the associated predetermined outcome of the unique identifier on a display of the device.

18. A lottery method, comprising: storing, on a datastore of a server, a table of unique identifiers with associated predetermined outcomes, software, and an account which includes a username, password, settings, and financial information; obtaining, by the server, entries for the username, password, settings, and financial information from a device; storing, on the datastore, the entries for the username, password, settings, and financial information; transferring, by the server, a unique identifier with associated predetermined outcome from the table to the account; permitting, by the server, the device access to the software on the datastore; downloading, by a device processor of the device, the software onto device storage of the device; executing, by the device processor, the downloaded software; transmitting the unique identifier and associated predetermined outcome of the account to the downloaded software; and revealing the predetermined outcome of the unique identifier on a display of the device.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. application Ser. No. 11/248,615 entitled “System and Method for Providing Computer Gaming,” filed Oct. 13, 2005 and U.S. application Ser. No. 12/560,881 entitled “System and Method for a Lottery Game,” filed Sep. 16, 2009, both of which are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.

Additionally, U.S. application Ser. No. 11/248,614 in turn claims the benefit of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/162,219, filed on Jun. 5, 2002, which claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/295,582, filed on Jun. 5, 2001, the contents of both are incorporated herein by reference in their entireties.

FIELD

Embodiments of the application relate to a lottery system and method for revealing winnings associated with a lottery ticket using an electronic device. Embodiments of the application may provide for a more interactive lottery experience.

BACKGROUND OF THE APPLICATION

Many traditional lottery games involve scratching off a film to reveal a win or lose outcome. Once the film is removed, the entertainment value traditionally ends.

In some conventional paper instant ticket lottery system, a ticket generation system produces a randomized prize datastream comprising a finite series of win/lose outcomes. Each predetermined outcome is assigned to a lottery ticket, and each ticket contains one or more game chances which yield the assigned predetermined outcome. An individual cannot change the ticket outcome, he or she merely scratches off certain areas of the ticket in accordance with the rules of the game to reveal the outcome. The ticket contains indicia which indicates to the individual win/lose results or prize status, and the type of prize (e.g., cash or a free ticket). The aggregate of all winning outcomes in any randomized prize datastream may be a predetermined percentage payout of the total revenues that would be generated by the sale of all of the tickets incorporating that particular randomized prize datastream.

As a matter of practice, each ticket is assigned a unique ticket serial number for validation purposes which identifies that ticket with a specific outcome, and a batch number which links the ticket to a master carton in which groups of tickets are shipped to lottery retailers in specific quantities. The ticket serial number is usually concealed beneath the foil of the ticket. The batch number is typically visible on the ticket in the form of a bar code. All tickets in a given master carton are part of the same ticket lot and are sold at the same price point. Each master carton is labeled with a unique master carton serial number which is tracked by a central computer associated with the lottery authority. A central system may also store every ticket serial number and the associated outcome for that ticket. When the instant tickets are to be sold to individuals, the lottery retailer communicates the master carton serial number via his on-line agent terminal to the lottery central computer and thereby activates all of the paper instant tickets in each master carton. This action activates all of the ticket serial numbers in that master carton, and typically causes the lottery retailer's lottery bank account to be automatically debited for the wholesale cost of that master carton within a specified time period.

To redeem a winning paper lottery ticket, the individual presents the same to a redeeming agent, either at a lottery retailer or lottery office, or mails the ticket in for redemption. To effectuate the redemption process, the redeeming agent scans the bar code on the ticket which represents the batch serial number on the ticket through a bar code scanner associated with the agent terminal. The ticket agent also enters the ticket serial number into the agent terminal. These ticket serial numbers are transmitted to the central system for purposes of validation. When the central system receives a validation request, it validates a ticket's value using the particular ticket and batch serial numbers to confirm that the ticket came from an activated master carton. If the ticket's value is confirmed as a proper payout, the system authorizes the lottery retailer to pay the individual cash or provide another prize (e.g., a free ticket).

In other paper instant ticket systems, there is no lottery central system which manages the system. The lottery retailer simply buys tickets from a printer, resells them to individuals, and then handles all aspects of validation and payment of winnings.

Paper instant ticket systems suffer from several drawbacks. These include the costs of printing tickets, the physical inventory costs, the costs to the lottery authority and retailer associated with unsold tickets, the inability to effectively offer low-price games (e.g., $0.25, $0.10), the limited game choices for the individual, and the stigma associated with paper tickets as appealing toward lower income individuals, among others.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,024,640 to Walker et al., incorporated herein by reference in its entirety, describes a system for playing instant-type lottery games on a gaming computer. The Walker et al. system overcomes some of the drawbacks associated with the paper instant ticket systems; however, this system has drawbacks. According to the '640 patent, the individual purchases a number of predetermined outcomes from a lottery retailer. After purchase of the predetermined outcomes, the predetermined outcomes are obtained from a central computer and then must be loaded onto the gaming computer. The predetermined outcomes are loaded onto the gaming computer at the point of sale and after purchase by the individual. A complex series of computer processes are initiated by the lottery retailer's computer to obtain the predetermined outcomes from the central computer after purchase by the individual. The lottery retailer's computer provides a coded message, in response to the communications with the central computer, containing the predetermined outcomes from the central computer. The individual or lottery retailer enters the coded message into the gaming computer. The coded message causes the gaming computer to generate the predetermined outcomes to enable play on the gaming computer.

Consequently, in the game system of the '640 patent, the gaming computer can only be activated at certain locations where the lottery retailer's computers are present. Thus, the availability of and access to the gaming computers is limited. Furthermore, the game system of the '640 patent requires the lottery authority and lottery retailers to acquire hardware and software in additional to that used in conjunction with traditional paper instant tickets.

In addition, an increased use of hand-held game devices is a result of the need for portability and accessibility in games, and such features are needed for lottery ticket games. Furthermore, there is need for a simple and cost effective process to provide paper and paperless instant-type lottery game systems.

SUMMARY

In an embodiment of the application, a lottery system includes a device including a processor, a device storage, an input device, and a display and a server to communicate with the device. The server includes a datastore which includes a table of unique identifiers and software. The server compares a unique identifier to the table identifiers and upon a match of the unique identifier with a table identifier having the same unique identifier, the server validates the device to access the software. The software is retrievable from the server by the device and the software is downloadable by the device processor and storable on the device storage. The downloaded software is executable by the device and the unique identifier is transmitted into the software. The execution of the software reveals a predetermined outcome of the unique identifier on the display.

An embodiment of the application includes a system and method for providing remote instant type lottery games using preprogrammed game cartridges for use in portable gaming computers. The instant type games are presented on a portable gaming cartridge. Predetermined outcomes are pre-programmed into the portable gaming cartridge. The pre-programming may be done during manufacture of the portable gaming cartridge or at the point of sale. Alternately, the portable gaming cartridge may be updated with new programming at one or more locations. Games that yield at least one of the predetermined outcomes are presented on a display. In embodiments of the application, the portable gaming cartridge may be programmed at a central location and presented to an individual at the same location with a portable gaming computer as a ready to play unit. Thus, the gaming cartridge can be sold at virtually any location and does not necessarily require activation to be played. However, there may be a validation process that is carried out before any winnings from playing the gaming cartridge on the gaming computer are paid out.

In another embodiment of the application, a programmed game cartridge for use with a computer gaming device for executing computer readable program code is provided. The cartridge comprising a computer readable memory for storing a computer readable program code for execution by the computer gaming device, wherein the computer readable program code includes instructions for causing the computer gaming device i) to generate and present a game for yielding at least one of a number of predetermined outcomes, ii) to keep a running balance of amounts won from the predetermined outcomes, and iii) upon receipt of a stop signal, to store the amount of the running balance and prevent other games from being played; and a connector for electrically connecting the programmed game cartridge to the computer gaming device.

According to an embodiment of the application, a system for a remote lottery game on a cartridge is provided. According to one embodiment, the system comprises a gaming cartridge having a program stored in a computer memory. When inserted into a gaming computer and activated by an individual, the program generates one of a number of predetermined outcomes on a display of the gaming computer. The predetermined outcomes may be pre-programmed into the computer memory directly via a programming computer. In embodiments of the application, a portable data storage unit is associated with the portable gaming cartridge. The portable data storage unit stores an identifier for the gaming cartridge and the predetermined outcomes programmed into that gaming cartridge.

According to embodiments of the application, a central computer or a data store is provided with a memory storing the identifiers for each gaming cartridge and associating the predetermined outcomes programmed into the gaming cartridge's computer memory with the identifier for that gaming cartridge. In further embodiments of the application, a validation computer is provided for reading the portable data storage unit and generating a redemption request based thereon, communicating the redemption request to the central computer and receiving a validation message from the central computer. In additional embodiments, the central computer may also include a processor to compare the redemption request and the identifier and associated predetermined outcomes for the gaming computer and to generate the validation message based on the comparison.

According to embodiments of the application, a portable gaming cartridge is inserted into a portable gaming computer for use. The portable gaming computer according to embodiments of the application; includes a computer processor, a display, a locking button that when actuated by the individual generates a stop signal and a socket into which a portable gaming cartridge may be inserted. A computer readable memory storing computer readable program code device causes the computer processor to generate and present on the display at least one game that yields at least one of the predetermined outcomes, to keep a running balance of amounts won from the predetermined outcomes, and upon receipt of the stop signal, to store the amount of the current running balance and prevent additional games from being played.

In a further embodiment, the computer readable memory further includes a computer readable program code device for causing the computer processor to set a flag indicating the stop signal has been generated. Additionally, the computer readable program code device may also cause the computer processor to generate a redemption request, the redemption request including the flag and the current running balance.

According to another embodiment of the application, a computer lottery system is provided. The system includes a portable gaming computer with a gaming cartridge having a computer readable memory storing the computer readable program code device therein. The program code causes the gaming computer's computer processor to generate and present on the display at least one game that yields at least one of the predetermined outcomes, to keep a running balance of amounts won from the displayed predetermined outcomes, and upon receipt of the stop signal, stores the amount of the current running balance, prevent additional games from being played and predetermined outcomes from being presented, to generate a redemption request, the redemption request including the flag and the current running balance.

A central computer is provided with a computer readable memory storing identifiers for each gaming cartridge and associating the predetermined outcomes in the portable gaming cartridge's computer readable memory with the unique identifier. The computer readable memory in the central computer stores computer readable program code device for causing a central computer processor to check the redemption request against the unique identifier and associated predetermined outcomes and generate a validation message in response to the redemption request. When the flag is set, the validation message includes an instruction to pay the current running balance. A validation computer is provided to receive the redemption request from the gaming cartridge, communicate the redemption request to the central computer and receive and process the validation message to enable any payoff.

Another embodiment of the application includes a method of providing a remote lottery game. A number of predetermined outcomes for the lottery game are generated. In an alternative embodiment, at least one of the predetermined outcomes is programmed into a memory of a gaming cartridge before the gaming cartridge is presented at a point of sale. The gaming cartridge may be validated at the point of sale. The predetermined outcomes stored in the memory can be associated with an identifier for the gaming cartridge. In another embodiment, the predetermined outcomes are programmed into the memory before payment for the gaming cartridge.

In a further embodiment, the gaming cartridge comprises a program stored in a computer memory. The program generates on a display one of the number of predetermined outcomes that are stored in the memory when activated by an individual. The predetermined outcomes may be progressively revealed on the display. The individual can select the manner in which the predetermined outcomes are progressive revealed.

In yet another embodiment, a computer gaming device is provided. The device comprises a display, player input controls, a computer processor and a gaming cartridge. A computer readable memory in the gaming cartridge stores the computer readable program code device for causing the computer processor to generate and present on the display a game that yields at least one of the predetermined outcomes. The predetermined outcome may be revealed on the display in a progressive manner in response to input from the individual input controls.

A further embodiment provides a lottery system with a device and a server. The device may download a program using information on a lottery ticket. The device reveals the predetermined outcome of the lottery ticket by executing the downloaded program instead of using a program stored on the preprogrammed gaming cartridge and portable gaming computer to access the predetermined outcomes. In another embodiment, the program may be downloaded using an account with virtual lottery tickets instead of a physical lottery ticket.

A pre-determined lottery ticket with a unique identifier may be purchased. The unique identifier may be used to access a downloaded program on the device. The device may run the program and reveal whether the lottery ticket is a winning ticket or losing ticket (i.e., the predetermined outcome), for example, at the end of the program.

In another embodiment of the invention, an electronic device may be used to reveal results associated with the predetermined lottery ticket. The unique identifier of the lottery ticket may have the predetermined results preprogrammed or coded on the lottery ticket itself. The lottery ticket results may reside in an electronic memory, circuit, or may be encoded on the lottery ticket.

In another embodiment, an account may be established to purchase virtual tickets that have predetermined outcomes. The virtual tickets may eliminate the need to print physical tickets and the virtual lottery tickets may allow for an electronic paperless system. A unique identifier of the virtual ticket may be used to download a previously downloaded program from a server or to access a downloaded program on the device. The device may run the program and reveal the results of the virtual lottery ticket.

The above and other embodiments are accomplished according to one aspect of the invention wherein there is provided a system for a lottery which includes, according to one embodiment: A lottery system, comprising: a device including a processor, a device storage, and a display; and a server to communicate with the device, the server including a datastore, wherein the datastore stores a table of unique identifiers and respective predetermined outcomes associated with the unique identifier, and software stored on the datastore, wherein the device transmits a unique identifier with a respective predetermined outcome to the server and the server compares the unique identifier to the identifiers in the table and upon a match of the unique identifier with one of the identifiers in the table, the server validates the device to access the software, wherein the software is retrievable and downloadable from the server by the device and storable on the device storage, wherein the downloaded software is executable by the processor and the unique identifier is transmitted to the software, and wherein the predetermined outcome of the unique identifier is revealed on the display.

According to one aspect of the invention, there is provided a system for a lottery which includes, according to one embodiment: A lottery method, comprising: storing software and a table of identifiers with associated predetermined outcomes on a datastore of a server; comparing, by the server, a unique identifier to the identifiers in the table; matching, by the server, the unique identifier with one of the identifiers in the table; validating, by the server, the device to access the software on the datastore; retrieving and downloading, by a device processor of the device, the software on the datastore; storing, by the device processor, the downloaded software on a device storage of the device; executing, by the device processor, the downloaded software on the device; transmitting the unique identifier with associated predetermined outcome to the software; and revealing, by the device processor, the associated predetermined outcome of the unique identifier on a display of the device.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The subject matter of the application will be more readily understood from the following detailed description when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIGS. 1A and 1B are schematics of a gaming computer, according to an embodiment of the invention;

FIGS. 1C-1E illustrate another embodiment of a gaming computer;

FIG. 2 is a block diagram of the central computer, according to an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 3 is a diagram of a memory arrangement in the central computer, according to an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 4 is a block diagram of the components in a gaming computer, according to an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 5 is a block diagram of the controller in the gaming computer, according to an embodiment of the invention;

FIGS. 6-8 are diagrams of memory arrangements in the gaming computer, according to an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 9 is a detailed view of the lottery system and method according to an embodiment of the application;

FIG. 10 is a detailed view of the lottery system and method according to another embodiment of the application; and

FIG. 11 is a detailed view of a lottery system and method with virtual lottery tickets according to another embodiment of the application.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

A lottery system is provided whereby instant “tickets” or pseudo-choice games with a predetermined outcome or probability based games may be provided on a gaming cartridge or downloaded from a server and rendered on a device such as a gaming computer or mobile device. The device may include, but is not limited to, a computer, personal digital/desktop assistant, a cellular phone, an electronic kiosk, a hand held electronic player, a custom reader, or any device that is able to transmit or receive data or a device is capable of receiving and operating with the gaming cartridge. Using the device, a player can participate in a lottery at any location as with instant paper tickets and be provided with enhanced play value through computer simulation and automation of games on the gaming computer.

In an embodiment of the present invention, the predetermined outcomes are pre-programmed into the gaming cartridge before it is provided to the individual. That is, the gaming cartridge is programmed with the predetermined outcomes before it arrives at the point of sale or before purchase by a player. This may be done by pre-programming a computer memory in the gaming cartridge with the predetermined outcomes during manufacture of the gaming cartridge. Thus, the gaming cartridge can be ready for play as soon as it is purchased, without any action necessary by the individual or retailer to activate or enable play of the gaming cartridge on the gaming computer. In an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the gaming cartridge can be offered for sale at any location. In embodiments, the predetermined outcomes of the games stored in the computer memory may also be coded in a portable data storage unit associated with the gaming cartridge or also with the gaming computer. The portable data storage unit may be, according to embodiments, a bar code on the gaming cartridge or also in a memory of the gaming cartridge. The portable data storage unit may also store an identifier for the gaming cartridge. The predetermined outcomes and identifier may be read from the bar codes or memory during a redemption process, described below, and validated.

An embodiment illustrating one use of the gaming cartridge with bar code as a portable data storage unit follows. When a bar code is used as the portable data storage unit, the gaming cartridge may be used in connection with the redemption system for paper instant tickets described above. For example, to effectuate the redemption process, the lottery retailer scans the bar code on the gaming cartridge which represents the predetermined outcomes programmed in the gaming cartridge and the identifier for the gaming cartridge through a bar code scanner associated with an agent terminal. A central computer activates an on-line validation program which queries a database using the particular gaming cartridge identifier and the predetermined outcomes to confirm the redemption request. If this information is confirmed, the validation program authorizes the lottery retailer to pay the individual. Thus, no additional hardware or software, beyond that which described herein is required by the lottery retailer or lottery authority. If a bar code is used as a portable storage unit, the barcode representing the predetermined outcomes should be arranged on the gaming cartridge so it cannot be read before the gaming cartridge is purchased or is removed from its packaging. For example, the bar code may be covered with a thin layer of latex similar to that used in scratch-off games.

In another embodiment, the gaming cartridge or the device with the downloaded software is provided with logic to enable a gaming computer or the device to employ a lock or “freeze” feature that may be activated by the individual. When activated, the “freeze” feature prevents further play on the gaming computer/device and in embodiments may prevent changes to the gaming cartridge or software. In embodiments, any amounts that have been won by the individual are “frozen” in the gaming computer or device, for example, on a display of the current amount won and in a memory. The freeze feature provides the individual with a sense of security that they will not “lose” their winnings by further play or a gaming computer malfunction. In embodiments, the individual may redeem the amounts frozen. In embodiments, any amount of winnings resulting from predetermined outcomes not revealed may be forfeited.

According to embodiments of the present invention, the gaming cartridge or software on the device may also be programmed to show advertisements on the display of the gaming computer or the device. For example, after every ten plays, an advertisement is shown to the individual.

An embodiment of a gaming computer 2 with gaming cartridge 502 is shown in FIG. 1A. An alphanumeric display 3 is provided to display information regarding the game being played by the user. The display 3 may include two general fields. A first field 4 of the display 3 indicates the remaining number of predetermined outcomes or “plays” in the gaming computer 2. This field 4 of display 3 may count down to zero, indicating no more plays remain or it may count up to the number of plays remaining or purchased in the game cartridge. A second field 5 of the display 3 shows the results of the game being played by the individual. The second field 5 may be divided into a number of sub-fields that present items indicating winning and losing plays.

According to one embodiment of the invention, the object of the game is to have an indicator, such as the word “Millionaire” shown on the display 3. When this word appears and the following is merely an embodiment, alternatives to which would be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art, based at least on the teachings provided herein, the individual wins the “grand prize”, for example, one million dollars. Accordingly, in field 5, ten sub-fields are provided as shown in FIG. 1A. Each sub-field can display one of the letters of the word “Millionaire”. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1A, the letter “M” is already provided to the individual. If the sub-fields of the display 3 spell the remainder of the word “Millionaire” after a play, the individual wins the grand prize. If “Millionaire” does not appear, the individual did not win on that particular play and may continuing playing. Play may continue until the field 4 indicates no plays remain in the gaming computer. Of course, any word other than “Millionaire” may also be used to indicate a winner such as, but not limited to “Billionaire” or “Jackpot”, and of course not limited to English language. Moreover, many other items or games, such as cards, slot machines, current scratch-off games, etc., can be shown on the display 3.

In a further embodiment, the field 5 of display 3 may spell words or present numbers in addition to the grand prize word. For example, six of the sub-fields may also be designated as “winners”. These sub-fields may display one of the amounts of $10, $100, $1,000, $10,000, or $100,000. When any of these amounts is shown, the individual wins that amount of money. A winner display 6 may also be provided on the gaming computer to display a running total of the amount the individual has won. As play continues and the individual wins additional amounts, these amounts are added to the running total and shown in the winner display 6.

Still referring to FIG. 1A, the operation of an embodiment of the gaming computer is now described. According to embodiments of the present invention three player controls may be provided on the gaming computer 2 for operating the gaming cartridge 502 while inserted into the gaming computer 2. Button 7 is an on/off button that turns the gaming computer on and off. During periods of non-use, the gaming computer may be turned off to conserve power. Embodiments of gaming computer 2 with an Alternating Current (A/C) adaptor instead of or supplemental to the battery are possible and one of ordinary skill in the art would recognize how to implement such functionality. Button 8 is a play button. According to embodiments of the present invention, the button 8 may include more than one physical button. These buttons may be configured to perform different functions on the game. As such, and depending on the type of game, depressing button 8 activates the game and causes the predetermined outcomes to be shown on the display 3.

Button 9 is a lock button. Depressing this button “freezes” the gaming computer in its current state. Thus, the gaming computer may not progress when “frozen.” Additionally, when button 9 is depressed, the information in field 5 of display 3 and in winning display 6 is frozen and does not change. This feature is particularly useful after the individual has a winning play and wishes to secure the gaming computer so it can easily be verified. Any additional winning plays or predetermined outcomes that may remain on the gaming cartridge and are not played after the gaming computer is frozen may not be paid to the individual. In alternative embodiments, the gaming cartridge may be “unfrozen”, remaining plays completed, and the total winnings updates as described herein. In embodiments, only the amount shown in winner display is paid. A more detailed description of the operation of the gaming cartridge is provided below.

Also shown in FIG. 1A, the features of the gaming computer 2 and gaming cartridge 502 are shown schematically. A connector 504 is provided on the gaming cartridge 502. The connector 502 is received in a corresponding opening 506 provided on the gaming computer 2. Connection of the connector 504 to the opening 506 allows the games and other information stored on the gaming cartridge 502 to be read by the gaming computer 2. The connector 504 on the gaming cartridge 502 and the corresponding opening 506 may be constructed similar to a conventional video game cartridge and player, such as a Nintendo Game Boy and the like. Alternatively, the game cartridge 502 may communicate with the gaming computer 2 in other ways, for example via a USB port, a wireless connection, serial adaptor, etc. Optionally, the gaming cartridge 502 may be ejected from the gaming computer 2 via a button 508.

Another embodiment of a gaming computer 2 is shown in FIG. 1B. This embodiment also includes a display 3, play button 8, and on/off button 7 as well a gaming cartridge 602. The display 3 may show any type of image, for example, pictorial and/or alphanumerical images. The gaming computer 2 shown in FIG. 1B. includes additional player controls for playing the games stored on cartridge 502. A game button 200 allows the individual to select from a number of different games that may be programmed in the gaming cartridge 502. Buttons 202a-g are provided under corresponding areas of the display 3. For example, each button 202 may be arranged under a corresponding sub-field 5a-5g. As such, and depending on the game, by actuating a button 202 under one of the sub-fields 5a-5g, an image corresponding to that sub-field is revealed. For example, actuating button 202a reveals the image in sub-field 5a. The remaining sub-fields are not revealed until the individual actuates the corresponding button. The buttons may be actuated in any order and may be configured to perform different functions in the game. Thus, the individual can control the way in which the predetermined outcome is revealed on the display 3. The revealing of the images on display 3 may simulate the scratching of an instant ticket. Other methods for progressively revealing the predetermined outcome can also be used. Moreover, a keypad 204 may be provided for the individual to enter security codes, passwords, or other information.

FIGS. 1C-1E illustrate another embodiment of a gaming computer 2. As shown in FIG. 1C, the gaming computer 2 includes display 3 having first field 4 indicating the number of games remaining and winner display 6 to display a running total of the amount a player has won. Second field 5 may be used to show the play of the game. Play buttons 8 are used to play the game. In the embodiment shown, the housing of the gaming computer includes side panels that are ergonomically designed to accommodate a user's hands. The gaming cartridge 502 is inserted into what is shown as a top side of the gaming computer 2. A gaming computer 2 may also be provided with speakers in order to produce sounds associated with a game being played. A mute button may be provided on the gaming computer in order to mute the sounds of the game. The eject button 508 may be provided on one of the side panels of the gaming computer 2 as is shown in FIG. 1D.

FIGS. 1E and 1F are top and back views, respectively, of the gaming computer 2. As shown in FIG. 1E, the illustrated embodiment comprises a recess 506 for receiving the gaming cartridge 502. A portion of the housing of the gaming computer may be cut away around the slot in order to allow a user to more easily insert and remove the gaming cartridge. For example, the housing may define a detent 507 around recess 506 as best seen in FIG. 1F. A cover 510 encloses a battery compartment provided in the gaming computer 2. A power supply, such as a rechargeable battery, may also be stored in the battery compartment to provide power to the gaming computer. The gaming cartridge 502 may be provided power by a battery or power source from the battery compartment or alternatively may be provided with its own battery. In embodiments, the battery from the gaming cartridge 502 may also be used to power the gaming computer 2.

Turning now to FIG. 2, there is depicted a lottery system generally characterized in a first embodiment by the reference numeral 10, and principally comprised of a lottery authority 11 having a central computer 12, a programming computer 13, a network 14 which provides remote terminal access to the central computer 12 and connects the programming computer to the central computer, a plurality of agent terminals (AT) 16 associated with various lottery retailers 18, and a plurality of gaming computer units 20 which reveal purchased “tickets” outcomes. The gaming cartridge 502 may be adapted to be received in and/or communicate with each of the previously mentioned components. The term “lottery authority” is used in the general sense and is intended to include any wagering authority, public or private, which sells no choice (e.g., scratch-off lottery tickets, bingo or a sweepstakes), pseudo-choice (e.g., video poker) games, probability-based games, or races of skill having a predetermined outcome if the individual plays correctly. The term “lottery retailers” includes any merchant where an AT 16 is located. Also, the central computer 12 and the programming computer 13 may be the same computer.

FIG. 2 is a schematic block diagram depicting an overview of the system components according to one embodiment of the invention. The central computer 12, network 14 and ATs 16 may be connected in similar fashion as those in the prior art used to dispense instant paper tickets. With respect to the present invention, each AT 16 may include a bar code scanner or other scanning device 24, a communications interface 26 for physically coupling the gaming cartridge 502 to the AT 16 to electrically communicate signals with the gaming cartridge 502 through a compatible communications interface. The communication with the gaming cartridge 502 may take place via the gaming computer 20, and/or a read/write interface 27 for reading and writing data to data memory media. These may be used to read and verify the predetermined outcomes stored on the gaming cartridge 502 during a redemption process, described below.

FIG. 3 is a block diagram showing details of an example of the central computer 12, which generally includes a CPU 30, memory 32, an I/O interface 34 for loading programs into memory 32, and a communications interface 35 for communicating through the network 14 with the programming computer and the ATs 16. The central computer 12 may also communicate through a base station network 15 with a plurality of base stations having transceivers for broadcasting and receiving RF signals to communicate messages directly between the central computer 12 and the gaming computer 20 or gaming cartridge 502 in an alternative embodiment. The central computer has software or firmware which are used to implement various functions in the system.

FIG. 4 depicts an exemplary memory arrangement of programs and data stored in the central computer 12. Memory 32 includes an operating system program 33 which controls the central computer 12 in a conventional manner and need not be described in detail. The central computer 12 preferably has a memory area 36 in memory 32 for each gaming cartridge 502 in which specific information is stored to enable the central computer 12 to keep track of what has been assigned to that gaming cartridge 502 to provide for the redemption of winnings and to ensure that the gaming cartridge 502 is a verified unit in connection with a given transaction. Data in memory 36 may be retrieved and updated as required in order to perform the desired functions.

A gaming cartridge 502 should be initially registered with the lottery authority 11 when it is programmed. In this connection, identification information is initially stored in memory 32 of the central computer 12. The identification information includes a unit identifier or gaming cartridge ID stored in a field 37 and optionally an outcome variable stored in a field 38. The ID may constitute an identifier which is unique to each gaming cartridge. Similarly, the outcome variable may constitute a representation of the predetermined outcomes which have been programmed onto the particular gaming cartridge. In one exemplary embodiment, the outcome variable is used as a way to prevent fraud. This may be done by comparing the predetermined outcomes stored in field 38 in the central computer with the outcomes read from the gaming cartridge 502 during the redemption process. Any differences between these two sets of outcomes may indicate the gaming cartridge has been tampered with and the outcomes may be voided. The total amount of winning assigned to the gaming cartridge may be stored in field 39.

A block diagram of a memory 40 of an exemplary programming computer is shown in FIG. 5. The programming computer generally includes a CPU, memory 40, an I/O interface for loading programs into memory 40, and a communications interface for communicating through the network 14 with the central computer. Memory 40 includes an operating system program 41 which controls the programming computer in a conventional manner and need not be described in detail. The programming computer preferably includes a program 42 stored in memory for generating a random prize datastream (“RPD”) 44 which is a pool containing a finite series of win/lose outcomes F1 . . . Fn (e.g., . . . win $2, win $2, lose, lose, win $10, lose, lose . . . etc). The aggregate of all winning outcomes in any RPD 44 may be a predetermined percentage payout of the total revenues to be generated by the sale of all “tickets” represented by the outcomes in the RPD 44. When a gaming cartridge is programmed, the programming computer utilizes an outcome assignment program 48 which randomly selects outcomes from the RPD 44 to be assigned to a particular gaming cartridge 502. The gaming cartridge's ID and outcomes associated with the ID are communicated to central computer 12 via the network or any other means and stored in fields 37 and 38, respectively. The predetermined outcomes are programmed or stored into the memory of the gaming cartridge.

Referring now to FIGS. 6 and 7, the gaming computer 20 in a preferred embodiment is a hand-held unit having a controller 82, a display 3, and player controls 86. Preferably the gaming computer 20 includes one or more of the following: a printer interface 88a for connecting the gaming computer 20 to an external printer, an internal printer 88b, a bar code scanner 90, a communications interface 92 compatible for connecting the gaming computer 20 to the gaming cartridge 802 to enable the gaming computer 20 to electrically communicate directly with the gaming cartridge 802, a read/write interface 94 for reading data from and writing data to a smart card, a modem 96 for connecting the gaming computer 20 directly to a network 14 coupled to the central computer 12 in an alternative embodiment, and an antenna 115 coupled to a transceiver for broadcasting and receiving messages to and from a base station associated with central computer 12 in another alternative embodiment. In an alternative embodiment, the gaming cartridge 502 may be provided with the various interfaces, modems, etc. mentioned above.

Gaming cartridge 802 may include one or more memory types. In the embodiment shown, a memory 814 is coupled to a controller 812. Memory 814 may be provided with an alternate path via connector 810 to more directly communicate with the controller 82 in the gaming computer. The memory 814 is shown in more detail in FIG. 8 described below. The gaming cartridge 802 may be powered by battery 20, but may also be provided with its own battery 816. Battery 816 may be a rechargeable battery, which may be recharged via the gaming computer. The controller 812 may execute the programs stored in memory 814 or retrieve information stored in memory 814 and provide the results to the gaming computer via connector 810. Connector 810 is adapted to communicate with the plug-in interface 92 provided in the gaming computer.

The individual controls 86 may be integrated into display 3 in a touch-screen arrangement of the type known in the art. The display 3 may also include the capability to render messages in a bar code readable format to enable scanning by the bar code scanner 24 coupled to the AT 16. The individual controls 86 allow the individual to play the various games and enable the freeze feature. The controller 82 may include a CPU 98, a clock 101 and memory 100 comprised of ROM and RAM in a conventional arrangement. Memory 100 may include an operating system which controls the gaming computer 20 in a conventional manner. The controller 82 may be optionally housed in a tamper-evident enclosure to reveal to the lottery authority 11 any suspected tampering with the gaming computer. The CPU 98 communicates with the individual controls 86 through a control interface 103, and with video generation hardware 104 for driving the display 3, and sound generation hardware 106 coupled to a speaker 108 for communicating game sounds. The CPU 98 communicates with the printer interface 88a or the internal printer 88b, bar code scanner 90, interface 92, read/write interface 94, and modem 96 through conventional I/O interfaces shown generally in the block diagram at 114. The CPU 98 may communicate with RF circuitry 113 coupled to an antenna 115 for communicating messages directly with the central computer 12 via the base station.

Referring now to FIG. 8, there is depicted an exemplary memory arrangement 814 of programs and data in the gaming cartridge. With respect to the present invention, programs and data in memory 814 enable the gaming cartridge to generate games which yield the predetermined outcomes. As described above with respect to the central computer memory 32, each gaming cartridge may store an identifier (ID) in field 116. A password (or multiple passwords for multiple players on a single gaming computer 20) may be stored in field 122. When a player activates the gaming computer 20, a password security program 124 may check the individual's password in a conventional manner before allowing the individual to continue. The predetermined outcomes are stored in field 132. Accompanying this data may be the price point for each outcome in field 136, the net payoff in field 138, and the time/date of entry in field 140.

The memory 814 may also include an accounting program 154 which directs the gaming computer 20 to calculate the running cash balance which is stored in an account 155 in field 156. The amount stored in account 155 may be displayed in winner display 6.

The gaming cartridge memory may include a lock program 158. The lock program 158 is initiated when the individual triggers button 9. This actuation sends a signal the gaming computer's central processor 98. As mentioned above, the lock feature locks-in the current amount won and prevent further play of the gaming computer. Accordingly, the lock program 158 communicates with the accounting program 154 and instructs the accounting program 154 to make no changes to account 155 after the signal is received. The amount stored in account 155 is saved in memory and preferably cannot be altered. Additionally, the lock program 158 sets a freeze flag 160 in the gaming computer's memory. When set, the freeze flag 160 indicates a player has activated the freeze feature by triggering button 9. The freeze flag 160 is detected during the redemption process, described below, so that the correct amount is paid to the individual. That is, the amount stored in account 155 and not the amount associated with all the predetermined outcomes that have been assigned to the gaming computer, is paid to the individual.

The gaming computer cartridge memory may further include a redemption program which is used to cash-out the individual's current credit balance in the individual's account. In the example shown, the redemption program 162 enables the individual to select a cash-out function on the gaming computer 20. The redemption program 158 then directs the gaming computer 20 to generate a redemption request message RRM which is communicated to the central computer 12. Redemption request messages RRM are used by the redemption program 79 in the central computer 12 to verify cash-out requests by comparing gaming cartridge identification data and outcome data (net winnings, the number of games played) for a given gaming cartridge. In an exemplary embodiment, the redemption request message includes the freeze flag and the amount in account 155. The central computer evaluates this information and generates a validation message. For example, if the freeze flag is set, the central computer compares the amount in account 155 with the amount stored in net payoff field 138. If the amount in account 155 is less than the amount in field 138, the validation message instructs the lottery retailer to pay the amount in account 155. The central computer may also compare the amounts in field 138 and account 155 to determine if the gaming computer has been tampered with.

The redemption request message RRM may be generated on the display 3 of the gaming computer 20 and orally provided to the agent at a lottery retailer 18 for manual entry into the AT 16. The redemption request message RRM can be printed onto a receipt, either by an internal or external printer 88b associated with the gaming computer 20, or by a printer 22 at the lottery retailer via the printer interface 88a, which receipt is then provided to the agent. In this connection, the redemption request message RRM may be rendered on the display 3 or on the receipt 30 in a bar code readable format and scanned by the bar code scanner 24 at the AT 16.

In another embodiment, the barcode is placed on the gaming cartridge during manufacture in an area where in cannot be read until the gaming cartridge is removed from its packaging. In another embodiment, the redemption request message RRM may be written to the gaming cartridge and then read therefrom by the AT 16. In yet another embodiment, the redemption request message RRM can be communicated to the central computer 12 over the telephone network 14 via the modem 96. In still another embodiment, the redemption request message RRM may be communicated from the gaming computer 20 or the gaming cartridge to the central computer 12 through an RF transmission to either the AT 16 or the central computer 12. The redemption request message RRM may be encrypted using an authentication/encryption program for subsequent decryption by the central computer 12 using an authentication/encryption program in its memory. The redemption request message RRM can be encrypted using encryption keys known only to the central computer 12 and the specific gaming cartridge. These may include the ID and the outcome variable.

The gaming cartridge memory 200 may include an audit program 166 which stores a record of all activity performed on the gaming computer 20 to assist in protecting data integrity and to verify that the various programs in memory 200 have not been tampered with. The audit program 160 further provides a record of player activity for the individual and the lottery authority 11 in the event of any dispute.

Referring to FIG. 9, there is shown an exemplary embodiment of a lottery system 900. A lottery ticket 91 may have a unique identifier. The unique identifier may include a unique barcode 91A and/or a unique serial number 91B. The unique identifier may be compatible with existing online lottery terminals.

The barcode 91A and the serial number 91B may be concealed prior to purchase by a consumer and displayed after purchase of the lottery ticket 91. For example, the barcode 91A and the serial number 91B may be concealed by, but not limited to, tamper evident packaging, latex coatings, non-legible codes, and/or any other protection measures to protect the identity of winning lottery tickets until after a retail purchase. Alternately or in addition thereto, the barcode 91A and the serial number 91B may not be activated until after the sale of the lottery ticket 91.

The lottery ticket may be issued by a jurisdiction or municipal lottery and sold in such jurisdiction or municipality. The unique identifier of the lottery ticket may be provided by a jurisdictional lottery board in the jurisdiction where the lottery ticket is purchased. An example of such jurisdiction includes, but is not limited to, a state from the United States of America, a province of Canada, and/or the District of Columbia. Consumers may be able to purchase the lottery tickets in a similar manner as other traditional lottery tickets may be purchased. Further, the lottery ticket may be issued by the “lottery authority” as discussed above. The lottery ticket 91 may be sold to an individual at a location authorized to sell lottery tickets. An eligible individual may include an individual consumer who is legally able to participate in a lottery. An example of an individual consumer who is able to participate is a person of a legal age.

After the sale of the lottery ticket, the unique identifier may be transmitted by a device 93. The device 93 may include any device that is able to receive and/or transmit data. Examples of such devices include, but are not limited to, a phone, a computer, an electronic kiosk, a hand held electronic player, a custom reader, wireless handheld device, and a personal digital assistant.

In an embodiment of the invention, the unique identifier may be manually input into a device 93 for transmission via a text, e-mail, Internet, a webpage, instant message, or other processes for transfer. The device may also be used to access a webpage on the Internet for transmission of the unique identifier at the webpage. The device may also be configured so that the lottery ticket is insertable into the device and the unique identifier read. In an alternate embodiment of the invention, the transmission may include, but is not limited to, scanning the lottery ticket 91 by the device 93, transmitting a picture of the lottery ticket taken by the device 93, using a laser bar code reader incorporated in the device 93, using a series of LED sensors built into the device 93 to read optical binary code of the lottery ticket, or scanning the lottery ticket by a retailer scanner.

In one embodiment of the invention, the lottery ticket 91 may include a phone number 91C on the ticket. The device 93 may be used to call the phone number 91C in order to input the unique identifier over the phone. Other ways of entering information into device may also be used.

The device 93 is configured to transmit the unique identifier to a server 95A. The form of the unique identifier transmission may vary including, but not limited to, a wired or wireless network, the Internet, secure networks, virtual private network (VPN), and/or other ways of transmitting the information.

The server 95A may be coupled to a data store 95B, which stores a program 95C and a table of unique identifiers. An example of a data store is a database. The program may also be stored on the server. Accordingly, the server 95A and the data store 95B may be a combined unit. In another embodiment of the invention, the program may be stored on data store of the server 95A. The database 95B may integral with the server 95A.

The server 95A may receive the unique identifier from the device 93. Upon receipt, the server 95A compares the unique identifier with the table of unique identifiers stored on the database 95B. The server determines whether the transmitted unique identifier is a functioning identifier or a nonfunctioning identifier based on the comparison, as shown in FIG. 9 steps 96 and 97. An example of a functioning identifier may include, but is not limited to, a unique identifier of a lottery ticket that was purchased and not yet transmitted to the server. In contrast, an example of a nonfunctioning identifier may include, but is not limited to, an identifier of a lottery ticket that has not yet been purchased, a fabricated number, or an identifier of a lottery ticket that has already accessed and downloaded a program.

If the server 95A recognizes the unique identifier as a nonfunctioning identifier, the server 95A denies the device access to a program/software 95C on the data store 95B as shown in step 98B of FIG. 9. If the server 95A recognizes the unique identifier as a functioning identifier, the server 95A validates the unique identifier and may permit the device 93 access to a program 95C stored on the data store 95B of the server 95A, as shown in FIG. 9 in steps 98A and 98C respectively.

In an exemplary embodiment, the program may be downloaded on a different device than the device that was used to transmit the unique identifier. The server 95A may provide instructions for downloading the program on a different device. In another embodiment, the phone number 91C printed on the lottery ticket may be called to transmit the unique identifier and to obtain instructions on downloading options.

After the access step 98C, the server 95A communicates with the device 93 to download a program 95C stored on a data store 95B of the server 95A to the device 93. The device may obtain a list of available programs from the server 95A. The list of available programs may be presented to a user via an interface (display) of the device 93. In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, a selection from the list of programs stored may be made. In one embodiment of the invention, only one program per each lottery ticket purchased may be downloaded. The program may include, but is not limited to, a game, a program with a series of game plays, a puzzle, an animation, or other type of electronic displays. Further, the program may display winnings that appear to change over the course of the program.

The device 93 and server 95A may cooperate to download 99 the selected program 95C onto the device 93. In some instances, the program may not be downloaded permanently on the device 93, but may only be available for a limited or onetime use. After completion of the download 99 of the program 95C, the program 95C may be executed on the device 93, as shown in step 910. The unique identifier used to download the program 95C may be re-input into the device 93 in order to run the program. In another embodiment, the unique identifier used to download the program 95C may be automatically inserted into the program 25C for immediate execution/game play of the program.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, interaction with the device 93 may occur in order to play a game program. However, the game program may be for entertainment only and may not have any relationship to the result associated with the winning or losing of a lottery prize 913. The game program may simply enhance the enjoyment and pleasure aspect of lottery gaming. The winning of a lottery prize 913 may not be predicated on the ability of a player to demonstrate a skill in playing a game program. The lottery ticket 91 may have a predetermined outcome based on the unique identifier. The lottery prize 913 may be won entirely on the element of chance that a winning ticket has been purchased or on a probability percentage. In embodiments of the invention, the game played on the device 93 may result in a win of the game, but the lottery ticket 91 may still not have a lottery prize 913 associated with the ticket.

The device 93 displays a result of executing the program, as shown in step 911A. The result may correspond to the predetermined outcome associated with the unique identifier. The result may be a message 911B indicating a prize to be claimed or a message 911C indicating that a prize was not won. The purchased lottery ticket 91 that causes the program to display a win display 11B may be redeemed, as shown in step 912. In one embodiment, the prize 913 may be redeemed in a manner typical for lottery tickets. For example, the prize may be redeemed at a retail location by presenting the lottery ticket 91 to the retail location or to lottery headquarters. The retailer may verify that the lottery ticket 91 presented is a winning ticket. The winning prizes for each barcode or serial number may be stored in the data store. The lottery ticket may be redeemed or scanned by the same barcode verification infrastructure as existing traditional scratch-off lottery tickets. This may minimize extensive capital investment.

In an alternative embodiment, the lottery ticket 91 may be redeemed by calling the phone number 91C on the lottery ticket 91 and by obtaining instructions on the phone on ways to redeem the lottery ticket. In an alternative embodiment, the results assigned to the lottery ticket's unique identifier may be determined by a variety ways including, but not limited to, calling a specified phone number and submitting the unique serial number, looking up the unique serial number online, or scanning the unique barcode in a specified reader.

An example of a lottery prize 913 may include, but is not limited to, a monetary prize, a free pass for another lottery ticket, a pass to download another program, a pass to rerun the program previously run, or a physical object. An example of a physical object may be a vehicle.

Accordingly, the purchase of the lottery ticket may constitute the completed lottery game transaction. The lottery ticket has a winning or non-winning outcome regardless of the running of the program. A potential prize may be immediately redeemable based on the unique identifier.

In FIG. 10, there is shown an alternate embodiment of a lottery system 1000. Referring to FIG. 10, a lottery ticket 91′ is provided with a unique identifier. The unique identifier may comprise a unique barcode 91A′ and a serial number 91B′. As shown in step 99′, a device 93′ may run previously downloaded software 95C′. The software may have been previously downloaded from a data store 95B′ of a server 95A′ as provided by the process in FIG. 9. The software may include one or a plurality of programs. An example of such program may include a generic set of games. The software 95C′, stored and run on the device 93′, may allow the device 93′ to access various menus. An example of a menu may include a menu to set the display options of the software.

In one embodiment, once the software is loaded onto the device 93′, no further communication may be required with the server to execute the software. The device may start running the program as depicted in step 99′. The device becomes a stand alone player of the software and programs. In this embodiment, the comparison and verification of the unique identifier is embedded in the program instead of on the server or data store. The device may download updates from the server to update the verification tables for the unique identifiers or to download new programs and further updates. The software 95C′ may be executed and a unique identifier may be input into the device to allow the device to access the one or a plurality of programs stored on the device. In another embodiment, the device may communicate with the server to verify the unique identifier as shown in FIG. 9.

In FIG. 10, upon input of the unique identifier into the device 93′, the device 93′ compares the unique identifier with the table of unique identifiers stored in the downloaded program 95C′. The device 93′ verifies and determines whether the transmitted unique identifier is a functioning identifier or as a nonfunctioning identifier based on the comparison, as shown in FIG. 10 step 97′. If the software 95C′ located on the device 93′ recognizes the unique identifier as a nonfunctioning identifier due to the embedded verification, the software denies the device 93′ access to the program as shown in step 98B′ of FIG. 10. If the software 95C′ recognizes the unique identifier as a functioning identifier, the software validates the unique identifier and permits the device 93′ to continue with the program, as shown in FIG. 10 in step 98C′.

Upon validation, the device 93′ may continue the program as shown in step 910′. The device may obtain a list of several programs available. The list of available programs may be presented to a user via an interface (display) of the device 93′.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, a selection from the list of programs stored may be received by the device. In one embodiment of the invention, only one program per each lottery ticket purchased may run. An endless series of programs for each lottery ticket purchased may be played once the software is loaded once onto the device.

The device 93′ may display a result of executing the program, as shown in step 911A′. The result may correspond to the predetermined outcome associated with the unique identifier. The result may be a message 911B′ indicating a prize to be claimed or a message 911C′ indicating that a prize was not won. The purchased lottery ticket 91′ that causes the program to display a win display 911B′ may be redeemed, as shown in step 912′. The prize 913′ may be redeemed in a manner typical for lottery tickets. The lottery ticket 91′ may be redeemed or scanned by the same barcode verification infrastructure as existing traditional scratch-off lottery tickets.

The winning prizes for the unique identifier may be stored in the software. The software may include a table of outcomes that is accessible by the device. The table includes the predetermined outcome associated with the unique identifier.

The security of the lottery system and method may depend on the lottery ticket itself. The winning prize may be predicated on the winning prize evidenced by the barcode or serial number at the redemption stage. If a winning prize display on the device conflicts with the winning prize evidenced by the barcode and/or serial number at the redemption stage, the winning prize based on the barcode or serial number may trump the contrary display. This prevents potential manipulations of the winning prize display by code manipulators.

The lottery ticket may be manufactured at a certified secure facility. A secure automated computerized system may use an algorithm to determine the barcode and/or serial number with the predetermined outcome for each lottery ticket. Production personnel may not have access to the information presented on each lottery ticket during production. The automated programming system may electronically log the barcode and/or serial number with the predetermined outcome. The barcode and/or serial number with the predetermined outcome may be uploaded to a secure central validation computer database. The lottery ticket is then prepared for distribution and sale.

FIG. 11 provides another embodiment of the application for a paperless lottery system 1100 with virtual lottery tickets. The lottery system eliminates the physical printing of lottery tickets by creating an account.

A device 23″ communicates with a server 25A″ to (a) establish an account 34″ for a lottery system or to (b) access, download, or transmit data with a previously established account 34″. The server 25A″ may include a data store 25B″ to store and monitor the account information. In an alternate embodiment, the server 25A″ and the data store 25B″ may be an combined unit.

The account may include a username 34A″ and a password 34B″ for accessing the lottery system. The server 25A″ may request establishment of a username and password for each individual to obtain an account. The server 25″ may also request financial information 34C″, such as a credit card number, for establishing the user account 34″. The financial information 34C″ permits the purchase of a virtual lottery ticket. The server 25″ may also request settings 34D″ so that tickets may be purchased for example, but not limited to, automatically, periodically, or on a one time basis. The virtual lottery ticket may be represented by a unique identifier with a predetermined outcome. The data store 25B″ stores one or a plurality of purchased unique identifiers associated with each account.

The account allows for a plurality of options to be selected. One or a plurality of unique identifiers 25D (virtual lottery tickets) may be purchased with the financial information, for example, automatically, on a periodic basis, or on a one-time basis. Once the unique identifiers are purchased, the unique identifiers are transferred to the account 34″. The device 23″ may download new software 25C″ from the server 25A″ with the unique identifier stored in an individual's account. Similar to the other embodiments described above, execution of the downloaded software 25C″ on the device 23″ reveals the predetermined outcome of the unique identifier on the device 23″. Since the unique identifier is transferred and stored directly in the account 34″ from the server 25A″ or data store 25B″, the comparison and verification of the unique identifier with a table of unique identifiers may not be necessary. The virtual lottery tickets may be more secure and less tamper evident. The purchased unique identifier may be manually input into the downloaded program or the downloaded program may inherently contain the unique identifier used to download the program. Alternately, the unique identifier may be revealed by previously downloaded software on the device 23″ to reveal the predetermined outcome, similar to the embodiment described in FIG. 10.

The device 23″ of FIG. 11 similarly may proceed through the steps 96 through 913 of FIG. 9 or may proceed through steps 99′ through 913′ of FIG. 10. The predetermined outcome associated with the unique identifier is revealed upon execution of the software on the device 23″.

It will be understood that the above description of the present invention is susceptible to various modifications, changes and adaptations, and the same are intended to be comprehended within the meaning and range of equivalents of the appended claims.