Patent application title: WAGERING GAME, GAMING MACHINE, NETWORKED GAMING SYSTEM AND METHOD WITH A SIMULTANEOUS SECONDARY SCRATCH-OFF-STYLE GAME
Multimedia Games, Inc. (Austin, TX, US)
MULTIMEDIA GAMES, INC.
IPC8 Class: AA63F924FI
Class name: Amusement devices: games including means for processing electronic data (e.g., computer/video game, etc.) credit/debit monitoring or manipulation (e.g., game entry, betting, prize level, etc.)
Publication date: 2013-03-21
Patent application number: 20130072293
A system, apparatus, and method are disclosed in which a gaining machine
provides both a base game and a scratch-off-style side game which may be
played and wagered upon concurrently or according to some play sequence.
The base game may be one type of game displayed on a portion of a primary
display of the gaming machine and the side game may be a ticket or
number-based type of game, such as a lottery or sweepstakes style game,
displayed on a remaining portion of the primary display wherein a player
may be able to directly purchase chances to win one or more prizes in the
ticket/number-based side game and/or be awarded a selected number of
tickets/numbers/win-opportunities based on the amount of the player's
wager in the primary game. The potential prizes may be stand-alone as
with a prize table or networked as with a prize pool, such as in the case
of a lottery or sweepstakes style game.
1. A method for operating a dual wagering game, the method including:
displaying a base game and a scratch-off style side game together at a
gaming machine, the base game and side game being operable simultaneously
through a game processor; accepting a wager by a player to initiate the
base game and the side game; responsive to the wager, providing the
player one or more covered prize opportunities in the side game from a
set of prize opportunities; determining the base game outcome from a set
of base game outcomes, wherein the base game outcome is determined
randomly or pseudo-randomly by the game processor: uncovering the prize
opportunities; and awarding any prize or award associated with the base
game outcome and awarding any prize associated with one or more side game
outcomes and the prize opportunities.
2. The method of claim 1 wherein the base game and side game outcomes and the prize opportunities are determined independently.
3. The method of claim 1 wherein each of the prize opportunities comprise a set of numbers and the side game outcomes comprise a set of winning numbers; matching the set of numbers of each prize opportunity with the set of winning numbers to determine the respective number of matching numbers; displaying a paytable associating one or more numbers of matching numbers with respective prizes or awards; and the awarding step including paying awards on each of the prize opportunities in accordance with the paytable.
4. The method of claim 1 including the steps providing one or more prize opportunities including: responsive to a player save request, storing one or more of the covered prize opportunities provided following a first wager; and responsive to a player play request, activating one or more of the stored prize opportunities for play subsequent to the first wager.
5. The method of claim 1 including the steps providing one or more prize opportunities including: responsive to a player save request, storing one or more of the covered prize opportunities provided following a first wager; responsive to a player play request, activating one or more of the stored prize opportunities for play following a second wager.
6. The method of claim 1 the step providing one or more prize opportunities including providing a predetermined number of the prize opportunities according to the amount wagered.
7. The method of claim 1 the step providing one or more prize opportunities including providing a random or pseudo-random number of the prize opportunities according to the amount wagered.
8. The method of claim 5 the step providing one or more prize opportunities including providing a first predetermined number of the prize opportunities according to the first wager and providing a second predetermined number of the prize opportunities according the second wager; and the awarding step including awarding any prize associated with one or more side game outcomes and the first and second predetermined number of prize opportunities
9. The method of claim 1 wherein the base game and the side game are activated by a single wager.
10. The method of claim 1 wherein the base game and the side game are activated by separate wagers.
11. The method of claim 1 wherein the side set of possible side game outcomes includes one or more high reward winning outcomes and Further including producing a celebratory presentation at one or more display devices at the gaming machine when the selected side game outcome comprises one of the high reward winning outcomes.
12. The method of claim 1 further including displaying side game information in a display area for displaying the side game while continuing to display the base game in a display area for displaying the base game.
13. The method of claim 1 wherein the side game comprises a lottery game distinct from the base game.
14. The method of claim 1 wherein the side game comprises a sweepstakes game distinct from the base game.
15. The method of claim 1 wherein the side game prize opportunities are randomly or pseudo-randomly generated from a network server communicatively connected to the game processor.
16. The method of claim 1 wherein the covered prize opportunities are determined randomly or pseudo-randomly by the game processor.
17. The method of claim 4 wherein the stored prize opportunities when activated are determined randomly or pseudo-randomly by the game processor.
18. The method of claim 1 wherein each of the uncovered prize opportunities comprise a set of reels displaying a game outcome; and the awarding step includes paying one or more awards on the prize opportunities in accordance with a side game paytable and the respective game outcomes.
19. The method of claim 1, wherein the uncovering step is responsive to a player action.
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
 This application is a continuation-in-part of co-pending U.S. Non-Provisional patent application. Ser. No. 13/225,819 filed August 30, 1031 and entitled "WAGERING GAME, GAMING MACHINE, NETWORKED GAMING SYSTEM AND METHOD WITH A SIMULTANEOUS SECONDARY GAME" which claims the benefit, under 35 U.S.C. §119(e), of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/413,433 filed November 13, 1030, and entitled "Wagering Game, Gaming Machine, Networked Gaming System And Method With A Simultaneous Secondary Game."
 This application is also a continuation-in-part of co-pending U.S. Non-Provisional patent application Ser. No. 12/972,487 filed December 19, 1030 and entitled "ELECTRONIC SWEEPSTAKES SYSTEM PROVIDING MULTIPLE GAME PRESENTATIONS FOR REVEALING RESULTS FROM A SINGLE SWEEPSTAKES GAME", which is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/365,058, filed March 1, 1006 (now, U.S. Pat. No. 7,878,900), which claims the benefit, under 35 U.S.C. §119(e), of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/750,144 filed December 14, 1005, and entitled "ELECTRONIC SWEEPSTAKES SYSTEM PROVIDING MULTIPLE GAME PRESENTATIONS FOR REVEALING RESULTS FROM A SINGLE SWEEPSTAKES GAME."
 The entire content of these applications are incorporated herein by this reference.
 A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material which is subject to copyright protection. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction of the patent document or the patent disclosure as it appears in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office patent files or records, but otherwise reserves all rights of copyright whatsoever.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 1. Field of the Invention
 This invention relates to wagering games, gaming machines, networked gaming systems and associated methods. More particularly, the invention relates to wagering games, gaming devices, networked gaming systems, and associated methods including simultaneously operable and distinct primary and secondary scratch-off or numbers style games including sweepstakes and lottery-style games.
 2. Description of the Related Art
 A large number of different gaming machines have been developed to provide various formats and graphic presentations for conducting wagering games and presenting wagering game results.
 There continues to be a need for wagering games which maintain the player's interest and generate excitement to enhance the player's gaming experience.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 In accordance with one or more embodiments, wagering games, gaming machines, networked gaming systems and methods include a secondary (or side) scratch-off or numbers style game operable simultaneously with the primary game.
 In one or more embodiments, additional opportunities or tickets may be provided depending upon the wager in the primary game.
 In one or more embodiments, a player may purchase additional opportunities as part of an increased wager over the primary (base) game or the player may be able to purchase additional opportunities independent of a base game wager.
 These and other features of the invention will be apparent from the following description of the illustrative embodiments, considered along with the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION Of THE DRAWINGS
 FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of an example upright gaining machine according to one or more embodiments.
 FIG. 2 is an example side action game display of a gaming machine showing covered tickets in accordance with one or more embodiments.
 FIG. 3 is an example side action game display of a gaming machine showing uncovered tickets, a side action game outcome, and a paytable in accordance with one or more embodiments.
 FIG. 4 is a diagrammatic representation of an example gaming network including one or more gaming machines with dual game play in accordance with one or more embodiments.
DESCRIPTION OF ILLUSTRATIVE EMBODIMENTS
 Referring to FIG. 1, gaming machine 100 is shown including primary display device 101 with which a set of reels 103 are shown or displayed in a base game display area 105 and a set of covered tickets are shown or displayed in a side game display area 107 as part of a scratch-off side game in accordance with one or more embodiments.
 In an example embodiment, a player may initiate the base game and the side game with either one or two wagers. In the case of a game that is activated by a single wager, a player may select the number of lines and credits per line in order to make a wager on the base game, the game processor may then determine the number of tickets to provide to the player based on the size of the wager on the base game. In one example, the number of tickets may be determined linearly; for example, for a one credit bet per line wager, a player may be given one ticket and for a three credit per line wager, a player may be given three tickets. In another example, the number of tickets may be determined non-linearly; for example, for a one credit bet per line wager, a player may be given one ticket; a two credit bet per line wager may yield four tickets; and a three credit per line wager, may yield nine tickets.
 While conceptually, tickets are shown in side game display 107, any game opportunity artifice may be used: for example, instead of a ticket a number string may be displayed initially covered (e.g. FIG. 2 showing an example side action display area 107 with covered tickets) and then uncovered (e.g. FIG. 3 showing an example side action display area 107 with uncovered tickets and a ball draw side action game outcome). In order to uncover, the tickets or artifice, a player may be requested to `scratch-off` the ticket or field area (e.g. such as by tapping the ticket area) in order to uncover a number (as shown in FIG. 3), a prize, or a symbol combination, where the number or symbol combination that may correspond to a prize if it matches a prize (for example, a paytable may list winning numbers or symbol combinations and associated prizes). The `scratch-off` may be accomplished simply by touching the respective ticket or prize opportunity artifice display area in the case where the display is a touch panel. In cases, where the display is not a touch panel, there may be buttons located along a perimeter of the side game display area and associated with respective tickets or prize opportunity artifices. In one or more embodiments, various prizes may be displayed on the various tickets including money or physical prizes where physical prizes may include objects such as marketing mementos and high value items such as shirts, caps, and a car, or, services such as accommodations, meals, spa treatments, air tickets, and an all-inclusive vacation. In one or more embodiments, symbol combinations may be displayed and evaluated for winning tickets according to a side action game paytable. In one or more embodiments, the covered tickets may automatically uncover without player interaction beyond placing a wager and initiating play as by pressing the `Play` button.
 In one or more embodiments, the scratch-off side game may be self-contained on gaming machine 100 such that prizes and tickets are generated by the game processor or a processor with executable coding to randomly or pseudo-randomly generate each of the tickets or prize opportunities, compare the tickets or prize opportunities with a paytable (or prize list) to determine whether the generated tickets or prize opportunities correspond to winning outcomes in the paytable, and pay the corresponding award or prize. The awards or prizes may be fixed or may be progressive awards which may increase as a percent or portion of the wagers.
 In other embodiments, the scratch-off side game may utilize network resources, such as a server with executable coding operative to generate one or more aspects of the scratch-off side game. For example, when a base game is initiated on gaming machine 100, the game processor may transmit a message or cause a transmission through a network controller to the external server which may determine one or more of: the number of tickets to generate, the indicia on each ticket (i.e. randomly determining the numbers, prize, or symbol set for each ticket), and a corresponding prize designation for each ticket (for example, including non-winning prize designations). After determining the tickets and/or corresponding side-game outcomes, the server processor may transmit the information to gaming machine 100 which may in turn display the side-game game presentation on one of the displays, such as primary display device 101.
 In the case of networked side-games, one or more networked gaming machines 100 may participate in one or more networked side-games. Multiple gaming machines 100 may connect or be connected to a server configured to execute one or more networked gaming machines sequentially or simultaneously. For example, the server may manage and/or maintain multiple scratch-off games wherein a portion of wagers and/or operator money may be utilized to fund the various different prize levels similar to a lottery-style or sweepstake-style game so that each of the players at the various connected gaming machines may play for opportunities to win the various prizes which may be updated and maintained through the server. Similar to the display tables in local stores, players may view various different scratch-off games on the side panel display and select one or more which they may play along with the base game; in such case, the players may elect for one or more of their tickets on a given play to be used to play one or more side games which may be displayed on the side panel (e.g. games similar to the Texas Lottery's Cash Five, Pick 3, Daily 4, Lotto, Texas Two Step and Scratch-Offs). In addition to offering multiple game choices, the server may simultaneously manage multiple of the same style game playable on the various gaming machine 100.
 In one or more embodiments, a player may have the option to: 1) elect to receive and play the tickets provided in a given play at the same time as the current base game play, or, 2) save the number of tickets obtained to be played in a subsequent game play. For example, a player may place a wager on the base game and the scratch-off side game; the player may be awarded four tickets in the scratch-off side game; the player may be provided an option to play the scratch-off tickets during the current game play or save the scratch-off tickets for play in a subsequent game as with a `Save` button that may be provided in or about the vicinity of side game display 107. In the case of a save option, a side game ticket meter may be incremented to indicate the stored number of scratch-off tickets and a `Play` button may further include a quantity to play. For example, a player may have saved ten tickets and elect to play five tickets by selecting the quantity to play and pressing the `Play` button associated with the side game. In one or more embodiments, the game processor or side game server may then randomly determine the tickets to be provided to the player during the current base game play, determine the side game outcome (such as a lottery-style ball draw), cause the covered tickets to be displayed and enabled for the player to scratch-off and uncover the ticket values or indicia, and pay any awards on winning tickets in accordance with the side game outcome and paytable. In one or more embodiments, the player may have the option to play the side game tickets subsequent to any base game play. In one or more embodiments, the player may have the option to save the accrued number of tickets for use in a subsequent gaming session; for example, when a player cashes out, a ticket may be provided from ticket printer/reader 119 which indicates the number of saved scratch-off side action tickets, and in a subsequent gaming session, the player may insert the ticket into ticket printer/reader 119 which may be read by the associated controller and the information transferred to the game processor for crediting onto an associated side action ticket meter; thereafter, the player may elect to play the tickets as the player may choose. In one or more embodiments, the saved tickets may be stored on a server, such as player account server 409, in connection with a player card inserted in card reader 121, thereby enabling a player to access the stored tickets during one or more subsequent gaming sessions by inserting the player card into a respective gaming machine 100.
 In one or more embodiments, the pool of tickets may be essentially infinite (defined to mean a pool that essentially has a constant or substantially constant number of elements that does not change with each game play, such as by replacing a removed number of elements by a like number of elements) as for example in a lottery-style game; whereas in other embodiments, the pool may be finite in the sense that it has an initial number of elements, as for example in a sweepstakes-style game, where the size of the pool may be reduced with each game play, so that removed elements are not replaced. In the case of an infinite pool, a particular set of numbers may be randomly selected one or more times. For example, in a sweepstakes-style game, a paytable may be generated by u server (or game processor of a gaming machine if the game is a stand-alone) wherein respective sets of numbers may be associated with respective win levels (or prizes/awards); the server may generate an entire list (pool) of possible sets of numbers from which to obtain each set of numbers for each ticket to be used by a player in the side game; as each set of numbers is drawn by the server for use by the player, the drawn sets may be eliminated from the pool of possible sets in the case of a finite pool, or in the case of an infinite pool, the pool remains unchanged.
 In one or more embodiments, the scratch-off side game may be a lottery-style game where each ticket has a set of numbers (for example, six numbers, each between the numbers one and thirty-six) and a lottery-style numbered ball device may be displayed to show a drawing. As the balls are drawn, the numbers on the displayed tickets which match may be highlighted. The paytable may award a nominal prize for three matching numbers and the prizes for larger numbers of matching numbers may increase significantly through six matches in a manner similar to a conventional lottery. When progressive prizes are won, the associated prize levels may be reset at a starting default level; in which case, the funds for the default level may be advanced or contributed by the casino operator (or casino operators in the case where the side game is networked over multiple gaming facilities).
 In one or more embodiments, instead of randomly generated tickets, a player may be given an opportunity to select the numbers on each ticket prior to the drawing (such as, in the case of an infinite pool); in such case, the selected numbers may be persistent for additional game plays. For example, a player may fill out numbers for ten tickets, and as the player plays, the player may be awarded four tickets for a given play, so the first four sets of numbers that the player had selected may be utilized or the player may be given an opportunity to select four of the sets or select a randomly generated set for one or more of the tickets.
 In one or more embodiments, the scratch-off side game may be a sweepstakes-style game, such as is more fully described in the incorporated sweepstakes patent application, wherein the sweepstakes-style game may have a prize list along with corresponding winning numbers. The numbers on the scratch-off tickets may be generated randomly by the game processor or by a server from a pool of possible tickets and compared against the prize list (paytable) and stored by the game processor or server in an associated memory accessible by a processor upon the initiation of a side game play by a player in order to randomly or pseudo-randomly select one or more of the tickets from the pool. The generating of the pool and development of the prize list may be done by a respective processor prior to an initial play of the respective side action game.
 Referring again to FIG. 1, primary display device 101 and the other components of gaming machine 100 may be mounted on or about a cabinet 109; although, in some implementations, gaming device 100 may be a portable gaming device, such as a tablet, laptop computer, or phone, network connected to a remote game processor. During primary game operation or attract mode, a base game paytable may be displayed on display 100 (or another available display) and/or may be accessed through a help button and screen, to view various base game winning outcomes associated with various awards and additional information regarding game play including criteria or requirements to activate and/or play the side game shown inside game area 107. A side game paytable may also be shown through the base game help screen, through a separate help screen, or be directly viewable in the side game display area 107. In an alternative embodiment, a top box display may display the respective paytables of the base game, side game, or both.
 Gaining machine 100 is also shown to include middle display 113 which may display a server-based game (such as bingo, in the case of a Class II gaming machine), advertising or other content as may be provided over a network or through the gaming machine. Gaming machine 100 further includes user interface 115 with which a patron may place wagers and initiate play of one or more games at gaming machine 100. User interface 115 may include: a commercially available player tracking interface unit, such as a Bally iView® unit, a button deck including buttons for selecting paylines and wagers per payline in the base game shown in base game area 105, one or more additional buttons for selecting wagers associated with the side game shown inside game area 107, and a "Play" button and/or handle with which the player may initiate play of the games selected by the player. The button deck may be provided on a touch panel (such as on the tower portion of display device 100) in addition to or in the alternative to a physical button deck. The "Play" button/control may be also useable to simultaneously initiate a play in the base game shown in base game display area 105 and a play in the side game shown inside game area 107. The "Play" button/control may also or alternatively be operable to separately initiate play of the side game in side game display area 107 if the option is provided to play only the side game. The player tracking unit may Include a card reader 121, a ticket printer/reader (and/or bill acceptor) 119, and player display which may display a greeting to the player, player points, a menu for communicating with player account (and/or tracking) server 409, and other casino operator content.
 While gaming machine 100 is shown as an upright gaming machine cabinet style, various cabinet styles or device types may be utilized including a slant top cabinet style, a bar top cabinet style (where the cabinet may be part of a bar/table top and/or housed therein), a personal computer, or, a tablet, cell phone or other handheld device.
 As in the reel games shown in the figures, each reel includes a series of symbols 117 viewable on display device 100 (e.g. through a glass window or transparent display, in the case of mechanical reels, or, as displayed in a video format). With the reels in a stationary position, the symbols visible on display device 100 represent an array of symbols through which various paylines may be defined. During a wagering game (as may be initiated by a player by placing a wager and pressing a "Play" button), the reels may be simulated to spin (or electro-mechanically spun in the case of mechanical reels) about an axle under the control of a game processor which randomly or pseudo-randomly determines the game outcome and causes the reels to stop in accordance with the determined game outcome. Alternatively, a game processor may randomly or pseudo-randomly stop the reels and then evaluate the displayed symbols in light of the applicable paytable to identify the reel-type game outcome. Further alternatives in providing outcomes for the reel-type base game and side game will be described further below.
 One or more paylines, combinations, or patterns of the symbols including those visible in display 100 may be correlated to a game result payable in accordance with a paytable such as may be displayed with respect to base game shown in base game display area 105. For example, a game with five reels and displaying four symbol locations per reel may have four paylines which extend horizontally across each reef and many others which may zig and zag across the various reel symbol locations both on and off the viewable display area. A patron may wager on one or more of the paylines during each game play. Display device 100 may thereby be used to display game results to one or more patrons who may view gaming machine 100 and the game processor may make payment to the patron by incrementing a credit meter for winning outcomes of paylines in accordance wish the paytable and the player's wager. In example gaming machine 100, only one payline may be provided horizontally across the three reels 103, and a player may be provided the option to bet one, two, or three credits on the payline to play the base game in base game display area 105, and a fourth or additional credits to the play side game displayed in side game display area 107. While example gaming machine 100 includes a set of three reels 103, various numbers of reels and paylines may be selected or utilized in an implementation of one or more embodiments, such as one, two, three, four, five, six, or seven reels, and so forth.
 Primary display device 100 may comprise a single display device or may comprise two or more display devices (for example, two flat panel display devices in over- or under-laying relation to each other, or in a side-by-side arrangement). In some implementations, primary display device 100 may comprise a touch-sensitive display panel, such as a flat panel LCD or LED display, which may be programmed to display an opaque or thematic frame image (which may include video and/or still images) except over a reel display area. Primary display device 100 may be programmed to be transparent or translucent during game play of the primary wagering game, so that the patron may view the game presentation in the reel display area where a set of mechanical reels may be viewable or a set of video reels may be displayed by an underlying display. In addition, the entire display surface of primary display device 100 (or a portion thereof) may be configured to respond to the patron's touch such as to select paylines, select credits wagered per payline, and/or play the base game and/or side game.
 In one or more alternative embodiments, primary display device 100 may be programmed to display a bonus or feature game, such as may be triggered by the appearance of one or more special symbols or other random event. For example, when a bonus or feature game is triggered, primary display device 100 (or a portion thereof) may be transformed to display content associated with the bonus or feature game and once the bonus or feature game is complete, primary display device 100 may revert to the primary game display state. A touch sensitive portion of display device 100 may be programmed to display player interactive elements such as, for example, a selection of buttons to enable player interactivity with the game. In particular, a player may use such touch screen portion to select the button or item in order to cause the game to perform additional steps and/or provide one or more bonus or feature game outcomes and awards to the player.
 In one or more alternative embodiments, gaming machine 100 may include mechanical reels with fixed or dynamic symbols. Conventionally, mechanical reels include reel strips with fixed symbols. However, reel strips may be implemented using FOLED (flexible organic LED), for example, or comparable feel strips wherein one or more symbols may be programmed dynamically to vary the symbol and/or its appearance, either from one fixed image to another (such as changing a symbol to a wild symbol or changing a series of symbols to wild symbols), or, from a fixed image to a dynamic (e.g. animated or video) image or a set of miniature video reels. In various instances when a symbol changes to another symbol, a bonus or enhanced award may be paid in accordance with the paytable, or a bonus (a fixed or progressive amount) may be paid separate from the paytable.
 In the event that the payment is a progressive, a progressive pool may be generated from an operator's marketing dollars or from play at one or more gaming machines which may be eligible for the progressive award. The progressive pool may be maintained by a progressive server (such as server 407 shown in FIG. 4). In cases when a progressive prize is associated with an individual gaining device, the progressive pool may be maintained through a processor (such as the game processor) associated with the gaming device. In cases when the progressive associated with a game is personal to the player, the amount of the progressive award may be maintained by a processor associated with the game while the player is playing the particular device, and when the player's gaming session ends, the amount accumulated towards the personal progressive award, if not won, may be forwarded to a server, such as player tracking server 409 in FIG. 4, which may forward the information to a subsequent device when the player returns to play or selects another gaming machine on which to play.
 Another conventional game display approach is to implement reels virtually (video reels) on a display, such as primary display device 100 as shown in the figures discussed herein. In the case of virtual displays of the reels, the symbols may be fixed or animated on each of the reels. In one or more embodiments, the appearance of one or more special symbols in the base game shown in base game display area 105 may trigger a free play of the side game shown inside game display area 107 and provide an award according to the standard paytable. Alternatively, the side game paytable may be modified to provide an interactive element with the base game. For example, a multiplier symbol may appear on a winning payline or as a scatter symbol in the base game shown in base game display area 105, which may trigger the side game shown inside game display area 107 to modify one or more awards with a multiplier value (e.g. 1×, 2×, 3×, etc.). Alternatively or additionally, one or more free base game spins may provide a game presentation and outcome, and based on the outcome, an associated multiplier award may be applied to one or more paylines on the base game to determine the award that is paid to the player (e.g. credited to a credit meter on the gaming machine), which may be based on the currently displayed outcome and/or one or more subsequent base game plays. If two or more multiplier symbols appear in the base game, the multipliers associated with the side game paytable may be multiplied by two or more. In another example, one or more free spin symbols may appear in the base game which may trigger the side game to modify one or more awards in its paytable to include a number of free spins and depending on the side game outcome, the associated number of free spins may be applied to the base game. The associated number may be multiplied by the number of free spin symbols that appeared in the base game to trigger the side game, and the side game process may be repeated so add to the number of remaining base game free reel spins, if one or more free spin symbols appear on subsequent base game plays.
 In one or more embodiments, a multiplier or number of free spins, as described above, may be saved for use at a later time in the gaming session or if the player doesn't use the multiplier or number of free spins during the gaming session, the multiplier and free spin information may be transmitted to a server (such as player tracking server 409 shown in FIG. 4), stored, and then transmitted from the server to a gaming device selected by the player at a later time. For example, the player may enter a player card into a gaming device card reader, which then communicates with player tracking server 409 to receive player information including any saved game information. In one or more embodiments, the multiplier and free spins may be used with the same game as previously played or, in some cases, may be used with one or more other games (such as games of the same denomination). In one or more embodiments, saved multipliers and/or free spins may be increased such as by hitting a multiplier or free spin win additional times. For example, a player may win a 2× multiplier on a first win and subsequently win a 3× multiplier on a second win. The player may be able to then play a game with the 2× multiplier and play another game with the 3× multiplier. Alternatively, the multipliers may accumulate (for example, 2×+3×=5×) and the player may play a single game with a 5× multiplier. In one or more embodiments, the player may be provided the option to split up the multipliers in two or more games or play the multipliers in a single game. In a case when a player has accumulated multipliers totaling 6× or more, the player may have the option to split the multipliers into two games (for example, 2×, 4× or 3×, 3×) or three games (for example 2×, 2×, 2×) or to play the accumulated multiplier in a single game.
 In one or more alternative embodiments, overlapping display panels may be implemented to generate video or display effects over the primary game reels. For example, the reel display area may be implemented as a transmissive (e.g. Aruze or WMS transmissive display panels) display or a transparent (e.g. Bally transparent display panels) display configured to display visual effects together (or cooperatively) with the primary reels under the control of the game processor during the operation of a wagering game. In the case of virtual reels, the virtual reels may be recessed a distance from an overlaying display and segregated by dividers similar to dividers separating mechanical reels, which may provide a spatial characteristic (e.g. IGT PureDepth® display panels). In either case, the overlapping display may be touch sensitive and configured to interact with the player by transmitting and receiving signals as described above.
 In one or more embodiments, the game processor operating the wagering game and interacting with various peripheral components in many instances is implemented as a microprocessor, such as an Intel Pentium® or Core® microprocessor, on a printed circuit board including one or more memory devices positioned within gaming machine 100. In alternative implementations, the game processor may be remote from gaming machine 100, such as on a server network (game server 403 shown in FIG. 4 for example) connected to gaming machine 100, in which case the game operation as described herein may be accomplished through network communications to control the display of the game on gaming machine 100.
 Gaming machine 100 generally includes a CPU or game processor, memory with wagering game/s, user interface 115, network controller, audio controller, graphics processors, and reef assembly. The reel assembly will be included in gaming machine 100 if the gaming machine employs mechanical reels rather than or in addition to video-generated reels. Game processor in this example Implementation may comprise a conventional microprocessor, such as an Intel Pentium® or Core® microprocessor, mounted on a printed circuit board with supporting ports, drivers, memory, and coding to communicate with and control gaming machine operations, such as through the execution of coding stored in memory including one or more wagering games. Game processor connects to user interface 115 such that a player may enter input information and game processor may respond according to its programming, such as to apply a wager and initiate execution of a game.
 Game processor also may connect through network controller to a gaming network, such as example casino server network 400 which will be described below in connection with FIG. 4. Through its network connection, gaming machine 100 may be monitored by an operator through one or more servers such as to assure proper operation, and, data and information may be shared between gaining machine 100 and respective of the servers in the network such as to accumulate or provide player promotional value, to provide server-based games, or to pay server-based awards.
 Generally, activity at gaming machine 100 is initiated by a player inserting currency and/or a player card into an appropriate receiving device such as a bill acceptor for currency and card reader for the player card. Upon insertion, a signal is sent to game processor. In the case of the insertion of a player card, card reader 121 transmits card information which is directed through network controller to player tracking server 409 connected to the network in which gaming machine 100 is included. Player data is transmitted to gaming machine 100 and, responsive to the data, game processor may execute coding causing player data and a display command to be transmitted to one of the graphics processors instructing the graphics processors to cause player information to be displayed on a respective display. Game processor may also transmit commands to audio controller to direct the controller to cause an audio greeting to be produced through one or more speakers associated with the gaming machine. Concurrently, the bill acceptor 119 sends a signal to game processor which may include an identification of the currency that has been read, and game processor in accordance with its coding may convert the currency amount to credits and transmit a store and display signal to a credit meter and its associated display ("Credits", on or about primary display area 105 for example). Once credits have been associated with the credit meter, the player may select the number of paylines and credits per line that the player wishes to wager, whereupon game processor, in accordance with its program code, receives the wager information from user interface 115, transmits accounting and display information to the payline ("Lines"), credits per payline ("Bet per Line"), and total bet ("Total Bet") meters and displays of the gaining machine, transmits an update to the credit meter and display ("Credits") deducting the amount of the total bet, and initiates the wagering game.
 In the case of a Class III gaming devices, when a game is initiated, a random number generator (RNG) may be operated by game processor to determine the game outcome (either directly or by randomly selecting reel slop positions and evaluating those positions to identify an outcome). Commonly, game processor is positioned within gaming machine 100 and configured to manage the operation of the gaming machine components; however, the game processor may be either onboard or external to a gaming device played by a player, such as an electronic tablet (e.g. Apple iPad® or gaming specific tablet), personal data assistant (PDA), cellular telephone (e.g. Blackberry® or Apple iPhone®), surface table (e.g. Microsoft®/IGT® touch sensitive gaming surface table), etc. In such case, when the player places a wager and initiates play of the game through user interface 115 of the gaming device, the game processor may be onboard the device or remotely located such as within a network gaming server. In the latter case, an onboard microprocessor, controller, or digital signal processor may execute coding to transmit the wager and game request information through the network, and the remote game processor may operate an RNG to determine the game outcome.
 In the case of Class II gaming devices, the overall structure of the various devices as discussed above is essentially the same with the major difference being the method of determining the game outcome. Commonly, Class II gaming devices utilize the game of bingo as the basis for determining a winning outcome where the bail draw is performed remotely by a network or central determination server (alternative games may be used for determining game outcomes, such as through a lottery drawing of a finite set of numbers, if permitted by the licensing jurisdiction). Class II gaming systems are commonly referred to a central determination systems wherein pools and sub-pools of game outcomes are determined by a central server (or gaming device) and distributed amongst a set of networked gaming devices. The distribution step may be on demand, such as when a gaming device receives a game request, or sets of game outcomes may be distributed to the various networked gaming devices in which case the game processor of the requesting gaming device may select a game outcome from the set of game outcomes, such as by using an RNG or other selection process.
 Additionally, Class II gaming devices, such as a bingo-based gaining device may have multiple displays, such as are shown in FIG. 1 wherein one of the displays, such as display 113 in FIG. 1, may be used to display one or more electronic bingo cards and one or more ball drawings after a game has been initiated in accordance with the game outcome that has been provided to the gaming device by a central determination server. In the case, as in FIG. 1, where the primary display comprises a set of reels, game processor converts the centrally-determined game outcome to a corresponding value outcome of the reel-based game as shown in FIG. 1 and operates the reel-based game as described above and with respect to the figures. In one or more embodiments, when a player enters a wager on both the base game 103 and side game 105 described above, and enters "PLAY" through an appropriate player control, a game play request may be transferred to central determination server 405 (discussed below in connection with FIG. 4) which may provide a single game outcome to the respective gaming machine 100. Game processor may then initiate game presentations of both games concluding with outcomes corresponding to the game outcome provided by central determination server 405. In an alternative embodiment, central determination server 405 may provide two game outcomes (one associated with base game 103 and one associated with side game 105), and game processor may initiate corresponding game presentations of base game 103 and side game 105.
 In one or more embodiments, coding may be implemented and stored in memory, executable by game processor to control game operation, display content, lighting, and audio through video, audio, reel drive motor controllers (for mechanical reels), and lighting controllers.
 While the primary display has been depicted as displaying a set of reels, in one or more base game embodiments, base game 103 may comprise other types of games. For example, base game 103 may comprise a playing card-based game such as poker or blackjack, a dice-based game such as craps or a board game such as the Monopoly® game, a wheel-based game such as roulette or Wheel-of-Fortune® type prize wheel, or a competition-based game such as a car or horse race.
 Also, while gaming machine 100 has been described as a stand-alone or networked game device, in one or more embodiments gaming machine 100 may be operable in a tournament or community gaming mode wherein players may compete for one or more awards or triggering of special features. For example, in one or more example configurations, one or more banks of gaming machines 100 may be networked connected to an overhead display which may display a feature game and when triggered, the player triggering the feature game may be indicated on the overhead display as the wheel-based game is played. In another example, side game 105 may be played conventionally with payouts according to the side game paytable and players who are linked in a community game may compete against each other during each play for additional awards. For instance, of the competing players, the player with the highest scoring tickets may receive a first award and a player with the second highest scoring ticket may receive a second award during a predetermined span of time or game plays; wherein the additional awards may be credited to player accounts on player account server 409. In one or more embodiments, the side game outcome and respective player identifiers may be displayed on an overhead screen along with the awards paid to each participating player. In one or more embodiments, the participating players may be required to pay an additional fee to participate. For example, a network inquiry to play in the community game may be made on a player tracking display from a server, such as player account server 409 or a community game server. If the player accepts the invitation for the community game, the player's account or gaming device credit meter may be debited accordingly. A community game controller may transmit a message lo each participating player advising of their participation. In one or more embodiments, a player's highest side game outcome occurring during a selected time span may be used by the community game controller as the player's entry into the community competition or tournament. Base game 103 may be used as opposed to side game 105 for the community game and the same concepts may be applied as described above.
 Referring to FIG. 4, a block diagram of example networked gaming system 400 associated with one or more gaming facilities is shown including one or more gaming machines 100 connected in a network with host server 401 and floor server 402. One or more of the gaming machines 100 may provide a base game 103 and side game 105 as discussed above. While a few servers have been shown separately in FIG. 4, it will be appreciated that the servers may be combined or split into additional servers having additional capabilities.
 As shown, networked gaming machines 100 (Egm 1-Egm N) and one or more overhead displays 413 may be network connected so as to enable the content of one or more displays of gaming machines 100 to be mirrored or replayed on overhead display. For example, the primary display content may be stored by the display controller or game processor and transmitted through a network controller to the overhead display controller either substantially simultaneously or at a subsequent time according to cither programming executed by the game processor or a triggering event, such as a jackpot or large win, at a respective gaming machine 100. In the event that gaming machines 100 have cameras installed, the respective players' video images may be displayed on overhead display 413 along with the content of the player's display 100 and any associated audio feed.
 Game server 403 may provide server-based games and/or game services to network connected gaming devices, such as gaming machines 100 (which may be connected by network cable or wirelessly). Progressive server 407 may accumulate progressive awards ivy receiving defined amounts (such as a percentage of the wagers from eligible gaming devices or by receiving funding from marketing or casino funds) and provide progressive awards to winning gaming devices upon a progressive event such as a progressive jackpot game outcome or other triggering event such as a random or pseudo-random win determination at a networked gaming device or server (to provide a large potential award to players playing the community feature game for example). Accounting server 411 may receive gaming data from each of the networked gaming devices, perform audit functions, and provide data for analysis programs, such as the IGT Mariposa® program bundle. Central determination server 405 may be configured to determine lottery, bingo, or other centrally determined game outcomes and provide the information to networked gaming machines 100 providing lottery and bingo-based wagering games to patrons.
 Player account server 409 may maintain player account records, and store persistent player data such as accumulated player points and/or player preferences such as game personalizing selections or options. For example, the player tracking display may be programmed to display a player menu that may include a choice of personalized gaming selections that may be applied to a gaming machine 100 being played by the player.
 In one or more embodiments, the player menu may be programmed to display after a player inserts a player card into the card reader. When the card is inserted, an identification code may be read from the card and transmitted to player account server 409. Player account server 409 may risen cause player information to be transmitted through a network controller for display on the player tracking display. The player tracking display may provide a personalized welcome to the player, the player's current player points, and any additional personalized data. If the player has not previously made a selection, then this information may or may not be displayed. Once the player makes a personalizing selection, the information may be transmitted to game processor for storing and use during the player's game play. Also, the player's selection may be transmitted to player account server 409 where it may be stored in association with the player's account for transmission to the player in future gaming sessions. The player may change selections at any time using the player tracking display at the gaming machine (which may be touch sensitive or have player-selectable buttons associated with the various display selections).
 In one or more embodiments, a gaming website 421 may be accessible to players to allow players to play one or more games as described herein through the use of personal computer 423 or handheld wireless device 425 (e.g. Blackberry® cell phone, Apple Iphone®, personal data assistant (PDA), iPad®, etc.). To enter the website, a player may log in with a user name (that may be associated with the player's account information stored on player account server 409 or be accessible by a casino operator to obtain player data and provide promotional offers). Once logged in the player may play various games on the website. The play may also use the website to make various personalizing selections and save the informal ion so that during a next gaming session at a casino establishment the player's playing data and personalized information may be associated with the player's account and accessible at the player's selected gaming machine 100.
 Referring generally to the forgoing description and the following claims, as used herein the terms "comprising," "including," "carrying," "having," "containing," "involving," and the like are to be understood to be open-ended, that is, to mean including but not limited to. Any use of ordinal terms such as "first," "second," "third," etc., in the claims to modify a claim element does not by itself connote any priority, precedence, or order of one claim element over another, or the temporal order in which acts of a method are performed. Rather, unless specifically slated otherwise, such ordinal terms are used merely as labels to distinguish one claim element having a certain name from another element having a same name (but for use of the ordinal term).
 The term "presentation" as used herein is meant to refer to the display of any image and/or video performance and/or the performance of one or more sound bites or audio tracks (such as digital or analog sound tracks or information stored on a memory device and processed by an audio controller to emit sound through a speaker) whether in an attract mode or as part of a game presentation or outcome.
 The above described example embodiments are intended to illustrate the principles of the invention, but not to limit the scope of the invention. Various other embodiments and modifications to these preferred embodiments may be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the scope of the present invention. In another example, one of the base game and side game may be determinable by one processor (e.g. a local processor) and the other game may be determinable by another processor (e.g. a remote processor) while one of the processors or another processor may drive a presentation to be displayed on a primary display of gaming machine 100 including the base game and side game and culminating in outcomes according to the determinations.
 In addition to the variations described above, the following variations also apply to the side game arrangement disclosed herein. For example in one or more embodiments, the more a player plays the side game (such as in one or possibly more sessions of play) the easier winning the biggest prize gets or the bigger the awards get. That is, the paytable and the probabilities associated with each award level may change depending upon how many times the side game is played in a given gaming session and/or multiple gaming sessions by a player. The side game could be linked with other side games provided at different gaming machines and may pay progressive or mystery awards. The gaming machine may provide the player with a menu of side games from which the player may choose. The player may decide to remove side action completely from the screen, or they could elect to add side games to their primary game. A side game could be added to a video poker base game where the side game is a reel-type game. Several windows may be added to a base game display (video display) with a respective side game being played concurrently with the base game and each other side game. A side game may include a pop-n-win type game feature where a balloon (or something similar) appears in the side game area during the course of the base and/or side game and the player has to do something to win the bonus or prize for the game, such as popping a video-generated balloon. The side game could be connected to overhead signage and the results could be broadcasted on the bigger display or used for progressives. The live cameras on the gaming machines could be used within the side game. For example, a side game could display camera feeds showing players in the gaming network. The side game could be added on a second or other display device rather than the display used to show the base game. For example, the side game could be shown on a topbox display of the gaming machine, or a side game could be on a display next to or overlaying mechanical reels. In other embodiments, a certain percentage of money played on the base game is accrued and can be used for awards in the side action game or games. Also, in some instances, the amount of the side wager for the side game may be selectable by the player so that the player may receive additional tickets, the paytable awards may be increased, and/or the likelihood of winning outcomes is increased.
Patent applications by MULTIMEDIA GAMES, INC.
Patent applications in class Credit/debit monitoring or manipulation (e.g., game entry, betting, prize level, etc.)
Patent applications in all subclasses Credit/debit monitoring or manipulation (e.g., game entry, betting, prize level, etc.)