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Title:
ROULETTE GAME CYCLE OPTIMIZATION AND BALL SELECTION
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/071224
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A roulette machine having a launch device including an automatic ball-change magazine is described. The magazine includes a revolving mechanism positioned over a plate with a through hole. The magazine stores a plurality of roulette balls for future use and facilitates changing a current game ball for a next ball once the current game ball has been used a predetermined number of times. A roulette ball change is facilitated by rotating the revolving mechanism sufficient to trap the current game ball and prevent it from being used, then rotating the revolving mechanism further to release the next ball from storage. The magazine further facilitates the utilization of a special ball for one game cycle in place of the current game ball and then switching back to the current game ball at the conclusion of the one game cycle.

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Inventors:
BERGANT, Urban (Gorenjska Cesta 23, 1234 Menges, Menges, SI)
KROSELJ, Peter (Gorenjska Cesta 23, 1234 Menges, Menges, SI)
PECECNIK, Joze (Gorenjska Cesta 23, 1234 Menges, Menges, SI)
ZABI, Ivo (Gorenjska Cesta 23, Menges, SI)
Application Number:
US2018/054748
Publication Date:
April 11, 2019
Filing Date:
October 05, 2018
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
INTERBLOCK D.D. (1106 Palms Airport Dr, Las Vegas, NV, 89119, US)
International Classes:
A63F5/00; G07F17/32
Foreign References:
US20170256121A12017-09-07
US20170136344A12017-05-18
GB2347636A2000-09-13
US4869505A1989-09-26
US20080132315A12008-06-05
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CASEY, Timothy, D. et al. (Baker & Hostetler LLP, Cira Centre 12th Floor, 2929 Arch Stree, Philadelphia PA, 19104-2891, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An automated roulette machine, comprising:

a roulette wheel configured to rotate in a first direction, the roulette wheel including a plurality of ball slots each configured to hold a roulette ball, the roulette wheel being configured to place a ball slot holding the roulette ball over a trap door for releasing the ball from the roulette wheel at the conclusion of a game cycle;

an annular tube configured to position the roulette ball to roll around the roulette wheel during a game cycle in a second direction opposite the first direction;

a launch device configured to launch the roulette ball into the annular tube to initiate the game cycle, the launch device including a propulsion assembly configured to apply a propulsion force to the roulette ball;

a ball-change magazine positioned between the roulette wheel and the launch device and configured hold a plurality of roulette balls for future use while allowing the roulette ball to be used a predetermined number of game cycles before a next roulette ball is used in place of the roulette ball, the ball-change magazine including a revolving mechanism and a plate around which the revolving mechanism is configured to rotate, the plate forming a through hole configured to align with the trap door to allow the roulette ball to pass from the ball slot through the ball-change magazine and to the launch device, the revolving mechanism being further configured to rotate a first amount sufficient to trap the roulette ball and prevent it from passing through to the launch device when the predetermined number has been reached and to rotate a second amount sufficient to cause the next roulette ball to be placed into the launch device; a display and user interface for enabling a player to place bets during the game cycle and see results displayed at the conclusion of the game cycle; and

a controller for controlling operation of the automated roulette machine.

2. The automated roulette machine as recited in claim 1 , wherein the revolving mechanism includes a plurality of pockets, each pocket configured to hold one roulette ball when a solid portion of the plate is positioned beneath the pocket and to release the one roulette ball when the through hole of the plate is positioned under the pocket.

3. The automated roulette machine as recited in claim 2, wherein the pockets are formed with a counter synch configured to further enable the roulette ball to enter the pocket.

4. The automated roulette machine as recited in claim 1, the ball-change magazine further including a motor for rotating the revolving mechanism.

5. The automated roulette machine as recited in claim 1, the ball-change magazine further including a first proximity sensor for detecting when the revolving mechanism is positioned to allow the roulette ball to pass through the ball-change magazine and a second proximity sensor for detecting when the revolving mechanism is positioned to trap the roulette ball.

6. The automated roulette machine as recited in claim 1, the ball-change magazine further including a first optic sensor for detecting when the roulette ball enters the ball-change magazine, and the launch device including a second optic sensor for detecting when the roulette ball is in the launch device.

7. The automated roulette machine as recited in claim 1, wherein the plurality of balls include a first type of roulette ball and a second type of roulette ball, wherein the first type of roulette ball and the second type of roulette ball are stored in alternating pockets of the revolving mechanism, and wherein the revolving mechanism is configured to move in a first direction after trapping the roulette ball to play the first type of roulette ball and to move in a second direction after trapping the roulette ball to play the second type of roulette ball.

8. The automated roulette machine as recited in claim 7, wherein the second type of roulette ball is formed of a different material from the first type of roulette ball.

9. The automated roulette machine as recited in claim 8, wherein the second type of roulette ball is a different color than the first type of roulette ball.

10. The automated roulette machine as recited in claim 8, wherein the second type of roulette ball is formed of phenolic resin.

11. The automated roulette machine as recited in claim 10, wherein the phenolic resin is magnetic.

12. The automated roulette machine as recited in claim 9, wherein the ball-change magazine further including a proximity sensor for detecting the presence of the second type of roulette ball in the ball-change magazine.

13. A ball-changer for a roulette machine, comprising a ball-change magazine positioned between a roulette wheel and a roulette ball launch device and configured hold a plurality of roulette balls for future use while allowing the roulette ball to be used a predetermined number of game cycles of the roulette machine before a next roulette ball is used in place of the roulette ball, the ball-change magazine including a revolving mechanism and a plate around which the revolving mechanism is configured to rotate, the plate forming a through hole configured to align with a trap door of the roulette wheel to allow the roulette ball to pass from a ball slot of the roulette wheel through the ball-change magazine and to the launch device, the revolving mechanism being further configured to rotate a first amount sufficient to trap the roulette ball and prevent it from passing through to the launch device when the predetermined number has been reached and to rotate a second amount sufficient to cause the next roulette ball to be placed into the launch device.

14. The ball-changer as recited in claim 13, wherein the revolving mechanism includes a plurality of pockets, each pocket configured to hold one roulette ball when a solid portion of the plate is positioned beneath the pocket and to release the one roulette ball when the through hole of the plate is positioned under the pocket.

15. The ball-changer as recited in claim 14, wherein the ball-change magazine further includes a motor for rotating the revolving mechanism and a first proximity sensor for detecting when the revolving mechanism is positioned to allow the roulette ball to pass through the ball- change magazine and a second proximity sensor for detecting when the revolving mechanism is positioned to trap the roulette ball.

16. The ball-changer as recited in claim 13, wherein the ball-change magazine further includes a first optic sensor for detecting when the roulette ball enters the ball-change magazine, and the launch device including a second optic sensor for detecting when the roulette ball is in the launch device.

17. The ball-changer as recited in claim 13, wherein the plurality of balls include a first type of roulette ball and a second type of roulette ball, wherein the first type of roulette ball and the second type of roulette ball are stored in alternating pockets of the revolving mechanism, and wherein the revolving mechanism is configured to move in a first direction after trapping the roulette ball to play the first type of roulette ball and to move in a second direction after trapping the roulette ball to play the second type of roulette ball.

18. The ball-changer as recited in claim 17, wherein the second type of roulette ball is one or more of formed of a different material and formed of a different color than the first type of roulette ball.

19. The ball-changer as recited in claim 18, wherein the second type of roulette ball is formed of a magnetic phenolic resin.

20. The ball-changer as recited in claim 19, wherein the ball-change magazine further including a proximity sensor for detecting the presence of the second type of roulette ball in the ball-change magazine.

Description:
ROULETTE GAME CYCLE OPTIMIZATION AND BALL SELECTION

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

[0001 ] This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 62/569,125, filed October 6, 2017.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

[0002] Roulette is a popular wagering game played in casinos and other gaming establishments. In mechanical versions of the game (versus video generated), a roulette ball is launched into an angled annular track encircling a spinning roulette wheel. The roulette ball continues to rotate around the annular track in an opposite direction of the spinning roulette wheel creating friction between the roulette ball and the annular track. The friction created between the roulette ball and the annular track causes the ball to lose momentum. Upon losing sufficient momentum, the roulette ball exits the annular track and follows a spiraling path towards the roulette wheel.

[0003] As it follows the spiraling path, the roulette ball may engage with one or more of the ball stops (or canoes) intervening between the annular track and the roulette wheel, causing the ball to jump about. Eventually the roulette ball comes to rest in one of the numerous equally-spaced ball slots located along a circumference of the roulette wheel. Each ball slot among the equally-spaced ball slots is isolated from adjacent ball slots by separators positioned radially outward and corresponds to a particular number and color. The particular number represents a result for the game cycle that began when the roulette ball was launched.

[0004] As the roulette ball comes to rest, a marker (or dolly) is placed on an area of a felt betting area (or layout) identifying the particular number and color corresponding to the ball slot in which the roulette ball came to rest. Winning and losing bets for that game cycle to be placed on the felt betting area are then determined according to the result. Once the losing bets are collected and the winning bets are paid, a new game cycle starts.

[0005] In addition to causing the roulette ball to lose momentum, the friction between the roulette ball and the annular track may also erode some material from the annular track. That material eroded from the annular track and/or the ball becomes dust within the roulette wheel and the annular track. Another opportunity for the creation and dispersion of dust arises any time the roulette ball engages with a ball stop. As subsequent balls are launched into the angled track, interaction between the dust and subsequent roulette balls may impact a later game cycle.

[0006] For example, randomization of the later game cycle's result may be reduced by interaction with the dust. Also, subsequent roulette balls may rotate slower around the annular track, which increases game cycle times and further reduces randomization. At some point, dust generated by the friction renders the roulette table aesthetically displeasing, which negatively impacts the players' experience. The dust may also slow down game play cycles, thereby making the roulette table less productive. Furthermore, removing the dust creates maintenance downtime during which the roulette table is unavailable for gameplay.

[0007] While seemingly straightforward as far as games are concerned, new players to roulette can find all of the different types of possible bets confusing. Bets can be placed on "red/black" (all red or black numbers and excluding 0 and 00), on "even/odd" (all even or odd numbers and excluding 0 and 00), on "low/high" numbers 1 -18 or numbers 19-36, on "dozen" or "third" (1 -12, 13-24 or 25-36, on "column" (all numbers in one of three columns when the table is viewed from its end), on "straight up" (any single number), on "0" or "00" (some tables only use "0"), on "row" (0 and 00), on "top line" or "basket" (0, 00, 1, 2 and 3), on "six line" (any six numbers from two horizontal rows), on "split" (any two adjoining numbers vertical or horizontal), on "street" (any three numbers horizontal, such as 1, 2, 3 or 4, 5, 6, etc.), and on "corner" (any four adjoining numbers in a block, such as 1 , 2, 4, 5 or 17, 18, 20, 21 , etc.). It can take significant time for players to place bets in all of these different ways, which forces dealers to push players to finish bets, or if a machine is being used a timer to be employed, which can frustrate players.

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0008] The present disclosure relates generally, but not exclusively, to the field of gaming, particularly roulette gaming.

SUMMARY

[0009] An embodiment is directed to a roulette machine configured to operate unattended live roulette games in which a roulette ball is launched into an angled annular track encircling a roulette wheel. In some embodiments, a controller associated with the roulette machine regulates one or more inertial values associated with the roulette ball. In some embodiments, a bet close time of a betting window associated with the live roulette games is determined based on one or more inertial values associated with the roulette ball. In some embodiments, a rotation velocity of the roulette wheel is adjusted subsequent to a bet close time of a betting window associated with the live roulette games. In some

embodiments, game cycle events are detected using audio associated with the live roulette games. In these embodiments, audio audible and/or visual special effects are generated based on the audio. In some embodiments, a controller associated with the roulette machine synchronizes the live roulette games operated by the roulette machine with live roulette games operated by one or more additional roulette machines

[0010] An embodiment is directed to two or more betting options based on a desired level of risk or volatility, such as low or high or low, medium or high. Depending on the amount of credits to be bet and the risk level or volatility level chosen, bets will be randomly placed in predetermined amounts on different types of bets that correspond to the risk level. If there are two risk levels, a bet of 50 credits at a low risk level will result in 10 credits being placed on red or black, 10 credits on even or odd, 10 credits on high or low, 10 credits on one third and 10 credits on one column. The same bet at a high risk level will result in 12 credits on a six line, 12 credits on a street, 6 credits on two streets, 5 credits on two splits, and 5 credits on two straight ups, although other betting combinations are possible in other embodiments.

[0011] These and other features will be more clearly understood from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings and claims. This Summary is provided to introduce a selection of concepts in a simplified form that are further described below in the Detailed Description. This Summary is not intended to identify key features or essential features of the claimed subject matter, nor is it intended to be used to limit the scope of the claimed subject matter.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0012] FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic, elevated view of a roulette wagering system in accordance with an embodiment.

[0013] FIG. 2 illustrates an example graphical user interface ("GUI") displayed by a play station, in accordance with an embodiment.

[0014] FIG. 3 is a diagrammatic, elevated view of a roulette machine in accordance with an embodiment.

[0015] FIG. 4 is a top down view of the roulette machine depicted by FIG. 3, in accordance with an embodiment. [0016] FIG. 5 is a view similar to FIG. 3, but with a transparent cover removed, in accordance with an embodiment.

[0017] FIG. 6 is a diagrammatic, lateral view of a ball launcher assembly, illustrating a front side of a ball-change magazine, in accordance with an embodiment.

[0018] FIG. 7 is a diagrammatic, elevated view of a revolving mechanism holding roulette balls of the ball-change mechanism, in accordance with an embodiment.

[0019] FIG. 8 is a diagrammatic, elevated view of a back side of the ball-change mechanism of FIG. 6, in accordance with an embodiment.

[0020] FIG. 9 illustrates an example operation of the ball-change magazine in a base position, in accordance with an embodiment.

[0021] FIG. 10 illustrates an example operation of the ball-change magazine in a change position before the current game ball arrives, in accordance with an embodiment.

[0022] FIG. 11 illustrates an example operation of the ball-change magazine in the change position after the current game ball arrives, in accordance with an embodiment.

[0023] FIG. 12 illustrates an example operation of the ball-change magazine in a base position once a next ball has been released, in accordance with an embodiment.

[0024] FIG. 13 illustrates a regular white roulette ball and a special golden roulette ball, in accordance with an embodiment.

[0025] FIG. 14 illustrates an example operation of the ball-change magazine when a golden ball is to be released, in accordance with an embodiment.

[0026] FIG. 15 is an illustration of an exemplary block diagram representing a general purpose computer system in which aspects of the methods and systems disclosed herein or portions thereof may be incorporated.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS

[0027] The present disclosure describes particular embodiments and their detailed construction and operation. The embodiments described herein are set forth by way of illustration only and not limitation. Those skilled in the art will recognize, in light of the teachings herein, that there may be a range of equivalents to the exemplary embodiments described herein. Most notably, other embodiments are possible, variations can be made to the embodiments described herein, and there may be equivalents to the components, parts, or steps that make up the described embodiments. For the sake of clarity and conciseness, certain aspects of components or steps of certain embodiments are presented without undue detail where such detail would be apparent to those skilled in the art in light of the teachings herein and/or where such detail would obfuscate an understanding of more pertinent aspects of the embodiments.

[0028] Disclosed herein are methods, systems, and computer readable storage media that provide for increased randomization of roulette results and improved guest satisfaction. Some embodiments of the present invention are described herein in terms of an automated roulette wagering system for illustrative purposes. However, embodiments of the present invention are not limited to an automated roulette wagering system, but rather may be implemented in various wagering systems - both automated and manual - that provide similar functionalities as an automated roulette wagering system.

[0029] Figure 1 illustrates an automated roulette wagering system 100 in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure. As shown by Figure 1 , automated roulette wagering system 100 includes roulette machine 110, central display 120, and a plurality of play stations 130. While six play stations 130 are illustrated in the embodiment depicted by Figure 1, one skilled in the art will recognize that roulette wagering system 100 may include any number of play stations associated with roulette machine 110.

[0030] For example, roulette wagering system 100 may include one play station, two play stations, ten play stations, and so on. In an embodiment, roulette wagering system 100 may not include any play stations 130. For example, roulette wagering system 100 may be servicing one or more remote clients not physically proximate to roulette wagering system 100. That is, roulette machine 110 of roulette wagering system 100 may be an unattended live table game of chance providing game cycle results to one or more play stations physically remote from roulette machine 110. In an embodiment, roulette wagering system 100 may be servicing a combination of local play stations (e.g., play stations 130) and remote play stations.

[0031] In an embodiment, roulette wagering system 100 is located at a first geographic location and is providing game cycle results to remote clients physically located at one or more remote geographic locations that are not physically proximate to the first geographic location. For example, roulette wagering system 100 may be located in a warehouse and provide game cycle results to remote clients located in a casino located a few miles away from the warehouse. As another example, roulette wagering system 100 may be located in a first casino and provide game cycle results to remote clients located in a second casino or gaming establishment. The first casino and the second casino or gaming establishment may be located in a different city, state, country, etc. Roulette Machine

[0032] Roulette machine 110 is configured to operate unattended live roulette games in which a physical roulette ball is launched into an angled annular track encircling a roulette wheel. In an embodiment, roulette machine 110 may be configured to operate any known live table game of chance. Each live roulette game operated by roulette machine 110 is composed of a game cycle. The game cycle of the live roulette game begins as a roulette ball is positioned to be launched into the annular track. The roulette ball is launched into the annular track and rotates around the annular track a plurality of times. In an embodiment, the roulette ball is rotated around the annular track in a first direction and the roulette wheel is spinning about a central axis in a second direction opposing the first direction. Friction between the roulette ball and the annular track reduces a momentum of the roulette ball until gravity causes the roulette ball to exit the annular track.

[0033] Upon exiting the annular track, the roulette ball follows a path towards the center of the roulette wheel along a downward slope intervening between the annular track and the roulette wheel. As the roulette ball follows the path towards the center of the roulette wheel, the roulette ball may interact with one or more ball stops positioned about the downward slope. When the roulette ball encounters the roulette wheel, the roulette ball bounces a plurality of times and then settles into one of a plurality of ball slots positioned around an outer circumference of the roulette wheel. The game cycle concludes as the roulette ball settles in one of the plurality of ball slots. A game cycle outcome is determined based on a number and possibly also a color corresponding to the particular ball slot in which the roulette ball settled.

[0034] Each live roulette game operated by roulette machine 110 is also composed of a betting window associated with the game cycle. The betting window includes a bet open time and a bet close time. The bet open time represents a point in time in which the betting window transitions from a closed state to an open state. After the bet open time, the betting window is in the open state and a player is allowed to place one or more bets or wagers on the associated game cycle. In an embodiment, the player is allowed to place one or more side bets or wagers on at least one additional game of chance when the betting window is in the open state.

[0035] The bet close time represents a point in time in which the betting window transitions from an open state to a closed state. After the bet close time, the betting window is in the closed state and the player is no longer allowed to place bets or wagers on the associated game cycle. In an embodiment, the bet close time precedes a time that the roulette ball settles in one of the plurality of ball slots. In an embodiment, the bet close time precedes a time that the roulette ball exits the annular track. In an embodiment, the bet close time is adjustable based on an inertial value associated with the roulette ball.

[0036] In operation, roulette machine 110 utilizes one or more random number generators to control various mechanical aspects of the live roulette games. The one or more random number generators are used to increase a randomization of events composing the live roulette games. Increasing the randomization of events composing the live roulette games reduces a likelihood that game cycle results are predictable. For example, random number generators may dictate a velocity that a roulette ball is launched into the angled annular track, a number of times that a roulette ball rotates around the angular track, a direction the roulette ball spins while rotating around the angular track, a timing of various events composing the live roulette games, and the like.

[0037] Central display 120 is configured to present players and other guests of the casino or other gaming establishment with information associated with the live roulette games operated by roulette machine 110. Such information may be presented in a visual format, an auditory format, or a combination thereof. The information presented by central display 120 may include information regarding individual results of previous game cycles, a state of a current betting window associated with roulette machine 110, statistics about previous games cycles, an operating condition of roulette machine 110, a progressive jackpot associated with roulette machine 110, and the like. In an embodiment, central display 120 is further configured to present players and other guests of the casino or other gaming establishment with advertising media.

[0038] Each play station among the plurality of play stations 130 is generally configured to enable a player to participate in the live roulette games operated by roulette machine 110. In an embodiment, each play station among the plurality of play stations 130 is further configured to enable the player to participate in at least one additional game of chance. In an embodiment, the at least one game of chance is operated by a gaming device other than roulette machine 110. For example, a play station 130 may enable the player to fund a credit balance for placing bets, place bets on games of chance (e.g., the live roulette game operated by roulette machine 110), receive winnings associated with bets placed on games of chance, and the like. In an embodiment, a play station may enable the player to interact with an object associated with a game of chance. Examples of such objects include dice, a ball, a wheel, and the like. [0039] As best seen in Figure 2, play station 130 may present a graphical user interface ("GUI") 200 that enables a player to participate in the live roulette games operated by roulette machine 110. For example, GUI 200 may display account information 210 to a player that represents a maximum credit balance that is available to the player for wagering on the live roulette games. In an embodiment, a player may insert currency, tickets, tokens, and the like into play station 130 in order to increase the maximum credit balance. In an embodiment, a player may electronically transfer funds from another account using play station 130 in order to increase the maximum credit balance.

[0040] GUI 200 may also display an electronic representation of a felt betting area 220 (or layout) for live roulette games operated by roulette machine 110. The player may wager on the live roulette games by placing one or more virtual chips 230 onto the felt betting area 220. For example, the player may place virtual chips 230 onto an area of felt betting area 220 that identifies a particular ball slot in which the player believes a roulette ball will come to rest within a particular game cycle. As another example, the player may place virtual chips 230 onto an area of felt betting area 220 that identifies a particular range of ball slots in which the player believes a roulette ball will come to rest. The player may also place virtual chips 230 onto felt betting area 220 to bet that during a particular game cycle a roulette ball will come to rest in a ball slot associated with a particular color (e.g., red or black). As another example, the player may also place virtual chips 230 onto felt betting area 220 to bet that a roulette ball will come to rest in a ball slot associated with an odd or even number.

[0041] A wagering update area 240 of GUI 200 may also present information regarding an amount currently wagered by the player on the live roulette games operated by roulette machine 110. Information regarding a payout amount won by the player through previous bets may also be presented to the player in wagering update area 240. In an embodiment, wagering update area 240 may also present the player with information regarding an aggregate amount wagered and/or won in a current session. In an embodiment, wagering update area 240 may also present the player with information regarding an aggregate amount wagered and/or won within a predetermined period of time (e.g., hour, day, month, year, lifetime, etc.).

[0042] GUI 200 may also present a status update area 250 that provides the player with information about a current game cycle of the live roulette games operated by roulette machine 110. For example, status update area 250 may inform the player that a betting window associated with the current game cycle is in an open state. The betting window is in the open state between a bet open time and a bet close time. As long as the betting window remains in the open state, the player is free to wager on the current game cycle of the live roulette games. The betting window associated with the current game cycle transitions from the open state to a closed state when the bet close time is reached. Status update area 250 may inform the player that a betting window associated with the current game cycle is in the closed state.

[0043] A historical data area 260 of GUI 200 may provide the player with information about results from previous game cycles of the live roulette games. For example, historical data area 260 may display a sequence of individual results from the previous game cycles. As another example, historical data area 260 may display statistical information about the previous game cycles. The statistical information may include a percentage of a predetermined number of previous game cycles in which the roulette ball came to rest in a particular color, a ball slot associated with an odd number, a particular range of ball slots, and the like.

[0044] Figures 3-5 illustrate a roulette machine 300 in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure. In an embodiment, roulette machine 300 may be used to implement roulette machine 1 10 of roulette wagering system 100 in Figure 1. As best seen in Figure 4, a transparent cover 310 (e.g., a glass dome) encases an underlying roulette wheel 320 such that aspects related game play remain visible. Transparent cover 310 may provide a physical means of isolating roulette wheel 320 from an environment surrounding roulette machine 300. By isolating roulette wheel 320, transparent cover 310 reduces the likelihood that game cycle results are impacted by influences present in the environment surrounding roulette machine 300. Examples of such influences include dealers, players, external dust, air flow, and the like.

[0045] Turning to Figure 5, a top down view of roulette machine 300 is provided after transparent cover 310 has been removed. As shown by Figure 5, roulette machine 300 includes roulette wheel 320, annular track 330, and ball launch tube 340. In operation, a roulette ball is launched from ball launch tube 340 into annular track 330 at launch point 350 as each game cycle commences. In the example depicted by Figure 5, the roulette ball is launched in a direction represented by the arrow associated with designator 505. As the roulette ball rotates around roulette wheel 320, roulette wheel 320 is rotating in an opposing direction represented by the arrow associated with designator 515.

[0046] In an embodiment, roulette machine 300 further includes at least one inertial data sensor 360 associated with annular track 330, such as being incorporated into the annular track 330 in some manner. Inertial data sensor 360 is configured to obtain inertial information associated with a roulette ball launched into annular track 330. Examples of such inertial information include a velocity that the roulette ball is launched into annular track 330, deceleration of the roulette ball's velocity after being launched into annular track 330, and the like. The inertial information obtained by inertial data sensor 360 may be used to determine inertial-related information associated with the roulette ball subsequent to being launched into annular track 330, and the like. Such inertial-related information may include a number of time that the roulette ball rotates within angular track ("ball revolutions"), a direction the roulette ball spins while rotating around angular track 330, a velocity that the roulette ball spins while rotating around angular track 330, and the like.

[0047] In an embodiment, roulette machine 300 further includes at least one image sensor 370. The at least one image sensor 370 is configured to capture image data associated with particular game cycles of the live roulette games operated by roulette machine 300. Image sensor 370 may provide the captured image data to a controller associated with roulette machine 300 as a video stream, a sequence of individual image frames, raw image data, and the like. In an embodiment, a controller (in the form of a computer system, see Figure 18) associated with roulette machine 300 may configure image sensor 370 by specifying a frame-rate, a resolution, a color value, a video stream encoding format, a subset of the image sensor's available pixels to activate and/or deactivate, and the like.

[0048] In an embodiment, image sensor 370 is configured to capture image data on a continuous basis. For example, the image data captured by image sensor 370 may provide a live video feed of the live roulette games operated by roulette machine 300. In an embodiment, image sensor 370 is configured to capture image data for a predefined period of a particular game cycle. For example, such predefined periods may be associated with a roulette ball being launched into annular track 330, a roulette ball coming to rest in a particular ball slot of roulette wheel 320, a betting window associated with a particular game cycle, and the like.

[0049] In an embodiment, image sensor 370 is configured to capture image data associated with a particular area of roulette wheel 320. Examples of the particular area include launch point 350, an arc portion of annular track 330, a predefined reference point of roulette wheel 320, a table stop position of roulette wheel 320, and the like.

[0050] In an embodiment, roulette machine 300 further includes one or more audio output devices 380 (e.g., speakers). As best seen in Figure 3, the audio output devices 380 may positioned around an outer circumference of roulette machine 300. The audio output devices 380 may present audible announcements regarding events associated with roulette machine 300. The audible announcements may enable roulette machine 300 to better serve hearing impaired guests. Examples of such events include information about an operating state (e.g., down for maintenance) of roulette machine 300, information about a current game cycle (e.g., a betting window associated with the current game cycle is open), and the like. The audio output devices 380 may also provide background music, sound effects, and the like to players and other guests interacting with roulette machine 300.

[0051] Because the roulette wheel 320 is covered by transparent cover 310, it may not be possible for players to hear the ball as it spins and jumps around on the roulette wheel 320, which for some players changes a favored aspect of the game. Hence, the audio output devices 380 may play sounds that correspond to the movement of the ball as it launched, as it moves around the annular track 330, as it bounces around on the roulette wheel 320, and as it settles into a ball slot. Lighting may also be employed to help players follow the movement of the ball.

[0052] Figure 6 illustrates a ball launch assembly 600 in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure. As shown by Figure 6, ball launch assembly 600 includes a propulsion assembly 610, launch device 620, and ball launch tube 630. In an embodiment, ball launch tube 630 is used to implement ball launch tube 340 of Figure 5. Ball launch assembly 600 is configured to launch a roulette ball into the annular track at a launch point of a roulette machine (e.g., roulette machine 300 of Figures 3-5) coupled to ball launch assembly 600. In operation, ball launch assembly 600 receives launch commands from a controller associated with the roulette machine. Each launch command initiates a game cycle of the live roulette games operated by the roulette machine.

[0053] In response to receiving a launch command, ball launch assembly 600 introduces a roulette ball into the launch device 620, where propulsion from the propulsion assembly 610 launches the roulette ball through the ball launch tube 630. Launch device 620 imparts a motion to the ball thereby launching the roulette ball into the annular track of the roulette machine. Various means may be used by launch device 620 to impart motion to the roulette ball, such as spring-based propulsion, electromagnetic propulsion, vacuum propulsion, pressurized air propulsion, and the like. For example, launch device 620 may be implemented using a vacuum generator, a regulated air fan for blowing the ball out of the launch tube, a spring-actuated ball collider, a variable magnet, and the like. Roulette Ball Selection and Replacement

[0054] After a prolonged period of operation of a roulette machine, the roulette balls will begin to wear, which can negatively impact the controllability of the roulette machine. Accordingly, the roulette balls need to periodically be replaced. Traditionally, this required that the roulette machine be shut down so the ball launch device 620, typically positioned under the roulette wheel 320, can be accessed. If the roulette machine is going to be shut down, then it might as well be cleaned too, so this often results in the roulette machines being out of operation, and therefore not generating revenue, for a longer period of time, which casino operators did not appreciate. However, just because the roulette balls need to be replaced does not mean that the entire machine really needs cleaning as well, so if roulette balls could be replaced more readily without requiring the roulette machine to be taken out of service, that would be preferable.

[0055] In an embodiment, an automatic ball-change mechanism or magazine 640 may be added to the launch device 620 so as to further extend the operational period of a roulette machine between maintenance and cleanings. As shown in Figure 7, the magazine 640 may include a revolving mechanism 642 that includes up to ten roulette balls 644, each of which corresponds to a pocket 646 in the revolving mechanism 642. The magazine 640 may have 10 pockets for ten roulette balls 644. During a game cycle, however, one roulette ball would be in use (the "current game ball") with the other nine roulette balls being stored for future use (the "stored balls"). When it is determined that the current game ball needs to replaced, the revolving mechanism 642 of the magazine 640 may rotate by one pocket and the next stored ball would become the current game ball. The controller of the roulette machine 300 may determine when the current game ball would need to be replaced, which may be a predetermined number of game cycles. That predetermined number could be set by a maintenance operator. When all ten balls in the magazine 640 have been used (or even when nine balls have been used and the tenth is in use), a maintenance alert may be sent indicating that the roulette balls need to be replaced with ten new roulette balls.

[0056] The magazine 640 may further include a base plate 648 over which the revolving mechanism 642 rotates, a ball change motor 650, two optical sensors and two inductive proximity sensors. The inductive sensors, which may serve to detect the position of the revolving mechanism 642, are best illustrated in FIG. 6, which illustrates a front side of the magazine 640. Sensor 652 may be configured to detect when the revolving mechanism 642 is in a base position, while sensor 654 may be configured to detect when the revolving mechanism 642 is in a change position, as further explained below. The optic sensors, which detect the position of a roulette ball, are best illustrated by Figure 8, which illustrates a back side of the magazine 640. Optic sensor 660 may be configured to detect when a roulette ball is in the magazine 640, while optic sensor 662 may be configured to detect when the current game ball is in the start position within the ball hold-and-start mechanism 664.

[0057] Figure 9, Figure 10, Figure 1 1 and Figure 12 illustrate operation of the magazine 640 during operation of the roulette machine 300 during normal roulette game cycles. As shown in Figure 7, the base plate 648 may be fixed and the revolving mechanism 642 may rotate about it. The base plate may include a through hole 654 through which the current game ball may pass when a pocket 646 is aligned with the hole 654. This is further illustrated with reference to Figure 9, which shows the magazine 640 in its base position. When a game cycle of the roulette machine has finished, the ball slot of the roulette wheel (not shown) holding the current game ball may be positioned over a trap door 900. To remove the current game ball from the roulette wheel 320 (not shown), the trap door 900 may be opened, causing the ball to fall, via gravity, through an opening 902 under the trap door 900. As the magazine is in the base position, there may be an open path through the pocket 646 and the through hole 648 into the ball hold-and-start mechanism 664, where the current game ball 906 waits until launched again.

[0058] Once the current game ball has been used a predetermined number of times, for example as many as 10,000 times, the current game ball may be changed to a next roulette ball. The process by which this is may be possible is illustrated in Figure 10. During the game cycle and just before the trap door 900 is opened, the revolving mechanism 642 may be rotated in a forward direction to the change position. The revolving mechanism 642 may stop rotating when sensor 654 indicates the revolving mechanism 642 is in the change position. The change position is an intermediate position that may be sufficient to block passage of the current game ball 906 from falling into the hold-and-start mechanism 664, but may be wide enough to allow the current game ball 906 to fall through the opening 902 into the pocket 646, as further shown in Figure 1 1. Once the current game ball 906 has been trapped in the pocket 646, the revolving mechanism 642 may be rotated forwarded again to the base position, as detected by sensor 652, as shown in Figure 12, which may cause the next game ball 908 to drop into the hold-and-start mechanism 664, where it waits until launched for the first time. The magazine 640, or more accurately the revolving mechanism 642, may then stay in the base position for the predetermined number of times, before the next roulette ball change is initiated. [0059] In an embodiment, the magazine may also be used to introduce a further random event, the launching of a special roulette ball, referred to herein as a "golden ball." As illustrated in Figure 13, the golden ball 1300 may be formed of a phenolic resin that gives the roulette ball a golden color, although other suitable materials generating the same or other colors may also be used. The phenolic resin may be magnetic or not magnetic. The golden ball may have a different appearance than the regular roulette balls 1302, which tend to be a white or off-white color. In the embodiment, five golden balls may be used in place of five white balls. The white balls are place in odd pocket positions of the revolving mechanism, such as pockets 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9, and the golden balls are place in even pocket positions, such as pockets 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10, such that roulette balls are alternated through the revolving mechanism's pockets.

[0060] In operation, the white ball 1302 would be used for some period of time until a random number generator determines that a golden ball 1300 should be used in place of the white ball 1302. When a golden ball 1300 is to be used, the revolving mechanism may be rotated to trap the current game ball, but the revolving mechanism would not rotate forward again once the current game ball is trapped, but rather reverse so that a golden ball 1300 is release instead of the white ball. This is further illustrated in Figure 14, wherein the current game ball is the white ball 1302 in the 7th position and the golden ball is in the 6th position. The golden ball may then be used for one game cycle, trapped when the game cycle is over and replaced with the white ball.

[0061] When golden balls are used, a couple of additional inductive proximity sensors may also be used. Sensor 1304 may be used in the same manner as sensors 652 and 654 to keep track of when the revolving mechanism is in the even position. Sensor 1306 senses when a golden ball is being used and provides an alert to the roulette machine 300 so different game play for the golden ball can be initiated. Sensor 1306 may be extra sensitive to either magnetic material used in the golden ball or capable of detecting metal races added to the golden ball coating.

[0062] The present disclosure describes particular embodiments and their detailed construction and operation. The embodiments described herein are set forth by way of illustration only and not limitation. Those skilled in the art will recognize, in light of the teachings herein, that there may be a range of equivalents to the exemplary embodiments described herein. Most notably, other embodiments are possible, variations can be made to the embodiments described herein, and there may be equivalents to the components, parts, or steps that make up the described embodiments. For the sake of clarity and conciseness, certain aspects of components or steps of certain embodiments are presented without undue detail where such detail would be apparent to those skilled in the art in light of the teachings herein and/or where such detail would obfuscate an understanding of more pertinent aspects of the embodiments.

[0063] The techniques described above can be implemented on a computing device associated with a gaming device (e.g., a roulette machine operating a live roulette game), a plurality of computing devices associated with a plurality of gaming devices, a controller in communication with the gaming device(s) (e.g., a controller configured to synchronize the gaming devices(s)), or a plurality of controllers in communication with the gaming device(s). Additionally, the techniques may be distributed between the computing device(s) and the controller(s). Figure 15 illustrates an exemplary block diagram of a computing system that includes hardware modules, software module, and a combination thereof and that can be implemented as the computing device and/or as the server.

[0064] In a basic configuration, the computing system may include at least a processor, a system memory, a storage device, input/output peripherals, communication peripherals, and an interface bus. Instructions stored in the memory may be executed by the processor to perform a variety of methods and operations, including the roulette wheel velocity adjustments and result detection optimization, as described above. The computing system components may be present in the gaming device, in a server or other component of a network, or distributed between some combinations of such devices.

[0065] The interface bus is configured to communicate, transmit, and transfer data, controls, and commands between the various components of the electronic device. The system memory and the storage device comprise computer readable storage media, such as RAM, ROM, EEPROM, hard-drives, CD-ROMs, optical storage devices, magnetic storage devices, flash memory, and other tangible storage media. Any of such computer readable storage medium can be configured to store instructions or program codes embodying aspects of the disclosure. Additionally, the system memory comprises an operation system and applications. The processor is configured to execute the stored instructions and can comprise, for example, a logical processing unit, a microprocessor, a digital signal processor, and the like.

[0066] The system memory and the storage device may also comprise computer readable signal media. A computer readable signal medium may include a propagated data signal with computer readable program code embodied therein. Such a propagated signal may take any of variety of forms including, but not limited to, electro-magnetic, optical, or any combination thereof. A computer readable signal medium may be any computer readable medium that is not a computer readable storage medium and that can communicate, propagate, or transport a program for use in connection with the computing system.

[0067] Further, the input and output peripherals include user interfaces such as a keyboard, screen, microphone, speaker, other input/output devices, and computing components such as digital-to-analog and analog-to-digital converters, graphical processing units, serial ports, parallel ports, and universal serial bus. The input/output peripherals may also include a variety of sensors, such as light, proximity, GPS, magnetic field, altitude, and velocity/acceleration. RSSI, and distance sensors, as well as other types of sensors. The input/output peripherals may be connected to the processor through any of the ports coupled to the interface bus.

[0068] The user interfaces can be configured to allow a user of the computing system to interact with the computing system. For example, the computing system may include instructions that, when executed, cause the computing system to generate a user interface and carry out other methods and operations that the user can use to provide input to the computing system and to receive an output from the computing system.

[0069] This user interface may be in the form of a graphical user interface that is rendered at the screen and that is coupled with audio transmitted on the speaker and microphone and input received at the keyboard. In an embodiment, the user interface can be locally generated at the computing system. In another embodiment, the user interface may be hosted on a remote computing system and rendered at the computing system. For example, the server may generate the user interface and may transmit information related thereto to the computing device that, in turn, renders the user interface to the user. The computing device may, for example, execute a browser or an application that exposes an application program interface (API) at the server to access the user interface hosted on the server.

[0070] Finally, the communication peripherals of the computing system are configured to facilitate communication between the computing system and other computing systems (e.g., between the computing device and the server) over a communications network. The communication peripherals include, for example, a network interface controller, modem, various modulators/demodulators and encoders/decoders, wireless and wired interface cards, antenna, and the like.

[0071] The communication network includes a network of any type that is suitable for providing communications between the computing device and the server and may comprise a combination of discrete networks which may use different technologies. For example, the communications network includes a cellular network, a WiFi/ broadband network, a local area network (LAN), a wide area network (WAN), a telephony network, a fiber-optic network, or combinations thereof. In an example embodiment, the communication network includes the Internet and any networks adapted to communicate with the Internet. The communications network may be also configured as a means for transmitting data between the computing device and the server.

[0072] The techniques described above may be embodied in, and fully or partially automated by, code modules executed by one or more computers or computer processors. The code modules may be stored on any type of non-transitory computer-readable medium or computer storage device, such as hard drives, solid state memory, optical disc, and/or the like. The processes and algorithms may be implemented partially or wholly in application- specific circuitry. The results of the disclosed processes and process steps may be stored, persistently or otherwise, in any type of non-transitory computer storage such as, e.g., volatile or non-volatile storage.

[0073] As previously noted, the various features and processes described above may be used independently of one another, or may be combined in various ways. All possible combinations and sub- combinations are intended to fall within the scope of this disclosure. In addition, certain method or process blocks may be omitted in some implementations. The methods and processes described herein are also not limited to any particular sequence, and the blocks or states relating thereto can be performed in other sequences that are appropriate. For example, described blocks or states may be performed in an order other than that specifically disclosed, or multiple blocks or states may be combined in a single block or state. The example blocks or states may be performed in serial, in parallel, or in some other manner. Blocks or states may be added to or removed from the disclosed example embodiments. The example systems and components described herein may be configured differently than described. For example, elements may be added to, removed from, or rearranged compared to the disclosed example embodiments.

[0074] Conditional language used herein, such as, among others, "can," "could," "might," "may," "e.g.," and the like, unless specifically stated otherwise, or otherwise understood within the context as used, is generally intended to convey that certain embodiments include, while other embodiments do not include, certain features, elements, and/or steps. Thus, such conditional language is not generally intended to imply that features, elements and/or steps are in any way required for one or more embodiments or that one or more embodiments necessarily include logic for deciding, with or without author input or prompting, whether these features, elements and/or steps are included or are to be performed in any particular embodiment. The terms "comprising," "including," "having," and the like are synonymous and are used inclusively, in an open-ended fashion, and do not exclude additional elements, features, acts, operations, and so forth. Also, the term "or" is used in its inclusive sense (and not in its exclusive sense) so that when used, for example, to connect a list of elements, the term "or" means one, some, or all of the elements in the list.

[0075] The present disclosure describes particular embodiments and their detailed construction and operation. The embodiments described herein are set forth by way of illustration only and not limitation. Those skilled in the art will recognize, in light of the teachings herein, that there may be a range of equivalents to the exemplary embodiments described herein. Most notably, other embodiments are possible, variations can be made to the embodiments described herein, and there may be equivalents to the components, parts, or steps that make up the described embodiments. For the sake of clarity and conciseness, certain aspects of components or steps of certain embodiments are presented without undue detail where such detail would be apparent to those skilled in the art in light of the teachings herein and/or where such detail would obfuscate an understanding of more pertinent aspects of the embodiments.

[0076] The terms and descriptions used above are set forth by way of illustration only and are not meant as limitations. Those skilled in the art will recognize that those and many other variations, enhancements and modifications of the concepts described herein are possible without departing from the underlying principles of the invention. The scope of the invention should therefore be determined only by the following claims and their equivalents.