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Best of John Grochowski

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Can you patent a gambling game?

3 November 2013

QUESTION: I was wondering if one were to invent a table game (or a variation of an existing game), could the idea be patented or protected and if so could it then be sold or leased to casinos?

ANSWER: Yes, you can patent table games. In fact, if you're serious about marketing a new table games, it's essential to have your patents in order, complete with a mathematical workup on the game.

I'm going to be a little downbeat here, because introducing a new table game is a tough go, no matter how good the game. The biggest overall trend in the casino industry has been the shrinking of table pits and the expansion of slot machines. Opportunities for new games are slim.

If your game is to have a shot, you have to make sure not only that you have the math right, but that it's easy to play and easy to deal. If the layout is cluttered, there's no chance. Casinos don't want to spend a lot of time training dealers, and players need to be able to pick up the game on the fly. The basics of how to play need to be obvious to anyone who plays a hand or two.

You also need to be very careful that your game doesn’t infringe patents of existing games. Game developers and distributors are protective of their intellectual property, and many a lawsuit has been filed over competing games. You will need legal help in this process.

If all that's in order, there's still the matter of getting an operator to try the game. I've seen it work a couple of different ways. Developers have made their case with table games directors at casinos near them, gotten feedback, and finally persuaded one to give their game a trial. If it proves popular with players and makes money for the casino, then you have foot in the door. It's a time-consuming, painstaking process.

Others have had new games break through by doing the initial development, then licensing the game to a larger company. If you come to a deal with such a company, understand you have a greater possibility of getting large numbers of games in the field, but will get a much smaller return on each one.

This link describes the process pretty well: http://casinogambling.about.com/od/Other-Casino-Card-Games/a/Inventing-A-New-Casino-Table-Game.htm


QUESTION: I’m a new video poker player, and was excited to get my first royal flush. It was on a Double Double Bonus Poker game, and I won $1,000! On our way out of the casino, I saw Deuces Wild games. Wouldn’t those give you a lot better chance at a royal? Or do they deal fewer royals?

ANSWER: Congratulations on your royal! The first one always is one to remember. I could still tell you all the details of mine nearly 25 years ago.

Something you’d learn the first time you played Deuces Wild is that there’s a pay table distinction between royal flushes with and without wild cards. If you have ace-king-queen-jack-10 of the same suit, and you bet five coins on a quarter game, then you’ll receive that same $1,000 bonanza you found so exciting on Double Double Bonus. But if there’s a deuce or two or three taking the places of those high cards, then the payoff on most Deuces Wild machines is 125 coins -- $31.25 on a quarter machine.

That’s a nice hand, one that’ll keep you in play for a good long time, but it’s not the walkaway jackpot a $1,000 royal is.

So the answer to your question is that yes, the wild cards do mean there are more royals, but most of them won’t have you counting your $100 bills as you leave the ticket redemption kiosk.
Recent Articles
Best of John Grochowski
John Grochowski

John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

Winning Tips for Casino Games

> More Books By John Grochowski