The Strange World of Casino Patents
By Alex J. Coyne © 2017 for Great Bridge Links
If something exists, there must surely be a patent for it. We ran with this thought and headed to the archives to dig up some of the stranger gambling, card and casino-related patents we could find.
We all know that a playing card isn’t just a card, but these patents took things to a whole new level. (You can read more about the first deck ever printed by the US Playing Card Company at Bicycle Cards’ official website.)
Filed: 31 March, 1914
By: Arthur W Browne
These aren’t just normal playing cards, according to the patent’s description, this is a playing card game relating to… Chemistry. Yes, this is basically playing cards with chemical symbols on them – and it encourages you to lay “atoms on the table”. Good luck – just don’t split your hand.
Filed: 22 July, 1930
By: Ferguson Jr Harley B
This patent is cited as an improvement on playing cards, and it looked to make cards flexible, easier to play with and durable. Read the whole thing to be amazed at how much detail can go into describing the lamination of a playing card – it’s almost poetic!
Electronic playing card
Filed: 23 March, 2007
By: Andrew P. Connors
This is something a little more modern: The electronic playing card, which – according to the patent – “provides an electronic playing card comprising electronic paper that displays a playing card. Two or more of such electronic playing cards can comprise an electronic playing card deck.” See the link for more detail.
What I’m wondering is, if Connors owns this patent, does he get money from all the online casinos and bridge clubs and software? And – what happened to the Card Toaster?
System for playing card games remotely (The Card Toaster)
Filed: 30 September, 1993
By: Arno Penzias
A system for playing card games remotely includes both a multimedia communication system that allows players located remotely from each other to see and hear each other, and a “card toaster” and associated image recognition system at each game site which receives and manages a physical deck of cards at every site at which the game is being played. The toaster has the capability of (1) reading cards, for example, by scanning them, (2) finding particular cards, and, if necessary, sorting them, and (3) distributing cards, such as by dealing them. The system enables the players to deal and then play a game, such as the game of bridge, in a manner which closely approximates the manner in which a game is played when all players are co-located. Thus, once play is started, the image recognition system reads the cards played on a table at any site, and transmits information regarding those cards to the other sites. At the other sites, the card toaster is signaled and arranged to distribute the same cards, face up on the table.
The first slot machine to make it to production was the Liberty Bell (patented by Charles Fey) back in 1895. Since then, there have been possibly thousands of attempts to come up with new gadgets within the machines – or new machines entirely.
Filed: 31 March, 1902
By: Wilhelm Klepetar
This slot machine patent creates a slot machine that, instead of money, throws out “merchandise” – like, for example, candy. That’s great. We like candy. (If this was available in 1902, we’re surprised we didn’t spot it sooner!)
Apparatus for stopping the reels of a slot machine
Filed: 25 August, 1986
By: Taihei Yoshitomi & Kabushiki Kaisha Universal
Slot machine reels can’t just spin, and spin, and spin, and spin… For a win or lose, we guess they have to stop, too. Here, filed in 1986, is a patent for “stopping the reels of a slot machine”. We can only guess that before then there were tiny aliens waiting inside slot machines kind of like that scene from Men in Black.
Remote controlled slot machines
Filed: 10 February, 1999
By: Michael DeMar
As per its description, this patent is “a special gaming system is provided with a portable controller comprising a remote control to remotely play a game on a slot machine.” We aren’t sure why this would exist, honestly…
Odds & Sods
Casino Board Game – Want to test your luck without losing any money? This patented board game combines the casino element of card games with the element of moving across a board towards victory.
Modular Dealing Shoe – An upgrade on a card-rack, this dealing shoe not only helps deal out cards, but reads and analyzes card data.
Want to search patent databases on your own? Try Google Patents and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
A well-dressed deer introduces a new game site from Malta.
SuperLenny.com is a brand new game site from the same gang that created Thrills. However, in contrast to the sister’s casino’s energetic image, SuperLenny feels a little more calm and backward in her appearance. Much thanks to the site’s clean and simple design. The well-dressed deer SuperLenny is a humorous feature that gives the casino a strong personality and makes it stand out from the crowd. Like Thrills, SuperLenny is run by the company Betit Operations Ltd, which is based on the European island of Malta and is licensed by the Maltese gaming authority LGA.
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