Patent application title: Random number generator and method
James W. Grey (Holly, MI, US)
Alex Rhodes (West Bloomfield, MI, US)
IPC8 Class: AA63B7100FI
Class name: Amusement devices: games chance devices
Publication date: 2012-06-21
Patent application number: 20120153568
A kidney shaped number generator for randomly placing numbers in Keno and
other lottery number games comprising: a base, a set of numbered disks on
opposite sides of the base, each of said disks having numbers on opposite
sides of the disk, a mask overlying each of the sets of numbered disks
and a transparent cover on opposite sides of the base for enclosing the
numbered disks. Each of the masks has a window through which selected
sets of numbers are exposed. An important feature of the invention is
that the generator can be used in different lotteries by merely changing
the masks and amounts of numbered disks. In a first embodiment, the masks
are labels adhesively applied to outer or inner surfaces of the
transparent outer covers. In a second embodiment, the masks are thin
sheets of materials with graphics between the numbered disks and
transparent outer covers.
1. A number generator for randomly picking lottery numbers comprised of a
base, said base extending across the width and length of said generator
and having a trap on opposite sides of said base, a first set of numbered
disks one side of said base; a second set of numbered disks on an
opposite side of said base; a mask overlying said first set of numbered
disks, said mask having a window for displaying a first designated number
of said first set of numbered disks; a mask overlying said second set of
numbered disks, said mask having a window for displaying a second
designated number of said second set of numbered disks; a transparent
cover on opposite sides of said generator for enclosing said disks; and a
means for retaining said covers to said base.
2. The number generator recited in claim 1 wherein each of said traps is comprised of a linear array of arcuate pockets for capturing numbered disks
3. The number generator recited in claim 1 wherein each of said masks is a transparent label with graphics that is adhesively applied to opposite outer surfaces of said transparent covers.
4. The number generator recited in claim 1 wherein each of said masks is a thin sheet of material with graphics between said disks and said covers.
5. The number generator recited in claim 1 wherein each of said masks is printed graphics on opposite outer surfaces of said transparent covers.
6. The number generator recited in claim 1 wherein said traps are linear arrays of arcuate pockets.
7. The number generator recited in claim 1 wherein said base is a kidney shaped generator.
8. The number generator recited in claim 1 wherein said first selection set of numbered disks are a first color and said second set of numbered disks are a second color.
9. A number generator for randomly picking lottery numbers comprised of a base, said base extending across the width and length of said generator; a first set of numbered disks one side of said base; a second set of numbered disks on an opposite side of said base; a transparent cover on opposite sides of said base for enclosing said disks, each of said covers having a trap for capturing some of said numbered disks, each of said traps comprising a linear array of arcuate pockets; a mask adhesively applied to an outer surface of each of said covers, said masks having windows for viewing designated numbers of said numbered disks; and a means for retaining said covers to said base.
10. A method for randomly generating lottery numbers for more than a single lottery, said method comprising the steps of: installing a first set of numbered disks in a lottery random number generator which correspond in number to a selection set of a first lottery; adding a first mask to said generator which overlays said numbered disks; shaking said generator to capture some of said numbered disks in a trap; viewing a first designated number of said disks through a window in said mask which correspond in number to a winning number of said lottery; replacing said first selection set of numbered disks with additional sets of numbered disks; replacing said first mask with additional masks; shaking generators with said additional sets of disks and said masks and viewing designated numbers of said other disks through windows in said other masks.
11. The method recited in claim 8 wherein said traps are completely filled with said disks when said generator is shaken.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
 This invention relates to number generators and, more particularly, to a random number generator for placing lottery number bets.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 2009 lottery sales exceeded the combined incomes of America's five most profitable corporations. Lotteries have become so popular that it is believed that they may be adopted for trimming federal budget deficits. Ordinary people have acquired fortunes that were heretofore impossible. At the present time, players individually select lottery numbers or "easy pick" numbers are generated by machines at lottery stations.
 Adell, U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,507,492 and 5,803,454 are exemplary of hand held lottery number generators in the prior art. Adell U.S. Pat. No. 5,507,492 discloses a combined number generator and key chain. The number generator has a trap and small circular disks for displaying lottery numbers. The generator is shaken to capture disks in a trap. Adell U.S. Pat. No. 5,803,454 discloses a beverage coaster and number generator.
 One deficiency of the Adell patents is that the disks are difficult to capture. Another deficiency that the number generators are applicable to single lotteries. Most states have six or more lotteries that will require different number generators.
 Electronic number generators also exist in the art. One deficiency of electronic generators is that they are based on algorithms and are therefore not random number generators. Another shortcoming is that they are expensive
 Manufacturers have been unwilling to invest in lottery number generators because large investments are required to service all of a State's lotteries. By way of example, Michigan has 7 lotteries that would require 9 Adell generators, namely, 2 for the Mega-Millions lottery, 2 for the Power Ball lottery, and 1 for each of the remaining 5 lotteries.
TABLE-US-00001 Michigan Lotteries Lottery Numbers Mega-Millions 5 of 56 plus 1 of 46 Daily 3 3 of 30 Daily 4 4 of 40 Fantasy 5 5 of 39 Lotto 47 6 of 47 Power Ball 5 of 59 plus 1 of 39 Lucky Lines 7 of 49
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 The present invention is an easy to use generator for randomly generating lottery numbers. A distinguishing feature of the invention is that with minor modifications it can be adapted for all of a State's lotteries. Another feature is that numbers are generated on opposite sides of the generator.
 The number generator comprises a base, a pair of transparent "see through" covers, a mask and a plurality of numbered disks. Numbers are generated by shaking the generator to capture numbered disks in the base. Another distinguishing feature is that the same number of disks is captured for all lotteries.
 The method is comprised of the steps of cutting disks from a common blank which correspond in number to a set from which numbers are chosen, loading the disks in the generator, installing a mask having a window for viewing numbers through a window in the mask, shaking the generator to fill a trap in the generator and viewing a set of numbers through the window. One benefit of the is the generator is that it can be assembled without regard to "top" and "bottom" orientations of its components.
 The mask can have several forms. In one form the mask is a thin sheet of material with graphics that is interposed between the base and the lens. In a second form, the mask is a transparent label which is adhesively attached to the outside surface of a lens. In another form, the mask is printed on the outside or inside surface of the lens. In each form a window is provided for viewing sets of numbered disks in generator. The length of the window establishes the number of disks that are exposed to view. In a first embodiment of the invention the trap is an integral portion of the base. In another embodiment, the trap is an integral portion of the lens.
 In employing the teaching of the present invention, a plurality of alternate constructions can be provided to achieve the desired results and capabilities. In this disclosure, some alternate constructions are discussed. However, these embodiments are intended as examples, and should not be considered as limiting.
 Further benefits, features and embodiments of the invention will be apparent from the ensuing description and accompanying drawings which describe the invention in detail. A preferred embodiment is disclosed in accordance with the best mode which is contemplated for practicing the invention and the specific features in which exclusive property rights are claimed are set forth in each of the numbered claims which are appended to the detailed description.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 FIG. 1 is a front view of a lottery number generator according to the present invention.
 FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view taken on the line 2-2 in FIG. 1.
 FIG. 3 is a rear view of the lottery number generator.
 FIG. 4 is a front view of a base.
 FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view taken on the line 5-5 in FIG. 4.
 FIG. 6 is a rear view of the base.
 FIG. 7 is a front view of a cover.
 FIG. 8 is a right side view of the cover.
 FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view taken on the line 9-9 in FIG. 7.
 FIG. 10 is a rear view of the cover.
 FIG. 11 is an enlarged fragmentary view of FIG. 9.
 FIG. 12 is a longitudinal cross-sectional view of an alternate embodiment.
 FIG. 13 is a front view of a second alternate embodiment.
 FIG. 14 is a cross-sectional view taken on the line 14-14 in FIG. 13.
 FIG. 15 is a rear view of the embodiment shown in FIG. 13.
 FIG. 16 is a front view of the lens of the embodiment shown in FIG. 13.
 FIG. 17 is a cross-sectional view taken on the line 17-17 in FIG. 16.
 FIG. 18 is a rear view of the lens shown in FIG. 16.
 FIG. 19 is a front view of the base of the embodiment shown in FIG. 13.
 FIG. 20 is a cross-sectional view taken on the line 20-20 in FIG. 19.
 FIG. 21 is a rear view of the base of the embodiment shown in FIG. 13.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
 Referring now to the drawings wherein like numerals designate like and corresponding parts throughout the several views, in FIGS. 1 through 3, inclusive, a lottery number generator 30 is shown according to the invention. The lottery number generator 30 is comprised of an opaque base 31, a pair of identical transparent covers 32 on opposite sides of the base 31, a thin mask 33 on outer surfaces of opposite covers 32 and a plurality of thin cylindrical numbered disks 34 in opposite sides of the base 31. The same numbers are preferably marked on opposite sides of the disks 34. The disks 34 are of different colors to distinguish the front of the generator 30 from the rear of the generator 30.
 Although the lottery number generator 30 is kidney shaped, it is not our intention to limit the generator 30 to this shape since other shapes are possible within the spirit of our invention. The mask 33 may have several forms. One form, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 3, is a thin transparent label 33 adhesively attached, to the outer surface of each cover 32. Another form, as shown in FIG. 12, is a thin sheet 36 between each cover 32 and the base 31. It may also be printing on the outer 47 or inner surfaces of the covers 32.
 On opposite sides of the base 31 are traps 37 for capturing the numbered disks 34. The traps 37 are linear arrays of arcuate pockets 38 that extend laterally across the base 31. When the generator 30 is shaken, the pockets 38 fill with the numbered disks 34. Directly above the traps 37 some of the disks 34 are visible through windows 39 in the masks 33. For example, for a lottery requiring 3 numbers from a selection set of 30 numbers, three of the disks 34 are visible through the window 39.
 By providing traps 37, disks 34 and masks 33 on opposite sides of the generator 30, the requirements of some lotteries can be satisfied, For example, for the Multi-Millions lottery, 5 disks can be viewed through an appropriate size window 39 on one side of the generator 30 and one disk 34 can be viewed through an appropriate size window 39 on an opposite side of the generator 30. A mask 33 with windows 34 may be provided for the Daily 3 lottery on one side and Daily 4 lottery on an opposite side. By merely changing the amounts of disks 34 and masks 33, the generator 30 can be adapted to all of a State's lotteries.
 With reference to FIGS. 4 and 5, in the base are 3 posts 40 for maintaining the space between the cover 32 and base 31. The covers 32 are attached to the base, as shown in Figs. in FIGS. 11 and 12 with fingers 41 in the covers 32 that engage recesses 42 in the base 31.
 Referring now to FIGS. 13 through 20, inclusive, an alternate embodiment 43 is shown wherein traps 41 are portions of transparent covers 44. In this embodiment 43, the masks 33 are transparent labels or graphics on the outer surfaces of the covers 44. They 44 are separated by a base 45 which divides the generator 43 into front and rear portions for storing disks 34.
 From the foregoing, it is apparent that our invention provides a novel, easy to use number generator for selecting lottery numbers having features which are neither anticipated nor obvious over the prior art. One important feature is that it can apply with minor modifications to all of a State's lotteries. One distinguishing feature of our invention is that when the generator is shaken traps are completely filled with disks. By providing masks with different length windows, the generator may be used for different lotteries. One important benefit is that our generator is a true random generator as opposed to electronic generators with are based on algorithms.
 Although only two embodiments of our invention have been described it is further obvious that other embodiments can be derived after studying our disclosure, by such changes as providing a generator with a single trap, mask and set of disks, substitution of parts, changes in shape and inversion of elements without departing from the spirit thereof.
Patent applications by Alex Rhodes, West Bloomfield, MI US
Patent applications by James W. Grey, Holly, MI US
Patent applications in class CHANCE DEVICES
Patent applications in all subclasses CHANCE DEVICES