Guest Blog: Are scratch cards really here to stay?

Guest Blog: Are scratch cards really here to stay?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

In a fast-moving world of technological, online and mobile innovations, does the humble scratch card really have a place? In a guest blog for TotallyGaming.com, Johan Larsson, the general manager of Prime ScratchCards, explains why he believes they do.

 

Contrary to common sense, scratch cards are a surprisingly new idea, writes Johan Larsson. First introduced in the US in 1974, the instant-win cards gained quick popularity in the land of stripes and stars. It took 21 years for the concept to cross the ocean, which launched in the UK in March 1995.

The appeal of the scratch card is hard to ignore –instantly becoming a millionaire in a matter of seconds and with minimal investment and risk – scratch cards prices range from £1 to 10. Indeed the odds of winning the big prize can seem daunting, but still, people do win.

In September of last year, housewife Grace Walker of Hamilton won a £1million jackpot with a £5 scratch card. Cynics would point to the fact the Walker is a ‘scratch cards fanatic’; she had bought about 30 tickets per week over a two-year period (approximately £16,000 in spending.) She did take a risk, maybe even an uncalculated one, but it paid off, big time.

Scratch cards then offer a fun and low-risk way to satisfy the gambling itch, to take a break from everyday life and to dream – if only for the few seconds it takes to scratch – of a more glamorous life.

The question to be asked though is, what is the relevance of real-life scratch cards when the online and mobile alternatives are so abundant?

The first and most obvious one is allowing ‘real life’ to continue to exist. As we are drifting more and more into the black mirrors that surround our lives, it suddenly seems crucial to remain active in the brick and mortar world.  Physicality has it perks, the excitement of scratching that grey layer with a coin or the tip of a key is hard to duplicate in the virtual world.

The other is the fact that one of 10 adults in the UK does not have a credit card, which means they cannot play online. This 10 per cent of the adult population already has so many aspects of modern living further complicated for them, so allowing them the easy, quick and cheap way of having a bit of fun here and there is important.

And then there’s the matter of self-restraint – no doubt easier to achieve with a wallet in hand, rather than a credit card online. Actually, many online scratch cards websites encourage their players to self-limit, to play responsibly as the saying goes.

And last, the popularity of scratch cards in the UK has been increasing more than any other form of lottery game. That alone signifies their relevance.

And not that we need to worry about Big Brother, but 28 per cent of profits generated by the National Lottery Commission are allocated to good causes, set by the Parliament. So next time you scratch a card remember that on top of maybe becoming a millionaire, you are also doing a good deed indeed.

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