What could be more simple than revealing a symbol on a card and stand a chance of winning millions? That is exactly what scratch cards are. A form of gambling that appeals to players within any income bracket. Scratch cards have come a long way from being available at retail locations to the online scratchcards that have become so popular in Canada.
Scratchcards and other games such as the lottery have made it possible for everyday citizens around the world to win life-changing sums of money. Canada and its residents are no exception. Scratch cards have been giving players prizes for nearly 50 years and continue to be one of the most loved gambling methods today. It is similar to buying a lottery ticket, but with the bonus of instant gratification. Players need to wait for the winning lottery numbers to be announced, while Scratch Cards provide instant prizes.
The creation and distribution of Scratch Cards came about when a man in the 1970s wanted to give players a lottery experience that was different to the actual game. The main difference was and is that players would not have to wait a week to find out if they have won something. While the lottery depended on a lucky draw, when the Scratch Card was created, players were able to reveal what they had won instantly. It remains the same today, even though different variants of the Scratch Card have now been created.
John Koza was the man that developed the algorithm that keeps Scratch Cards fair and random. An idea that stemmed from Bingo cards that required players to scratch to win smaller instant prizes. These cards were given to grocery store patrons to encourage them to come back to the store to do their shopping. Koza was a computer science graduate and worked for the company that printed these bingo cards, J&H International. Two years before the creation of the Scratch Card, Koza was fired from his part-time job and focused on getting his idea for Scratch Cards off the ground.
A year before the official launch of the product, Koza partnered with Daniel Bawer who he had worked with at J&H International. Bawer had experience as a retail promoter and together they founded the Scientific Games Corporation. Afterwhich the company approached eight lotteries that were operational in the U.S. at the time. The Massachusetts Lottery was the first to place a bulk order of 25 million Scratch Cards.
Scratch Cards were fondly known as the Instant Game and were sold alongside lottery tickets as a lottery product. The popularity of Scratch Cards grew exponentially with reports of the lottery’s weekly income increasing by nearly three times the usual. After the results of the profits made with Scratch Cards, many other state lotteries took notice and joined the party.
A mere two years after the inception of Scientific Games, the company reported total revenues of $15 million. The company was subsequently acquired by Bally Manufacturing in 1981. In 1985, one of the largest orders for Scratch Cards came from the California Lottery purchasing 700 million for distribution in the state. In the same year, the game was revolutionized by an inventor named Cal Tigner. He created the Take-a-Ticket dispenser that would clearly display Scratch Cards for customers to purchase. Prior to the dispenser, the tickets were kept out of sight and would only be sold if the customer requested them.
The Instant Win Scratch Cards reached the UK by 1995. The cards were sold alongside lottery tickets and different variants were released as well. Where it has become one of the most popular forms of gambling in the country.
Around the same time, digital Scratch Cards made their way into a new player landscape. Lottery tickets and Scratch Cards were being sold online giving players even more access to their favourite activity. With Scratch Cards now able to reach so many more customers, the prizes increased and the different variants spread even faster.
The move online also meant that there were faster payout timelines, bigger cash prizes and more spending options. Online gaming sites welcomed the betting option as it was a casual game played, that has always been cheap and provides instant gratification to customers.
Additionally, the traditional Scratch Card did not die when it was made available online. The convenience of purchasing a Scratch Card at your local grocery store prospered as well. The expansion and popularity of online Scratch Cards meant that lotteries were creating more revenue and were able to offer even bigger prizes. Prizes that have won many individuals all around the world millions.
When the inception of Scratch Cards came about, the world was still exploring the potential of computers. The introduction of the internet changed how people played Scratch Cards and the increase of players engaged in the medium. Players could log on to their favourite online gaming sites and find Scratch Cards at their fingertips. While some people still enjoyed the feeling of getting their Scratch Cards at their grocery stores, others now found a new love for the convenience of online Scratch Cards.
While retail Scratch Cards are still available today, the rise of the internet and online gaming gave access to millions of people around the world. The next big boom came with the introduction of smartphones. Instant access to the internet from the palm of your hand. This enabled Scratch Cards to reach billions of people as the sales for smartphones increased exponentially. Software developers put in a ton of effort to create Scratch Card games that would function seamlessly on mobile devices. The prizes got even bigger as more people enjoyed the convenience of playing Scratch Cards from wherever they were and whenever they wanted to.
The Scratch Card market in Canada boomed as well. With Scratch Cards and lottery tickets being sold under the watchful eye of the Interprovincial Lottery Corporation (ILC) which consists of the five lottery commissions in the country. These Scratch Cards can be found online in most regions in Canada and where they aren’t available within the country, Canadians can turn to the online gaming market to find Scratch Cards as well.
Scratch Cards are known for their simplicity and affordability. It’s difficult to say how it could change in the future. It was first created during the first technological boom and then continued to innovate and welcome new audiences. It moved from behind the counter at grocery stores in the U.S., then to stands making it visible to all and to being available worldwide in retail stores and online.
Different variants of Scratch Cards have also been created such as Themed Scratch Cards, Scratch Cards with multiple lines along with the traditional Instant Win Scratch Card to name a few. Developers are always looking for ways to innovate any game in the industry and have proposed concepts for Scratch Cards that include Virtual and Augmented Reality. Where players with the right gear can virtually simulate scratching away to reveal the winning symbols.
While the recipe for Scratch Cards is perfect as it is, the future is sure to see many more customers joining the fold. As internet coverage becomes more readily available and the sale of smartphones and other devices increase, more customers will find themselves choosing to play Scratch Cards at an online casino or local lottery website.