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The History and Themes of Scratch Cards

In the age of instant gratification, scratch cards have emerged as the ultimate in casino-based entertainment. These nifty little cards have evolved from lottery cards, and now appear at our grocery stores, newsagents… and even on our favourite casino sites. Also known as scratchies, scratch-its, and scratch-offs, this uber-fast and super-convenient casino game offers anyone (of legal age) with a few moments to spare the chance to scratch and potentially land a win in just a second or two; they require no skill or patience – just a bit of luck!

We’re jumping on board the scratch-game train and taking a trip down scratch-card memory lane to get a true appreciation for this fun pastime!

What are scratch cards?

Scratch cards are a type of instant lottery – they were even called that in their early days. These cards offer a simple “scratch and win” mechanism whereby players simply buy a card – either a paper card or an online version – scratch away at the resin/pixels with a coin or a computer mouse, and reveal a potential prize.

The hidden part of the card (both online and paper versions) is produced by RNG (random number generator) technology to ensure fair play. Scratch games offer short-and-sweet action that doesn’t require any skills or a time commitment – unlike the actual lottery, players also needn’t wait for lottery day to see if they’ve won. This makes them great games to enjoy on the go (providing players look after their bankroll and don’t overspend their gaming budget), or when players don’t have the time to commit to a bingo or Slingo game.

Origin of scratch cards

The lottery has been around for millennia, but scratch cards have only been on the scene since the 1970s. In 1974, two Americans – a computer scientist, John Koza, and a retail promoter, Daniel Bower – founded a company called Scientific Games Corporation. This company worked with the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission, and their research revealed that lottery players would rather not have to wait a week to find out who had won. And so the idea of the scratch card was born.

Koza had previously worked for a company that printed bingo cards for US grocery stores and had developed algorithms for the game to ensure randomness and fairness for all parties involved. With this experience backing them up, the entrepreneurs created special lottery tickets with a foil coating that could be removed by a coin, which prevented the numbers and symbols from being in view until the card had been scratched.

“The Instant Game”, as it was marketed, was an instant success – the Massachusetts Lottery implemented the idea, and within one week revenues skyrocketed from $1 million to over $2.7 million (approximately £2 million), almost tripling the lottery’s usual weekly revenue. Soon, other US state lotteries started using scratch cards, and their popularity spread across the world within a few years. The scratch-card technology was also patented and, to this day, it’s still used in the banking and telecoms industries.

‘Real-life’ scratch cards

Today, scratch cards can be bought around the world in a number of accessible, land-based venues – even supermarkets. Players simply choose the type of card they want – they vary in theme and price – scratch the waxy coating off a few squares on the card, and hope for the best! Winning patterns such as three-of-a-kind or the word “Jackpot” indicate a win. Cards may also feature more exciting features such as prize multipliers.

Online scratch cards

Players also have the convenience of being able to purchase scratchcards online. With the emergence of online casinos in recent years, the popularity of scratch cards saw another wave. Cards can either be bought on government lottery websites or at certain online casinos, not least Mecca Games. They are also common in online bingo rooms as an enjoyable way to pass time while waiting for a game to start, or for a number to be called.

These online variants are designed to resemble real cards as closely as possible – both in look and feel. As an interactive game, the act of scratching is usually accompanied by colourful graphics and vibrant music. To reveal a potential prize, players drag their mouse over the hidden numbers until the prize is in view.

Advantages of playing scratch games online

Like all casino games, there are a number of advantages to playing online. First off, scratch cards are fun to play on their own, or between other games. Players also get to choose the size of their bets, rather than having to choose from fixed prices for cards bought from local brick-and-mortar stores. Alongside greater betting options, there are also usually bigger prize pools. With more people able to access and play online, there is more money coming in, and thus more money going out. If you thought scratchies couldn’t get any faster – playing online means instant payouts, rather than having to wait in line to claim your winnings. And if you’ve run out of scratchies and aren’t close to a shop, chances are you have your phone on you, making it possible to play wherever, whenever.

Themes

As online slot games, scratch cards are incredibly diverse and come in a large variety of themes. What’s common throughout these themes is the bright, colorful designs that make scratch games so inviting.

When they first came out, scratch cards were usually designed around local tourist attractions. They were elegant and attractive. Today, players can find almost anything to suit their fancy. From movie-themed scratch cards such as Ted Big Money and festive games like Happy Holidays Scratch to slot-themed cards including Fishin Frenzy Scratch, Lucky Leprechaun Scratch, and King Kong Cash Scratch – Progressive – there is sure to be something to suit your taste.

Play scratch cards and more at our casino online

Ready to try your luck with a scratchie or two? Visit Mecca Games. Not only do we have a variety of scratch and arcade games on offer, but we also boast the best online slots, from progressive jackpots to Megaways slots, as well as classic table games, live dealer, Slingo, and more. Welcome to a whole world of fun entertainment!


/ 04 January 2022