Scratchcards are as much a part of our culture and society now as James Bond, the National Lottery, and cups of tea. They are a wonderful way for people to enjoy a cheaper and more accessible form of gambling. Scratchcards are cheap, and they provide the excitement and thrill of holding something tangible that could be a gateway to riches.
Go into any newsagent or supermarket, and you will find dozens of scratchcards on sale. There are new ones being released every year, with different themes and varying prices, and they are just as popular as ever. But, how much do we know about the history of scratchcards, and the first ever scratchcard to be released? Well, most people probably know very little about it if anything. So we’ve done some research into it, and we’re going to share a little about it below.
The origins of scratchcards date back to the mid-1970s, and we’re created by computer scientists. In 1974, the US company Scientific Games Corporation produced the first version of scratchcards – a computer generated one. Following this, a game called The Instant Game was launched in the mid-’70s and became hugely popular. It’s funny to think that scratchcards are so popular now, and yet they were only introduced as recently as the ‘70s.
It wasn’t until the late 1980s that scratchcards really picked up in a big way. In 1987, Astro-Med Inc., a Rhode Island company, got the first patent for the instant scratch-off card. This took them mainstream, and scratchcards became a national and then international phenomenon.
There have been countless different uses for scratchcards over the years, including charity and advertising, but the most popular is, of course, gambling. People get a buzz and a thrill from buying a scratchcard because of the promise it can deliver. It’s like having a lottery ticket except you find out the result instantly, and this has a big appeal to people.
As with most things nowadays, scratchcards have had to adapt with the times, and they have started to go digital now. In 2005, the first website was launched dedicated to digital scratchcards, and this has opened them up to a whole new audience of scratching enthusiasts.
Now you can walk into any newsagent or supermarket and choose from a vast selection of scratchcards, and many of these have huge jackpots attached to them. It’s fair to say that scratchcards have come a long way since those early days of the ‘70s, and it’s possible they may even move solely online.