History of Scratch Cards
Scratch cards have a relatively short history having only been invented in 1974.
American computer scientist John Koza along with retail promoter Daniel Bower formed the Scientific Games Corporation* in 1973 with their first client being the Massachusetts Lottery Commission
With most players of this state lottery having to wait a week or so to find out the results and whether they had won a prize, Koza and Bower realised that what the consumer wanted was instant gratification and rewards. What they came up with was the very first scratch card. Koza designed an algorithm, which ensured that the scratchcard results were truly random, and Bower used his marketing knowledge to make them attractive to the public.
Thanks to the simplicity of their new product and the fact that the player had the opportunity to win a prize straight away, scratchcards became instantly popular. The revenues of the Massachusetts State lottery rose incredibly from around $1million per week to over $2.5million per week after the introduction of these cards.
The invention did not go unnoticed and spread rapidly throughout the USA to other state run lotteries. The majority of states now offer scratch cards as part of their mix of lottery products.
However popular they may have been, scratch cards were still mostly out of view of the consumer. In 1985, Cal Tigner invented the clear plastic display case that commonly holds scratchcards, which he named Take-a-Ticket. This invention put scratchcards in view of the general public and made everyone aware of their existence. For his invention, Tigner was elected to the Lottery Industry Hall of Fame, along with Koza and Bower.
Other countries followed suit with scratchcards. Now they are played all over the world. They are synonymous with good odds on winning a prize and being relatively cheap for the instant rewards available.
A recent and major development in the world of scratchcards is the possibility to play them on the Internet. Online scratchcards first came to the fore in the 1990’s and provided truly instant gratification. Online scratchcards effectively reproduce the look and feel of using a scratchcard, which is why they have become one of the most popular online games available.
* Scientific Games Corp. remain one of the major producers of gaming scratch cards along with Pollard Banknote of Canada. Both have production facilities all over the world.