Scratch card history

The history of lottery stretches far back, while the scratch card is a very modern invention. Cultures such as the ancient Chinese and Romans both used the lottery to fund public projects, and part of the Chinese wall was actually paid for by keno revenue. The scratch card on the other hand didn't see the day of light until the 20th century.

A traditional lottery consists of two parts: the selling of the tickets and the draw when the winners are decided. The time period between these two events can be quite long, and it is for instance not unusual for lotteries to have a drawing once a week or once a month. When the scratch card was invented, its main selling point was the fact that you didn't have to wait for a draw to take place. When you buy a scratch card, you can immediately find out if you've won by scratching the film and revealing what's beneath.

In 1964, John Koza, a student living in the United States, became the second person in the world to hold a B.A. in computer science. He continued to study computers and got an M.S. as well, followed by a Ph D in 1972. In 1973, he teamed up with Daniel Bower, whose specialization was marketing, and together they formed the Scientific Games Corporation. Their very first client was the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission who was looking for a way to make their lottery more interesting for the people of Massachusetts.

In the early 1970s, the Massachusetts State Lottery was a traditional lottery where you picked six numbers and waited for a draw to take place. The wait could go on for up to a week, so it was a very slow game that didn't offer any immediate rewards. Koza and Bower suspected that the residents of Massachusetts would be more interested in giving their money to the state if they could find out right away if their lottery ticket was a winner or not.

Based on this idea of immediate gratification, Koza and Bower constructed the very first scratch card. In order to show the gambling public and the state of Massachusetts that the results were completely random, Koza created an algorithm. When the state of Massachusetts began selling scratch tickets from the Scientific Games Corporation, their lottery revenue went from $1 million a week to $2,7 million a week. The scratch card was an instant success.

Today, scratch cards can be purchased world wide and people around the globe enjoy the quick rush of scratching off the film. Scratch cards are also popular gifts, and they can normally be purchased well in advance since they aren't tied to a specific weekly or monthly draw. Scratch cards are also available online where you scratch them using your cursor instead of a penny. Some of them are online versions of scratch card types that you can find offline as well, while others can be played online only. The very latest step in the history of scratch cards is the ability to purchase and scratch digital scratch cards directly in your mobile phone.