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Are lottery scratchcards a "hard" form of gambling?

Mark Griffiths

Abstract


This article argues that scratchcards are not an extension of the online U.K. National Lottery but an entirely different form of gambling, with its own implications for future gambling policy. It also argues that scratchcards are potentially addictive and should be considered a "hard" form of gambling. The author suggests that scratchcard gambling could become a repetitive habit for some people because of their integrated mix of conditioning effects, rapid event frequency, short payout intervals and psychological rewards coupled with the fact that scratchcards require no skill and are highly accessible, deceptively inexpensive and available in "respectable" outlets.

On March 21, 1995, Camelot - the consortium that runs the U.K. National Lottery online - introduced scratchcards. Like the online game, 28% of ticket sales contribute towards "good causes" distributed by the National Lotteries Charities Board. Although scratchcards are not new to the United Kingdom, many people view them as intricately linked with the National Lottery. Camelot's scratchcards were the first to benefit from both heavy advertising (television, national newspapers, billboards, etc.) and large jackpots (e.g., £50,000), which meant they became successful very quickly.


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4309/jgi.2002.7.8

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