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Scratch Cards an Easy Way for Americans to Gamble

In many families, a favorite stocking stuffer at Christmas time is a few scratch cards from the local state lottery. These cards are fun little gifts, and everyone scratches them off on Christmas morning, hoping they will contain a gift of thousands of dollars, though they rarely pay out more than a few free cards.

Scratch cards are popular in the United States, depending on where you are, of course. As with the lotteries, gambling scratch cards are regulated and provided by the state lottery of each state. These cards are available most places lottery tickets are, and are even sometimes sold in vending machines in supermarkets or bars.

There are a few multi-state scratch card games, but compared to the popularity of multi-state lotteries such as Powerball, scratch cards remain mostly in the hands of the individual states themselves. Each state usually has around five to ten scratch card games going at one time, with new ones being introduced every few months as others end.

Scratch cards are a simple, fun, and immediate way for states to provide gambling fun to its residents, as well as make valuable revenue. Basically, scratch cards are purchased for a dollar or two and each one has an area which can be scratched off with a coin. In most cases, you have to get a card with a certain combination of matching symbols, and if you do, you win! Prizes range from a free ticket sometimes all the way to $1 million, though wins like that are rare.

However, scratch cards are so easily available that there has been a movement, spearheaded by the US National Council on Problem Gambling to try to keep children from buying and playing scratch cards. While it might be a nice treat on Christmas morning, the NCPG warns parents against giving scratch cards to children as gifts, as it sends the message early on that gambling is acceptable for children.

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