Scratch cards, those little squares of excitement that offer the chance of instant winnings, have been a popular pastime in the UK for many years.
Whether you’ve received one as a gift or purchased it yourself, you might be wondering, “How long do scratch cards last?”
I’m here to give you the answer and some fascinating facts about their origins, where you can buy them, the differences between real-world scratch cards and online ones, and how scratch cards vary worldwide.
Do Scratch Cards Go Out Of Date?
The simple answer is Yes. Scratch Cards do go out of date but finding out when is a little tricky.
The longevity of a scratch card depends on the specific game and the rules set by the organisation that issued it.
In the UK, scratch cards typically have a “sell-by” date printed on the back. This date indicates the last day on which you can purchase a ticket for that particular game.
Once you have purchased a scratch card, prizes can be redeemed up to 180 days after the game’s closing date, which is also printed on the card.
After this period, the card becomes void, and you won’t be able to claim any prizes.
If you’re ever unsure, or simply can’t read the tiny writing on the card, the National Lottery has a full list of every scratch card they sell, with the closing date and the last date you can claim any prizes.
How Long Does A Scratch Card Sell For?
Scratch card companies like to keep things interesting. And while there are always staples in the industry, most do have a shelf life.
The average duration for which a scratch card stays on the market until the sell-by date can vary depending on several factors.
This includes the specific game and the operator that releases it. In the UK, it is common for scratch card games to have sell-by dates that range from a few months to a year or more.
For example, a special Christmas scratch Card may get released in November and only have a shelf life of two months. The reality is that few people want themed cards after the event has ended.
Generally, new cards are introduced and sold until all the available tickets are sold or until a predetermined period has elapsed.
This means that the duration a particular scratch card game remains on the market can vary widely.
Scratch Cards Around the World
Scratch cards have found their way into the hearts of people all around the world, each with its own unique variations and rules.
In the UK, scratch cards are primarily associated with the National Lottery, but other countries have their own versions.
In the United States, state lotteries offer scratch-off games, and there are often unique regional themes.
Their neighbours in Canada love a scratch-off as much as anybody else. So much so that new Canadian online casinos now offer the virtual version as well. Double the fun.
Known as “scratchies” in Australia, they are big business with even bigger prizes. In fact, the Aussies had a $15 million prize offered by a scratch card game called “Instant Scratch-Its $15 Million Ticket.
In Japan, scratch cards are called “Takarakuji”. The Japanese government operates a wide range as a means of generating revenue for public projects and charities.
But in a twist, along with cash, Takarakuji prizes often include luxury items like cars, electronics, travel packages, or even real estate properties.
Real-World vs. Online Scratch Cards
Is there a better feeling than scratching off all that silver coating, slowly finding out if you’ve won a grand prize?
Anticipation is one of the key selling points of scratch cards. After all, somebody has to win the jackpot so why can’t that be you??
The reality however, if often very different and all you are left with is disappointment and a lot of mess to clean up.
That’s where online scratch cards have an advantage. While the thrill remains the same, there are some differences between real-world and online scratch cards.
First of all, online scratch cards are available 24/7, making them accessible at any time. Real-world cards are limited to store hours.
And while both types offer instant wins, online versions may have different gameplay mechanics and animations. Some of them have amazing graphics and are just more interesting.
But best of all, the prize structure can vary a lot. Jackpots tend to be bigger online, plus there’s also the added bonus of finding a card with a progressive jackpot that grows over time.
You can even tailor how much you spend on them. So even though you could win less, you also pay less, which is ideal for those on a budget.
We started this by answering one simple question: how long do scratch cards last? And we’ve done our best to give you the answer you want.
They have a sell by date, and you can claim prizes up to 180 days after that date has passed.
Of course, this doesn’t apply online, where you win instantly and are paid instantly. But either way, a win is a win, so good luck and happy scratching!