Also called scratch cards, scratchies, scratch and win, instant wins, instant lottery or instant game, a pound card is a small cardboard token where one or more areas contain concealed information. These areas are covered with a substance, usually latex, which cannot be seen through but which can be scratched off to reveal symbols underneath.
The cards come in many designs and formats, often illustrated with popular film or television characters. In some cases the entire scratchable surface needs to be scratched to reveal whether a prize has been won or to show a secret code. In these cases, the result does not change depending on which section or sections the player scratches off.
For other cards, selected or chosen areas need to be scratched off to see if the player has won. The result in this case depends upon which areas the player chooses to reveal. Costing as little as one pound per card, this is a very low cost and therefore popular form of gambling. The opportunity to win instantly instead of waiting for a weekly draw is also a big incentive to play.
Cards are readily available at many shops in the UK, bought and distributed at the till. Typically a pound card offers wins of up to £50,000 whereas those costing two pounds offer wins of up to £250,000. These cards may only be sold to persons over 16 years of age: you may be asked for ID if you appear younger than this.
You can also play online at sites like Bwin.