By Linda Straker
In the year 2007, Scratch brought in more than EC$2 million to the National Lottery Authority, but by 2014 that amount was reduced to less than EC$200,000. A decision was then made to pull it off the market, but as of Wednesday, 15 April 2015, it once again hit the market with the hope that it will bring in massive financial returns.
“We had to pull it off the market for various reasons. Chief among them, was the significant loss we were encountering because of a decision made by the former board,” said General Manager Geoffrey Gilbert, during a news conference to relaunch the “Scratch” product of the NLA.
With its theme of Win Easy, Scratch is an instant card game of the NLA. “Scratch brings a new type of energy, because you win or lose instantly — you don’t have to wait, and even if you lose, [you support] our efforts of contributing to nation building through the various social or community programme we assist,” he added.
It was explained that the previously appointed board decided to remove themselves from the Caribbean Cooperative group arrangement with Canadian Bank Notes where the scratch tickets were printed, and instead to go alone.
“Now this meant that more tickets were printed and these tickets have a shelf life, so when the tickets were not sold, they had to be destroyed. The NLA was at that time experiencing reduced sales of the Scratch, so we had to forcibly destroy 52 cartons. As a result, we had an outstanding of US$67,000 to the printers for the Scratch cards,” said Gilbert, who became General Manager of the NLA, shortly after the change of government in 2013.
The Scratch game, which costs EC$2 per card, was pulled off the market in September 2014. Marketing Manager Reece Sam said that the game is relaunched with two games, which can see persons winning as much as EC$10,000. “There will be other games in the coming months,” she added.
To encourage sales of the instant game, the NLA has established terms and conditions with agents that are aimed at encouraging persons to purchase the tickets.