Scratchie cards are a continuous form of gambling that gives people immediate gratification, much like pokie machines. Like pokie machines you push a button – or in this instance scratch a card – and within seconds you have a result, that’s what makes them so harmful. What many people don’t realise is that, in New Zealand, it is illegal for anyone under 18 years old to purchase Instant Kiwi scratchies in a local Lotto shop, dairy, or supermarket and if you purchase one for your child who is under 18, you are breaking the law. That legal age limit is there for your child’s protection.
In May, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received a complaint about an Instant Kiwi scratchie that featured the Battleship board game. The complaint was concerned with the similarities of the Instant Kiwi scratchie game to the actual Battleship board game, and subsequently concerned about its appeal to children. The ASA Complaints Board supported the complaint, because the Instant Kiwi Battleship in-store advertisement with its bright colours, graphics and imagery from a recognisable children’s board game, had a strong appeal to minors.
The complainant was also concerned about the promotion of a product that appealed to children in an environment where they were likely to be exposed to it. The Complaints Board deemed the location of the advertisement ‘not socially responsible’, because it was located in a supermarket where children were likely to see it; therefore, it was ruled that the advertisement was in breach of the Code for Advertising Gaming and Gambling and the complaint was upheld.
because the Instant Kiwi Battleship in-store advertisement with its bright colours, graphics and imagery from a recognisable children’s board game, had a strong appeal to minors.
A small but significant percentage of New Zealand students have a problem with gambling. Students say they are worried about the time they spend gambling, have tried to cut down or give it up, or gamble for escapism. Harmful gambling is often a recurrent problem in families, and children with a family member who has a gambling problem are at greater risk of developing their own gambling problems.
Many parents don’t talk to their children about the risks of gambling, in the same way they might talk about the risks of alcohol, drugs or other risky behaviours. Putting a scratchie card inside a birthday card, Christmas card or Christmas stocking may seem harmless, but studies have shown that when children are exposed to gambling activities at an early age, they are more likely to grow up to see gambling as normal.
Happy holidays everyone 😊
 Rossen, F. V., Fleming, T., Lucassen, M., Denny, S., Peiris-John, R., Teevale, T., … The Adolescent Health Research Group. (2013). The health and wellbeing of New Zealand secondary school students in 2012: Youth gambling. Auckland, New Zealand: The University of Auckland.
Kristine Aitchison is the Communications Coordinator at the PGF Group. For more information on our blog please email firstname.lastname@example.org.