It’s that time of the year, folks: Time to decorate your Christmas trees in glam couture, and most of all, stock stuffings with holiday scratchers!
Every year, the Maryland Lottery rolls out a series of holiday-themed scratch-off tickets. This year, officials debuted five holiday scratchers with prizes of up to $100,000.
But before you go shopping for holiday scratchers, MD Lottery officials want to reiterate a message they’ve sent throughout the year: Always gift responsibly.
Popularity of holiday scratchers
Maryland Lottery officials told PlayMaryland that holiday scratchers are very popular and that scratcher sales spike during the last few months of the year.
A spokesperson with the Maryland State Lottery & Gaming Control Agency said fans of scratch-off games look forward to the holiday lineup each year. But the holiday scratchers also appeal to a broad cross-section of people because their themes and artwork make them a natural choice to use as holiday gifts.
This year, the MD Lottery rolled out five holiday scratchers at $1, $2, $3, $5 and $10 price points:
- $1 Holiday Cheer
- $2 Cookies and Cash
- $3 Peppermint Payout
- $5 Holiday Riches
- $10 Gold
The MD Lottery is also offering its second chance contest in which any non-winning holiday scratch-offs can be entered into weekly drawings until Jan. 10. Each week, five winners will win $2,500 each. And on the last week of the promotion, five additional winners will win $25,000 each.
Officials said that the second-chance contest also helps to drive sales of holiday scratchers.
What about out-of-state winners?
You can claim a winning ticket at any Maryland Lottery retailer. But if by any chance Santa gifted you a MD Lottery holiday scratcher and you live out of state, no worries. You can claim your winnings by mail.
To claim a prize via mail, you need to download a claim form from the MD Lottery and mail it to the Maryland Lottery Customer Resource Center. If you’re claiming a prize by mail larger than $600, here’s what you will need:
- A copy of your photo ID to prove that you are at least 18 years of age.
- A copy of a document that shows proof of your social security number.
You can also claim a winning ticket at any Maryland casino, but you must be 21 years old. Maryland casinos can process winning tickets valued up to $25,000.
Gift responsibly with holiday scratchers
While scratchers are popular gifts for Christmas and the winter holidays, the Maryland Lottery strongly encourages everyone to “gift responsibly.”
Like many lotteries, MD Lottery is a part of the ongoing “Gift Responsibly” campaign, which the National Council on Problem Gambling (NPCG) sponsors.
At first, this campaign was focused on the holiday season. However, officials recently broadened it into an ongoing campaign to expand this message beyond this time of year.
For scratchers, minors not allowed
According to the Association of Problem Gambling Service Administrators (APGSA), thousands of children receive lottery tickets and scratch-offs in holiday stuffers from family members every year.
Dr. Lori Rugle, president of the APGSA, said this could be detrimental for minors in the long run:
“Research tells us that the sooner a child begins to gamble, the more likely he or she is to develop problem gambling issues in later life. … We know that an estimated 50% of people with gambling problems have had a big win early in their lives. Bottom line is – lottery tickets shouldn’t be given to kids.”
Buyers must be at least 18 years old to play and purchase Maryland Lottery tickets. All lottery retailers are prohibited from selling tickets to minors.
Resources if you need help
If you are struggling with a gambling problem, Maryland offers many resources to get you the help you need. This is especially important during the holiday season, which can offer numerous triggers.
The Maryland Alliance for Gambling (MARG) offers a 24-hour hotline (1-800-GAMBLER) for those struggling with a gambling problem.
You can also fill out an anonymous form on the MARG’s website to get the help and resources you need.