Playing instant scratchcards has become a popular activity among a significant minority of the UK population since their introduction by the National Lottery operators (Camelot) on March 21, 1995. This study examined scratchcard gambling in a group of adolescent males. A total of 204 boys from two secondary schools in Birmingham (aged 11 to 16 years; mean age 13.6 years) were administered a questionnaire on their scratchcard gambling behaviour. Ten classes (five in each school) took part in the survey with one class from each year group selected at random by the headteacher. Within each class almost all the children took part. Forty-two percent of the sample (n=86) had bought their own scratchcards since their introduction in March 1995. Ten children (12% of the gamblers who had bought scratchcards themselves) met an adapted version of the DSM-IV criteria for pathological gambling on scratchcards. Furthermore, a significant relationship was found between parents buying scratchcards and the child's scratchcard purchasing behaviour.