Title:
Scratch Off Lottery Ticket Accessory
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A scratch off lottery ticket accessory includes a planar surface disposed in a well between sidewalls, a bottom wall and a front wall. A tray located toward the bottom wall includes a moveable gate and a cup for retaining debris from the material scratched away from the lottery tickets. A clip biases a lottery ticket against the planar surface. A flange extends cantileveredly away from the front wall and provides a cutout to receive a merchandising hook for display purposes.



Inventors:
Keatts, Bobby (Nashville, TN, US)
Carson, Jerry David (Gallatin, TN, US)
Application Number:
12/172328
Publication Date:
01/14/2010
Filing Date:
07/14/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F3/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PIERCE, WILLIAM M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Miller & Martin PLLC (Suite 1200 Volunteer Building 832 GEORGIA AVENUE, CHATTANOOGA, TN, 37402-2289, US)
Claims:
Having thus set forth the nature of the invention, what is claimed herein is:

1. A scratch off lottery ticket accessory comprising: a planar surface; side walls extending upwardly relative to the planar surface; a bottom wall extending upwardly relative to the planar surface; said side walls and bottom wall at least assisting in defining a well above the planar surface; a tray having a moveable gate and a pocket, said tray located at an end of the planar surface at least partially within the well, said tray having a closed configuration in which the gate is in a first position preventing access from the planar surface into the pocket, and an open configuration in which the gate is in a second position allowing debris to be displaced from the planar surface into the pocket.

2. The scratch off lottery ticket accessory of claim 1 further comprising at least one clip, said clip biased toward the planar surface.

3. The scratch off lottery ticket accessory of claim 1 wherein the bottom wall forms a portion of the tray.

4. The scratch off lottery ticket accessory of claim 3 wherein portions of the side walls assist in defining the pocket within the tray in the closed configuration.

5. The scratch off lottery ticket accessory of claim 4 further comprising a top surface intermediate the gate and the bottom wall forming the tray, said top surface coplanar with a top of the side walls in the closed configuration.

6. The scratch off lottery ticket accessory of claim 5 further comprising channels in the side walls which receive sides of the gate in the closed configuration.

7. The scratch off lottery ticket accessory of claim 3 further comprising a cup extending below the planar surface in communication with the pocket in the closed configuration.

8. The scratch off lottery ticket accessory of claim 5 wherein the bottom wall is pivotably operable relative to the planar surface.

9. The scratch off lottery ticket accessory of claim 1 further comprising a front wall extending upwardly relative to the planar surface.

10. The scratch off lottery ticket accessory of claim 9 further comprising a cantilevered flange extending away from the front wall.

11. The scratch off lottery ticket accessory of claim 10 wherein the flange further comprises a cutout for cooperating with a merchandising hook.

12. The scratch off lottery ticket accessory of claim 11 wherein the flange extends parallel to the planar surface.

13. The scratch off lottery ticket accessory of claim 12 wherein the flange is coplanar with the planar surface.

14. The scratch off lottery ticket accessory of claim 9 wherein the front wall, the bottom wall and the side walls provide a continuous lip defining the well therein in the closed configuration.

15. The scratch off lottery ticket accessory of claim 1 wherein the side walls are connected at edges of the planar surface and extend parallel to one another.

16. A scratch off lottery ticket accessory comprising: a planar surface having parallel edges; side walls extending upwardly and perpendicularly from the edges of the planar surface; a bottom wall extending upwardly relative to the planar surface; said side walls and bottom wall at least assisting in defining a well above the planar surface; a tray having a moveable gate and a pocket, said tray located at an end of the planar surface at least partially within the well, said tray having a closed configuration in which the gate is in a first position preventing access from the planar surface into the pocket, and an open configuration in which the gate is in a second position allowing debris to be displaced from the planar surface into the pocket; and a cup located within the pocket, said cup extending below the planar surface.

17. The scratch off lottery ticket accessory of claim 16 further comprising at least one clip, said clip biased toward the planar surface, said clip located opposite the planar surface from the tray.

18. The scratch off lottery ticket accessory of claim 16 wherein the planar surface is perpendicular to the side walls.

19. The scratch off lottery ticket accessory of claim 18 wherein the bottom wall forms a portion of the tray and is pivotably operable relative to the planar surface.

20. The scratch off lottery ticket accessory of claim 19 further comprising a top surface intermediate the gate and the bottom wall forming the tray, said top surface coplanar with a top of the side walls in the closed configuration.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to an accessory for use with scratch off lottery tickets and more particularly to a tray which is configured to receive a scratch off lottery ticket therein which provides a rigid surface to support the ticket while a consumer scratches off at least one scratch off panel.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Lotteries are becoming more and more commonplace across America. The State of Georgia initiated a lottery program over five years ago. In 2004, Tennessee started a Lottery Commission as well. Presently, scratch off lottery tickets are sold in Tennessee, Georgia, and many other states across America.

When a consumer buys a lottery ticket, the consumer normally pulls out a coin, a key, or other hard surface and places the back of the ticket against a hard surface. The consumer then scratches off at least one scratch off panel on the ticket. When the consumer performs this task, it is common for the scratched off material to accumulate on the clothes of the consumer or other undesirable places such as the floor or on the seats of an automobile or other location.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,777,693 attempted to provide a scraper and hard surface for scratching off lottery tickets. While it is certainly more advantageous to use this type device than the dashboard of an expensive automobile, this device suffers from many of the disadvantages of other prior art techniques. Primarily, this device lacks an ability to catch and store scrapings from a ticket. Accordingly, any scrapings would most likely find themselves displaced from the container and more than likely in the lap of a consumer or in another undesired location.

Accordingly, there exists a need for an improved accessory for use with scratch off lottery tickets.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A need exists for improved lottery ticket holder which is adapted to retain a lottery ticket.

Another need exists for a improved lottery ticket holder which has a compartment for retaining scrapings therein.

Another need exists for a simple and economic receiver for a lottery ticket to assist a user in scraping off at least one scratch off portion of a lottery ticket.

Accordingly, a lottery ticket retainer of the present invention provides a rigid surface which is preferably recessed within ledges which extend at least around three sides of a ticket on the rigid surface. A retaining device such as a clamp or other appropriate device is useful to retain the ticket adjacent to the planar rigid surface. Additionally, a tray or compartment is preferably provided distal of an edge of an inserted ticket so that any scrapings from a ticket may be pushed or otherwise directed into the tray or compartment. It is preferred that the compartment be closable once the scrapings are collected therein. After a predetermined amount of usage, the tray may be emptied into an appropriate trash receptacle so that scrapings are not displaced into the lap or other unwanted location.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The particular features and advantages of the invention as well as other objects will become apparent from the following description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a top perspective view of a lottery accessory of the presently preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side plan view with the internal parts shown in phantom of the lottery accessory shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a side plan view portion of a bottom end of the accessory shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 illustrating how a one piece construction could be performed;

FIG. 4 shows the presently preferred folding of the end shown in FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a top plan view portion of the portion shown in FIG. 1 prior to folding as shown in FIG. 4; and

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the bottom end portion prior to completing the fold shown in FIG. 4.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The lottery accessory 10 shown in the figures is the presently preferred embodiment of the present invention. Other embodiments may take other configurations that will still embody the present invention. The accessory 10 is constructed as a scratch off board or unit. Specifically, a planar surface 12 which may or may not be equipped with optional clip 14. The clip 14 retains a scratch off lottery ticket 16 so that the scratch off portions 18 are disposed above and parallel to the planar surface 12. Accordingly, when a user attempts to scratch off the scratch off portion 18 such as with a coin, a fingernail or other article, the scratch off portion 18 is supported by the planar surface 12. The planar surface 12 is preferably located in a well 20 which is created intermediate side walls 22, 24 which extend a distance above the planar surface 12. Furthermore, a front wall 26 connects to the side walls 22, 24 so that the well 20 preferably has a substantially uniform depth. By using walls 22, 24, 26, it is preferable to create a wall which may assist in retaining scrapings as described in further detail below.

In the preferred embodiment, a bottom wall 28 forms a portion of an opening and closing tray 30 that will be discussed in further detail below. The bottom wall 28, side walls 22, 24 and front wall 26 assist in forming the wall 20 in the preferred embodiment. By having the side walls 22, 24, the front wall 26, and the bottom wall 28, assist in defining the well 20, any scrapings such as the material scraped off of any of the scratch off portions 18 or otherwise, will be retained in the well 20. This is believed to be an advance over the prior art so that any scrapings are retained in the well 20 instead of blowing off laterally of a planar surface onto the clothes of a lottery participant or other undesired location. The well 20 assists in retaining the scrapings. The side walls 22, 24, front wall 26 and bottom wall 28 preferably form a continuous lip thereby assisting in defining the well 20 therein relative to the planar surface 12 with the lip a predetermined distance above the planar surface 12.

The walls 22, 24, 26 are preferably located interior of a flange 34 which preferably extends about a periphery of the walls 22, 24, 26. In fact, the flange 34 may extend a distance in front of the front wall 26 to provide a merchandising function by having a cutout 36 in a tab 38 which can be hung on a merchandising hook as is a common way of displaying articles. The flange 34 may, or may not, be coplanar with planar surface 12. In the preferred embodiment, the flange 34 is coplanar with the planar surface 12. Additionally, the tab 38 which is preferably an integral portion of the flange 34 that contains the cutout 36 therein may, or may not, be coplanar with the planar portion 12. The side walls 22, 24 and front wall 26 may be constructed so that similar accessories 10 nest inside one another at the merchandising location. Nesting is known in the art and will be obvious from the structure shown. It is anticipated that the tray 30 could be provided as shown in the configuration shown in FIGS. 3 and 5 should nesting be desired or alternative tray designs could be employed.

The tray 30 is preferably constructed with the bottom wall 28 connected to top wall 40 which is connected to gate 42. As shown in FIG. 4, the bottom wall 28, top wall 40 and gate 42 are preferably integrally formed and hinged at pivots 44, 46 held to one another as illustrated in FIG. 3. Furthermore, the bottom wall 28 is pivotable relative to planar surface 12 at pivot 48. The pivots 44, 46, 48 may take the form of scored portions or more complex structures as is known in the art, especially when utilizing non-independently formed trays 30.

In order to construct the tray 30, the bottom wall 28 is bent about pivot 48 relative to planar surface 12 so that it is essentially perpendicular thereto. The top surface 40 is bent about pivot 46 so that it is substantially perpendicular to the bottom wall 28 and the gate 42 is appropriately angled relative to the top surface 40 to complete the tray 30. The gate 42 preferably contacts the planar surface 12 in a closed configuration. FIG. 4 shows a closed configuration of tray 30 as well as FIG. 1. By placing the tray 30 in the closed configuration shown in FIG. 1, a pocket 50 is created which can retain scrapings therein.

It is anticipated that the gate 42 will be displaced from the planar surface 12 and the scrapings from lottery tickets will then be directed towards the bottom 52 of the accessory 10. The scrapings can slide underneath the gate 42 and be retained in the pocket 50. The gate 42 can then be redirected against the planar surface 12 to retain the scrapings therein instead of the scrapings inadvertently ending up at an undesirable location. From time to time the gate 42 may be opened and the scrapings discarded in an appropriate receptacle.

FIG. 6 is also useful in understanding the operation of the preferred tray 30. Channels 54 may be recessed into side walls 22, 24 (24 being the only one illustrated) so that the gate 42 extends into the channel 54 until it contacts the planar surface 12. FIGS. 1, 2, 4 and 6 also show cup 56 which may be formed toward an end or edge of the planar surface 12 which may also assist in retaining shavings or other debris inside the pocket 50. The well 20 is preferably sized to receive lottery tickets 16 sold by the majority, if not all, states. As of 2004, lottery states include Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, and others.

Although a clip 14 is illustrated as a connector utilized to retain the lottery ticket 16 in the well 20, other connectors may be utilized. Other connectors may connect directly to the planar surface 12 or to any of the walls 22, 24, 26 or even 28 in other embodiments.

The tray 30 is preferably constructed so that the bottom wall 28 extends in width so as to extend up to the outer edges of the sidewalls 22, 24. However, as long as the bottom wall 28 contacts the interior surfaces of the sidewalls 22, 24 such as interior surface wall 58 shown in FIG. 1, the opposite side being obscured from view due to the perspective nature of the drawing, the pocket 50 can be created. The top member 40 is illustrated contacting the same interior surface portion 58 as the corresponding wall on the other side wall 24. However, in the preferred embodiment, both the bottom wall 28 and the top wall extend over a distance past the interior surface wall portion 58 toward an outer portion of the walls 22, 24. The gate 42 preferably does not extend a distance past the interior surface wall portion 58 except to the extent that it extends within the channels 54 which are preferably molded into the side walls 24.

It is anticipated that the accessory 10 will be molded from a single sheet of an injection moldable type material to have a sufficient rigidity to perform its intended function. Specifically, it will preferably be thick enough to support a lottery ticket and allow one to scratch off one or more of the scratch off panels 18 with the scrapings preferably retained within the well 20.

Numerous alterations of the structure herein disclosed will suggest themselves to those skilled in the art. However, it is to be understood that the present disclosure relates to the preferred embodiment of the invention which is for purposes of illustration only and not to be construed as a limitation of the invention. All such modifications which do not depart from the spirit of the invention are intended to be included within the scope of the appended claims.