Scrabble regains top-selling status after 30% sales rise

LONDON - Scrabble has regained its stature as the UK's best-selling board game after almost 20 years, apparently buoyed by the success of the unofficial online version called Scrabulous.

Sales of Scrabble, which is owned by toy maker Mattel outside the US and Canada, have risen by 30% in the first nine months of this year, compared with the same period in 2007, according to a report in the Daily Telegraph, which quoted market research firm NPD. 

Scrabble overtook Golden Balls, a game based on the ITV television programme of the same name, to take top position. 

Experts suggest that this is the first time Scrabble has been the best-selling board game since at least the 1980s, according to the report. 

Scrabble's latest rise in popularity has come following the success of Scrabulous, the unofficial online version of the game. 

Scrabulous was one of the most popular applications on social networking site Facebook, with over 500,000 daily players. 

It was taken off Facebook in the UK in August this year after Mattel made a formal request for it to be removed. 

This followed a successful request by Hasbro, which owns the game in the US and Canada, to have it removed from the social networking site in these regions in the previous month.

The toymaker had earlier filed a lawsuit against Scrabulous creators Rajat and Jayant Agarwalla of India for trademarket and copyright infringement. 

Thousands of Facebook users joined groups at the time such as "Save Scrabulous", which were set up to protest against any Scrabulous ban. 

Hasbro and Mattel's complaints came after the launch of their own official Facebook versions of Scrabble, created by Electronic Arts in the US and Canada and RealNetworks elsewhere.