Scratch Cards are a hugely popular pastime worldwide. Available in almost every corner shop, local newsagent and petrol station, they offer a quick thrill for any player with a pound or two to spare in the search for a life-changing win. What you might not know is that they are also available in electronic form at most online casinos.
Often located in a specific Scratch Card section of the casino, as at Gala Casino and Ladbrokes, and occasionally listed as Other Games or Instant Wins, as at bet365, it's easy to find the vast array of Scratch Cards that are on offer.
They offer a simple and fun gaming mechanic for beginners looking to get to grips with the basic online gaming process, or a quick break for gamers looking for a gambling fix in between more intense gambling outings like online poker or video slots, and many have huge jackpots on offer. For instance, the Deal or No Deal Scratch Card at Ladbrokes has a top payout of an incredible £100,000.
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The rules applied to Scratch Cards are among the simplest in an online casino. All you have to do is purchase a card, and then click somewhere to reveal whether you've won an instant cash prize or not. The majority of games are based on the following basic format:
While most online Scratch Cards involve "scratching" panels to reveal symbols, with three matching symbols awarding a prize, there are several variations to the process, including:
These involve clicking a panel to reveal a win/lose outcome. For example, in Rocky Scratch Card at Gala Casino, players pick an opponent for Rocky, and click the panel to see if Rocky wins or loses the bout. If he wins, a random cash prize is awarded, if he loses, so does the player.
Here, a winning symbol is revealed, and the player will be given several panels to scratch in the hope that one can match the winning symbol. In Roulette Scratch Cards, for example, the player scratches the wheel to reveal which number has landed, then scratches several panels to see if they have the matching number.
Some cards have larger scratch panels, and players must line up symbols to win, in a similar way to lining up symbols in online slots. For example, in the Fantastic Four Scratch Card, players must line up four symbols to win a prize.
Some cards replicate your favourite games from elsewhere in the online casino. For example, in bingo Scratch Cards players look for lines and a full house to win; and in blackjack Scratch Cards, players scratch panels to reveal their hand and see if they beat the dealer to win a prize.
As you will no doubt have gathered from the breakdown above, another key variation is in the theme of the Scratch Card; with games taking inspiration from all manner of entertainment, from superheroes to classic casino games. These each offer slightly different graphics, music and mechanics, making for a remarkably varied gameplay experience.
Unlike games such as poker or blackjack, where player knowledge and skill can help defeat opponents or reduce the house edge, Scratch Cards are games of pure chance. The outcome is determined by random number generators based on pre-determined odds.
This means that choosing which game to play is the most important part of playing online Scratch Cards. This can be determined by which has the biggest jackpot, which has a unique, fun or more engaging game mechanic, or which has the best return to player (RTP).
The RTP represents the average percentage of player wagers that's paid out as prize money. You can often find the RTP on official websites or on the casino information section. Ladbrokes, for example, provides the RTP percentage on the information page of each of its Scratch Card games. It can be found via the "i" symbol in the bottom right of each gaming icon on the Scratch Cards page.
Once you've selected your favourite, the most potentially profitable or life-changing Scratch Card, it's easy to play. The consoles are usually similar to those of online slots, and playing a game will normally involve:
You may have to roll a dice or spin a wheel in some other instant win games, or select between multiple panels in instant win bonus features, but these extras never involve doing anything more than clicking a button to reveal an outcome. That's the beauty of Scratch Cards.
Additional features available on most consoles include a Reveal All or Scratch All button, which means you don't have to click every panel if you don't want to. There's even an Autoplay option, which allows you to play through multiple games in quick succession, speeding you to potential success.