Scratch Cards

Scratch cards among the most popular forms of gambling in the world. They’re available at numerous convenience stores and online gaming sites.

Scratch cards (a.k.a. scratchers) provide the chance to win big prizes for a relatively small bet. This guide covers ways you can start playing for these large payouts and tips for winning more money with scratchers.

Best Online Scratch Card Casinos October 2020

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Scratch card rules

Each operator can differ from the next regarding scratch ticket rules. However, the following information lays out the general guidelines that apply to many online scratch cards:

  • The stake size determines your bet for a given card or round (e.g., $0.50 to $20).
  • The “Play” or “Scratch All” button (or whatever relevant option is available) begins the round.
  • The software automatically deducts your stake once you choose to play.
  • Typically, you scratch the opaque manually with a virtual coin.
  • Payouts depend on the relevant paytable.
  • All wins are automatically added to your balance.
  • Autoplay lets you play multiple cards at the same stake size without needing to manually choose “Play” every time.

How to play

Scratchers are among the simplest games to play at online casinos. They don’t involve much thinking or strategy.

Similarly to slot machines, a random number generator (RNG) determines the results for online scratch cards. You only need to worry about choosing your stake size and selecting “Play” to begin.

Below, you can see the complete instructions for enjoying scratch tickets at most gaming sites:

  1. Select a game from the operator’s available selection.
  2. Decide whether to play for free or real money (the latter requires a deposit).
  3. Choose your stake size.
  4. Select “Play”/”Scratch All.”
  5. Manually scratch off the opaque on each square.
  6. The software will pay wins (if any).

Some online scratch tickets feature rule variations that differ from those presented above. For example, some games contain bonus rounds that you can unlock by revealing a specific combination.

Even in these cases, though, you shouldn’t experience any trouble when playing the bonus. You simply need to select the relevant button to trigger the feature.

Different scratch card types

The gaming world features various types of scratchers that differ in gameplay. The following variations are the most common throughout the industry:

Casino game

Some developers fashion their scratch tickets to look and play like casino games. Such scratch cards can revolve around bingo, blackjack, or roulette.

A bingo scratcher, for example, requires you to land matching symbols in a line to win. A blackjack scratch card calls on you to reveal a score that’s better than the dealer’s total.

Instant win

An instant win game reveals all of the covered spaces after you select the “Play” button. As a result, you quickly learn whether you’ve won a prize.

These scratchers usually feature a paytable that’s visible as soon as you start playing. The paytable makes instant win games feel like classic three-reel slots.

Matching symbol

These cards reveal the winning symbol at the beginning of the game. Afterward, you scratch spaces in an attempt to uncover the matching icon.

Paylines

A scratch card with paylines sees you attempt to line up winning combinations within the grid. For example, a 4×4 card may require four matching symbols in a line before paying.

These tickets pay similarly to slot machines. However, payline scratchers don’t feature spinning reels.

Where can you play scratch cards?

You can purchase scratch tickets through two main sources:

  1. Online casinos
  2. Lottery retailers

Many internet casinos now feature scratch cards. They typically list these games under a section like “Specialty Games” or “Instant Wins.”

Lottery retailers consist of a variety of store types, including convenience stores, gas/petrol stations, and pharmacies. These locations sell tickets that require you to physically scratch off the opaque.

Scratch card bonuses

Many online casinos offer casino bonuses that you can obtain by playing scratch tickets and other games. These offers fall into one of the following categories:

  • No-deposit bonus – You only need to register for an account to qualify.
  • Welcome deposit bonus – This offer is available upon your first deposit(s) at a new casino.
  • Reload bonus – This deal is available after your welcome bonus has been earned/exhausted.

Scratch card bonuses typically cover multiple games. For instance, you may qualify for a deposit bonus by playing slots, keno, and scratch tickets.

Use the appropriate bonus code

Most gaming sites require you to enter a bonus code when pursuing offers. These codes indicate the exact deal you’re seeking.

For example, a $50 scratch card bonus may require the code “SCRATCH50.” You enter this code when prompted to during the registration or deposit process. 

Meet terms & conditions

As with any online casino deal, you must earn bonus money by satisfying terms and conditions. Common T&Cs include:

  • Playthrough – You need to wager a multiple of the bonus (e.g., 30x).
  • Game restrictions – Some games are restricted from meeting playthrough due to high RTP.
  • Increased playthrough – Some games feature larger playthrough than others due to high RTP.
  • Deposit restrictions – Neteller and Skrill deposits don’t typically qualify for bonuses.
  • Maximum bets – You normally can’t bet over a specified amount (e.g.. $200) with active bonuses.

You should carefully read the T&Cs behind any bonus before depositing. By doing so, you’ll know what you need to do to earn the bonus and cash it out.

Win potential

Scratch cards feature some of the largest payouts at online casinos. Of course, the win potential largely depends on your stake size.

Here’s an example:

  • A scratch card’s betting range runs from $0.50 to $100.
  • The maximum prize is worth 1,000x your stake.
  • 1,000 x 100 = $100,000 top prize

Not every online scratcher boasts this type of win potential. However, if you’re willing to place large bets, then you can always look forward to large possible prizes.

RTP for scratch cards

Scratch tickets are among the highest-paying games in online casinos. They can offer anywhere from 94% to 97% RTP.

You should check the information screen (usually marked “i”) to look for the payback. If you don’t find the payback in the info section, you can also try using Google to locate the RTP.

Here’s an example of how to do the latter:

  • You’re playing NextGen’s A Dragon’s Story.
  • You google “A Dragon’s Story RTP.”
  • The results show that this game offers 95.17% RTP.

Scratch card tips

Scratch cards don’t demand much skill and are mainly based on luck. However, you can take the following measures to boost your winning odds.

Look for scratchers with high RTP

RTP dictates your long-term chances of winning with scratch tickets. Therefore, you stand to win more money by playing scratchers with higher paybacks.

Most scratch cards offer at least 94% RTP. This payback isn’t tremendous compared to baccarat (98.94%), for example, but it’s not the worst, either.

You should search for better-than-average RTP, though, if you’re focused on winning. A few minutes’ worth of online research can quickly yield high-paying scratch cards.

Consider volatility

Return-to-player isn’t the only factor that weighs into your chances of winning. Volatility also plays a role in winnings—especially in the short run.

This term refers to how consistently a scratch card makes payouts. Here are the characteristics behind high and low volatility:

  • High volatility
    • More large payouts
    • Less-consistent wins
    • Harder on your bankroll
  • Low volatility
    • Fewer large payouts
    • More-consistent wins
    • Easier on your bankroll

Your preference for volatility comes down to the wins you’re looking for. High-volatility scratchers are more exciting due to their bigger payouts and bonus rounds.

However, you’ll find it easier to sustain your bankroll with low-volatility games. The catch, though, is that you might get bored with these scratch tickets faster.

Have a bankroll plan

Bankroll management is helpful in any gambling form, including scratch cards.

A solid bankroll management plan helps you avoid betting money that you can’t afford to lose. It also aids you in planning what stakes to play for.

Here’s an example of bankroll management for scratch cards:

  • You possess a bankroll worth $300.
  • Your average bet size is $1.
  • 300 / 1 = 300 total bets
  • You want this bankroll to last at least five sessions.
  • 300 / 5 = 60
  • You should quit playing a session whenever you’re down 60 bets.

Get an online scratch card bonus

Many online casinos include scratch cards in their bonus offers. Therefore, you’ll eventually be able to find a quality bonus.

You should look for offers that feature the following traits:

  • A large amount of potential money (e.g., a 100% match bonus worth up to $1,000).
  • Low playthrough (i.e., 30x or lower).
  • No/few scratch cards on the restricted games list.
  • No unreasonable terms (e.g., must satisfy playthrough within seven days).

These qualities give you a fair chance at unlocking bonus funds. At worst, they prevent you from losing too much money when chasing offers.