All about online scratch cards: instant fun at a reasonable
by J. Phillip Vogel
Casinos, poker rooms, and sportsbooks—there’s a lot of intense gambling action
to be had online. While each is entertaining in its own way, they all have the
tendency to be arduous and fraught with risk—not to mention time consuming.
For example, poker players must approach every table with a “kill or be killed”
attitude, while casino gamers must practice optimal strategy for every game
they play—and they still face an uphill battle all the while. Yes, online gambling
is some serious business.
And then there’s scratch cards.
Online scratch cards are the web’s answer to the instant lottery tickets from
the corner store. Like their traditional counterparts players must scratch concealed
areas of the ticket to see if they’ve won a cash prize. The difference between
the two venues is that with online cards, the scratching is done virtually—no
silver-coated coin, key or finger left at the game’s conclusion. Although hardly
likely to propel players to celebrity the way poker has, online scratch cards
are a great little diversion for players seeking some non-combative instant
How they work
Like their convenience store counterparts online scratch cards are a quick and
very simple form of gambling. Players choose from a menu of card options the
style of game that they would prefer to play, as well as the number of tickets
they wish to purchase, ticket price, and any other variables associated with
the game and site. In some cases, players will have a very limited number of
options—maybe only one or two games at a set price—while other sites offer a
string of specially themed tickets with stakes that range from $0.05 per card
upwards of $10 a scratch.
After players have made their selections, the cost is deducted from the bankroll
and the graphically coated gaming areas are cleared. This is typically done
using a 3D image of a coin or hand that’s designed to respond to motions of
the mouse. Once all coated gaming areas have been exposed any winning prize
is revealed and that money is added to the player’s account.
Although most online scratch games are extremely simple, a handful pioneering
sites have created versions that require an advanced level of player interaction
for the game to proceed. For example, in a bowling-themed game, a player might
have to actively roll the ball down the lane and then compare the total number
of pins knocked down to the winning number. Such enhanced play features not
only makes the gaming more enjoyable and last a little bit longer, but dwarfs
the action found in games available in the real world.
Okay, so it all sounds pretty fun. But what are the odds of winning at online
scratch cards? Well, just like the style of game varies with each site, so,
too, do the odds.
For example, Scratch2Cash, a site dedicated to instant scratch cards, specializes
in providing unique interactive games that offer fun along with a fairly decent
shot at winning. According to their published results, any newly launched game
offers an overall chance of winning of about 1 in 3.5. However, this figure
only applies to a newly released game within a series, because the exact odds
of winning vary with the number of cards already played and the number of winning
cards that remain.
As such if there are 1,000 cards for sale at the start of a series, and 100
are played, the odds shift according to the ratio of winning cards to losing
cards remaining in the series. If all 100 purchased cards happened to have been
losers the odds of winning temporarily shift to become more favorable to the
player. On the other hand if all 100 previously purchased cards were winners,
players would see the odds swing drastically against them.
The biggest problem with online scratch cards is their lack of availability.
While they have slowly been catching on across the Net, they’re still nowhere
near as popular or widespread as other games. Still, if you know where to look
you can find an ample selection to pass away the hours.
Here are a few popular sites to get you started in your hunt for online scratch
A fairly young site, Scratch2Cash has already established itself as one of the
best sites for online scratch action. All of Scratch2Cash.com’s games—of which
there are some two dozen—are download free allowing players quick access to
the action, a necessity considering the target audience. But surprisingly, each
game offers exceptional 3D graphics and player interaction that make them come
alive beyond what one would expect from a traditional scratch card. Players
literally throw the bowling ball themselves or rub the genie’s lamp as they
move through the game in search of fortune. Tailored to suit bankrolls of all
levels, scratchers can select from a range of card prices that swing from a
low $1 per game to as high as $10. And since each denomination also has its
own range of potential jackpots, it costs no more than a buck to win up to $10,000,
or $10 to take home a $100,000 jackpot!
Although casino gaming clearly takes center stage at this site, among the 180
options at VIP Casino are a handful of scratch card games for players who are
looking to blow off a little steam. Two of their featured scratch games are
“High Fashion” a six symbol shopping themed game, and “Money Farm” a multi-denomination
game with prizes concealed behind a barn’s shuttered windows. Special features
include auto scratch, which automatically uncovers the gaming area after clicking
“Play,” and auto play, which allows players to automatically play the number
of selected games.
Ladbrokesgames.com is a division of the respected UK gaming organization Ladbrokes.
Among their selection of betting options is variety of highly entertaining scratch
cards whose themes include the golf-inspired “Caddyscratch,” “Scratchball” and
its high-powered soccer action, and “Scratch the Derby,” a racing-inspired game
that lets players horse around on their way to riches. Like many of the traditional
scratch games, three matching symbols are required to win a prize. Stakes vary
with the game and range from a low $0.50 to as high as $1,000. Players may win
up to 100 times their bet.
Will playing online scratch cards lead to celebrity and an exciting new career
like poker has done for a lucky few? Nope. Will it lead to wealth and riches
beyond imagination? Umm—I wouldn’t count on it. But what scratch cards can do
is offer an entertaining, if momentary, diversion from the more arduous gambling
disciplines. And who knows? You may even earn a couple of bucks to put towards
your gaming bankroll.
J. Phillip Vogel