The Basics of a Scratchie
If you’ve ever bought a scratch card from a local shop or petrol station you’ll know there aren’t really any rules. It’s all about scratching the card and getting a winning combination, or not. The typical physical scratch card requires that you scrub off the silver foil with a coin to reveal if you’ve won. All winning combinations are detailed either on the front of the card or else given in more detail on the back. Typically, all you’ll need is three of the same symbol or amount to get a win.
The same principles apply to online versions of the game. The only real difference is that you scratch virtually using a mouse or touchscreen, there will be plenty of cool animations, and there’s a high chance a few mini-games will be included, too. Often, you can also just click one button to instantly scratch the whole card.
How to Win on Scratch Cards
A typical scratchy involves matching three symbols out of a possible nine. These are arranged in a three-by-three grid and can be scratched off in any order you like. Depending on the theme of the scratch card, you’re likely to find fruit machine symbols, such as bells, fruits, and 7s, or simply cash amounts. If you match any three of the symbols, regardless of their position, you will win the amount stipulated in the prize table.
For example, matching three bells may yield you £500, whereas three money bags could net you something like £1,000. It all depends on the prize table, so be sure to read through these to ensure you know what you’re playing for.
Of course, not all game providers stick to the standard three-by-three grid with three matching symbols equaling a win. Others have more symbols, which could be arranged differently, and prizes may be given for three in a row, etc, etc. Let’s explore some different mechanics now…
Different Types of Scratch Cards
As discussed above, the main difference you’ll find between different instant win scratch cards is the theme. Many of them keep things simple by basing all the symbols on the fruit machines and one-arm-bandits of yesteryear, while others will have more elaborate themes and prizes (including electrical goods rather than cash).
For example, there are many branded games based on Hollywood movies, TV shows, or popular characters. Rocky, Gladiator, King Kong, Pink Panther, The Mummy, The Six Million Dollar Man, and Who Wants to be a Millionaire scratch cards are just a few examples. Others will be based on some of the most popular slot machines, such as the Irish Eyes 2, Foxin’ Wins, and Star Raiders.
There are various ways to win, as well, depending on the game mechanics employed. The most common one is the instant win scratch card, which involves rubbing off a panel and seeing if you’ve won by matching a certain number of symbols. Others will involve multiple chances to win – for example, a symbol is randomly chosen, then the player has a certain amount of tries to match that symbol. Another variant employs the mechanics of slot machines. In these versions, players must match symbols in a line or a row according to the paytable.
All of these are produced by the likes of NetEnt, Playtech, and Microgaming, as well as a few of the small companies, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding your perfect scratch card games. But you may be wondering why you would play online versus going to a local shop…
Online Versions Versus Physical Ones
There are many advantages to playing online rather than in the real world. Chief amongst these is the sheer convenience of it all. You can play from any device so long as you have an internet connection – so whether that’s on the bus to work, while you wait for your friend to arrive at the bar, or just from the comfort of your own living room – you’ll never be stuck for a few rounds of entertainment. In addition to this, you don’t have to take time out of your day going to a shop that sells physical scratchies. On top of this, you don’t have to return to the shop to pick up your prize, either. And when you win a jackpot prize, there’s no waiting around for the organizers to send you a cheque in the mail, because your online casino account is credited instantly.
The online version of the game also saves a lot of hassle. You can quickly reveal the result with a click of your mouse or via a light rubbing action on your touchscreen – there’s no need to hunt down a spare coin from the back of the sofa in order to find out if you’ve won! The graphics, animations, and sound effects that accompany modern online versions are far more exciting than the so-called real thing. Plus, the software allows developers to get creative with bonus mini-games, additional features, and creating multiple chances to win in some instances.
Finally, the main reason to pick online games versus buying from a local shop is that the prizes remain in place. While physical scratch cards may have lost all of their top prizes by the time you get around to playing them, this cannot happen online, as everything is updated instantly.
Are the Online Versions Random?
You can rest assured that all online scratch cards are fair and, yes, each round is completely random. All of this is mathematically assured by the fact that all game suppliers use random number generators (RNGs) to ensure that the games produce a random result each and every time you scratch. Furthermore, the RNG software used by such companies is regularly tested by regulatory bodies that run millions of calculations to calculate the chances of winning.
A way that you can check the probability of winning a prize in the long run is to look at the return to player (RTP) given for all releases. Usually, there is an ‘i’ or ‘?’ icon, or else you can look up the rules and paytable information somewhere in the interface. This should tell you the RTP for that particular game. You may see, for example, that a scratch card has an RTP of 98%. This means for every £100 spent, £98 is paid out in winnings. Of course, whether you’re one of the few that takes home a top prize rather than picking up small wins is just a matter of luck.
Scratch Cards at Online Casinos
Scratch cards have become a part of the game selection at most online casinos. Some casinos only offer a couple of scratchies, while others have hundreds. The casinos that have the best selection of scratch cards will often have a separate game category only for these games. At other online casinos, you might find some scratch cards in a game category called ‘instant win’ or simply ‘other games’.
Instant games like scratch cards can usually be played with a casino bonus as well, as very few casinos restrict these games for players with bonus money on their accounts. However, you might want to check the bonus terms to see how much scratch cards contribute towards your wagering requirement. Sometimes it will be 100%, but other times you might find that scratchies contribute only 50% or even less.
At some of the casinos that have really chosen to focus on this game type, you might even find a dedicated scratch card bonus – a bonus made exclusively for scratchies. These casinos can also, sometimes, give free scratch cards as a bonus, kinda instead of free spins on a slot game.
Also note that scratch cards at online casinos can be enjoyed from any desktop computer, smartphone, or tablet. And all you need to get started is to sign up at an online casino – reviews of all of the best casino brands can be found right here on GoodLuckMate! Once you’re signed up at a casino, you even get to scratch for free in demo mode, so that you can try the game out before you bet any real money.