Scratchcards

Scratchcards are played all over the world in the land-based sense, but you can also play with a wide variety of them online. With all kinds of extras that you won’t find in their land-based cousins, online scratch cards offer unique features and more ways to win at a larger variety of stakes than you can find in land-based stores or lottery shops.


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Introduction to Online Scratchcards

The concept of the scratch card has virtually defined the entire lottery industry in one way or another. Instead of having to wait on a drawing, these cards allow players to shoot for a variety of prizes at fixed odds at stakes that they choose.

Just about every government-operated lottery has several styles of scratch-off cards available, and the online environment is perfect for the style of play that these games create.

For many, the first time they gambled in any sense of the word was with these types of cards, and a lot of fond memories have been had trying to get lucky enough to turn $1 into $10 or more with these games. They have a lighthearted feel to them, which is perfect for players who don’t take their gambling super seriously, but because of the edge that the online environment gives them, they’re perfect for serious players as well.

Online Scratchcard Example
Online Scratchcard Example

A Word of Caution to Players

Something that’s worth noting about these Internet scratchcard tickets is that the gameplay is often a bit different than what you’d expect from land-based cards. While there are online titles created specifically to match the brick-and-mortar scratch card model, most online scratch-offs have a wider range of features, more options for stakes and more ways to win than what you’d see otherwise.

We just want to point this out for two reasons. First, some players might write off scratch cards because they think that they have no depth, which is definitely not the case with the online versions. Second, we want players who have enjoyed them in person to know that there will be some differences when they step into the online arena with them. However, we think that they are definitely an upgrade over what’s available in land-based shops, and we think that the gameplay and feature sets speak for themselves in this regard.

Common Rule Sets for Online Scratch Cards

One thing that’s pretty cool about these games is that they don’t necessarily have a given rule set that’s always followed from one game to another. That means there’s a ton of room when it comes to creativity in building and designing the games, so different software providers will have different things to offer. With such a variety of options available, it’s really the optimal environment for players because of the excessive amount of choice.

However, there’s an issue that can come from this in that players might not know where to start. To help with this, we’ll offer some actual, specific suggestions for games to try from a variety of software providers to serve as a sort of starting point for people who might not know where to begin. Those examples will come down below after we look over rules you might see in the more general sense.

The Essential Game Flow

The actual flow of these games is one thing that is pretty straightforward and consistent across virtually all examples. The basic idea is that you’ll make a bet in the form of purchasing a virtual scratch-off ticket online, and then you’ll play through the scratching-off process. In many cases, you’ll always be entitled to the best possible win available on the ticket, so you don’t have to worry about situations of unfair games changing the values based on which spaces you scratch.

From there, you’ll see any prizes that are owed to you listed clearly on the screen. This can include free turns and other features as well as static payouts or progressive wins. Once your turn is over, you’re free to play again or to pick another game to try.

Pay Per Instance vs. Pay Per Batch

The basic idea that you will see behind scratch cards online is that you pay per individual instance if you only want to play one card at a time. However, you do have the option to purchase several cards ahead of time and then play them whenever you want. You can think of this as a sort of pay ahead type of plan, and some online casinos will actually offer you a discounted rate to some degree the more that you pay for in advance.

With games like scratch cards that are pure luck, you have to take every edge that you can to maximize your chances of coming out on top, and promotions like bulk discounts can help you to do just that.

Not all software providers and not all games will have this option, but it’s worth looking at if you do have it available.

Listed Payout Rates vs. Listed House Edge

For scratchcard games online, you’ll often see the payout rate listed right beside of the games because many licensing jurisdictions require it for fixed-odd games of this type. We want to make sure that players know what these numbers mean because it’s not always clear based on the language used:

  • RTP, RTP percentage and payout rate all mean the same thing: the amount of the player’s bet that he or she will receive back, on average, in the form of winnings.
  • The house advantage or house edge is the opposite It’s the percentage of the player’s bets that will be kept by the house, on average, in exchange for running the games.
  • The house edge combined with the payout rate of a game will always add up numerically to 100 percent.

The higher the payout rate and the lower the house advantage, the better your chances of winning will be across your sessions. However, the effective house edge can be manipulated based on taking advantage of different types of promotions and other betting mechanics that are often available.

How Free Turns Are Handled

Many of the scratch-off games online will give players opportunities to win batches of free turns. These free turns can be handled in two major ways:

  1. Players can have a “free turns bank” that is filled with these free plays that can be accessed at any time.
  2. Alternatively, players can be forced to take their free turns right away.

In the latter of the two cases listed above, you’ll often see a running tally of all of your winnings across all of your free scratch card plays so that they can be added up to show you the total free win that you received for the feature as a whole. This is a cool game mechanic that adds a degree of depth that you don’t always get in other types of games, which helps these scratch-offs to stand out.

We always want to make sure that players have a clear idea of what’s available out there, and along these lines, we’re going to make some concrete recommendations here about games to try from a variety of different software providers.

Sometimes, these games will be available in a section called “other games” and will be lumped together with other titles that have some sort of instant win motif. However, you’ll have no problem if you search for the titles of these games as they are listed if you’re looking for a specific option.

Microgaming’s Bunny Boiler Gold

Bunny Boiler Gold is a scratch card style of game available where your turns actually involve rolling a set number of dice to select the spaces that you “scratch off” on an underground trail.

This essentially amounts to an online scratch card that uses a randomizing agent instead of letting you pick and choose the individual spots to scratch off.

Most of the wins in this game are based on cash payouts that are a multiple of your bet size. However, there’s also a big jackpot to be had if you get large enough numbers from your virtual rolls. If you’ve been a fan of the land-based genre of scratch cards, then Bunny Boiler Gold is a good example of a title that will show you a different style of game mechanics than what you’re probably used to.

Realtime Gaming’s Diamond Blackjack

Despite the name of the game, this is not a cards-based title. Instead, it’s a scratch-off ticket available online that’s based on a blackjack motif. There are five player hands and one dealer hand, and you get winnings based on how many of your hands take down a win.

Each of your hands will not necessarily win at 1:1. You can actually win up to 10 times your stake or more on a single hand, and there are five on each turn, so it’s easy to see how some serious payouts could accumulate here.

Something that makes this game stand out, which is something you’ll see with a lot of non-standard titles from RTG, is that this game has a low progressive jackpot that stays in the low four-figure range. This means you have a chance to win a significant payout no matter what stakes you play on every single turn that you take, and that’s not something you can say for the competition.

Pragmatic Play’s Weed Whacker

Weed Whacker is a pretty straightforward game that has gameplay that will be very familiar to players who have enjoyed real life scratch cards before. You get six spots on the card that are revealed, and you need to get three of a kind to hit a payout. The available payouts go up to 80x, so a single wager of €1 could win as much as €80 per spin. There are no bonus features available, and this is as bare-bones as one of these games gets.

We wanted to point this title out as an example because it’s right up the alley of fans of the land-based games, and it serves as a strong example of the least complicated types of titles that you can find in this genre.

Net Entertainment’s Tribble

Tribble is one of the many scratch cards produced by Net Entertainment, but it stands out as being one of the best implementations of high-level payouts on a static pay table.

Tribble only has a card value of €2, so you can’t pick from different sizes of bets. However, there are top prizes of €100,000, €50,000 and €10,000 available, each of which could easily be a life-changing sum of money.

While NetEnt is known for their progressive jackpots in other games, they are not known for having progressives tied into their scratch card games. That’s not such a big deal in this case because their selection is so strong and because there are already opportunities to win payouts that are several times larger than the average scratch card progressive online.

Conclusion

The biggest thing that stands out about online scratch cards is that they come in all different styles with lots of different types of features and payout structures. Along these lines, you’ll find some that have a high volatility while others have a much lower one with more balanced payouts. It’s this degree of nuance and variety that makes the genre as a whole so interesting.

If you’re looking to pick out a set of scratch card games to play in general, then casinos that combine software packages will be your best bet. As far as individual software companies go in the online casino industry, Net Entertainment has the best overall selection of scratch card games in our opinion. However, there are lots of top casino sites that offer software from NetEnt, Microgaming and other providers all combined in one place, so it’s not difficult to find casinos that have plenty to choose from.

This is why we recommend looking more towards the quantity of games available in terms of which software providers are used at a given site since that will help you to find a one-stop solution that you can play with for a prolonged period of time.