The simple pleasures in life are often the best, and when it comes to simple casino pleasures, scratch cards often hit the spot for many players. Part of the wider class of games known as “Instant Wins”, scratch cards are beginning to become more widely available at the best online casinos, indeed dedicated Scratch Card tabs are beginning to appear such is the appetite for these simple games.
Below we’ll explore the appeal of these games that scratch the gaming itch of so many players, but it you’re just itching to give them a go, feel free to take some for a test drive at any of our recommended casinos listed below.
How to play
Next to falling off a log, playing scratch cards is about as easy as it gets. Mimicking the mechanics of playing a real scratch card bought in a store, online scratch cards come with different prices and players ‘buy’ a card. This is effectively the same as setting the stake for a spin on a slot, so simply is the wager to play the game in the hope of winning some cash. Some online scratch cards have fixed prices, but the increasing trend is to allow players to choose from a number of set options using an onscreen slider or plus / minus buttons to set the value you can afford.
Once a scratch card has been bought, the aim of the game is simply to reveal the symbols hidden behind several panels in the hope that a winning combination appears. A typical scratch card has nine panels, arranged as a 3×3 grid, and simply matching three symbols is the key to winning one of several advertised cash prizes. And how to scratch in the virtual world? Well, the art is usually to click and move your mouse over the panels to scrub off their covers, but if you’re really in a hurry most online scratch cards now include a “Reveal All” button (or similar) that lets you reveal your fortune with a single click.
Prizes for matching three symbols are usually shown as a multiplier of your original stake. A minimum win is often x1 (so you get your stake back) but top tier jackpot prizes of several hundred if not thousand times that wager are not uncommon.
Odds in scratch Cards
Traditionally scratch cards have had quite low RTP figures compared to other online casino games, but online versions are appearing that are far more competitive with online slots. We are beginning to see typical RTP figures for the new breed of online scratch cards in the 92-95% range although it’s not uncommon for the higher RTP figures to be associated with higher stake cards.
Naturally the probability of winning one of the bigger prizes on a scratch card is less likely than the smaller prizes, but typical games will usually deliver players a ‘win’ every three to four cards. That means the thrill of an instant win is never too far away with most scratch card games.
Compared to more traditional casino games, such as Roulette and Blackjack, scratch cards offer less competitive odds, however they offer rather different incentives. The trade off with scratchies is that for a lower RTP you do get higher headline payouts (for instance a top paying symbol might pay x1000 your bet, whereas in Roulette the top pay is x35 for a single number bet) and, as mentioned above, they are the simplest games to learn.
Variations of scratch cards
The current crop of scratch cards from game developers such as Core Gaming, NextGen, Microgaming and Playtech do pretty much stick to the essence of the traditional format. You buy a card, you scratch off its panels and you win if you match three symbols. However, as with online slots, we are beginning to see developments that show online scratch cards are beginning to go beyond the limitations of real-world cards to offer entertaining animation and bonus features that are only possible in the digital world. This hints at bigger and better things to come, so we look forward to a future of scratch card games that are ever more imaginative extensions of the traditional format.
Re-imagining popular online slots as scratch cards is also a clear trend in this genre. Playtech, for example, has happily plundered its catalogue of hit slots for new scratch card releases and it’s now possible to not only spin but scratch to win with Marvel superheroes such as The Avengers, Iron Man 3 and Captain America along for the ride.
Online scratch cards certainly don’t present the sort of casino challenge that a good session of Blackjack does, however their rapidly increasing popularity clearly indicates that a little scratch for an instant win can be just the ticket for many players. Whether online scratchies will ever topple the dominance of online slots amongst players seeking instant satisfaction we can’t be sure, but if you love simple games with the thrill of big wins be sure to check out our recommended casinos to see what’s on the cards!