Some Serious Scratch
Online scratch cards offer instant fun at a reasonable price
by J. Phillip Vogel
Poker rooms, casinos, sportsbooks—there’s a lot of intense gambling action to be had online. While each is entertaining in its own way, they have the tendency to be arduous and time consuming, not too mention fraught with risk. For example, poker players must approach every table with a “kill or be killed” attitude, while casino gamers must know the optimal strategy for each and every game they play—and they still face an uphill battle all the while. And what about sportsbetting? Well, you’d better be prepared to spend lots of time researching the stats, trends, odds and more before even making a single bet. Yes, online gambling is some serious business.
And then there’s scratch cards.
Online scratch cards are the Net’s answer to the corner store instant lottery games. Like their traditional counterparts, players must scratch concealed areas of the ticket to see if they’ve won a cash prize. The major 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 gratification-type fun.
Owing to their exciting and even addictive nature, it’s no surprise that scratch cards have slowly started creeping onto the virtual gaming landscape. In most cases these games are used merely as a whimsical diversion from the more hardcore gambling pursuits, while other sites have seen fit to set them center stage as their only gaming option. Either way, if you’re a fan of scratch cards get ready for a whole new level of action.
How they work
Like their convenience store counterparts online scratch cards are a quick and very simple form of gambling. Players select from the menu of card options the style of game/theme that they would prefer to play, as well as the number of tickets they wish to purchase, desired 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 five cents per card upwards of $10 a scratch.
Once players have made their selections, the per card 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 of 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.
So 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.com, 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 one 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 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 card entertainment.
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.
Golden Palace Bingo
Part of the Golden Palace casino complex, Golden Palace Bingo offers a limited but exciting variety of scratch cards playable as an in-game bingo feature. For a little extra fun, Golden Palace Bingo offers occasional scratch card tournaments such as their recent “One Day Mini Scratchies” event that paid out $5 to $100 to the top 20 winners.
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 50 cents 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 is an online gambling expert and the author of Internet Gambling: How to Win Big Online Playing Bingo, Poker, Slots, Lotto, Sports Betting and Much More. Now available at Amazon.com.
Online scratch cards offer instant fun at a reasonable price.