Before we discuss online scratchcards in specific terms, we should perhaps first make sure that you're up to speed with how the offline games work. In a nutshell, scratchcards are small pieces of card sold at fuel stops, convenience stores and similar outlets, which give players the chance to win one or more prizes. The games are played by using the edge of a coin to scratch off silver panels and reveal symbols that are hidden below those panels. Get the right symbols (or the right number of matching symbols), and you win a corresponding prize, with the sums varying from game to game.
Scratchcards are also known as scratch-offs because of the coin-scratching element, but they can also be played by pulling upper strips of cardboard away from the lower base to reveal game symbols, in which case they are just as often referred to as pull-offs.
So, in a nutshell, is how the offline scratchcard game works. You buy a card for a dollar or two, scratch or pull to reveal symbols, and you win or lose according to whether or not your symbols match the ones needed to land a cash prize.
Online scratch cards are even more fun than the old fashioned ones
How Online Scratchcards Work
With online scratchcards, most developers go to great lengths to replicate the scratch-off or pull-off experience as best they can. Games are usually displayed as a card, and you will either use a virtual coin-edge or hand (via your mouse on a desktop computer or your finger when playing on mobile
) to scratch or pull, as appropriate.
While you won't get the same tactile experience when playing online scratchcards as you would offline, the online versions are often superior because of all the elements they deliver, which regular scratchcards lack. Take visuals, for instance. Regular scratchcards are usually colourful and very nicely designed, but online scratchcards can also have designs that change or even become animated as you play. Similarly, in the real world, a scratchcard is almost silent, but online a scratchcard can also feature sound effects and background music.
Odds, Prizes and Variety
Hopefully, we've sold you on why online scratchcards are every bit as good as - and in some ways even better than - their offline counterparts, so at this point, you're probably wondering how much you can win. There is no single answer to that question because there are scores of online scratchcards, and each one offers different prizes. In addition, unlike regular scratchcards, which have a fixed price, online games allow you to set your own stake, much as you would when playing a slot, so the more you bet, the bigger the potential prizes are.
As far as your odds of winning are concerned, it is probably fair to say that the Return to Player figures for online scratchcards vary just as wildly as the games themselves. Some games have very respectable RTP's of 95% or more, whilst others have RTP's of 75% or even lower, so be sure to do your homework before sitting down to a lengthy scratch session.
5 online scratch cards to try
To help guide you in the right direction from the start, here are five online scratchcards which will give you a great taste of the genre as well as a decent chance of landing a win or two.
This is a game from Evoplay Entertainment
with a lottery-style format. A large Scratch Match logo occupies the left of the card, and on the right you will see a row of five money sacks, beneath which is a grid of 20 scratch cells. You can play 10 or all 20 cells per game.
Click the row of money sacks to reveal five numbers. You can then scratch each of your active cells on the grid below, or you can press 'Scratch All' to save yourself some time. Each scratched cell will reveal a number, together with a prize amount. If a revealed number matches one of the five money sack numbers, you win the prize. With five winning numbers at the top of the card and up to 20 cells to scratch, you can obviously win multiple times.
Hand to Hand Combat
released Hand to Hand Combat in 2013, and the theme here is fighting through the medium of Rock-Paper-Scissors. The left of the scratchcard shows which hand gesture beats which and the right shows five panels, each representing a different round of battle. Scratch the panels to reveal your move, the prize that's up for grabs and your opponent's move. If your move beats your opponent's, according to the paytable on the left, you win the prize for that battle.
Try the Hand to Hand Combat online scratch cards
Feeling heroic? In that case, we recommend you take a look at Super Mask. This is a scratchcard with an epic superhero soundtrack, and it involves trying to match symbols to win a cash prize. Launch the game, and you'll see a brave hero on the left with a 3x3 scratch grid on the right. Scratch each of the nine cells, in turn, to reveal a superhero mask with an associated prize. Find three masks of the same type, and you'll win the stated prize. This is a simple but enjoyable game, making it ideal for those odd moments that sometimes crop up when you're not saving the world.
Game, Set & Scratch
Tennis fans who want to bring their sporting interest into their scratchcard sessions will be pleased to hear that Game, Set & Match makes it possible. This is actually two games in one. On the left of the card are six tennis balls, and hiding behind each one is a player. Scratch all six balls to reveal the players, and if you get three matching players, you will win the sum stated below that particular player.
Try the tennis-themed Game, Set & Scratch scratch card!
On the right-hand side of the card, you will see a cell depicting a section of the court. It's Match Point, and we don't yet know whether you've got the ball inside the line or been called out. Scratch the panel, and if the ball is in, you will win the prize hidden under the Reveal Prize cell below.
BAR-X Pull Tab
Those of you who would prefer to pull than scratch (no innuendos intended) should take a look at BAR-X Pull Tab from Realistic Games
. This is a title with four pull tabs, each of which represents the spin of the reels in a traditional pub slot game. Get three X's, melons, cherries, 7's or Wild's under one tab to win up to 1,000 times your bet. This game also has scatter symbols in play, too, so if you uncover two or three scatters under one tab, you'll win 10 or 30 free games, respectively.
Continuing to avoid those pesky innuendos, we'll finish up with Happy Scratch from Hacksaw Gaming. This is as simple an online scratchcard as you'll find, so if you want the closest thing possible to the real thing with minimal frills, this is the game to play. The card shows a large gift box and your job is simply to scratch it to reveal the prize amounts underneath. You can scratch manually with the mouse or press a Scratch All button to have the job done for you, and if you get three matching amounts, you win!