We’ve mentioned a lot here on Scratchcard Winners, that there is a growing trend towards online scratchcards. We know that the National Lottery offers online scratchcards – referred to as Instant Wins, but so do many UK online casinos. The former is obviously a virtual version of what you would buy in your local newsagents, but the scratchcards at online casinos are different yet hugely popular too.
But can we make an assessment on whether online scratchcards or National Lottery scratchcards are better?
For a lot of people, the answer is going to be subjective. They might simply like the feel of a real paper scratchcard in their hands, or they might prefer the gameplay element to a scratchcard at an online casino. And yet, we might be able to make an objective case for each type of scratchcard by looking at the odds and prizes.
Information About Available Scratchcard Games
First of all, let’s pose the question: Do you research scratchcards? We know there is plenty of information available that can influence your decision, most likely how many ‘top prizes’ remain in circulation and the odds of winning on an individual card.
When it comes to winning a jackpot, it obviously depends on the type of card. You are 1000s of times more likely to scoop the jackpot when the top prize is £100 compared to a scratchcard with a top prize in the millions.
And, when it comes to odds of winning anything, we know that most National Lottery scratchcards have somewhere between 1 in 3 to a 1 in 3.5 chance of winning.
Overall, the payback percentage on most official National Lottery scratchcards comes in around 70-72%. So, you’d expect to get up to 72p back for every £1 spent on National Lottery scratchcards – in theory.
The Differences in RTP Rates
So, what about online scratchcards from casinos? We looked at some from one of the biggest software companies behind popular casino games – Playtech. In most cases, the payback percentage for its most popular games – Kong Scratch, Rocky Scratch – is about 95%.
This figure is called the Return-to-player (RTP). The RTP of a scratchcard sitting at around 95% is something similar to online slots: Some slots might be as low as 92/93%, whereas some in the higher end, like Playtech’s Gaelic Luck online slot, go up to over 97%.
If the RTP of an online scratchcard is 95%, it means that for every £1 spent on the scratchcard/slot, the player can expect to get 95p back – eventually. Does that mean online scratchcards are superior to National Lottery ones? It depends. Certainly, if your main goal was to make a profit, however small that profit might be, you could argue casino scratchcards are superior – the payback rate/RTP tells you that.
In the simplest terms, the casino makes 5% profit on its cards, whereas Camelot makes almost 30%. Yes, Camelot will donate to good causes – but that’s a moot point in this argument. But proponents of National Lottery scratchcards might point out that the jackpot prizes are much bigger. A typical casino scratchcard might have a top prize of 1000-5000 times the scratchcard cost.
For instance, if you bet £1 on Rocky Scratchcard, which is based on the Sly Stallone movie, the top prize is £5K. We don’t need to tell readers of this site that National Lottery scratchcards can have top prizes running into millions.
However, we should also say that some online casino scratchcards have progressive jackpots that can top £1 million. The problem with progressive jackpot networks is that they are vast, and will connect games (scratchcards and slots) across various casinos and countries. With the National Lottery big prizes, you know that there are a certain amount of jackpot cards in the UK and that there is a limited number of cards. With casino progressive prizes, they are often global networks and there is no guessing when the jackpot will pay.
In the end, you can make an argument for both types of scratchcards. And this article has probably not convinced anyone’s favour to swing in either way. Both types of games have merit and both have flaws. As with all types of gambling, the best way to enjoy it is by sticking to your budget and playing responsibly.