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Online Scratch Cards: What It Is and How to Play It

Of all the gambling games out there, it may be something of a surprise to hear that one that made the jump to the online space is the crusty old scratch card. You know the one. Those cheap cardboard cards that your grandma bought you as a kid where you scratch off the weird silver, foil-like substance to reveal numbers below that if they matched, you could win some serious money. 

Technically, minors were never allowed to buy these things but most of us played them when we were younger. And though they’re not as popular as they once were, you can still find scratch cards at your local supermarket or lottery stand, though usually only in places that have a national lottery. You may even come across them as promotional items in stores or tucked away in a magazine.

Still, when the online space is filled with every casino game under the sun, what could an online version of the humble scratch card possibly offer when the whole point of the physical versions was that they were a cheap, easy access to a gambling game when and where other casino games were hard to come by?  

That was the challenge posed to developers of online scratch games, which is why online scratch cards are both exactly what you think they are and also what you don’t.

What They Are – And Aren’t

Online scratch cards sometimes look like their physical counterparts, but they don’t actually work the same way under the hood. With physical scratch cards, winning numbers are placed on a set number of cards and it’s random whether you pick them up or not. With online scratch cards, a random number generator comes up with random numbers every time you scratch, which makes it more volatile and less of a guarantee than the physical versions. 

Online scratch cards are also notable for coming in many more flavors than the real-world versions. Not just in terms of aesthetic bells and whistles like fun animations and bright graphics, but sometimes even in terms of gameplay. To capitalize on the wealth of casino games out there, a large section of online scratch cards actually feature gameplay that combines, say, a hand of poker with traditional scratch-to-reveal dynamics or a scratch card that closely resembles a bingo card.

Also, whereas most scratch cards are part of national lotteries, online scratch cards are normally run by online casinos and developed by famous online gambling developers like Microgaming. 

How to Play

It’s as simple as this:

  1. Find a reputable online casino that offer online scratch cards
  2. Register an account and pick a payment method
  3. Start scratching


Online scratch cards are normally fairly cheap and they normally come in bundles of three to twelve cards. On normal online scratch cards, all you need to do is click on the “scratch area” – sometimes even “scratching” on it with your stylus or finger on mobile apps – and if you have a matching set of numbers, you win. Some of these use photos or cartoons but the result is the same.

For something like a bingo scratch card, the play is a bit different as you are given a bingo board to “scratch” and if it matches the random numbers “drawn” in the form of bingo tiles, you win. For poker scratch cards, you will be dealt a poker hand and you “scratch” your card to reveal a poker hand and if it’s a winning poker hand, you win, if it isn’t you don’t.

Even these unconventional online scratch card games are incredibly easy to play. Which has always been part of the appeal. Real-world scratch cards are cheap and easy and when you get down to it, so are their online counterparts.

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