Are Online Scratchcards Better Than The Real Thing?

online scratchcards

We all know that scratchcards have been a popular pastime in the UK for decades. After all, who among us hasn’t been gifted one or two in a birthday card over the years?

Personally, I’ve never even come close to winning a jackpot. But I do love the instant gratification of winning even £2 by simply scratching off that shiny metallic layer.

With all of those symbols and numbers underneath, each little game brings a whole new wave of possibility. And, I have to say that even with the transition to online versions, the thrill remains the same.

But, which is better – the real-world version or the online version?

We are so used to hopping online for almost everything we need, scratchcards should be no different.

However, despite their successful transition to the digital world, there are still pros and cons for both physical and digital scratchcards.

Origins of Scratchcards in the UK

Online casinos are great and offer a whole host of benefits including no deposit free spins for existing customers. But well before you could virtually scratch your way to a win, we had real-world cards which made their debut in the UK in the 1970s.

Following their invention in the USA, the first scratchcards were simple. Players scratched off the surface to reveal whether they had won a prize.

They weren’t actually products in their own right and instead were initially used as promotional items by companies.

But never one to miss an opportunity, gambling companies saw their potential and they soon found their way into industry.

In 1994, the National Lottery in the UK introduced its own scratchcards as a way to raise funds for various causes.

These scratchcards quickly became popular due to their low cost and the instant nature of the rewards.

Over the years, the variety of scratchcards available has expanded, with themes ranging from holiday specials to popular TV shows, catering to a broad audience.

Transition to Online Scratchcards

The digital revolution has had a significant impact on many industries, including gambling.

While the likes of online poker and sports betting were the first to become popular, online scratchcards soon began to gain traction in the early 2000s.

The convenience of playing from home and the introduction of innovative gameplay features made online scratchcards an attractive option for many.

Since then, online scratchcards have been improved significantly by advancements in technology, allowing for more complex games with interactive elements and immersive graphics.

Unlike the kind you can buy in your local store, these digital scratchcards often incorporate mini-games, bonus rounds, and a wider range of prizes than their physical counterparts.

Benefits of Playing Online

Playing scratchcards online offers several advantages over buying real-world scratchcards.

Firstly, there is the convenience factor so you can purchase and play scratchcards anytime and anywhere, without the need to even leave your house.

They also offer a wider variety of games, with new ones being added regularly to keep the experience fresh and exciting.

Moreover, online scratchcards often come with better odds of winning and higher prize amounts.

That is because the cost of producing and distributing physical scratchcards is higher than that of online versions, allowing for a greater percentage of sales to be returned to players as prizes.

When you consider that casino sites often provide additional bonuses and promotions, such as free plays or bonus cash, then they become a much more attractive proposition.

Pros and Cons of Physical and Digital Scratchcards

Physical Scratchcards


  • Tangible experience: Many players enjoy the physical act of scratching off the card.
  • Accessibility: They can be purchased easily at numerous retail locations.
  • No need for technology: Players do not require an internet connection or a digital device.


  • Limited variety: There is a finite number of designs and prize structures available at any given time.
  • Environmental impact: Physical scratchcards generate waste.
  • Lower prize amounts: The costs associated with producing and distributing physical scratchcards can mean smaller prizes for players.

Online Scratchcards


  • Convenience: Playable from anywhere, at any time.
  • Greater variety: A vast selection of games with different themes and prize structures.
  • Higher prizes: Generally offer better odds and larger prizes.
  • Promotions: Access to bonuses and promotional offers.


  • Requires Internet: Players need a digital device and an internet connection.
  • Less tactile: The physical act of scratching is replaced by clicking or tapping on a screen.
  • Potential for overspending: The ease of purchasing can lead to players spending more than they intended.


The history of scratchcards in the UK is a testament to their enduring appeal.

From their humble beginnings as promotional tools to their role in funding good causes through the National Lottery, scratchcards have become a staple of the gambling industry.

The transition to online scratchcards represents a natural evolution, driven by technological advancements and changing consumer behaviours.

While each form of scratchcard has its pros and cons, the choice between physical and digital versions ultimately depends on personal preference.

Whether online or in the real world, scratchcards continue to offer the thrill of instant wins to players across the UK.