There is an indescribable feeling of excitement when you buy a scratch card. Could this be the one? Are you about to win a million pounds? Will your life change forever as you scratch away the foil? For some very lucky people, the answer is yes. They scratch and they win.

For the rest of us, that high of anticipation quickly disappears when we win nothing. Or maybe we just win £5. Either way, we’re not retiring anytime soon!

So when we buy a scratch card, just what are our chances of winning?

Odds Of Winning A Prize

Essentially this is your overall chance of winning a prize. Each scratch card has one. So it doesn’t matter when you buy the card, or even where you buy it. The process is the exact same in each country. So if you play in Norway or in the UK, as long as the scratch cards are regulated, they will have very specific overall odds of winning a prize.

These are determined by the company that sell them. The odds are set at the very beginning of the run. So when the National Lottery decides to bring out a new card, it will have a set number of prizes.

Those prizes will vary in size from the jackpot all the way down to £2. When they set the odds of winning, those are blended odds. They are not specific to winning the jackpot, just any prize.

And as there are far more smaller prizes than bigger ones, there is a greater chance that you will one of them. Of course, you also have to hope that there are actual jackpots still left on your chosen scratch card. You can check the remaining prizes here.

Individual Games

As there are so many different scratch cards, and companies producing them, each has its own individual rules. For example, there is a scratch card called ‘£2 Million Purple‘ currently on the market. As you can probably guess, it has a top prize of £2m. In fact, it has three of them.

It costs £5 per card and there is a 1 in 3.38 overall chance of winning a prize on it. But with 11,956,800 scratchcards in the initial print run and only three top prizes, the odds are dramatically stacked against you.

Your odds of winning the jackpot are actually 1 in 3,985,600!

When The Jackpot Is Gone

Nothing is more exciting than the prospect of winning millions. But what happens if the scratch cards are still on sale but all the top prizes have already been won?

Once the last top prize has been claimed no new packs of those scratch cards can be put on sale. However, the remaining scratch cards that are already on display can be sold.

That means you have no chance of winning the jackpot, but you could still win a smaller prize.

Can A Scratch Card Go Out Of Date?

The simple answer is yes it can. Once the top prizes have all been claimed and the remaining cards are sold, you have a certain amount of time to claim any outstanding prizes.

Your last date to claim a prize is approximately six months after the closure date. So make sure you don’t forget to cash in your winning tickets. Even small amounts are better than nothing and you’ve won them so go get them!