The following scenario is relatively common, you’ve purchased a scratch card from a local store, scratched away the little panels, and you think you’ve won. But how do you check the card?
If only there was a ‘Scratch Card Checker’ app – bad news, there isn’t one! Nevertheless, I can show you how to check a scratch card thoroughly.
HOW TO CHECK IF YOU’VE WON
It might seem obvious but make sure you double-check your ‘winning’ scratch card. Read the game rules; different cards have different formulas for winning. Matching three symbols on one card might be a win; another could require you to match two or four.
Modern scratch cards typically have multiple games. This can make checking a ‘winning’ card more confusing. Make sure you’re not mixing the symbols or win-lines from one game with another. The £3 National lottery cards seem to suffer from this problem more than £5 games.
While matching symbols is relatively easy to understand, some Lottery scratch card such as ‘Mega Cash Showdown’ and ‘Cash 7s’ can be confusing. ‘Mega Cash Showdown’ has 35 numbers to check and ‘Cash 7s’ 15 rows to reveal.
Using a sheet of paper to cover an area of the scratch card allows you to focus on checking one column or row at a time.
Don’t get excited and rub-off all the silver panelling straight away. Revealing areas on the card in a systematic manner will help you see winning combos.
Get a family member or friend to double-check the scratch card for you, especially if your eyesight isn’t 20/20.
CHECK SCRATCH CARD IN-STORE
If you think you have a winning card, you can get it checked by a Store or Post Office with a National Lottery terminal. Each National Lottery scratch card sold in the UK has a four-digit validation number printed on the card. This helps prevent fraud and false claims. The number is checked against the National Lottery database.
Ask the assistant in the store to check the card for you. However, never leave the card with a terminal operator. In rare cases, shop assistants have told people they haven’t won, only to pocket the money once the customer has left the ‘losing’ card in the shop.
Retailers/Stores can pay out winnings up to £100, wins above £100 and up to £500 could be paid out in a store, but it depends on the individual shop’s policy. The UK has designated Post Office’s where you can claim bigger wins. All amounts above £50,000 must be claimed in person at your home or an agreed location with Camelot.
If you think you’ve won, but the store refusing to accept the scratch card, what can you do? Firstly, it could be a genuine problem with the Lottery terminal or Scratch Card. Please don’t take out your frustration with the store assistant. Occasionally, Lotto machines breakdown or suffer technical difficulties. Try another day, or visit the main Post Office if you can. The best way to resolve the problem is to contact the National Lottery directly.
Another issue which can occur is shops selling a roll of Scratch Cards without registering them first. It will make checking wins difficult as the card will not be in the ‘system’ yet. This problem is usually resolved quickly as many customers will have the same issue.
On rare occasions, the National Lottery issues scratch cards with printing errors. Several disappointed players have seen significant wins denied when production errors have been uncovered.
Expired cards are another problem for players. All National Lottery scratch cards sold in the UK have a ‘best before’ date. Typically you have 180-days to claim a win. However, you might have less time depending on when you purchased the card. I have a full article on the issue here.
DAMAGED SCRATCH CARD
It’s every player’s worst nightmare; you’ve only gone and washed that winning scratch card with your socks! However, a spin in the washing machine doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve washed away that win. You can send damaged cards to the National Lottery, and they will attempt to validate them.
The best way to resolve a problem is to contact Camelot/National lottery directly. You can also view the full rules for playing UK scratch cards online here.
CHECK SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook can be good ways to check if a particular game card has issues. Try a search on the #nationallottery hashtag or a general search on ‘scratch card problem’.
If you want to check which jackpot prizes are still available – try our page here. I give details on the major jackpots which remain unclaimed. It’s also worth check this page before you buy a card too. Many cards still in circulation have zero jackpots remaining. Why waste money when you have NO chance of winning the top prize?