Have you ever wanted to merge the convenience of the internet and the fun games and instant wins of online scratch-offs? In certain places, that wish is now a reality. Most popular in the UK, online scratch-off cards are played by clicking on the areas that you usually need to physically scratch off with a coin to reveal the information used to determine if you’ve won or lost.
Both the appearance and play are similar in a lot of ways to slot machine games. The objective is simple, the game usually features bright lights and fun music, and the wins are earned without much thought or effort. This makes them attractive to those who want to gamble leisurely without needing to know how to play a table game.
The UK National Lottery offers both web-based scratch cards that typically require Flash in order to play, as well as downloadable cards. Some sites and companies offer both types to accompany the needs of more players.
Web-based scratch cards are online versions of the scratch cards you find at your local convenience and corner stores. The games offered are identical to the traditional ones offered, which will vary based on your state and country.
Cards of this type are very easy to share via email link, through an embeddable link or widget, or by posting on your social media site of choice. They take the convenience and instant wins of a traditional scratch card to the next level, allowing things to be shared virtually and played on your Flash enabled browser.
Web-based scratch cards can now even be used for virtual fundraisers to attract attention to a specific cause, and the outcome of your game reflects your donation, or is just used simply as a vehicle for future donations made.
Downloadable cards require a certain software that must exist on your computer before you are able to use the card. The software allows you to connect with the online scratch card service while you are offline, so you can play without an active internet connection.
Arguments Against Online Scratch Cards
Many people who are against online scratch cards say that the games are modeled after retro board games like Mousetrap that are familiar to younger players. But online scratch card providers rebut that argument by saying that these games are retro and unfamiliar to anyone under the age of about 20 years old.
Most young teenagers won’t be as enticed by online scratch card games modeled after board games like Connect4, Candy Land, and Mousetrap because they are not as nostalgic for kids of that age.
It’s important for lottery manufacturers to be responsible in their marketing and game choices because of the risk of starting a person on a path to a gambling addiction at a young age. Young teenagers respond to positive, addicting stimuli in a different way than an adult normally does. In a time of crucial formative development, having ready access to substances and items deemed by most as harmfully addicting would mean that they may learn over time to derive pleasure from that activity to perhaps escape their everyday lives.
Many adults who struggle with addiction began their experiences with that substance or item as a young teenager of 12-15. This is why making lottery games that are familiar and nostalgic and obviously geared to young teenagers would be illegal, citing that the company would be putting the child’s welfare in danger.
There’s also the issue of scams and fraud taking place through the online scratch card services. Player fraud is not uncommon, and if the player is caught they face consequences that can affect their future of online scratch card access.
Typical player fraud will present itself as a player trying to use the same site or game bonus more than once by using different names to play the game. Meaning that if a site offers a free card after signup or a similar signup bonus, a player would make multiple accounts under different names in order to use the signup bonuses more than once.
If an instance of fraud is discovered, the online scratch card service provider is generally quick to lock the accounts of any players found to be committing it. They may even find themselves barred from other scratch card sites for it, meaning that they would never have an opportunity to play online scratch cards ever again.
Benefits of Online Scratch Cards
The only true difference between online scratch cards and traditional scratch cards is the presence of the internet. To those who use the internet every day or have taken to using online casinos or online sports betting sites, the online aspect is a big pro.
The same scratch card games that can be found in your local corner shop are now available to you online from the comfort of your own home.
But for those who prefer or are accustomed to ‘analog’ gambling without the internet, there aren’t any real pulls that will make you change the way you game. Buying a card or two for the sake of the experience through a government sanctioned lottery site might be a fun change to what may be a stagnated routine.
Online scratch cards are also green, eliminating the paper or cardboard material the traditional ones are made out of. If you are an eco-conscious person, and like playing scratch-off games but don’t like the waste of paper or eventual litter, online scratch cards may be a better bet for you.
Responsible Gambling with Online Scratch Cards
Though online scratch cards may seem relatively innocuous as far as detrimental consequences go, it’s always important when gambling online to keep your wits about you.
Whenever possible, you should use your country’s sanctioned and regulated online scratch-off site. This step will help you combat scams or fraudulent sites that may leave your personal information compromised. An online scratch card that costs as much as a hamburger isn’t worth risking the safety of your personal and sensitive financial and personal information. And the convenience of playing these scratch-offs online is nulled if you find yourself facing serious personal consequences.
It’s also important to remember that you are still spending your hard-earned money on online scratch-off games, and it can be easy to go overboard, especially if you’re not having to hand over physical cash or a credit card to pay for each one.
Give yourself a spending limit or card limit, and once you hit that limit for the day or week, you must stop. The low cost and ease of gameplay can be addicting to some, and you could easily end up spending more money than you can afford without realizing it until it is too late.
Remember, regardless of the game you’re playing or where you’re playing it, keeping responsible gambling practices in the front of your mind is essential to stress-free gambling.
In the vast sea of decisions that you have to make every day, you can rest assured knowing the decision to play online scratch cards or traditional scratch cards is an easy one and is relatively without impact either way.
Online scratch cards are a convenient and enticing choice for those who are used to doing their gambling at online casinos, or at online sports betting sites. Having the ability to play a quick and mindless game with the possibility of a big win from the comfort of your couch is tempting.
If you choose to go the online route, you can choose from either web-based cards or downloadable cards. The only difference between the two is the presence of the internet when you play; the games and cards available from the government-sanctioned lottery site are exactly the same either way.
Keep in mind, though, it is easier to spend too much money playing online games versus physically interactive games because you are simply playing through the click of a mouse. You’re also not having to pay for the game by handing your cash or card to your local corner shop cashier in exchange for the cards, which might remove you further from associating the online cards with actual money that exists in your bank account.
Even for the simplest games on the safest sites, practicing responsible gambling is imperative if you don’t want to have to deal with any lasting consequences.
The only differences between online scratch-offs and traditional ones are, you guessed it, the internet and/or a computer, as well as the eco-friendlier nature of online cards. The same games you can find at the same place you go to buy beer or snacks can be found online, so it’s just about deciding how you want to play them.
If you enjoy the anticipation and physical interaction with the scratch cards when you have to use a coin to reveal the information and prize, you should stick with the traditional cards. But, if you prefer the idea of accessing scratch cards without having to even leave your home, you may want to explore the online scratch card option.