Online Scratch Cards and Instant Wins

When you think of gambling, your mind probably wanders to an image of flashy lights and crowded casinos. While that may be the traditional, or more likely stereotypical, association with gambling, the truth is that there are other ways through which you can gamble. Most of these don't even require as much effort or calculation, such as in an instant win game.

An instant win game is purely a game of chance where you, as a player, immediately discover whether you've won or lost. They're more straightforward and less mathematically complex compared to traditional means of gambling. Therefore, an instant win game provides for quick and easy fun with large winnings without requiring vast amounts of effort—it is as simple as clicking on a banner to find out whether you've won or not. 

Best online casinos with instant win games

The story behind scratch cards

Using simple playing mechanics, instant win games allow both casual and experienced gamers to choose their stakes and find out their winnings in less than a minute. In most cases, instant win games are tickets, cards, or any other form of printed evidence that contains information to ascertain whether the holder has won or not. Instant win games require no additional information on the holder's part—the ticket, card, or any printed media (nowadays, not even that) is evidence enough to entitle him or her to receive a prize—an instant win!


MOST COMMON INSTANT WIN GAMES

An instant win game gives you an instant win—that's pretty self-explanatory. However, recent advancements have taken the simple 'scratch off a card' model and repurposed it so that you don't even have to scratch the card yourself!

The fact that they come in more than one variety is what makes them more compelling. To elaborate, mechanics and math models involved in each variety may be the same, i.e., you'll find out immediately whether you've won or not. However, some of these games might seem more compelling to one user over the other. It becomes a lot less about the immediate delivery of results with these games and a lot more about having fun while playing them.

Here are some of the most popular instant win games:

  • Instant Keno;
  • Scratch cards;
  • Spinning wheels;
  • Monopoly Millionaire;
  • Scrabble;
  • Cash Word.


INSTANT KENO

Instant Keno is a popular, up-stake version of bingo based on two things: luck and patience. The game can be traced back to Ancient China, where rumor has it that keno's funding was sufficient to erect the Great Wall of China. 

Little has changed over the years in terms of how the game works. Players are given tickets with numbers ranging from 1 to 80, the player then marks off 20 numbers (sometimes 10 to 12) at their discretion, which they believe will be 'hits'. Based on the number of hits, they get to walk away with whatever correlates to it on the winning table.

Where does luck come into play? Well, given the fact that the probability of all 20 numbers a player marked off being hits is 1 in 3,535,316,142,212,174,320 (quite near impossible), casinos allow players to walk away with prizes from a winning table based on the number of hits they've predetermined.

For example, casinos might just require five numbers to be hits for players to walk away with winnings. Likewise, some casinos might even offer winnings based on the numbers that weren't hits!


HOW TO PLAY INSTANT KENO

At a casino or playing casino games online, the only thing required from an instant keno player is purchasing an instant  keno card, marking off 10 to 20 numbers (based on casino specifications), and placing wagers on those numbers. Nothing else is required. Most people wander about in casinos until a computer displays which numbers were hits. This is where the second factor comes in: patience.

Here’s how to play the game:

  1. At a casino or online, you ask for an instant keno card. This card has 8 rows and 10 columns for a total of 80 numbers arranged in order. Alongside the numbers, there will be specifications of the game, such as the number of keno spots you can mark off, the number of games you're playing (referred to as races), and the total price based on the number of races you've procured.
  2. Next, you'll put down money on your card or wager about how much it would be worth if you get a predetermined number of hits. This wager can be as low as $1 or as high as $20, that's up to you. However, most casinos require a minimum number of races to be played, such as 4 to 7, bringing up the money wagered to $7 (if you're going for $1 per race).
  3. The instant keno card is then handed back to the employee at the counter and the player is given an electronic copy of his or her card. The employee places the card alongside other wagers, which make up the 'win table.' After that, it's all about waiting for keno hits to be announced and correlating them with your card.

It's as simple as that. However, some variations of the game also include marking off combinations rather than single numbers and then grouping those combinations alongside wagers, such as 1/6 or 2/3, indicating the percentage of earnings based on those combinations.


SCRATCHCARDS

Scratch cards are paper-based, plastic or plastic-like small cards with a certain portion covered by an opaque, shiny material. The information concealed by the material (usually latex) determines whether or not the holder has procured a winning card. The win is determined based on whether the PIN, symbols or any other form of identification correlate with winning numbers or symbols.

The 'instant' nature of scratch cards is what makes them the most popular lottery-based games anywhere in the world. They're mass-produced using randomization techniques to ensure that no two cards are alike (although, in rare instances, identical cards have been produced). However, companies allot a set quota of winnings with each card, ensuring that while there may be one winner for the jackpot, there are players who walk away with other predetermined wins as well. 


HOW TO PLAY ONLINE SCRATCHCARDS

Scratch cards have been repurposed as other instant win games for web-based or mobile-application based games. The format is similar to scratch cards found at convenience stores: a card is displayed on a screen with three grids and three numbers on each grid. The winning combination is displayed on-screen and you click-off (the equivalent of scratching-off) numbers one by one to reveal whether or not your card matches with the winning combination.

Payments are processed by common lottery-based, online sites such as PandaGold or Euro200 to relevant online casinosIn online games, the wager you place against a single card is usually the amount you're expected to return on that card if you win. In contrast, a larger wager or bet can be placed in a pool for a larger win. You're given a card or a bundle of cards (bundles are given at incentivized rates), and after that, you're pretty much down to playing by chance for an instant win.


BEST SCRATCHCARD GAMES

Several different online casino-based websites offer instant win games such as scratch cards. Likewise, there is an equal number of websites or applications that deal exclusively with scratch cards. Here are some online scratch card portals that users have been known to frequent the most, which guarantees greater chances of winning:

  1. Jackpot City;
  2. 22 Bet;
  3. Royal Vegas.


HOW TO CLAIM YOUR SCRATCHCARD WIN

Scratch cards are available in many price options, starting from as low as $1 and going up to $75. Understandably, the wins associated with these cards are based on the price points. For cheaper cards, the winning number is usually mentioned right there on the top of the card, and if your number matches, you're a winner. For more expensive scratch cards, the winning numbers have larger payouts.

If you've cashed out on your scratch card, congratulations! Here's what you need to do now:

  1. Have a scratch card validation receipt printed out: unfortunately, scratch card scams are a little too common. To ensure authenticity, most supermarkets and convenience stores have machines known as 'lottery terminals'. The cashier or employee at the store checks the authenticity of your card by running it through the terminal and prints out a receipt validating the winning card.
  2. For smaller wins, usually between $100-200 or £100-200: the convenience store you bought the ticket from will pay right then and there. However, if the store doesn't have the cash available, they reserve the right to refuse to payout. This isn't to deter people from playing instant games; it's just that the instant nature of it that might be a setback for convenience stores that weren't particularly busy that day. You can nonetheless reclaim your card at a busier store.
  3. For larger wins, usually between $500-50,000 or £500-50,000: in countries such as the United Kingdom, larger wins can no longer be claimed at convenience stores. The winning ticket, along with the verification receipt, has to be mailed to designated post offices. After this, the winning ticket holder will be required to provide identification before being given a cheque.
  4. For jackpot wins: as the amount on your ticket goes up, so does the ease of collection. In case of a jackpot win, the holder is usually approached by the lottery commission in person or told to drive up to their location, fill out a prize form, and claim their prize.

This procedure is similar for both online and hard-copy versions of scratch cards. For online scratch cards of higher value, you might need to print out the ticket as evidence. On the other hand, the payout on lower tickets is usually reclaiming the amount of money you put into the ticket itself.


DIFFERENCES BETWEEN ONLINE AND OFFLINE SCRATCHCARDS

ONLINE SCRATCHCARDS

OFFLINE SCRATCHCARDS

The ticket is a computer-generated image of a traditional scratch card. Usually has three grids with three numbers on each grid.

A card-like ticket made of paper, plastic, or plastic-like material. The shiny, opaque surface to be scratched off is usually made of latex.

Payments are processed through online hosting websites or dedicated websites such as Euro200 or PandaGold.

Payments are processed at the cash register at whichever convenience store you buy the ticket from.

Winning tickets are correlated with predetermined, random winning numbers assigned at the top of the screen.

Winning numbers are either listed at the top of the card and correlated with the numbers scratched off, or there might be a televised event for the winning numbers.

Payouts are usually smaller; however, authorities such as the National Lottery in the UK regularly host larger payouts as well.

Payouts are varied; some are up to a few dollars or euros and others are up to a million!

 

BIGGEST SCRATCHCARD WINS

  • In the United States, the highest ever win in the states of North and South Carolina occurred within one year between them. In May of 2019, James Belich, a logistics manager, won a $10 million jackpot off of a $30 ticket while on his lunch break. Just a year later, in May of 2020, an unnamed man in North Carolina claimed another $10 million jackpot off of lotto tickets.
  • One of the youngest winners, Joe Hollick, is regarded as one of the biggest winners in the United Kingdom. Hollick scratched off a National Lottery Tourqouise Game in 2011 to win £250,000 at the tender age of 17.
  • Audrey White won a million euro jackpot at the age of 58 in the United Kingdom. Her story is a testament to the fact that winning off a scratch card is based entirely on luck—she went in to purchase a £2 ticket and accidentally got ringed up for a £5 one, which she decided to keep anyway.
  • An unnamed man in the United Kingdom scratched off a winning 'Rich For Life' ticket in the UK, which guarantees him receiving an annual payout of £40,000 for the rest of his life.
  • Lastly, another man who wished to stay anonymous won half a million euros after scratching a winning ticket while on holiday in Dublin, Ireland. He reportedly claimed to be "set for life".


SLINGO

Created in 1994, Slingo is a play on the words 'bingo' and 'slots.' It's a hybrid game combining elements from a traditional 75-ball bingo game with the randomization of slot machines, thereby adding more individuality and excitement to the game.

The instant game is played on a five-by-five grid card similar to 75-ball bingo. Directly below the grids are the slot reels. However, these reels are slightly different from regular slot machines as only one space on each reel is visible. The idea is to complete the grid by matching numbers from the result of spinning the reels. The resulting numbers are then crossed off, or special characters can give special functions.


HOW TO PLAY SLINGO

Slingo was popularized in the UK after Real Networks sold the gaming rights to London-based company, Gaming Realms. The game is now hosted by several sites and played annually by over 25 million players.

Players are given a set number of ‘spins’ per game. In a typical game, players would be given 20 chances to spin the reels (the first 16 are free, the other 4 have to be paid for). The player spins the slot reels below his or her grid and then checks the grids to see if the numbers displayed match the selected numbers on their grid, similar to how numbers are checked on bingo cards as they're called out.

Along with numbers, players will also have certain symbols pop-up on their screen. These symbols have special functions that may or may not help the player score big on their cards. In classic Slingo games, this range of symbols can include elements such as The Joker, Gold Coin, Super Joker, and Free Spins. Symbols have to be checked off before any other numbers.

  • The Joker: this is a 'wild card'. Players can check off any number on the grid above.
  • The Super Joker: similar to a joker, but players are not confined to marking off a number in a specific grid.
  • Gold Coins: win instant money prizes.
  • Devil: a players' score is to be cut in half, and a number is deducted from their card.
  • Cherubs: cancel out devils.
  • Free Spins: side from the 16 free spins, to begin with, users now get another free spin.


BEST SLINGO GAMES ONLINE

Slingo is a widely popular game in the US and the UK. Here is a list of top sites to play the instant game for instant wins online:

  1. Secret Slots;
  2. Play OJO;
  3. Play Casino;
  4. Jaak Casino;
  5. Kaiser Slots.


DIFFERENCES BETWEEN SLINGO AND BINGO

Players might be at a loss of words when asked to differentiate between Slingo and bingo (it doesn't help much that they're both based on a similar concept). However, there are apparent differences between the two which make them appeal to different demographics:

  • Slingo was intended as a single-player game, which is why it incorporated typical slot machines in its bingo-like concept. Traditional bingo, on the other hand, was intended as a multi-player game. While there are variants of both games for single and multiple players, they're usually rare and not as popular.
  • Bingo features numbers being called and marked off on the player's sheets accordingly. Slingo features symbols in addition to numbers. The symbols make the game more exciting and incentivize more people to play.
  • The reels are displayed against individual grids and not against the card as a whole in Slingo. To put it simply, each reel you spin will correspond to one particular grid on the card and not on any other.


CASHWORD

Cashword is an instant game similar in fashion to a scratch-off ticket, only with alphabets instead of numbers. Unlike traditional lottery tickets where the opaque, shiny material is scratched off to reveal a PIN or symbols corresponding to a prize, Cashword features letters and a corresponding column for players to scratch off those alphabets to reveal words.

A 'word' in Cashword is any unbroken, right to left, horizontal, or vertical word composed of at least three alphabets that can be reclaimed for a prize. The prizes range from ordinary items that can be claimed at a convenience store, or high-end electronics that can be reclaimed through the company. 


HOW TO PLAY CASHWORD

On a typical Cashword ticket, you’ll find two areas to scratch off:

  1. Your letters;
  2. Crossword puzzle.

As indicated, the letters scratched off from 'your letters' are letters that have to be scratched off the 'crossword puzzle' portion of the ticket. Once the letter is scratched off, the area appears white. If you manage to scratch off enough letters to form a word (words are listed at the side or back of the ticket), you get to claim those prizes.

If you can match two or more words in the 'crossword puzzle', you win the corresponding prize in the Prize Legend for the total number of words matched. Players can take it up a notch by scratching the Prize Multiplier Box to multiply prizes won by the multiplier revealed (if at all).


BEST CASHWORD GAMES ONLINE

  1. Florida Lottery;
  2. Vermont Lottery;
  3. Michigan Lottery.


OTHER ONLINE INSTANT WIN GAMES

Do you think it's over? There is a long list of instant win games a part of the ones mentioned before.


CLUEDO

Cluedo (or Clue as it is referred to in North America) is a murder-mystery, multi-player game. The objective of the game is to determine who murdered the victim, where, and how. As such, the game features six suspects, six weapons, and ten rooms to choose from.

The game was picked up by Hasbro (a toy manufacturing company in the US) to be made into a board game. In the latter half of the 1990s, the game was made into a video-game and later into a mobile application. Cluedo can be regarded as an instant win game by some online platforms that assemble players from around a region, have them place bets, and the first player to correctly deduce the killer, weapon, and crime scene wins the prize.


MONOPOLY

Online versions of the popular buying, trading, and all-in-all real estate developing board game, Monopoly, are hosted as instant games for instant wins (and cash-outs).


SCRABBLE

Multi-player versions of Scrabble are played between three to six people. The person who can gain the most number of points, or secure the most positions on the board (either online or in-person) is the winner. The game can be transformed into an instant win game by placing wagers and bets marked against specific points.


VARIOUS MINIGAMES

  • Connect 4;
  • Master Mind;
  • Intelligence-Based Quizzes;
  • Trivia;
  • Online Poker;
  • Pontoon;
  • Big Six Wheel;
  • Online BlackJack;
  • Roulette.


TIPS FOR INSTANT WIN GAMES

Instant win games are popular due to two reasons: simplicity and instantaneity. As such, there aren't a lot of math models, dynamics, or mechanisms to understand and work around when it comes to winning the jackpot with these games.

Should this discourage you from trying? Absolutely not. The fact of the matter is, while there might not be a 'hack' to winning at instant games, there are certain ways you can better your chances of winning. Fair to add here: another reason why instant games are well-known, played, and loved throughout the world is because the payout is enormous, and the loss is often barely recognizable.


FINDING THE RIGHT INSTANT WIN GAME

Thus far, you've read about more instant games than you might have thought existed. However, there are several more that aren't listed, are being developed, or are specific to certain physical and best online casinos.

You might have seen a particular demographic or certain people playing one instant game over the other. However, the chances of winning at any two instant games are thought to be the same. Instant games are made to mimic catchy graphics and appeal to a large audience. A smarter audience will see through these gimmicks and identify which game works best for them.

For example, some people might find that online versions of board games such as Cluedo, Scrabble, and Monopoly are more their forte than lottery tickets. Others might be able to narrow down lottery wins, store locations, and types of tickets to optimize their chances of winning. Some people prefer playing games with incentives such as Slingo, and then there are a few who prefer a good old-fashioned game of keno.


TIPS TO WIN

Luck is an important (if not the absolute most important) factor that plays a part in an instant win. Nevertheless, here are a few tips on how to strategize, optimize, and better your chances at winning:

  1. For keno: while numbers are generated randomly, sometimes the computer follows a pattern. If you're able to recognize this pattern, you'll notice a few numbers come up more often. These are referred to as 'hot' spots.
  2. For scratchcards—narrow down store locations, cross them over with wins, and combine the data with the win ratio in your state. Scratchcards do not have a definite winning pattern, but enthusiasts can strategize based on probabilities and ratios.
  3. For Slingo: since this game is a hybrid game of bingo and slots, people who have a history of winning on bingo have a better chance at marking off probable numbers. This, combined with unique characters, makes it easier for experienced players to strategize what to mark and when.
  4. For Cashword: similar to scratchcards with codes and symbols, Cashword tickets can be turned into winning tickets by narrowing down where most wins come from. Additionally, you can mark off more strategically to guarantee wins.


INSTANT WIN GAMES VS. TRADITIONAL CASINO GAMES

INSTANT WIN GAMES

TRADITIONAL CASINO GAMES

Shorter waiting time to claim prizes.

There is a longer waiting time between games, winning table pooling, and to eventually claim winnings.

Wins are determined instantly against wagers, bets, or predetermined prizes.

Wins are determined throughout wagers, bets and are never predetermined.

Payouts aren’t usually that huge, except in jackpot cases.

Payouts are usually bigger.

Smaller initial capital.

Larger initial capital.

Wins can be collected instantly.

Winnings are collected over some time.

Games are usually single-player.

Games are usually multi-player.

When did the first instant game start?

Instant games have existed for centuries, but the modern version of these games (scratch cards, lotto tickets, power balls, etc.) can be traced back to officially having begun on Tuesday 21st of March in 1995. This was the date when the National Lottery in the United Kingdom announced that they'd be placing verification terminals at select outlets.

Who are the main distributors/manufacturers of scratchcards?

Scientific Games of Atlanta, Georgia ships scratchcards from the United States and delivers them to Camelot in Northampton in the United Kingdom. Scientific Games has production facilities in Chile, Germany, Canada, Brazil, and Australia. The other major distributor and manufacturer is Pollard Banknote operating in the USA and Canada.

Which are more common: scratchcards or cashwords?

Both scratchcards and cashwords appear the same (plastic tickets with material to be scratched off). However, scratchcards are regarded as the simpler one of the two, which is what makes them more popular.

Are playing online instant win games legal?

While there are unfortunately some online sites and hosts that scam players out of their money and are designed to never payout, there are authoritarian bodies (such as the National Lottery in the UK) that ensure fraudulent sites are banned.

How do you pay to play online instant games?

Online instant games can be played by setting up an account on the casino-based website and then linking that account with a money-hosting website specifically for instant games, such as PandaGold and Euro 200.

This page was written in 2016, and is now maintained by Danny Bradford. Should you have any questions or see any discrepancies on this page, feel free to reach out to him. The casino list at the beginning of the page is revised each month, to ensure we only offer the best casino sites with craps to our readers. Let's have a look at some handpicked references you may find interesting.


REFERENCES


Other Categories - How to play: