Guide to Playing Scratch Cards Online in Canada
Scratch cards are games of chance at their simplest, which is why they have remained ever-popular since they were introduced to the world of gambling. It's an exciting class of lottery-style, instant-play games that provide Canadian players with a chance to convert small wagers into huge jackpot wins. If you've played one of the several national and provincial Canadian lotteries, then you're halfway there.
Playing scratch cards online is the best way for Canadian players to capture the heart-racing thrills of scratching away physical cardboard panels without having to leave the comfort of their own homes. Besides, you don’t have to deal with the messy metallic debris flying all over the place!
If you’re looking to elevate your scratch card gaming experience, you’ve come to the right place. This guide will take you through everything there’s to know about scratch cards, including how they work, where to get them, and tips for winning big!
Well, if you’d rather zoom to play, we’ve put together a list of the best online Canadian casinos where you can sign up and begin your scratch card experience!
A Brief History of Online Scratch Cards in CA
Scratch cards in Canada go by many monikers, including scratch tickets, scratch-offs, scratch-and-win cards, scratch-it, instant lottery, instant games, or even scratchers. No matter what you call them, scratch cards are a direct offspring of cardboard scratch cards you’d scratch using a coin to reveal the cash prize. They were first introduced to the gambling world in the early-to-mid-1970s.
Unlike other casino games like bingo, poker, craps, roulette, or blackjack, scratch cards were invented more recently in 1974 by the duo of computer scientist John Koza and retail promotion consultant Daniel Bouwer. The early version of scratch cards used manual techniques for generating random numbers that would determine winning tickets.
However, Koza, using scientific background and brilliance, devised a computerized number generating system for instant lottery tickets. He was then working at the Scientific Games Corporation, where he met and collaborated with Bouwer. The partnership between Koza and Bouwer was one made in heaven; the former would handle the algorithm and computing side of the games, while Bower would ensure their products were a marketing success.
The first scratch cards produced by Scientific Games Corporation were marketed under “The Instant Game” brand name by Dittley Brothers. The computerized system developed by Koza still forms the foundation for physical scratch-offs still sold today. Even so, the credit for inventing the instant scratch lottery ticket system often goes to Astro-Med, Inc of Rhode Island, which received the official patent for the same invention in 1985.
Unlike Koza’s complex yet effective technique Astro-Med created a bare lotto ticketing system. It’s simple: the player would scratch off three spots on the ticket panel, revealing the concealed numbers, symbols, or images. If the three symbols matched, then you’ve got a winning ticket.
The scratch card playing craze caught on over the years. And, in that tie, instant scratch tickets have evolved drastically, providing players with more ways to win and play. Major sports leagues, comic book characters, and popular brands like Coca-Cola made their way into scratch cards.
It wasn’t until 1974 that Massachusetts became the first state to pioneer the use of lottery scratch cards to fund-raise for the local government project. SG’s The Instant Game gained almost instant traction with residents who love the creative gameplay and ability to get instant cash prizes.
Soon after, New York, Maryland, Michigan, and other states followed in the footsteps of Massachusetts. And it wasn’t long before the scratch card craze spread to Canada, as well as the UK, Australia, Chile, and Brazil.
Today, scratch cards are one of the most popular forms of legal gambling in practically every province, territory, and jurisdiction in Canada. Most of these revolutionary products are powered by the Canadian lottery system via Interprovincial Lottery Corporation (ILC). The ILC comprises 5 regional lottery regulatory commissions, with each commission regulating the sale of scratch cards and online lottery tickets in their respective jurisdictions.
- Loto-Québec is responsible for all lottery, scratch cards, and instant-play games in Quebec
- Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp (OLG) is in charge of scratch card distribution in Ontario
- The Western Canada Lottery Corp (WCLC) covers Yukon, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Manitoba, and Alberta.
- The Atlantic Lottery Corp (ALC) controls all things lottery and scratch cards gaming in Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Labrador, and New Brunswick.
- The British Columbia Lottery Corp (BCLC) covers all areas in British Columbia
As well as buying physical tickets, Canadian players can play scratch card games at online casinos that provide a wide array of lottery-style, instant-play offerings. Most of these exciting scratch lotteries pay in seconds and you can bet as little as 10 ¢ per card.
Why Should Players from Canada Play Online Scratch Cards?
Online scratch cards have gained immense popularity among players from Canada, trumping other games of chance. And it’s easy to see why they are so loved:
- Friendly to small bettors – Unlike games like blackjack and roulette that need a significant bankroll to start playing, you can get in on scratch cards with as little as a few cents per round. It’s all about optimizing your bankroll and gambling experience!
- Simple and easy to play – By design, scratch cards are a game of chance, so they don’t call for any special skills or knowledge. Even better, playing scratch cards online means that you don’t have to deal with the messy affair of scratching off physical tickets. Instead, the randomized algorithm will do it all automatically for you.
- Win massive prizes – Even though the wagering amount is considerably small, you stand a chance of winning huge jackpot prizes with online scratch cards, especially if you play at a popular online casino.
- Play whenever and wherever – Most scratch card games are available in mobile versions. You can play them virtually anytime and anywhere you may be – from the comfort of your home, at the office, or on the go!
- Take advantage of bonuses and promos – The best and most popular Canadian gambling sites offer great welcome bonuses, rebates, and other ongoing promotions to scratch card players.
- Play often -- The gameplay of internet scratch cards is much quicker and more exciting.
How Do Online Scratch Cards Work in CA?
When it comes to gameplay, scratch cards are more closely related to bingo and keno than other traditional casino games like blackjack. As a pure game of chance, they are easy to understand, play, and win.
The easiest and perhaps most exciting way to indulge in scratch cards is to play them online. However, there are a few important steps you need to take to ensure success.
Step #1: Choose and Sign Up at a Reputable Canadian Online Casino
There are hundreds of Canadian gambling sites that offer scratch cards as part of their gaming portfolio. But not all online casinos in Canada are created equal; there are a few rogue operators within the industry, so it pays to do some research.
Here are a few telling signs of a safe, reliable, and legitimate gambling site:
- Money and banking – A good casino site offers an excellent choice of safe and secure banking methods for both deposits and withdrawals. Does it offer strong encryption on personal and financial data?
- Fast, no-hassle payouts – The sooner you get your winnings the better. We dissuade players from joining casinos that delay or fail to make payouts for weeks.
- Time-tested – A rule of thumb is to opt for casinos that have been tried, tested, and reviewed for at least one year. That’s not to say new casinos should be overlooked; instead, you should do more due diligence on them.
- Licensed and regulated – We only recommend gambling sites regulated and licensed by respective authorities, such as Ontario Lottery & Gaming, Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, Loto-Quebec, Alberta Gaming, British Columbia Lottery Corporation, or Western Canada Lottery Corporation – just to note a few.
- Superb software & games – High-quality, reliable software from trusted providers like Microgaming, RTG, NetEnt, Evolution, SG, and Playtech is a sign of reliability and trustworthiness. Aside from a decent selection of scratch cards, you should choose a site that offers plenty of exciting games like online poker, blackjack, roulette, baccarat, video poker, and other specialty offerings.
- Great bonuses & promos – Lucrative deposit bonuses and promos will provide a great boost to your bankroll. They should come with favorable terms, so you can easily claim and take advantage of them.
- Responsive customer support – Although often ignored, this is one crucial element of a fantastic gambling site. Your concerns and queries should be addressed promptly via email, phone, or live chat.
- Mobile-friendly – You should be able to play your favorite slots, table games, and scratch cards on the go.
Don’t forget to trust your gut. If your sixth sense tells you a gambling site is fishy, you’d be better off signing up elsewhere. Once you have chosen the right casino, it’s time to register. This should take a few moments and you’re ready to roll.
Step #2: Select the Best Scratch Card Games to Play
It’s true; online scratch games are ultra-easy and simple to learn and play, even novices could play them right off the bat. Some even say they’re as easy as 1, 2, 3: pick, scratch, and win!
It’s important to remember that online scratch cards come in many shapes, sizes, and prices. Given that, the most paramount step is to choose a game that appeals the most to you, whether in terms of bet limits, type, rules, themes, and gameplay. For example, you should consider CHL-themed scratch cards if you’re a big fan of the Canadian Hockey League (well, who isn’t, right?)
Here are the most common types of scratch cards you can play online in Canada:
- a) Themed scratch cards – These are the most commonly played scratch card games found at some of the leading Canadian gambling sites. Their most defining factor is that they spot many different themes like cartoon characters, celebrities, major sports, etc.
- b) Line scratch cards – These are large virtual tickets that comprise more than three fields. The main aim is to have winning symbols on a single line. This category usually features consolation prizes for closer losers.
- c) Instant-win scratch cards – You’re probably more familiar with this cliché type, the simplest form of the game. Simply hit the button to reveal the hidden symbols, and if they match, you win. It’s that simple and straightforward.
All of the three types do include jackpots, both small and big. So, when doing your research, keep an eye out for games that feature the biggest possible guaranteed jackpot prizes. This will also help you set an appropriate betting budget.
Don’t forget to check the return-to-player (RTP) percentage of the particular game you’re interested in. Ideally, a good scratch card game should have an RTP higher than 92% -- anything lower than 67% is a no-go zone.
Step #3: Practice is Free-play Mode
Despite their easy gameplay, you don’t want to dive into playing before you familiarize yourself with the game. Thankfully, nearly all reputable online casinos allow you to practice each scratch card game in free-play mode.
Step #4: Bet your Bottom Dollar
By now, you ought to have selected both your preferred Canadian gambling site and a set of great scratch card games. Next up, you need to set your betting budget. Remember, you can use permissible bonuses and other promotional offers to play scratch cards.
Online instant lottery tickets are sinfully cheap, which is part of the reason more Canadian players are flocking to gambling sites instead of buying physical cards. You must set the amount you will wager per round, which usually ranges from a few cents to hundreds of dollars.
Note that you can change the bet amount at any point before and after each round. As a rookie, however, we recommend that you wager your bottom dollar, the least amount you can afford to lose.
Step #5: Scratch Away!
Once your game is active, all that you have to do is start scratching. In the virtual sense, there are two common ways you can scratch your ticket.
In the first method, simply click, touch, or tab on each symbol to reveal what’s underneath it. You can scratch symbols one after another. Alternatively, you use the “scratch-all” button to reveal all of them at the same time.
Step #6: Cashing Out your Winnings
All winning tickets are credited to your account instantaneously and this will reflect on your wagering balance immediately. From here, you can request for withdrawal of your winnings at any moment.
In most cases, you'll be required to withdraw using the same payment method you used to deposit, except for credit cards, temporary prepaid cards, and a few other methods.
Are There Any Tips for Winning Online Scratch Cards?
- Choose scratch cards wisely
Scratch cards have some of the lowest minimum bet limits, so it’s natural to opt for the cheapest tickets available. While that may seem good on paper, there’s a catch: the prizes are typically small. To get the most bang for your bucks, go for a few medium-to high-price tickets, especially those with large jackpots.
- Take advantage of bonuses
Most online casinos in Canada allow players to use welcome bonuses, ongoing bonuses, and cashback funds to play scratch cards. Make sure to check the wagering requirements, conversion, and other terms before you claim any bonus.
- Read the fine print
Unlike Apple product agreement, the terms and conditions attached to a bonus or playing scratch cards must be read carefully. Don’t skip them because they detail limiting conditions like rollover, conversion, cash-out limits, and so forth.
- It pays to choose a reliable online casino
A reputable Canadian gambling site usually has scratch card games that are routinely audited for fairness, security, and transparency. There’s a lot you throw away when you sign up and play at a less-reputable casino. You not only risk the security of your data and privacy online but you may also lose your money to a rogue operator.
- Play one favorite game often
This may not sound right given that there are thousands of other scratch card games on the web. But, if you think carefully: the more tickets for the same game you buy, the greater your probability of winning. Every loss (and those made by other players) inch you closer to the winning ticket.
- Go for popular scratch card games
On a similar note, the most sought-after scratch card games normally have larger jackpots and prize pools. There’s also a good reason why they’re so popular and played widely.
- Manage your bankroll wisely
Knowing how to manage your bankroll is the best strategy you can use to boost your chances of winning. Start by setting your win and loss limits; only play with money you can afford to lose.
Always start with small wagers and work your way up to the larger bets as you become more and more skilled at picking out winning tickets.
Where Can I Play Scratch Cards Online in CA?
You don’t have to hit the local convenience store or gas station to win big while playing scratch cards. There are plenty of online casinos in Canada that offer a better gaming experience, huge bonuses, and more lucrative prizes.
- Casino.com Canada - With a 100% bonus of up to $1,000 plus 200 free spins, Casino.com welcomes scratch card enthusiasts like kings. Once inside, you'll get to choose a variety of fabulous scratch cards, including Luxor Scratch, Foxin's Wins Scratch, Merlin's Millions Scratch, and Gorilla Go Wild.
- Jackpot City Casino - Start your play right with up to $1,600 in welcome bonus and other exceptional rewards. Fully licensed, reputable, and lots of ways to win on scratch cards.
- Royal Ace Casino – With a $10,000 max welcome bonus, it can't get better than that. Play scratch cards on desktop or Android and iOS devices.
- 21 Dukes Casino – Massive welcome bonus of up to $6,750 plus a basketful of free spins, regular promos, and loyalty rewards
- Refuel Casino – Say adieu to wagering requirements at Refuel Casino, not to mention super easy sign-up and 10% weekly cashback.
Other popular Canadian online casinos to consider include Wicked Jackpots Casino, Sin Spins Casino, Wheelz Casino, GoGo Casino, and much more.
Canadian players have a golden opportunity to choose from a wide variety of superb scratch card games, including themed, instant-win, lines, and multiple-chance scratch cards. Equally exciting, there are plenty of online casinos in Canada that have been tried, tested, and proven to be reliable, reputable, and offer some of the best scratch card games in the business.
We hope that this guide will help you pick not only the best games but also great gambling sites to enjoy them. Don’t forget to implement our tips to get the most out of playing scratch cards.