Scratch Cards

January 10, 2023

Scratch Cards or Lottery: What is the Better Bet

Clara Williams
Written byClara WilliamsWriter
Researched byAishwarya NairResearcher
Localised byEthan LimLocaliser

Ever wonder if scratch cards or the lottery offer better odds? Scratch cards are enjoyable and can be won without spending anything. They're games of chance, thus many prefer skill-based games, especially online.

Scratch Cards or Lottery: What is the Better Bet

The lottery offers a greater profit than scratch cards. Unfortunately, the odds of winning the lottery are astronomically low and it's quite unlikely that you will ever do so. Scratch cards, on the other hand, have significantly smaller jackpots but more frequent payouts. Therefore, scratch cards are a better bet financially than playing the lottery.

This article explains how scratch cards operate, the odds of winning, how much you can win, and how you'll be paid if you win.

What are Scratch Cards?

Scratch cards, also known as scratch-offs or scratchers, are a type of game of chance that is similar to the lottery but is significantly easier to play and offers quick prizes. Scratch card games are sometimes referred to as instant games because of this reason.

Both the designs and the games that are played with scratch cards can be varied. Still, the process for winning on a scratch card is the same no matter the product: simply scratch off the silvery coating to reveal your prize.

In most cases, the prizes offered by scratch cards are not even close to being comparable to those offered by lottery jackpots. The wins begin at one dollar and can reach millions of dollars in total.

It's simple to get your hands on scratch card games because you can buy them at just about any gas station or corner store. While the price of a lottery ticket can go as low as €1, the value of some scratch cards can reach as high as €100. The more expensive cards typically have larger prizes associated with them.

How does it Compare to the Lottery?

Lotteries often involve selecting numbers from a predetermined pool of up to 69 digits.

After making your decision, you'll need to fill out a play slip with your chosen numbers and give it to a lottery representative. The clerk will enter your choices into a computerized system, which will then print a lottery ticket to match your slip.

Lottery drawings normally occur twice weekly, usually on Saturdays and Wednesdays. Lottery officials utilize a specialized machine pre-loaded with balls bearing all of the numbers during the draw.

The balls are released from the machine at random. You are awarded the jackpot if all the numbers printed on your ticket are an exact match for the numbers printed on one of the balls that the machine has pushed out. The sequence in which the numbers appear on your ticket is irrelevant.

If more than one individual guesses the winning numbers, the pot will be divided proportionally among them. If there is no lucky winner, the jackpot increases until the following drawing. A larger jackpot usually means more people will participate in the next draw in the hopes of winning a piece of the pie.

What are the Odds?

Scratch cards and lottery games are based entirely on chance. When playing a game of chance, you have no control over the results compared to games of skill.

Knowing the odds before placing a bet will help you make a more informed decision. Lottery and scratch cards continue to be widely played because they provide the opportunity to win substantial sums of money with a small investment.

Scratch Card Odds

Two main components determine scratch card odds. There are a set number of tickets for sale and a certain number of prizes for each game.

For example, if 20.000.000 tickets are produced and 6.000.000 jackpots are offered, the total chances of winning are 1 in 3.33. The chances of winning a reward fluctuate when tickets are sold and eliminated from the drawing.

As a service to their customers, several lottery organizations make public the claimed and unclaimed prize amounts from their scratch cards. This can help you decide whether or not to purchase a certain card by letting you. You can use this to estimate how many monthly jackpots are still available.

Games and the number of prizes may also affect the odds. In general, the odds of winning the top prize are 1 in a million, while the odds of winning one of the lower prizes are 1 in 3.33.

The cost of a ticket will vary based on the amount of money up for grabs; some have a top prize of €100,000, while others, like the 200x Multiplier, have a top prize of $€2,000,000. The cost of a lottery ticket tends to increase in proportion to the scratch card prize value.

Lottery Odds

Winning the lottery depends on two factors: the size of the pool and the minimum number of matching digits required to claim a prize. Taking the Canadian Lotto 6/49 as an example, the odds of winning in a lottery are based on matching 6 numbers from a pool of 49. The more numbers you match, the worse your chances.

Lotto 649's jackpot starts at $5 million and grows until someone wins. The odds of winning are 1 in 13,983,816. To win, you must choose 6 of the 6 numbers from a pool of 49. Plus, if more than one individual hits the jackpot by matching all six numbers, the money is split evenly.

Hitting five numbers has a probability of 1 in 55,492, although the payout is usually very low.  In essence, the probability of winning the lottery is 1 in 14 million, and there are no strategies to improve those odds. Both the odds and the ticket pricing and payouts are extremely diverse. The likelihood of winning is proportional to the number of tickets sold and the number of numbers that must be matched.

The white balls in Powerball and Mega Millions each come in sets of 69 and 70, respectively. So, the chances of winning the Powerball jackpot are 1 in 292.2 million, which is mildly better than the Mega Millions odds of 1 in 302.5 million.

The chances of winning the Powerball are indeed more reasonable. However, the odds of winning either jackpot are much lower than the odds of being struck by lightning or eaten by a shark.

Are Scratch Cards Better than the Lottery?

The lottery pays out more than scratch card prizes, but winning the lottery is a long shot. In comparison, the worst-case scenario scratch card odds are 1 in 12.

Lotteries and scratch cards share the same feature in which the smaller prizes are the most common to be won. Your odds of choosing the right number out of a set of six are better than those of choosing all six. 

Scratch cards have a huge disparity in the number of cards printed for the lowest rewards compared to the number of cards printed for the highest prizes. As a result, the majority of scratch-offs with a winner will only be eligible for smaller amounts.

It stands to reason that if the odds of winning any reward in a lottery or scratch card are one in twenty-four and one in twelve, respectively, then you are extremely likely to win a prize if you purchase one of these games at least once every twelve purchases.

Don't forget that the €2 prizes are the easiest to win. That's why the odds of 1 in 24 and 1 in 12 will probably net you €2 if you win. It also suggests that if you invest the same amount of money in both lottery tickets and scratch-offs, you will double your money on the latter.

About the author
Aishwarya Nair
Aishwarya Nair

Aishwarya Nair, dubbed "Lotto Lorekeeper" at LottoRanker, harnesses her meticulous research skills and cultural depth from Kerala, India, to shed light on global lottery phenomena. Equipped with a keen sense of detail and a penchant for data, she delves deep into the lottery world, unveiling hidden gems and trending patterns.

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