Depending on the game that you’re playing, scratch cards have a specific set of odds attached to them. The odds on winning the lowest available prize in a game would obviously be lower than the odds of winning the highest possible prize, but from a punter’s point of view you will only know whether you’ve actually won something by scratching off the panels of the scratch card that you’ve bought. For some people, there will be a desire to increase their chances of winning by buying a full pack of scratch cards, but is that something you can do?
The short answer is that it depends on the shop that you visit to buy your scratch cards. Certainly buying a full pack of cards isn’t something that you can do directly from the National Lottery. It also isn’t something that is actively advertised. However, if you have a friendly relationship with your local licensed shop and they have an unopened pack of scratch cards, you might be able to persuade them to allow you to buy the full pack. The problem is, there is no system in place for this, so they will have to scan each scratch card individually when you buy them.
Scratch Cards Explained
First things first, a quick look at what scratch cards actually are. Simply put, scratch cards are games that are made up of cardboard cards that have prizes on them. You usually have to match numbers or symbols in order to win, with the numbers or symbols in question being covered by a silver material that can be removed by scratching the material with a coin or other object. As with any other form of gambling in the UK, scratch cards are licensed by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission. If Camelot, the provider of the National Lottery, want to make any changes to scratch cards they need to apply to the UKGC to do so.
Between 2014 and 2021, the following changes were applied for with the Gambling Commission in terms of scratch cards:
- Permanently embed the £4 million jackpot colour pulse game into the scratch card class licence (September 2014)
- Agreed products as prize tiers (June 2015)
- Launched £250 million Cash Spectacular under its own licence (October 2015)
- Increased percentage of games priced at more than £1 from 70% to 80% (October 2015)
- Diamond 7 scratch card launched (January 2019)
- Withdrew £10 scratch cards (September 2019)
- Changed the minimum age to play scratch cards (March 2021)
Scratch cards are another form of gambling that people can engage with when trying to win money. The exact chances of winning depended on the scratch card being played and the precise prize being chased in any given game.
Why You’d Buy a Scratch Card
Scratch cards are sold by licensed venues up and down the country. There are more than 40,000 places that can sell scratch cards, plus you can order them with your shop when you buy groceries from the likes of Tesco, the Asda or Morrisons. As with other National Lottery products, you can only buy them if you’re over the age of 18. There are a wealth of different scratch card games available to play, with different prices to buy the card and different prizes available within the various games. You could win the cost of the scratch card back, for example, or win £1 million.
The main reason why people might want to buy a scratch card is in order to tide them over between lottery draws. That is to say, taking part in the likes of the National Lottery’s Lotto or EuroMillions draws requires you to wait until the draw takes place to find out whether you’ve won anything or not. With scratch cards, you can find out if you’re a winner immediately upon scratching off the panels and checking what is revealed against the prize table. For some people, this ‘quick fix’ is a necessary thing. For others, they simply might not want to play the Lotto or EuroMillions, preferring scratch cards for various reasons.
The Rules Are Around Buying Scratch Cards
On the official National Lottery site, there are specific rules around the purchasing of scratch cards. One of the first things that you need to know is that you are only allowed to buy them from official National Lottery retailers, with the full price having to be paid unless there is some sort of official promotion taking place. You don’t have a right to buy a scratch card and the company that boasts the National Lottery licence can refuse to sell you one, as can any specific retailer. There are also specific people that cannot buy scratch cards, who are as follows:
- Those under the age of 18
- Any director or employee of the licensee
- Specific employees of contractors and sub-contractors of the licensee
- Partners of people that are directors or employees at certain contractors or sub-contractors
- Anyone that has been banned from playing according the Gambling Commission’s Code of Conduct
- Anyone else that it might be decided shouldn’t be allowed to play scratch card games
The interesting thing to note is that the National Lottery does not specify how many scratch cards can be bought by a player at any one time. In other words, there is nothing in the official rules of the National Lottery concerning scratch cards that says that you are not allowed to buy a full pack of cards, should you so wish to. This, then, is a matter for the individual retailers to decide.
What the Shops Will Sell
In the majority of cases, shops are designed to sell goods. That is why they are there and it is why you go to them in the first place. With this in mind, how many scratch cards you’d be able to buy at any one time will be dictated to according to the number of scratch cards that a shop is willing to sell. Most shops will be more than happy to get stock off their list in exchange for the money that the stock costs. That being said, full packs of scratch cards aren’t something that shops sell as standard. As a result, it is something that you’d have to specifically request.
Whether or not a shop would grant this request is likely to boil down to how good your relationship is with the shop in question. If you know the owner or the person working in the shop particularly well, the chances are high that they would be willing to allow you to buy a full pack of scratch cards. As we know from the National Lottery’s own rules, though, you’re not going to get a deal or a bargain by buying so many scratch cards in one go. Instead, you’re still going to have to pay the full amount for each and every scratch card that you decide to buy from the pack.
Why Some Shops Won’t Allow It
Though there is nothing in the National Lottery’s own rules regarding scratch cards and the number that you can buy in one go, that doesn’t mean that every official retailer out there will be willing to sell you a full box of your scratch card of choice. The main reason for this is the fact that they will still have to scan each and every scratch card onto their till system as an individual purchase. Because there is no rule about buying all of the scratch cards in a pack, there is no system in place to make this an easy process, such as a barcode on the bottom of the pack.
For busy retailers, especially those with only one till available, it would be far too time consuming to go through and scan every single scratch card for you to buy them. Again, if you’ve got a good relationship with the retailer then they might allow it, but the likelihood is that they’re not going to allow you to take over the shop and carry out no other sales during the period of time that you’re busy scanning all of your scratch cards onto the system. It is why the relationship that you have with the shop is arguably the most important factor if you’re hoping to buy a full pack of scratch cards.
How Many Scratch Cards Are There in a Pack?
If you haven’t yet been dissuaded from buying a full pack of scratch cards, you might well be wondering how many of them you’d get if you bought all of them. The answer, as you might expect, isn’t set in stone. Though all of the scratch cards in the same price bracket are likely to have the same number of cards within a full pack, the same isn’t true of scratch cards that cost different amounts. As a rough rule of thumb, the more expensive a scratch card is, the fewer cards there are likely to be in a full box of them that is provided to an official retailer.
If you want to know how many scratch cards there are in a pack, the best thing to do is to have a look at the back of the card and have a look at the information you’ll find some symbols in the bottom corner. This includes the likes of the minimum age for playing, as well as social media information such as the Twitter and Facebook accounts for the National Lottery. The price of the scratch card itself will also be on there, as well as the crucial information that we’re interested in. The scratch card will confirm what the cost of a pack is, as well as how many cards were in the pack.
It might say “£200,” for example. If the scratch card is worth £2 then you know that there were 100 of them in the pack. If it says “£180” and the card costs £3, that means that there would be 60 scratch cards in a full pack. Modern scratch cards tend to have both sets of information on them, saying something along the lines of “120 Cards in Pack; Pack Value £240.” It will differ depending on the value of the scratch cards in question, but that gives you a sense of the sort of thing that you’d be looking for in the bottom right corner of the back of the scratch card.
Of course, the next problem that you’re going to be faced with is finding a retailer that has a full, unopened pack of scratch cards that they’re willing to sell. In order to find out how many are in the pack you’ll have to look at the information either on the back of one of the cards or else on the pack itself. At that point, you’ll then need to go through the process of scanning them into the machine, which is what will activate the card and therefore allow you to claim any associated winnings. If they aren’t activated, you won’t be able to claim them if you have some winners in there.
Remember, there is no discount for buying scratch cards in bulk. Not only that, but the other thing that you’ll need to bear in mind is that just because you’ve bought a full pack of scratch cards doesn’t mean that you’ll be guaranteed to win more than you’re spending buying them. You could spend £240 buying a full pack of scratch cards but only win £100 in prizes, say. This means that you’ll be losing £140. The ‘1 in 3’ stats, for example, is based over a huge number of scratch cards, not just the ones that are featured within one pack that a shop is selling.