The reality of the modern world is that pretty much everything has moved online when it comes to betting and gambling. If you want to play poker, you no longer need to find a deck of cards, get some chips and gather your friends around. If you like playing bingo, there is no need to head to a bingo hall in the local village. Smoke-filled betting shops filled with men who seem to be judging your every move are a thing of the past. Whatever it is you like to do in terms of betting, you can do online, up to and including checking if you’ve won.
Whilst you can play instant win games online, one of the few things that you can’t do is head onto the internet in order to check whether or not a scratch card you have bought elsewhere is a winner. Similarly, there is no way to claim a winning prize via the internet, instead needing to head to a shop if it’s a small payout or give the National Lottery a call if it’s a big one. It seems odds in the age of online proliferation, but it is the way that it is right now and it is unlikely to change any time soon, so you might as well get used to it.
Checking If You’re a Winner
Picture the scenario: you’ve bought yourself a scratch card from the shops and have scratched off all of the panels. The problem is, the game seems to be quite convoluted and you’re entirely sure whether you’ve won or not. That looks like a crown, but is it actually a star? There are three winning symbols, but they’re not in a line; does that matter? You accidentally scratched too hard and one of the symbols isn’t that clear, so have you won or not? The easiest thing to do would be to jump online and find out, but you can’t do that right now.
Have a Shop Scan It to Check
If you want to check whether your scratch card is a winner or not, the only option available to you is to take it to a newsagent, supermarket or other shop that sells them and get them to check. There is a code underneath the scratch-off coating that they look at alongside scanning the ticket, which informs them about whether or not you have won. If you have, the machine will make a sound and print off an associated ticket, informing you of how much you have won, whilst the shop-keeper will pay you out your winnings.
This, of course, might well change in the future. At the time of writing, you can use the National Lottery’s mobile app to scan the barcode on your lottery ticket and check whether or not you have bought a winner. With this in mind, it isn’t out of the realms of the possible that the company will find a way to make things work in a similar way for scratch card players. At the moment, that isn’t possible because someone could simply scan all scratch cards without even needing to buy them in order to check if any of them are winners.
Claiming Your Prize Online
It is, you will not be surprised to learn, a similar story for people hoping to claim their prize online. There is sometimes a need to be able to check whether your scratch card is a winner or not for reasons similar to those outlined elsewhere on this page. Most of the time, though, you will have a good sense of whether the scratch card that you’ve bought is a winner or not. The good news is that you’ll have a prize coming your way, the bad news is that you won’t be able to claim said prize online and will once again need to head out.
There are many different shops up and down the country that sell scratch cards, with all of them also able to pay out the lower prizes to the people that are lucky enough to win them. How you claim your prize will be determined by how much you’ve won, with the following being what the National Lottery have to say on the matter:
£100 or Less
Should your scratch card have a prize on it that is worth £100 or less, you’ll be able to claim your winnings from any National Lottery retailer. There is a requirement for them to pay out on any prize up to and including £100. The only exception to this is retailers that have till-point terminals only. In that case, they are only required to pay out up to £50. Some will be able to pay out prizes onto a debit card, rather than in cash. The good news is that if the terminal doesn’t scan the barcode, they can enter the number in manually.
Between £100.01 & £500
If you’ve been lucky enough to hit it relatively big with your National Lottery scratch card win, you can still check with your local retailer about whether they can pay out your winnings or not. There are some that are allowed to make payments of over £100 and up to a total of £500. Again, that can be in cash or onto your debit card, but do bear in mind that not all retailers will be able to pay out on such a big prize. Your best bet is to head to one of the big supermarkets and check with them if they can pay you out a larger win.
From £500.01 & £50,000
Once you start getting towards the bigger prices, National Lottery retailers almost certainly won’t be able to pay your your winnings. Did you know, though, that the Post Office can? Anything from £500.01 through to £50,000 can be claimed at a Post Office, with all of the information about how to do so available on the Post Office website. The only exception to this is on the Isle of Man, where you may be able to claim up to £50,000 at a National Lottery retailer, but you’ll need to gill in a prize claim form in at the store.
More Than £50,000
Anything over £50,000 is considered to be ‘serious money’ by the National Lottery. If you’ve been fortunate enough to win such a large prize, the only way you’ll be able to confirm it is over the phone. Your need to call their prize winning hotline and confirm your win with them, at which point they will make an arrangement with you for the best time and date to go in and claim your prize in person. This is obviously an ideal way to keep yourself protected from someone else claiming the prize, given the fact that they will go through some confirmation information with you.
Any Monthly Prize
There are some National Lottery scratch cards that promise winners a monthly prize. If you’re lucky enough to have won one, you essentially need to treat it the same as winning a big prize. You need to call the National Lottery prize claim line and make arrangements with them for how you will be paid out your monthly prize. This will usually be paid in accordance with the Game Specific Rules that are printed on the back of the scratch card, so it is always worth reading the bumph on the back to give yourself a sense of what to expect.
Make Sure Time Doesn’t Run Out
The frustration of not being able to claim your prize online from a scratch card win can be more than just about convenience. There are closing dates for scratch cards, which means that there is the possibility that you will miss out on being able to claim your winnings if you don’t get to the shop quickly enough. The good news is that you look and see that the scratch card that you have won on has reached its closure date, all is not lost and you’ll still have some time to be able to make a claim for your prize money.
That is because all scratch cards from the National Lottery give you 180 days to make a claim on them from the date of the game’s closure. If it closed on the 17th of September 2022, for example, you would have had until the 16th of March 2023 in order to claim your prize. The National Lottery has a list of the games that have closed on its website, as well as the last date by which you’ll be able to make a claim on any of the prizes associated with that game. Check that out if you’re afraid that you’re holding onto a ticket that is closing soon.
Why You Can’t Check or Claim for Scratch Card Wins Online
Having read this piece, no doubt with mounting disappointment, you might well find yourself asking why, exactly, you’re not allowed to check whether a scratch card is a winner online, nor claim your prize via the medium of the internet. You can do it with other National Lottery games, so why is it that the company has decided to be so old-fashioned when it comes to scratch card wins? The answer is a relatively simple one, insomuch as it is almost impossible to arrange it so that only the person that bought the ticket can check.
Put that another way: imagine someone working behind the counter at one of the National Lottery’s official retailers and that person being somewhat nefarious in their personality. Knowing that they can check whether a scratch card is a winner or not without even needing to buy it, they get out their phone and scan all of the scratch cards that are for sale in the shop when no one else is looking, keeping hold of the ones that they have discovered are winners. You then go into the shop and buy a card that they know to be a loser.
Whilst you might think that that is unlikely, it isn’t out of the realms of the possible and that is why the National Lottery has to be careful about allowing people to check whether their scratch card is a winner online. There is very little space under the scratchable material to fit something that could be scanned, given that there is already a code under there, so ultimately it comes down to the safety and integrity of the games that are offered by the National Lottery, even if it inconveniences the customer to have to go to a shop.
There is less of a coherent argument for why a prize can’t be paid out online if you’ve won a prize on a scratch card bought in a shop. If you were to head to the National Lottery retailer that you bought your scratch card from and have them scan it and enter the associated code, receive your payout and then keep hold of the winning scratch card, you wouldn’t be able to take it to another shop and claim it again because it would be flagged up on the system that it had already been claimed and therefore a secondary payout wouldn’t be allowed.
The Technology Isn’t There Yet
It isn’t immediately obvious why that wouldn’t be the same with a prize claimed online. It might well be that the technology isn’t currently there to share what happens online with what happens in shops, which is why you can’t get paid out on a Lotto ticket bought online in a physical shop. Perhaps as time passes and the technology develops, the National Lottery will develop a way to allow punters to claim winning scratch card prizes at home. As things currently stand, though, you’ll have to go to one of the 40,000+ retailers to claim your prize.