If your mental image of a scratch card is a little piece of cardboard, it’s time for an update. While those classic analog cards are still available, today, lottery scratch cards have embraced technology and gone online. And they haven’t just stopped at recreating the experience of scratching away a coating to reveal whether you’ve won a prize. They’ve embraced the possibilities offered by the digital world by creating an all-new casual gaming experience.
The Rise of Casual Gaming
It’s not surprising that lottery providers would want to capitalise on the rise of casual gaming. With the advent of social media and smartphones, more and more people have discovered the fun of simple games which don’t rely on quick-fire reflexes or the ability to learn a complicated interface. Everyone from kids to grandparents can enjoy games that are built around themes like symbol matching or resource management. The incredibly simple mechanics of classic lottery scratch cards made them ideal for a move to the digital world.
Play for Money, or Just For Fun
While most people associate scratch cards with the lottery and cash prizes, the general concept of a scratcher has been used for non-gambling applications as well. They’re a popular promotional item at stores, where users can scratch and reveal a discount on their purchase.
For casual gaming, scratchers can offer a prize of points rather than cash, allowing people to, well, scratch the itch to reveal symbols, without a monetary outlay and reward. This is also a good option for minors who are curious about the lottery scratch cards their parents and grandparents play.
More Than Just a Lottery Scratch Card
Today’s online lottery scratch cards have evolved beyond the simple scratch-and-reveal mechanic of early iterations. They’ve added exciting animations, progressive prizes, and more. While scratchers have always embraced whimsical themes (just like their cousin, the slot machine), some have now even added a small storyline. The Elite of Evil series imports RPG-style gameplay, by allowing players to “fight” a “boss” by scratching off symbols. Successfully beating one boss unlocks the ability to fight a tougher boss. There’s a sense of accomplishment which goes beyond the old binary of win prize/get nothing.
The Evolution is Sure to Continue
As lottery providers look for more ways to capture their piece of the gaming market share, we’re sure to see even more developments in the world of digital scratch cards. We expect that designers will continue to explore RPG-like elements. Will they look to other styles of video game play? The boss fight mechanic could certainly also be adapted to mimic a sort of fighting game theme, where you damage your opponent when you successfully reveal matching symbols, and take damage when you have no matches. Scratch mechanics could also be applied to a resource management/development game, where the player could scratch and reveal resources which could be used to develop their farm, magical kingdom, etc.
These new scratch games certainly won’t appeal to every casual player; some will prefer to avoid anything related to gambling, others will not find them as compelling as whatever games they’re already playing. But there’s still a lot of room for both growth and innovation, and they’re likely to attract a lot of new players to lottery games.