According to Statista, in March 2020, Lotto.pl was the leading gambling website in Poland. It was followed by many reputable games, but what is most interesting is not how different brands rank, but how over 4 million online gamers in Poland approach their favourite titles. And the ones with the most filled dancing card are scratch cards.
Simple, yet immensely entertaining, scratch cards dominate the Polish gambling market. Although not particularly popular in other parts of the world, it seems that players in the country, positioned between the east and the West, can’t get enough of them.
Anna Rosak (read her bio here), a gaming specialist from Poland, was more than happy to discuss the scratch games phenomenon with us.
Catholic Upbringing and Communist Past
The two main factors in the lasting popularity of scratch cards in the Polish market are deeply associated with Polish history and culture, or at least Anna thinks so. In her opinion, it is partly because Poland is a catholic country, where gambling, despite its rising popularity, is still frowned upon.
“According to the Bible, gambling is a sin. Yet, playing a card or two doesn’t really feel or look like gambling”, she says, “That’s why so many people in Poland indulge in this type of gaming.”
The second factor is historical and political. From 1947 to 1989, Poland was a communist country. “There were difficult times when it was not desirable to stand out with anything, not even good fortune. People looked the same, dressed the same, and the government did a heck of a job to convince them, they are all the same”, explains Rosak. She believes the cultural inheritance of “not wanting too much”, made scratch cards more popular than any other game.
What is interesting is that Rosak sees this trend occur not only among people who lived to witness the communist regime but also with players who were born in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
“Many Westerners don’t understand how difficult it is to shake off the generational trauma and learned behaviour”, she says.
But is there anything else to the scratch cards’ growing popularity? Anna Rosak is sure there is, but she sees it as a global thing, while the two factors mentioned above are strictly local.
Scratch Cards are Affordable
The first advantage scratch cards own over any other games is cost-effectiveness. Even though it might seem that casino slot machines might be even cheaper, Anna argues that payouts in slots cannot be compared to the ones in scratch cards. Our specialist says that local media is filled with sites inviting players to try free scratch games with the slogan “wygraj pieniądze ze zdrapki online”.
“Let’s say you are playing an average video slot, and not a cherry machine. You’ll have to get 5 symbols of the same kind to win between 10x and 100x the stake. Sounds easy? Well, it is not”, she warns, “When you buy a card, you can easily get up to 10,000x the stake, or at least a bonus card to keep on playing.”
As an extra perk, Anna mentions bulk buys that will relieve your budget. In many online casinos, buying bulks of 10, 20, or 50 cards at once, can fetch you solid discounts.
Scratch Cards are Easy
Another aspect that makes scratch cards appealing is the fact there are no special rules that come with the game. A total no-brainer game, they are an ideal choice when players want to relax, unwind, or simply feel the thrill of the chance, without actually having to put a lot of effort into it.
“Online or paper ticket – it doesn’t really matter! What you need is a finger or a mouse. You simply scroll across the fields or simply remove the colourful foil, and voilà, the numbers and symbols show up”, says Anna.
Rosak warns that players sometimes believe there is a system for beating scratch cards, but she disagrees: “Playing scratch cards with a strategy is like trying to solve a maths equation by chewing bubblegum. It just won’t happen!”
Scratch Cards Have No Reputation
“Poker is often seen as dangerous. People think of roulette as risky. Blackjack is complicated. Slots are addictive. But scratch cards? They have no reputation and are typically perceived as the most harmless type of gambling. Truth be told, they are as risky as any other, but they are far more acceptable in the general population than any other genre”, claims Rosak.
Still, our expert warns that they are, once everything is said and done, gambling. She advises players to approach it cautiously, set a budget and stick to it. “Beware of the flirty nature of scratch games. They are a pure-blooded casino genre, even though they look all nice and cute”, she concludes.