There are literally hundreds of sites selling scratch cards. We can group all of them into two distinct categories – government lotteries and online casino lotteries.
The first is the smallest group, belonging to government-run lottery websites. These include national lotteries, provincial lotteries, state lotteries, etc. Any lottery that raises money for, and is run by, any local government body, belongs in this group. The Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corp (OLG), and its website, PlayOLG.com, fit into this category.
The second group is far larger, and contains online casino style operators. These websites are providing a service for their own profit. Their online scratch cards are extremely similar to those offered by local lottery corporations, but the proceeds do not benefit anyone but the companies that make and sell them.
For players, the only real difference is the average return, or the overall amount of money they pay out, compared to what they take in. Local lotteries set their returns at an average of anywhere from 75-85%. At 85% RTP, that means 15% of all sales go to the lottery, and 85% get returned as prizes. Online casinos tend to be more generous, paying back an average of about 93% on instant scratchies.
A lot of players prefer the online casino approach for the higher payout percentage, which makes a lot of since if you really want to win. Then again, the proceeds go straight to the company selling them. Local lotteries at least benefit the communities their players live in.
Thus, to answer the question of which is better, local lottery or online casino, you’ll have to decide what’s more important to you – benefiting your community, or higher odds of winning?