Scratch Cards: Win or Lose?

Scratch cards are pre-determined winning-losing game. The number of winners and the price amounts are pre-determined even before the cards are printed. Unlike the lottery, the numbers are not actually random but only a simulation. Theoretically, the smaller the payout prizes, the chances of winning are more probable; but of course, the chances of losing is much greater. In a game of chance such as the lottery and scratch card games, the probability of losing is always 99.9% or even lesser.

Think in the point of view of a capitalist. Are you willing to risk your money without a 100% return? The lottery and other game of chances were invented to accumulate funds. It is always for profit and never for charity. Therefore, each time you buy a ticket or a scratch card, be prepared to lose because most likely you are not going to win. That's the reality.

The very slim chance of winning relies heavily on luck. Play for fun, not for money. Don't risk so much cash. For each ticket or card you buy, counterpart it by saving the same amount.

Busting the Scratch Cards

In this section, we are going to study the probability of winning and losing from a scratch card game. For the reason that we have no access to factual data, the following theories are presented.
  • There are 998,000,001,999 cards that are printed out and released per job order per game type. This is based on the series 000-000000-001 to 999-999999-999 that you can see printed on the card. The number of cards are calculated with this formula: 999 x 999999 x 999.
  • If all cards are sold at 20 each, that's a huge sale equivalent to 19.960 trillion pesos. 
  • If you're a capitalist, you would want to profit ₱10 for each card. ₱5 goes to overhead. ₱5 goes to winnings.
  • A total of ₱4.99 trillion amount of winnings based on ₱5 x 998 billion cards.
  • If we are going to distribute the major and minor prizes based on the calculated total payout, 2.55 billion of the cards are considered winning cards. That means, only 0.26% of the cards are winning cards. That means further, for every 391 cards is a winning card. If that is the case, the scratch card game will not be effective for the reason that only a few customers are going to experience winning the game. 
  • In this type of game, it is important that the customers experience winning the game even if it is only a minor prize. A solution therefore is to increase the volume of winning cards (minor prizes) by allotting around 76 billion cards as minor winning cards; and only 10 million cards for the major prize. In such case, for every 13 cards is a winning card of a minor prize. 
  • The higher the prize payout, the greater the chance of losing.


To find out the interval of winning cards. To say it in another way, how many scratch cards should you buy in order to profit? Not just win, but to profit.

Test #1. Five (5) Red Hot 7s Scratch Cards

The highest payout prize for Red Hot 7s scratch card game is P77,777 – the lowest among the scratch game cards available in the market. Playing Red Hot 7s is based on the game Tic Tac Toe. Match three 7s horizontally, vertically, or diagonally to win a prize.

To find out the chances of winning, we start by trying 5 cards with consecutive numbers in a series. For our first test, we used cards numbered 109-352610-031 to 035. The result. None of the cards were a winning card. At this point, you already have lost P100.

Let's try the second time. The numbers in the cards were 109-352807-071 to 074. The result: two of the cards were winning cards. One card won P40; the other won P20. In this batch, you lost P40. So far, you have won P60 out of P200 risk – a lost of P140.

Third try. The next batch of cards are numbered 109-373666-027 to 031. The result. One card was a winning card worth P20. In this batch, you lost P80. At this point, you may have already risked P300. You have won so far P80. But all in all, you lost P220.

In this type of game, the most essential position is the number 7 in the middle. If the middle box is not number 7, you will miss any chance of winning the major prizes. Notice that for every batch of card, there's only one card with 7 in the middle.

Test #2. Ten (10) Red Hot 7s Scratch Cards

If buying 5 scratch cards would only give you 27% return (not the ROI), how would you fare with 10 cards? Let's find out.

Batch 1. Series 116-010187-091 to 100

In this batch, not 1 card contained 7 in the middle. That means no chance of winning a major prize. However, two cards (#093 & #099) match three 7s both horizontally and vertically equivalent to a total prize winning of P80 for both cards. Card #096 also match three 7s vertically equivalent to a prize winning of P70. All in all, this batch produced 3 winning cards equivalent to a total of P150. Ten cards is worth P200. Therefore, for this batch, you lost P50.

Batch 2. Series 116-011035-091 to 100

The second batch produced 2 winning cards. One card won P70; the other P20. Total winnings for this batch is P90. However, despite winning P90, you still lost P110.

So far, on the average, 10 cards may produce 2 winning cards but that doesn't mean you actually profit. Theoretically, for every P200 you play, you may recover 60% of it, or P120. Yet still, you lose P80.

Preliminary Conclusion

Are you going to profit by buying 5 Red Hot 7s scratch cards? The answer is NO. Theoretically, for every 5 cards you buy, you lose P73.33.
If one trillion cards are produced, that is equivalent to 20 trillion pesos sales or roughly $433 billion. If 60% return is true, the capitalist gives away 12 trillion pesos and keeps 8 trillion pesos less cost and overhead. Granted that 12 trillion pesos is the total of prizes to be given away, there is still no guarantee that you would win-a-profit unless luck favors you by winning a major prize.

Let's say the only payout prize is P20 per card. Following the theoretical 60% return, it means that for every 10 cards, 6 cards are winning cards, in which each card wins P20. Yet, the bottom line is, you still lose P40.

One more try to find out how big your chance of losing from scratch game cards. Next test is buying 20 cards.