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I discovered this myself a year or so back when I had some money left in my lottery account from a small win. It soon became clear that 'wherever' you scratched would cause the same result and to test my theory, I scratched the 4 of the 5 panels off - then refreshed the game (which reset the grid, but loaded against the same unique game ID) and I scratched off a completely different set of 4 panels to reveal the same 4 numbers in the same order.

The laughable thing with this is that they have a whole array of games, which each require the user to do different meaningless activities, which serve no purpose other than waste time.

I guess the 'average Joe' may feel cheated, if they paid £1 and instantly got a message saying 'You lose' - with no form of 'entertainment' or interaction.

Either way, it appeared to me as quite a horrendous scam and scandalous for such a reputable company as Camelot. What would be interesting, is to know how many times it pays out the jackpot amount of that card (if ever).

From the National Lottery site:

  There is a 1 in 4.49 overall chance of winning a Prize on each Play of the Game. The Expected Prize Payout Percentage for this game is 64.08%.
They are required to publish the odds and they are correct. There is no scam.

The question of 'a scam' wasn't relevant to the chance of a win.

It was questioning how often it would pay out the jackpot of the challenge.

A pub fruit machine for instance has stamped on it, 'this machine will pay out 78% of all money taken' - that is the reality, it will return a proportion back in winnings and take 22% as profit. However, it does not disclose how this will be returned to the user or over what time frame.

In the scenario with these online scratch cards, if you play them for a while you will end up down on your money (as you would expect for a 1 in 4.49 chance) - but occasionally get a small win which regains a proportion of the money you have spent.

- The question is, how often and what are the chances that if I play the game long enough I will win that advertised £100,000 prize? - That information afaik is not disclosed.

1 in 2,880,000 for the top prize of £77,777, this is again clearly printed on the site. I still don't see how you can regard this as a scam, unless you want to classify all gambling as such.

For a given level of intelligence for a given person, it is possible to write a set of rules that make it appear that you have a reasonable chance of winning when in fact you don't. This is not a slam against the poor or the stupid, it is true across all levels of intelligence. The lotto gets a certain set of these people. Penny auctions step it up to the next level. Bernie Madoff caught another even higher level. (Yes, he committed fraud, but there was actually enough information for anybody paying close attention to figure it out with high confidence; his payout schedule was far too consistent, especially as the market started to drop yet his fund appeared to be immune.) No amount of intelligence will render you immune, though, there's always another layer of trick that would catch you, too, so let me emphasize again this isn't disguised elitism, everyone's vulnerable.

To the extent that the lottery appears to be disproportionately played by those who seem to be below the lottery's intelligence line, it is arguably a scam. And I do mean arguably, not that I have a proof. But I would say that if your response is that people know what they are getting into, I would submit that A: no, they don't necessarily really get it and B: would you be so blase if you were scammed by something a bit more sophisticated? It's easy to be unempathetic and be unable to imagine being fooled by the lottery's statistical games, but clearly it does in fact happen.

Is this proof of immorality or proof it should be shut down or anything else? No, I'm deliberately constraining myself to just the point above. Drawing it out further would take more logic and would itself be controversial. I just want to make the point that there is a plausible way to look at this situation and call it a scam without too much damage to the term.

> "for such a reputable company as Camelot"

Um excuse me? Reputable? Given the way they conned the public out of a non-profit lottery, I don't agree they're reputable.

> require the user to do different meaningless activities, which serve no purpose other than waste time.

Isn't that the real purpose of gambling (besides dreaming about what to do with the money if you win)?

The same could be said about watching TV series or any other form of entertainment.

Indeed, I often enjoy the 'fun' of playing online poker, betting on sports events, even putting money into 'fruit machines' in a pub.

However, the sole entertainment value that comes from these on line scratch games is so limited, that you would have to have a seriously dull life to find them enjoyable.

At least in most forms of gambling you feel you have an element of control (despite the odds). Whether it's choosing to bluff in poker, choose a team in sports or 'collect' early on a fruit machine.

The difference with the online scratch card is that it shows a fake level of interaction to the user, which makes them believe they could have effected the result by scratching a different panel.

Combining this with the 'near miss' psychological effect, it will probably leave the typical demographic playing it coming back for more.

Presumably these scratch-offs are a pseudo form of entertainment, otherwise people would just buy a ticket with one giant scratch off that tells how much money they either won or didn't.

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