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Pretty much the case in any online gambling game, as soon as you part with your money the server decides whether you've won, and then the game interface can decide how you find out.

For example, Roulette on paddypower.com:

  <?xml version='1.0' encoding='UTF-8'?>
  <!DOCTYPE GameResponse SYSTEM "http://www.orbisuk.com/igf/dtd/GameResponse.dtd">
		<GameId id="1155" ver="1" channel="I" />
			<Account balance="1525.00" held_funds="0.00" ccy_code="GBP" adjusted_free_balance="No" ccy_decimal_separator="." ccy_thousand_separator="," />
	<Close />
	<Play stake="600.00" win="1200.00" id="0" >
		<BetState drawn="15" total_bets="1">
			<Bet name="Outside_Black" stake="600.00" winnings="1200.00" seln=""/>
As others have pointed out, it doesn't make it any less fair. It does mean you're wasting some time scratching to see numbers, or waiting for a roulette ball to land, or waiting for cards to be dealt... but that's a choice the user makes to make it more entertaining.

Personally, I love playing roulette/blackjack in a real (offline) casino - if i just walked to the front desk, handed over the amount of money I was willing to part with and asked them to randomly generate my winnings/losses, I wouldn't ever bother.

And the same applies for online - I'd be far more likely to play an online casino game as time-killing entertainment than as a way to make money.

I guess it depends what you mean by "waste." It doesn't seem like it's any more wasteful than the paper card.

You're wasting time in that the server could just as easily say "win" or "lose" rather than making you spend that time pretending to scratch numbers. It's no more wasteful than a paper scratch card, except that with the paper scratch card the waiting is a necessity, whereas online it is not.

That said, my use of the word "waste" is not meant to be negative - they've left that feature in the online version of scratch cards for a reason, because they feel people prefer to have that time wasted - and, as I said, if playing online roulette, I would rather waste time seeing a ball roll around than just being told if I had won or lost.

The paper card could just say "win" or "lose" too.

And those cards are available - but there will always be an element of time wasting due to the fact that paper cards need to make you scratch away, whereas online versions do not.

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