You pay £1 (or £2 for certain games with higher jackpots) to any National Lottery Scratchcard "Instants" retailer and they give you a scratchcard which has a covered area, plus security verification codes to avoid forgery. You scratch off the covered area to find out if you have won. Games vary on how the prize is won - you need to read the back of the card to find out how to play.
Winning in an Instant
Because you will instantly know if you have a winning National Lottery Scratchcard ticket you need to know how to claim your prize. The chances are you will only have won £1, in which case give your ticket straight back to the retailer to receive your money back!
If you are one of the lucky ones, you should do the following depending on the amount you have won:
Up to £75: Any UK National Lottery Scratchcard "Instants" retailer.
Up to £200: Certain Lottery Scratchcard "Instants" retailers (at their discretion).
Up to £10,000: UK National Lottery Post Offices or Regional Centres.
Over £10,000: UK National Lottery Regional Centres.
Choosing which scratchcard game to play
You will find your choice restricted to the games on offer by your "Instants" retailer. Here is a list of the current games, along with their top prizes and how many top prizes are on offer in that game. You need to be aware though, that even if an "Instant" scratchcard is on sale, the chances are the main prizes could have already been won! The lottery operator will not release any information regarding current prizes outstanding - a double gamble?
Odds of winning on a National Lottery Scratchcard
Because the scratchcards play for different prizes and under diffferent rules, there is no completely accurate way to predict your chances of winning. Odds are given on the reverse of the scratchcards, but these are only really valid at the start of the game. By the time you buy your card, some prizes are bound to have been claimed and therefore your chances of winning will have altered.