Skip to Content

What size is a scratch card?

Scratch cards come in a variety of sizes, depending on the game and where it is sold. The most common sizes for scratch cards are about 2 inches x 3.5 inches, 2.5 inches x 3.5 inches, and 3 inches x 4 inches. However, larger and smaller sizes are also produced. The size of a scratch card affects the amount of play area and security features that can be included. Larger cards allow for more elaborate games and designs, while smaller cards are more portable and can fit into wallets. Typical scratch card sizes by region are:

North America

In North America, the most popular scratch card size is 2 inches x 3.5 inches. This compact size makes the cards easy to display in dispensers at retail locations. The limited space on these cards allows for simple games with a few prizes and play areas. 2 x 3.5 inch cards are popular for lower price point games sold in convenience stores and gas stations across the United States and Canada.


European scratch cards are often slightly larger than their North American counterparts. Common sizes in Europe include 2.5 x 3.5 inches and 3 x 4 inches. These dimensions allow for more complex games with more play areas and prize tiers. Popular European scratch card brands like Millionaire Games or National Lottery Instants are typically printed on 2.5 x 3.5 inch or 3 x 4 inch cards. The extra space gives game designers more flexibility.


In Asian countries, scratch cards can be even larger than European sizes. Cards measuring 3.5 x 5 inches are common in places like China, Japan, and South Korea. The abundance of space allows for very ornate card designs and games with many chances to win. These cards are often sold individually in retail locations rather than dispensers. Their larger format makes them stand out on racks next to smaller items.

Typical Features by Size

The size of a scratch card affects how much can fit on the card in terms of game features, security elements, and logos.

2 x 3.5 inch

– Simple matching games with 4-6 prize areas
– Single game on one card
– Few security features beyond latex covering
– Card brand logo
– Prizes listed on back

2.5 x 3.5 inch

– Matching games with 8 or more prize spots
– May have multiple games on a single card
– Added security features like foil inks
– Card brand logo
– Prizes and card number on back
– Bar code

3 x 4 inch

– Elaborate matching games or unique game themes
– Multiple games per card
– High resolution graphics and images
– Security elements like foil scratch-off coating
– Card brand logo on front and back
– Printed card number and barcode on back
– Instructional text
– Prizes listed on back

Dimensions Based on Location of Sale

Where a scratch card is sold also impacts what size it needs to be. Here are some common sizes based on the sales outlet:

Convenience Stores

In convenience stores, gas stations, and small retail outlets, the most common card size is 2 x 3.5 inches. These compact cards can easily fit into small dispenser racks next to the checkout counter. Their small format makes them quick to buy and easy to carry in a pocket or wallet. Popular brands for this setting include state lottery cards and low tier national scratch games.

Grocery Stores

For grocery stores and pharmacies with larger checkout aisles, scratch cards tend to be slightly bigger. Typical sizes include 2.5 x 3.5 and 3 x 4 inches. The extra space allows for flashier graphics to catch the shopper’s eye. Cards can also have higher price points since grocery trips often involve larger purchases. Mid-tier lottery scratchers and national game brands are prevalent in this outlet.


Scratch cards designed for casinos are often oversized for dramatic effect. Popular sizes include 3.5 x 5 inches or larger. These cards allow for immersive gameplay with near-360 degree graphics. Big prizes up to $1 million+ also help them stand out in a casino environment. They may resemble mini tabletop games rather than standard scratch cards. These are meant to be purchased in individual units rather than from dispensers.

Online Sales

For online sales, card size does not matter. However, digital scratch cards retain familiar dimensions like 2 x 3.5 or 3 x 4 inches when displayed on screen. This allows game designers to mimic the scratching and matching aspects of physical cards. The digital format also permits animation, sound effects, and interactive elements not possible on print cards.

Size Specifications for Manufacturing

Scratch card manufacturers produce cards to precise specifications so they work properly with game machines and dispensers. Here are some typical size guidelines:

Dimension Measurement
Length 2 – 5 inches (51 – 127mm)
Height 3 – 4 inches (76 – 102mm)
Thickness .009 – .015 inches (.229 – .381mm)
Corners Rounded or square cut

The tolerance for variation in dimensions is very low, usually less than 1 millimeter. This ensures consistency between machines that print, cut, collate, and package the cards. It also guarantees a proper fit into dispensers and point-of-sale displays.

Manufacturers use precise paper cutting machines to produce scratch cards of a certain size. Quality control checks are done regularly to confirm accuracy.

Most Common Dimensions

While scratch card sizes can vary widely, certain sizes appear again and again across different brands and geographies. Here are the top 5 most prevalent sizes for scratch cards worldwide:

Size Dimensions
Small 2 x 3.5 inches
Medium 2.5 x 3.5 inches
Large 3 x 4 inches
Oversized 3.5 x 5 inches
Mini 1.5 x 2 inches

The small 2 x 3.5 inch size accounts for the majority of scratch cards sold, especially in North America. The other sizes appear frequently across different global brands and games.

Manufacturers likely gravitate towards these common sizes because the printing and production process is optimized for efficiency. Retailers are familiar with displaying and merchandising the standard card sizes as well.

Factors Impacting Size

Many factors go into determining the dimensions of a scratch card game. These considerations help set the parameters for the size:

– **Game Design** – More complex games need bigger cards to fit the gameplay elements. Simple games can use small cards.

– **Security** – Larger cards can accommodate more security features like foil panels and holograms. Smaller cards have limited space.

– **Price Point** – Lower priced cards tend to be smaller in size. Higher price points allow for more lavish card designs.

– **Display Method** – Will the card be sold from dispensers or racks? Dispenser size impacts dimensions.

– **Branding** – Enough space is needed for prominent display of logos, graphics and colors.

– **Manufacturing** – Standard printing and cutting equipment may dictate commonly produced sizes.

– **Geography** – Region-specific size preferences shape the dimensions for that market.

By weighing all these factors, game creators and manufacturers settle on an optimal size for the scratch card. This size balances functionality, security, branding, production, and sales channel.

Size vs Gameplay

An important factor in scratch card size is the relationship with the game itself. The gameplay possibilities are directly tied to the physical space available on the card. Some examples:

Matching Games

The most basic scratch card game is a simple matching game. For a match 3 game, a small 2 x 3.5 inch card would be sufficient. But for matching games with 10, 20, or even 100 items, a larger card size is necessary to fit all the match spots. A footprint of at least 3 x 4 inches allows for more elaborate matching games.


For crossword scratch games, a compact mini card size does not provide enough grid area to make an engaging game. Most crossword scratchies require a medium to large sized card at minimum 2.5 x 3.5 inches. This provides enough width for 5-10 letter words in the grid.


Bingo is another game genre that benefits from expanded card size. A standard 5×5 bingo card grid with a free space needs adequate room for 25 playable spots. While mini 1.5 x 2 inch bingo cards exist, the ideal size for scratch bingo cards is at least 2.5 x 3.5 inches to allow sufficient grid area.

Casino Style

For scratch cards that mimic a casino game experience, bigger is better. With additional space, game makers can include dice, playing cards, or roulette wheels to match the theme. Oversized cards 3.5 x 5 inches or larger provide the canvas for immersive casino graphics and designs not possible on smaller cards.

Security Features

Scratch card size also impacts the security features that can be included. Security elements like foil panels, UV inks, and holograms require a certain amount of real estate to be effective. Here are some examples of how card size relates to security:

Foil Panels

Shiny foil panels are a popular scratch card security feature. But mini cards 1.5 x 2 inches are too small to accommodate even a single foil area. For foil reveal areas to be usable, the card must be at least 2 x 3.5 inches. Multiple foil zones need even more space.


Holographic images or effects help protect scratch cards from fraud. But holograms require significant card real estate to produce the desired optical illusions. For the full hologram experience, a 3.5 x 5 inch oversize card or larger is ideal. Small holograms can fit on 2.5 x 3.5 inch cards.

UV Printing

Ultraviolet inks are often used for hidden security text or images that are revealed under a UV reader. But to include both visible and UV elements, sufficient room is needed. U.V. security works best on medium to large cards of 2.5 inches + in height.


A barcode or serial number on the back helps verify authenticity. A compact 2 x 3.5 inch card can accommodate a simple barcode. More advanced 2D security barcodes need at least a 2.5 x 3.5 inch card to provide enough code data and scanning accuracy.

Environmental Impact

Scratch card size has an environmental impact as well. Larger cards require more raw materials to produce and ship. They also generate more waste. Smaller cards consume less paper and cardboard resources. Here are some comparison examples:

Paper Usage

– Small 2 x 3.5 inch card – 5.2 square inches

– Medium 2.5 x 3.5 inch card – 7.1 square inches

– Large 3 x 4 inch card – 10.8 square inches

The large 3 x 4 inch card uses over 100% more paper per unit than the small 2 x 3.5 inch size. For a print run of 10 million cards, that equates to over 50,000 square feet of additional paper.

Dispenser Capacity

The smaller the card size, the more cards can fit into a standard retail dispenser. Capacity can be up to 50% higher for compact 2 inch wide cards compared to wider 3.5 inch cards. More efficient dispensing reduces waste.

Shipping Efficiency

Smaller scratch cards allow for slimmer packaging and boxes for shipping. A case of 2 x 3.5 inch cards requires less shipping volume than oversize 3.5 x 5 inch cards. This saves on transportation impacts and costs.

Card manufacturers must balance responsible resource use with card functionality, security, and profit goals. In general, the smallest card size that still achieves gameplay, branding, and security objectives will be the most eco-friendly choice.


Scratch card dimensions can run the gamut from compact 1.5 x 2 inch mini cards to oversize 5 x 7 inch showpieces. But the most common sizes, especially for mass market scratch games, fall in the 2 – 3.5 inch range for length and height. Regional size preferences, security needs, game objectives, manufacturing processes, and sales channels all help determine optimal scratch card size. Larger formats allow for more dynamic games and security features, but consume more raw materials. Smaller cards are more eco-friendly, but limit gameplay possibilities. The future may bring more innovative sizes as scratch cards continue adapting to new technologies and markets around the world. But the standard 2 x 3.5 inch, 2.5 x 3.5 inch, and 3 x 4 inch sizes will likely persist as convenient sizes perfectly suited for the scratch card format.