Sweepstakes are random drawings for prizes sponsored by various organizations to draw attention to their product or service. When an organization offers a sweepstakes it must adhere to many state and federal laws. One of the most important laws for you to understand is that no purchase is required to enter a sweepstakes. Many people believe that you won’t win unless you buy the sponsors product, this is not true. Many winners of sweepstakes do not purchase the sponsors product. The sponsor is hoping you will become aware of and try their product by offering a sweepstakes to draw your attention to the product. Most larger sweepstakes are handled by an outside judging agency. This helps the promoter insure that everything will be handled properly and legally
Do not confuse sweepstakes with contests. Contests winners are judged to win by their skill. When an organization offers a contest, it often will require a proof of purchase. This is legal because a contest is not a random drawing, winners are chosen by judges for their skill. Some of the more common contests are for recipes, writing, or drawing. Winning contests can be easy if you are skilled in the area required. There are usually far fewer entries in a contest than a sweepstakes
Game sweepstakes are different from other sweepstakes because they have predetermined odds. There are only so many game pieces printed or game plays available, so the odds can be calculated. The odds are displayed in the rules. There are many types of game sweepstakes. Some of the more common ones are instant win games, match and win games, and collect to win games. Instant win games are the easiest to play, usually you scratch off the game piece with a
coin and see if you are a winner. In match to win games you usually must bring the game piece to a display (if you can find one) to determine if you are a winner.
Collect and win games require that you save game pieces and try to complete a phrase or complete a picture, etc. These usually have one rare piece, necessary to win. In most games the odds are very remote of winning a major prize. Occasionally you will find a game that has quite reasonable odds, and it is worth the effort to send for additional game pieces. I have found this to be rare though. The best part about game sweepstakes is the second chance drawing that many of them offer to win prizes that go unclaimed in the game portion of the sweepstakes. Online games are very popular. usually the entry time is predetermined, so that when you enter a game online the prizes are predetermined to be awarded at various time throughout the promotion period. Some of the most winnable online games are ones that require a unique code to enter.
Unique codes are usually available on the sponsors products, or by mailing for a game code (no purchase can be required). Lotteries are not really a good investment. Winning depends only on luck. unlike sweepstakes you must pay for a lottery ticket. The value of the prizes offered must be less than the amount taken in for all the lottery tickets sold. For this reason on the average if you kept buying lottery tickets until you won, you would spend more than you would win. Sweepstakes prizes on the other hand, are paid for by the promoter and an entry is the cost of a stamp. Many sweepstakes entries have a far greater value than the postage they cost. When this is the case, you can win a far greater amount than you spend entering the sweepstakes.
It is important to read the rules. Do not enter a sweepstakes without first reading the rules. This is important for online sweepstakes and mail-in sweepstakes. Most mail-in entries will consist of a 3X5 card or a 3×5 piece of paper with your name and address on it. Some sweepstakes will require a “qualifier” to be sent with your entry. A qualifier is usually a phrase or the name of the sponsors product on a 3X5 card or paper.
Many sweepstakes allow you to enter as often as you like, but on many others, only one entry is allowed. Every sweepstakes is different so you must follow the rules. Why go to the work of preparing several entries in a particular sweepstakes, only to have them disqualified because you did not prepare the entries correctly? Always hand print your mail-in entries, any mechanically produced entries will be disqualified.