Sweepstakes Casinos vs. Traditional Online Casinos

min read
Woman gambling online on her laptop, lying on the couch, hugging her face with excitement.
BetMGM Dec 05, 2023, 2:59 PM

Both sweepstakes and traditional online casinos are popular, each for their own reasons. But how should you decide where to play your online casino games? That depends on a number of factors, all of which are covered in this article. 

But first, you’ll learn the differences between the two types of casinos and discover the benefits of sweepstakes sites. Armed with all of this information, you’ll be able to make an informed decision on which is right for you.

What Is a Sweepstakes Casino?

Put simply, it’s a platform where you can play casino games online using a sweepstakes model. But what are sweepstakes?

For an event to be considered gambling, three things must be present. First, there should be an element of luck or chance. Next, you must be able to win some kind of prize: either cash, or something with a monetary value in the real world. Finally, there must be an entry fee.

In a sweepstakes casino, the third element is missing. Such events do not require real money in order to participate. They are, therefore, games of chance where prizes can be won, but you don’t gamble using actual cash.

Virtual Currency

You don’t gamble with U.S. dollars when you’re playing using a sweepstakes model, so you can’t win cash. Instead, you play with tickets or other virtual currencies like gems or gold coins, which also serve as your rewards when you win.

These digital tokens can be purchased using real-world currency. Note that they are purely in-house gaming units solely used to play sweepstakes casino games. They are worthless outside of the casino ecosystem. 

What can you do with them, then? This varies from casino to casino, but in most, you can redeem a certain number of tokens for various things. Examples include gift cards, gadgets, and real money.

Benefits of a Sweepstakes Casino

Perhaps you’re wondering why anyone would want to play at a sweepstakes casino? Well, much like the online vs. land-based casinos decision, it mostly comes down to personal preference. 

There are legitimate reasons why one might enjoy sweepstakes, as you’ll find in the following section.


In some states, regular online gambling may be prohibited. However, a sweepstakes casino uses a legal loophole, allowing people to play jackpot slots and similar casino games for prizes. 

As you can imagine, this is a major drawcard for players. If that’s your only legal option, and you really want to play, of course you’re going to roll with it.

Variety of Prizes

For players who simply want to play and aren’t motivated by money, a sweepstakes casino might be a good option. For example, if you don’t mind winning gift cards, or other special items, this could be a reason to try a sweepstakes casino.

Wagering Without Real Money

As previously explained, you aren’t using real money in a sweepstakes casino. Instead, you’re gambling with whichever digital token that specific casino uses. 

Nobody likes losing money, of course, but some players handle it particularly badly. In that case, losing virtual tokens rather than real money can soften the blow. This can reduce the urge to tilt, and minimize other negative feelings associated with losing.

Promotional Free Tickets

Sweepstakes gambling sites often give out daily bonuses and other loyalty rewards, and distribute tokens via raffles or social media. Playing with the house’s money is always fun. Gaining free entry to games with possible prizes is an obvious benefit to playing at a sweepstakes casino.

Traditional Online Casinos vs. Sweepstakes Casinos

As you can see, there are real reasons why one would prefer a sweepstakes site over a traditional online casino. However, how do these two casino types actually compare to each other? Which one is better?

Well, the big difference is the legality. Imagine you live in a state where traditional casinos aren’t legal, but sweepstakes are. In that case, if you want a casino-like experience, there isn’t much of a choice for you. You’ll simply have to stick to the legal option.

Both Options Are Available

A much more interesting dilemma appears when both options are legal in your state. Which one should you pick?

Well, in both cases, you’re putting up some real money when you start. You’re either gambling directly or purchasing tokens on the sweepstakes site. In that case, it might be a good idea to stick to regular real-money casino betting. That way, you won’t need to perform any mental gymnastics, considering the value of your tokens or how many you need to earn a prize. Instead, you can simply count your money and be done with it.

Bonuses and Promotions

But what if a sweepstake offers you a bonus? Well, as always with casino promotions, you should read the fine print first. There, you’ll find detailed information on how many times you need to use your bonus tokens before redeeming them, among other terms and conditions. 

If you feel that it’s a good deal, go for it. However, traditional casinos also offer various welcome bonuses and promotions and it’s not set in stone that one is better than another. It simply depends on the specifics of the individual promotion.

The same is true of choosing between a sweepstakes site and a regular casino. There isn’t a clear-cut answer on which option is better. You’ve learned the differences, but the decision is ultimately yours. The best advice is to simply pick the one that’s more fun for you. After all, if you aren’t having fun, why would you even want to play?

Of course, if only one option is legal, that’s the one to go with. Ultimately, this is the biggest reason for playing at a sweepstakes casino.

Play It Your Way at BetMGM

As you’ve learned, a sweepstakes casino is just a different form of online gambling site. It uses virtual currencies instead of real money, and there are many reasons why you might enjoy playing that way. 

However, if you’d prefer to keep it traditional, you might want to register at BetMGM. There, you can enjoy hundreds of real-money online slots and table games, with no need to worry about gold coins or sweepstakes tokens.

Actress Vanessa Hudgens flipping casino chips next to the text "The King of Casinos"
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Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.