What Are Sweepstakes?

min read
A person looks at sweepstakes tickets on a laptop while talking on a cell phone.
BetMGM Jul 16, 2023, 5:04 AM

If you play online casino games, you’ve likely seen the word “sweepstakes” bandied around every now and then, but you may not have taken the time to find out what they are. 

Sweepstakes are a type of game that is used by companies as a kind of promotion that also rewards those who enter or meet the requirements for entry. This post takes a closer look at the details of sweepstakes, how they work, how they differ from lotteries and contests and more.

What Is a Sweepstakes?

Firstly, it’s important not to confuse gambling sweepstakes with the ones commonly found in sports betting, such as horse racing. A sweepstake in horse racing is when the stakes are split between all the winners. This involves the players putting wagers in before they win anything, which isn’t how the other version of sweepstakes works.

Sweepstakes are types of games frequently used as promotional material that will give out prizes to participants that are picked at random. You’ll usually have to fulfill some conditions to enter the sweepstakes, but it’s unlikely that you’ll have to part with any money in order to win the prize.

How Do Sweepstakes Work?

Participants will enter sweepstakes in a variety of ways. The most common of these are the following.

Social Media Sweepstakes

Many companies use social media as a way to encourage customers to enter sweepstakes and randomly get picked to win the prize. This usually means that in order to enter the sweepstakes, they must interact or follow the company’s social media and other platforms, perhaps comment on a picture and share on their own pages and so on.

Online Sweepstakes

Sweepstakes are also used on a company’s website. For example, you might see a banner advertising a sweepstakes to refer a friend on the side of a casino game when you play online or others where you enter your details for a “summer promotion.”

Email Campaign Sweepstakes

Sometimes, you might get sweepstakes as a part of a mail campaign to promote a particular product or service. For example, you could receive an email celebrating the release of a new casino table game that encourages you to enter and win a voucher to spend on the game.

In-mail Sweepstakes

While it may not be quite as popular as before, some sweepstakes still operate through the mail service. You’re likely to come across these in brochures, pamphlets, magazines or newspapers, where you must write down your entry details, cut them out and mail them.

What Types of Prizes Are Given Away?

It’s generally assumed that sweepstake prizes consist of money, especially if you’re entering a sweepstake somewhere like an online casino. But really, the prize could be anything, from t-shirts and other branded memorabilia or tickets to an event to cars or all-inclusive vacations.

How Do You Win Sweepstakes?

How are winners picked in sweepstakes? They are chosen at random, this is generally done using random generators to pick a name or number. Picking a winner out of a hat or bowl might be done if it’s an in-person sweepstake with a smaller number of entrants.

Given that the winner is picked at random, there’s not much you can do to increase your chances of winning except enter as many times as you can or are allowed to by the company. For example, you might get one entry ticket for every share on social media, in which case, share it as much as possible.

Sweepstakes vs. Contest

It’s easy to confuse a sweepstake with a regular contest, but here are a couple of differences that set them apart.

While you still have to meet qualifying criteria to enter a contest, the same as in a sweepstake, you often have to pay a fee to enter a contest. This isn’t the biggest difference though.

The way that the winner is selected is what really sets these two poles apart. As mentioned, in sweepstakes, prizes are awarded randomly. In a contest, however, the recipient of the prize is normally determined by a number of judges, who decide who gets to win based on meeting the criteria for the contest. Think drawing, writing, baking and dancing competitions.

Get Rewarded With BetMGM

BetMGM knows how important it is to reward customers and that’s why you’ll regularly find different competitions, rewards, bonuses and sweepstakes on the BetMGM site. Whether you’re there to play online blackjack live dealer and casino table games, online slots, poker and more, you’ll be able to take advantage of a number of rewards programs and more.

Register with BetMGM.

Actress Vanessa Hudgens flipping casino chips next to the text "The King of Casinos"
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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.