What Are Sweepstakes?

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A person looks at sweepstakes tickets on a laptop while talking on a cell phone.
BetMGM Jan 02, 2024, 11:17 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 promotions, how they work, how they differ from lotteries and contests, and more.

Learn more about sweepstakes below.

What Is a Sweepstake?

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. While the growth of online sports betting has led to some confusion with the term “sweepstakes,” it’s important to remember their differences.

So, what does sweepstakes mean in an online casino scenario? Sweepstakes are types of games frequently used as promotional material that will give out prizes to participants who 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. They are among the most popular types of online casino bonuses.

How Do Sweepstakes Work?

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

Social Media Sweepstakes

Social media plays an important role in online casinos. 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 to enter the sweepstakes, they must interact or follow the company’s social media and other platforms, perhaps comment on a picture and share it 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 sweepstakes to refer a friend, seen 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

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

Some sweepstakes still operate through the mail service (although it’s not as popular an option as it used to be). You’re most 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.

Sweepstakes Rules

In sweepstakes, there are official rules that participants need to follow.

  • Sweepstakes entry must have a no-purchase-necessary clause.
  • Start and end dates must be provided.
  • Eligibility requirements must be set.
  • Precise information on entry methods must be provided.
  • Odds of winning must be stated.
  • Prizes and their values must be explained.
  • Any restrictions on winning must be stated.
  • Information on the company/sponsor must be provided.

How Do You Win Sweepstakes?

How are winners picked in sweepstakes? They are chosen at random, which 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 sweepstakes with a smaller number of entrants.

Given that the winner is picked randomly, 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 some differences that set them apart.

Entry Fee

While you still have to meet qualifying criteria to enter a contest, the same as in a sweepstake, you often also 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 contests and sweepstakes apart. As mentioned, in sweepstakes, prizes are awarded randomly. In a contest, however, the prize recipient is normally determined by several 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 rewards programs and more.

Register with BetMGM.

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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.