Sweepstake Online Gambling USA 2024: What is a Sweepstakes?

When you think of a sweepstake, you’ll most likely think of promotional giveaways – the tokens that McDonalds hand out to fill a Monopoly board, or perhaps your local store offering a free entry to win a supply of free groceries.

Either way, it isn’t likely that sweepstake gambling specifically comes to mind.  In this case, you’ll be interested to learn that online operations have built their entire business model around free-to-use sweepstakes gambling.

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Comparing contests and sweepstakes—let’s find out what the differences are

So exactly what does sweepstake mean?  Often referred to as ‘giveaways,’ contests and sweepstakes are both forms of promotion frequently employed by businesses to increase product awareness and encourage purchases.  It is fairly easy to confuse the two concepts, but they have subtle differences.

What is a contest?

A contest is a skill-based promotion where winners are determined on merit.  The skill element could be something like writing a one-liner, choosing a name, or posting a photo.

What is a sweepstake? 

A sweepstake is a purely luck-based promotion where winners are chosen entirely at random from all entrants.

With that out of the way, we will continue by telling you some things you need to know about how online sweepstakes gambling operates within the bounds of US laws.

Checklist – things you need to know about sweepstakes gambling

If you are considering entering prize sweepstakes or signing up with a site that offers sweepstakes online gambling, you should be aware that US law categorically states that the provider abides by the No Purchase Necessary law.  The promotion or site is not legit if you are asked for any form of payment to enter.

There are several other legal prerequisites that also determine how a sweepstakes should operate and which must be included in a set of publicly available rules for each sweepstake:

  1. Provision of an alternative means of entry e.g. by mail
  2. The start and end dates of the sweepstakes must be declared
  3. Disclosure of how winners will be selected
  4. Confirmation of when prizes will be awarded and distributed
  5. How will the winners be contacted
  6. Ensure the prizes promised are available and provide a list of winners

The US legal age for sweepstakes gambling is 18, rather than the usual 21+ requirement for playing in a real money casino.  However, a few individual states still insist on players being 21 or over, so always check this out before signing up to avoid disappointment.

Sweepstake gambling is legal in every US state, except for Washington.  The reason is that in 2018, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals declared that virtual chips used by sweepstakes online gambling sites met their definition of a “thing of value” because they can be purchased using real money

Editor’s recommendation – The top US sweepstakes gambling provider

During our research, it became abundantly clear that there is one operator that has all bases covered in the sweepstakes gambling province and that is Virtual Gaming World (VGW).  Founded in 2010, VGW holds a license with the Malta Gaming Authority and operates a total of four sweepstakes casino sites:

  • Chumba Casino – launched 2012: a variety of sweepstakes casino games
  • Global Poker – launched 2016: sweepstakes poker
  • LuckyLand – launched 2019: slots only
  • FendOff – launched 2019: sports betting

VGW has applied to patent its unique business model, which is fully compliant with all legal requirements relating to sweepstakes online casinos in the US, so you can be assured that all of these sites are safe to use and legitimate.

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How our experts test operators – Defining our sweepstakes gambling experience

The first thing we do is to check out any bonuses the operator has on offer so that we can let you know if they will be valuable to you.

Then we take an overall view of the website to assess if it is in keeping with the content and ensure that it is easy to navigate, reasonably fast-loading, and implements appropriate SSL page encryption.

We then move on to payments, what funding sources you can use, and any restrictions that may be in place.  At this point, we also refer to the operator’s terms and conditions to ensure that there are no hidden rules you need to know about.

The next two sections we cover are especially important to you as we examine and test the customer support options available and investigate whether the operator is legitimately licensed and is known to perform well under regulations.

We also check to see if the operator has additional features, such as a loyalty points system, that will add value to your sweepstakes gambling experience.

Lastly, we provide a quick recap covering the most important aspects of the operation, together with our recommendations and the overall opinion of the operator.

Finding the right operator for you – the online sweepstakes casinos we have reviewed

We examined and reviewed three sweepstakes online gambling sites in total, two of which are a part of the VGW group. The third is a standalone operation that works to a different business model of sweepstake gambling.

Chumba Casino 

Chumba is the perfect example of a sweepstake casino, with all the usual games available, and you can play every one of them completely free.  You can read our full Chumba Casino review, but in the meantime, here are the highlights:

  • Licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority via its parent company VGW
  • Legal in every US state except Washington for sweepstakes gambling
  • Works on a unique business model specific to sweepstakes online gambling only
  • Valuable free ‘Welcome’ package available for all new recruits
  • A great mix of classic sweepstake casino games and slots to suit all players
  • Customer service is available to players 24/7 via a web form
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LuckyLand Slots

Another VGW online sweepstakes casino site is destined to become a firm favorite with slot fans.  No doubt you will want to explore our extensive LuckyLand Slots review, but in the interim, here is a taster for you:

  • Operates under Virtual Gaming World’s Malta Gaming Authority license
  • Regulated to offer sweepstake gambling in all US states except Washington
  • Superfast sign-up and fantastic new customer bonus opportunity
  • Play slots entirely free of charge using LuckyLand’s ‘gold coins’ and ‘sweeps coins’
  • Six big jackpot slots on offer, and you can win cash prizes
  • Experienced customer support team available 24/7
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Gambino Slots

A sweepstake gambling provider with a different business model based on a social media rewards program.  Our Gambino Slots review makes interesting reading, and here are some of the main points of interest:

  • No license, but can legally offer sweepstakes online gambling in 49 US states
  • VIP Club with nine levels of rewards to achieve
  • Extra rewards and bonuses available for Facebook users
  • 80+ different slots available, including jackpot games
  • Multiple payment options to purchase additional virtual currency
  • Customer support available via email or web form

Conclusion – you can experience sweepstakes gambling completely free

As you can see, the experience of sweepstakes online gambling is radically different from any other type of gambling. The fact that it is permitted in almost every US state where other forms of gambling are illegal is a huge plus-point.

It is possible to gamble on sports or play sweepstakes casino games, slots, and poker entirely free of charge using virtual currencies only. Although you can top up your virtual account by purchasing additional tokens, there is no requirement to do so.

We found exploring the world of sweeps casinos huge fun, and we are sure that you will enjoy it just as much as we did.

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Sweepstake gambling FAQs

✅ Is sweepstakes online gambling legal?

There are different and very specific US laws that apply to sweepstake gambling.  You can find out everything you need to know and read some of our in-depth trusted operator reviews by heading to LVH.

🌍 Why is Washington state excluded from sweepstakes gambling?

In the US, laws related to any type of gambling, including sweepstakes, are determined by individual states.  For a detailed explanation of why Washington is different from the rest of the US, check out our valuable guide to sweepstakes online gambling.

💰 If I play for free, how can I win money?

There are several unique business models that sweepstakes gambling operators use to make this possible.  To find out how they work and which sites are worth trying out, head over to LVH and read our sweepstakes reviews. You won’t be disappointed.

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