CA born, casino expert
CA born, casino expert
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 which case, you’ll be interested to learn that there are online operations that have built their entire business model around free-to-use sweepstakes gambling.
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 of course, encourage purchases. It is fairly easy to confuse the two concepts, but there are subtle differences between them.
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.
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 and how sweepstake online gambling operates within the bounds of US laws.
If you are considering entering a prize sweepstake or signing up with a site that offers sweepstakes online gambling, you should be aware that US law states categorically that the provider abides by the No Purchase Necessary law. If you are asked for any form of payment to enter, the promotion or site is not legit.
There are several other legal prerequisites that also determine how a sweepstake should operate and which must be included in a set of publicly available rules for each sweepstake:
In the US, the 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, with the exception of Washington. The reason being 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
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 online sweepstake gambling sites:
VGW has applied to patent its unique business model, which is fully compliant with all legal requirements relating to sweepstakes online gambling in the US, so you can be assured that all of these sites are safe to use and legitimate.
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 any additional features, such as a loyalty points system that will give added value to your sweepstake gambling experience.
Lastly, we provide a quick recap covering all of the most important aspects of the operation, together with our own recommendations and overall opinion of the operator.
We examined and reviewed three sweepstakes online gambling sites in total, two of which are a part of the VGW group with the third being a standalone operation that works to a different business model of sweepstake gambling.
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:
Another VGW sweepstakes gambling site that is destined to become a firm favorite with slots fans. No doubt you will want to explore our extensive LuckyLand Slots review but in the interim, here is a taster for you:
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:
As you can see, the experience of sweepstakes online gambling is radically different from any other type of gambling and 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 casino games, slots, and poker entirely free of charge using virtual currencies only and 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 sweepstakes gambling huge fun and we are sure that you will enjoy it just as much as we did.
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.
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.
There are several unique business models that sweepstake 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 sweepstake reviews, you won’t be disappointed.