Sweepstakes games have exploded in popularity across the United States in recent years. Unlike regulated online gambling, sweepstakes casinos operate in legal gray areas by offering prizes rather than direct payouts. Players can enjoy playing slots, poker, taking part in lottery drawings and more while remaining within the law in nearly all states.
These games use “virtual currencies” like Gold Coins and Sweepstakes Coins instead of real money wagers. You can redeem winnings from Sweepstakes Coins for prizes like cash, gift cards, and vacations to name just a few.
In this in-depth guide, we will explore every facet of sweepstakes gaming. You’ll learn its historical origins, legal status, game types, and top strategies for winning. We’ll also profile some of the leading casinos where you can play exciting sweepstakes games right now. Ready? Let’s dive straight into it!
History of Sweepstakes Games and Contests
Sweepstakes have their roots in early 20th century America. At a time when legal gambling was scarce, contests and giveaways became popular marketing tactics for driving sales. Brands would generate consumer interest in their products by offering prizes through sweepstakes promotions.
Some early examples included:
- Cracker Jack’s prizes in each box starting in 1912
- Magazine sweepstakes like Reader’s Digest where readers sent in stamps to claim prize drawings
- Soda brands offering cash prizes under bottle caps
- Gas stations giving away sweepstakes game cards with fill ups
As gambling laws loosened mid-century, casino-style sweepstakes games emerged. Businesses would sell a product, then offer free “sweepstakes entries” for gaming activities and prizes. This helped to create a legal distinction from straight-up gambling.
The internet age brought sweepstakes fully into the digital era. Websites could now legally offer prize drawings and casino-style games nationwide. Today, playing online requires no product purchase and happens purely through web and mobile apps. You simply sign up for free and start playing casino-style games with virtual currencies.
Sweepstakes casinos are legal in most of the US although they remain prohibited in some states including:
- Some parts of Tennessee and Oregon
Other impose restrictions, like Florida capping prizes at $5,000.
Types of Sweepstakes Games
Sweepstakes casinos offer all the classic Vegas-style games you know and love. Let’s explore some popular genres in this section:
Slot machines make up the bulk of most sweepstakes casinos. The digital format allows slots developers to innovate wildly compared to the limitations of physical machines. Some of the popular features they come with include:
|Wilds||These substitute for other symbols and can help you win more payouts.|
|Scatters||Pay out prizes no matter their position. They also commonly trigger lucrative bonus games.|
|Cascading wins||Symbols explode after wins and let new symbols cascade down from above, which helps to create chain reaction wins.|
|Multipliers||You can win multipliers like 2x, 5x or 100x to drastically increase payouts from combinations.|
|Bonus games||These games come with bonus symbols to play mini-games for additional prizes, like free spins and prize wheels.|
|Progressive jackpots||These pooled prizes keep rising based on gameplay until someone hits the jackpot, often winning five or six figures worth of sweep coins.|
Some top sweepstakes slot titles are:
- 88 Fortunes
- Wheel of Fortune
- Book of Dead
- Sugar Rush
- Dancing Drums
- Deal or No Deal
- Magic Monkeys
You’ll find all the Vegas classics like blackjack, roulette and baccarat at online sweepstakes casinos. Some like Stake.us also now offer live dealer gaming, broadcasting real tables in real time:
- Blackjack: Players can defeat the dealer’s hand without going over 21 using skill and strategy
- Roulette: Take a chance and bet on where you think the moving ball will land on the spinning wheel
- Baccarat: Wager on player or banker hands in this elegant card game backed by RNGs for fairness.
- Craps: Roll virtual dice in this classic game of chance
- Poker: Video poker machines allow you to test skill against computer dealers
- Pai Gow Poker: This game combines poker hands with the Pai Gow tile game
- Triple Card Poker: Adds an extra card to traditional poker hands
Some sweepstakes sites now offer 75-ball and 90-ball bingo games where players can enjoy automated games for prizes. Some of the popular variants you will find include:
- Electronic bingo for fast-paced games with automated ball draws
- Slingo where slots meet bingo in this smash-up with spinning reels
- Classics like Coverall and Four Corners
- Jackpot bingo for life-changing pooled prizes
Sweepstakes lotteries allow you to play digit-draw games mimicking huge real jackpots like Mega Millions and Powerball. Some of the popular varieties include:
Lotteries feed into the human desire to win life-changing fortune with a small wager. Sweepstakes versions fully capture that without the financial risk.
Finally, some sweepstakes casinos also offer skill-based contests. As the name implies, these games test focus on testing your skill and ability and include the following:
- Trivia: Test knowledge across categories like history, science, pop culture, etc.
- Word games: Create crosswords, find words, and solve anagrams through language skills.
- Solitaire: Clear cascading cards in sequence by smart play
- Mahjong: Remove matched Chinese emblem tiles from the board
- Shooting games: Test reflexes and accuracy
- Virtual sports: Compete in simulated sporting events.
Strategies and Tips for Winning Sweepstake Games
Best Sweepstakes Casinos We Recommend For Playing Games
The best sweepstakes casinos offer a healthy selection of high-quality games, great prizes, and a smooth playing experience. Here are some of our recommended platforms if you’re looking for one to join:
As a pioneer in the social casino space, Chumba Casino is one of the most recognizable sweepstakes casinos today. Here, you can enjoy over 80 high-quality slot titles from major providers like WMS and Bally. Some of the fan-favorites available for exploring include Willy Wonka, Wizard of Oz, Raging Rhino, and Invaders from Planet Moolah.
Table game fans can play blackjack, roulette, baccarat, and video poker in both single and multi-hand variations. There are also specialty games like Keno and Lucky Dice if you are looking for even more options.
Owned by the same company as Chumba Casino, LuckyLand Casino provides a similar high-quality gaming experience. As the name suggests, slots are the main attraction with popular titles like 2 Million BC, Magic Star Live, and Triple Tigers.
While the slot selection is smaller compared to Chumba, we found the games to have comparatively more superior features and graphics. The casino also releases new games a lot more frequently to keep the entertainment fresh and exciting.
As a certified RNG site, Stake offers fair shuffle slots from providers like Pragmatic Play and Hacksaw Gaming. Titles like Gates of Olympus, Fruit Party, and Magic Mushroom are worth checking out.
Table games like blackjack and baccarat are available along with unique additions like video poker, scratch cards, and Hilo dice game. However, the icing on the cake are the live dealer options comprising of blackjack, roulette, and baccarat streamed in real-time.
Stake.us provides leaderboards, missions, and competitions to amp up the overall gaming excitement. Couple this with crypto banking and solid rewards and you have an all-round winner in Stake.us.
As a newer site, Pulsz Casino houses some of the most modern games in the social casino space. Its gaming lobby showcases an expanding collection of slots, including hits like Gates of Olympus, Sweet Bonanza, and Book of Shadows.
One thing that we like the most about Pulsz is how easy it is to set up an account and to jump right into the action. Pulsz also offers a streamlined mobile app for those who enjoy playing on the go. As the casino continues expanding its gaming catalog, we have no doubt it will be a top sweepstakes casino.
Sweepstakes gaming has matured over the last few decades into a wildly entertaining form of casino-style play. Today you can legally access professional-quality slots, tables, poker, lotteries and more for chances at incredible prizes costing you nothing but your time.
Luckily, you now understand how to maximize value through the tips we shared with you here including targeting high RTP games, taking advantage of bulk coin purchase bonuses and welcome packages.
The gaming libraries keep expanding with new slots, tables, and skill game options being innovated daily. Be sure to take your pick from our recommended sweepstakes casino sites, then watch the wins and rewards roll in. So get spinning and may fortune favor you!