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Why are sweepstakes casinos legal in the US?

Despite having been subject to quite harsh restrictions in previous years, many states across the US have experienced a wave of liberalization when it comes to opening up the gambling sector.

The result of this for Americans has been profound, and there are now more states than ever giving citizens and residents access to high-quality, safe and secure online gambling platforms. 

Now, regardless of whether you prefer sports betting or traditional online gambling, you have options open to you – which contrasts sharply with the situation just a few years ago!

Consequently, all forms of online gambling are more popular than ever, with more and more states now embracing them. Mobile gaming has significantly increased in popularity, and according to a recent article by NBC News, mobile gaming has helped to fuel a staggering 230% jump in revenue in the first 10 months of 2021!

While online sports betting has become more accessible than ever – thanks largely to a landmark 2018 Supreme Court decision that ended a decades-old federal prohibition on the pastime – online casinos are subject to more restrictions.

In the absence of any federal framework to regulate the iGaming sector, online casinos in the US exist within a patchwork of different legislative regimes within both tribal and state-level law.

Unlike sports betting, which is currently permitted in more than 30 states – with this number growing each year – casinos are much more limited. There are currently around 20 states where residents participate in games at land-based casinos, while only around six states permit online gambling.

Given that there are 50 states in total, these aren’t great numbers for an online casino fan looking to indulge in their favourite pastime!

If you are an online casino fan looking to partake in some online casino games and are unfortunate to not to reside in one of these six states, what are your options?

One alternative that has become increasingly popular in recent years are online sweepstakes casinos, which present a unique option not subject to the same restrictions as traditional online casinos. 

But what exactly are sweepstakes casinos, and what makes them such a popular alternative to regular casinos?

What are online sweepstakes casinos?

Sweepstakes casinos offer a truly unique gaming experience that differs from traditional online casinos. However, to properly understand why they are not subject to the same restrictions as regular online casinos, you first need to understand how they work.

Sweepstakes casinos take their name and basic game mechanics from older sweepstakes competitions in which individual players made a purchase that entered them into a ‘sweepstake’ competition, where the winner would be picked at random. 

Rather than purchasing a ticket for the sweepstake directly – which would fall under lottery laws – with these types of sweepstakes, you would receive a ticket for making some other purchase or donation to a charitable cause. The winner would then be picked at random from this pool of qualifying entrants.

The most famous of these in the US was the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes. This was started in the early 20th century and ran for many decades. It gave players the chance to win big prizes!

Online sweepstakes casinos take this basic game mechanic and adapt it for the online casino setting.

Rather than using real money to make wagers on the outcome of a game, as with traditional gambling, sweepstakes casinos offer players the chance to win cash prizes in a more indirect manner.

Players participate in ‘sweepstakes’ competitions by using two different types of currencies: gold coins and sweeps coins.

Gold coins are usually awarded when a player signs up for a sweepstakes casino account, though extras can be purchased for cash. Players then use these gold coins to play games for fun, with the prizes won in these games not directly exchangeable for cash prizes.

Sweeps coins can be collected as a reward or bonus in games and can then be exchanged for a chance to take part in the sweepstakes draws.

Are sweepstakes casinos legal?

As we have seen, sweepstakes casinos differ from traditional online casino games in that you are not wagering on the outcome of a particular game directly. Instead, you are playing games for fun and being given the chance to enter sweepstakes games as a bonus or reward.

Because of this key difference in how the games are run and what players wager on, sweepstakes do not fall under the same legal rules as traditional casino games. Online sweepstakes can therefore circumvent many of the restrictions that regular online casinos are subject to, which makes them more easily accessible!

Where are sweepstakes casinos legal in the US?

As they are not subject to the same legal restrictions as land-based or online casinos, sweepstakes casinos are much more easily accessible across the US. 

This means that while there are only around six states where online casinos are easily accessible, online sweepstakes casinos can be accessed in around 49 states!

The only state where online sweepstakes casinos are not accessible is Washington, which has specific restrictions preventing their operation in the state as well as access to them.

For those of you residing in one of the many states where online casinos are not legal, this is great news! You now have an option open to you that is safe, secure and lots of fun! 

It should also be noted that although they are not subject to the same gambling laws as traditional casinos, sweepstakes casinos do have to abide by numerous different regulations and rules.

With that said, if you are looking for a break from your regular online quiz sites or have become bored of the standard online casinos options open to you, check out online sweepstakes casinos to see what makes them so different!

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