If you live in a region that lacks legal online casinos and poker sites, there are alternatives for gambling. Online sweepstakes casinos and poker sites are quite popular among gamblers as a unique way to play casino games and poker tournaments for free with a virtual currency known as coins.
What makes sweepstakes sites different than other social casinos is players can also purchase additional coins to participate in games that closely resemble real money poker and gambling, complete with valuable prizes. In states that lack online casinos and poker sites, players can join sweepstakes sites to play, earn prizes, and redeem coins for cash.
Two major sweepstakes sites currently stand as the largest and most popular:
What are Online Sweepstakes?
In general terms, sites that offer sweepstakes gaming are providing services based on old sweepstakes laws. If you are unfamiliar with the term sweepstakes, think about contests like the Monopoly game at McDonald’s. You buy an item from the restaurant, and you have a chance to win a prize or game piece that can lead to a reward. You can also fill out a form for a game piece, as a sweepstakes contest must include a ‘no purchase necessary’ option.
Sweepstakes are a way to win a prize at random. The older generation remembers the popular Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes, where people could win tens of thousands of dollars by participating in its drawings. Everyone in the US back then hoped to be the next big check winner.
It was in the early 2000s that we began to see online sweepstakes casinos and poker sites emerge. Sweepstakes gambling sites grew in popularity due to their ease of use and widespread availability. In addition, sweepstakes sites often maintain a significant presence on social media to build a loyal and active community.
The Legality of Sweepstakes Sites
Because sweepstakes sites are similar to online casinos, many players question their legality. So how can popular sweepstakes sites like Global Poker and Chumba Casino operate?
In most states, sweepstakes are a legal form of entertainment. Online operators like Global Poker and Chumba Casino offer sweepstakes services via websites and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Currently, Chumba Casino and Global Poker offer services in 49 states within the US. The only exception is Washington. Most sweepstakes sites are also available in Canada.
When it comes to sweepstakes, some sites offer casino-style games or lottery drawings, with others provide poker games or simple trivia contests. Players have their pick of entertainment options, similar to the games they would find at any poker site or online casino. However, one of the primary differences with sweepstakes sites is they provide means by which players can participate for free.
By contrast, online casinos and poker sites meet the legal definition of gambling. They allow their users to risk real money in return for a chance to earn real prizes.
Sweepstakes sites construct their games to avoid the legal definition of gambling, which requires consideration, chance, and prize. Sweepstakes sites involve chance and prizes, but they lack consideration (an entry fee of some sort) by allowing users to request additional coins by mail. However, players may purchase additional coins for the sake of convenience.
However, gambling laws vary around the US, and sweepstakes gambling sites often employ the phrase ‘void where prohibited.’ The phrase does not grant them total legal protection, but it does inform users that participation is limited in some locales. For example, most sweepstakes sites prohibit participation from customers located in Washington State for this reason.
Operators of sweepstakes like Global Poker and Chumba Casino provide sweepstakes services across the US and have yet to face legal challenges, even in states that regulate full-fledged online gambling. Their frequent use of the phrase ‘no purchase necessary’ further signals to regulators that what they offer is a sweepstakes promotion rather than online gambling.
Playing at Sweepstakes Sites
If you join Global Poker or Chumba Casino, you are playing with a freemium model. Sign up for a new player account, and the site provides you with its in-game currency. It is free to register, and you receive a set number of Gold Coins at no cost.
Players earn additional Gold Coins by returning often and completing certain challenges. If you run out of coins, you can purchase a package to receive more. Players who buy Gold Coins also receive Sweeps Coins, which function as the in-game currency to win real cash prizes.
This is where the sweepstakes element comes in. At Global Poker, you can use Sweeps Coins to enter promotional tournament events and participate in ring games. In addition, players can win electronics and luxury items or Sweeps Coins, which they can convert to cash.
Similarly, Chumba Casino customers use Sweeps Coins to play casino games and win additional Sweeps Coins. When you’re done, you can redeem them for cash prizes.
At the casino, you must have at least 100 Sweeps Coins to redeem for cash. Before you can redeem Sweeps Coins for cash, you must verify your player account. Verification requires a copy of your photo ID, proof of address, and bank account information.
The Social Media Connection and Mail-In Option
Players can also participate in social media contests to earn additional Sweeps Coins. Social media plays a prominent role in the sweepstakes world as it provides easy access to games and is a marketing model for the provider.
Another option to earn Coins or Cash is to mail the company. A legal sweepstakes provider will offer a mail-in form that provides ‘no-purchase necessary’ participation. Players located in the United States can fill out the form to receive complimentary Coins or Cash, depending on the site.
Depositing for More Gold Coins
Players cannot use Gold Coins to win real cash prizes, but they can use them to play free-money games and earn Sweeps Coins or Cash.
In addition, customers can use Skrill, credit cards, and debit cards to purchase additional Gold Coins. In addition, when users purchase Gold Coins, they also receive a bonus package of Sweeps Coins. The important point to remember is that Sweeps Coins are how players participate in games to earn more Sweeps Coins, which they can redeem for cash.
Understanding the Sweepstakes Language
If you are new to sweepstakes sites, it is essential to understand the language they use so you can understand how to participate and win cash prizes.
Let’s use Global Poker as an example. You can join and receive Gold Coins for free to play social poker games. After signing up, you receive 5,000 Gold Coins and can use those to enter Gold Coin games only. Anything you win is essentially for bragging rights only because Gold Coins are not redeemable for cash.
Sweeps Coins function similarly to Gold Coins, but players can only earn them by participating in promotions, requesting them via snail mail, or as a bonus for purchasing Gold Coin packages. Once a player has Sweeps Coins, they can enter Sweeps Coins games and earn additional Sweeps Coins they can redeem for cash. In other words, Sweeps Coins are the key to winning real money.
Global Poker usually abbreviates Gold Coins as GCs and Sweeps Coins as SCs.
New players must verify their accounts before the full experience can begin. After the verification process, players have access to more features, including a more extensive selection of Gold Coin package options. The verification process also helps the operator confirm that players are genuine and create a safe and positive gamers community.