There is a phenomenon sweeping the US that is transforming the casino industry. We are, of course, talking about sweepstakes casinos. Due to the relatively tight online casino laws in the US, companies have looked for alternatives, and the sweepstakes casino is one of the most popular developments.
It combines aspects of mobile gaming, social media, and online casinos to give US players a fun gaming experience with the potential to win sweepstakes prize draws and redeem currency for real money. Doesn’t that sound superb?
If this has piqued your interest, we have a treat for you – below, we explain the premises of sweepstakes casinos, their features, and what you can expect from these casino-style platforms.
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What is a sweepstakes casino?
Traditional sweepstakes have been around in the US for decades, and they are typically a prize draw where people buy tickets instead of placing a bet on the outcome of an event.
Sweepstakes casinos use the prize draw premise and US sweepstakes laws to allow the use of casino-style games like slots and table games. Part of that law states that these platforms must offer a free-play gaming option, which results in sweepstakes casinos having a free-play currency and a premium currency for their games, as explained below.
Essentially, think of a sweepstakes casino as an online casino that you play using free currency, where you also have the chance of winning prizes either in raffles or via premium currency redemptions.
Typical features of a sweepstakes casino
So, you get the basic gist of sweepstakes and how they are used in sweepstakes casinos – but what do these platforms actually have to offer? Most sweepstakes casinos follow a similar structure, so we have listed and explained their common features below:
Free-play currency such as gold coins
Instead of real money, sweepstakes casinos use a free-play currency, usually called gold coins. This is a type of virtual currency that has no real monetary value. Customers use gold coins to play the casino-style games offered at sweepstakes casinos.
For example, you might play sweepstakes slots, and each spin could cost 100 gold coins as opposed to $0.25. When you score a win on these games, the payout is in gold coins, too. This means that, essentially, you are playing for fun and cannot win any real money using gold coins. Gold coins are usually given as a sign-up bonus and as a daily login reward.
Premium currency, usually called sweep coins
Sweepstakes casinos also have a premium currency, usually called sweeps coins. This cannot be purchased directly, but you can obtain it in a variety of ways, such as social media contests, as a daily login bonus, and as a bonus with gold coin package purchases.
Sweep coins are the currency that can be used for sweepstakes prize draw tickets or to redeem for real money at a pre-determined rate.
Prize draws and real-money redemptions.
Part of the sweepstakes casino model includes the ability to win real money, either via prize draws or cash redemptions, both of which are done using the premium currency. This is a major part of the platform’s business model and digital marketing campaigns, and it’s what draws people in.
Some sweepstakes casinos hold weekly prize draws where you can win things like sweeps coins, holidays, and cars, while others simply allow you to redeem sweeps coins for real money at a pre-determined exchange rate.
The ability to buy gold coin packages
Although most platforms give you multiple ways to earn additional gold coins (daily login bonuses, social media contests, etc.), they also usually offer a range of gold coin packages that you can buy for real money; this could be compared to microtransactions in mobile games.
For example, you might be able to buy 10,000 gold coins for $10.00 using payment methods like Visa, Mastercard, or PayPal. The packages range in size and value, and oftentimes, the company also gives you bonus sweep coins. Some sweepstakes casinos also hold promotions like a first-purchase bonus where you get 25% extra gold coins, for example.
These packages are a great way to continue to play and have fun on the casino-style games, but they are not necessary as you do earn gold coins naturally via things like the daily login bonus. So, playing this platform is also an effective way to save money!
A selection of casino-style games
The best part of sweepstakes casinos is the casino-style games they offer. Depending on the brand, you can usually play video slots, table games, progressive jackpots, fishing games, and live dealer games. Live dealer games are less common, and most sweepstakes casinos concentrate on slots.
The slots are essentially the same as those in regular online casinos, and indeed, some software developers, such as Pragmatic Play, provide slots for both sweepstakes and real-money casinos. The main difference is the currency – sweepstakes games use free-play or premium currency instead of real money.
Social aspects such as live chat and social media contests
Sweepstakes casinos have a brilliant social aspect, too, and this is why people enjoy them so much. Some platforms have a live chat feature where you can talk to other gamers, and this helps build a real community feeling within the casino.
Others have active social media accounts on platforms like Facebook and Instagram and use these to host regular competitions where players can earn both free-play and premium currency.
Not only that, but many sites also have tournaments and competitions relating to specific games. For example, a platform may host a tournament on a specific video slot, where the players who trigger the biggest wins earn additional gold coins or sweeps coins.
Sweepstakes casinos offer a viable, fun alternative to real-money casinos.
As you can see, sweepstakes casinos offer a fantastic mix of social gaming, casino-style games, and sweepstakes prize draw elements. The result is a series of platforms where you can have fun on slots and table games without spending a fortune – perhaps more akin to a smartphone game than an online casino.