How Sweepstakes Casinos are Challenging Traditional Online Casinos in the US

Only fully vaccinated people will be admitted at Winnipeg casinos.
Only fully vaccinated people will be admitted at Winnipeg casinos.

Sports betting continues to expand across the US, but casino players keen to play online have been left behind. Only a handful of US states have legalized traditional online casinos, and there are no real signs of the next state to legalize iGaming. New York looked like it was close, but they still need to legalize it.

All is not lost for online players, thanks to the addition of Sweepstakes casinos which are challenging some of the biggest names in the industry. With casinos like FanDuel, BetMGM, and Caesars only available in just 6 US states, Sweepstakes casinos are stepping in to take on players.

Sweepstake casinos are very similar to the traditional gaming tables of Nevada or New Jersey; the difference is that they are entirely legal in almost all states and Canada. This is because the primary currency used is Sweeps coins (SC), not “real money.” According to the industry experts at, there are a few subtle but vital differences between Sweepstakes casinos and traditional online casinos that players need to understand.

How Do Sweepstake Casinos Work?

In a traditional casino, you use real cash to place your bet, and you either win or lose. Online casinos work in the same way you deposit money to your account, use it to gamble with, and withdraw any winnings as and when you feel like it. 

There is no “real cash” directly involved in sweepstake casinos. The principal seems a little convoluted, but basically, you use real cash to make a purchase of virtual currency, and these are called gold coins (GC). They are not redeemable, so you can’t withdraw them as cash or trade them for real cash. But when you purchase your gold coins, you are also given free bonus coins called Sweeps coins that can be used to win real money prizes.

Sweep Coins Can be Traded.

Sweep coins are used to play all of the same games available at the casino, generally with a toggle to swop between Gold Coins (GC) and Sweeps coins (SC), and although they are not actually a form of cash while playing, they do have an inherent value and can be redeemed for real cash prizes.

The concept of Sweepstake casinos is to provide players with a distinct “no purchase necessary” option of playing for free. Maintaining this free-play model and ensuring there are always ways to get Sweeps coins allows them to operate within legislation and remain completely legal. 

In fact, it is an entirely legal model for 50 US states. Previously, if you lived in a state where gambling remains illegal, you would have to leave the state and drive into a licensed state to enjoy any land-based or online gaming at casinos.

Why are Sweepstakes Casinos Legal?

You can see sweepstake betting in action as far back as 1953 when Publishers Clearing House ran a well-known sweepstakes. The idea of taking them online is relatively new and is being embraced and becoming very popular since it’s not illegal, no matter what your state’s gambling laws are. The reason they are legal is because they don’t use real money. Therefore, they are outside the jurisdiction of the legal terminology for gambling, and because they use tokens or gold coins, they fall under the category of games of luck or skill. This makes it a legal model, no matter where you are, but Washington DC also bans sweepstake casinos, so it is not legal there.

Can You Win Real Money?

The simple answer is yes, you can win real money from sweepstake casinos, but it’s not as simple as walking into a casino on the Las Vegas strip and placing a winning bet. In order to play at sweepstake casinos, you must live in the United States and be over 18. If you win, in order to receive your cash pay-out, you must produce an ID to verify yourself, commonly referred to as a KYC (Know Your Customer) check, which could be your passport or driver’s license. Finally, you need a utility bill, a checking account or a notarized contract, or a leasing agreement to verify your proof of address. Once this is complete, any winnings will be paid out into your normal bank account.

Mississippi Casinos marking GGR records
Casinos are experiencing a boost this year in Mississippi.

Are Sweepstake Casinos Worth it?

Although there was an initial scramble to legalize gambling in many states, not always successful; recently, New York made a bid to legalize gambling, but frankly, it isn’t going to happen. So, with that in mind, it is fair to say that sweepstake casinos can be an enjoyable way to get your casino fix and remain legal if you live in a state that does not allow gambling. It’s not about winning millions but more about the fun of participating in the games and making a small amount of cash for your efforts. If you fancy trying out sweepstake casinos, the same rules apply; you must do your homework and ensure you are playing at a reputable and established site before depositing money.

What Games Do Sweepstake Casinos Offer?

As competition between sweepstake casinos continues as they look to attract new players, so does the quality of the games being offered. Popular Real Money slot providers such as NetEnt, Pragmatic Play, and Relax Gaming are just three of the most prominent slot providers you will commonly find available at Sweeps Casinos. 

In addition, there is also an array of unusual Fish Table Games that aren’t playable at a real money casino, along with a range of exclusive in-house developed titles such as Stake US originals.

Regarding bonuses, sweepstakes casinos win hands down as they have to provide you with Sweeps Coins to be legal. This can be in the form of Daily Login Bonuses, Raffles, Tournaments, and Social Media Giveaways, and they are plentiful, allowing players to play for free if they desire.