In the United States, sweepstake sponsors are very careful to disassociate themselves from any suggestion that players must pay to enter, or pay to win, as this would constitute gambling. Sweepstakes typically involve enticements to enter a consumer promotion with prizes that range from substantial wins such as cars or large sums of money to smaller prizes that are currently popular with consumers. There should be no monetary cost to the entrant (although some sweepstakes require entrants to subscribe to a promotional mailing list, potentially exposing the entrant to an increase in junk mail, spam email, or telemarketing calls) and sweepstakes winners should also not be required to pay any kind of fee to receive their prizes.
With big-ticket items on the line, competition can get fierce. "I've gotten swear words said to me when I've won stuff," admits Audrey Bernhard, 35, who has scored about $11,000 in prizes this year. On Twitter especially, overly aggressive sweepers can come out of the woodwork. "You'll get direct messages—they'll chew you out and they'll blacklist you," adds Arena Thompson. "A lot of people that win big, they maybe get too addicted to it. It's very addictive to win constantly and have FedEx and UPS show up at your door. They get too deep into it and lose perspective that it's a game of chance."
Who can enter: Open to residents of Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin
Sweepstakes websites usually give you pertinent information about the giveaways they list at a glance, including how often to enter, who is eligible to win, and when the giveaway will end. Most directories take additional steps to help you find exactly the kinds of prizes you want to win, by letting you sort by the criteria that matter to you, such as prize category or entry frequency.