Archive for the ‘Sweeps General’ Category

Sweepstakes Explained

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Sweep-stakes [sweep-steyks] – noun.

“A sweepstakes is a legal contest or game where anything of value is distributed by lot or chance.” (from

It is a self-funded promotion that offers a chance for participants to win. Winning sweepstakes entries are selected from a finite pool of entries. A Sweepstakes Internet Cafe is a business that uses sweepstakes promotions to market a product (frequently Internet time). Customers enter the Internet Cafe, purchase Internet access time, and are given free sweepstakes entries. The customers then surf the Internet and/or use computer terminals to reveal, in a very entertaining way, whether or not the free entries they received are winning entries.

Sweepstakes entries must be given away for free upon the purchase of a product (which can include goods, services, or intangible products). Thus, sweepstakes promotions are used to increase sales of that product.

Generally sweepstakes laws require a free, alternative method of entry into the sweepstakes as well. The McDonald’s Monopoly Game, for example, requires participants to mail in a self-addressed envelope to obtain a free entry.

It is critical to understand that the method used to reveal the sweepstakes entries and the way in which the results are displayed to the participant DOES NOT MATTER as long as it does not affect the results. McDonalds uses a Monopoly game wherein participants collect game pieces over time and stick them to a game board. Coca-Cola prints a number on the bottom of its bottle caps that participants must enter into a website on the Internet from their computer to participate in a simulated “Wheel of Fortune” game.

The results of the sweepstakes can be delivered or conveyed in ANY way. It doesn’t matter if the results are revealed by using a board game simulation (McDonalds), a computer website simulating a casino (Coca-Cola), a singing telegram, or a carrier pigeon! The method of displaying results does NOT affect the legality of the sweepstakes.

Some of the games used to reveal sweepstakes entry results on our sweepstakes platform resemble slot machines or have keno or poker themes. Consequently, participants may feel like they are actually playing casino games. Although sweepstakes games can resemble gambling (just like Coke’s simulated roulette), those that follow sweepstakes rules properly are legitimate, perfectly legal, and are definitively NOT gambling.

Finite Games

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

A question that frequently arises is “what, exactly, is a finite system” or “what’s the difference between a finite system and games of chance?”

A true sweepstakes system is “fixed” or “finite”. When we say FIXED we don’t mean that it’s RIGGED. We mean that before the contest or sweepstakes even starts, we know with a 100% certainty what the outcome will be. We know exactly how many entries there will be, how many winners there will be, and how much each will win. We do NOT know WHO will win. This also applies to computer sweepstakes games in our sweepstakes internet cafe businesses.

Let’s use the McDonald’s Monopoly game as an example. These aren’t the exact numbers, but to illustrate the point we can say that McDonald’s knows that by the end of the contest there will only be a fixed, or finite, number of grand prize winners. If the maximum prize is a million dollars and in order to win this prize participants need to get the Park Place piece and the Boardwalk piece of the Monopoly game, McDonalds may only print 4 Boardwalk pieces. McDonald’s knows that there can NEVER be more than 4 grand prize winners.

This is because the McDonald’s Monopoly game is a FIXED or a FINITE sweepstakes system.

Here’s another example. Let’s play a game. I have a can with 7 marbles in it. Six of the marbles are white and one of them is red. Seven different people each pay $1 to pick one marble. The person that picks the red marble wins $5. In this case we don’t know who will win (that part is random), but we DO know that only ONE person will win and we know exactly how much that person will win ($5). We also know that I will end up keeping $2 every time. This is a FINITE system.

Compare this to a Vegas-style or RANDOM system. In this example 7 people roll a standard six-sided die. Everyone has to pay $1 to play. If any of them roll a SIX, I’ll give them $5. Statistically speaking, one of the seven people should roll a six in each round. However; it is possible, but not likely, that all seven people could roll a six and I’d have to pay out $35. If I played this game a million times, eventually the average payout would be about $5 per round. But since it’s NOT a “finite system” we never know for sure how much I’m going to be paying out every round.

Sweepstakes software that is truly based on a finite system does not involve random number generators (like a Vegas style game). The only luck involved is WHO will win each of the prizes in the computer sweepstakes. The exact total payout for each sweepstakes pool is predetermined and “revealed” by the computer sweepstakes machines.

The number of wins and the amount paid out is completely figured out in advance by the sweepstakes software–hence the term “finite” gaming.