United Statesconsumer sales promotions known as sweepstakes or simply sweeps (both single and plural) have become associated with marketingpromotions targeted toward both generating enthusiasm and providing incentive reactions among customers by enticing consumersto submit free entries into drawings of chance (and not skill) that are tied to product or service awareness wherein the featured prizes are given away by sponsoring companies. Prizes can vary in value from less than one dollar to more than one million U.S. dollars and can be in the form of cash, cars, homes, electronics, etc.
Sweepstakes frequently have eligibility limited by international, national, state, local, or other geographical factors.
Sweepstakes are often referred by marketing promoters as "second-chance sweepstakes" when utilized in conjunction with the awarding of unclaimed prizes during "instant-win" promotions.
A person who enjoys entering sweepstakes as a hobby is often referred to as a "sweeper". While the majority of sweepstakes promotions are open to sweepers who are eighteen years of age or older, there are many sweepstakes open to entry by children of younger ages.
Sweepstakes are generally easier and quicker to enter than
contests, and sweepstakes are also legally different from contests in the United States as sweepstakes promotions are prohibited from requiring a purchase to enter. Consumer promotions advertised as contests, however, can require an entry fee or proof of purchase(usually in the form of submitting an original proof-of-purchase label or UPC codefound on the sponsor's product packaging along with a
The term originated in horse-racing, where each entrant would put up a stake, and the winner would sweep all stakes. The non-plural form "sweepstake" (U.K.) is probably a
back-formation; compare the Belmont Stakes.
Sweepstakes with large grand prizes tend to attract more entries regardless of the odds of winning. Therefore, the value of smaller prizes usually total much less than that of the top prize. Firms that rely on sweepstakes for attracting customers, such as Publishers Clearing House and Reader's Digest, have also found that the more involved the entry process, the more entrants, in a similar way to casinos inventing games that "appear" to rely partly on skill.Fact|date=September 2008
weepstakes in the United States
. There should be no monetary cost to the entrant to participate for the sweepstakes prize drawing (although some online sweepstakes require entrants to subscribe or promotional mailing list) and sweepstakes winners should also not be required to pay a fee of any type to receive their prizes. [ [http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2006/10/nationalframe.shtm U.S. Federal Trade Commission.] ]
Because of their potential for abuse, sweepstakes are heavily regulated in many countries. The U.S., Canada, and individual U.S. states all have laws covering sweepstakes, resulting in special rules depending on where the entrant lives. The
U.S. Federal Trade Commissionexercises some authority over sweepstakes promotion and sweepstakes scamsin the United States. Notably, sweepstakes in Canada and several European countries require entrants to solve a mathematical puzzle, making it a contest of skill, in order to overcome requirements that would classify sweepstakes as a form of gambling.
As an example relating to state laws pertaining to sweepstakes promotions within the United States, Tennessee residents are prohibited by a policy of the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission (and not a state law) from entering sweepstakes online sponsored by manufacturers of wines and liquors; however, Tennessee residents may enter many of these same sweepstakes promotions by entries delivered by the U.S. Postal Service. Another example is wherein Tennessee state law prohibits sweepstakes agencies and sponsors from requiring sweepstakes prize winners to submit to "in perpetuity" publicity releases.
Most corporate-sponsored sweepstakes promoted in the United States limit entry to U.S. citizens, although some allow entry by legal residents of both the United States and
Among the most popularly known sweepstakes in the United States are the American Family Publishers Sweepstakes (now defunct),
Publishers Clearing Houseand Reader's Digest Sweepstakes, each of which strongly persuade entrants to purchase magazinesubscriptions by placing stickers on contest entry cardstock while promising multi-million dollar (annuity) winners who will be "announced on TV." The American Family Publishers sweepstakes traditionally used paid advertisements during NBC's " The Tonight Show" to announce its grand prize winners (for many years, its celebrity spokesman was Ed McMahon).
The HGTV "Dream Home Giveway" is the American cable network
Home & Garden Televisionannual project house and sweepstakes, held since 1997. The sweepstakes promotion commences with a January 1television special showcasing the fully furnished, custom-built home valued in excess of one million dollars; viewers are invited to enter online or by sending in a postcard. The 2007 HGTV sweepstakes drew 41 million entries. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/19/AR2007031901561_pf.html]
Sweepstakes are frequently used by fast-food restaurants to boost business. One of the most popular has been the
McDonald's Monopoly"instant-win " game-piece promotion (free game pieces are made available by requests through the U.S. mail) although the odds of winning the McDonald's Monopoly jackpotprize are usually much greater than the odds of winning many U.S. state lotteries). Soft drink companies also sponsor many sweepstakes, such as the Pepsi Billion Dollar Sweepstakesgame and the Pepsi Stuffloyalty rewards program that allowed Pepsi drinkers to accumulate points from packages and cups and redeem them for high-quality, free merchandise. Pepsi Stuffwas Pepsi's largest and most successful long-term promotion ever and it ran for many years in the US and in many countries around the world. Other sponsors may require the submission of a UPC of a company product (with provision for receiving a "free" UPC code) for entry into the sweepstakes drawing.
Sweepstakes must be carefully planned to not only comply with local laws but curtail forms of entrant fraud and abuse. Before home computers were popular, a common method of entry was a mailed, plain 3" x 5" index card with the entrant's name and address. Massive computer-printed entries made a new requirement that entries must be "hand-printed". Laser printers able to mimic ink pen writing are also a problem for sponsors. In most sweepstakes, entrants and their relatives must not be related to the sponsor or promoter.
Many state lotteries also run a second chance sweepstakes in conjunction with the retail sale of state lottery scratch cards in an effort to increase consumer demand for scratch cards and to help control the
litterproblems associated with the improper disposal of non-winning lottery tickets. [ https://tennessee.secondchancebonuszone.com/playitagain/faq/ Tennessee Lottery. Play It Again Program - FAQ.] As a lottery tickets are considered to be bearer instrumentunder the Uniform Commercial Code, these lottery scratch card promotions can be entered with non-winning tickets that are picked up as litter.
Many sweepstakers meet locally in "clubs" and nationally at a yearly convention, which 800 people attended in 2006. [http://www.sweep18.com The 18th National Sweepstakes Convention] was held in June, 2007 at Dearborn, Michigan. Sweepstakes conventions are hosted by a local club in a different state each year.
weepstake in the U.K.
A "'sweepstake" in the Unted Kingdom' is technically a
lotteryin which the prizeis financed through the tickets sold. The popularity of the term "sweepstakes" may derive from the Irish Sweepstakes, which was very popular throughout the world from the 1930s to the 1980s.
There is also a tradition of office sweepstakes (or office pool in the U.S.), which usually take place over large sporting events (
Melbourne Cup, Grand National, World Cup etc), where you put in a stake into the pot, and get a horse/team drawn out of the hat. The winner then takes the pot.
General structure of winning a sweepstakes prize
Almost every sweepstakes in the United States offering prizes valued at $600 or greater will typically follow the following structure outlining the lifetime of a sweepstakes:
* Sponsor Promotion
** Creating the sweepstakes promotion for a sponsor or sponsors;
** Advertising the sweepstakes, prize structure, and the official rules;
** Opening date for receiving entries;
** Closing date for receiving entries;
** Drawing date to judge winning entries.
* Winner Notification
** Sweepstakes promotion judges contacting prize winner;
** Winner filing
publicity releasewith sponsor's sweepstakes promotion agency;
** Winner filing
affidavitof eligibility (compliance with official rules) with sponsor's sweepstakes promotion agency;
** Winner filling any required federal or state tax forms with sponsor's sweepstakes promotion agency;
* Winner Receives Prizes.
It should be noted here that the sponsors of legitimate sweepstakes by law do not require the prize winners to pay any shipping or handing charges in order to win or receive their prizes.
Sweepers frequently send out SASE (self addressed, stamped envelopes) to receive free game pieces, official entry forms, and copies of the official rules that are unique and pertaining to individual sweepstakes promotions.
Sweepstakes on the Internet
Entering sweepstakes by mail is declining in popularity, and many more sweepers are choosing to enter online sweepstakes. Online sweepstakes are most often quick and easy to enter, provide confirmation when an entry is received from the sweeper, and require no investment in postage, card stock, and envelopes. It is much more convenient, more efficient, and less expensive to enter sweepstakes over the Internet as opposed to preparing and mailing sweepstakes entries by postal mail.
The direct costs associated with internet sweepstakes are negligible.
Most U.S. sweepstakes promotion agencies require that most postal mail entries have three components:
*an entry form, most often a 3" x 5" piece of paper or
index cardhandprinted with NAZTE (name, address, zip code, telephone number, and email address)
*an envelope, most often a 4 1/8" x 9 1/2" No. 10 business envelope, and;
*first class U.S.
postage stamp.Many other U.S. sweepstakes rules permit postal mail entry on the less expensive 4" x 6" U.S. postal cards.
It is reasonable to conclude that a traditional, first class mail entry costs the typical U.S. sweeper 50 cents (excluding time or travel) to submit each sweepstakes entry via the U.S. mail. Internet sweepstaking permits one to potentially enter hundreds of sweepstakes each day without the stationery and postage expense.
Internet sweeping allows sweepers to research and find online sweepstakes forms, to bookmark and organize sweepstakes
URLs as a file within web browser software, and to use the web browser "form fill" tools to paste required personal contact information onto the online sweepstakes forms.
There are many online sweepstakes directories, some offering advanced features such as tracking which sweepstakes have been entered and possibly providing many different categorizations for the competitions listed.
Online sweepstaking web sites offer additional organizational methods for keeping track of your entries, and finding sweepstakes with the best odds for you to win. Some include local/restricted promotions, which limit the amount of registrations into a particular sweepstakes.
screening technologies to prohibit automated entry.
History of United States Postal Service rates
*Lottery in the United States
* [http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/menus/consumer/phone/prizes.shtm U.S. Federal Trade Commission. Telemarketing and "Telephone Services: Prizes & Sweepstakes".]
* [http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/alerts/sweepsalrt.shtm U.S. Federal Trade Commission. "New Spin On Sweepstakes Scams."]
* [http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/alerts/intlalrt.htm FTC Consumer Alert on International Lotteries]
* [http://mathdl.maa.org/convergence/1/?pa=content&sa=viewDocument&nodeId=217&bodyId=93 Euler's Analysis of the Genoese Lottery]
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Look at other dictionaries:
sweepstakes — [swēpstāk΄swēp′stāks΄] n. pl. sweepstakes [because the winner “sweeps in” all of the stakes] 1. a lottery in which each participant puts up money in a common fund which is given as the prize to the winner or in shares to several winners 2. a) a… … English World dictionary
Sweepstakes — Sweep stakes , n. 1. A winning of all the stakes or prizes; a sweepstake. [1913 Webster] 2. sing. or pl. The whole money or other things staked at a horse race, a given sum being put up for each horse, all of which goes to the winner, or is… … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
Sweepstakes — (engl., spr. Swihpstehks), eine Art von Wetten bei den landwirthschaftlichen Versammlungen in England, wo die um den Preis concurrirenden Thiere, deren Besitzer eine gewisse Summe einsetzen, von Preisrichtern beurtheilt werden u. wo der Besitzer… … Pierer's Universal-Lexikon
Sweepstakes — (engl., spr. swihpstehks), Einsatzrennen, Rennen, wobei die Preise lediglich oder hauptsächlich aus den Einsätzen gebildet werden … Kleines Konversations-Lexikon
Sweepstakes — (swihpstehks), in England Wetten der um den Preis werbenden Viehbesitzer bei landwirthschaftlichen Festen; die Summe fällt dem Besitzer des von den Preisrichtern als preiswürdig erklärten Thieres zu … Herders Conversations-Lexikon
sweepstakes — n. (1) A contest that awards prizes based on random drawings of entries, often used as a promotion of products. (2) A horse race or other gambling contest in which the winner or winners receive all the stakes placed on the race. The Essential Law … Law dictionary
sweepstakes — prize won in a race or contest, 1773, from M.E. swepestake one who sweeps or wins all the stakes in a game (1495, as the name of one of the King s ships), from swepen sweep + STAKE (Cf. stake) (v) … Etymology dictionary
sweepstakes — A co test, especially a horse race, or game of chance in which the winner sweeps in or takes all the stakes wagered. As defined by the American racing rules, a sweepstakes or stake is a race publicly declared open to all complying with its… … Ballentine's law dictionary
sweepstakes — n. to win the sweepstakes * * * [ swiːpsteɪk(s)] to win the sweepstakes … Combinatory dictionary
sweepstakes — /sweep stayks /, n. (used with a sing. or pl. v.) 1. a race or other contest for which the prize consists of the stakes contributed by the various competitors. 2. the prize itself. 3. a lottery in which winning tickets are selected at random,… … Universalium