Online Sweepstakes Rules

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People who run sweepstakes (and enter them) sometimes ask why online sweepstakes rules are so important. Running sweepstakes and contests seems simple enough: Offer a prize, accept entries and then pick a winner. Is that enough? Not really.

If you’re running an online sweepstakes, and you are giving away a large prize (or prizes), online sweepstakes rules are a very big deal. Most people who decide to run a giveaway add them to sweepstakes listing services such as Sweepstakes Advantage and other similar sites. Most of them require that online sweepstakes rules be accessible before the site editors will approve it as listing. This bias exists for several very good reasons.

Why online sweepstakes rules are important

The rules are the legal framework of the giveaway, and both entrant and sponsor are expected to follow them. They are full of legalese and disclaimers, which protects the sponsors and the judging agency (also called the sweepstakes administration) from liability if an entrant decides to sue. When an entrant accepts the official rules, they are agreeing to hold neither to blame for things like mechanical breakdowns and acts of god.

Sponsors typically insert the basic requirements of the giveaway, such as who is eligible to enter and win according to age, location and sometimes even gender. You should also see details on how many times it can be entered, reasons for possible disqualification, and if it’s a contest you will see specifics on what kinds of content they want from you to be judged.

online sweepstakes rules

Online sweepstakes rules

Giveaways may have some other types of disclaimers that many people don’t think about, such as the option on the sponsor’s part to extend their sweepstakes and contests. You see this once in a while, and it’s usually because the sponsor would like to get more entries (and get their sweepstakes a relisting at a sweepstakes site). This can be annoying to people who enter them because it can be confusing: You think you entered the thing and that it’s finally over, but no. There it is again accepting more entries.

Sometimes you could disqualify yourself by way of double-entry, but this is rare. People who post at some sweepstakes site forums about disqualification due to multiple entries are merely scaremongers. What really happens is your additional entry is usually just sorted out and discarded. Like people who are professional gamblers, sweepstakes hobbyists are prone to superstition and paranoia. So if you broke the one time only part of the online sweepstakes rules, just forget about it because it’s not really a problem.

Sweepstakes and contests have very specific rules about who is qualified to receive their prizes, and in many cases this is strictly enforced. If the value of the giveaway prize is high, you may have to sign an affidavit that is notarized in order to receive it. This requires that you prove your identity, including your age and residence. I once had to present a notarized affidavit to receive a $12 prize! Nevertheless, this exception is rare. Most times you need only answer your email to confirm shipping address, and you will receive your prize without any hassle.

Sweepstakes today have gotten pretty sophisticated, and the online sweepstakes rules need to reflect this. If you’re running sweepstakes or contests, it’s important to present to your visitors what’s required of them to participate. If you’re entering, be sure to check the giveaway rules so you won’t waste your time entering when you don’t truly qualify to win.

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