Raffles & Lotteries vs. Sweepstakes Promotions

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There is a big difference between a contest, lottery a raffle and sweepstakes promotions. Do you know what they are?

Here are the differences, explained in brief:

Sweepstakes Promotions

(why they’re safe)

All three methods of winning are legitimate ways of obtaining prizes from companies or organizations. But it’s important to realize that entering online sweepstakes promotions (or “sweeps”), contests and giveaways are required by FTC law to be 100% free.

Sweepstakes Promotions

(why they’re free)

State and local governments run their own cash giveaways, and they don’t want private individuals competing with them. This mandates they be free. The results are typically random, although in the case of contests you have to perform some kind of creative task in order to enter at all. Typically, you will write a biographical sketch or commentary for an essay contest, reveal your recipes for a recipe contest, take pictures for photography contests and the like. In order to win sweepstakes promotions, you generally don’t have to do a thing — aside from providing your info.

Raffles are an entirely different matter because you have to purchase tickets to enter, and the conditions they use to pick a winner can be decided by the people running the raffle. The drawing may be entirely random, or if the people running it are raffling off their personal assets, so they may decide to award the prize to the entry they like best. More about legitimate charitable raffles below.

Because it’s so difficult to run a legitimate raffle they are rare, making the majority of online cash sweepstakes promotions and mail-in sweepstakes promotions entirely free. There are a couple of ways you can legally charge for tickets, but it’s not easy. Here is the way a paid raffle contest can be legally run:

Raffles tickets sold by federally designated charities are legal, as it’s considered a legitimate fund-raising activity conducted by a charity. My guess is the government uses this requirement to regulate what would otherwise be considered gambling. Also, the state governments don’t want thousands of paid cash sweepstakes promotions and raffle contests to compete with their state lotteries.

sweepstakes promotions

Lottery cash

But what if you’re an individual who would like to run a raffle? You’re in luck, because there is a loophole for you.

In this case, you could run your raffle in conjunction with a federally designated charity as a partner which would make your raffle entirely legal, but you would be required to donate a portion of the proceeds to the charity. This is a lot of trouble, and there is a legal expense to draw up the paperwork to do so. These requirements make paid raffles conducted by third parties a comparatively rare occurrence.

Sometimes running a paid raffle, and slogging through the process of partnering with a charity, is worthwhile. Search online for raffles, and your search will reveal many homeowners raffling off their home, their car and other valuable prizes. Typically, the raffle tickets costing upwards of $50 apiece, as the people running the paid giveaway need to receive market price for their valuable asset — and pay the charity their percentage as well.

So a paid raffle is like the Lotto in a way, but your odds are far better. It has been said that your odds of winning the a large prize in the lottery are about as good as being struck by lightning, yet lots of people have been struck by lighting and won some amazing and valuable sweepstakes promotions. The odds of winning a free sweepstakes promotion are probably as good or better than winning they lottery — especially when you enter smaller, local contests with better odds.

Lotto winners are exceedingly rare, and I personally think that if you wished to win a large prize, a paid raffle would give you a better shot at winning — and your funds go to help a charity.

Sweepstakes Promotions


(why you should enter them)

Sweepstakes promotions are lots of fun to enter and win. Instant Win Sweepstakes is a great place to learn about it, and it’s great knowing that all legitimate sweepstakes promotions are free to enter and regulated by the government for consumer protection.

One Responseto “Raffles & Lotteries vs. Sweepstakes Promotions”

  1. Christine says:

    This is great info! Thank you.

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