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Sweepstakes casinos are super fun, legit, and entirely free to join — every casual gambler’s dream. These gaming establishments are legal in 49 US states, making them an excellent alternative for casino players living in regions that haven’t legalized online gambling yet.
Sweeps are almost identical to online casinos except for one distinct difference — they don’t offer real-money play with fiat currencies. Instead, they use their own virtual currencies called Sweep and Gold coins.
- Sweep coins can be redeemed for real cash
- Gold coins do not have real value; you can only use it for free play.
On this page, you’ll learn all about sweepstakes casinos, at least all the relevant stuff. We’ll show you:
- How the sweepstakes model works
- How these sites go about their business
- Where you can find the juiciest sweeps bonuses
What Are Sweepstakes in Casinos?
Sweepstakes refers to a promotional drawing in which the prizes are awarded to the winner (or winners) at no charge to the participants. This type of gambling appeared in the US around 2005, but the model originated in 18th century England.
Online casino operators adopted the system and refined it a bit while keeping the underlying concept, offering free-to-play games with no cash required. Since they don’t abide by the existing gambling laws, sweepstakes casinos must not encourage any type of real money gambling. They offer it indirectly but are not permitted to advertise it.
The players are given the option of playing the games and even participating in promotional offers for free. But in these promos, they can win sweeps coins, which are redeemable and can be swapped for real money. Put differently; sweepstakes casinos give you the chance to win cash prizes without depositing a dime.
How Do Casino Sweepstakes Work?
In a sweepstakes casino, you don’t play with real money that you’ve deposited on your account as you do in a traditional online casino. Instead, you are given free virtual coins or chips called gold coins, which don’t have any monetary value — they can only be used for free play gaming. But there’s a catch; you won’t be given an infinite amount of gold coins upon registration. You’ll only receive a small supply, just enough to try out the platform and see how the system works.
When you run out of gold coins, you can purchase them for real cash, using classic payment methods, like credit cards.
However, as part of the purchase, you’ll also get sweep coins that can be used for real-money play at specific SC tables. And therein lies the biggest appeal of sweepstakes casinos — the chance to redeem some of that virtual currency and earn real money for a small deposit.
The key thing to understand here is that you can’t purchase sweep coins directly. You can only obtain them via the gold coin package. Basically, you buy one of the currencies directly and get the other one as a bonus. There are some additional ways you can earn sweep coins, but we’ll get to that a bit later.
Best Sweepstakes Casinos in the US
Now that you’ve come to grips with how sweepstakes casinos operate, it’s time to put that knowledge into practice.
We did our homework and sifted out the best sweepstakes casinos available for US residents. If you’re living in a gambling-unfriendly area of the country, these are the go-to places to play your favorite casino games.
Chumba Casino is one of the leaders in the sweepstakes casino scene. The site utilizes the sweepstakes model, which makes it legal for all US players, except those in Washington. After registration, you’ll be greeted with a hefty welcome package that consists of both sweep and gold coins. Chumba has the edge over its competitors in terms of game variety, offering over 70 slots, blackjack, and video poker games. Most popular payment methods are supported, including Visa, MasterCard, ACH, and Skrill.
Luckyland Slots is one of Virtual Gaming Worlds’ latest products. This is the same company that is behind Chumba Casino. Like its sister site, Luckyland offers a great introductory bonus of 7,777 gold coins and ten sweep coins. The platform is accessible via a downloadable client and browser-based site; both iOS and Android mobile phones are compatible. In terms of gaming action, Luckyland is second to none in its area. You’ll find 3D slots, roulette and blackjack games, and a few video poker varieties within the diverse portfolio of games. If you need assistance, feel free to contact Luckyland’s support staff via live chat or directly through the website.
Another VGW’s gaming platform, Global Poker is one of the finest poker sweepstake rooms in the US. The site employs a sweepstakes model, offering free-to-play games with gold coins. Sweep coins are in stock and can be purchased via the coin bundle and used for many real-money NL Hold’em and PLO ring games, S&Gs, and MTTs.
Different Types of Sweepstakes
There are fundamentally two types of sweepstakes or virtual currencies used in sweepstakes casinos — gold coins and sweep coins.
Below, we’ve provided a rundown of both categories, highlighting the key differences among them and showing you how to use them.
Gold coins are the backbone and the main commodity of sweepstakes casinos. These coins have no actual monetary value, serving as demo credits. Most sweep casinos offer them as part of the sign-up package, with some operators even giving them away for free in their no deposit bonus offers.
Once you sign up with the casino and get settled in, you can use your gold coins as currency for free-play games – such as free slots. All the titles in a casino’s library can be played with gold coins, and this is a significant advantage over playing games in demo mode in normal casinos. Namely, traditional casinos don’t offer demo play mode for all their games, and some don’t even have this feature.
With gold coins, you can play whatever game is listed in the sweepstakes’ gaming program. However, any winnings derived from such play can’t be cashed out. You’re allowed to use the gold coins to have fun, and that’s it.
Keep in mind that the gold coin supplies you get for joining a casino are not inexhaustible. That said, when your gold coin bulk runs dry, you can purchase more at the cashier.
Sweep coins keep players hooked as this type of virtual currency is the equivalent of real cash. Players can’t obtain sweep coins directly; however, when you buy gold coins, the casino will throw in small amounts of sweep coins as a gift in proportion to your purchase.
To incentivize players, sweepstakes casinos will dish out sweep coins via all kinds of promotions, emails, daily logins, and other methods, which we’ll discuss in the following paragraph.
How to Get Sweep Coins for Free?
There are numerous ways you can earn sweep coins without having to spend a single cent.
Opening an Account
Some casinos hand out a small portion of sweep coins in their no deposit bonus package. To get them, you only need to sign up on the site and verify your account. You may get anywhere from two to ten SC just for registering.
Social Media Contests
Another way to get free SC is to participate in social media contests organized by sweepstake casinos. By answering a couple of straightforward questions on the casino’s Facebook or Twitter page, you’ll qualify for the draw. Each social media contest boasts a prize pool of around 5,000 sweep coins distributed between ten or so winners.
Sweep Coins Via Mail
The other standard option of getting free SC involves sending the casino an email and demanding your portion of sweepstake cash or gold. As per the US sweepstakes law, all casinos operating under the sweepstakes model must provide their players with sweep coins via mail, if they ask. The sum you’ll be getting via the mail-in method is usually small but still beats playing with your own cash.
Lastly, you can earn sweep coins via:
- Free-to-enter tournaments
- Leaderboard contests
- Refer-a-friend promos
How to Buy and Redeem Coins at a Sweepstake Casino
Players can purchase coins in sweepstake casinos the same way they would in a traditional casino — using one of the payment methods listed in the cashier.
The exact list of available payment solutions varies between different casinos, but the most common ones include:
The coin package value will also vary from one site to the next. Usually, you’ll get tons of gold coins (over a million) and a couple of sweep coins for ten bucks only.
All sweepstake casinos allow players to redeem sweep coins and swap them for real cash. On most sites, you can trade SCs at an exchange rate of one sweep coin for 1$.
Those looking to convert their sweep coin winnings will find an additional layer of security. Namely, you’ll have to go through a verification process and submit proof of your identity and whereabouts. You’ll be asked to provide:
- Government ID (or some other government-issued document, like a passport)
- Proof of residence: bank statement, utility bill, or notarized lease agreement
You’ll have to go through this process only once, during your first withdrawal. Once verified, the casino will transfer your winnings pretty quickly — within five to ten days, tops.
Some sweepstake casinos might have play-through requirements. Typically, you’ll need to amass $50-100 worth of coins before the operator allows you to cash them out.
What Games Can You Play in Sweepstake Casinos?
In terms of game variety, sweepstakes casinos rival real-money gambling sites. On top of the standard gaming package, sweep operators usually offer in-house titles — unique games that can’t be played elsewhere.
Here’s a brief overview of the most popular categories of games you can find in social casinos:
Much like in traditional casinos, slots occupy the majority of the portfolio of any sweepstakes casino. In the varied selection, you’ll find dozens of slots coming from a variety of niches, including:
- Five-reel slots
- Even progressives
Most titles include interactive bonus elements and engaging gameplay mechanics. You can use gold coins to learn the ins and outs of a particular slot game before playing it with sweeps cash.
Most sweepstake casinos offer players several video poker variations, with varying RTPs and gameplay configurations. From Jacks or Better to Deuces Wild, these games will give you the biggest bang for your buck due to their industry-high house edge.
Better yet, you’ll get to hone your skills without losing any real money in one of the gold coin versions of the game.
Sweepstakes casinos have emerged as the best gaming alternative for those residing in states that haven’t still formed a legal gambling framework. There are not many qualitative differences between these platforms and real-money casinos except for the emphasis on freebies and casual gambling, with no deposits required.
That’s not to say that sweepstakes casinos don’t offer cash prizes — far from it. Real-money prizes are offered, just not to the same extent as in traditional online casinos.
Since these types of casinos are completely legal in almost all of the US, you’re allowed to make transfers using credit cards, and this trait alone gives sweepstakes casinos the edge over offshore gambling sites.
The prospect of winning cool prizes without having to deposit any money is appealing to gamblers of all tastes and skill levels. With so many great prizes to claim, we dare to ask — what are you waiting for?
You know where to go and what to do, so there should be nothing stopping you from grabbing your coin bundle.