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Are Sweepstakes Casinos Legal in the US?

— March 25, 2024

Unless new gambling laws are introduced, it’s highly unlikely that sweepstakes casinos will be banned.

Sweepstakes casinos have been sweeping (literally) across the US ever since 2020. In a short space of time, they’ve become incredibly popular with online gamblers, casual gamers, and everyone else in-between. This is because sweeps casinos offer free-to-play online casino games where you don’t have to bet real money. Instead, you use Gold Coins and Sweeps Coins to place bets. However, this has left a lot of people, even some legal experts, wondering if sweepstakes casinos are actually legal or not. 

Are Sweepstakes Casinos Legal in the US? 

Yes — sweepstakes casinos are 100% legit and legal in every state excluding Washington. A few states, such as Nevada and Texas, don’t have any specific gambling laws relating to sweepstakes casinos, meaning they’re neither legal nor illegal. So, unless there are some major new laws introduced in the future, sweepstakes casinos will remain legal in most of the US. 

How Old Do You Have to Be to Play in a Sweepstakes Casino? 

To play in an online sweepstakes casino, you normally have to be above the age of 18 or 21. This depends entirely on the state that you’re playing in. For example, in Arizona, you have to be over 21. Before playing in a sweepstakes casino, simply double-check what the legal online gambling age is in your state. If you’re below the age, you’ll either have to play in a different state or wait until you reach the required age. 

Are Sweepstakes Casinos Considered Gambling? 

This is a very common question that people ask. 

The answer is that sweepstakes casinos are (technically) not classed as gambling platforms. Although you might be surprised by this, it’s true. The reason is because sweepstakes casinos follow a legal sweepstake model where you place bets using virtual currencies rather than real money. Best of all, free coins are quite common, so new players get to take advantage of them. And when they use these free coins, the law doesn’t look at it as “gambling”, purely because the coins are a type of virtual currency. 

What Do You Win in Sweepstakes Casinos?

Smartphone with various casino game equipment popping off the screen into reality; image by BagoGames, via Flickr, CC BY 2.0, no changes.
Image by BagoGames, via Flickr, CC BY 2.0, no changes.

In online sweepstakes casinos, you can win real cash transfers, gift cards, cryptocurrencies, and more. These prizes are redeemed using any Sweeps Coins (SC) that you’ve collected from playing the different casino games, such as slots and video poker. It’s important to highlight that you can’t win money directly through the games themselves, which is why (again) sweepstakes casinos aren’t classed as gambling. Instead, what you do is win SC and then redeem the SC for money transfers, which is essentially how sweepstakes casinos are able to operate through a legal loophole. 

Sweepstakes Casinos: Summary 

You now know all the important information surrounding sweepstakes casinos and the sweepstakes model. Unlike traditional online casinos, where you bet and win real money, sweeps casinos have (smartly) adopted virtual currencies, which will allow them to remain 100% legal for years to come. Unless new gambling laws are introduced, it’s highly unlikely that sweepstakes casinos will be banned. Instead, they will continue to skyrocket in popularity and could potentially overtake online casinos when it comes to player count and engagement. 

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