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How Do Sweepstakes Casinos Work?

Discover how sweepstakes casinos work in the US. Under what is a sweepstakes casino and how you can play for free and win real cash prizes.

Best Sweepstakes Casinos
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Sweepstakes casinos are free-to-play social casinos with cash prizes. Each platform is obliged by law to offer free bonuses for new members and ensure that no real money purchases are required to play, which is the polar opposite of what you’d normally encounter at any online casino.

Instead of cash, players use gold coins and sweepstakes coins; the former holds no monetary value while the latter can be redeemed for real money prizes once the sweepstakes casino bonus rules have been met.

In a nutshell, you only need to register a free account, grab as many bonuses as you can, and play through your sweeps coins the required number of times to make them cashable. If you’re more interested in playing for fun, simply use gold coins instead of sweepstakes coins on desired sweepstakes casino games.

As a casino expert, I’m here to help you understand how online sweepstakes casinos work, and guide you to the best and most trustworthy sites.

5 Best Sweepstakes Casinos

My criteria for rating the “best” sweepstakes casinos revolves around several factors, including operator reputation, the quantity & quality of online casino games, the size & variety of bonuses, the diversity of payout methods, and the quality of their customer support service.

McLuck, Stake.us, WOW Vegas, High 5, and Vegas Gems, are five sweepstakes casinos that excel in all of the aforementioned fields, so let me tell you a bit more about each.

McLuck Casino

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McLuck Casino
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Pros:

  • 450+ games from popular slot makers

  • Has a few live dealer games

  • Local jackpot network

  • Exceptional welcome bonus

  • Sleek iOS and Android app

Cons:

  • Unavailable in Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Michigan, Nevada, and Washington

  • Doesn’t offer many table games

McLuck was founded in 2023 by B2Services OÜ and is among the best-rounded sweepstakes casinos in the US. New players can claim 7,500 Gold Coins and 2.5 free Sweepstakes Coins upon registration. McLuck’s first purchase deal is just as amazing; for just $9.99, you can get an additional 50,000 GC and 25 SCs, totaling 57,500 GC and 27.5 free SCs.

It boasts a huge gaming catalog filled with 450+ games sourced from leading i-gaming vendors like Relax, Evoplay, Habanero, and Slotmill. More importantly, it’s among the scant few sweeps sites with a live casino segment.

From bonus spins and classic slots to jackpots, tumblers, and fruit games, you’ll find them all at McLuck’s game library. This sweepstakes casino also boasts a local jackpot network complete with Mini, Minor, Major, and Grand “McJackpots”.

Play at McLuck for free!

Stake.us

Stake.us
Stake.us
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Pros:

  • Rocks over 800+ games from 7+ top-tier slot developers

  • Stake Originals challenges

  • Bonus drop code giveaways

  • Regular promos like Daily Races and Slot Battles

Cons:

  • Doesn’t work with fiat currencies

  • Modest welcome bonus

Stake.us opened its social casino with sweeps prizes in 2022 and is currently available in all US states except Washington, Nevada, Idaho, New York, Kentucky, and Michigan. It is owned and helmed by Sweepsteaks Limited, with offices in both the UK and the US.

This sweeps casino is huge on slots, offering over 630+ slots and hundreds of other games like scratchies & table games from top-tier gaming vendors. Pragmatic Play & BGaming mainly power it, but it also offers over a dozen originals like Blue Samurai, and Dragon Tower.

Similar to McLuck, Stake.us has a live dealer lobby complete with 12+ live blackjack, roulette, baccarat, Teen Patti, and Sic Bo games. What sets it apart from the rest is that Stake.us is a crypto-only casino, accepting Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and several altcoins. Sign up with our exclusive links to claim your 10,000 GC + 1 SC welcome bonus.

Play at stake.us for free!

WOW Vegas

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WOW Vegas
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Pros:

  • Over 750+ high-quality slots and several table games

  • Supports 10+ payment methods

  • Round-the-clock customer support

Cons:

  • Doesn’t have an app

WOW Entertainment Limited launched WOW Vegas Casino in 2022. This sweeps casino is legal in virtually all of the US except for Washington, Nevada, Idaho, and Michigan. It stands out from the rest with a massive welcome bonus of 1.5 million WOW Coins and 34.5 free Sweepstakes Coins for just $9.99.

If you’re searching for generous sweepstakes casino bonuses, look no further; WOW Vegas offers a hefty daily login bonus, a munificent mail-in bonus, a multi-tier VIP Bonus, and an array of social media promotions that are regularly updated with fresh offers.

Play at WOW Vegas for free!

High 5 Casino

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High 5 Casino
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Pros:

  • 800+ games and close to a dozen live dealer titles

  • Hefty sign-up bonus

  • Reputable slot providers

Cons:

  • A narrow range of banking methods

High 5 Casino is among the oldest sweepstakes casinos in the United States, founded in 2012 by High 5 Entertainment. It’s legal across all states except for Washington (and Washington DC), Michigan, and Idaho.

Sign up using our exclusive links and you’ll be able to grab 250 Game Coins, 5 free Sweeps coins, and 600 diamonds; the latter serve as boosts-on-demand and add another exciting dimension to casino gameplay.

Play at High 5 for free!

Vegas Gems

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Vegas Gems
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Pros:

  • 450+ games from Pragmatic, Belatra, and Gameart

  • Potentially massive welcome bonus

  • Supports both fiat and cryptocurrencies

Cons:

  • Luck plays a huge factor for bonuses

  • Offers a handful of table games

Vegas Gems is a relatively new sweepstakes casino, launched in 2023 by JSP Media Holdings Ltd. It’s legal in all states except for Washington, Michigan, Nevada, and Idaho, and offers over 450+ popular slots, table games, and arcade games.

Simply registering an account with Vegas Gems will allow you to open mystery boxes that can hold up to a whopping 1,000 Gems.

Use our exclusive promo code “OUTLOOKHOW” when signing up to unlock special deals, allowing you to win up to 1,000 gems without a deposit + 50% bonus gems up to $20, and 10% bonus gems up to $100.

Plat at Vegas Gems for free!

What is the difference between sweepstakes and casinos?

Players are required to deposit real cash at online casinos to play, whereas that isn’t necessary at sweepstakes online casino sites due to welcome and no deposit bonuses. Moreover, sweeps platforms use a dual currency system while online casinos simply convert cash to credit and vice versa.

In this section, I’ll explain the three most notable dissimilarities between online and sweepstakes casinos, so let’s dive straight in.

No Purchase Necessary & Dual Currencies

US sweepstakes casinos are required by law to ensure players never have to spend their own money to play casino games. That’s why every legit sweeps site has a welcome bonus that awards newcomers some currency for free.

On the other hand, real money casinos may offer you a no deposit bonus, but they’re not required to. It’s far more common to see bonus match offers on the first few deposits (welcome bundle).

Secondly, the dual currency system of sweepstakes casinos uses gold coins as a free-play currency and sweeps coins as a currency redeemable for cash prizes. Sweepstakes coins/cash can’t be directly purchased and is often awarded for free on gold coin purchases. Real cash casinos keep things simple by allowing you to deposit, play games, and cash out directly.

US Availability/Legality

Online casinos have been legalized by a handful of US states, including Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. As free-to-play casinos with cash prizes, sweepstakes casinos are legal in nearly all states. For example, Vegas Gems is legal in 46 out of 50 states, excluding only Washington, Michigan, Nevada, and Idaho.

The poor availability factor of online casinos is extremely important as it prevents players from even registering, let alone playing or claiming bonuses.

It would be fair to say that sweeps casinos came as a response to the sluggish legalization of real money casinos, offering a solid alternative with the potential of earning cash prizes.

Games & Bonuses

Every registered online casino user is a paying player whereas most sweepstakes casino users aren’t. Consequentially, online casinos have more funds to partner with dozens of i-gaming developers who power their platforms with thousands of games. On the other hand, sweepstakes sites can usually afford to source significantly fewer games.

As far as bonuses are at stake, sweeps casinos must offer free-play bonuses while online casinos don’t have to. In terms of size, it’s not uncommon for real money casinos to offer huge welcome bonus offers that can quadruple your first deposit while even the most generous sweeps casino bonuses look pale in comparison.

What sweepstakes casino pays out the most?

Several crucial factors determine how often (and how much) sweepstakes casinos pay out:

  • Quality and RTP of available games;

  • Bonus variety and size;

  • VIP, referral, social media, and similar promos;

  • Withdrawal limits and fees.

Based on these factors, I can objectively conclude that WOW Vegas pays out more than contemporary alternatives.

Firstly, its welcome bonus is leagues ahead of the competition, offering $34.5 in free sweeps for just $9.99, not to mention a whopping 1.5 million WOW Coins. With the referral, daily logins, and mail-in bonus, you can rake in even more free currency without paying anything.

My second-best choice would be High 5 Casino. Apart from the huge sign-up bonus, it offers an even larger i-gaming library and free sweeps every day via daily logins.

Are sweepstakes casinos legal in the US?

US sweepstakes casinos operating in the US are legal as long as they abide by federal and state-specific regulations. Since there are very few laws governing the operation of sweeps platforms, there are currently only two major rules that sweepstakes casinos must never breach:

  1. They must ensure that real-money purchases are not necessary to play, and

  2. They cannot sell “anything of value” from their in-game stores (most notably sweepstakes currencies).

If a sweepstakes casino asks you to make a deposit when you’re creating a new account, you’ve encountered an illegal casino. If the sign-up and refill bonuses are so small that you’ll need to top up your balance to continue playing, you’re likely playing at an illegal casino.

When playing at a legit, legal sweeps casino, you should be able to enjoy your favorite games and have a fair chance of redeeming the prescribed minimum of coins for a small cash prize without depositing your own cash.

What are the new sweepstakes casinos in 2024?

Sweepstakes casinos have been operating here and there in the US for over a decade, but the market virtually exploded in the last several years. This can all be ascribed to the exemplary success of leading platforms like Stake.us, High 5 Casino, and WOW Vegas which showed US players an alternative way to play slots even if their state doesn’t allow them to.

Some of the best up-and-coming sweepstakes casinos are essentially sister sites of the established sweeps platforms.

  • Hello Millions Casino is owned and operated by B2 Services OÜ, which is the same company that runs McLuck Casino.

  • Another sweeps casino owned by B2 Services is Scratchful, which is a scratchcard-focused sweepstakes platform with the same welcome offer as

  • Sweeptastic came to the US scene from Malta in 2023 and is rightly considered among the prime movers in the sweepstakes casino industry

Conclusion

Take out the obligatory deposits and severe state limitations from an online casino, and you’ll have a sweepstakes casino. Even though sweeps platforms might seem a bit more complex than their real-money counterparts, they’re more alike than they are different - both types offer i-gaming titles, bonuses, and an opportunity to win some money.

I hope that this guide helped you learn how sweepstakes casinos work and what to look for in the best sweeps platforms.

Disclaimer: The above is a sponsored post, the views expressed are those of the sponsor/author and do not represent the stand and views of Outlook Editorial.