A sweepstake is a type of contest where a prize or prizes may be awarded to a winner or winners. Sweepstakes began as a form of lottery that were tied to products sold. In response, the FCC and FTC refined U.S. broadcasting laws (creating the anti-lottery laws). Under these laws sweepstakes became strictly "No Purchase Necessary to Enter or Win" and "A Purchase Will not Increase Your Chances of Winning", especially since many sweepstakes companies skirted the law by stating only "No Purchase Necessary to Enter", removing the consideration (one of the three legally required elements of gambling) to stop abuse of sweepstakes. Today, sweepstakes in the USA are used as marketing promotions to reward existing consumers and to draw attention to a product. By definition, the winner is determined by luck rather than skill.
Sweepstakes must be carefully planned to comply with local laws and curtail forms of entrant fraud and abuse. Before home computers were popular, a common method of entry was a mailed, plain 3" × 5" index card with the entrant's name and address. Massive computer-printed entries resulted in a new requirement that entries must be "hand-printed". Laser printers that can mimic ink pen writing are also a problem for sponsors. In most sweepstakes, entrants and their relatives must not be related to the sponsor or promoter.
How do you win the sweepstakes contest
Sweepstakes with large grand prizes tend to attract more entries regardless of the odds of winning. Therefore, the value of smaller prizes usually totals much less than that of the top prize. Firms that rely on sweepstakes for attracting customers, such as Publishers Clearing House and Reader's Digest, have also found that the more involved the entry process, the more entrants. Businesses often obtain marketing information about their customers from sweepstakes entries. Here, products are for free, and the company does not ask for specific knowledge for providing answers in the contests.