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Are Sweepstakes Casinos Legal? Our State-by-State Guide for US Sweepstakes Laws

Last Updated on 15/02/2024
Fact checked by: Heather Williams

Sweepstakes casinos offer US citizens who reside in states with complex gambling laws the opportunity to enjoy casino-style games online. These sites have a few very important differences to regular, real money online gaming sites – but are sweepstakes casinos legal?

Well, that could all depend on where you are based. Players in the right regions can indeed legally enjoy Vegas-inspired sweepstakes games online. But it’s important to fully understand what exactly sweepstakes sites are, how they work and what differentiates them from other, similar gaming websites that may actually be prohibited where you live.

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Yes
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VIP Program
Yes
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NetEnt
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Number of Slots
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Currency Conversion
1 Sweepstakes coins = 1 USD
Cashout available
Yes
Real Money Prizes
- Merchandise
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VIP Program
Yes
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Betsoft Gaming
Pragmatic Play
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Number of Slots
921
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Gold Coins
Fortune Coins (max. Redeem: 5000$ per day)
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49500 Fortune Coins = 1 USD
Cashout available
Yes
Real Money Prizes
- Cash Prizes
VIP Program
Yes
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1Click Games
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110
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433
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No
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Yes
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No
VIP Program
No
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NetEnt
Inspired Gaming
Habanero
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Number of Slots
1303
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Chanced
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Gold Coins
Sweeps Coins
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$5 = 50,000 GC (+ 5 Free SC)
$20 = 200,000 GC (+ 20 Free SC)
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$100 = 1,000,000 GC (+ 100 Free SC)
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VIP Program
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Pragmatic Play
Relax Gaming
Hacksaw Gaming
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Number of Slots
607
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Social Casino of the month

All Americans reading this article will no doubt be fully aware that online gambling legislation in the states is kind of complicated. In a nutshell, to play at a social casino that accepts real money, you’ll need to be in a region where online gambling is properly regulated and take care only to play with operators that hold a state-level license.

But what about those states where online gambling for real money is prohibited? Well, that’s where sweeps casinos come in. Sweepstakes casinos are a legit and popular alternative to regular online casinos, but with a couple of key differences:

  • Gamers can play for free using virtual coins
  • Actual USD cash cannot be won

On the surface, it might sound like legal sweepstakes casinos are a great place to practise your skills without risking hard-earned cash – and you’d be right. But another perk of sweeps betting sites is that some of the virtual coins you accumulate are actually redeemable for real world prizes once you’ve built up enough of them.

Generally speaking, sweepstakes casinos are technically legal in 49 states except for Washington – but that doesn’t mean you can just go ahead and play at any sweeps casino you please.

Any sweepstake casino you register with must have made its services legally available where you live before you can physically access its games. Here are a few ways you can determine whether a sweeps casino is legal in your state:

Visit their homepage

Better-organized sweeps sites will hit you with a pop-up asking you to select your region as soon as you visit their home page. Some may even immediately inform you if their services aren’t available in your region.

Check their T&Cs

This certainly isn’t the most fun option, but an operator’s T&Cs will usually outline which regions their games are and aren’t available in – so head over there and run a keyword search for your state.

Read our expert reviews

We’re always looking out for sweepstakes casinos that are legal in your region, meaning our reviews and the banners on our site will always recommend trusted and available sites to readers.

You might be wondering why on earth almost all Americans in 49 states can access sweeps casinos when regular gambling is so widely prohibited. Here are the key things you need to know regarding sweeps casino laws:

These sites have no purchase obligation – and that’s important

Legal sweepstakes casinos don’t require their users to make any purchases. You can play entirely for free if you want to – and this is very important from a legal standpoint. In fact, every sweepstakes casino that’s legal must offer its customers the ability to play for free. This is a basic requirement to earn them the “sweepstakes casino” classification.

Real money can never be directly “won”

As gamers can’t physically play real money games at legal sweepstakes casinos , placing virtual currency bets here isn’t technically classed as “gambling”. In a sense, this means that standard gambling regulations effectively don’t apply.

Licensing isn’t essential

While real money online casinos always require a state-level license to be deemed legit, sweeps casinos are different. Ultimately, you’re not gambling at a real money casino. Therefore, licensing and regulatory approval aren’t strictly required – though sticking to trusted legit sweepstakes casinos with a sound reputation is still obviously a good idea.

The terms “sweepstakes” casino and “social” casino are often thrown around interchangeably, and they are indeed pretty alike. Here’s what you should know:

  • Sweepstakes casinos – invite players to participate in tournaments to accumulate virtual currencies which can sometimes be traded in for real prizes later.
  • Social casinos – offer daily free credits and games, usually leaning more toward free-play. You can normally purchase additional coins to top up your balance once it falls short.

Often, a sweeps site will double-up as a social casino or vice-versa. Most operators, like our favorite Stake.us, offer two tiers of virtual coins – those playable for free and those exchangeable for prizes. With Stake.us, you can currently claim a 5% rakeback bonus on all your losses with our one-time bonus code, “TGHSOCIAL”, too.

Our favorite online sweepstakes casinos

Stake.us
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T&Cs apply, 18+
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5 Sweeps Coins + 250 Game Coins + 600 Diamonds
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Players from Virginia accepted
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Applepay
Mastercard
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T&Cs apply, 18+

If by this point you still have a few gaps in your knowledge about sweepstakes casinos, we hope the FAQs below will help to clear a few things up:

Do sweepstakes casinos have cash games?

No. Sweepstakes casinos do not ordinarily offer games that are playable in USD or any other real-world currencies, as this would mean branching out into regular online casino territory, requiring the operator to hold a state-level license.

Instead, sweeps and social casinos offer games that are playable in virtual currencies only, which may later be exchangeable for real world prizes.

Why are sweepstakes casinos legal?

Sweepstakes casinos allow Americans to play casino-inspired games for free without requiring a purchase. Primarily, this is why they aren’t classed as traditional “gambling” or online casinos. This is a really important distinction, as is the fact that social casinos don’t allow real money gameplay – you can only ever enter using virtual currencies that hold no value outside of the sweeps site you are using.

How old do you need to be to play at sweepstakes casinos?

Usually you’ll be able to play at a sweepstakes casino so long as you are 18 years old or more and accessing your preferred sweeps site from a legal region where its games are physically available. Just be sure to check individual operator T&Cs, as some sites might want you to be 21+.

What are Gold Coins and Sweepstakes Coins?

Most sweepstakes casinos that are legal offer two tiers of virtual currencies, most commonly referred to as “Gold Coins” and “Sweepstakes Coins”. The former is a free, “for-fun” currency that you can use on social casino games, while the latter is a sweepstakes currency that can be entered into tournaments and potentially exchanged for real-world prizes.

Can I win actual USD prizes with sweeps casinos?

Ordinarily, no – but you can compete in sweepstakes games to accumulate coins to redeem other real-world prizes, such as gift cards and merchandise.

Americans across 49 states have some truly awesome sweepstakes sites to choose from these days, with the market constantly expanding. That said, our favorite operator for sure is Stake.us. With this highly-rated and hugely popular social casino, you can expect:

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Sweepstakes casinos are growing hugely popular at a time when the legislative outlook for real money casinos is complex from state to state. These sites are usually legal in 49 states bar Washington due to the fact they don’t require purchases to be made – and because games can’t physically be played for real cash.

Finding sweepstakes casinos that are legal in your area is easier than you might think. In fact, a quick visit to an operator’s homepage or T&Cs should reveal whether or not their services are available in your state. And failing that, you can always check out the banners on our site for trusted recommendations on the best legal sweepstakes casinos .

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Just as casino gaming for real money is only available in select US states, only residents of certain regions can play at sweepstakes casinos, too. Find out where’s legal with The Game Haus.

❓ Which social casinos are best?

If you’re looking for a good social casino, you have an awful lot of options. The Game Haus reviews, rates, and compares the best social betting sites currently on the market.

💰 Where can I get a sweepstakes casino bonus?

There are several sweepstakes betting sites offering generous welcome promos right now, but which operator has the most to offer its new customers? Check out our comparisons to find out.

🤔 Are social casinos any good?

Social casinos offer tons of great benefits to players, including the potential to exchange your in-game coins for real world prizes. Find out whether social casinos are right for you today.

🎁 What prizes can I get at sweepstakes casinos?

By entering your Sweepstakes Coins into sweepstakes games and accumulating larger balances, you can exchange your coins for real-world prizes – but what kinds of prizes do sweeps sites generally offer? Find out with The Game Haus now.

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