Blogs > The Difference between Contests and Sweepstakes
September 23, 2014 Patricia Ferreria
There seems to be some confusion between sweepstakes and contests. They are not exactly the same thing, to be honest; there are some key differences that every marketer should take note of. Here are the main difference between contests and sweepstakes:
Sweepstakes are specifically prize giveaways where the winners are chosen by luck. The prizes can range from anything small to extremely extravagant prizes like vacations, cars, shirts or gift cards to your favorite store.
Contests, on the other hand, are a little different. The winner is chosen based on some sort of merit. The person with the best-written essay, most beautiful paragraph, best recipe, or even the most votes is the one who wins the grand prize.
Most people use contests and sweepstakes interchangeably. If we want to get technical about these terms they aren’t exactly the same. Contests and giveaways require some skill in order to win them. For example, entrants need to answer something, write an essay, enter a photo, or create a recipe in order to participate.
These are some basic laws about sweepstakes:
The U.S is extremely strict when it comes to laws about private lotteries. A lottery promotion has these three elements: Prizes, Winners chosen at random and Consideration.
To avoid the conflict of being considered a lottery, sweepstakes must make sure that one of these elements are missing. Prizes and luck are both essential for running a sweepstake, so legitimate promotions can never have considered in them. That means that you will never have to pay to enter sweepstakes.