Despite the breakneck speed that innovation sweeps through the casino industry, sweepstakes casinos have been a landmark revolution in the way Americans enjoy gambling. Sweepstakes casinos are the industry’s answer to the tight restrictions on traditional online casinos, providing a legal and innovative way for players to enjoy all the best of casinos within the legal framework.
As with all gambling landscapes, this one can be tricky to navigate. Below, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to all the ins and outs of how sweepstakes casinos work, and most importantly — how you can make the most of the experience.
Understanding sweepstakes casinos
Sweepstakes casinos, also known as social casinos, operate using a totally different model compared to regular casinos, and it’s this change of model that makes them completely legal within most states in the US. While traditional casinos require real money wagers, sweepstakes casinos spied an opportunity and instead built on model that is similar to video games and arcades.
Instead of making real money deposits, players receive a bundle of virtual currency on sign up, usually in the form of coins and tokens, that they can use to play casino games. Winnings from casino games come in the form of in-game currency, but it’s still entirely possible to build up enough of these winnings to exchange them for real prizes.
Just make sure you double check your state’s exact stance on sweepstakes casinos to make sure you’re playing within the law.
Getting started with sweepstakes casinos
Selecting a reputable platform
As with traditional online casinos, it’s crucial to start your sweepstakes journey by choosing one of the reputable, trustworthy US sweepstakes casinos. Players will want to select an operator with an airtight reputation. Good indicators are positive user reviews and simple, transparent terms of service.
It’s also essential that your sweepstakes casino is properly licensed by one of the big gambling regulatory agencies. In the US, the local authorities should also be involved with the regulation. If you can tick off these indicators, then it’s a good bet that your casino will provide you with a secure and fair gaming environment.
The next step is registering with the casino. All operators will require you to create an account before you get started, and usually this involves some basic verification procedures, so have your identification and personal information on hand. Any good sweepstakes casino will make this process quick and easy for new users, and unlike traditional casinos, they don’t usually require the same extensive identity verification.
Acquiring virtual currency
The final step to getting started with your sweepstakes casino is getting your hands on some of the virtual currency. We’ll explain the ins and outs of the options later on in this article, but in simple terms, you’ll need at least a handful of coins to get started.
Thankfully, most casinos will be dangling a tantalizing welcome bonus to their prospective players, so upon sign-up, you should find a tasty packet of currency already waiting in your account. Keep a careful eye on whether the casino needs a bonus code or not and enter this at the correct stage of sign up if required.
If the welcome bonus doesn’t look like it’ll be enough to suit your needs, you will find it easy to purchase more virtual currency on the platform. Your casino should offer a wide choice of payment options ranging from credit cards to e-wallets or cryptocurrency. It’s important to note that you aren’t wagering actual money at this casino. Instead, the coins you purchase will allow you to enjoy your favorite casino games to your heart’s content.
Navigating the sweepstakes casino experience
There’s a big world of sweepstakes casinos out there, and even though you now have your account set up, it might seem a little overwhelming. Take a deep breath though — we’ve got you. If you familiarize yourself with a few key elements, then you’ll be ready to play.
When it comes to actual casino games, sweepstakes casinos don’t differ much from the traditional fare. Most casinos will have a huge catalog of slot games, ranging from futuristic video slots brimming with diverse themes and exciting narratives to those one-armed bandits of yore if you fancy the retro route. The quality of table games available will vary between sweepstakes casinos, but any casino worth its salt will have several rooms at different stakes and difficulties for the classics, including poker, blackjack, roulette and hopefully more.
You may even find a few specialty games rattling around at sweepstakes casinos that take advantage of the social element. Bingo and Wheel of Fortune-type games are our favorites.
Managing virtual currency
We’ve mentioned the virtual currency that sweepstakes casinos use a few times now, and now’s the time to explore it in-depth. In basic terms, the coins function the same as real-money deposits would in traditional casinos, but the key difference is that sweepstakes casinos operate using a two currency system: Gold coins (GC) and Sweeps coins (SC).
GCs are your bread and butter. These are the chips that you’ll lay down on most of your games, and the ones you’ll win back the most as well. GCs are always offered on start-up, and usually you’ll receive boosters regularly as a daily bonus or for special events. GCs have no real-world value, but they’re the currency that keeps the game ticking over.
Sweeps coins are the real interesting part of the game. Like GCs, players will receive SCs for free in several different ways, including as bonuses, perks on your purchase of Gold coins or even via social media giveaways. The difference is that Sweeps coins can be used to enter something called “Sweepstakes Mode” on the casino, which allows you to win even more Sweeps coins. When you get enough SCs, you’ll have the chance to exchange them for real-world prizes.
Maximizing your sweepstakes experience
The last step to becoming a guru of sweepstakes casinos is to master all the different ways you can grab hold of extra coins while you play. Below, we’ve outlined the key features of the platforms that give you a chance to grab some bonus coins:
Promotions and bonuses
Like traditional casinos, sweepstakes casinos are bursting with promotions and bonuses to give you a chance to boost your wallet. These will come in many different forms, such as the simple daily log-in bonus, and the frequent offers run to include bonus virtual currency on purchases. Keep an eye out for special deals such as free entries into sweepstakes contests for real prizes or any tournaments run for players on the platform.
Many sweepstakes casinos are looking to reward their players for sticking around. Loyalty programs are the best example of this, giving the casino’s regulars some exciting extra benefits. This could be exclusive promotions or a boost on your accumulation of sweepstakes entries. You might even get exclusive access to some special events. These programs are key to maximizing your sweepstakes experience, so make sure you turn the terms and conditions inside out to get the most out of it.
There’s a reason that sweepstakes casinos are also called social casinos. Unlike traditional casinos, sweepstakes casinos really lean into the way that casinos can bring people together and promote a wealth of ways to allow their players to connect with each other. Chat rooms are active and lively, and platforms offer a community forum for players to interact and share their experiences. All sweepstakes casinos will have an active social media with opportunities to participate in competitions to win coins.
It’s this social element that we love most about social casinos, making the player experience truly immersive in a way in which no other platform can compete.