Delve Into The Wonderful History Of Sweepstakes Games

 November 29, 2023

By  Kyrie Mattos

Do you often find yourself occupied in playing sweepstakes games? Or maybe you are not particularly a player of these games, but you run a business that offers them. Do you use sweepstakes software like RiverSweeps, or do you plan to use them?

Running your sweepstakes business could be more exciting if you know more and are familiar with your products. After all, you should be connected to your business, like a child in the mother’s womb.

How’s your knowledge about the history and origins of the products you offer, sweepstakes games? If you don’t know much about their backstories, you have come to the right place. This piece will tackle the fascinating history of sweepstakes games. Let’s go and travel back in time!

Sweepstakes Games In A Nutshell

It is interesting to note that sweepstakes games have exploded in popularity not just across the United States but all over the world in recent years. Unlike your usual online gambling, sweepstakes gaming platforms operate more legally because they offer prizes rather than direct payouts. This game’s players can enjoy slots, pokers, and lotteries without worrying about breaking the law.

Furthermore, some of these sweepstakes games use “virtual currencies” like gold coins and sweepstakes coins instead of real money. Players can redeem their winnings from these coins for prizes like cash, gift cards, and vacations, to name a few.

Let’s Travel Back In Time And Learn The History Of Sweepstakes Games


Sweepstakes have their origins in America during the early 1900s. Yes, the time of the Titanic, Prohibition era, speakeasies, and what you saw in “The Great Gatsby,” among others. At a time when legal gambling activities were still scarce, contests and giveaways in the form of sweepstakes became popular marketing tactics for driving sales. Businesses and their brands would attract customers to their products by offering prizes from sweepstakes.

Here are some of the earliest examples of sweepstakes:

  • Prizes of snack food brand Cracker Jox in each box that was popular in 1912
  • Sweepstakes run by magazines like Reader’s Digest where readers sent in stamps for them to claim prize drawings
  • Soda brands promising cash winnings under bottle caps (Still happening today)
  • Gas stations distributing sweepstakes game cards with fill-ups

Leniency Gave The Way For New Games To Emerge

As you notice, the earlier forms of sweepstakes were not too close to today’s sweepstakes games. But, during the mid-20th century, casino-style sweepstakes games came in as gambling laws became more lenient. Businesses would sell their products and then offer free sweepstakes entries that customers can use to play games and win prizes. These types of games helped create a legal distinction from real gambling.

Sweepstakes In The Internet Age

Later on, sweepstakes games also rode along the waves of the Internet, of course. The emergence and popularity of the Internet have seeped into these games, so they also have found themselves in digital spaces. Nowadays, websites could legally offer prize drawings and casino-inspired games nationwide and worldwide. Thanks to sweepstakes software, they became even more prevalent.

Today, playing online no longer requires players to purchase products. The games happen purely through web-based platforms and mobile apps. Interested players can simply sign up for free and start playing casino-style games from which they can win prizes.

However, sweepstakes gaming shops must always adhere to the regulations of the states where they are based. States like Washington, Arizona, Connecticut, Hawaii, and Idaho prohibit sweepstakes. These activities are also banned in some parts of Tennessee and Oregon. In Florida, while these games are not forbidden, prizes are capped at $5,000.

Types Of Sweepstakes Games Through The Years

As you learned earlier, the industry of sweepstakes games went into development, enabling it to offer more games through the years. Today, sweepstakes shops provide various classic Vegas-style games players know and love. Here are some of them.


Slot games make up the bulk of most sweepstakes shops. Today’s digital format has also allowed developers of these games to innovate significantly, bringing them to the World Wide Web beyond just physical machines.

Some of the most glaring features of these games include wilds, scatters, cascading wins, multipliers, bonus games, and progressive jackpots.

Table Games

Table games are fun to play in an establishment that hosts them. But since the advent of the Internet and since these games have found themselves in the digital space, they have become even more exciting. You can get to play the Vegas classics such as blackjack, baccarat, and roulette in Internet cafés that run these games. Some developers also make it a point to feature live dealer gaming that happens in real-time.


Some sweepstakes sites also now offer 75- and 90-ball bingo games that players can enjoy and win prizes from. Some popular variants include electronic bingo, slingo or the marriage between slots and bingo, bingo classics, and jackpot bingo.


Then, you have sweepstakes lotteries. These allow you to play digit-draw games that also give away massive jackpots. The biggest edge that lotteries have over other games is how they offer players the chance to win life-changing fortunes even if they just wager a small amount.

Skill Games

Lastly, you have the skill games. Some sweepstakes establishments also offer skill-based contests. As the name implies, such games test your skill, focus, and ability as you play trivia games, word games, Solitaire, mahjong, shooting games, virtual sports, and so much more.

RiverSweeps Lets You Choose From Over 100 Sweepstakes Games

The information above should have helped you understand your sweepstakes business even more. But for those who are just learning the ropes about this type of business, it is highly recommended that you take a look at a powerful software that can provide you with everything you need to launch and operate this business successfully, RiverSweeps. Aside from its complete features, RiverSweeps also has a library of more than 100 games you can choose from. You will definitely find what you like to include in your catalog.

Sweepstakes games have come a long way. This kind of gaming has matured over the years, transforming into a wildly entertaining activity enjoyed by several people worldwide. They can now legally access professional-quality games and more for chances to win coveted prizes that cost them nothing but their time. As a business owner, you should be able to see the opportunities in this.

Kyrie Mattos


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