A Guide to Using OEBs to Enter and Win Sweepstakes

Need-to-Know Info About Official Entry Blanks

Photo of Siblings Entering Contests for Kids

 Image (c) Andersen Ross / Getty Images

If you are reading the rules of a giveaway, you might come across a line that says that you need to submit your entry using an OEB. What is an OEB and how can you win more often when you enter sweepstakes that use them?

What Are OEBs?

OEB stands for Official Entry Blank. An OEB is a pre-printed form with room for all of the information that you need to enter a giveaway. Depending on the giveaway, that information might include your name, email address, telephone number, an opt-in box to receive marketing emails, and more.

Some jurisdictions require that additional information be included on OEBs, like the full or summarized giveaway rules or the submission dates. This helps to ensure that entrants aren’t giving their information blindly to the company running the giveaway, but have a fair chance to read the rules.

Before online sweepstakes became popular, OEBs were more common than they are today. These days, you usually need official entry blanks to enter local sweepstakes like the ones you find at stores and restaurants. Some mail-in sweepstakes also require OEBs.

Be sure to check the rules carefully before you enter to make sure that you are entering correctly.

Why Do Giveaways Use OEBs?

OEBs have advantages for the companies running giveaways. 

  1. They reduce the number of invalid entries that the company receives by clearly stating what information is required to enter. 
  2. The businesses running the giveaways can control the number of entries. It’s hard for one person to enter thousands of times when they must secure an official blank for each entry.
  3. OEBs can also make the entry process smoother. Some come in the form of postcards, so the entrant can fill out the form, pop a stamp on it, and send it in without much effort, increasing the number of entries received.

Where Can You Find OEBs?

For local sweepstakes, OEBs are usually found close to the box or container where the entry forms are collected. In most businesses, the entry box is usually placed in a prominent location, like near the front door or beside a promotional area.

If you find an entry box but no OEBs are available, ask to speak to a manager. They might’ve run out but have more available in the back of the store.

For mail-in sweepstakes, OEBs may be printed on a product or available near where the product is sold. For example, look for stand-up advertisements placed in a grocery store.

Finally, check the sweepstakes’ rules for information about where OEBs can be found. You might be able to send away for one by mail or call the company to have an official form sent to you.

Tips and Tricks to Winning With OEBs

Using an official entry blank to enter sweepstakes gives you a few additional ways to increase your odds of winning compared to entering online. While none of these tricks can guarantee a win, they might give you an edge over your competition.

Crumple Your OEB Before Putting it Into the Collection Box

With smaller sweepstakes drawings, the winner is often selected by having an employee of the company reach into the collection box and pull out an OEB at random. When someone reaches into a mass of slippery slips of paper, and one of them stands out by having a little texture, it’s natural to grab the one that feels a little different.

You can give your OEB that texture by crumpling it up and then smoothing it out a bit before dropping it into the box. You can also bend the corners or do anything else that makes the OEB take up a little more room without damaging it.

Decorate Your OEB

In a similar vein, if you have the time, you can decorate your OEB with bright markers and stickers. The stickers give the entry form some texture and the bright colors could make your entry stand out if the person doing the drawing glances into the collection box.

Make sure that the rules don’t prohibit making changes to the OEBs before you try this trick.

Pool Resources With Your Sweepstakes Club

If you belong to a sweepstakes club, ask your fellow members to be on the lookout for OEBs to bring to the next meeting. This kind of sharing can help your whole club win more frequently by giving you all chances to enter giveaways that you might not have heard about otherwise.

How to Avoid Disqualification

A final important point about entering sweepstakes that use OEBs: be sure to read the rules carefully. Some giveaways have additional instructions about how to fill out their entry blanks. For example, some might state that you have to enter all your information in capital letters or using a pen with blue ink. Ignoring these instructions might result in your entry being disqualified.