Sweepstakes Entry Restrictions - Understanding the Rules

Understanding what Entry Restrictions Mean in Sweepstakes Rules

Sweepstakes and contests all have restrictions in their rules that govern how often you can enter them. Learn what the most common sweepstakes entry restrictions are and what they mean.

What Does One Entry Per Person Mean?

Some sweepstakes state in their rules that only one entry is permitted per person (or one entry per person per day, or per week, etc.). This means that you, personally, can only enter once per time period. It doesn't matter if you use a different email address, home address, telephone number, your maiden name, your middle name - you can still only enter once. However, this restriction wouldn't prevent your spouse, your child, or your roommate from entering.

What Does One Entry Per Email Mean?

For each email address that you have, you can enter one time per entry period. That means that if you have 200 email addresses registered, you can enter 200 times. However, you then need to check all of those addresses for win notices!

What Does One Entry Per Person/Email Mean?

This designation means that each person can enter only once per time period, and also that the email address they use can only be entered once per time period. So you can't enter yourself repeatedly, and a friend or family member can't use the same email address that you did when they enter. Sometimes, sweepstakes rules will list these two restrictions separately. For example, the rules might say one entry per person, and then a little later they'll state that no two entrants may share the same email address.

What Does One Entry Per Household Mean?

A one entry per household entry restriction means that only one person living at the address can enter the contest or sweepstake. It doesn't matter if the other person is a spouse, a child, or just a roommate, if you share the same home, only one of you can enter.

What Does One Entry Per Computer Mean?

If you share your computer with other people like your spouse or your children, only one of you can enter any sweepstake with this entry restriction in its rules. This also means that you cannot enter on behalf of your mother, your best friend, or anyone else.

What Does One Entry Per Internet Location or Per IP Address Mean?

A sweepstakes entry restriction of one entry per internet location means that only one person using your IP address can enter per time period. (For more information, see What Is an IP Address? from the Guide to Webdesign). Basically, this means that only one entry can be made from your internet account.

For example, my husband and I each have our own computers, but because we share the same internet service, only one of us could enter a sweepstake with this restriction. This can get tricky if you are entering sweepstakes from your office, from the computer lab at a university, or from a public location like a library or the local coffee shop, because you could be sharing an IP address with a lot of people.

What Happens If I Enter Too Often?

If you made a mistake and entered a sweepstake more often than the entry restrictions allowed, you might be disqualified altogether, or your first entry per time period might be accepted while the rest are discarded. For details about how to tell how the sponsor handles duplicate entries, read Will I Be Disqualified for Entering Too Often?.