Which Sweepstakes Can You Actually Win? Here's How to Decide
How to Decide If the Odds of Winning a Sweepstakes Are Good or Bad
Which sweepstakes can you actually win? Which won't waste your time when you enter them? There are so many sweepstakes out there, and you can't enter all of them every day. Of course, you'd prefer to spend my time entering the sweepstakes that you're most likely to win. But how do you know which give you a serious chance of winning?
There are three aspects of any sweepstakes that increase your chances of winning: there are fewer competing entries, you can boost your number of entries, and more winners will be selected.
Let's look at each one:
The Best Sweepstakes Have Fewer Competing Entries
Some sweepstakes have an astonishingly low number of entries. When you have a 1 in 50 chance of winning as opposed to a 1 in 50,000, your odds are obviously much better. So how can you tell which sweepstakes have a lower-than-average number of entries?
While it's impossible to know for sure how many entries a sponsor has received, you can make a guess based on the sweepstakes rules. Sweepstakes that are void in Florida automatically rule out the 18,089,888 residents of that state (based on the 2006 population estimate).
The more states that are prohibited, the more your chances rise (assuming, of course, that you are not a resident of any of those states!) Sweepstakes that are only open to your local area have the best chances of winning.
Similarly, sweepstakes that are only open to men rule out roughly 50% of your competition (or more, since more women than men tend to enter sweepstakes!)
In general, some signs that sweepstakes will have fewer entrants include:
- Entry is restricted on the basis of the entrants' state of residence, age, gender, etc.
- The giveaway is annoying to enter - it has a long survey, for example, or requires multi-page registration. Not everyone will bother with it.
- Some element of skill is required to enter. Fewer people even attempt to enter video, writing, photography, or poetry contests. (See 5 Reasons to Enter Contests)
- The prizes are attractive only to a certain subset of people - for example, a gift certificate to a local restaurant, or a high-tech gadget that only engineers will understand or crave.
You Have Better Odds When You Can Enter More Often
The best sweepstakes odds come when you can get more entries than other people. For example, most people don't really enter daily sweepstakes every single day. If you are diligent about entering daily, your chances will rise. You can get the best odds of winning sweepstakes by:
- Entering the maximum number of times specified in the rules
- Using sweepstakes referrals when available.
- Keeping your eyes open for other chances to get extra entries that the sponsor may offer. (Reading the rules helps with this.) Some will give extra chances to win for watching an advertisement or completing a survey.
The Best Sweepstakes Offer More Prizes
The best sweepstakes to enter for really high chances are those that offer a lot of prizes.
Sweepstakes that are giving away 100 prizes have 100 times the odds of winning compared to those giving away just one prize. Even if the prizes have a lower value, the motivation that comes with winning makes them worth entering. While I love to win high-value sweepstakes, it's those little prizes which arrive frequently that keep me energized to enter every day.
- Find sweepstakes with multiple winners in the Lots of Prizes sweepstakes list.
Sweepstakes with Poor Odds
Some sweepstakes generally have quite low odds of winning. If the prize is good enough it might be worth the long shot (the HGTV Dream Home Giveaway is a good example!), but it's generally a better bet to focus your efforts elsewhere. Some of these types of sweepstakes include:
- Creative Presentations
- Sweepstakes that are advertised across the nation.
- Sweepstakes with few prizes awarded.
- Giveaways with a very long entry period.
- Contests with unlimited entries
- Prizes that are not guaranteed to be awarded
By comparing these three aspects of each giveaway, you can decide which sweepstakes you can actually win and focus your energy on winning more prizes.