Often there is confusion as to the difference between a lottery and a sweepstakes. Both involve people entering a draw, and a winner, or winners. In either case a predetermined draw date and time lets you know when the winner has been selected.
A lottery can be government or privately sponsored. A person buys tickets for a chance to win a prize, usually cash. Sometimes the prize may be for something else; i.e., a home or a vacation package. The prize might be given to one winner or spread through several, depending on the style of the lottery. The variety of tickets and the picking of the winner is unlimited. Some countries have provincial or state lotteries, or even a federal agency that sponsors a country-wide lottery. You might choose a set of numbers in a randomly selected draw, or ‘instant-win’ style tickets, where you match up a certain number of prize symbols or denominations to claim a prize.
A sweepstakes is considered a contest in which a prize goes to one winner, though there may also be supplemental second and third place prizes. It can be cash, a trip or an item. Sweepstakes are often used by private foundations to raise money for their works, or by companies for gathering information, promoting new products or increasing awareness. The cost you pay is only for buying the product. Buying promotional items in any sweepstakes does not increase your chance of winning. No purchase of a sweepstakes ticket is allowed or required, and often a ‘one entry per person’ rule is in place.
Although the dictionary sometimes defines a sweepstakes as a type of lottery, there are strict government compliance regulations that must be followed. International Awards Treasury adheres to these rules and if you live in a country where the sweepstakes is allowed to run, then you may enter. Sweepstakes entry is always free and the winner is required to answer a skill-testing question, therefore making sweepstakes not just a game of chance but a game of skill. Be sure to read the rules and regulations when you enter a sweepstakes. You may already be a winner if your number is the one pre-selected.