Sweepstakes casinos and poker sites are a great alternative for players who live in states without legal, regulated online gambling markets. These sites draw players from 49 out of 50 US states.
A large pool of opponents around the clock, seven days a week, makes Global Poker, an online sweepstakes poker room owned by Virtual Gaming Worlds, particularly attractive to players, even if they live in states with regulated online poker.
Sweepstakes casinos and poker rooms are similar to real money sites, although they definitely have some differences. But in the end, what matters is that you can claim cash prizes playing casino games on both promotional sweepstakes-based and real money sites.
No purchase is necessary to play games for cash prizes on sweepstakes gaming sites. All of these sites give away a virtual sweepstakes currency that you can use in a casino game for a chance at a cash prize.
Sweepstakes coins or sweeps cash, called Sweeps Coins at VGW’s sites, have no value by themselves. You can’t buy them; the site will always give them away for free. Legally, they’re sweepstakes entries.
When you use sweepstakes coins to play games and win, you can exchange those winnings for cash prizes. This is the part of the sweepstakes system that’s equivalent to a withdrawal on a real money site.
Sweepstakes operators give away small quantities of Sweeps Coins or the equivalent in a number of ways, which we’ll cover later in this review, but there’s only one way to get large quantities. To make money, sweepstakes casinos and poker sites sell a second virtual currency — at VGW sites, this currency is Gold Coins — and then throw in some Sweeps Coins for free.
For instance, if you buy $100 worth of Gold Coins, you’ll get a large number of Gold Coins (which have no value, can’t be turned in for cash prizes, and can only be used to play games for fun) along with about 100 free Sweeps Coins. This is the equivalent of making a deposit at a real money site.
While you can play all games using either virtual currency, only games that you play using Sweeps Coins can result in winnings that you can redeem for cash prizes.
Again, you don’t have to buy anything to play casino slots, table games or poker on sweepstakes sites. You can receive sweeps currency for free from the casino in a variety of ways that don’t involve purchasing play money.
However, it’s possible to win big payoffs on any sweepstakes site, and if you want to seriously play for that kind of money, purchasing play money bundled with free sweeps currency is the best way to go.
For example, multiple players have won more than 1 million Sweeps Coins on Chumba Casino, a sweepstakes site owned by VGW. One New Jersey player hit the grand jackpot for more than 1.8 million Sweeps Coins playing Chumba’s progressive jackpot series in 2020.
To be clear, by law, the sweepstakes operator can’t say that these players won $1 million or $1.8 million playing the games, because Sweeps Coins have no monetary value. But if you win 1 million Sweeps Coins playing a game, you could redeem those winnings for $1 million in real money.
As we mentioned, sweepstakes gaming sites are legal in 49 out of 50 states. Washington state prohibits for-profit sweepstakes games, but that’s the only restriction on these sites.
The key part of sweepstakes law states that it must be free to enter a sweepstakes contest, drawing or game. Sweepstakes entries that are entered into a game of chance (slots, table games poker) can receive cash prizes if they are randomly chosen to be the winner.
If you play a slots game using Sweeps Coin stakes, and win, your winnings will be more Sweeps Coins. You can’t redeem Sweeps Coins until you win them in a game. For instance, if you buy $100 worth of Gold Coins and receive 100 free Sweeps Coins, you can’t turn around and redeem those same Sweeps Coins. That would be the equivalent of asking for a refund from a real money casino.
But if you use 10 Sweeps Coins to play games and win 100 Sweeps Coins, you could redeem your winnings for $100.
Global Poker, another site owned by Virtual Gaming Worlds, is the only alternative to online poker for most players in the US. Only a handful of states offer legal, regulated online poker, but sweepstakes laws let Global Poker slide around that.
Even if your state does have legal online poker, it’s still worth your while to check out Global Poker. The Interstate Wire Act does not apply to sweepstakes sites.
You’ll find players from most US states and Canada (with the exception of Quebec and Washington state) participating in Global Poker games. One site works for all states; there’s no need for VGW to launch a separate site in each market. Geolocation apps are not necessary.
The site sees heavy traffic seven days a week, 24 hours a day. While most evenings are peak hours, on one Sunday afternoon in December of 2020, more than 10,000 players were seated at Global Poker’s No Limit Texas Hold’em, Pot Limit Omaha and Crazy Pineapple ring games, sit and go’s, jackpot sit and go’s, and multi-table tournaments.
On that day, about three-quarters of site traffic was participating in Global Poker’s MTTs with buy-ins ranging from micro (0.11 Sweeps Coins) to high (218 Sweeps Coins). Ninety percent of players were playing for Sweeps Coin stakes, leaving about 1,000 players practicing their skills in Gold Coin games.
You’re not allowed to use HUDs or other poker services on Global Poker, but don’t give up on the site just yet. The beta upgrade has greatly improved the site’s multi-tabling function, and you can play in as many ring games as you like at the same time.
Global Poker predominantly draws its customer base from Facebook advertising, so, as you might expect, novice and inexperienced players, and soft games, are likely to be the norm. Experienced players can likely find a way to grind out a profit against the large field of fish.
The site doesn’t offer an app, but it is fully optimized to transition smoothly between full- and small-sized screens. The poker client loads just as smoothly on a desktop web browser for PC and Mac computers as it does on a mobile browser for Android, iPhone and iPad devices. Multi-tabling is available for small screens, as well.
You won’t find any rake-back or reload bonuses on Global Poker, but you will find special promotional events on a regular basis. These events, such as the 25 Days of Christmas that took place over the month of December 2020, feature a variety of qualifying MTT events, freerolls and ring game challenges leading up to a grand finale multi-table tournament, generally with a guaranteed six-figure pot.
Challenge games require you to meet certain milestones to earn entry into the tournament. For instance, you could gain entry into the 20,000 Sweeps Coin Guaranteed Ringle Bells ring game challenge by playing 5,000 ring game hands in the month leading up to the event.
In additional to special events, Global Poker’s regularly scheduled daily and weekly tournaments feature pretty decent guaranteed pots. One weekly Sunday Scrimmage tournament with a guaranteed pot of 55,000 Sweeps Coins saw a player win more than 12,000 Sweeps Coins in December 2020.
Global Poker holds regular, if not daily, Sweeps Coin giveaway contests for anywhere from five Sweeps Coins up to 350 Sweeps Coins on its Facebook page. Look for Gold Coin package discounts on social media, as well.
There’s also a daily bonus that will give you free currency (Gold and Sweeps) just for logging in to your account once a day. Finally, if you mail a letter to Global Poker to request free Sweeps Coins — and follow the procedure exactly (see site rules for requests) — Global will credit five Sweeps Coins to your account, up to once every five business days.
Sign up for a new Global Poker account and qualify for a two-part welcome bonus. Just use one of the links here to visit the site when you’re ready to register; no promo code is necessary.
First, you’ll get a $20 value Gold Coin package for free just for signing up. The package has 100,000 Gold Coins and 20 free Sweeps Coins. When you’re ready to get serious, you’ll receive a boost on your first purchase of Gold Coins (along with free Sweeps Coins). For just $20, you’ll get a $40 Gold Coin package, 200,000 Gold Coins and 40 free Sweeps Coins.
No top-ranking sweepstakes casino list would be complete without Virtual Gaming World’s Chumba Casino and LuckyLand Slots. Chumba has been around since 2012 and LuckyLand, although more recent, features top-of-the-line games and graphics.
While VGW’s patented sweepstakes-based business model definitely led the way for other operators, more recent sites have come up with their own take on the form. Woopla Inc.’s Funzpoints Casino features a solid library of games and two ways to win cash prizes.
Funzpoints Casino not only offers cash prizes for winning slots games for sweepstakes currency stakes, but also holds a lottery-type jackpot drawing every day. The winning pot of $350 is split among multiple winners.
Just like sweeps currency, or as it’s called on this site, Premium funzpoints, jackpot entry tickets aren’t available for you to purchase; the casino gives them away for free. You can win tickets by spinning the FunzWheel every three hours.
The FunzWheel is a prize wheel that gives you a guaranteed prize of play money, which Woopla Inc. calls Standard funzpoints, and a chance to win jackpot draw tickets. You can also win entry tickets just by playing games. Every time you spin a win on a Funzpoints slot, the casino adds points to your total. When you reach a certain number, you’ll get another entry ticket. Your progress is visible at the top of the screen.
As you’re earning points for drawing entry tickets, you’re also earning points to play two types of bonus games with guaranteed prizes, including entry tickets. The FunZone and boosters are mini side games that will pop up in a new window when you earn the points to trigger them.
Points also help you climb the loyalty program tiers to receive discounts on purchases of Standard funzpoints with free Premium funzpoints thrown in.
Most importantly, points help you level up. As you level up, additional games will unlock and become available to play. This only applies when you’re playing with free Standard funzpoints. If you’re playing with Premium funzpoints or Standard funzpoints that you paid for, all games are unlocked.
To welcome new players to the site, Woopla Inc. will give you $2.50 worth of Premium funzpoints to try all games out for free in Premium mode. That translates to 250 Premium funzpoints, so you’ll be able to try most if not all of the site’s 20 or so games.
In addition, if you decide you’d like to buy more play money, Funzpoints will give you a 100% match up to $20 on your first purchase.
The regular $20 package comes with 4,000 Standard funzpoints and 2,000 Premium funzpoints, so you’ll get 8,000 Standard funzpoints and 4,000 Premium funzpoints if you buy that package.
As mentioned above, Chumba Casino has been around since 2012, and has built a loyal customer base of millions in that time. The site offers about 80 games, including casino slots and table games like roulette, video poker and blackjack.
While all games were originally developed in-house, Chumba recently began offering some titles from third-party software developers, including Reel Play and Golden Rock game studios.
New players will qualify for a sign-up bonus of 2,000,000 Gold Coins with 2 free Sweeps Coins just for registering. Then, you’ll get the $30 package for $10 on your first purchase. That comes with 3,000,000 Gold Coins and 30 free Sweeps Coins.
Also owned by VGW, LuckyLand Slots debuted in 2019. This site offers only in-house slots, but LuckyLand’s slots are fancier and offer more modern bells and whistles than the other two sites.
LuckyLand is tied in closely with Facebook, so you can expect lots of chances to bring your friends into the action. You can give a free spin to up to 50 of your Facebook friends every day, and vice versa.
You also can compete with your friends, and all site participants, in one or more of LuckyLand’s daily tournaments. To enter, just pick a participating game and start playing. A number of the top players on the leaderboard will share the prize pool at the end of the day.
LuckyLand will give you 7,777 Gold Coins and 10 free Sweeps Coins just for signing up. You’ll also get the $10 Gold Coin package for just $4.99 on first purchase, with 50,000 Gold Coins and another 10 free Sweeps Coins.
To join a sweepstakes casino, you must be 18 or older to sign up. Residents of Washington state are out of luck, though. The Evergreen State prohibits sweepstakes for-profit enterprises. Other than that, residents of any other state are welcome. Just use one of our links to visit the site in order to qualify for the welcome offer.
VGW sites will give you a small number of free Gold Coins and Sweeps Coins as a daily bonus for logging in to your account. In addition, the sites offer regular, if not daily, opportunities to win free Sweeps Coins on Facebook.
All sweepstakes sites will credit your account with free Sweeps Coins if you write and ask for them. Each site has its own mail-in request procedure, so be sure to read the rules.