These are confusing times for bettors across the US who enjoy playing slots and other casino style games. Some states allow online casinos to operate, but right now, they’re few and far between.
Sweepstakes casinos are different in that they don’t accept any real money gameplay – you can experience all the fun of an online casino, but without putting any of your bankroll on the line. Playing for free could even lead to real prizes, and in this guide we’ll be setting out the legal situation for US players.
Most US gaming fans have become familiar with the concept of social casinos, where gameplay is always free and just for fun. Social casinos first came to public attention through social media channels, with players joining together in fun communities to play games – usually based around slots and scratchers. Over time, a new breed of social casino has become available, offering the full suite of online casino games, including Roulette, Blackjack and Baccarat. Visitors to Stake.us can even play live dealer games without ever putting themselves at any financial risk.
You can’t deposit and withdraw funds at a social casino, so Gold Coins are used in place of real money. They’re not really gold, and they’re definitely not coins in any meaningful sense of the word. Gold Coins is just a convenient name for free-to-play virtual tokens that unlock games on the operator’s website.
There’s always an initial welcome bonus of Gold Coins so that players can start exploring free slots and casino games straight away. More Gold Coins are available in a number of ways that vary according to each operator, but usually include:
There’s usually an option to buy packages of Gold Coins too, although it’s not compulsory. There are usually plenty of free Gold Coins readily available, but the ability to buy more suits players looking for an extended gaming session.
Sweepstakes casinos are a type of social gaming site offering an alternative mode of gameplay. Switch to playing with free Sweepstakes Coins and there’s the possibility of claiming some real rewards, including exclusive merchandise, gift cards and even real cash transferred straight to your bank account.
Sweepstakes Coins are free promotional tokens issued by an operator, and the important thing to note about them is that you can’t buy more. Some sweepstakes casinos include free Sweepstakes Coins along with special Gold Coins packages, but they’re not allowed to discriminate against anyone who wants to keep playing without making a purchase. So it’s always possible to send off postal requests for free Sweepstakes Coins, which sometimes require the inclusion of a special code, generated from within the player’s account settings.
Social casinos that only offer Gold Coin gameplay are completely legal throughout the US, as no real money gambling ever takes place and there are no prizes on offer. Once you introduce a sweepstakes element into the equation, it’s a slightly different story. Although Sweepstakes Coins are 100% free, the fact that they can eventually be redeemed for real prizes puts a slightly different spin on the legal aspect – at least as far as Washington is concerned.
The Evergreen State has the strictest rules governing sweepstakes games, so all sweepstakes casinos are out of bounds to its residents. The only exception is Golden Hearts Games, which offers gameplay based on making a donation to your favorite IRS-approved charitable organization. That’s good news for fans of bingo and instant win games, but it’s not much help if you want access to a broad catalog of slots and table games.
It’s only really Washington that won’t allow its residents to sign up and play games at sweepstakes casinos, but that doesn’t mean you can register with any operator that catches your eye. Individual states pick and choose the operators that they’ll allow on a case-by-case basis, which is why a look at the site’s sweepstakes rules is a no brainer.
You don’t have to take in everything that’s detailed in the fine print, although we think it’s always worth doing if you can. Any restricted states are usually listed quite early on, and some sweepstakes casinos include this information on their registration page too. Where geolocation software is used to establish exactly where a player happens to be, this information is easily accessible, and it’s becoming more widespread, which can only be good news for gaming fans.
One of the brightest lights in the sweepstakes casino universe right now is Stake.us, which aims to perfectly replicate the real money online casino experience – but without the bankroll. And it’s also the perfect example of the diversity to expect when it comes to individual state sweepstake regulations.
Players throughout the length and breadth of the US can legally register and play games at Stake.us, unless they live in any of the following states:
Stake.us is probably at the more extreme end of state restrictions, although it’s not altogether clear exactly why that’s the case. Perhaps it’s down to the sheer diversity of the games that can be played, which encompass everything you’d expect to find at a retail casino, plus a few extra surprises.
Some of the earliest social casinos were entirely based around slot games – and generic ones at that. Serious slot fans tended to steer clear, as these were usually low-quality games with few interesting features. But within just a few years the picture had changed significantly. As social and sweepstakes gameplay has become increasingly popular, operators have raised their game and started forging partnerships with big industry names.
Stake.us proudly boasts an expanding slots collection packed with hundreds of top-quality games from Pragmatic Play, Hacksaw Gaming and Kalamba, amongst others. Players can explore The Dog House, Big Bass Bonanza and Haunted Circus, and even try out some cutting-edge slots from Stake Originals – which can’t be found at any retail casinos.
Many social casino fans simply can’t believe that Stake.us offers the chance to play free live dealer games. You can chat with the dealers, and with other players too, making this the nearest approximation to a trip to Las Vegas that you could hope for – and better still, the games are all free to play.
Most casino fans don’t ever get to experience what it’s like to be a VIP player, but Stake.us aims to make it possible for everyone who signs up. There’s an inclusive VIP program which awards points for playing games – the more you play, the higher you climb. There are rakeback bonuses, weekly and monthly boosts and even a personal account manager at the higher levels. Everyone receives regular promotions and bonuses to keep the fun going, with bigger and better rewards for moving up to a new level.
Stake.us believes in standing out from the crowd, so it’s come up with a new name for its Sweepstakes Coins. They’re known as Stake Cash, which not only reinforces the branding, but gives a nod to the potential rewards that can be claimed. Stake Cash can’t be purchased, but once played through at least three times, these virtual Coins can be redeemed for prizes that include gift cards and exclusive merchandise.
We love playing online games here at TradersBest, but we also put a high value on safety and security. Sweepstakes casinos may be legal in almost all states, but just because you’ll be playing with virtual tokens it doesn’t mean you can afford to let your guard down. So here are our five top tips to help you make the most of every free gaming session.
We devote a huge amount of time to checking through every social and sweepstake casino, so that we can be certain of bringing you the all-important facts. We dig deep under the hood to study the Coins, the payment options and the level of customer support you can expect to encounter on your sweepstakes journey.
We also read through the fine print, bringing you information about any restricted states. That saves you from the disappointment of preparing to play some of your favorite games for free, only to find it’s not permitted where you live. You’ll be able to pinpoint the operators that are legal in your state, saving you time that could be better spent on gaming.
If you want even more insights into the online gaming experience you can expect from a sweepstakes casino, check out what other players are saying on review sites. Bear in mind that some people have a jaded opinion based on how well they did, so you might have to exercise some caution over what to believe, but this is still a good way of building up a general picture of your preferred operator.
We all have our favorite games, whether that’s classic slots, Megaways, progressive jackpots, Video Poker or traditional table games such as Blackjack and Baccarat. And whatever you like to play, you can be certain that there’s a sweepstakes casino offering you all the free games you dream of.
You may love playing five-reel slots right now, but it’s worth thinking ahead too. Over at Stake.us. for example, you’ll have access to live dealer tables and immersive Stake Original games, including Plinko, Dice and Crash. They’re all free – with the possibility of redeeming your Stake Cash for real rewards.
Every sweepstakes casino provides some sort of welcome bonus offer, with free Coins to start you on your journey. No matter how generous the welcome bonus, those Gold Coins and Sweepstakes Coins won’t last forever, and sooner or later you’ll be needing more. Look for ways of claiming free Coins, so you know what bonuses and offers to expect. It’s also worth checking out any bonus terms, such as time limits and Sweepstakes Coins playthrough requirements, so you have the full picture from the outset.
As you register at any sweepstake casino, you’ll be required to check a box to confirm that you’ve read the ts and cs. Here at TradersBest, we strongly recommend that you take a look through them, no matter how boring it might seem – these pages are full of useful information, including restricted states and minimum age requirements. If there’s ever anything you’re not sure of, the customer support team will be more than happy to explain it to you, so never be afraid to reach out for clarification.
As we’ve explained during the course of this guide, sweepstakes casinos are a bit of a gray area so far as some states are concerned. Where gameplay is only conducted using Gold Coins, with no possibility of claiming any real-life rewards, there are no restrictions. Introduce Sweepstakes Coins, which can be played through and then redeemed for real prizes, and the picture is slightly different.
Although Washington places the most restrictions on sweepstakes games, other states tend to adopt more of a pick and mix approach. Here at TradersBest, we strongly recommend you take the time to check out whether your state is excluded in any sweepstake casino rules and terms, to avoid the disappointment of not being allowed to redeem your Sweepstakes Coins winnings. Provided that you can play where you live, you can claim your welcome bonus – remembering to check for any exclusive promo codes – and start playing.
Come and check out our reviews and guides at TradersBest, which tell you all about sweepstakes casinos, from how they work to the variety of games on offer. Gameplay is free, but there could be some real prizes available. Find out what that means in legal terms for US players, and we’ll help you find an operator that’s legal in your state.
Online casinos are only legal in a handful of states, but it’s a different story when it comes to free social gaming. Here at TradersBest, we’ve put together a useful guide to explain what a sweepstakes casino is and who can legally sign up, play casino games and possibly claim some real rewards along the way. Check out what’s legal in your state, and discover whether online slots and table games are available where you live.
Here at TradersBest, we don’t believe any social casino could fit the needs of all players, but we know there’s an option out there suitable for everyone. Sweepstakes casinos aren’t allowed to operate everywhere without restrictions, so come and find out what is and isn’t available in your state.
Playing with virtual Coins isn’t gambling, so a sweepstakes casino doesn’t need a license. Data security still needs to take center stage though, and it’s important to only sign up to safe and reputable sites. Come and check out what’s legal where you live – our TradersBest experts always know the best places for playing social games with the potential for real world prizes. We’ve often got some exclusive promo codes to share too, so you won’t want to miss out.
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