Internet Sweepstakes – Software

Posted by on April 7, 2011

Internet Sweepstakes

Internet sweepstakes players will have different criteria for evaluation software than someone who would like to start a cafe.  In fact, many a cafe has died as a result of the owner ignoring player software preferences.  If players don’t find the games they love, they will go to another location.  That being said, both players and internet sweepstakes owners can benefit from the information presented in this article.

When I say “software,” what I mean is which software provider the owner of the internet sweepstakes is using.  There are many national internet sweepstakes software companies and the vast majority of owners team up with one of these companies so that they can offer their games at their cafe.  The owner and software company usually agree on what’s called a “split.”  Splits are negotiable, but usually range from 35-50% of net internet sweepstakes revenue.

Why Does Internet Sweepstakes Software Matter?

An internet sweepstakes can only offer whichever games are supported by it’s software provider.  If a player wants to play card games, for example, but their local cafe only offers arcade style games like balloon popping, then the player will probably either go somewhere else or not play at all.  This is disappointing for the player and catastrophic for the internet sweepstakes owner.

Software matters because if you don’t have happy customers, you don’t have a profitable internet sweepstakes.  Nobody wants to open a business that is not serving the needs of its customers, so you should understand how important software is before you open your internet sweepstakes.

What Kind of Internet Sweepstakes Software is Legal?

This depends on which state you live in, but sometimes even state agencies don’t know which types of internet sweepstakes software are legal.  That is because of how technical the software is and also because of how technical some of the laws are.  Also, there are many ongoing court cases surrounding internet sweepstakes.

Some of the most important factors in the legality of internet sweepstakes software are the following:

  • Is the game skill-based?  i.e. Can you pick cards or numbers?
  • Is your sweepstakes prize awarded immediately upon purchase?
  • Is your prize pre-revealed to you?
  • Is your prize instantly revealed to you?
  • Are your games card or number based?  (poker or keno?)

In some states, only a lawyer will be able to sort out which internet sweepstakes are legal.  Even some lawyers won’t be able to figure it out, especially in states where there are a lot of ongoing internet sweepstakes court cases.

Internet sweepstakes software

How to Choose Internet Sweepstakes Software?

First and foremost, you must listen to the players in your area before you choose a software company for your internet sweepstakes to work with.  Determine which games they prefer to play and use that as a starting point.  Only talk to companies that have the kinds of games your players would like to play.  Next, consider what kind of split you are being offered by the software company.  This is important, but remember that 100% of zero dollars is still zero!  For players, the only way to find the software that you like the most is to try out as many different internet sweepstakes as you can.

Can You Play Internet Sweepstakes from Home?

To my knowledge, it is not possible to play internet sweepstakes from your home computer.  You must visit a cafe to play.  Most cafes only accept cash, so it is possible that payment processing precludes an at home online version from emerging.  Also, cafes are considered illegal in many states and it would be difficult to only allow players from states where it is legal.  All of these factors combined cause you to be unable to play internet sweepstakes from home.

Who Can Help Me Find Internet Sweepstakes Software?

I can help you find internet sweepstakes software and also advise you on other aspects of opening a cafe.  It can be a difficult process and you can make expensive mistakes if you don’t get the right advice.  To learn more, email me at

It’s clear that your internet sweepstakes will succeed or fail based on which software company you partner with.  Do your homework and speak to an expert in order to get the best software for your internet sweepstakes.


Internet Sweepstakes – What is it

Posted by on April 3, 2011

Internet Sweepstakes Review

After I saw what seemed like the one millionth sign hanging from a strip mall, I decided once and for all that I was going to find out about internet sweepstakes.

Depending on which state you live in, you may have seen internet sweepstakes banners yourself.  You can see them hanging from strip malls, gas stations, or just about anywhere.  They are very common in many parts of the country.  In addition to seeing them when I was driving, I also heard about them on the news and read about them in the newspaper.  It seemed like they were pretty controversial.  I guess there’s just something about controversy that makes a person interested.  The next time I saw an internet sweepstakes, instead of driving by I parked my truck and went in.

What is Internet Sweepstakes

Internet sweepstakes is a contest that you are entered into when you buy internet or phone time.  There are many different variations on internet sweepstakes though.  Internet sweepstakes is usually played through machines that look like your home personal computer.  Some cafes, though, have retrofitted casino style standup machines.  Your experience will depend on the type of internet sweepstakes software, machines, and games that the cafe has.  Drinks and food are offered at some locations.  Sometimes internet sweepstakes machines are located at businesses like gas stations, bars, or copy and print shops.  Some cafes have casino style games.  Some have arcade style games.  Some have only games of chance and other have games of chance as well as games of skill.  Often they offer giveaways such as flat screen TV’s or other prizes.  Some allow you to redeem sweepstakes credits for cash and some don’t.

How Does Internet Sweepstakes Work?

When you buy internet time from an internet sweepstakes cafe, you are immediately entered into the sweepstakes.  In fact, your prize has already been determined.  The sweepstakes games are simply an entertaining way to reveal the prize that you win at the moment you buy your internet time.  Some internet sweepstakes games actually show you what you have won at the bottom of the screen throughout your entire session.  These games are called pre-reveal games and are meant to distinguish internet sweepstakes from a gambling experience.  Many players do not like these pre-reveal games.  Sometimes large cash prizes are won with internet sweepstakes.

Internet sweepstakes sign

Is Internet Sweepstakes Legal?

Internet Sweepstakes has a different legal status in each state and sometimes in individual counties within a state.  Many people feel that internet sweepstakes is basically a loophole to get around gambling laws.  Even so, state legislatures are having a tough time closing that loophole without outlawing more traditional sweepstakes like Monopoly at McDonalds or under the cap Coke sweepstakes.  In North Carolina, the state legislature has tried several times to make internet sweepstakes illegal.  Their latest attempt is currently tied up in court over the constitutionality of banning “entertaining displays.”  Nobody really knows if internet sweepstakes is legal in NC right now.  Internet sweepstakes seems to be legal in states like Florida, Ohio, Arkansas, and Georgia.

Can You Open Your Own Internet Sweepstakes?

Only certain states allow internet sweepstakes.  You should check with your an attorney in your state to see if it is legal in your state.  In states where the legal status is unclear, you should contact your county officials in addition to an attorney since they may have the most relevant information.  If you determine that it is legal to open an internet sweepstakes in your municipality, then the rest is quite straightforward.  You will have to rent a commercial space that is suited to internet sweepstakes.  Most strip mall units fit that criteria.  Once you have a place, you need to figure out which sweepstakes software company you will purchase your software and/or machines from.  This can be a confusing process and you should speak to an expert or do a lot of research.  Next, you need to get the relevant licenses and retrofit your space to hold the machines.  Often, you can just install countertops around some of the walls of the space.  I can help with this process.  Email me at if you are interested in opening an internet sweepstakes.

Obviously, internet sweepstakes causes different reactions in different people.  My advice is to stop into a cafe and try it yourself to see whether internet sweepstakes is your cup of tea.