Don’t Get Disqualified! Read the Official Rules

You can learn everything you need to know about a sweepstakes from the official rules.  Reading the official rules helps keep you from getting disqualified.  The first thing you should see at the top of the official sweepstakes rules in that no purchase is necessary to enter.  Legitimate sweepstakes never charge a fee or collect money.  Once you feel confident it is legitimate, you can continue reading and find out these things:

  • Sweepstakes Sponsor
  • Entry Start and End Dates
  • Drawing Date
  • Eligibility – This is an important one.  It will tell you how old you need to be to enter and if there is anything that would disqualify you.  For instance, some sweepstakes are open to everyone over 18.  Others are open to people who only live in certain states, those who live near a sponsor’s store, those who live in specified television viewing areas, etc.  It is good to know if you are eligible to enter so that you don’t waste your time on sweepstakes that will disregard your entries.
  • How to Enter
  • Entry Limit – Another important one.  This will tell you whether you can enter once only or daily, weekly, or monthly.  It will tell you if you can enter once per day or once every 24 hours.  Sometimes if you enter more than you are allowed the sweepstakes sponsor will simply throw out the additional entries.  However, other times it will disqualify all your entries, so be careful.
  • Bonus entries – If the contest allows bonus entries it will tell you how to obtain these.
  • Prizes – The rules will state all the prizes, how many of each are given away, and your odds of winning.  There also may be limits on how many prizes you can win such as one instant prize and one grand prize.

While these are the basics, there is a lot more information in the official rules.  So if you have a question about a sweepstakes, this is a good place to start to learn more information.

(Note: Sometimes a sweepstakes sponsor will post an FAQ on their sweepstakes site that covers some of the basic rules of their contest.  Also, free websites that list sweepstakes for you to enter sometimes have a summary of the important rules with each listing.  While these are helpful, you’ll still want to double-check the official rules for accuracy and complete information.)


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