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What happens when you win?

Dear Mr. Sweepy,

What happens if I win a sweepstakes? How will I know?


Dear JM,

Nothing beats that moment when the UPS or FedEx truck pulls up outside your house, and the deliveryman hands you an envelope that is the ticket to your dreams! It doesn’t matter if the prize is as big as a car or as small as a DVD. It’s as if all the stars are smiling on you.

If you win a grand prize, what will most likely be inside that overnight envelope is an affidavit. (Some hardcore sweepers call it the “affy.”) The company giving away the prize wants to be sure you are the actual winner and you will be asked to provide indentifying information about yourself.

Your job is to fill it out according to the instructions. Usually that includes having your signature notarized – signing it in front of a notary. Your bank is the most likely place to find a notary easily.

Once you mail it back. You’ll soon either be receiving your prize, or if it’s a big one like a truck, negotiating for the details of delivering your prize!

Note too that you’ll also be receiving a 1099 reporting the value of your prize for income tax purposes.

Be aware that lots of sweepstakes notify their winners through e-mails – so it pays not to delete all those e-mails too quickly. You might want to check your spam folder too, depending on how good your spam filter is.

Membership is free at

Craig McDaniel, aka Mr. Sweepy is the creator and owner of

Does it matter if some state’s residents can’t ent...

Dear Mr. Sweepy,

Sometimes I see that I can’t enter if I live in a specific state. What’s that all about and how important is it?


Dear KJ,

One of the biggest factors in winning sweepstakes concerns the rules about who is eligible to enter. So if you live in Texas and the contest says you can’t enter that sweepstakes if you live there, your entry will be thrown out.

Laws vary by state, so some sponsors choose not to operate a sweepstakes in every state. If you look at Census figures for the population of the United States, you can see that a sweepstakes that is not offered in New York and Florida increases the odds of entrants in other states by approximately 12 percent.

There are other rules that can influence your odds. Age will come into play many times.
For example if the prize is a trip to a Las Vegas casino, sweepstakes will typically have a minimum age of 21 entrants. If you are an adult and you see a sweep that allows 13 to 18 year olds to enter, then your odds of wining are reduced by the extra competition.

But you might want to take my attitude. I play by the rules and base my personal odds on the number of sweeps I enter in a year. This helps explain why I have won so much. Read the rules to understand which sweeps give you the best odds of winning, and you too can help yourself win!

Playing by the rules is easy at

Craig McDaniel, aka Mr. Sweepy is the creator and owner of

Please, explain odds to me!

Dear Mr. Sweepy,

I don’t understand odds at all. Can you explain them to me?


Dear ES,

The “odds” are usually a numerical expression of your chances of winning a particular sweepstakes. Assuming the contest is a simple drawing and doesn’t require you to write a jingle or do something else where your performance will be judged, if you’re the only one entering your chances of winning are 100 percent; if two people enter, your chances are 50 percent. That’s why you see the sentence “Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received” so often. The more eligible people who enter the smaller the odds are that you will win.

You might want to adopt my view. I consider the odds of winning a big grand prize not by any individual sweepstake but by the number of contests I enter over a course of a full year.

Why? If I enter 1,000 sweepstakes in a year and the average number of entries in each is 25,000, then my odds of winning would be 1 in 25. Since I read the rules closely and pick contests carefully, I can lower my odds of winning a grand prize down to 1 in 23 or 1 in 24. This helps explain why I have won so much. Read the rules to understand which sweeps give you the best odds of winning, and you too can help yourself win!

Rules are easy to find when you use www.SweepstakesToday to find the contests you want to enter.

Craig McDaniel, aka Mr. Sweepy is the creator and owner of

How will they use my personal information?

Dr. Mr. Sweepy,

It seems every sweepstakes wants my email address and my phone number. I don’t want a lot of spam or a bunch of telemarketers calling me. What should I do?


Dear MC,

You’re not the only one who has asked about how the companies will use your information. Simply put, it’s been my experience that reputable sweepstakes sponsors will guard lists of potential customers to keep them away from their competitors.

When it comes to phone calls, I can honestly tell you that in all my time entering sweepstakes, I’ve only ever gotten one solicitation telephone call that I could link to a sweepstakes. I think a lot of sponsors see the value of maintaining good relations with potential future customers. And remember – sometimes you’ll be getting a call to tell you that you’ve won!

It’s easy and fun to enter sweepstakes at

Craig McDaniel, aka Mr. Sweepy is the creator and owner of

Should I use my personal email account?

Dear Mr. Sweepy,

I want to start trying to win some prizes but I wonder if I should use my personal email account. What do you suggest?


Dear LC,

One of the first things you’ll want to do when you enter sweepstakes is set up your own special sweepstakes e-mail account. This is a way to keep track of all your sweepstakes related email, and make sure it doesn’t lost amid the messages you from Uncle Ernie or your daughter at college.

The easiest way to do this is to set up a free e-mail account using Yahoo or Hotmail. Ideally you’ll use this email only for entering contests, and you’ll use this email for every sweepstakes you enter.

Keep the name portion as short as you can and make sure it’s something you can remember easily.

If you enter a lot of contests you’ll end up getting quite a bit of email, so you may want to set up folders to help sort it out.

It’s easy to enter sweep contests at

Craig McDaniel, aka Mr. Sweepy is the creator and owner of

Why do they give away great stuff?

Dear Mr. Sweepy, Why in the world would a company give away a car or a flat screen TV or other valuable prize in a sweepstakes? It makes no sense to me. AW

Dear AW,

When you fill out the sweepstakes form to enter you’re actually trading your information for a chance to win. The company figures that if you’re interested in winning that computer or that iPod or other great prize you’re probably also interested in buying it.

They know that information you provide is valuable and will begin sending you marketing information.

You are, in effect, trading your information in hopes you’ll win the prize.

Now, as far as I’m concerned, the information I traded for my truck, for example, was well worth it.

Given how many companies run sweepstakes over and over again it’s a strategy that obviously works for them.


Craig McDaniel, aka Mr. Sweepy is the creator and owner of