The Importance of Rules When it Comes to Sweepstakes

So, what exactly is a sweepstake? A sweepstake, also referred to as a “giveaway” or “promotional drawing” is where a person enters to win a prize based on chance. There is no purchase, payment, or other considerations (exchange of value). Sweepstakes are different in comparison to a contest and the lottery. In a sweepstake it is all about chance and the winner is chosen at random, whereas a contest takes some sort of effort or skill for the winner to be chosen and the lottery requires a purchase for a chance to win.

Know the Difference: Sweepstakes vs Contests vs Lotteries

If done correctly, sweepstakes, contests, and lotteries are all useful mechanisms to promote a business. Knowing the differences between the three will allow a business to choose which is best for them and what they are trying to achieve from it. Sweepstakes and contests are both promotional campaigns and are used most frequently for marketing campaigns in comparison to lotteries. Unlike sweepstakes and contests, lotteries require a purchase from the contestant. Lotteries are heavily regulated and normally only legal if ran by the government; it is illegal under the state of law to run any private lotteries. So, be smart and follow by the rules if you want to avoid any legal issues. The winner for both sweepstakes and lotteries, are chosen at random, so when entering in a sweepstake or lottery you’re entering for a chance to win. Contests on the other hand, winners are chosen or judged based on the effort and/or skill required for that particular contest. Overall, whether you choose to promote a sweepstake, contest, or lottery for your business, it is important to understand and acknowledge the rules and guidelines that come with each.

To Do:

  • Work on official rules with your legal counsel.
  • Have official start and end dates.
  • Be clear what jurisdictions are allowed.
  • Outline method of selecting winner.
  • Get permission to use in publicity.
  • If using User Generated Content (UGC), get permission to use photos or content.
  • Publish the rules on a link that can be used in your social posts.

HGTV Dream Home 2022

Can view full photo gallery on HGTV website.


Does HGTV Dream Home Sweepstakes Follow by the Rules?

When it comes to contests and sweepstakes, many people wonder if they are being scammed or if it is worth it to even enter in the first place. The most commonly asked question is ”Do people actually win?” and the answer is YES! People win contests and sweepstakes all the time, some wins that are even life-changing like money, a new car, or in this particular case, a new home. With that being said, in order for a contest or sweepstake to be legitimate, it all comes down to the rules. Luckily for HGTV Dream Home Sweepstakes, they know how to follow by the rules!

HGTV publishes their rules for the Dream Home campaign on their website under HGTV Dream Home 2022 Sweepstake Rules.

The HGTV Sweepstake Rules Include important components of a good “official rules” outline for a social media campaign:

  • How to Enter: “You may enter the HGTV (“HGTV”) Dream Home 2022 Giveaway (the “Promotion”) online by visiting the HGTV® website (https://www.hgtv.com/sweepstakes/hgtv-dream-home/sweepstakes) or the Food Network® website (https://www.foodnetwork.com/sponsored/sweepstakes/hgtv-dream-home-sweepstakes)”
  • Eligibility: “This Promotion is open only to legal residents of the 50 United States and D.C., including territories, possessions, and commonwealths, who are 21 years of age or older as of the Promotion start date.”
  • Privacy: “In connection with the Promotion entry process, Sponsor will be collecting personal data about entrants on the Websites in accordance with its privacy policy. Please review Sponsor’s privacy policy located at: https://corporate.discovery.com/privacy-policy.”
  • Publicity Grant: “Except where prohibited, participation in the Promotion constitutes your consent to Promotion Entities’ use of your name, photograph, likeness, statements, biographical information, voice, entry, and/or state of residence for promotional and advertising purposes in any and all media, now or hereafter devised, worldwide in perpetuity, without further payment or consideration, notification or permission.”
  • How Winner will be Determined: “One (1) potential Grand Prize Winner (the “Grand Prize Winner”) will be selected in a random drawing from among all eligible entries received during the Promotion Period on approximately February 22, 2022, and will be contacted by phone or email.”
  • Rules that would disqualify an entry: “If, in the Sponsor’s opinion, there is any suspected or actual evidence of electronic or non-electronic tampering with any portion of the Promotion, or if computer virus, bugs, unauthorized intervention, fraud, or technical difficulties or other failures compromise, corrupt, or affect the administration, integrity, security, fairness, or proper conduct of the Promotion, the Sponsor reserves the right at its sole discretion to disqualify any individual who tampers with the entry process and void any entries submitted fraudulently, to modify, suspend, or terminate the Promotion, or to conduct a random drawing to award the prizes using all eligible, non-suspect entries received as of the termination date or as otherwise deemed fair and appropriate by Sponsor.”
  • Identification of the Prize: “One (1) Grand Prize Winner will receive the following: (i) one (1) home located in Warren, Vermont (the “HGTV Dream Home 2022”) that is featured on the Websites (including home furnishings, fixtures, artwork, and merchandise) (approximate retail value (“ARV”): $2,120,257); (ii) an All New 2022 Jeep® Grand Wagoneer™ (the “Vehicle Prize”) (ARV: $111,370), and (iii) Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Dollars ($250,000) presented in the form of a check.”
  • How the winner will be announced: “Beginning on or about March 17, 2022, you may obtain the name of the Grand Prize Winner by going to the Websites.”

Why is it Important?

It is important that any contest or sweepstake has rules and guidelines, so they don’t run into any legal issues and the risk of being sued. The way a brand advertises their contest sweepstakes plays a major role in promoting their product and services. It can be a valuable tool for businesses when used appropriately and there are published rules to follow along with it. It is important for the business to be aware of the rule requirements and obligations when it comes to running a sweepstakes contest. It’s also important to note that each social platform (Facebook, Instagram, etc.) have different rules and regulations to follow by. They’re not all the same, so it is important to be aware of not only the rules and guidelines of contests and sweepstakes, but the social platform you plan to promote on as well. ShortStack also has helpful guidelines about how to run social media contests without breaking rules. A brand who runs an official sweepstake is one that follows by the rules.


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Published by Rachel King

Marketing student at Coastal Carolina University.

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