Sweepstakes casinos have found a portion of the market and turned it into a legitimate area of digital casino gaming. There are critical differences between sweepstakes and traditional digital casinos, which we will look at today. There is also a variety of opinions, ranging from those of casual punters to casino experts and analysts with vast knowledge of the industry. As with any sector, expert opinion carries more weight than that of casual gamers or viewers, but there are still valuable insights to be had from all levels of the industry.
Traditional online casinos vs sweepstakes casinos
If you haven't used a sweepstakes casino before, you might approach them with apprehension or uncertainty. A sweepstakes casino allows you to play with various in-game currencies. Some might be advertised as coins, others as tokens or as in-game currency that operates like cash but can only be used on the sweepstakes site. Suppose you want to play roulette or slots, or card-based casino games like baccarat, blackjack or poker. In that case, the only difference you will encounter at a sweepstakes casino is that you can play without spending any of your own money.
What do the professionals say?
For those experts who have kept a keen eye on the growth of online gambling since it began to gather momentum at the beginning of the century, sweepstakes casinos are a unique angle to an incredibly successful, multibillion-dollar industry. Caleb Tallman has written a whole section about sweepstakes, and he had this to state about sweepstakes casinos:
"Casino gamers and fellow experts understand that there is a necessary avenue for sweepstakes casinos. Regardless of the success of the main casino industry, there will always be players who simply want to experience the games for what they offer at a base level without having to bet with actual cash. So long as this appetite is there, sweepstakes casinos will be able to flourish and offer a viable alternative for those wishing to play and not have to worry about it hitting them in the pocket."
Across the board, many experts echo the sentiments of Caleb Tallman. Suppose you look at the impact sweepstakes casinos have made in the US. In that case, they bridge the gap incredibly well for those gamers who don't wish to lose money and want to fine-tune their casino gaming skills before they step into a real money casino. Sweepstakes poker is one area that professionals have been waxing lyrical about because it is the only casino game where you can actively improve your skills through experience, and having an avenue where you can do that without placing a bet has caused many experts to salute the practical use and advantages that sweepstakes poker casinos have to offer.
Key positives cited by experts
So long as a sweepstakes casino can appeal to millions of people and falls within the legislative remit of where they operate, that proves they have their own position within the market. While some casino gamers might have their reasons why they prefer sweepstakes casinos, the main positive variables are:
Although online casinos are incredibly secure, and many of the prominent names in the sector will spend millions of dollars to strengthen the security of their service, sweepstakes casinos don't require you to provide financial or personal information. You can log in to sweepstakes casinos and won't have to worry about your PayPal, credit card or bank account information being stored on their servers. For this reason, cybercriminals don't generally target sweepstakes casinos, so they're an even more secure version of many traditional operators.
Professionals cite this as one of the many reasons that sweepstakes casinos have started to gain popularity. Security and convenience are two of the most essential components of any online casino experience, so the fact that sweepstakes casinos are renowned for their safety is a huge benefit.
Less pressure to win
Although you should only ever gamble at a traditional online casino with money you can afford to lose, the beauty of a sweepstakes casino is that you don't have to be worried about losing money or spending too much time playing sweepstakes games.
There's also less of an onus to watch how much you spend because you're using essentially worthless in-game currencies like coins or tokens, so there's less pressure to win and you can just sit back and play your casino games. If it's games like poker, in particular, you can take advantage of the fact there's far less pressure at a sweepstakes casino, and hone your poker-playing ability and overall knowledge of the game.
While some professionals disagree with this standpoint and state that there needs to be healthy competition to get the most out of players, the most important thing before you reach that stage is to learn how to play the game, and a sweepstakes casino is the best avenue for a lot of gamers in building an adequate understanding.
Fine-tune skills without having to worry about losing money
Although some poker enthusiasts would argue that a large part of poker is gambling with your pot and using it to your advantage, the 21st century world of gambling is a different beast compared to what existed before the internet transformed the industry. Land-based casino poker is different from online, virtual and sweepstakes versions, but there is room for all to co-exist amicably. However, professionals understand how important it is to consistently gain experience, especially in poker, where knowledge, skill and strategy entwine with each other and often create a much better all-round player.
Setting up time and deposit limits and gambling responsibly
While sitting and playing sweepstakes games all day is not a great idea, it's a solid move to strike a balance and allocate a certain amount of time to this activity. So long as you can stick to this allocated timeframe and you're able to manage your coins and gamble within a reasonable limit, you should be able to implement this in the live casino realm.
Developing responsible gambling habits will invariably stand you in good stead moving forward, so implementing it as you play sweepstakes casinos isn't bad advice. Although the emphasis is nowhere near as strong, given that there's not much at stake, you can set these best practices in motion and you will be able to transition them across your range of casino gaming.
If you believe you or your friends or family might be developing a gambling issue, it is always best to reach out and seek advice from a professional or a local support group. Some red flags to look out for include mood swings, a lack of money, or viewing gambling as a source of income or a job. If you tick any of these boxes, seek help so your problem doesn't potentially worsen.
Opinion within the wider industry
The term "professional" doesn't just cover professional poker players. Although they have a worthwhile insight and allow a glimpse into how big names within the industry feel about the emergence of sweepstakes poker and casino gaming, there are other professionals within the industry whose opinion is often sought out when these games are designed and the websites are developed.
Traditional casino operators might be accused of having a conflict of interest. If they're too complimentary about sweepstakes casinos, they may run the risk of driving their clientele into the arms of the competition. Likewise, they don't want to come across as too negative, either, as it might come off as jealous and have the same effect.
Some casinos have stretched across the divide and operate sweepstakes and traditional online casinos under two different sites, which lets them advertise the quality of their gaming but allows people to use in-game coins and tokens, which is a clever marketing tool. Initially, only a few companies within the sector followed this approach but as the number of people looking to play at sweepstakes casinos continues to rise, this practice is growing within the industry.
Sweepstakes casinos will often contain more adverts and in-game sponsorships, as they cannot generate the same revenue as traditional online casinos for obvious reasons. While some professionals and gamers cite this as a negative, the vast majority understand it is necessary to keep offering a service whereby they cannot profit from the table or house edge in the same way a traditional provider can.
In conclusion, we'd say that professionals view the emergence of sweepstakes casinos favorably. Since they are tools that millions of people use annually and are something that professionals will use to sharpen their skills without having to spend any cash, they have earned their place alongside many of their more established and widely-known counterparts.
As the paradigm and rhetoric shift toward ways people can gamble with less risk, sweepstakes casinos are in a unique market position and have the respect of bettors and professionals who will seek out their services when they're looking to have a game of poker or blackjack but do not want to risk the financial implications of a losing streak.