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General Sweepstakes

Anyone who aspires to win may want to know more about the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes. Here are answers to some Frequently Asked Questions about the PCH Sweepstakes and more.

Did you know that there are differences between sweepstakes, lotteries, and contests? Find out all the details right here!

What is a Sweepstakes?

By definition, sweepstakes in the United States are advertisements or promotional devices by which items of value (prizes) are awarded to participating consumers by chance, with no purchase, consideration or entry fee required to enter or win.

Publishers Clearing House offers sweepstakes prizes. That’s why there’s never a purchase or fee necessary to enter and win a prize from PCH. Even our PCHlotto is a FREE sweepstakes opportunity.

What is a Lottery?

lottery is a promotional device that contains prizes, chance and consideration (a purchase or fee). Items of value (prizes) are awarded to members of the public by drawings (chance) but unlike Sweepstakes, lotteries require some form of payment or purchase (consideration) to participate. The most common examples, of course, are the local state lotteries in which consumers must purchase an entry ticket for a chance to win. Lotteries are illegal except when conducted by states and certain exempt charitable organizations. If you believe you have received a solicitation in the guise of a sweepstakes which is an illegal lottery (requiring you to pay to enter), you should contact your local Post Office or consumer protection office.

What is a Skill Contest?

Skill contests are different from sweepstakes offers. In a skill contest, the winner is determined by skill — not chance — and an entry fee or purchase may be required. There are many legitimate skill contests. For example, in a skill contest you may write a winning jingle, solve a puzzle, or answer a question correctly. Your skill or knowledge is what wins the contest, not chance. It is important to research how the contest works, what the prizes are, and what the fees are before paying anything to participate in a Skill Contest.

What is a Premium Offer?

Premiums are free gifts that companies make available to all recipients who respond according to the company’s instructions — for example, a travel bag received with a new magazine subscription. When everyone who responds to the offer receives the same gift item, without any element of chance, the offer is considered a Premium, not a sweepstakes.

What is a Giveaway?

At PCH giveaways are promotions that award prizes based on chance to entrants. Each giveaway has starting and ending dates, a planned number and amount of prizes offered, a winner selection methodology, eligibility requirements, a defined distribution of entries (such as geographic distribution, specific bulletins or groups, etc.) and an estimated odds of winning for each prize offered.

What is a Giveaway Number?

PCH assigns a Giveaway Number to each giveaway to identify it and help us keep track of it. The Giveaway Number functions as a name for each giveaway.

What is an entry deadline?

An entry deadline is the date by which an entry must be received in order to be eligible to win the prize offered in the promotion.

What’s the difference between an entry deadline and a giveaway ending date?

Every entry has a unique prize number that corresponds to the entrant and the promotion from which the entry came. The entry deadline is the date by which the prize number for an entry is due. Most prize promotions last for 4-8 weeks and have an entry deadline within that timeframe. Some of our giveaways last a year or more. The giveaway end date is the last day when any entry will be accepted for the giveaway before it closes for the final drawing.

How can a giveaway promote different prizes?

At the beginning of a giveaway, we plan the amount of prizes and their value. Throughout the life of the giveaway, we may show different types of prizes that could be purchased by or funded by the dollar amount being offered. For example, a giveaway offering a $20,000 prize could be promoted as $20,000 Cash or a New Pick Up Truck ($19,999 MSRP). We keep track of what prizes were offered in each different promotion. When a winner is selected, we will offer the prize promoted to the winning entry, as set forth in the Official Rules.

What is the difference between a Prize Number and a Giveaway Number?

A prize number is a 12-digit number assigned to an entrant and a prize promotion. A giveaway number identifies the prize promotional pool into which entries will be submitted. Throughout the life of a giveaway, you may submit many entries, and each one of them will have a new, unique prize number. But, the giveaway itself will always have the same number, because the number functions as its name.

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