Essentially, sweepstakes and contests are entirely different things. The main difference is that sweepstakes are games of chance while contests are games of skill. Granted, a sweepstakes event is easily one of the best marketing ideas you can use. However, you’re more likely to target the right audience for your brand with a contest that requires them to really engage. If you really want to inject a sense of challenge into your marketing efforts—most especially, if you want to cater to a target market—then the Canadian style of sweepstakes might be a good idea for contests.
Canadians Do Sweepstakes with Flair
Did you know that in Canada, sweepstakes typically include skill-testing questions? That’s because apart from provincial lotteries and casinos, Canadian contest law bans all games of chance. As such, contest officials above the 49th parallel require sweepstakes participants to answer a tricky question to increase their chances of winning—thus, ruling out the contest as a “game of chance”.
Canadian sweepstakes law, unlike American law, requires that the third component, “winners are chosen by luck,” is removed. Sponsors cannot use pure luck to determine who wins a sweepstake. There must be at least some element of skill involved.
In order remove the element of pure chance, sponsors narrow the field of potential winners by requiring a skill testing question to enter their contests. Every entrant does not have the same chance to win; only those who at least pass the skill testing question are eligible to win prizes. Of course, this is only a technicality. Most people can pass the skill testing questions without difficulty, although sponsors are required to make the test somewhat challenging.
The Argument Versus Sweepstakes
Sweepstakes and similar games have earned a generally negative reputation for having very low odds of winning. People today are more aware that although it appears that their chance of winning is very high, it’s actually very low. It could be less than 1 in 1 million. Meanwhile, the chance of winning a contest can be as good as 1 in 4.
Therefore, there’s much to learn from the Canadian strategy of running sweepstakes-style games. It ensures that the chances of winning is determined initially by skill before it is influenced by luck. For these types of competitions, craft contest ideas properly, and execute them with the help of trusted contest management firms like Skild, Inc. so your investment would be totally worth it.
(Source: Why Do Canadian Sweepstakes Ask Skill Testing Questions?, About.com)