Sweepstake is a word with many shades of meaning, looking at the word, one can think
- “sweep” as to collect everything together for removal and
- “stake” as in the financial amount someone contributes to something
This actually ties in with the basic dictionary meaning of – “all the stakes are divided amongst the winners”. It is said that the word came into being along with betting on horse races and it does still carry a gambling connotation although the word “lottery” has become almost a synonym for sweepstake.
Major corporations producing consumer items for the food and beverage market have used free sweepstake entries along with each product purchased as a way to increase their sales. But, this is somewhat out of favor because of the lack of skill needed by the entrant, the need to make a purchase before entering and possible association with gambling. However, the concept does still survive, particularly in publishing.
Everything Is Going Digital These Days
Sweepstakes have not escaped the digital revolution and, in fact, may be regaining popularity and flourishing from being digitalised. This is where the sweepstake cafe comes in – not as a café to visit to and get sweepstake entries in return for buying food or drink but in the digital sense of an internet café. However, when you visit one, it is unlikely that you will be simply buying internet time to visit one of the on line casinos and play virtual slot machines or card games like poker (let alone betting on actual sports events or horse races).
It is more likely that you will be buying internet time and will receive a number of sweepstake entries directly linked to the amount of time you have purchased. You then use this time to play a selection of online games that require a certain amount of skill.
A Sweepstake Café may also be known as a sweepstake parlor and both serve more or less the same function. In some, the sweepstake entries may be given in return for the purchase of pre-paid telephone cards. These digitalized forms of sweepstakes have also integrated with a special type of ATM machine known as an Electronic Transaction Machine (ETM) which can handle more functions than the ATM – including having sweepstake returns placed into a credit card account.
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