Sweepstakes as an Obsession, and a Cash Cow

Entering contests is serious business for 'sweepers'
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 25, 2010 12:46 PM CDT
Sweepstakes as an Obsession, and a Cash Cow
Winners of the Macy's "Celebrate Mom" Sweepstakes are seen at Disneyland in this file photo.   (PRNewsFoto/Walt Disney World Resort, Scott Brinegar)

Looking for a hobby that’s brainless and profitable? Then you might want to join the ever-growing ranks of “sweepers,” people who enter as many sweepstakes as they can, assuming they’ll eventually win something. The Wall Street Journal has managed to track down many who’ve done just that. “I wanted to travel, and the only way for me to do that was sweepstakes,” says one woman who in just two years has won two big trips.

Sweeping is growing in popularity because most contests are now online, meaning it takes only minutes to enter—some sweepers even use form-filling programs to enter for them. But there are downsides. “You're going to get some junk mail, and your spam folders are going to be full,” says one sweeper, who’s won roughly $50,000 worth of stuff. “It’s a small price to pay.” The prizes are also all subject to taxes, which, one sweeper complains, sometimes “reduce the joy of winning.” (More sweepstake stories.)

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