Sweepstakes and contests have existed in many different forms since the 1940s, and they are not showing any signs of waning in popularity. But when you are ready to launch a new sweepstakes, you’ve got to know the lingo.

AMOE, POP, 1PH. What do all these things mean? And why do we use them?

With so much at stake (pun very much intended), these games are closely regulated. If you are planning on getting serious about these sweepstakes and contests then you will have to understand how they work.

When going through the rules, whether online or offline, chances are that you will come across a lot of unfamiliar sweepstakes shorthand and slang. To help make your life easier, here are 10 of the most common sweepstakes acronyms and what they mean.


Meaning: Sweepstakes

This is the simplest and most direct of them all. You will find this acronym a lot in articles offering tips and tricks. You may also come across it in online sweepstakes chat rooms.

1PH (and its variations)

Meaning: 1 entry per household

Different sweepstakes companies enforce different restrictions in terms of the number of entries an individual or group can have. With the 1 PH option, a family living together can only enter one time per promotion.

Variations of this rule include the 1 PP (1 entry per person), 1 PHPD (1 entry per person per day), or 1 PM (1 entry per month) or 1 PW (1 entry per week). All imply restrictions on the number of entries you submit at a specific time.


Meaning: Alternate Method of Entry or Alternate Means of Entry

The Federal Trade Commission enforces numerous laws to regulate sweepstakes and ensure that they remain fair. One of the clauses requires companies to offer a means of entering the giveaway without having to make any purchase. By law, everyone is able to participate in the sweepstakes and has an equal chance of winning.

The sweepstakes rules should clearly spell out the AMOE. Anyone who wants to join the sweepstakes should be able to find the alternate method of entry without much hassle.


Meaning: Proof of purchase

Certain promotions or offers require proof of purchase in order to claim a prize, ensuring consumers may not claim prizes through deceptive measures. This is usually in the form of a receipt, but can also come in other forms, such as the bar code from a product (particularly common in rebate offers).


Meaning: Approximate Retail Value

Think of the prize that you are going to win as property that can be taxed. The tax implication is determined by the approximate retail value. This refers to what the sweepstakes company assesses the value of the object, service, or money at the time it will be won and is typically based upon what the consumer would pay at retail if they purchased the prize on their own.



Meaning: Completely Automated Public Turing Test to tell Computers and Humans Apart

Countless contests require online entries. you may want to incorporate a CAPTCHA test. This is done to ensure that the entrant is a human being and not a robot or software designed to hoodwink the system. The entrant might be required to repeat a phrase, identify objects, copy text onto a different text box, or even simply check a box.


Meaning: Instant Win Game

These are sweepstakes or games of chance that reveal whether you’ve won or lost immediately. You get to find out there and then whether the spare change in your bank account is about to receive some company.

The most common form of IWG is a scratch card or online instant win. You receive one, scratch, and find out whether or not you have won. Another popular option is the spinning wheel version. However, despite the fact that you get to find out immediately, you often still have to wait to collect your winnings.


Meaning: Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope

Many sweepstakes companies require post letter correspondence for certain inquiries such as winner’s list requests. After the request is received, the company returns the requested document in the SASE.

A SASE may be required for AMOEs as well.


Meaning: To Be Announced

This refers to any information that the company might not be able to immediately release. More often than not, this is related to details that are determined by the brand sponsoring the promotion.

SD and ED

Meaning: Start date and End date

Sweepstakes are time-bound. The SD and ED mark the entry time frame for the promotion.  It also marks the time in which other forms of sweepstakes entries are considered valid.

A little slang for the road

In addition to the acronyms, there are a few bits of sweepstakes slang that you might benefit from understanding.

Sweeper and sweeping

A sweeper is a person who treats sweepstakes participation as a hobby or even a second job. They go all out studying up on pro tips, doing research on statistics, and even calculating probabilities. Sweeping on the other hand is the practice of sweepstakes as a hobby.

Snail mail

This refers to corresponding via post.


This is slang for affidavit. These documents must be signed by the winner in order to verify that they are who they say they are, they understand the rules and release the sponsor of any liability in receipt of the prize. In many cases, you cannot claim your winnings without one – however, they are most applicable to event based promotions and prizes valued in excess of $600.

In Conclusion

Running a sweepstakes can be easier if you learn the basic legal language. With all of this information, you should be able to get through any sweepstakes conversation without feeling like a fish out of water. Should you need assistance running your own sweepstakes, we can help with that. Contact us today and we’ll get started on planning your sweepstakes with you.

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