What does "consideration" mean? When it comes to sweepstakes, consideration is not a synonym for thoughtfulness, but rather a legal term, and one that it's important to be familiar with. In sweepstakes terms, consideration is simply paying to have a chance to win a prize. And generally, it's illegal.
Wweepstakes that award prizes by chance are not usually allowed to have an element of consideration. That's the major difference between sweepstakes and illegal lotteries.
Consideration doesn't have to be money; it can be anything that can profit the sponsor. For example, a company cannot require that entrants purchase a product to participate in sweepstakes (or, if they do, they must provide an alternate method of entry).
There are some grey areas concerning consideration and sweepstakes. For example, some sponsors require that entrants sign up for a newsletter to enter their sweepstakes. Having a larger email list is a benefit to the sponsor, but it might not directly translate into profit. Making opting-in to newsletters optional is a good way to ensure that there is no element of consideration in the giveaway.
Some people have even wondered whether requiring internet access to enter falls under consideration. That's a more complicated question than it appears!
Some jurisdictions have ruled that requiring entrants to own a computer and internet service is consideration. That is why many online sweepstakes offer a mail-in alternative.