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Do Sweepstakes Discriminate by State?

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Question: Do Sweepstakes Discriminate by State?
I live in Kentucky, and I don't see a lot of people winning from Southern states, whereas a lot of winners come from California and New York. Do sweepstakes discriminate against people who live in certain states?
Answer: A lot of people ask whether sweepstakes discriminate by state. Many lists of winners show prizes going to New York, California, or Florida, while winners who hail from states like West Virginia or Kentucky seem few and far between.

Do Sweepstakes Prefer Winners from Certain States?

It's true that some states appear on winners' lists more often than others, but the reason has more to do with odds than with state-based discrimination in sweepstakes. According to this list of US Populations by State from About.com's Guide to Geography, California, New York, and Florida rank number one, two, and four in population, respectively. West Virginia is only ranked number 37.

The more people in a state, the higher the likelihood that some of those people are entering sweepstakes, and the more winners will come from that state. Another state that often appears in winner's list is Texas, the state ranked third in terms of population, which is a Southern state.

Another Factor That Causes Some States to Produce More Sweepstakes Winners

Population is one factor that can influence the odds of winners coming from a particular state. But if you're talking about online sweepstakes, another important factor is internet penetration.

Internet penetration refers to the percentage of households that have internet access in each state. In some states, the majority of people can access the internet from their homes. But according to this internet penetration report from ImpactLab, West Virginia has the second-lowest percentage of households with internet access in the United States, with only 49.1 percent in 2007. There are several other Southern states on the list of the 10 states with the lowest internet penetration, including Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and more. If you don't have internet access at home, you're less likely to enter online sweepstakes.

Plus, Some States Are Just More Likely to Have Sweepers In Them

Of course, there other factors aside from population and internet penetration that could influence whether a state produces a lot of sweepstakes winners. For example, in the Sweepstakes Forum thread, By State, which asked whether sweepstakes discriminate by state, reader MagicLily8 pointed out that states like Florida have a lot of retirees. A lot of avid sweepers are retirees, so states with more retired people can produce more winners, all other factors being equal. Could a high unemployment rate have a similar effect? I'm not sure, but it seems logical.

In Conclusion...

States that have lower populations and fewer homes with internet access have fewer people who are willing and able to enter online sweepstakes. Therefore, they will show up less often on winners' lists. But that doesn't mean your odds of winning are any lower if you come from those states! In fact, if you find local sweepstakes for your state, you'll have less competition than if you lived in a big state like California or New York.

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