In traditional horseracing a person selects their winning horse, and, should that horse win, the person is paid out based on the odds assigned to that horse. If the odds were 9/1, the payout would be nine to every one staked. Hence, if a person made a bet of ten, they would receive ninety back. This is seen as the fairest way to place bets, and it is the standard form of betting used at the majority of horseracing venues.
There are, however, other forms of betting used, such as sweepstakes betting. In this form of betting participants are assigned a horse at random, or allowed to blindly pick it out of a hat. The winners are given the total of all bets staked, divided up according to whoever was lucky enough to get the most accurate bet. This betting system is not commonly used in serious betting circles for a number of reasons, and is generally used in friendly situations or charity events.
The biggest negative of the system is, of course, that the number of people placing bets determines the value of the pot. This means that if enough do not participate the winnings can be very meagre, especially after being divided up. Sweepstakes betting is only worth playing if a certain number of people are guaranteed to be taking part, and guaranteed to create a pot worthwhile.
Luck versus Skill
A person may select a horse they think will win for a number of reasons, such as the previous performance of the horse, the reputation of the jockey, the weather, or any other number of factors. There is a certain level of skill required, and a person with a keen understanding of horseracing may select winning horses more often.
There is, therefore, a level of skill involved. In sweepstakes betting a person is assigned a horse completely at random, and hence winning is entirely up to chance. One may say that many popular casino games are likewise up to chance, but this is not entirely true, depending on the game. Roulette, for example, allows many different betting options, and offers a system, which a person may utilise to their advantage. A person with an understanding of roulette may maximise their chances of winning. Sweepstakes is more akin to bingo, where very little the participant does will affect the outcome of the event.
Commercial And Marketing Uses
Companies often use sweepstakes events as a form of marketing, as a way to draw attention to a particular product. There has, however, been controversy about whether these companies are breaking gambling laws. Gambling is strictly regulated, and no company or institution is allowed to offer any forms of gambling without explicitly being permitted to do so.
A company may enter participants into a situation where they stand a chance to win prizes based on luck, but it is forbidden to demand that customers first buy a product in order to be eligible to win. Any situation where a person must spend money on a product in order to stand a chance to win is seen as gambling, and not allowed.