What the Heck is an AMOE?: A Guide to Sweepstakes Acronyms


Sweepstakes rules frequently contain acronyms that are not easily deciphered, like SASE or AMOE. Here is a guide to the most common sweepstakes acronyms that you might come across in a set of sweepstakes rules.


AMOE stands for Alternate Method of Entry (or Alternate Means of Entry). An AMOE is a free, no purchase necessary method of entry that is sometimes included in a Sweepstakes if the usual method of entry involves purchasing something. By law, a sweepstakes in the United States must have a free method of entry, so if an AMOE is mentioned in the rules, it will explain how to enter for free.


ARV means Approximate Retail Value. The ARV is always listed in the prizes section of sweepstakes rules so the entrants can determine how much the prize is worth. The ARV and actual value may not be the same at the end of the contest, but the ARV is used to determine what minimum value of prizes the sweepstakes sponsor is responsible for awarding.


Simple CAPTCHACAPTCHA is that part of an entry form or voting form that determines you are human and not an automated script. It is usually visualized as a bit of text in an image that you are asked to look at and type in the letters into a form field, or more recently it is a checkbox that evaluates if you exhibit human or script-like behaviors, serving up a second test if fraud is detected. CAPTCHA is frequently used to discourage voting or entry fraud. The acronym actually stands for “Completely Automated Public Turing Test to tell Computers and Humans Apart”, but unless you plan on being a Jeopardy Contestant someday, you will probably not need to know that.


An Instant Win Game is sometimes referred to as an IWG in the rules. An IWG is a sweepstakes where the entrant finds out immediately after entry if they win or not. Online IWG’s deliver on screen messaging of winner status. Other IWG’s are scratch-off game pieces where you can see what you win after you scratch the card, or a prize wheel or in-store drawing where you are immediately told if and what you win.


SASESASE is the acronym for Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope. It can also be referred to as an SAE (Self-Addressed Envelope) or SSAE (Stamped Self-Addressed Envelope). A SASE is frequently requested with a mail-in request in a sweepstakes for a free code or a scratch-off card. When you provide a SASE, the sweepstakes administrator can easily send you back the information you need in your provided envelope.


TBA means simply “To Be Announced.” This term is frequently used in sweepstakes if an element of the promotion is not known at the time the rules are written. For example, if the prize is a trip to a destination that is determined by voters, the location would be deemed TBA until the determination was made.


A Universal Product Code, or UPC, is the name of the barcode on most products. If a sweepstakes asks for a UPC code to be entered, they are looking for the number under the barcode to be entered so they can determine what product you purchased.

Have you seen other confusing acronyms in sweepstakes rules? Share them in the comments below!

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