The queen of the sweep­stakes

The Week (US) - - 10 News -

Carolyn Wil­man is an ex­pert at mak­ing her own luck, said Elis­a­beth Leamy in Wash­ing­ The res­i­dent of On­tario, Canada, is a hard-core “sweeper”—the term used to de­scribe peo­ple who ded­i­cate a huge chunk of their lives to en­ter­ing con­tests and sweep­stakes, in the hopes of win­ning cash, cars, hol­i­days, and more. Wil­man spends one to two hours a day on her hobby—“not so much you cut into work, fam­ily time, and other obli­ga­tions.” She es­ti­mates she has al­ready won more than a quar­ter of a mil­lion dol­lars worth of prizes, in­clud­ing free pizza for a year, Ri­hanna tick­ets, two $2,000 shopping sprees, a trip to the Win­ter Olympics, and a two-week va­ca­tion in Europe. She av­er­ages about 36,000 en­tries a year, win­ning about 1 per­cent of them. “It truly is a num­bers game,” she says. Wil­man and other sweep­ers trawl web­sites such as Sweep­stakes Ad­van­tage and Sweep­stakes Fa­nat­ics, and she uses spe­cial auto-com­plete soft­ware to cut her test-en­ter­ing time in half. If the con­test in­volves an en­try slip, she crin­kles the paper to make it eas­ier to grab from the com­pe­ti­tion box. She’s al­most a pro­fes­sional—though Wil­man re­jects that la­bel. “I wish I could earn my liv­ing win­ning sweep­stakes. But I couldn’t pay my rent if I had to rely on prizes. Win­ning just en­hances my life.”

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