Is my Book BINGO idea gambling, a game of chance?

This is in response to an email from a concerned reader who will remain annonymous for obvious reasons. The reader was responding to THIS POST, and here's what was said in the email:
An interesting idea, but check it out with the legal beagles first. You can call it "donation" but it still sounds like "a game of chance" (gambling).

Is the objection valid?

Yes and no.

Definitions of Gamble

According to, here are 7 definitions of gamble.

1. to play at any game of chance for money or other stakes.

2. to stake or risk money, or anything of value, on the outcome of something involving chance: to gamble on a toss of the dice.

3. to lose or squander by betting (usually followed by away ): He gambled all his hard-earned money away in one night.

4. to wager or risk (money or something else of value): to gamble one's freedom.

5. to take a chance on; venture; risk: I'm gambling that our new store will be a success.

6. any matter or thing involving risk or hazardous uncertainty.

7. a venture in a game of chance for stakes, especially for high stakes.

No Wagering

Based upon definition number 5, everything I do on this site is a gamble, but in that case, I'm not really risking my money—or anyone else's for that matter. It's more a gamble of effort.

I come from a culture that frowns heavily on gambling. I've never been to a casino and never will. I do not personally believe in risking money in such a fashion, so everything I do with this venture is designed to avoid such issues.

Is your donation really a donation?

The whole time I've blogged about donations, I've continued to reiterate that you are in fact donating. As a donor you do receive something in kind, but you aren't specifically paying for said service. And you definitely aren't paying me directly. All current donations will be used to further our Indie cause.

In fact, I have yet to keep exact record of both the donation transactions and the in-kind return services. I will get such a record in order eventually, but my ultimate goal is to give you more than I even describe here on the blog.

When it comes time for me to take a salary from the site in order to devote more time to the cause, you will not only know about it in general, you will also know how much I'm taking for myself. I may even ask your approval in some way. That is still far in the future, though.

But it's still a game of chance, right?

Yes, the way I described BINGO in the previous post, it would have elements of being a game of chance. After all, there would be a chance that you win nothing. Now, since your donation for extra game cards also opens up other venues of services from us, you aren't actually risking anything.

However, to further encourage ones to participate (and thus donate), I'll take things one step further. Game cards that are earned because of donations will be guaranteed either a win (thus getting one of your 8 chosen books) or a conselation prize, a book that isn't available to be "won." More details about that in future posts.