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Why are people debating if this is gambling? It is NOT gambling. Gambling ALWAYS has a loser, as in someone walking away with nothing. You are paying $25 for a "random" IEM, the manufacturer gets your money and no matter what you are walking away with at least an IEM. Making it random does not make it gambling, you are paying for a one IEM and everyone walks away whole.
Requiring a "loser" who walks away with "nothing" is not implicit in the definition of gambling, and for a good reason: what constitutes that "nothing"? Is a $0.01 piece of colorful scratch paper that someone bought "nothing", or are scratch tickets not gambling by your logic? How about a $2 pair of earbuds - are those "nothing" or do you consider them to be of substantial value to make buying earbud tickets fundamentally different from buying scratch paper tickets? The point is that the majority walk away with something of lower value than the money they put into it (could be nothing, could be a piece of paper or a trinket), while the minority of winners walk away with something of higher value than the money they put into it, and that they all knew about the lottery when they went into it and that the lottery is the sole reason most of them went into it to begin with.
Thousands of people are entering this drop because of the chance of winning a lottery prize - not because they really want the $25 earbuds. And that is exactly what gambling is.
If MD did not promote this drop as a lottery - precisely to encourage gambling - but instead randomly gave out prizes at the end to the hundred or so that joined the drop because they really wanted the earbuds, then there would be no gambling involved.
and how do you conclude that thousand entering do not really want the $25 iem?
Based on the comments and the turnout compared with normal drops, I think it's a pretty good assumption that the majority of participants, while they may not view the IEMs as utterly worthless, wouldn't be participating if not for the lottery aspect. After all, that's why there is a lottery aspect to begin with: to entice users who otherwise wouldn't participate into taking a small gamble and participating. I wonder how many would join the same drop without a lottery attached to it, or how many would stay if MD canceled the prizes....
Even if MD canceled their prizes there still will be the pinnacle to entice the participants to some extent. To put things in perspective I think Matrix 2 and before that M-DUO were the big prize in the last two mee what sales. Of course, then the mee what sale included cheaper mee iems and thus it was slightly cheaper to participate but now one has a shot at a much more expensive mee prize.