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Investing vs. Gambling – What’s the Difference?



It’s possible to use straightforward definitions to answer the question of is investing gambling. That would give us a black and white view that they are two different concepts with some similarities. However, the situation is much more nuanced. It can all depend on the behaviour and attitude of the person carrying out the activity.

For example, if we look to Wikipedia, gambling is thought of as wagering something of value or money, and the outcome of an event needs to be random. The intent is to win, which is similar to the idea of seeing profits from investments.

It’s allocating money with the expectation of future benefit. Both are quite different starting points, but it’s worth taking a closer look at the two concepts.

Calculating Risk

The first thing that can be looked at when looking at investment vs gambling involves looking at the risks involved to make a decision. When funds are handed over to a sportsbook or a casino when placing a bet, the money is gone unless the bet wins, and the stake is returned.

In the financial world, there are risks, but the money that is given is used to buy something. Instead of money, the investor now has something of a changing value that could bring them regular profits. Alternatively, it could eventually become too risky, in which case, it’s time to sell.

Gamblers are participating in a form of entertainment, which is essentially what they are buying for money, but other than profits, they don’t own anything tangible. On the other hand, people can purchase stocks and shares, property, and other tangible assets, which changes the idea of risk.

Stocks and shares are thought of as a long term investment unless they’re being acquired for margin trading. If that’s the case, then it’ll feel like gambling.

If you’re playing online roulette Canada, the way you look at the risks would be to pay attention to the odds for the possible bets you can place. For example, betting on red or black has almost a 50/50 chance of happening. The odds inform the player of the payout and how likely the outcome is.

Mitigation of Risk

Another way to look at investment vs. gambling is through how the risks can be mitigated. Working with professionals who can advise on the best place to allocate funds will certainly help. People make careers out of knowing the markets and where profits can be made. Taking sound advice can stack the odds in the investor’s favour.

For gamblers, though, there is a different picture. They won’t find a friendly guide on their side, helping them to make the right decisions. In fact, in most cases of gambling, the person spending the money is coming up against someone, known as the house, the casino needs to make a profit to operate. This makes it difficult for the odds to be in a gambler’s favour.

The ApproachSome gamblers will see what they spend at the casino as an investment. The same is true for sports betting Nigeria. Poker players and experienced bettors develop their approach over months and years.

They don’t make erratic choices. Instead, they use games of skill, strategy, and decision-making to make bets where they see long term profits. This approach still involves a risk, but there are mathematical approaches to gambling. This undoubtedly changes the level of risk by using the odds and expected value to make calculations.

Conversely, when making decisions and allocating funds, it’s also possible to be more like a gambler when investing. Just like someone throwing money at every game in the casino, it’s possible to throw caution to the wind and not pay attention to information and advise when allocating funds. The result is a series of fast buys and sells that return little profit in the long run.

Not So Different After All

It’s the premise that you need to spend money to make money that makes the question of gambling vs. investing so interesting. In both situations, someone chooses to take the money they have and to speculate to see if they can accumulate more.

Even the terminology is similar, the profits are called a return, or in gambling, the payout percentage is known as the return to the player. Guest post writer Michelle H. Thomas knows all about the language of risk, having steered people away from scams to prevent them from losing their money.

The differences lie in the fact that one of these brings ownership of something that can be sold, while the other is a form of entertainment that only brings winning and losing. Plenty of people get a return on the initial capital when investing; few gamblers can say the same.

It would be possible to merge both, though, simply, look for the opportunity for casino investment by buying shares in that casino. Examples of publicly-traded casinos include the Las Vegas Sands and Caesars Palace.

Bottom Line

Investment means ownership, as well as money contributing to a larger goal, such as investing in a business. This can all too quickly become gambling without the proper research.

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