Investing & Gambling: Differences and Where They Intersect

An investment is a sacrifice of current money or other resources for future benefits.

There are numerous avenues of investments available, such as bank deposits, government bonds, shares/stock option, mutual funds, Eurobonds, land and property etc.

The economic well-being of an individual in the long-run depends on how wisely or foolishly he/she chooses to invest.

Differences between Investing and Speculating

Planning Horizon:

An investor has a relatively longer planning horizon. His holding period is usually at least one year, while a speculator has a very short planning horizon. His holding period may be a few days to a few months.

Risk Disposition:

An investor is normally not willing to assume more than moderate risk, while a speculator is ordinarily willing to assume high risk.

Leverage

An investor usually uses his own funds (not totally true in all cases), while a speculator normally resorts to borrowings, which can be very substantial to supplement his personal resources.

Basis for Decisions:

An investor attaches greater significance to fundamental factors and attempts a careful evaluation of the prospects of the firm. A speculator relies more on hearsay, technical charts, and market psychology.

Returns on Expectation:

An investor usually seeks a modest rate of return which is commensurate with the limited risk assumed by him. A speculator looks for a high rate of return in exchange for the high risk borne by him.

Gambling

The result of gambling is known more quickly. The outcome of a roll of dice or the turn of a card is known almost immediately.

People gamble for fun, not for income.

Gambling does not involve a bet on an economic activity. It is based on risk that is artificially created.

Gambling creates risk without providing any commensurate economic return.

The Intersection between Investing & Gambling

‘To win big you have to risk losing’ – This is true for any activity, and more so when it comes to making money.

There is a new craze about sports/football betting (gambling) and the strategies used in making money from it.

There seems to be some parallels in the strategies some betters/gamblers use to make money which can be at times similar to those of sophisticated investors.

Making money from football betting involves a lot of forecasting, permutation and a lot of analysis to be done either on purpose or intuitively in order to predict the outcome of a game or games.

In Europe and America, certain betting companies operate like hedge funds; treat the betting business the way hedge funds treat stocks by helping big investors make money from betting on the prediction of football matches on a daily basis.

A lot of statistical analysis is also needed to predict the likelihood of a team defeating another based on history and trends, injuries to the squad and missing players, classified information and a whole lot of factors similar to fundamental investing, where an investor analyses a stock using a top – bottom approach all the way from the economy, to the industry and the company itself.

The process usually trickles down from research unit to the final decision makers.

• Researchers watch lots of football matches and can help generate data like number of goals scored, chances created, shots on target, amount of carded players, injured players and likely team sheets. Researchers also speak to journalists and league experts for more information regarding teams. Every aspect of the game is analyzed including trivial factors like the weather and morale of the team.

• The data generated will be given to the data scientists and plugged into complex statistical computer models to generate likely odds for winning a bet.
• The data generated is giving to key decision makers who decide on whether to invest and how much will be invested.

This whole process is similar to how things are run in big investment companies.

In reality though, gambling/betting is a loser’s game, 90 percent of the time, individuals who engage in it end up losing to bookmakers who make the money.

Although, the strategy that involves careful analysis of virtually all aspect of the game has succeeded in making hundreds of millions for a few companies specializing in it.

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