If we search the web for “trading like a casino” a lot of results will come up, and this is a good way to understand that there are many similarities between Gambling and Investing.
Gambling and Investing – Are There Fundamental Differences?
The same way as gambling, also investing attracts all kinds of participants: there are those who gamble and invest occasionally, just for fun or curiosity, and there are other who are professional gamblers or traders.
In both activities the ultimate goal is to win, to profit, and in the process a good deal of adrenaline and entertainment is involved.
Another similarity between gambling and trading is data. Well, at least for professional gamblers, who know that without data about the game they are playing, the statistics, winning becomes a lot harder, considering complex algorithms exist on the gambling machines or games.
Also in trading, computer algorithms dominate the scene and the ever learning student of investment and trading has to be at the top of their game to beat the market. Success depends, therefore, on the access and correct usage of data, but this is far from being all.
The Casino Mentality
Naturally that most gamblers aim entertainment, but on the back of their heads the possibility of making a profit while having fun makes it even more exciting. Traders have a similar mind frame: they aim profitability, but the whole process is definitely exciting.
The casino mentality, just hope that the money the player has can be multiplied, has to be replaced by a disciplined approach has to be replaced by an informed strategy based on data, on gambling/trading strategies with higher probabilities of success than just hoping.
Getting rich and greed go hand in hand and make the trader or the gambler increase their level of risk, what most of the times leads to losing not only the money, but all the fun too.
The Black and White
In reality, despite the scenario painted by the media where investing is seen as betting, there is much more to it, it’s not black and white as many want the gambler or the investor to believe in. It’s not just a matter of picking the right security, as it’s also not just a matter of picking the right slot.
Similarly to slots, minor payouts might increase the motivation to bet more, but the player/investor has to keep in mind if over time he/she is winning or not. Similarly to slots, there are also market conditions where it’s just more natural for the investor to lose than to win on the long run.
The key to success in both gambling and trading or investing is learning more about the game we are playing. If we play for excitement and we don’t even know the odds of the game and how to reduce the house edge, on the long run we are doomed to failure. The excitement is still there though, as the endorphins released by the body happen regardless if we win or lose.
Education is the key to reverse the casino mentality, learn the game you are playing, study the markets you are trading, learn the trading tools, know the odds. Only in this way will the gambler or trader be prepared to take full advantage of the opportunities given by gambling or trading and add profit to excitement.