Gamblinvesting… What, really? Is that a word? No, I suppose we can’t invent words, but there is a meaning here.  Many (particularly those born to the upper crust) see a difference. Gambling is for the ‘unwashed masses’, it is of no benefit to society and is merely idiot entertainment. However investing is a superior, insightful activity, creating wealth for all and has sort of social supremacy… but what to make of the differentiation?

Well, think of it this way. There is a spectrum of placing money down to get an expected result. On one end I guess we have buying lottery tickets (almost guaranteed losing) with the “Vig” or “Vigorish” (probably from Yiddish, from Russian выигрыш (vyigrysh) which means gains or winnings), “Juice”, “Cut” or “Take” as the fee taken by the lottery company for accepting a gambler’s wager often being enormous. At the other end, Treasury Bonds, safest bet we know right? Maybe gold is safer? Cryptocurrency? That is yet to be determined…

In any case I think you already get the idea, but wait! Gambling is a losing proposition right? Look at it upside down; those lottery tickets aren’t so bad for the sellers! Each and every trade of everything, always, every single one, has in the end a willing buyer and seller. 

So isn’t the question really “is the expected result the fine definition of gambling vs. investing?” So if we realistically expect to make money should we not call it investing? Frankly, I have never met anyone who bet on a football game or a horse race expecting to lose, so that must be investing? If it is not expectation, then maybe the end result defines whether it was a gamble or an investment. So wait, that means most people that buy options on the various markets and exchanges are really gambling (most options expire worthless) …

Arghhh, we can’t seem to get a handle on this. Do we use legality as a standard for definition? OK so a horse bet is legal so that is not gambling, but football betting is often not legal so that is gambling? Hold on… if we are in Las Vegas or most of Europe we can bet legally on football, so it is investing again? While we’re on football, there is no law against making a bet in most of the United States, but accepting a bet is against federal law. Fair trade, willing buyer and seller, see the difference?

With cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin and the like) we now have complete and utter confusion and madness, who can even try to legislate that? This thing has no bounds! Speculating in emerging market debt? Talk about a gamble… or worse “Pork Bellies speculation”? Is that really investing? If so, why do you not ever take delivery of those pork bellies on your front lawn on contract expiration?

A clip from the classic ‘Trading Places’ 

What a muddled mess we have here. If you buy insurance on balance you will lose, sounds to me like a gamble, no? Is this an upside-down gamble? Maybe… Jeez it is all so very confusing… Somebody make sense out of this nonsense please!  Well, it is all gambling, every bit of it! As well, it is all investing, every bit of it! The two terms mean the same thing really, no more argument. Just call it “gamblinvesting” and we all can calm down and get a good night’s sleep. Hang on, should we call it “investgambling”?

3 Comments
  1. Reply
    TP Ramsden at

    Maybe it is not a word …but should be!

  2. Reply
    Parbriz at

    Terrific post but I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this topic? I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Appreciate it!

  3. Reply
    Thomas D at

    Is gurtshid a word? Gambling is not investing it is simply a transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich. And market traders simply feed off of rich people’s pickings

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