The growth of online gambling has blasted in popularity in recent years. The global online gambling market is projected to grow to over $127 billion by 2027. With the convenience of gambling from home through laptops and mobile devices, many people are tempted to try their luck. This raises an interesting question – Can online gambling be considered a legitimate form of investment? Here, we will analyze the differences between gambling and investing and whether wagering money in online casinos should be viewed as an investment strategy.
Key Differences Between Gambling and Investing
While both involve putting money at risk in hopes of future gain, there are several key differences between gambling and investing:
Investing emphasizes managing risk through diversification and analysis. Gambling is pure speculation with no risk management. Best real money casinos offer tips to manage risks, but the uncertainty is greater when with efficient management. In investing, you allocate capital across various assets to reduce risk. Gambling is simply betting on a single uncertain outcome.
Positive Expected Returns
When investing, you aim to allocate money to assets that will likely generate positive returns over time, like stocks that rise in value. In gambling, the expected return is inherently negative because the house has an edge. You are likely to lose money over time.
Investors use research and data analysis to make informed decisions. Gamblers rely almost solely on luck and chance. Investors leverage knowledge, experience, and tools to try to gain an edge. Gamblers operate at an information deficit against the casino.
Long-Term vs. Short-Term
Investing takes a long-term approach, often holding assets for years. Gambling focuses on immediate, short-term bets and payouts. Investors build wealth over time through compounding gains. Gamblers play isolated games with no cumulative effect.
Problems Viewing Gambling as an Investment
While you are risking money for potential gain, there are several issues with viewing online gambling as a legitimate investment approach:
Negative Expected Value
Like any casino game, online gambling sites have a built-in house edge, giving them long-term advantages. This means the expected return on wagers is negative over time. It’s not a productive investment strategy.
High Fees and Costs
Between membership fees, transaction costs, and other expenses, the costs of gambling add up quickly. This chips away at the bankroll. With investing, costs can be kept relatively low through index funds.
Gambling poses a higher addiction risk than investing. Chasing losses can lead gamblers to lose more money over time. Investors are more likely to stay disciplined and stick to plans.
Volatility and Variance
Gambling outcomes fluctuate wildly in the short run, with huge swings in profits and losses. Investing aims for steadier, more consistent growth over time rather than spin-of-a-wheel results.
Limited Viability as an Investment
Very few gamblers manage to make a living gambling long-term. While it is possible for investment-savvy gamblers to build bankroll through smart bets and risk management, it requires immense discipline. Some other concerns:
- Requires large amounts of starting capital to overcome variance
- Often dependent on bonuses and promotions that can change over time
- Need to consistently beat the vig and maintain a winning percentage is difficult in the long term
- Tax treatment of gambling winnings less favorable than long-term investing
For most people, gambling should be viewed as entertainment with a cost rather than a reliable investment strategy.
While skillful gambling may have an investment-like component, it differs greatly from true investing in terms of risk management, expected returns, information advantage, and long-term focus. Gambling ultimately relies heavily on chance and negative expected value. The costs and addictive nature of online gambling also pose risks. Gambling is not a prudent investment plan for building long-term wealth through compound returns. Investors are better served using proven strategies like stocks, mutual funds, and real estate.