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Despite Comparisons, Stock Market a Far Cry From Gambling

If you were to mention the word “gambling” to someone, most likely they would think of games of chance such as blackjack or roulette. They might think of slot machines, and the glitz and glamour of Vegas casinos. Maybe they would think about sports betting, or horses running on the turf. Some people may not think about any of those things, and see their thoughts turn to the stock market and finance as a way of gambling.

Are stocks considered gambling? It is pretty common to hear the term “playing the stock market,” and despite what anyone might say, in reality, no one knows whether a stock is going to go up or down the next day.

Financial investing and the stock market are as tightly regulated as legal gambling in the United States, but is it the same? Some would argue that stocks are gambling, because no matter what you do, at the end of the day you make or lose money without having any control over the matter.

However, some people would argue that stocks are not at all a form of gambling, and while they can be unpredictable, they don’t have the element of randomness which is essential for a game of chance to be about, chance. In a game such as craps, the dice are random and no matter what the past holds, the next roll is always random. Stocks, however, can be judged based on a large amount of past data, and inferences can be made about the future. When a stock moves up or down, it is based on data currently available, and not on the law of random numbers.

One of the reasons that buying stocks is called investing is that indicators can be read, and a method can be devised to make a small amount of money with a minimum amount of risk. Proper investing can nearly always turn a bit of a profit, and usually prevent large losses. Casino games can make no such claim.

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