Investing in or playing the Stock Market..is it Gambling?

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by LadyEagle, Aug 24, 2002.

  1. LadyEagle

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    Technically, I would have to say that it is, you're gambling that the market will give you a return on your investment. But how does that differ from, say, playing the slot machines in Vegas? It could be argued that Vegas style gambling is addictive. But it could be argued that so could playing the market, if you think about it.

    So, what's the difference between playing poker for pennies, playing the slots, playing roulette, betting on your favorite football team, or playing the market?

    Gambling is a big business. Some poor people who can't pay their bills will go on a Riverboat cruise or visit casinos. Elderly people spend lots of cash at casinos, too. Some pass their time playing bingo. And other people spend hours checking out the Dow or NASDAQ and play the market on line.

    To me, it seems like gambling. Especially in light of recent events with Enron, etc., where people have lost their life savings and pensions while the GREEDY few have assets like million dollar mansions that can't be touched under many state laws, or have off shore assets, which are untouchable for recouping anything by the public they bilked.

    So, what's your take? Is playing the market gambling or not? :eek:
     
  2. Prasenik

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    I think playing the market, for the average person who lacks expertise and lots of cash, is like gambling when it comes to trying to make money, that is, its essentially up to chance and the odds are against you. But since buying shares is buying ownership in something tangible (except when you're being defrauded), its not like gambling (betting on chance, trying to get something for nothing, etc) I don't think it is a sin in the same way.
    I'm not sure if I'm expressing what I want express here.

    I think investing in the market (not say, in treasury bills or something though) is generally a bad way to make money and a good way to lose it, just like with gambling, but that it's not sinful since you're purchasing property in a way, you're purchasing part of a buisness (unlike in gambling).

    I might be wrong though (in fact, I probably am!).

    [ August 24, 2002, 06:46 PM: Message edited by: Prasenik ]
     
  3. Grasshopper

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    That's why you can't say things are either right or wrong apart from scripture. To some it could be wrong to others it might not. If there weren't risk takers, this country would be a third world country. Did Sam Walton and Bill Gates, or hundreds of others gamble? Depends on what you mean by gamble. Pulling a slot machine is different than investing for your future, especially since the stock market has a preformance record.

    Is it wrong to take 200 dollars to Vegas and have fun with the knowledge that that is all you will spend? Or is it worse to go to Disney Land and spend 300 dollars on junk souveniers?

    These are the kind of questions that Legalist say are black and white. But they are not.
     
  4. post-it

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    Yes and No.

    1. If the investment can stay invested over a 5-7 year period, then evidence of markets over history say that you should have made money. That can't be gambling since the market is not likely to change from past behavior.

    2. Anything less than a long term investment should be considered gambling since you can lose some or all of your money. They even tell you that in the fine print.

    A good question is can we gamble as Christians? When the young men were given gold and told to multiply it, they must have had to invest it in something that would allow them to also lose it... as the rest did. The winner was rewarded. So we have that story to support that investing in potential loss situations are ok. There is no violation of going into business either, which also is a gamble since 95% of all new business will go broke within 5 years.

    The sinner isn't the one investing in the market, it is usually the stock broker that steals his money. :eek:
     
  5. Ps104_33

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    I dont think it is gambling until you start playing with options (calls and puts)
     
  6. go2church

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    Investing in the stock market is the same as gambling, YOU"VE GOT TO BE KIDDING! :rolleyes:
    This comment shows a total lack of understanding of what the stock market is and how it operates. You do understand that when you buy stock you actually own something, a portion of the company actually belongs under your control. That is a far cry from gambling. Can you lose money in the stock maket? Yes, but that is a risk not a gamble. You can't equate taking a risk and making a wager as the same thing. Smart investors make money, legally, all the time because they do their homework.
     
  7. Bible-belted

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    Investing in the Stock Market isn't gambling although it is a gamble. Gambling involves games of chance. Pure chance. Stocks rising and falling is not pure chance. Not by a ong shot. Nor is the business one buys into in order to be involved with the stock market a game.

    The rpoblem is that common parlance about stocks involves the use of terms that sound like gamlbling. Hedging your bets, and that sort of thing.

    If there is something like gambling within investmenst I would say it is dealing in derivatives. That, for me, is really gambling.
     
  8. LadyEagle

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    You mean like all the people who invested in Enron and World Com, to name two. :rolleyes:

    BTW, I perfectly do understand how the stock market works. No need to go into attack mode here. I just posed the question. :D
    ;)
     
  9. post-it

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    Then that would be gambling. :D
     
  10. stubbornkelly

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    In a post that I started along these lines, an excellent distinction was made between "investing" and "playing the market."

    I had to reconsider my original position that all investing is gambling (not that I was making a moral judgement on it, since I do invest a portion of my income). Ownership was one issue. Amother was the "odds." In the long term, your odds as a consumer are much better than the odds you find in Vegas. Those odds are always in favor of the house, whereas, historically, the stock market has given a 10% return over time.

    Trying to time the market is much more along the lines of Vegas gambling, and that may be an issue for contention, but investing can be good stewardship.
     
  11. blackbird

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    When I buy a stock--that stock is mine--its value dips and sways--up and down. All of the stock I own paid dividends each quarter this year.

    Now, if I travel down to Biloxi--I'll see billboards advertising the casino industry down there--one billboard I remember seeing said something like "Up to 97% return on slots!!!" Now, if you had a big ole wad of $100 dollar bills and I had a big ole was of $1 dollar bills--and my wad equaled your wad in value--and I say to you "If you give me $100 dollars off of your pile--I'll give you $97 dollars off of my pile!!"--and somehow or other we just kept that up for a while--guess who Einstein would be and guess who Gomer Pyle would be!!

    Gambling is a tax on those who are bad at math!! Its robbery in slow motion!

    Now, if I buy $100 dollars worth of Wal-Mart stock--technically, I own then a little bit of Wal-Mart--I get to vote at the stockholder's meeting--that stock value will climb over time! On the other hand, you go down to Biloxi--hop on one of those boats--put $100 dollars down on a sure loss--your wife will say, "Gee, Honey! When will you ever catch on!!
     
  12. swaimj

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    With gambling, if you study what is going on you will realize that the odds are heavily against you. With investing in the stock market, if you study what is going on you will learn that it is quite possible to make money consistently over the long term--perhaps even become quite rich. The difference between the odds being against you and the odds being for you probably distinguishes the two. Also, so many biblical teachings on spiritual stewardship are analogies to wise investing both in Jesus' words and in Paul's writings that it is hard to believe they would base spiritual truth on a sinful activity. On the other hand, no biblical teaching on stewardship uses gambling as a model.
     
  13. KenH

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    No, investing in the stock market is not gambling. If it is, then so is depositing your money in a bank. The bank could go bankrupt, the U.S. government that insures the bank could go bankrupt, and you could lose all of your money in the bank. I have been wondering why so many of these people who had huge gains in some of the stocks held on to them instead of selling them way before they took a plunge over the past 2.5 years. Perhaps for some of these people it was ignorance(they didn't know stocks could decrease in price), perhaps for others it was greed(excepting Enron employees who were locked out of selling by the company just before it went belly up). Unless one is going to follow their stocks closely, he should always have an order in place to sell if the stock drops to a certain price.

    Of course, you can also get into a discussion about whether gambling, done in moderation like other things, is wrong. But let's not go there. [​IMG]

    Ken

    [ August 25, 2002, 08:57 PM: Message edited by: Ken Hamilton ]
     

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