Is Day Trading Gambling?
Many people believe there is no point in learning how to day trade because it is just another form of gambling. Is this true?
There is great risk in day trading as there is with gambling. Day trading can be just like gambling if you do not adequately prepare and plan out your trades.
While day trading and gambling have many similarities, they have important key differences. To understand the difference between the two, you have to know how both of these things work.
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How Does Day Trading Work?
Trading is the process of buying and selling stocks or securities. Day trading is trading one or more times within the same day.
Learning how to start day trading for beginners can seem like an opportunity to get rich quickly.
The truth is that it is not easy to be consistently profitable.
Day traders make money by buying and selling securities at different prices. Day traders prefer not to hold their positions for long periods of time. The preferred goal is to take advantage of quick price movements in the market.
Traders’ opponent is the market, which is made up of other traders and businesses all trying to make money.
When someone makes money in the market, the money has to come from somewhere else in the market. More simply put, when a trader makes money on a trade, other traders lose money.
How Does Gambling Work?
People usually are referring to slot machines, blackjack, or roulette when they talk about gambling. Most gambling is 100% luck or chance-based.
The house, or the casino/business where you are gambling, is always designed to have an edge. This edge is a statistical advantage that they will win more than the payout. This means when you play blackjack, roulette, or slot machines, the odds are always against you.
Sports gambling is also slightly different because there is no house edge. It is mostly luck-based, but you may be able to improve your odds with your knowledge of sports.
The house, or the sportsbook, makes money off the commissions from losing bets. Another exception is live poker, where you are playing against other players.
There are indeed ways to lessen the house edge through things like card counting and basic strategies. The bottom line is that the house is a business, and they will always have an edge. This doesn’t mean you can’t win big because people do. It means the more you keep playing, the better your chance is of losing money over time. So if you do win big, run away…fast.
Similarities and Differences Between Gambling and Day Trading
- The opportunity to make money fast may be the main reason so many people are attracted to gambling and day trading. For this reason, both can be addictive.
- They both involve risking money to make make money.
- Some people gamble for a living, just as some make a living day trading.
- When gambling, players usually play against the house (casino). However, in day trading, you are trading against other traders, so trading can better be compared to poker.
- With most gambling games, you have to play exactly to their rules. While there are basic market rules in day trading, you still have more freedom in day trading.
- You can always choose your own risk/reward ratio when day trading. With gambling, this not always the case.
The Day Trading Edge - Think Like a Casino
There is a reason that casinos consistently make money. When they make less money, it is just due to fewer people gambling. Casinos have figured out how to reduce and eliminate risk until they have an edge. How do they do this?
They examine risks and create rules and strategies until they develop a consistent edge. Your best chance of finding an edge in the market is to use strategies and trading risk management to do the same.
Many traders believe that there is such a thing as a trader's edge. This is some secret or combination of strategies that put the odds in their favor. The reason is that markets move because of emotion and how people think certain things are valued.
There are no real trading secrets or specific edges that work for everyone. There are few things you can do to help you find your own personal edge: Studying risk/reward, testing trades to find the best trading strategies, and learning to manage your own emotions.
The official definition of gambling is betting on and playing a game of chance or taking a risky action in hopes of achieving a desired result. As there is risk involved, day trading can be considered a risky action. It is not, however, considered a game of chance. Serious day traders don't look at it as a game; they look at it as a career or just serious investing.
When you look from afar or even compare side by side, it is not hard to see why people believe day trading is just gambling.
There are a lot of similarities, and the way many people trade is basically gambling.
Gambling is designed to be a fun experience, even if you lose a little money. There are tons of shiny lights, drinks, and prizes to win. Most people probably don't give day trading a fair chance. That is perhaps the reason most traders lose money.
Trading takes a lot more work to get started in. Many traders quit at soon as they lose any amount of money. Either they thought it would be easier, or they realize they don't want to put the effort in to get better.
It is not as hard to see the differences for those who have a decent amount of experience with both gambling and day trading. However, it can be hard to fully understand the differences between them until you have truly experienced both.
The verdict is then that day trading is gambling in a way, but then so is any investment that you make. Day trading is more like poker in the sense that there is a lot you can learn to get better and a lot more to it than just mere chance.