The difference is not in the activity.

It’s in the attitude. The behavioural characteristics.

It’s in the why.

In What I Learned Losing a Million Dollars by Jim Paul, we read Jim’s definitions of investing, trading, speculating, betting and gambling.

To be a gambler, you need to be in the game for the excitement, not the money. You take losses as part of “payment” for the entertainment you’re enjoying.

A stock broker can become a gambler if he gets too caught up in the “fun”. A professional gambler actually isn’t a gambler at all. He’s a “speculator” (trader jargon).

The aim of the “professional gambler”, as he is called, is to make money. He can be recognised by deliberate and extremely disciplined wagering. His wagering is systematic and usually limited to infrequent but highly favourable opportunities. The behaviour of the professional gambler is highly controlled and usually the result of a studied approach to his chosen game.

– Page 92, What I Learned Losting a Million Dollars by Jim Paul

I see a connection between this and my post on how behaviour might be made of addictions. Science is revealing that addiction has very little to do with the substance itself, and a lot more to do with everything else in the person’s life.

Likewise, someone can gamble in almost any environment, not just the casino floor.

Perhaps the same is true of the “light” side of this coin. Perhaps one can intelligently invest in almost any environment.

Perhaps it’s all in the attitude.