We frequently see long queues in Lotto outlets day and night — especially when the jackpot price hits a hundred million pesos (You might even see me there if jackpot is PHP150M++).
I’ve also seen fellow MRT commuters (mostly men in jeans and backpacks) who seemingly analyze tip sheets and tabloid tips articles on horse racing. Or on cockfighting.
I know it’s illegal but I’m sure you know of people who in the past, or until now, are still betting on jueteng. Or basketball ending.
These are all games of chance, and no matter how much we analyze these, or regularly bet on these like most Filipinos do, tilting the odds to our favor remains a futile exercise. Such games remain as is — games of chance. Gambling.
And yet most Filipinos still engage in these alternatives in hopes of getting windfall winnings, extra money, or to the extreme, a gateway out of poverty. Gambling. Why not invest these monies instead? Sad reality. Cultural? As Mangun would say, this is very sheepish.
Lack of Education, Too Intimidating
Was actually surprised to see a manong riding the MRT scribbling some characters in his horse race tip sheet, as if trying to analyze and predict which horse has the highest odds of winning. Personally I do not know how to read a tip sheet but maybe that manong finds it easy to comprehend. Or have you seen the past winning Lotto combinations posted in the outlets? Did you ever consider picking from these winning numbers? Or maybe, you also have your favorite ‘alaga’ numbers that you have been betting on for years now, like most Filipinos.
Most Filipinos would rather take their chances in gambling than in investments such as UITF / Mutual Funds and stocks because for them these games are easier to understand. True. Just pick 6 out of 42 numbers or select a horse that looks fast enough to win. That’s it. Then leave the rest to chance. Try to analyze a bit but in the end, it’s really chance that decides (or whom the bookies favor). For stocks, you see all the graphs, all the analysis and all the horrifying numbers in yellow, red and green font. Looks really intimidating. But if Pinoys will just take the time to give these investment options a second look, then they will see that it is not so difficult after all. And in these legit investments, chance plays a very small part. Big part of the risk lies in the rational decision-making of the investor. Just really need a bit more patience to understand how these investments work. But hey, Bo Sanchez’s Maid invests in the stock market. No offense and no prejudice on any occupation, but you see, investments are not just for rocket scientists. But in gambling, even rocket scientists cannot tilt the odds to their favor so much.
Lower Stakes, Big Winnings
But odds are almost next to nil. People might say they don’t have money to invest in stocks but the spare change they spend almost daily in these gambles, when combined, can in fact reach an amount enough to buy stocks. As previously mentioned, it costs around Php5,000 to start dabbling in stocks via an online stock broker. It’s equivalent to 250 Lotto tickets at Php20 a bet (I’m sure die hard Lotto bettors don’t just buy one ticket per draw date). Or how much do they bet in horse racing or cock fighting? For those who go to casinos, Php5000 is just loose change.Get rich quick mentality? Too impatient for long term investing?
These games offer very huge winnings with small gambled money precisely because the odds of winning are very very small. And in repeated bets, this small gambling money actually costs you a lot. Some will argue that stocks will need monitoring, technological know how in terms of online trading, etc etc.
Yes, true, but bottomline is, this entails effort, the same way that betting on Lotto or horse racing entails effort. I think it’s no longer the question of effort involved, but more on willingness of people to step out of their comfort zones and try other alternatives to attain financial freedom.
If you’ve been betting on Lotto (or jockeys and horses) for years and years now and still it has not made you rich, then quit hoping that next time you will be the one who wins. On the other hand, if you have been investing in stocks for years and years now, I’m sure 100% that your ROI is at least positive, double digits even.
They say try and try until you succeed. Yes, but not in gambling and game of chance. And mind you, investing is not gambling as long as you do your homework.
PS. I’m not discouraging anyone to gamble their money (or probably I do), but if you do, don’t make it a habit. Be investors instead, not gamblers.
Photo: “Race Horse” by Jeff Kubina
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