Odds of Success
A truly profound question is do people spend more trying to beat the US stock market than is spend on Gambling/Gaming in the US each year? In The Cost of Active Investing (Journal of Finance, August 2008) Professor Ken French estimated US investors spent over $100 Billion (more than $330 dollars in resources for every man, woman, and child in the United States) trying to beat the stock market in 2006 (up from $7 Billion in 1980 and $30 Billion in 1993). The estimate for all Gaming revenue for 2006 was $90.9 Billion according to the American Gaming Association. $32 Billion was from Commercial Casinos, nearly as much at Indian Casinos, and the rest is Lotteries, Race Tracks and other gaming operations. So based on those estimates, more money gets spent every year in the US trying to beat the stock market (a negative sum game) than is lost at Casino's, Card Rooms, Legal Bookmaking, Lotteries, and Horse Races combined. And that doesn't include active investing in bonds and other assets. See also Gambling in the United States from Wikipedia.
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