Professor Lia Nower, director of the Rutgers Center for Gambling Studies at the School of Social Work, is available to discuss the differences between gambling and investing as it relates to platforms like Robinhood.

“The difference between gambling and investing is the time element,” said Nower. “In general, when people invest money for long-term growth, it is not gambling. While there is some risk element, there are fairly decent metrics to predict how downturns will right themselves over time. But when people are day trading and buying risky investments for quick turnover, they are essentially gambling by betting money on something with a chance outcome on the hope of winning big.”

“Platforms like Robinhood are the Twitter of trading. They make it quick and easy to gamble on stocks. They attract people like the ‘Wall Street Bets’ members, who want to gamble on high returns not invest long term. These are people with a high risk tolerance who think they are going to get rich day trading. They show up like a flash-mob in the market and go all-in on specific stocks. This attracts other beginners, many of whom end up risking money they can't afford to lose.”