Tuesday, April 29, 2008

21: Betting addiction


Last night after a disappointing Life paper I went to catch the movie called 21. It's about a boy, who is from a middle class family, pursuing his dream to go into Harvard Med School but he couldn't afford the $300,000 that he was slapped with. Thinking he will be fine for the scholarship interview, he was rejected initially for a big hole in him in terms of experience that he could tell and dazzle the Scholarship Head of Committee.

He was sucked into the Vegas life almost immediately after impressing a lecturer who orchastrated a group of students playing Black Jack in the casinos. He was so good with numbers (obviously I don't) he raked in $315,000 in only a few months... only to be ripped away from him after the lecturer betrayed him.

His counting prowess almost got him into a coma by the casino's head of surveillance and instead of being given the final blow that could easily explode his face, the guy asked him to go undercover and get him the ring-leader a.k.a Mickey the lecturer, who went missing for almost a decade without being punished with Anwar-like blow to the face.

N.B. For some reason counting cards is illegal in that casino though I think it's a gift.

The surveillance head named Cole Williams promised the boy he would be let free along with the money if Mickey got caught this time so that Cole could receive his long dued pensions in no time.

The boy succeeded on giving Mickey an experience he would never forget but he was not allowed to keep the money he won all night long that night.

Feeling dejected, he left the scene empty handed although scoring with the girl was somewhat I discourage because the girl left him alone in the casino before severe blows handsomely struck his face like a punching bag earlier.

"So what's the moral of the story?" I asked a friend.

"Gambling is harram." I answered the Q myself.

If you ask me, will I ever gamble in my life? The answer is No.

"That will go against my religion then. I'm a muslim and will forever be."

Although it was very intriguing to place some bets on Chelsea vs Man Utd last weekend where 10pounds of bet should have earned me 100pounds for the score 2-1 and playing fantasy premier league has been part of me, I still don't think it's necessary to gamble i.e. berjudi.

It seems nice to go to Vegas, and see some chics dancing with the poles, driving Gallardos, making money through Roullettes and Poker, but the probability of winning a stake is somewhat low. Risk adverse investor you can call me but without an appropriate information and model, I will not put in the money just like that.

I am a big fan of Poker. I play with my friends and on facebook without making any real money. $307100 in the 'bank' is only a meager compared to the leader board of $22mil in facebook. I win some, I lose some although the King of Comebacks tag will be taken quite humbly. But what I learn from poker is that you will not win everytime. The World Series of Poker Champions title have been changing quite volatily but between themselves I guess it's because they have the same textbook skills that they rely on.

So what about equities? Stocks? Are they harram too?

Well, the difference between gambling and stocks is the duration. There is a short duration for stocks but as for poker, if you lose, you lose. And even if it is 2 hours of playing, that is very short compared to stocks. Duration is important to see about the volatility of an asset. It may go down but it may go up again.

When you buy shares, you will be a part owner of the company and thus you don't lose anything. You will lose on the capital if the price drops. But it will also come up as long as the economy is in a stable condition.

But if you 'ante' a bet in the pot, you own nothing yet until your cards win you. If your money is determined by the cards, isn't that not a high stake to put your bets on?

Well there are skills in poker as you know but losing a lot of money could even cost you a fortune.

Or even your wife!

Imagine the fate of your wife will be decided on the river!!!

What about insder trading? Is it harram? Well any business dealings that is not fair is harram. Because other bidders don't get the same information as you do. If you don't believe in Islam, insider trading is still uneathical. It is simply because of the information that you obtained to buy shares. Don't tell me you are lucky to be in the investment department to buy shares but accountants and economists take insider trading as a serious offence.

It's OK if you are buying a new bungalow or a Dodge Viper I will be happy for you as I may/may not get the chace of a test drive but please do not brag on your unethical ka-ching making. It's not fair and you know it.

And thus insider trading is harram.

"It's ok. I won't go buy food or drinks so that it won't be part of me (menjadi darah daging)"

"I will buy some women as well because I don't cause people any harm. The Sufiah (not her real name) gets the money, I get the sex! She is still human know. She needs money eat you know. And it's not something that go into my body in fact I let something out!"

"I can go pay the bills or taxes with the harram money. They are taxing us like crazy how can I not use the betting money to hedge my outflows?"

These are some justifications that some so-called Muslims have been using to divert the conversation. Hello, you may not be buying pork or liquor but you know that is a bit cowardly way of making money.

I couldn't help more but to ask them to think or simply keeping myself quiet and pray that they will realise someday. Or just blog as a reminder to myself as well.

"So primarily, why Azrul, you are good at bets, but you don't play any?"

"Well, because I am a Muslim. I believe God knows everything and I don't want to be seen as a Muslim who does the opposite. Non-practice Muslim if you like. There are still a lot of room for improvement in me but it is simply my way of protecting my religion. To be a man with dignity and belief. Simple as that..."

"For 25 years I have been a Muslim of course 200pounds of betting win via Ladbroke will not change that. Not even a 200million of bribery... And that comes out from a person who is stingy and money loving as well!"

My prediction for the EPL: Man Utd to win although I was hoping any London Club to win this time.


smoque said...

well defined on stocks bro. i wasn't sure myself about the justification on why we could not say stocks are the same with betting. DURATION and OWNERSHIP.
anyway, betting profit to use for haircut can aa? hahaha

Jeg said...

Owning stocks you still own tangibly. It's like you buy a property and the price could go up or down and you will incur loss on capital or gain. But you still have the property with you compared to bets where you own nothing from inception.

Duration is practically important for investing as there is still an opening for you to gain or lose in the long run. Short dated bonds/equities are proven volatile assets (i.e. risky assets) but long dated gilts are less risky.

Betting/gambling however, is almost instant. And very very risky. So simply too risky assets will never be used as an investment strategy in financial institutions ie. insurance companies or pensions or even kilang minyak sawit to match the liabilities. That will be suicide.

Well betting profit to be used initially for haircut will trigger the beginning of buying houses, food and other stuff in the later years when the profit keep coming in like an income. This is called inertia.

Haha exam mood macam2 kuar. Tapi kantoi gak exam... sigh! I want Andalusia now!!!

$oh@ said...

eh, you going andalusia ah?

Jeg said...

ya. 5 may to 10th

then maybe go straight to cardiff

so smq maybe i can give the posters to abbas

relucent said...

Aiyerr..u guys live in the same house la! haha..

bagi poster kat abbas..poster aku ade sekali tu.hehe..thanx abg jeg =)


Jeg said...

aku maleh duh sebenarnya kang robek2 kemek poster ko marah... hehe

ye2 akan aku cuba bawak poster itu