Nothing venture, nothing have,” means that we cannot expect large profits, unless we are willing to run the risk of losing something. This saying is often used as an argument in favour of gambling, because the gambler by running the risk of loss obtain the chance of gain.
But, although we cannot expect great profits without the risk of loss, it does not follow that it is reasonable to risk our money on the gambling table. Gambling takes a large amount of valuable time, and the excitement of its exhausts the brain more than most kinds of brain work.
Surely it must be clear that to waste so much time and so much brain-power, without the certainty or even the probability of adding to one’s wealth, is the height of folly, even if we leave out of account the bad effect that gambling has upon the moral character.
No one should ever purchase the chance of gain by the risk of loss, unless he has good reason to believe that the chance of gain exceeds the risk of loss.
In lotteries and in other kinds of gambling, in which the element of skill does not affect the result, either the gambler’s prospects of gaining and losing are exactly equal, or else, as more often happens, he is more likely to lose than to gain.
For the sake of illustration, let us consider the case of a lottery for a hundred rupees, in which there are ten tickets costing ten rupees each. In this case each purchaser of a ticket has a tenth of a chance of winning one hundred rupees, for which he pays just the value of that chance, namely, ten rupees.
As a matter of fact, in almost all lotteries a large percentage of the value of the tickets goes to Pay the expenses of management, so that the subscriber’s chance of a prize is considerably less in value than the sum he pays for his ticket.
A sensible business man would not care to speculate on such terms. He is, however, quite willing to undergo a small amount of risk, when there is a favourable prospect of thereby obtaining large profits....