"Gambling" has negative connotations. So people who don't kick the tires or look under the hood might think an acquaintance who dabbles at TS is trapped in an inevitable dysfunctional spiral, like other behavioral addictions.
But there are more than gamblers and speculators at TS. There are traders. And what separates the traders from the gamblers is the driver to trade--namely, information (over impulse). Now there certainly is noise--in any market--as well as information, so that leads to negative expected profits. But there is also informational advantage. And data modeling.
So what's the difference between the securities markets and TS? Besides tied-in dollars, not too much, I'd say.