They look pretty similar to the layman's eyes: You have to pay something, and then a non-deterministic (or non-fully-known) event occurs. Such event has a (perhaps unknown) probability of occurring and, if the event falls on your side, you get certain money back.
However, when I see many sites like those trading binary options (which seem to be trending topic), I see the regulatory agencies are not related to bet, but to security exchanges.
Right now, the layman is me, and I cannot fully explain the difference to another layman, in particular regarding binary options, in academical terms.
How can I make clear to them that a binary option is not exactly (I mean: in the background - what happens after placing position) a bet in the way betting red/blue in an online roulette? (OR perhaps I am wrong... please correct me in this point)