Weight Loss Betting: Where the Losers Are the Winners

It’s no big secret that humans are incentive creatures. Whether it be getting good grades, performing better at work or even losing weight, we tend to really step up our game when there’s a financial motivator pushing us on. Well, there’s a website for that. Actually, there are a few.

Weight loss betting sites are interesting in that they offer more than just the allure of winning money online; they encourage positive habits. When you win a weight loss wager, you don’t just win money. You also win better health, improved body image and more energy. If you’ve had a hard time losing weight or just want to just want to earn some extra cash for something you were planning on doing anyways, you ought to consider putting some money on the line.

Today we will provide a basic overview of four major diet betting websites. Each of these sites takes a unique approach to weight loss wagering, but the general theme is the same wherever you go. You put a little cash on the line, log your weight loss journey and earn a profit if you reach your goal. The exact details vary from site to site, but that’s the basic idea.

And yes, these sites all have ways to detect and prevent cheating. If you’re not serious about losing weight, you’ll find it hard to scam these sites for easy cash. You’re going to either upload very specific photos or take short videos for verification. I’ll explain more below.

One thing you’ll notice is that these sites all have strong social elements. Research has found that people are more likely to reach their weight-loss goals when they feel like they’re not doing it all alone. These sites support teams, help you make friends and provide numerous ways to keep in touch and encourage one another.

William Hill Weight Loss Bets

Since the late 90s, punters have been able to stop by any William Hill betting shop for a weight measurement and then take out a bet on shedding a few unnecessary pounds. In 2017, the company temporarily stopped offering wagers on weight loss after too many customers succeeded in their weight loss goals and began costing William Hill significant money.

In speaking on their decision to pause their weight loss markets on hold, William Hill explained that the wagers are simply costing them too much money. People have been getting better at losing weight and apparently the oddsmakers have been underestimating peoples’ motivation to actually drop the weight and win the bet.

A quick Google search reveals why William Hill had to put their markets on hold for a bit; stories abound of punters winning as much as 10-1 on significant weight loss wagers and then coming through with the victory after successfully slimming down. A representative of William Hill recently put it best when he said “we’ve paid out pounds and pounds to people losing pounds and pounds.”

Another example of a big bet paying off comes courtesy of Dr. Libby Collins, who placed a £50 bet with William Hill that she could lose 70 lbs in one year. She took the bet at 50-1 odds and then went out and made it happen. One year later, the 37-year-old doctor and mother of two was down 75 lbs and collected her £2,500 payout from William Hill.

The people at William Hill were good sports about the losing bet, saying that “both underwent the loss of many pounds, but only one of us did so profitably.” Libby Collins may well have been the straw that broke the camel’s back, as William Hill dropped their weight loss markets shortly after paying out her winning bet late last month.

However, William Hill later reinstated its weight loss betting markets. And in 2021, Chris Dempsey collected £5,000 after William Hill gave him 25-1 odds on reaching his target weight within ten months.

DietBet

Website: www.dietbet.com

DietBet allows you to join competitions with groups of friends and strangers. Each participant pays a flat fee to join the contest (typically anywhere from $10 to $100). This money forms the pot. At the end of the competition, the people who meet their goals all split the pot.

For example, let’s say you join a $30 contest with 40 other people. There’s going to be $1200 in the pot. If 20 of you reach the goal, each person gets 1/20th of the pot. In this case, you would get back $60 at the end of the contest.

You can create your own contests or join contests hosted by other people. Premade contests come in two flavors: the Kickstarter and the Transformer. Kickstarter contests come with the goal of losing 4% of your body weight over 4 weeks. Transformer contests come with the goal of losing 10% of your body weight over 6 months.

In many cases, contests are hosted by celebrity fitness trainers. Join one of their contests and you’ll be able to check in with the contest organizer, ask questions and interact with the other people. It’s all designed to give you the best of two strong motivational tools: money and teamwork.

Verification

DietBet requires photo verification to ensure you’re really playing the game and losing weight like you’re saying. When you enter a contest, you’ll be asked to take two photos:

  • The first photo must be a full body shot of you standing on a scale wearing airport security attire (no shoes, no belt and no bags or other objects in your hands). You can take this photo with a full-length mirror or by having a friend take the picture for you.
  • The second photo must be an up-close picture of your weight as indicated on the scale. This picture must be accompanied by a piece of paper with the word of the day visible in the photo.

You will be given 48 hours after the end of the contest to verify your final weight with two more pictures that abide by the same specifications outlined above.

Referees hired by DietBet review photos and keep an eye out for anomalies. If something doesn’t look right, you may be asked to upload video verification. Anyone caught cheating will be kicked out of the contest, lose his or her original wager and potentially be banned.

HealthyWage

Website: www.healthywage.com

HealthyWage allows you to place real money bets on individual and group weight loss goals. In a personal challenge, you select how many pounds you want to lose, how long you need to reach your goal and the amount of money you wish to wager per month. The system calculates the difficulty of your bet and tells you how much cash you stand to win if you’re successful.

Next, upload a 30-second video or have a certified fitness instructor or doctor verify your starting weight on your behalf. After you’re verified, it’s time to start losing weight. You’ll have until the last day of the contest to reach your goal. If you reach your goal and have your final weight verified, you’ll be paid.

HealthyWage also offers $10,000 team challenges. In a team challenge, you join forces with four friends, family members or coworkers to form a team of five. Your team will compete against other teams to see which team loses the most weight on a percentage basis. Each team challenge contest offers large prizes to the team that loses the greatest percentage of weight:

  • 1st Place Team: $10,000
  • 2nd Place Team: $5,000
  • 3rd Place Team: $1,000

Each teammate will pay a total of $75 spread across three monthly payments of $25. Your team will receive guidance all the way through the challenge in the form of dieting tips, new exercise ideas and achievement ribbons for reaching milestones.

Verification

There are two methods to verify your start and end weights. First, you can take a 30-second video at home and upload that to HealthyWage.com. You’ll be asked to show your weight, wear light clothing and keep nothing in your pockets. The goal here is to get an accurate reading of your actual weight.

The other option is to have your weight taken and verified by any wellness, health, pharmacy or medical professional. HealthyWage will give you a form to print off and give to the person verifying your weight. That person will sign off on the document and then you scan a copy and e-mail it or take a photo of the document with your phone and upload it.

HealthyWage also has people on staff to verify that everyone is playing by the rules. If anything looks suspicious, they’ll step in and take a closer look. Anyone caught cheating will be kicked out of the contest and not be refunded.

stickK

Website: www.stickk.com

stickK is a personal goal-setting website that allows you to make more than just health commitments. You can bet on any type of personal goal here – everything from losing weight to finally cleaning out the garage. In this one, you sign a legally-binding contract, put money on the line and then get that money back if you achieve your goal.

Fail to reach your goal and stickK will keep some of your money and donate the rest to charity. Even better, stickK has an anti-charity option in which you designate a charity that you’re strongly opposed to. For example, someone extremely opposed to abortion could select the NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation. Someone extremely pro-choice could designate Americans United for Life as their anti-charity.

Anti-charities up the stakes considerably. Not only do you lose your original wager, but your money is given to a cause that goes against your beliefs. stickK purposely chooses contentious charities that include the likes of gun control, climate change, gay marriage and so on. The purpose is to give you a strong incentive to reach your goal. You don’t want your hard-earned money to fall into the wrong hands, do you?

You can also designate that your money be given to an individual person of your choosing (friend or foe). Failure to keep your goal will result in that person getting your money. Reach your goal and you’ll get your money back at the end.

Verification

Verification isn’t quite as thorough on stickK because you don’t compete against other people or “win” money. The best you can do is get your money back when you’re successful. However, you do have the option to select someone else to monitor your progress and keep you honest. This person could be a friend, family member or someone else interested in helping you reach your goal.

Does Weight Loss Betting Work?

it may almost sound unhealthy to bet money on losing weight, but research suggests that the immediate rewards offered by betting on weight loss are more effective motivators than far-off rewards such as improved health or lower insurance premiums. Even weight loss bets, in which payouts only happen after months, offer a sense of immediacy as the wager is put in play from the beginning.

Furthermore, there are some indications that penalties can act as even greater motivators than rewards in certain situations. Real money weight loss bets offer the best of three worlds: immediacy, a potential for reward and a potential for loss. Combine all three, plus the background knowledge that what you’re doing is ultimately good for your health, and you can imagine why so many people turn to weight loss betting sites for a little extra incentive to get down to a healthy weight.

If you’re still feeling skeptical, this study from Mayo Clinic in 2013 put these exact theories to the test in a real-life weight loss study. In the study, Mayo Clinic researchers set up a weight loss plan and goals for 100 participants over the course of a year.

50 of the participants were given no financial incentives, 25 were given financial rewards for meeting monthly goals and 25 faced financial penalties for failing to meet their goals. All 50 participants in both financial incentives groups were also eligible to win a share of a prize pool at the end of the study.

The study ultimately found that 62% of participants in either financial incentives group completed the weight loss program compared to just 26% for participants in the non-incentives group. Furthermore, those in either financial incentives group lost 4x as much weight as those in the non-incentives group.

Interestingly, completion rates were significantly higher even for those involved in the group that only faced financial penalties. The conclusion here is that people are more likely to meet their weight loss goals if they face a reward or a penalty than those who with no financial incentive either way.

Is it easy to cheat at a weight loss betting site?

It’s not as easy to cheat at weight loss betting as you might think. Both DietBet and HealthyWage have systems in place that are effective at ensuring everyone is playing by the rules. Both only accept verified weigh-ins and take certain steps to verify that your weigh-ins are legitimate.

Furthermore, they occasionally audit random users to ensure everyone is playing by the rules. Both sites also have actual human referees who go over weight loss submissions to look for signs of any funny business.

StickK.com is easier to cheat as it works on the honor system, but StickK also does not offer prizes above and beyond your original investment. Thus, you would have nothing to gain by gaming the system. Cheating at StickK would only be cheating yourself.

Even if some industrious cheater did find a way to game the system at any diet betting site, this is not an easy way to win a bunch of money. Between the verified weigh-ins and extended time-frames given for reaching goals, there simply is not a lot of money to be won just by cheating at diet betting. The number one selling point of these sites is motivation for weight loss; the money comes second.

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