The online weight loss betting programs like HealthyWage and DietBet have their negative sides. They certainly have accumulated their fair share of complaints.
#1 Complaint, No Refunds: The main complaints against HealthyWage is their insistence that you aren’t allowed to quit. Once you make that agreement that you are wagering that you will lose [this] many pounds in [this] many months – they will hold you to it. Legally they can continue to take the money off your credit or debit card for the duration of the original agreement. As far as gambling on weight loss complaints, this is the main one.
Some folks actually think that is a good thing that you can’t quit and get your money back as it really twists the knob of the Negative Motivation incentive. And, in their defence, pretty smart way to profit while they say they are doing you the favour of holding you accountable. Which, for many folks, that is a major reason why they signed in the first place.
2. Potentially Unhealthy Weight Loss: Most of the online weight loss wagering companies like HealthyWage are only taking your money. It is just a betting system based on the odds that you will most likely loose. They boast that 20 – 40% of the people who do bet money on the amount of weight they will lose do actually win their bet. If this is accurate, then the success rate is about 500% above the characteristic results and WAY above the industry norm of a 5% success rate.
Most of the weight loss gambling sites do not provide you with much, if anything, in the way of additional weight loss tools. There are no meal plans prescribed, no exercise plans, no dedicated trainers, or dieticians on staff. They do encourage you to join these things outside of the betting arena, but do not provide them, nor give any specific recommendations.
Because of the nature of the wagering weight loss game, the focus is solely on weight loss and not at all on healthy living. This is up to you to find on your own.
Another potential unhealthy feature is knowing you are going to bet on your weight loss could encourage cheating just before the weigh in. There are many unhealthy practices that professionals use prior to their initial and final weigh in. These professionals include body builders, olympic athletes, jockeys etc.
3. You are Betting Against the Odds: In general, and depending on who is reporting it, a resolution to diet and lose weight has about a 5% success rate of actually achieving your goal. The percent that do lose weight and then keep it off after that, is way less.
To compare this with just New Year’s Resolutions, the numbers reported vary from 4 to 6 weeks, but generally speaking around 80% quit their resolution by mid-February.
Another issue with incentivising unhealthy weight loss is the issue with the algorithm in the weight loss betting program. You will see that although you are warned that losing over 2 lb a week is considered by the CDC an unhealthy weight loss, you are potentially rewarded for doing so.
4. You Could Lose Money with Muscle Gain: People who do pick up a fitness program to do in conjunction with their weight loss betting wager have reported losing their money. Because of the simplified approach to weight loss betting there is no allowance for muscle gain. The final calculation is on total weight only. This means if you gained muscle weight you might lose your money and not win a prize, even if you have lost body fat, have smaller measurements, and are healthier than when you started. There is no space for just measuring the body fat lost.
5. Not Enough Encouragement to Follow Healthy Guidelines: Although it is set up to make it difficult to cheat on HealthyWage or any other online weight loss betting program, you could potentially cheat your final weigh in. The last weigh in can be done at anytime in the final two weeks. There is a danger that a person could step on the scales close to the end and see they are still 10lbs away from their goal. To drop those final 10 pounds, in just two weeks, could potentially encourage some very unhealthy crash dieting behaviours.
Unfortunately there is no real focus on helping you attain, or maintain, a healthy lifestyle focus. This is another complaint regarding the unhealthy effects of weight loss wagers.
6. Encouraging Excessive Spending: When a person has committed themselves to losing weight, and added betting to their weight loss efforts, they will see there are many places to place more and more weight loss bets.
In for a penny, in for a pound. Once you have decided to bet on yourself to lose weight it just becomes easier to join other weight loss betting groups at the same time. And why not? Since you are planning on losing the weight anyway, why not spread your money around. HealthyWage will allow you to enter 10 games at once. After that you are also free to join and bet other, rival betting companies like DietBet. These weight loss betting companies also have additional group and jackpot style weight loss betting pools you can join.
It can be easy to spend several thousand dollars on your weight loss bet. On the positive side, it also means you could win thousands of dollars too. But the odds are against you AND if something unexpected happens, you can’t quit unless they approve it. According to many, many, complaints, they rarely approve a refund.
A way stop spending more money than you need is to be know how long a person can reasonably diet for without going off the rails, and a healthy weight loss rate. You know yourself best. You have dieted before and know your weak spots. Keep them in mind when you decide how long you want to bet for.
Companies like HealthyWage have a minimum amount of time you have to join up for, and a minimum weight loss amount for your goal. The minimum time is 6 months and you must pay at minimum of $100. Knowing that most people blow their diets within 4 to 6 weeks, this really ensures the odds are stacked against you. Here is more information on important betting numbers you should know.
Your Personal Information May NOT be Secure
7. Personal Information Exposure: HealthyWage specifically has some pretty interesting wording in their agreement and terms. If you check the sites legal information you will see that signing up means you wave your right to sue, and you wave any copyright claims or authority over your own personal information including photos and videos that you send in. AND they hold the right to use your stuff for their own financial gain and do not have to pay you for it.
Other information they habitually collect is a copy of your driver’s license. Although their terms just say you need a valid ID showing height and birthdate, they do push you to send in your driver’s license. One glaring issue with this is; should they get hacked, the hacker will then have enough information to steal your identity. Here is some information on why you should NOT give a digital copy of your driver’s license to anyone.
8. Winnings are Limited: There is a grand prize boast that you could win “up to” $10,000. This is a bit of a loose application of the word “win”. It seems there have been enough complaints about this over the years that they are now clearer on what is actually spent and what is actually “won”. For the longest time they only ever showed the total amount “won” which included the individual’s initial bet. For example you could potentially bet $7000 and then “Win” $3000 for a total show of $10,000.
Take the time to figure out what numbers you need to maximize your profits as opposed to focusing on the total winning. Go here for more detail on the important numbers you need to know to win your weight loss bet. Bear in mind they can, and do, change their weight loss betting algorithm without notice. This directly affects the amount you can win in ratio to your efforts.
Other considerations are the costs to win your weight loss bet. There are random charges like $7 cheque fees, PayPal fees, admin fees etc. Depending on the weight loss challenge you are betting on. The returns vary as well.
For group challenges the individual winnings can easily disappear because of one non-performer, or can be quite low because of the number of competitors. Here is more information on the different types of weight loss betting challenges there are to choose from.
9. Lots and Lots of Rules: Anytime you are paying out money on a weight loss bet, is a good idea to read through all the Rules so you are fully aware of what you are up against. Reviewing the common complaints on BBB site (which they are NOT an accredited member) it appears that they rarely back down from a complaint. The rules are the rules and they do not make concessions. Even if you publicly complain.
Even after all the potential negative consequences and public complaints about their rules, it still hasn’t reduced their popularity at all. The vast majority seem to be quite happy with it. People do bet and win.