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Dieting Website Allows Users To Bet Money On Losing Weight

(CBS) -- Lose weight, win money: that's the promise of a website thousands of people are using to shed those extra pounds.

But does it work? CBS 2's Dana Kozlov takes a look in this Original Report.

A year or so ago, dinner might be something very different than a salad for Jacob Snyder. But that was 50 pounds ago, before He says he doesn't think he could have lost 50 pounds without it.

DietBet is a website where people, like Snyder, join 30 or 6 month group weight loss games by putting money in a virtual pot. Those who meet their goal, get their money back and then some. Those who don't, are out the cash.

"So it feels kinda bad taking money from people who didn't reach their goals but it's the only way to stay on task," says Snyder.

DietBet's founder Jamie Rosen says it works. So far, the site's had more than 350,000 players who've lost more than four million pounds and won upwards of $18 million. Players submit before and end game pictures with a word of the day to game refs, who ensure no one cheats.

"So, your weigh in photos, naturally, are kept in strict confidence," says Rosen. "Just the referees see those pictures."

So far, DietBet has a clean consumer slate. But Better Business Bureau CEO Steve Bernas stresses, "You've gotta know the company you're giving your money to, obviously your credit card information and personal information."

Jacob Snyder says he's won more than $800 so far. He only gave it a try after thoroughly researching DietBet, which launched in 2012.

This concept is backed by research that shows cash talks when it comes to motivating people to lose weight.

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