Police Dismantle Fake Cricket League Targeting Gamblers in Russia

  • The fake games took place at a remote farm in India, imitating the IPL
  • Laborers were getting paid US$5 to participate in the fake games
  • Conmen used a Telegram channel to accept bets from Russian gamblers on the fake games
  • Umpires would know what bets were placed and would signal the players what to do next
cricket ball and bat
A group of conmen in India scammed Russian bettors by filming and taking bets on fake cricket games. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

An ambitious scheme

Police in India have dismantled a fake cricket league that was targeting gamblers in Russia. A number of conmen have been arrested by the Indian authorities after they created a fake version of the Indian Premier League (IPL), bilking bettors in Russia out of nearly US$4,000.

games took place at a farm in Gujarat

The games took place at a farm in Gujarat, with laborers getting paid to pretend to be the players. Each of the participants wore actual jerseys of teams in the IPL and an umpire was in place to make things look more official. There was even an announcer who kept viewers updated on the progress of the game, mimicking the voice of the well-known commentator Harsha Bhogle.

Posing as the real deal

Participants in the ruse were paid about US$5 to appear in a game. The matches were broadcast live via YouTube channel named “IPL.” To help sell the idea that it was an actual IPL game, the cameramen capturing the action never did a wide shot of the playing area. Crowd noises sourced on the internet played through a speaker.

The actual IPL is a very popular betting event each year in its own right. It is an annual cricket tournament that always throws up plenty of exciting games.

The real IPL came to a close in May; the fake tournament started about three weeks after the close of the actual season. It took some time for people to finally realize that these were not real IPL fixtures, as it wasn’t until the games reached the quarter-final stage before the authorities put a stop to the scam.

Scamming the gamblers

The group of conmen created a channel on Telegram through which gamblers in Russia were betting on the action. In order to make sure that they were on the right side of the bets, the gang was in communication with the game’s umpires through walkie-talkies.

Gambling on cricket games in India is currently not legal.

Depending on the bets, the umpire would give a signal to the batsman and bowler as to what they had to do with the next play. Following a police investigation, the authorities arrested four individuals. They are facing charges relating to illegal gambling and criminal conspiracy.

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