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Farmers dupe bettors with fake IPL cricket league

This might be the craziest sports betting story of the year.

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A pedestrian walks past the bus of Indian Premier League’s Chennai Super Kings in Mumbai on March 24, 2022.
Photo by INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP via Getty Images

It is one of the most unbelievable stories when it comes to sports betting, but also one of caution. This is what happens when you bet on sports you know nothing about.

A simple Google search will tell you the IPL was not in season when this fake league was going on. Maybe these Russian bettors, who are already engaging in some questionable behavior betting on a sport that has no footprint in the country, didn’t think to do that. It’s also becoming quite obvious these punters were what we’d consider casuals, not hardcore sports bettors.

When a well-funded cricket league is streaming matches exclusively on YouTube, that should be a bit of a red flag. However, modern technology and the reliance on streaming services to showcase live events played in this group’s favor. We’ve even got footage of the “matches” and it must be said this group did a great job portraying a cricket match with a limited budget. The BBC logo in the corner, the scoreboard graphic at the bottom and the general camera angle make this believable if you’ve never seen a cricket match in your life.

The real question now is how much money this group actually made. The Indian rupee and Russian ruble hold approximately the same value (1 ruble is 1.27 rupees). The players taking part in the matches made 400 rupees per match. You’ve also got to get a live feed on YouTube going and present the graphics, along with a commentator. Now, since these were fake, every bet is 100% profit for the group. To make this a worthwhile operation, you have to think these guys were not only getting big bets but also high volume. According to this Times of India article, the first payment delivered over the Telegram platform totaled 3 lakh rupees (approximately $3,800). Clearly, this was going to be a highly profitable operation if it didn’t get shut down.

Since sports betting is illegal in India, this group was busted. There have been four official arrests as of now per Times of India but more could be coming.