Scammers Hire Indian Farmers to Masquerade as Professional Cricket Teams in Elaborate Betting Scam

An international network of scammers was recently dismantled after allegedly creating a fake version of India’s Professional Cricket League, with farmers posing as players, and broadcasting games live to unsuspecting betting enthusiasts.

When it comes to betting scams, the one recently dismantled in Gujarat’s countryside sounds pretty hard to beat. A criminal group coordinated by a “mastermind in Russia” allegedly created a fake version of the Indian cricket IPL, with farmers and unemployed men posing as players of teams like the Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians or the Gujarat Titans in games broadcast live on YouTube to unsuspecting betting punters in Russia. The games looked real, but the players acted on command, hitting a six, a four, or getting out as directed.

Indian media reports that the criminal group behind this ingenious scam rented a field in rural Gujarat, India, and convinced local farmers and unemployed youth to don cricket jerseys of popular IPL teams and stage games for 400 rupees ($5) per match. The field was set up with boundary lines and halogen lamps, there were umpires carrying walkie-talkies just like in official IPL games, and professional cameramen filmed the action using high-resolution cameras.

The games broadcast live on the now-deleted “IPL” YouTube channel even featured professional-looking computer-generated graphics to display scores, and they were commented by a person who could do a very good impersonation of Indian commentator Harsha Bhogle. Crowd-noise sound effects were used to add authenticity to the broadcast, and the cameramen made sure to mostly shoot close-ups of the players, avoiding showing the empty fields around the pitch.

But for the fact that the real IPL concluded in May and you couldn’t recognize any of the players, it was really hard to tell that the whole thing was fake. Luckily for the scammers, the broadcast wasn’t aimed at a domestic audience, one that would have noticed that something was off, but at betting enthusiasts in Russia. As bets from unsuspecting Russians came in through a Telegram channel, a mysterious mastermind would instruct players to take certain actions on the pitch in order to maximize profits.

The fake Indian Professional Cricket League was playing out one of its quarter-final matches when police got a tip-off and busted the racket. Four men have been arrested in connection with the hoax.


A crime is a crime and should be treated as such, but you have to admit that this one is pretty darn impressive. Hollywood would be dumb not to pick it up as the plot of a movie or at least a mini-series.

Posted in News        Tags: , , , , , , ,