Saturday, September 23, 2023

Indian farmers streamed fake pro cricket matches to Russian gamblers for two weeks

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Shreya Christina
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A group of Indian farmers set up a fake Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament that was so convincing that they managed to trick a Russian public into placing real bets. According to a report by the Times of IndiaThe fake games took place on a farm in the village of Gujarat, with 21 farm workers and unemployed teenagers being paid 400 rupees (~$5 USD) each and given the task of posing as “pro” cricketers from well-known Indian teams.

The farmers reportedly livestreamed the tournament to YouTube over the course of two weeks and even set up a Telegram channel dedicated to the games. That’s where they took bets from Russian gamblers in Tver, Voronezh and Moscow, despite the fact that the actual IPL season is in 2022 closed at the end of May

But thanks to clever thinking and an improvised setup, the peasants managed to fool the Russian public. They placed five HD cameras and halogen lamps around the field, adding sound effects that mimicked the sound of a real crowd.

Players alternated between jerseys of the Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians and Gujarat Titans, while an “umpire” paraded the field with walkie-talkies. As the games progressed, a man took on the role of famed cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle, who actually acknowledged the group’s epic scam on Twitter

Shoeb Davda, one of the masterminds behind the fake tournament, gave instructions to the referee based on the live bets they had received from the Russians. The umpire would then signal the batsman and bowler to steer bets in their favor. Indian police busted four of the savvy scammers during the tournament’s “quarter-finals,” who received 300,000 rupees (~$3,775 USD) from Russian gamblers just before the close.

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