Cricket match fixing: Punters thought betting was rigged

By Dylan Cleaver

Bettors suspicious when Sussex-Kent game bets totalled $23.65 million.

Punters discuss their suspicions about the Sussex-Kent match on popular gambling site Betfair.com.
Punters discuss their suspicions about the Sussex-Kent match on popular gambling site Betfair.com.

It has taken close to three years for Lou Vincent to face an official sanction for fixing a one-day match between his Sussex side and Kent, but it seems punters were on to the ruse much quicker.

Live message boards on Betfair.com, one of the world's largest gambling websites with five million transactions by three million punters a day, indicate that several gamblers were aware the match was being rigged.

"match fixed delhi bookmakers," said a poster by the handle of RAINGOD at 5.03pm, as play was starting.

"its clearly fixed match guys good luck," bettingdon followed.

These may have been mischievous posts, but they turned out to be prescient. Others talked about a "concerning" betting drift from home team Sussex to Kent, with some warning to "lay it all" on Kent.

"This market is very, very fishy," said cnman, thoughts echoed at 6.20pm by Wallflower: "Treading cautiously - strange market, heavily favouring Kent."

The match, one of those investigated by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) that have seen Vincent and Naved Arif charged with match-fixing and facing life bans, attracted bets totalling more than 12 million ($23.65 million) on one website alone.

The ECB's own security unit opened an investigation into the match in August 2012, after the ICC's anti-corruption unit had previously cleared it.

Yesterday, Vincent's lawyer Chris Morris issued a statement on behalf of Vincent.

"Lou Vincent confirms that overnight he received charges from the [ECB]... The fact of the charges, and more are likely, dispel any notion of a plea bargain having been done as unfortunately appears to be wrongly suggested by others."

According to leaked testimony, Vincent was told by a bookie, NG, to throw the game for 40,000. Sussex would have been guaranteed a place in the Pro40 semifinals if they had won.

Arif bowled expensively in Kent's innings, conceding 41 runs off six overs.

Chasing 217, Sussex were cruising at 76-0 but the markets still favoured Kent. This led some punters to warn of a Vincent intervention.

"Be wary of Lou Vincent in the chase," said the nugget.

Lou Vincent
Lou Vincent

"Lou's play shall be the indicator towards the outcome of the match," said wise-punt.

Sussex soon lost lost four wickets for seven runs in four overs, including Vincent run out in bizarre circumstances for 1 off 6 balls.

"if this turns this will be investigated big time," said Betfair message board poster I win every time!, while Captain Wurzel was more blunt: "Lou's retirement fund gets another boost."

Canaletto added: "Why am I not remotely surprised by Vincent there? Biggest crook there is!!"

At 8.24pm, a poster named bilbobaggins summed up the mood of many: "Cannot believe the movement in prices here - they are consistent with one thing and that's if the result is known in advance."

Arif's 11 off 29 balls batting at No9 assured there would be no late Sussex heroics and they fell 14 runs short.

According to testimony, a third Sussex player who had been approached to fix but refused, was seething in the dressing rooms afterwards.

So were some punters.

"Honestly it cant be more blatant than that, both odds and the players, probably makes sense as Lou Vincent and (name removed) are finished players and have little to lose, Vincent was in the Indian Circus League. Hopefully this game is interrogated," said one.

It was... eventually.

- NZ Herald

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