The 12-second Lag in IPL

The 12-second Lag in IPL

Who has benefitted the most from the Indian Premier League cricket games? The players, the organisers, or the viewers? Wrong! Bookies have benefitted the most. And the reason? Just a matter of 12 seconds! If you haven’t understood, please read further.

The Process

The bookies are taking advantage of a glitch in the technology and in the process are earning millions of dollars. They are exploiting the extra-long gap between real-time and telecast feed that is taking place. The bookies have their men (called pitch-siders) planted in the stadium itself who keep providing a real-time ball-by-ball commentary on phone to them. Now, bookies know what’s happening in real time in the stadium, while the bettors feel that they are watching the match “live”. When bettors place their bets, bookies already know what has happened in the stadium. The whole betting system is very fast because bets are being placed on every ball. In some cases, the gap between two balls may be 10 to 12 seconds. So, actually if several bettors are risking a few million dollars on a ball expecting that the batsman would be out on that ball, the bookies already know if in reality he was out or not, and they would play their betting game accordingly. The end result would be a big-time cheating, but betting anyway is illegal so no one goes to the law-enforcing agencies, and the bookies walk away with a stash of cash.

The Real Time Lag

In any case, what is seen as live on television is 3-to-5-seconds-old as it takes that much time to travel before it is broadcast as “live” on television. Whatever happens live on the ground is recorded by the cameras, and then electronic signals are transmitted through several intermediate stages via satellites and cables to viewers’ TVs. It takes 3 to 5 seconds. However, because there is huge money involved, bookies have resorted to another illegal way of being ahead of the viewers and manipulating the whole betting process. In addition to pitch-siders, they gain an extra edge of a few more seconds by literally stealing feed, which is very similar to stealing power. If you use a hook on a live wire, you can divert the electricity flow and use your own electrical device. In a similar way, the bookies get the live uplink of the feed of the IPL matches, before it is broadcast to viewers. This is being done by installing high-frequency antennas to receive the link before it’s even broadcast.

Viewers Lose

Thus, using the two methods, bookies are exploiting a total gap of 12 seconds. So, what you may actually see on TV as happening in real time may have actually happened 12 seconds ago. Moreover, if you are a diehard bettor and you assume that what you have just seen or heard actually happened at that moment, then you are going to lose big.

It is being investigated now if the UK-based betting site Betfair has any involvement in this high-technology fraud through illegal money transfers by avoiding banking channels in the IPL bettings.