If there is a shadow that hangs over modern day cricket, it is the shadow of match fixing. The illegal betting industry in India has given rise to a large amount of match fixing scandals in recent years. As Indian gambling is all illegal it is very difficult to regulate and to follow betting patterns.

As the IPL is the most lucrative and famous cricket competition in the world it is obviously regularly asked whether the IPL has succumbed to match fixing. Every time there is a surprise result people begin questioning whether the winning team had tried their very hardest.

There are a number of arguments that support the view that the games are fixed. First, the gambling industry in India is set up to breed and encourage corruption in sport. Second, some of the betting patterns on international betting sites such as Betfair also arouse suspicion.

The Indian gambling industry is run almost entirely by the black market. Other than a few anomalous betting havens in Goa and Sikkim, all betting in India is run illegally. Big bookmakers take bets both from punters and also with each other. These bookies have international connections and whilst taking bets from India can also have bets with other bookies around the world.

These bookies are enormously rich and certain results can make them very large amounts of money. Therefore if they can influence certain players then they have the capacity to profit hugely from this. If a certain bookmaker can know the result of a match then he can give his customers a bigger price on the team he knows is going to lose. He will therefore receive a large amount of bets on the team he knows will lose and can make extra profit on the game.

At the same time that bookie can bet on the winning side with other bookmakers to secure even more profit for himself. If a licensed an legal bookmaker did this then the regulators would be able to notice this strange betting pattern. The bookmaker would be questioned if they behaved like this and thy would be far more likely to get caught.

When fixtures are fixed, the strange betting patterns can start to appear in real markets. Espcially on betting exchanges like Betfair this can be noticed. Sometimes, in the final few minutes before a game begins, there can be lots of money bet on one team which will change the price. It is possible at this point that either an insider has some important information, like the best batsman has got ill. However, it can also sometime be the actions of someone who has fixed a game. To keep the prices normal and to not arouse suspicion, they wait till just before the game starts and then have a very big bets.

Sometimes IPL games see betting patterns like this. It is especially suspicious when the team that is not expected to win is bet on heavily before the game starts. However, it is still very difficult to prove and lengthy enquiries are required to investigate such games.

On the other side of the argument, there also a number of factors which suggest that the IPL is not or is very rarely fixed. The two main arguments I will look at now is first that players are paid too much to be able to be corrupted. The second is that a lot of games are too high scoring to be fixed.

A large amount of money is bet on the IPL, around $100 million per game, however because the players are also paid a lot of money it makes them more difficult to corrupt. Traditionally, players that are bought by bookies are playing forms of cricket that are not particularly lucrative. Players then can be bought for as little as $10,000.

However, in the IPL players are paid hundreds of thousands of dollars and sometimes even millions. Then on top of this they are paid sponsorship and advertising money. They earn this every year and if they were caught cheating or fixing games then they would lose all of this. Therefore it is not worth their while to fix the match.

The players that need to be bought by bookies are usually also the best players if they are going to have a realistic opportunity to throw the game. Therefore they would need to be buying the players that are earning millions of dollars for the tournament. The bookies would be unable to meet the demands of the players as even $50,000 would probably not be enough to tempt these highly paid cricketers.

Secondly we see a lot of very high scoring games that are then chased down in the IPL. For example when Chennai chased down the Royal Challengers Bangalore with 208 runs and when Rajasthan chased down the Deccan Chargers with 197. These game would be close to impossible to manufacture. The IPL relies on high scoring games to keep fans interested and therefore it is in the interests of the match organisers to be very vigilant regarding match fixing.

The closer the game and the less predictable it is, then the more difficult it is to fix. If games were fixed then they would likely be very dull and not at all close. As well all know, the IPL is not at all like this and games are usually very close. This makes it very unlikely that games are fixed. It also means that the powers that rule the IPL will be working very hard to prevent match fixing.

In conclusion you can see that it is very much in the interests of bookies to fix games. The way Indian betting works at the moment makes it very easy for them to fix games without being detected. Therefore it is very much in the interests of Indian bookies to fix games and if they got the opportunity you can be very sure that they would fix a game.

However, it is likely that the amount players are paid in the the IPL and the money they make from it gives them very little incentive to succumb to match fixing. The organisers are keenly aware of te dangers that match fixing would have on the game and they too will be making sure that match fixing does not occur.

It is likely that a very small number of games are fixed, especially the smaller games, and if you see a game where one team has been bet very heavily on before the game and then that team goes on to win by a large margin you have to be very suspicious. However, the majority of games are not fixed and especially if the game goes down to the last few balls it is very unlikely that it will have been fixed.