Are Snooker Players Allowed to Bet?

With snooker becoming more and more popular worldwide, and snooker betting becoming more common, it’s no wonder punters are curious as to whether professional snooker players are allowed to bet.

Are Snooker Players Allowed to Bet?
Alex Matless

Written by: Alex Matless

(Senior Betting Writer)

Fact checked by: Louis Hobbs

(Senior Sports Writer)

Last updated: 2024-03-28

Are Snooker Players Allowed to Bet?

With snooker becoming more and more popular worldwide, and snooker betting becoming more common, it’s no wonder punters are curious as to whether professional snooker players are allowed to bet.

The short answer is no. Professional snooker players are not allowed to bet on snooker matches due to the complications this can present with match fixing and insider betting. For many years, snooker has been seen as a sport easily corrupted by bribery and match fixing, with the earliest known case of corruption involving Joe Davis, a 15 times world champion from 1927 – 1946. Joe was said to have “carried” weaker opponents in early rounds of snooker tournaments in order to lengthen matches and increase the money made by gate tickets. However, this is nothing compared to the match fixing scandal snooker has tried to stamp out in recent years.

What is Match Fixing?

In organised sports, match fixing (also known as game fixing, race fixing, or sports fixing) involves a player, team or referee altering their decisions during a competition with the aim of achieving a predetermined outcome – going against both the regulations of the sport and often breaking the law. 

Numerous factors may precede match fixing, including players receiving bribes from bookmakers or sports bettors to instances of blackmail or even intimidation. Competitors might deliberately underperform to secure future advantages, such as obtaining a better tournament bracket or purposefully manipulate a handicap system.

Match fixing driven by betting typically includes money transfers among gamblers, players, team officials, and referees. These exchanges and transactions may occasionally come to light, potentially leading to legal prosecution or disciplinary action by sports organisations. 

In snooker, match fixing usually involves a player taking a bribe in order to create a predetermined outcome in a match, which the fixer will then bet on. Sometimes, the snooker player involved will also bet on the outcome, a grossly unethical practice that brings the game of snooker into disrepute.

Snooker Players Investigated for Match Fixing

Li Hang

TELEMMGLPICT000338437810_16860865397200_trans_NvBQzQNjv4BqDyn_kzCs85o7bFJrmLDpe1T0TbG3yeKlrkETHpdZ6js.webp

Li Hang reached a career high of 28th in the world rankings in 2019, but in 2023 he was implicated in a massive Chinese match fixing ring and subsequently banned from playing snooker professionally for life. 


Mark King

2856134-58868688-2560-1440.jpg

Mark King has reached as high as 11th in the snooker world rankings since he became professional in 1991, but since March 2023 he has been suspended "from attending or competing on the World Snooker Tour” due to irregular betting patterns in matches he was involved in. As of writing, Mark is still being investigated.


Liang Wenbo

3052220-62600133-2560-1440.jpg

A former winner of the English Open, Liang Wenbo achieved a world ranking of 11th at the height of his professional career, before he was found guilty of multiple offences of match fixing and consequently given a lifetime ban from competing professionally in snooker.


Jamie Jones

GettyImages-627086442.webp

At age 14, Jamie was the youngest ever player to make a maximum 147 break in a competition (a record that has since been broken by Judd Trump). In October 2018, Jamie was investigated for match fixing, but was later acquitted of the charge. However, Jamie went on to admit he was approached to fix the match in question and failed to report it, which incurred a one-year ban.


David John

e5a83a7ecd853a3363498d71a1613623.jpg

A professional player since 2002, David John dropped off the snooker tour at the end of the 02-03 season and played as an amateur for 13 years before becoming professional again in 2016.  David John admitted breaches of WPBSA Members Rules following an investigation by their Integrity Unit in 2019, which found he had accepted payment to fix the outcome of a match. John was sentenced to a seven-year ban (reduced to five years and seven months), which ran until 21 December 2023. John was also ordered to pay £17,000 in costs.


Chinese Match Fixing Ring 2023

Between October 2022 and January 2023, the WPBSA suspended ten Chinese players – Liang Wenbo, Li Hang, Lu Ning, Yan Bingtao, Zhao Xintong, Zhao Jianbo, Chang Bingyu, Bai Langning, Chen Zifan, and Zhang Jiankang – after bringing the largest match-fixing inquiry in the history of the sport. All 10 players were accused of match fixing. They were collectively charged with fixing or plotting to fix the outcomes of 24 matches spanning from 2014 to October 2022. 

Most of the match fixing was masterminded by Liang Wenbo and Li Hang, occasionally collaborating and other times acting independently. Their approaches varied slightly – Li often exercised caution to evade detection during his match fixing, while Liang prioritised maximizing financial gains and sometimes resorted to intimidation or threats against younger players. 

During the inquiry, three players – Cao Yupeng, Xu Si, and Yuan Sijun – provided testimony and ultimately faced no charges. Cao declined Liang's propositions twice and Xu Si also refused to fix a result when approached by Liang. 

Following hearings by an independent disciplinary tribunal, all ten players were convicted of various match-fixing charges in 20 of the 24 matches. Additionally, seven of them were found guilty of betting offenses. 

Liang and Li received lifetime bans from the sport, while the remaining eight players received bans ranging from five years and four months to one year and eight months, with the bans backdated to the start of their suspensions.

Liang and Li were also ordered to pay £43,000 each in costs, while the other eight players were directed to pay £7,500 each in costs.

How to Report Suspected Match Fixing in Snooker

If you suspect match fixing has occurred in snooker, or you have evidence that a player or bettor is attempting to fix a snooker match, you can contact the WPBSA Integrity Unit. Details on how to contact the Integrity Unit are below:

  • Company Secretary Email address: chris.hornby@wpbsa.com
  • Integrity Unit Email Address: nigel.mawer@wpbsa.com
  • Confidential Telephone Hotline: 07305964578
  • Confidential Email Address: integrity@wpbsa.com
Alex Matless

Alex Matless

Alex is a copywriter and creative writer with nearly 6 years of experience writing in the online gambling industry. He has worked for sportsbook giants bet365, as well as online casino brands under the Mansion umbrella, helping to launch the SlotsHeaven and MansionBet brands. After studying for a BA in Creative Writing and Journalism at Staffordshire University, he moved to Gibraltar to work in the sunny capital of online gambling. His passion for creative storytelling, no matter the topic, makes his articles exceptionally readable and wonderfully engaging.

More articles by this author