Foul Play? Snooker Player Received Ban for Betting

There have been incidences of snooker players being banned for betting, some even carrying a lifetime ban from the sport. In this article, we take a closer look at how snooker has tried to enforce this important rule.

Foul Play? Snooker Player Received Ban for Betting
Alex Matless

Written by: Alex Matless

(Senior Betting Writer)

Fact checked by: Louis Hobbs

(Senior Sports Writer)

Last updated: 2024-03-28

Foul Play? Snooker Player Received Ban for Betting

In recent years, snooker has had to shake the image that it is a corrupt sport, with some snooker players gaining a reputation for being unsporting and bringing the game into disrepute. Snooker has long been a sport full of tradition, respect and an air of sophistication, so the WPBSA moved quickly to clean up the dirty image snooker was gaining.

One rule the WPBSA made more robust and started to enforce more rigorously was to prevent professional snooker players from betting on any snooker match or to knowingly influence any match in a way that would give a bettor a sure bet.

There have been incidences of snooker players being banned for betting, some even carrying a lifetime ban from the sport. In this article, we take a closer look at how snooker has tried to enforce this important rule.

Why Can’t Snooker Players Bet?

Snooker players are not allowed to bet on any snooker match because it opens the sport up to bribery, corruption, and intimidation. Players have power to easily influence how a snooker match plays out, and there have been instances where players have purposefully committed a foul, allowed matches to go to a deciding frame or even lost a match.

With snooker players having so much influence on events in a match, they’d stand to gain huge winnings if they bet on those events to happen.

Changing how you play a snooker match in order to make sure certain bets pay out is called match fixing, and snooker has investigated 33 different players for the offence.

What is Match Fixing?

In organised sports, match fixing, also referred to as game fixing, race fixing, or sports fixing, entails a player, team, or referee manipulating their decisions during a competition to achieve a predetermined outcome. This practice contradicts the regulations of the sport and often constitutes a violation of the law. 

Various factors may contribute to match fixing, ranging from players accepting bribes from bookmakers or sports bettors, to instances of coercion or even intimidation (Thai player Thirapongpaiboon had his house fire-bombed over match fixing). 

Competitors might intentionally underperform to gain future advantages, such as securing a more favourable tournament bracket or manipulating a handicap system. 

Match fixing, often driven by betting, involves the exchange of money among gamblers, players, team officials, and referees. These transactions may be exposed, potentially resulting in legal prosecution or disciplinary measures by sports organisations, like the WPBSA. 

In the context of snooker, match fixing typically involves a player accepting a bribe to influence the outcome of a match, which the manipulator will then bet on. In some cases, the snooker player involved may also wager on the outcome, a profoundly unethical practice that tarnishes the integrity of the sport.

Top Snooker Players Banned for Betting

In its history, the WPBSA has investigated 33 different players for the offence of match fixing and betting. Here are some of the top snooker players banned for betting.


John Higgins

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In the 2010 World Series of Snooker, John gave ‘the impression’ he would breach betting rules, and of failing to report an approach to match fix. Higgins was banned for six months, fined £75,000 and ordered to pay £10,000 in costs.


Stuart Bingham

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On 24 October 2017, Bingham was found guilty of breaking WPBSA rules concerning betting on matches involving himself. He received a six-month ban for betting breaches and was ordered to pay £20,000 in costs. His ban ended in January 2018.


Mark King

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Since March 2023 Mark 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.


Li Hang

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In 2023 Li Hang was implicated in a massive Chinese match fixing ring and subsequently banned from playing snooker professionally for life. 


Liang Wenbo

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Liang Wenbo was found guilty of multiple offences of match fixing in 2023, and consequently given a lifetime ban from competing professionally in snooker.


Chinese Players Match Fixing Investigation

From October 2022 to January 2023, the WPBSA imposed suspensions on ten Chinese players: Liang Wenbo, Li Hang, Lu Ning, Yan Bingtao, Zhao Xintong, Zhao Jianbo, Chang Bingyu, Bai Langning, Chen Zifan, and Zhang Jiankang. This was part of the largest match-fixing investigation in the history of the sport. All ten players faced accusations of engaging in match-fixing activities, collectively charged with fixing or conspiring to fix the outcomes of 24 matches spanning from 2014 to 2022.

The majority of the match-fixing activities were orchestrated by Liang Wenbo and Li Hang, sometimes collaborating and other times acting independently. Their methods varied – Li typically exercised caution to avoid detection during his illicit activities, while Liang focused on maximising financial gains and occasionally resorted to intimidation or threats against younger players.

During the investigation, three players, Cao Yupeng, Xu Si, and Yuan Sijun, provided testimony and were ultimately not charged. Cao rejected Liang's proposals twice, and Xu Si refused to fix a match when approached by Liang.

After hearings were conducted by an independent disciplinary tribunal, all ten players were convicted of various match-fixing offenses in 20 out of the 24 matches. Additionally, seven of them were found guilty of betting-related offenses. Liang and Li were handed 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.

How to Report Suspected Match Fixing in Snooker

If you have concerns about potential match-fixing in snooker or possess evidence indicating that a player or bettor is trying to manipulate a snooker match, please reach out to the WPBSA Integrity Unit. Contact information for the Integrity Unit is provided 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.

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