Stuart Bingham issued six-month ban for betting breaches

World number ten, Stuart Bingham, has been banned from snooker for six months, although three of those will be suspended. The 2015 World champion placed an estimated £35,771 worth of bets between 2009 and 2016.

Fake names and false accounts

Like many sports, snooker players are banned from gambling on any matches that involve themselves or other places. Evidence showed that Bingham placed bets using false names and proxy accounts, including several on his own contests.

However, the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association suggested Bingham did not "influence matches or engage in any corrupt activity".

Yet Bingham will miss three months of competition, including the International Championship, UK Championship and the Masters, and has been fined £20,000.

"Any player found to breach the betting rules will face the most serious of consequences"

Jason Ferguson, Chairman of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association, explained that such a consequence "shows that there are no exceptions to the rules".

He added, "players must understand that they cannot bet on snooker at all, even if they are not involved in a match or event. Any player found to breach the betting rules will face the most serious of consequences."

However, Ferguson is convinced that Bingham did not influence any results in the process. He claimes, "Stuart is a great competitor and I have no doubt he has always played to the best of his ability."

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A regular occurrence

The problem for snooker is that such gambling concerns are becoming familiar territory. In July 2016, Leo Fernandez received a 15-month ban before Alfie Burden was issued a suspended six-month ban which is due to come into effect in January.

Joe Perry will also serve a three-month ban in May after being found guilty of gambling in the summer. Bingham's latest misdemeanours mean that four snooker players have been found caught breaching betting rules in just 15 months.

Yet this is not a problem for the youth of the sport, or so it seems on the horizon. All four players are aged between 40 and 42 and Perry's claims that he gambled "purely out of boredom or distraction", suggests that long periods of time spent away from family could be taking a toll on even the most experienced potters.