May 12, 2010

Betting Ban Slapped on the Players

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 6:56 am

Like it or Lump it. The Exit door is just over there.

Barry Hearn has moved swiftly and confirmed that all players are to be banned from any form of snooker betting.

This follows the unproven, unrecorded allegations from some girl who worked in a call centre that John Higgins attempted to bet against himself during last year’s World Championship final, which as we all know, he won in a canter.

It also follows Dennis Taylor’s frankly stupid comments regarding insurance betting the other day.

Under the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association’s code of conduct, players are prohibited from placing any bets on matches that they are participating in.

Up until now, however in what I’d consider a misguided element of the code, so-called ‘insurance bets’ also known on the circuit as ‘A Dennis’ on the highest break at tournaments have been allowed.

These bets mean that if a player is on course for a cash prize for the highest break of a tournament, they are permitted to take out insurance by betting on their break being beaten by another player.

So in other words, because they hit a high break they’re not bothered if it’s beaten as they’ll cash in anyway. Whatever happened to the spirit of competition?

WPBSA chairman Bazza wants to outlaw all forms of betting in the game to avoid any confusion amongst players in an attempt to rebuild the sport’s somewhat tarnished image.

“The situation is currently being reviewed in terms of high-break betting,” said Baz. “We need to make it crystal clear to players that they shouldn’t be betting on snooker in any matches in any way, and that includes the insurance betting on high breaks.”

To add to Higgins’ woes a WPBSA spokesman confirmed that all players would have been in no doubt that betting on their own matches was against the rules.

“They would all have been notified by letter,” the spokesman said.

I say Dennis it was awfully nice of that bookie chap to take your bet. There's one born every minute. Oh look that young chap has beaten your break, sod the history books you're quids in! Spiffing! Ha ha ha, another vintage port anyone?

As it is highly likely that the allegations in last Sunday’s newspaper could never be proved, for a start it probably wasn’t recorded and secondly, Ladbrokes should have reported it at the time to the Gambling Commission and they didn’t, John should really have just laughed it off and denied it. It’s then his word against yours and as it’s such a hard one to comprehend unless you take into account that Higgins is as thick as two short planks, which of course we now know he is, this one could have been forgotten in an instant.

I applaud the action taken by Bazza, this ‘insurance’ betting is not morally right in my view and actually has a stink of a bit of an ‘old boys club – you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’ to it, which does not belong in a modern sport. I’m actually amazed that this has been allowed for so long.

OK, you are never going to stop players doing it through another party, but just putting the warning signs up there crystal clear might make them think twice before doing it.

Perhaps also the severely limited prizes now being offered for tournament highest breaks might also see an end to this shady practice. I think those that have benefited from this loophole in the past should hang their heads in shame, yes, you Dennis.

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