Several leading bookmakers suspended betting on a televised first-round match in the UK Snooker Championship over the weekend following unusually heavy betting on a particular scoreline.
Bookmakers including Victor Chandler, Ladbrokes and Stan James pulled their odds on Friday at the tournament in Telford after a number of sizeable bets were placed on the world’s second-ranked player, Stephen Maguire, beating 45th ranked Jamie Burnett by precisely nine frames to three.
Following the bookies’ decision, the 33-year-old was defeated by Maguire by this exact margin and even missed a black in the twelfth frame that would have made the score eight frames to four.
According to The Guardian newspaper, the two Scottish players occasionally practise together but have denied any complicity in fixing the score.
'In the last frame I have never felt more pressure in my life,' said Burnett.
'On the black I said to myself 'I need to get this, I need to get this' in case some people start talking. I just felt so under pressure, probably the most pressure I have felt in my life.'
Bookie William Hill, which does not offer correct-score betting before the quarterfinals also pulled its odds on bets for the overall winner of the match.
“There were a number of rumours doing the rounds in the business and we thought discretion and valour and all that stuff and we took down the prices,' said Graham Sharpe, Spokesperson for William Hill.
Bookmakers have urged snooker’s authorities and the Gambling Commission to investigate any suspected match-fixing amid fears that the sport will be damaged by a loss of public support and sponsorship income. In a statement released after the contest, the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) stated that it would make ‘a thorough assessment of the players' performance’ while the BBC has offered to make its footage of the match available.