Irregular betting patterns were reported by two Irish bookmakers in the Joe Perry v Michael Judge match at the Maplin UK Championship.
According to the Racing Post, Celtic Bookmakers and Paddy Power contacted the WPBSA after what they regarded as suspiciously high amounts were placed on Perry to win 9-0 or 9-1.
A 9-0 win was 80/1 and a 9-1 victory a 40/1 shot with both firms.
“We took around EURO 2,250 on the 9-0 and 9-1 outcomes in doubles with the correct scores in the James Wattana-Mike Dunn match,” said Ivan Yates, the Celtic managing director.
“These bets were foiled in the end because after Perry won, Wattana lost. However, we would not have paid out even if Wattana had won and we will be making further investigations into the circumstances surrounding this gamble on Perry.
“We are registered with IBAS [Irish Bookmakers Association] and would have referred all bets on this match to them. If they had decided we had to pay out we would have, but serious questions need to be asked about this game regardless of the Wattana result.”
Paddy Power said they had punters betting on 9-0 or 9-1 with Perry doubled with Black Jack Ketchum to win the 2007 World Hurdle and Teofilo to win the 2,000 Guineas.
“We saw some unusual activity on the Perry-Judge match and it has left us with liabilities of around EURO40,000 going on to Cheltenham and Newmarket,” said Paddy Power’s John Hartnett.
“As we have seen unusual betting patterns in previous games involving one of these players, we have made the decision to no longer offer betting on matches involving this player for the foreseeable future. However, we intend honouring all bets taken on this match.”
In fact, Judge missed his scheduled flight the night before the match, which began at 2.30pm on the opening day, because high winds in Dublin caused the cancellation of his plane.
There were worries the first flight of the morning would also be cancelled, which could have caused judge to arrive late and be docked frames.
It is not unreasonable to assume word got round in Ireland about Judge’s travel problems, although as it transpired he arrived in York in good time.
Placed 39th in the provisional rankings, with the UK Championship carrying a higher points tariff than all ranking events with the exception of the 888.com World Championship, he would have been expected to give the match his all.
Perry played superbly, making a century and five half century breaks.
The WPBSA insisted they had followed proper procedure. A spokesman told the Racing Post: “We have an agreement with the Association of British Bookmakers whereby we are contacted confidentially if and when irregular betting patterns are detected.
“In such cases, the match in question is carefully monitored by out most senior officials and a thorough assessment of the players’ performance is made.
“In past incidents where players have been judged guilty of match fixing or intention to match fix, which are extremely rare, we have taken a particularly stringent line.”
In fact, no player has ever been found guilty of match fixing. Peter Francisco was banned for five years in 1995 for not giving of his best in losing 10-2 to Jimmy White at the Crucible.
Quinten Hann resigned his WPBSA membership shortly before being banned for eight years last February after being found guilty of intention to throw a match in the 2005 China Open following an investigation by The Sun.
As previously reported in Snooker Scene, the WPBSA did not break sweat to investigate whether there was anything untoward in a Billiards match between Peter Gilchrist and Mike Russell at the 1999 Lindrum Masters.
It is unclear who the “most senior officials” were watching the Perry-Judge match or indeed whether they watched it in its entirety.