LONDON • The 2015 world snooker champion Stuart Bingham apologised for breaching betting rules on Monday, but said that players were overexposed to betting companies.
The Englishman - who received a six-month ban last week with three of those suspended - said players, especially young ones, needed protecting from bookies.
"I have been exposed to all forms of gambling since I was a teenager," the 41-year-old said in a statement. "Most tournaments are sponsored by betting companies. If I was not having wagers with opponents on matches, then there were gaming machines in all the clubs," added Bingham, who was also fined £20,000 (S$35,942) for placing bets totalling £36,000.
Bingham, who will be banned for three of the most lucrative snooker tournaments including the Masters, said he was "truly sorry" and "did not attach sufficient importance to the rules".
However, Bingham - the only player apart from Ireland's Ken Doherty to have been crowned world champion at both amateur and professional level - denied that he had placed bets on matches he played in.
"The committee arbitrarily concluded that I was responsible for 50 per cent of the betting on that account (including bets on my matches)," he said. "I categorically deny that this was the case."