"A lot of people were expecting five years, and then he might have had some chance of resurrecting his career," said the former world champion. "But 12 years is the death for him. It is certainly a loud message to anyone else who gets approached and is maybe considering doing this kind of thing. It would certainly make you think twice. This is a warning from the authorities; maybe Stephen is a test case and an example to others.
"My overriding feeling is one of sadness and shame. He had worked himself back into the top eight."
Lee, who had been serving a suspension from the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) since October 2012, fixed exact scores, first-frame results and overall outcomes of matches in which three groups connected to him bet in excess of £111,000, leading to winnings of £97,000.
Nigel Mawer, chairman of the WPBSA Disciplinary Committee, said it was a "sad" day for snooker, but insisted "cheats" had to be punished for their actions. "Players must know what's right and what's wrong and make the right decisions in these circumstances, irrespective of the background, because the sport is more important than any player. We have to send a message to those who try to match-fix."
That is a view shared by Judd Trump, the world No 3. "Anything over 10 years was right, I think. It sends out a strong message to everyone that snooker's trying to stamp out cheating. Every other player now knows they can't do it. Obviously if I got approached I'd go to Barry [Hearn, World Snooker chairman] and everyone straight away.
"Some people find it a little bit harder and give into temptation. For me, I've been brought up wanting to win every game, that's just my mindset, but other people obviously think differently."