The UK Government are using snooker’s flagship event to pilot the return of indoor crowds amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The event starts LIVE on Eurosport and Eurosport Player on Friday, with Hamilton’s opponent Kyren Wilson receiving a bye into the second round.
Ronnie O'Sullivan: 'I know I'll pull something magical out of the bag at World Championship'
World Snooker Tour chairman Barry Hearn questioned the timing of Hamilton’s decision.
"Anthony Hamilton withdrew yesterday having gone through the qualifying competition and decided last night that he's going to withdraw from the World Snooker Championships because he's got asthma and he is worried about his own health," Hearn told talkSPORT.
"Understandable, not a problem. The question I pose is why did he now withdraw before the qualifying competition because by getting through the qualifiers he has effectively stopped someone else from going and earning a living.
"He entered a competition knowing while he was in that competition he knew there was going to be fans present."
Hamilton is a four-time quarter-finalist, and reached the main draw for the first time in 12 years when beating Scott Donaldson 10-5 in the final qualifying round on Monday.
Racing at Goodwood and county cricket at The Oval have also welcomed limited fans back.