Sheriff Gaming is a global online casino website that offers 3D games that span from slot machines to video poker. Its parent company, Bubble Group, has faced numerous financial struggles and legal troubles over the past several years. The company most recently declared bankruptcy in its native Netherlands and lost its gaming license.
The process began last week with the Alderney Gambling Control Commission issuing a letter regarding Bubble Group BV. Its Category 2 Associate Certificate was officially withdrawn after a February 24th hearing that determined the company was “no longer fit and proper to hold such a certificate.” Soon after, Bubble Group declared bankruptcy in a Dutch court in Oost-Brabant.
Seizure and Investigation
Bubble Group’s troubles began to make the news in May of 2013, when the company’s offices in Eindhoven were raided by Dutch police, as well as four other office locations. Assets were seized, totaling millions of Euros and including 20 vehicles and 80 properties. Approximately 100 bank accounts were frozen, and three businessmen – including Bubble Group Chief Executive Officer Stijn Flapper – were arrested on suspicion of illegal activity.
The investigation resulted in charges of money laundering, drug dealing, and illegal gambling activities. Seven gambling websites were shut down as part of the illegal operations, and while Sheriff Gaming was not one of them, it was impacted by the lack of funds available to pay customers.
The legal troubles got worse for Bubble Group when the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) then launched an investigation into the company. It ultimately decided to suspend the gaming license in September 2013. Bubble Group issued a statement expressing confusion over the decision and requested a regulatory hearing with the AGCC, which the latter granted. According to Bubble Group, they were told by the District Attorney that they their games were legal and claimed to have had no chance to present evidence of legal activities to the AGCC.
The hearing did take place for Bubble Group with the AGCC, and it resulted in no change to the license suspension. The regulatory body used Section 12 of its regulations that requires those bearing licenses to be “fit and proper” people.
“Following a hearing held in camera on October 29, 2013, the Category 2 Associate Certificate of Bubble Group BV remains suspended until further notice,” the AGCC said in an issued statement.
The Dutch investigation into the activities of Bubble Group continues, which led to the official withdrawal of the AGCC license at the end of February. With the company now in bankruptcy court, Bubble Group may be seeking an end to its troubles once and for all. Sheriff Gaming continues to operate, but the initial bankruptcy hearing may provide insight as to the future of that and other related websites.