A business in Southern California was the target of a police crackdown last month in connection with alleged gambling tied to an alternative cryptocurrency.
The raid appears to be related to a broader crackdown of so-called sweepstakes cafes, which critics assert enable new – and unregulated – forms of gambling, but supporters say should be considered a legal form of gaming. The California Supreme Court is currently weighing a statewide ban on sweepstakes cafes.
What may be unique about Shamrock is that the company utilizes its own altcoin, shamrockcoin, which according to an official website is billed as a social-powered digital currency.
An explanatory video states that users can visit special locations like the one in Bakersfield to take part in the shamrockcoin mining process. According to the video, users can earn extra payouts by purchasing shamrockcoins, which then multiply the reward from processed blocks.
Bakersfield Police Department Sergeant Joe Grubbs said at the time of the raid that investigators believe "money changed hands" during business hours. A police spokesperson told the news service that computer hardware was seized during the raid but that no one was arrested.
Shamrock Social Games and Mining denied that gambling had taken place at the Bakersfield store. Lawyer Peter Beckman said in an interview with KBAK/KBFX that "there's no element of chance" to Shamrock's games.
Nonetheless, Shamrock sparked controversy among Bakersfield residents when it opened in March, with some critics concerned that the store would contribute to local crime.
Neither Shamrock Social Games and Mining nor local law enforcement officials responded to requests for comment.
Police car lights image via Shutterstock