While compiling new casino reviews our team came across these threads on GPWA and AffiliateGuardDog highlighting suspected connections between the new Gaming Innovations Group operator JoReels and the Blacklisted Game Tech Group N.V. operator OceanBets/WolfAffiliates.
The screenshots showing an Affiliate Manager (Josh) claiming to work for both groups at once on AffiliateGuardDog was specifically concerning:
(Note – I’ve specifically highlighted the avatar that Josh uses on Skype – we will come back to this shortly)
In our experience it would be very unusual for 2 entirely unrelated companies to employ the same Affiliate Manager at the same time and allow them to openly advertise this. This is especially significant when it is considered that one of those companies (Game Tech Group N.V.) has a very negative reputation across a large number of high traffic websites. Why would JoReels want to have any public association with this group? And surely there are conflicts of interest inherent in working for both groups at the same time? How can either employer be sure they are getting their fair share of your clocked hours working for their brand? Or that you’re not taking their confidential client information and using it to market the other brand?
This was explained away on the GPWA thread by a JoReels representative saying that the situation was simple – the Affiliate Manager in question used to work for Wolf Affiliates and now works for JoReels.
Not being entirely satisfied that this explained why Josh was actively stating they were working for both programs at the same time we decided to look into this a little further, especially as several posters in the GPWA thread actively contradicted this statement claiming that the owners of JoReels were in fact the same people who owned Wolf Affiliates.
First we did was a Google search for ‘Josh’ and ‘JoReels’. The first thing we found was a LinkedIn Profile for ‘Josh Gruber’. Josh is listed as the ‘VP Operations’ for JoReels, but what is specifically interesting about this profile is the avatar that Josh uses:
The avatar used on this LinkedIn profile is the same avatar used in the Skype conversation with the Affiliate Manager Josh who represents both JoReels and Wolf Affiliates. It seems fair to conclude at this stage that this is the same Josh.
Another article on Calvin Ayre popped up where Josh Gruber is quoted as the “Founder of Joreels”.
So why would the founder and VP of Operations for JoReels be serving as an Affiliate Manager for Wolf Affiliates? It’s a very senior role in one company and a very junior role in the other. Maybe he was in the process of leaving Wolf Affiliates to start JoReels? It’s possible, but it’s unlikely that Wolf Affiliates would have been happy with him using time when representing their brands to advertise his new competing brand.
At this point we did another Google search for ‘Josh Gruber’ and ‘WolfAffiliates.com’ and found some very interesting results. The GoDaddy registration information lists Josh Grubber as the owner of WolfAffiliates.com:
This is further verified by WhoIs information for the WolfAffiliates.com where again Josh Gruber is listed as the registrant for the Wolf Affiliates website:
So the question now becomes why would the owners of WolfAffiliates have an Affiliate Manager register as the owner of their digital property and if they did this, how have the failed to get ownership of their digital property returned to them when this Affiliate Manager left their company?
No company would ask a junior member of staff to register as the owner of their digital property and they certainly wouldn’t let a member of staff of any level leave the company retaining said ownership.
So what we have here is a person that can be confirmed to have represented both companies simultaneously, has publicly stated that they are the founder of one company and can be confirmed to currently be the registered owner of a website run by the other company.
Is it possible that an Affiliate Manager was allowed to be listed as the owner of the WolfAffiliate website and then everyone just forgot about it when he left? It’s not impossible, but to our mind the most logical explanation is that Josh Gruber has most likely been at an ownership level within the WolfAffiliates/OceanBets operation and given that his name remains as the current owner of the WolfAffiliates website is very possibly still involved in this operation. At the very least it is highly likely that JoReels have not been transparent about Josh’s previous position with Wolf Affiliates.
Given the serious nature of the various negative practices that the Game Tech Group N.V. have engaged in over the last few years these connection between JoReels and WolfAffiliates are serious enough that we cannot overlook them. To do so would be to put players at risk in the face of what are stark signs of a hidden association with a high risk group. As such JoReels will be listed as ‘associated’ with OceanBets and will inherit their Blacklist status.
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