As the year draws to a close, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has handed out another regulatory penalty, targeting Aspire Global.
The £237,600 charge has been issued to AG Communications, which trades as Aspire Global, along with an official warning and additional licence conditions, for failing to operate to the Commission’s anti-money laundering standards.
In the regulator’s assessment, Aspire Global was unable to demonstrate that it had carried out due diligence checks on six third-party businesses it had signed white-label partnerships with.
In an update on AML and terrorist financing standards earlier this year, the Commission noted that: “Operators should also give due consideration to the money laundering risks posed by their business-to-business relationships, including any third parties they contract with.”
Risks operators should consider, according to the Commission’s guidance, concluding the jurisdictional location of third-parties and any relevant legislation connected to this.
Companies should also consider transactions and arrangements their third-party partners may be involved in, such as with payment providers and processors, including beneficial ownership and source of funds concerns.
“Effective management of third-party relationships should assure operators that the relationship is a legitimate one and that they can evidence why their confidence is justified,” the regulator asserted.
As a result of the Commission’s enforcement action, AG Communications will be required to ensure that effective due diligence checks are conducted in the future.
The Commission’s updated guidance on AML and terrorist financing legislation came about after the regulator “become aware of instances of gambling operators failing to conduct sufficient due diligence measures in their third-party business relationships.”
This included examples of UK licence holders receiving third-party investment or entering into white-label partnerships – such arrangements were subsequently labelled as high-risk for AML reasons.
Aspire Global’s penalty is the latest in a series of enforcement actions against UK market operators, including prominent names such as Betway, Betfred, Sky Bet and most notably Entain, hit with a record charge of £17m.
Part of NeoGames since its acquisition in August, Aspire Global operates 66 websites across the sportsbook and igaming sectors.