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The Gambling Commission (UKGC) has hit Aspire Global with a £237,600 fine for anti-money laundering failures.

The Malta-based operator – which powers 66 websites in the UK primarily on a white-label basis – also received an official warning and had conditions added to its licence.

Aspire was unable to prove it had carried out appropriate due diligence checks on six of its third-party white-label operator partners, according to the Commission.

The breaches were discovered following a licence review undertaken by the regulator, while the decision to impose a fine was made on 14 November.

In February 2022, the UKGC earmarked white-label partnerships as “high risk” for AML failings.

The regulator’s current guidance on the subject says: “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.

“The assessment of these risks are based, among other things, on the risks posed to the operator by the jurisdictional location of their third-party and any relevant domestic anti-money laundering legislation they must comply with, transactions and arrangements with business associates and third-party suppliers such as payment providers and processors, including their beneficial ownership and source of funds.

“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 UKGC has this year dished out more than £45m in financial penalties to UK-licensed operators, mostly for AML and social responsibility breaches.

The Commission has ramped up its enforcement action in recent years. For comparison, the regulator imposed fines of just £1.7m against three operators throughout the entirety of the 2016/17 financial year.