Hendon Mob Gives in to Privacy Laws, Allows Deletion of Players’ Poker Results

3 min read

The world’s biggest database of poker tournament results has given in to pressure from players and regulators, and it will now allow its users to delete, or rename, their accounts.

 Hendon Mob
From poker’s biggest names to the nobodies, all tournament results end up on The Hendon Mob. (Source: Isle Casino Poker)

The Hendon Mob (THM) made no official announcement regarding the change this week, but users are now able to either change the alias on their account so that people don’t know who it is, or they can delete the account outright.

The move was made in response to a new package of laws created by the European Union (EU) called General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). The new statutes were passed in May and aim to protect the data privacy rates for residents of the 28 EU states.

However, despite Hendon Mob playing it safe and giving in to the new rules, there are plenty of questions about whether the poker-results tracking website is actually collecting private data at all.

What’s Public is Private

The website’s business model consists of collecting tournament results from the casinos and companies that run them.

For some, including German poker pro Armin “schmette” Mette, that amounts to an invasion of privacy.

“After years of abusive data-collection, Hendon Mob is now forced … to delete your accounts if you want to,” Schmette wrote in a 2+2 forum thread.

Not so, responds Roland Boothby. The Hendon Mob’s poker content manager responded by saying that the website is simply aggregating data that has already been publicly released by the casinos and poker tours. It’s essentially public information available to anyone.

“By publishing the results and pay outs of major tournaments, Hendon Mob is no more guilty of ‘abusive data-collection’ then the APT or the PGA,” Boothby retorted.

He goes on to say that it’s “deeply sad” to see some players celebrating what amounts to a significant blow to a small business so that certain individuals can reap benefits.

It’s believed that many European-based poker players were unhappy that THM was bringing unwanted extra attention from the taxman. It’s been reported that Israeli tax authorities have used sites like THM to track down poker tax cheats in the past.

Polarized Range Reaction

While some players are praising the increased privacy, most poker players are pointing out the irrational logic behind the rules.

“So it’s fine for the World Poker Tour to publish results of their tournaments,” asked one poster. “But a no-no if I write a blog summarizing those results?”

“Poker is no different than any other open competition,” said another player on Twitter. “Results are public domain.”

THM certainly isn’t the only website collecting data from poker tournaments. Other sites keep similar databases, but since they aren’t based in the EU, they won’t be changing their privacy policies anytime soon.

EU-based companies that don’t comply with the new regulations can be fined as much as $23 million.

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