In July last year, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement and the UK Gambling Commission had agreed that the two gambling jurisdictions would allow licensed poker operators to share player pools. While online poker liquidity between the jurisdictions was agreed on in principle, the process still has some way to go. After an executive order from Trump, the cross-border online poker liquidity may end up being halted before it begins.
The United Kingdom has already seen some complications since the future is somewhat uncertain since the Brexit vote is expected to have the UK exit the European Union. The issue would be solved by creating a new bilateral data privacy deal between the UK and the United States. After such an agreement would be reached, data sharing between PokerStars.co.uk and PokerStarsNJ.com could theoretically go ahead.
Trump has not directly interfered with the potential international poker liquidity agreement, however, one of his executive orders regards Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States. This executive order allows for the United States to access all data entering the United States from those who are not residents.
Section 14 of the order reads as follows: “[Intelligence agencies] shall, to the extent consistent with applicable law, ensure that their privacy policies exclude persons who are not United States citizens or lawful permanent residents from the protections of the Privacy Act regarding personally identifiable information.”
The issue for poker liquidity sharing is that the EU-US Privacy Shield that came into effect last year, would protect the privacy of those in the European Union even when their information reached US soil. The current executive order could in effect remove the right for data privacy protection for non-US residents.
The US Federal court has rejected a decision taken by the Department of Justice in which it would have the right to request data from servers outside of the United States. Any data from private companies that is kept on servers inside the United States, however, can be accessed when necessary.
The Department of Justice has argued that in order to maintain national security, it should be able to access the data. In an appeal in front of the full Second Circuit court, a 4 – 4 verdict was handed down. With the even split, the earlier ruling that took place in July will continue to be upheld.
The Trump executive order has thrown additional uncertainty on international poker liquidity, and only time will tell whether the agreement will be finalized and poker players in New Jersey and the UK can play against each other.