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Ireland set to ban above-face value ticket touting

As predicted in February, the Irish government has given its backing to the Prohibition of Above-Cost Ticket Touting Bill, paving the way for a ban on the resale of tickets for over face value in the Republic of Ireland.

The bill – in full An act to render it unlawful for any person to sell or offer for sale tickets for major sporting, musical or theatrical events for a price in excess of the officially designated price – was introduced by Irish MPs Noel Rock and Stephen Donnelly in January 2017, leading to a public consultation on secondary ticketing.

The consultation, which wrapped up last May, garnered responses from promoter Aiken Promotions; consumer groups ECC Ireland and the Consumers’ Association of Ireland; sports governing bodies GAA, FAI and IRFU; primary ticket agencies Ticketmaster Ireland and Tickets.ie; and several secondary sites, including StubHub, Seatwave and Viagogo.

Both the primary and secondary ticket agencies that responded were opposed to further regulation, with Ticketmaster saying the bill would “simply push the market underground or offshore”.

Despite the ticketing companies’ misgivings, Heather Humphreys, Ireland’s minister for business, enterprise and regulation, has announced the government’s support for the bill, which would outlaw the above-face value resale of sports and entertainment tickets in certain designated venues with a capacity of 1,000 or over, as well as banning the use of ticket bots.

“It’s wrong that people who make no contribution to sport or music can profit from the resale of tickets”

Humphreys (pictured) expects “most venues with a capacity of 1,000 or over” to apply for designation, “given the broad support for measures to counter ticket profiteering from sporting bodies, promoters and artists”, although her department will have reserve power to designate venues “where this would be in the interest of consumers”.

The ban will not apply to tickets sold by charities and sports bodies/teams for fundraising purposes.

“It’s wrong that people who make no contribution to sport or music [touts] can profit from the resale of tickets for sell-out matches and shows,” comments Humphreys. “In doing so, they deprive genuine fans of the opportunity to attend these events, and the time has come to put a stop to it.

“I am confident that this bill will have the support of the main sporting bodies, of many artists and promoters in the entertainment industry and of music and sports fans right across the country. ”

Adds Donnelly: “For too long, genuine music and sports fans have been ripped off by organised ticket touting. While there has always been some low-level touting, the move to online sales and bots has brought ticket touting to an industrial scale. Recent assertions to a Westminster committee link some of this to organised crime, based partly in Ireland.

“It’s now my ambition that we see other nations across Europe replicating this bill”

“Time and time again, fans are being told that all tickets are sold out on the primary sales website, while almost immediately being able to buy those same tickets at much higher prices on other websites. Fans suffer, as do artists and sporting bodies.

“This legislation is a strong move to protect fans, artists and sporting bodies, and I very much look forward to getting it through the Oireachtas [parliament] and into law as quickly as possible.”

“With this legislation accepted by cabinet, Ireland is set to take the lead in effectively banning ticket touting, subject to the approval of the Dáil [house of commons],” says Rock. “The legislation proposed is ambitious and sensible; it ensures an effective ban on ticket touting and also a ban on bots from snapping up tickets. I have no doubt that for sports and music fans, this legislation will be a game-changer.

“It’s now my ambition that, should this bill be passed by the Dáil and become law in Ireland, we see other nations across Europe replicating it.”

 


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Ireland ‘set to outlaw for-profit ticket resale’

The government of the Republic of Ireland is reportedly set to give its backing to legislation outlawing the resale of tickets above face value.

MPs Noel Rock and Stephen Donnelly are to meet with officials from the department of business this week, following the end of a review of the Irish ticketing sector, the Examiner reports, with government expected to give its backing to anti-ticket touting legislation. Rock and Donnelly introduced the Prohibition of Above-Cost Ticket Touting Bill in January 2017, sparking a public consultation on secondary ticketing.

The consultation, which wrapped up last May, garnered responses from promoter Aiken Promotions; consumer groups ECC Ireland and the Consumers’ Association of Ireland; sports governing bodies GAA, FAI and IRFU; primary ticket agencies Ticketmaster Ireland and Tickets.ie; and several secondary sites, including StubHub, Seatwave and Viagogo. Both the primary and secondary ticket agencies that responded were opposed to further regulation.

Now, according to the Irish Examiner, Donnelly (pictured) and Rock will jointly present a private members’ bill that would outlaw the above-face value reselling of tickets, which will then be accepted by the Irish government.

“This will change mindsets,” Donnelly tells the paper. “Anyone trying to sell at an inflated price will be breaking the law. It will be a culture change.”

 


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Irish MP introduces anti-touting bill

Two months after the passing of a landmark piece of legislation criminalising ticket touting in Italy, an MP has introduced a similar bill – the Prohibition of Above-Cost Ticket Touting Bill 2016 – for consideration by the Oireachtas, the parliament of the Republic of Ireland.

The draft legislation, presented yesterday to the Oireachtas bills office by Noel Rock, the Teachta Dála (TD) for Dublin North-West, would, if passed, “render it unlawful for any unauthorised person to sell or offer for sale tickets for major sporting, musical or theatrical events for a price in excess of the officially designated price [face value]”.

The bill has won the backing of Wicklow and East Carlow TD Stephen Donnelly, who has separately contacted the Competition and Consumer Protection to ask for an “investigation into potentially illegal activity” by ticket touts.

The move to outlaw for-profit ticket resale comes amid controversy in Ireland over tickets for U2’s show at Dublin’s Croke Park next summer, which sold out in under six minutes and, inevitably, appeared on secondary sites shortly after.

“The government has to act swiftly to outlaw the reselling of tickets over face value”

“I have been inundated with people contacting me regarding examples of ticket touting following the sale of U2 concert tickets,” says Rock. “This will be one of the biggest concerts of the year and consumers are now being asked to pay a large figure – well over face value – to attend. It’s just not fair on true fans who couldn’t obtain a ticket…

“The government now has to act swiftly to outlaw the reselling of tickets over face value.”

Promoter Live Nation Global Touring announced this morning the U2 tour in question, The Joshua Tree Tour 2017, sold more than 1.1 million tickets in 24 hours, with sold-out dates across North America, Britain and continental Europe, including the tour’s entire European stadium run.

 


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