The days of queuing up overnight for tickets or trying to call a box office are long gone since advances in technology has brought us websites and apps that allow us to book tickets from anywhere. Whilst no longer having to queue or call is great, technology has also brought us bot software which touts use to buy tickets in excess of the number allowed by the event organiser, and websites that sell tickets at above face value prices.
So it was great to see the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys T.D. announce earlier today that the cabinet has approved the ticket touting law that has been discussed a lot over the past few years.
The proposed legislation would ban the above-face value resale of tickets for sporting and entertainment events in designated venues with a capacity of 1,000 or over. It would also prohibit the use of bot software to purchase tickets in excess of the number permitted by event organisers. The legislation will also give effect to the commitment given to UEFA to ban the unauthorised transfer and use of tickets for matches and official events taking place in Ireland during the EURO 2020 Championship.
In order to implement these measures, the Government has said that they will support and amend the Prohibition of Above-Cost Ticket Touting Bill introduced by Deputy Noel Rock and Deputy Stephen Donnelly.
Minister Humphreys said:
“It’s wrong that people who make no contribution to sport or music can profit from the resale of tickets for sell-out matches and shows. 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. It is also a tangible example of new politics at work and in that regard I want to acknowledge the efforts of Deputies Noel Rock and Stephen Donnelly, who have engaged constructively on this matter so we can bring forward workable proposals which will benefit genuine fans. I look forward to continuing to work with both Deputies and our Oireachtas colleagues in progressing this Bill.”
Deputy Stephen Donnelly said:
“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. 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 to 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 and into law as quickly as possible.”
Deputy Noel Rock said:
“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. 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. For a backbencher, getting a Bill before Cabinet has been a new challenge, but one which was aided by Minister Humphreys’ support and foresight.”