herald

Wednesday 17 October 2018

Legal crackdown on touts 'unlikely to help ticketless fans'

Coldplay singer Chris Martin
Coldplay singer Chris Martin

Proposed laws to crack down on touts are "unlikely" to improve things for fans looking for tickets for in-demand events, officials have warned.

The Sale of Tickets Bill looks to cap the resale value of tickets at no more than 10pc higher than face value.

It is designed to stop touts buying tickets with a view to selling them on for profit.

Officials in the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) relayed the results of a public consultation and an analysis of the market to an Oireachtas committee this week, and noted there was significant but not universal support for a price cap.

The GAA and the FAI have backed the idea, while the IRFU has reserved its position.

The department's analysis suggests that there are only a handful of events a year where there is a notable level of reselling.

Ticketmaster and resale agents provided information to the department on last year's U2 and Coldplay gigs in Croke Park, which saw a higher than average number of tickets resold.

However, it was the high demand - rather than profiteering - which left most people unable to get a ticket, it was found.

"While legislation along the lines proposed in Deputy [Maurice] Quinlivan's Bill will act to counter ticket profiteering, the evidence suggests... that it is unlikely to improve significantly the ability of fans to obtain tickets for particularly high demand events," the DBEI found.

Instead a better match between supply and demand was the best way to address the problem, but this was not always possible for events such as sporting finals.

Systematic

Internet and social network selling of tickets would also make it difficult to fully enforce a price cap.

Fine Gael TD Noel Rock, who has pushed for a law outlawing touting, said the department's analysis relied heavily on Ticketmaster and reselling platforms, and a more robust approach was needed.

He said it was clear the "time for talk and listening to evidence" was over and there was cross-party consensus on the need to act over touting, which had become much more "systematic and professional".

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