Reduced capacity at entertainment and sporting venues due to coronavirus restrictions could see the return of ticket touting, government officials have warned.
They also said a new law banning the practice must be in place before the rescheduled Euro 2020 Championships take place next year, due to commit- ments made to football governing body Uefa.
Business Department officials provided Leo Varadkar with an update on efforts to crack down on ticket touting as part of a wider briefing to the new Tanaiste and enterprise minister.
The last government adopted a bill aimed at prohibiting above-cost ticket touting first put forward by former Fine Gael TD Noel Rock and Fianna Fail TD Stephen Donnelly, who is now the health minister.
Changes have been made to their original proposed legis- lation.
A working draft of the Sale of Tickets (Cultural, Entertainment, Recreational and Sporting Events) Bill 2020 has been sent to the European Commission for examination.
The bill sets out penalties, including fines of between €4,000 and €100,000 and prison terms of between six months and two years, depending on the seriousness of the offence.
The briefing for Mr Varadkar says it can be argued that the impact of Covid-19 on entertainment and sporting events has been such that there is no longer the same need for legislation regulating the resale price of event tickets.
However, it also states: "A secondary ticket market may re-emerge if venues are required to operate at reduced capacity for physical distancing reasons and demand for tickets for high-profile events exceeds supply as a result."
The Cabinet last night decided against easing restrictions on the number of people who can gather at indoor and outdoor events due to the recent rise in Covid-19 cases.
Also in the briefing, the officials pointed to a commitment given to Uefa on ticket sales.
Some of the Euro 2020 matches had been due to take place in Dublin, which with other cities across the continent has been reconfirmed as a host for the rescheduled games.
The department briefing says Uefa was given a renewed commitment on the sale of tickets in April after the championships were postponed to next year.
The document says the Government will have to make a decision on whether to proceed with the bill.
It adds: "Assuming the Euro 2020 Championships proceeds as planned in 2021, it will be necessary to enact the provision on the unauthorised sale of tickets for the Championships in good time before its commencement."
The draft of the bill is ready to be presented to the Cabinet.