Fans will no longer have to pay hundreds of euro over the odds for events under proposed laws backed by the Government — a move ticket resellers have said will drive the multi-million euro trade underground.
Business Minister Heather Humphreys said the Cabinet has agreed to back, with amendments, a bill put forward by Fine Gael TD Noel Rock and Fianna Fáil TD Stephen Donnelly to ban ticket touting.
The law would ban the selling of tickets for more than their face value for sporting and entertainment events in designated venues with a capacity of 1,000 people or more.
The legislation will also outlaw the use of ‘bot’ software to snap up more tickets than the limit applied to customers by promoters.
The Irish Examiner last year highlighted the resale of tickets for U2’s Three Arena concerts on ticket reselling service Viagogo for €1,758 each.
While welcoming legislation around the use of some software, an online secondhand ticket-selling company said it believes the law banning resales over face value will drive the trade underground.
In response to the legislation, StubHub said it believes “legislation to regulate the selling price of tickets bears the risk of driving ticket sellers away from sites that offer the buyer a safe transaction”.
“If the proposed legislation is enacted, fans who value the choice, flexibility, and security offered by digital marketplaces could end up buying tickets through channels that offer no security or guarantees,” the company said. “We hope that any amendments to the bill will reflect the issues that would affect both the market and fans.
“StubHub welcomes and supports the proposal to tackle the use of bot software. The company also advocates for greater transparency around the number of tickets that are actually available to the public for live events from the outset.”
Ms Humphreys said the cross-party bill is “a tangible example of new politics at work”.
“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,” she said.
“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.”
The legislation follows a commitment given to Uefa to ban the unauthorised transfer and use of tickets for matches taking place in Ireland during the Euro 2020 Championship.
Mr Donnelly said genuine music and sports fans have been ripped off by organised ticket touting for too long.
“While there has always been some low-level touting, the move to online sales and bots has brought ticket touting to an industrial scale,” he said.
“Recent assertions to a Westminster committee link some of this to organised crime, based partly in Ireland.
Mr Rock said the legislation will see Ireland “take the lead” on banning touting.
“The legislation proposed is ambitious and sensible,” he said. “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.”
Ticketmaster, which operates second-hand ticket-selling website Seatwave, said it had no comment at the time of going to print.
This story first appeared in the Irish Examiner.