Irish government set to ban above-value ticket resales

Those found guilty of reselling tickets could be fined up to €100,000 or face up to two years in prison

The Irish government has given its backing to a new bill that is set to ban the resale of most above-face value tickets to live events.

Brought in by Ireland’s deputy prime minister and minister for enterprise, Leo Varadkar, the Sale Of Tickets (Cultural, Entertainment, Recreational And Sporting Events) Bill 2020 criminalises the resale of most tickets to live events, including concerts, and sports matches for profit.

The provisions of the bill apply to all events held at “designated venues” with a capacity exceeding 1,000 (excluding amateur sports clubs and registered charities).

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Venues with a capacity under 1,000 can be considered for designation by Varadkar if they are “of the opinion that the venue will hold one or more events which may give rise to the sale of tickets for a price exceeding the original sale price, and that the designation of the venue would be in the public interest.”

Any other venue wanting designation can apply for it through Varadkar and his successors.

Those found guilty of reselling tickets for a price above their original face value could face a fine of up to €100,000 or up to two years imprisonment.

The Sale Of Tickets bill, which is expected to be passed this year, began as a private members’ bill brought by MPs Noel Rock and Stephen Donnelly in 2017, which was first backed by the Irish government in 2018.

Rock said he was “proud to have made a difference” in a video he shared to social media.

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“Touts and reselling websites ruin gigs and matches for everyone, making it harder to get a ticket in the first place and driving up prices,” Varadkar said in a statement. “This is about making sure people aren’t getting ripped off once live events, matches and concerts get up and running again, especially considering numbers are likely to be restricted to begin with.”

“This legislation is also hopeful,” he added. “We’re planning for the time when we can go to gigs, festivals and matches again.”

A Viagogo spokesperson told NME: “This penalty decision relates to issues on our Australian website in mid-2017. “The matters considered in the proceeding covered a period of less than 8 weeks.

“Since that time, we have overhauled our platform – a process that included consultation with consumer protection regulators in a number of countries.

“Viagogo is committed to providing an important service to consumers that use our platform. We are carefully considering this decision and for that reason we cannot provide further comment at this time.”

News of the bill comes after ticket resale giant Viagogo was fined $7 million by the Australian Federal Court for misleading Australian consumers.

The case against Viagogo was initially filed in 2017 by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and a court ruling made last year. The official penalty was handed down last week (October 2), as ABC reported.

“Viagogo’s business practices were unacceptable,” said Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chair Rod Sims. “Viagogo misled thousands of consumers into buying tickets at inflated prices when they created a false sense of urgency by suggesting tickets were scarce and when they advertised tickets at a lower price by not including unavoidable fees.”

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