The Government has agreed to support, with some amendments, the Prohibition of Above-Cost Ticket Touting Bill (the proposed legislation) introduced by deputies Noel Rock and Stephen Donnelly (the Deputies) in order to implement measures to tackle ticket touting.
Ticket touting involves the purchasing of numerous tickets for a highly-anticipated event in order to resell the tickets at a much higher price.
The proposed legislation aims to:
- Ban the above-face value resale of tickets for sporting and entertainment events in designated venues with a capacity of 1,000 or over;
- Prohibit the use of bot software to purchase tickets in excess of the number permitted by event organisers; and
- Honour the commitment given by the Government to the Union of European Football Association (UEFA) to ban the unauthorised transfer and use of tickets for matches and official events taking place in Ireland during the EURO 2020 Championship.
The proposed legislation applies to designated venues with a capacity of 1,000 or over (rather than on an event-by-event basis which was originally proposed by the Deputies). There is a requirement for venues seeking to be designated, to state that their capacity is 1,000 or over and to confirm that events in the venue are likely to give rise to significant levels of ticket resale. Due to the broad support for measures to counter ticket touting, it is expected that most venues will be eager to be deemed designated venues. For any venues which do not actively seek to be designated venues, the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation will have the power to categorise venues as designated venues where this would be in the interests of consumers.
Bot software is specialised software used to automatically purchase tickets in bulk the instant they are made available to the general public. The tickets are usually then listed and sold for profit on secondary ticketing websites (websites that facilitate the re-sale of tickets to sold-out events). The proposed legislation will prohibit the use of bot software to buy more than the permitted number of tickets determined by event organisers.
Exceptions for charities and fund-raising events
The ban on above-face value resale will not apply to ticket sales by charities, recognised sporting bodies and clubs for fund-raising purposes.
Resale of tickets for EURO 2020 matches in Ireland
As part of the conditions agreed with UEFA relating to matches in the EURO 2020 soccer championship, Ireland gave a commitment to introduce legislation to prevent ticket touting. UEFA will control all aspects of the allocation, sale and distribution of tickets to matches in the tournament, including, but not limited to, quotas, production, prices, methods of distribution, sales conditions and channels.
Responses to the proposed legislation
Ticketmaster announced in August 2018 that it would terminate the operation of its secondary ticket reselling sites “Seatwave” and “Get Me In!” apparently in response to the proposed legislation. Ticketmaster has announced plans to launch an alternative “fan-to-fan” ticket exchange, which will enable people to buy or sell tickets at the original price or less.
The Government has agreed to take the second and subsequent stages of the proposed legislation in Government time and to draft a number of amendments to the proposed legislation. When drafted, the amendments to the proposed legislation will be tabled at the Committee or Report Stage.