Ireland’s government is reportedly set to back legislation that would outlaw ticket resale at any price greater than face value, backing the Prohibition of Above-Cost Ticket Touting Bill brought in January 2017 by MP’s Noel Rock and Stephen Donnelly.
“This will change mindsets,” Donnelly told the Irish Examiner. “Anyone trying to sell at an inflated price will be breaking the law. It will be a culture change.”
Since the original bill’s introduction last spring, the government had consulted with various stakeholders in the world of ticketing. Promoters, consumer groups, governing bodies of various sports, primary ticketing agencies and secondary ticketing agencies were all brought in to give their two cents, according to IQ-Mag.net. Ticketing agencies – both primary and secondary – were opposed to the regulatory changes.
Some Irish politicians expressed caution about the concept of instituting such restrictive price controls in the recent reaction to the rapid sellout of U2 tickets in the country, due to the long history of such controls leading only to secondary ticket sales diverting to nearby countries which allow the practice, or going onto the black market – where consumers have no protection at all.
Minister for Enterprise Mary Mitchell O’Connor, who fielded the complaints from the DE members, warned that any measures taken to deal with the issue of “touting” will need to keep from being too punitive on the secondary marketplace as a whole, as their existence is critical to keeping the ticket resale business legal and fair for consumers.
“Irish consumers will not be better off either if legislation here causes ticket resale to be diverted to [other European Union] countries that permit it,” she said.
Instead of heeding those concerns, Donnelly and Rock “will jointly present a private members’ bill that would outlaw the above-face value reselling of tickets,” according to IQ-Mag. “[That bill] will then be accepted by the Irish government.”
Belgium is the only European Union country with such price controls in place, but a quick search of Viagogo shows events in that country available for purchase, illustrating the difficulty of enforcing such a policy in a free marketplace.