Fines of up to €100,000 and two years jail time are included in legislation being considered by authorities in Ireland. The crime? Resale of tickets for more than face value.
Proposed legislation effectively bans ticket resale in the country in venues with a capacity of more than 1,000 for sporting events, concerts, and other live events. The ban could also be extended by government officials to smaller events if the operator requests the government step in.
Notably, face value-capped ticket resale platforms would not be impacted by the bill. Such platforms, often owned by promoters and industry insiders such as Twickets and Live Nations Ticketmaster Resale, would be enabled for fan-to-fan resale. Such schemes allow for service fees to be captured multiple times on the same set of tickets despite consumer’s needing to sell at a loss after fees collected.
Supporters frame the legislation as protecting consumers from paying too much for tickets that sell out. It does not, however, issue any guidance or limits on the prices or fees charged to consumers by the newly created monopoly on both primary and secondary ticketing such legislation would produce.
“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,” says Tánaiste and Minister for Business Leo Varadkar, who received Cabinet approval to bring forth the legislation, which they hope will be adopted by the end of the year with Ireland set to host the European Championships next year. “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.”
Economists regularly warn against such restrictions on secondary ticket marketplaces, as they regularly force consumers purchase tickets outside of legal marketplaces with protections against fraud. A similar law in 1990 failed spectacularly in Ontario due to the fact that consumers with tickets to events they couldn’t attend didn’t appreciate being forced to take a loss on their sale.