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Government agrees to bring forward anti-ticket touting and reselling legislation

Penalties up to €100,000, 2 years imprisonment for convicted touts

The Government today approved the drafting of the Sale of Tickets (Cultural, Entertainment, Recreational and Sporting Events) Bill 2020, brought forward by the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar TD.

The Bill will ban the resale of tickets to live events, matches and concerts in designated venues, at a price above face value. There is an exemption for amateur sports clubs and registered charities for fundraising purposes. A person found guilty of an offence under the act will face a fine of up to €100,000 or up to two years imprisonment.

The legislation is listed as priority legislation for this Dáil term, meaning it is expected to be published before the end of the year.

The Tánaiste said,

“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. 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.

 “There is a specific provision in the Bill for the Euro 2020 championships next year, banning the unauthorised sale of tickets for matches. We want to make sure everyone gets a fair shot at getting tickets at face value.

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

ENDS

Notes for Editor

A Private Members’ Bill brought forward by Deputy Noel Rock and Deputy Stephen Donnelly in 2017 and supported by the previous Government, provided for a ban on the above-cost resale of event tickets and was supported by all parties during its Second Reading in Dáil Éireann in January and February 2019. 

This Bill came within the scope of Directive (EU) 1535/2015 on the procedure for the provision of information in the field of technical regulations and of rules on information society services which requires Member States to submit legislative proposals in these areas to the European Commission for assessment of their compatibility with EU law and the Internal Market. On foot of Government approval at its meeting on 29 January 2020 (S180/20/10/2333), the amended Bill was notified to the European Commission in accordance with Directive (EU) 2015/1535 on 5 February 2020. The three-month standstill period for its examination by the Commission, Member States and interested parties concluded on 6 May 2020. No issue of compatibility with EU law or the Internal Market was raised by the European Commission or other Member States.

Main provisions of the Bill

Designation of venues

The prohibition on the sale or advertising for sale of tickets and ticket packages above their original sale price would apply to events in designated venues with a capacity of 1,000 or more. The Bill sets out the procedures governing applications for designation by venue operators. Applying the legislation to known designated venues will facilitate the monitoring and enforcement of the prohibition on the above sale price resale of tickets. 

The Minister may designate a venue with a capacity of less than 1,000 if, after consultation with the venue operator, the Minister is 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. 

Information requirement for primary ticket sellers

Primary ticket sellers will be required to provide information that a ticket or ticket package is for an event in a designated venue and that its sale for a price exceeding the original sale price is prohibited unless it comes within the Act’s exemption for charitable organisations and amateur sports clubs.

Information requirement for secondary ticket sellers

Secondary ticket sellers selling or advertising tickets for events in designated venues will be required to provide information on the original sale price of the ticket or ticket package and the location of the seat or standing area to which the ticket or ticket package entitles the holder to gain admission. The operators of secondary ticket marketplaces will be required to ensure that this information is provided by secondary ticket sellers.

Exemptions

Exemptions apply for the sale or advertising for sale of tickets for events in designated venues by or behalf of charitable organisations and amateur sports clubs.

Contract terms excluding or limiting sale of tickets

The Bill protects the right of ticket holders to sell a ticket for a price at or below the original sale price. This provision does not apply to tickets for the EURO 2020 Championship or for  events where the sale or transfer of tickets is excluded or limited on grounds of safety, public health or public order.

Offences and penalties

The Bill provides for penalties for persons found guilty on summary conviction and also for proceedings and penalties on indictment and for additional penalties for a second or subsequent summary conviction and for continuing offences.   

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