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New law welcomed – but Viagogo eyes appeal

World News
February 22, 2019

IRELAND               

Aiken Promotions head Peter Aiken has welcomed a new bill to outlaw the resale of concert and sports tickets at above face value.

Under the Prohibition of Above-Cost Ticket Touting Bill, it will become illegal to sell or advertise for sale any ticket to a music, sporting or theatrical event at above the face value, although there are exemptions for charity events.

Offenders face fines of up to €5,000 ($5,683).

Noel Rock, a deputy in the Irish parliament and one of the bill’s sponsors, believes the legislation could complete its passage through the Dáil (first legislative house) by 17 March, according to a report in the Irish Times.

“Promoters take big risks to bring in shows,” says Aiken. “At Christy Moore over Christmas, people were turning up from England with tickets that didn’t exist, which they’d bought on a secondary ticketing site. Viagogo seems to be the main one – their name always comes up first on [internet] searches.

“This new legislation is not perfect and there are loopholes, but at least someone in Ireland is doing something about it.”

Meanwhile Viagogo is fighting the proposed legislation, claiming it is a retrograde step and could lead to a loss of jobs in Limerick, where the company employs a substantial number of staff.

A spokesperson tells Audience, “Should the proposed bill move forward, it would hurt fans by turning the clock back to an inefficient black market with resale tickets moving from secure online platforms to the streets and informal social media groups.”

The law change follows anti-touting developments throughout Europe including the launch of FEAT, the Face-value European Alliance for Ticketing, a coalition of concert and festival promoters aimed at lobbying governments to regulate the resale sector (see Audience issue 228). Aiken is a founding member.

“We welcome this legislation, which marks a huge step forward in the battle against touts,” says UK-based FEAT director Sam Shemtob. “Ireland joins other progressive countries such as Belgium, Denmark and Norway, where the practice is illegal.”

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