Last week, the Irish government gave its backing to the Prohibition of Above-Cost Ticket Touting Bill, which seeks to ban the resale of event tickets for over their face value.
The ban would apply to “major sporting, musical, or theatrical events,” major events being ones with a 1,000 person capacity or more. Tickets sold by charities and sports teams for fundraising purposes will be exempt from the new law. The law would also crackdown on the use of ticket bots during ticket sales periods.
Naturally, many of the major ticket sale and resale companies objected strongly to the bill introduced by Irish MPs Noel Rock and Stephen Donnelly in January 2017. Ticketmaster claimed the bill would “simply push the market underground or offshore.”
Of course, for concert lovers like us, this is fantastic news. Assuming the law works as intended and is enforced properly, Ireland could be a pioneer in laws like this that could eventually come to a legal jurisdiction near you.
Heather Humphreys, Ireland’s minister for business, enterprise, and regulation, had this to say when announcing the government’s support of the bill, “It’s wrong that people who make no contribution to sport or music [touts] can profit from the resale of tickets for sell-out matches and shows.”
Her comments help illustrate how the free market has failed in the ticket industry. This isn’t a simple issue of Ireland interfering with supply and demand, it’s a case of a very small amount people having inherent advantages that are hard to overcome and have inflated ticket prices far beyond what they should be. And while there have been efforts to curb this before, sometimes the incentives of the “fixers” aren’t entirely pure (like the aforementioned Ticketmaster’s “Verified Fan” program).
Some lawmakers in the U.K. who are trying to pass a similar measure have even linked ticket reselling to organized crime, as a way for illegal businesses to use online sales as a way to generate revenue or launder money without much regulation.
If this measure manages to pass Ireland’s parliament, perhaps it will serve as a roadmap to ending online ticket scalpers ripping you off. Say goodbye to the days when tickets sell out almost immediately, then pop up online for double or triple the price.