20th April 2021
Sporting and music fans will benefit from a fairer sales system for tickets for live events, matches and concerts when the country reopens as the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar TD and the Minister of State with responsibility for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation Robert Troy TD today received Government approval to publish legislation which will ban ticket touting and reselling of tickets above face value for large events.
The Sale of Tickets (Cultural, Entertainment, Recreational and Sporting Events) Bill 2021 was agreed by Government today and will be published by the Tánaiste and Minister of State Troy shortly. It will then be introduced to Dáil Éireann at the earliest opportunity, with enactment as early as possible thereafter.
The Bill will ban the resale of tickets to live events, matches and concerts in designated events and 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 Tánaiste said:
“Ticket touts rip us all off, driving up ticket prices and making it harder to get a ticket in the first place. This new law will ban the resale of tickets to large events and venues at a cost over face value, making sure everyone gets a fair price.
“We’re all looking forward to the day we can go to gigs, festivals and matches again. This law gives me hope. We’re planning for a time when live events are possible again. Numbers will likely be restricted to begin with so it’s even more important that people aren’t ripped off and that tickets go to real fans.
“There is a specific provision in the Bill for the Euro championships later this year, banning the unauthorised sale of tickets for matches. Even though it is hard to know how the championship will proceed this year, we will be pushing to have this new law in place before the 11th of June, when it is scheduled to begin.”
Once enacted, operators of venues with a capacity to hold 1,000 people or more will be able to apply to the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment for designation of that venue. When designated, reselling of tickets above the original sales price for that venue will be prohibited.
The legislation also provides that event organisers or venue operators may apply for the designation of events which takes place on an annual or other periodic basis in the same venue.
When a ticket is sold for an event which has been designated or which is to take place in a designated venue then the original seller must be given clear information (with the ticket and when advertising) that tickets cannot be resold above face value for the event in question. Resellers of these tickets must also provide information on the original sale price of the ticket and the location of the seat or standing area to which, the ticket entitles the holder to gain admission.
Minister Troy TD said:
“This Bill will stop opportunists with no interest or involvement in music or sport enriching themselves at the expense of sports and music fans, sporting bodies, artists and promoters. And importantly, fans will have all the information they need to ensure they are not being ripped off. I recognise that sometimes there are justified reasons for reselling tickets above face value, for example, when charities are fund-raising, so allowances have been made in such instances.
“While matches and concerts with fans are still some way off, we expect numbers allowed to attend are likely to be restricted in the initial phases of eased restrictions. Ticket touts could only be too willing to exploit the opportunities presented by restricted attendances for popular events. With this in mind, the Bill now includes a provision for the fast-track designation of venues or events if the normal designation procedure cannot be completed before events attended by fans resume.
“Our ambition is for this Bill to proceed quickly to enactment and be in place for future events. The published legislation reflects recommendations made during pre-legislative scrutiny, making it stronger and fit for a post-Covid landscape.”
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.
The Government decision of 29 January 2019 also approved the notification of the amended Bill to the European Commission in accordance with the requirement under Directive (EU) 2015/1535 on the procedure for the provision of information on technical standards and rules on information society services. No issue of compatibility with the EU law or the Internal Market was raised by the European Commission or other Member States following the Bill’s notification.
The Scheme of the Bill was submitted to the Joint Committee on Enterprise, Trade and Employment for pre-legislative scrutiny on 23 September 2020. The Committee’s pre-legislative scrutiny report was published on 18 February 2021.
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