Earlier this week, Nigel Adams MP presented his amendment to the House of Commons Public Bill Committee for the Digital Economy Bill, aiming to make illegal the misuse of bot technology by ticket touts to purchase excessive numbers of tickets and to knowingly resell them on the secondary market.
Similar legislation has been introduced by New York State in a bid to reduce industrial-scale ticket touting.
Highlighting evidence from tickets sales of shows by Green Day, The 1975, Black Sabbath, You Me At Six and The Tragically Hip, and praising the work of the FanFair Alliance, the amendment won unanimous cross-party backing from Labour and SNP members of the Committee.
In the debate that followed, the UK’s online ticket resale market was described as “a racket” and enforcement of current legislation contained in the Consumer Rights Act 2015 as “extremely patchy”.
In response, Matthew Hancock MP, Minister for Digital and Culture, highlighted that he had recently paid “eye-watering amounts” for Paul Simon tickets on the secondary market, and recognised a “very clear sense in the debate that there remains a problem to be solved”.
Adding that measures to tackle automated purchasing were important but “not a panacea”, he called for a meeting of “all interested parties” before Christmas to investigate the issue further as well as further discussions between the National Cyber Security Centre and primary ticketing companies.
The Government will respond to recommendations made in the Waterson Review of secondary ticketing following these meetings.
On the basis of a “clear commitment to making progress in this area”, Nigel agreed to withdraw the amendment for the moment, and work with the Government to develop this progress.
Commenting on these developments, Adam Webb, Campaign Manager for the FanFair Alliance said:
“We fully support Nigel Adams MP in pursuing this issue. The abuse of software by touts to hack into ticketing sales and scalp inventory is a major bugbear for genuine fans and it is an issue where we need clarity in the law. However, as was also made clear by MPs at the Committee and also by the Minister, action against bots is not a silver bullet. To make the ticketing market function better for audiences, we also need proper enforcement of existing consumer law and regulation of the Big Four resale platforms.”
Such actions were recently backed by more than 83,000 fans who signed a petition to Enforce the Consumer Rights Act.
You can read the Committee’s full discussion on Nigel’s amendment here.