Press release

2018 to be a great year for music and sport fans as Government bans the ticket tout “bots”

Gig goers and sports fans will have more chance to see their favourite stars in 2018 as the Government cracks down on touts using “bots” to bulk buy tickets for resale on secondary ticketing sites.

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New legislation will ban ticket touts from using automated software to dodge security measures and snap up more tickets than allowed by event organisers, only to sell them on at hugely inflated prices.

A new criminal offence, to be brought forward thanks to a provision in the Digital Economy Act, will mean those who break the law will face an unlimited fine. This places the UK at the forefront of the fight against touts exploiting real fans.

The legislation recently moved one step closer as Government notified the European Commission of its plans to take forward the proposals.

It comes as London musical Hamilton recently saw tickets being advertised on the secondary ticketing market for up to £6,000. Artists including Adele and Ed Sheeran have also been targeted by professional touts.

Matt Hancock, minister for the creative industries, said:

We’re determined to make sure 2018 is the year we help real fans get the chance to see their favourite music and sports stars at a fair price. We’ll be acting to stamp out the growing problem of touts misusing technology to scoop up vast numbers of tickets only to sell them on at rip-off prices.

Our work, together with improvements by industry, will help make the market more transparent and mean a great year for Britain’s thriving live events scene.

Further information

The new legislation is part of a wider government drive to make sure genuine fans are not losing out through the secondary ticketing market. This includes:

The Digital Economy Act 2017 putting additional requirements on ticket sellers to provide a unique ticket number where one was originally given and revised Consumer Rights Act guidance clarifying the information that should be provided on sale restrictions when reselling tickets.

Two high-profile investigations into bad practice delivering results:

  • Officers from the eCrime unit of National Trading Standards (NTS) recently raided properties across the UK as part of its ongoing investigation looking into unfair practices in the secondary ticketing market and made four arrests in November. A range of equipment including computers, mobile phones and storage devices were seized as evidence.

  • After a thorough investigation, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) identified widespread concerns about the information people are given about tickets on websites as a requirement under the Consumer Rights Act and gathered evidence which it considers breaches the law. It will require relevant websites to take appropriate action.

Ministers accepting the recommendations of a review into secondary ticketing by Professor Michael Waterson. These included calls for better consumer education around the ticketing market, greater standardisation and transparency by industry, for ticket sellers to do more to guard against bot attacks, stronger enforcement of existing consumer rights laws, and the threat of further action if the industry does not act against rogue ticket traders. Read the Government’s response.

Government work being bolstered by new approaches in the private sector:

  • Dutch startup Guaranteed Unique Ticketing System has launched in the UK and uses Blockchain technology to make it impossible to resell tickets at a higher price.

  • British firm DICE is using innovative mobile technology to lock tickets to user accounts and beat the touts.

  • Big UK music stars such as Adele and Ed Sheeran have partnered with sites such as Twickets.co.uk, which prohibits the resale of tickets at a profit.

For more information please contact the DCMS press office on 0207 211 2210

Published 31 December 2017