Prime Minister Theresa May said the UK government is continuing to monitor the secondary ticketing market as the issue of scalping came up at this week’s Prime Minister’s Questions.
The Prime Minister told MPs in the House of Commons on Wednesday that she backed a crackdown on consumers being priced out of the market for concert tickets.
She was responding to a question from Conservative MP Nigel Adams, who asked what the government would do about Viagogo reselling tickets for a cancer charity gig by Ed Sheeran and charging theatregoers up to £5,000 to see the musical Hamilton in the West End. He said the examples are “not indicative of a market that works for everyone”, asking the prime minister to “ensure genuine fans are not fleeced by ticket touts and rogues”.
“I understand he’s recently met my Right Hon Friend the minister of state for digital and cultural matters and as he will be aware the Consumer Rights Act introduced new rules,” said May.
“He [Adams] is absolutely right to identify circumstances where websites are acting in that way and causing those problems for people who genuinely believe that they are able to buy tickets for what they wish to attend.
“We are as a government looking at the general issue of where markets are not working in the interests of consumers.”
It is believed that amendments to the new Digital Economy Bill, set to be tabled later this month, could make it illegal to resell tickets that were obtained through the use of bots, regardless of the price.
The Daily Telegraph newspaper reports that lawmakers could be set to duplicate legislation enacted in New York last year which can lead to the imposition of year-long prison sentences and fines of up to $1,500 (£1,200/€1,400) for those who use software to scoop up tickets and sell them on for a large profit. It is thought fines in the UK could be as high as £5,000.
While the changes in New York were welcomed by many, TicketIQ chief executive Jesse Lawrence told TicketTechNews at the time that he was unsure whether the new rules would deter scalpers.
“The majority of bots are offshore so it remains to be seen whether this law can actually impact the issue at hand,” Lawrence said.