The UK’s Cheltenham Racecourse has been granted a landmark ruling by the High Court to ban ticket touts from the facility.
The injunction, which was successful on Wednesday, will go into effect immediately and will run through to June 2019, covering the racecourse’s full season.
Cheltenham boss Ian Renton hailed the verdict as a “landmark decision” for sport, with any infraction resulting in prison sentences of up to two years.
He said in a statement: “We welcome the judgement of Mr Justice Nugee at the High Court today, when an injunction was granted against ticket touting at Cheltenham racecourse.
“This prohibits the selling and buying of tickets by touts on racecourse property, and we welcome this landmark decision.”
Renton continued: “It’s the first time any such injunction has been granted to prevent touting at a racecourse. It will take effect from this weekend and will remain in place for the whole season.
Up to 1,000 fake badges were said to have been sold by touts this year at Cheltenham, with 200 racegoers having been denied entry to the racecourse after purchasing invalid tickets.
The Jockey Club, the UK’s largest commercial body for horseracing and operator of Cheltenham, estimates that ticket touting costs it an estimated £1m (€1.13m/$1.3m) per year across its 15 racecourses. This is then said to have a £10m estimated cost to racing as a sport.
The racecourse last year attempted to combat touts by partnering with Cheltenham Council to issue public space protection orders in the town and at the racecourse. However, with fines set at a maximum of £80 this failed to be an effective deterrent.