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EU bans bots in landmark ruling

The European Union Parliament has today (Wednesday) voted in favour of a landmark ruling to ban ticket bots that circumvent purchase rules.

MEPs discussed the resale issue for the first time, officially outlawing the use of software used to evade any imposed limits on the number of tickets that a person can buy or any other rules applicable to the purchase of tickets.

The legislation will require resellers to identify if they are professional traders.

Daniel Dalton, UK MEP and rapporteur of the revised Unfair Commercial Practices Directive in which the new legislation is captured, said: “Everyone apart from touts loses out from bot bulk-buying of tickets. Real fans are either unable to see their favourite team or artist or are forced to pay many times the face value price, whilst event organisers are seeing their purchasing limits flagrantly violated.

“So this first ban at a European level is an important first step, with the possibility to go further in future depending on how the ban works in practice.”

The ruling is an important step in dealing with touting as many secondary ticketing companies often exploit the gaps between different countries’ legislation.

Sharon Hodgson MP, Member of Parliament and chair of the APPG on Ticket Abuse, said: “It is welcome that the EU Parliament have today voted to ban bots, which harvest tickets from the primary market in order to sell for high profits on the secondary market.

“This new regulation harmonises Europe with existing UK law on bots, and also allows member states to strengthen existing legislation, which will protect consumers. Fans across the world must not be priced out by the secondary ticket market using parasitical methods to get tickets.”

The EU Council will have to formally adopt it, which will likely be in June. Once the legislation has been fully adopted, Member States will be given a maximum of around two years to transpose the amendments into national law. The exact deadline will be set out in the directive once finalised.

Sam Shemtob and Katie O’Leary of Face-value European Alliance for Ticketing (FEAT) added: “We welcome the move to curb the use of bots in this first Europe-wide anti-touting law. As well as requiring professional sellers to identify themselves, it also enables member states to go further and potentially regulate the resale price of tickets.

“Most importantly, this represents the first step in harmonising regulation across Europe. This approach is critical as secondary ticketing companies tend to exploit regulatory gaps between countries. There is still much to be done and we will be campaigning for tougher legislation in the next parliamentary term.”

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