TicketOne has claimed a major legal victory in Italy after the nation’s Council of State agreed with a decision that overturned a €1m fine imposed by the competition regulator.

The Council of State – which rules on the legality of public administration in Italy – upheld a 2018 decision that found the Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) had erred in fining TicketOne for failing to prevent its tickets from ending up on the secondary market in 2017.

AGCM, which began its investigation into CTS Eventim-owned TicketOne in 2016, appealed that decision but was defeated in court again this week. The regulator had fined TicketOne in 2017 after its investigation found the vendor had not taken sufficient precautions to prevent automated systems such as ‘bots’ from taking advantage of the system. Moreover, the company had failed to put in place sufficient limits on the number of tickets that could be acquired through a single transaction.

After this week’s ruling, Stefano Lionetti, TicketOne’s chief executive, said he wants the regulator to focus on secondary rather than primary ticket sellers.

He said: “After this ruling, we will see if AGCM will also continue to treat with inertia the true and recognised secondary ticketing sites that we have repeatedly denounced.

“Today the scenario has completely turned upside down. Not only has the whole supply chain been completely stopped, but secondary ticketing sites lay off their people by the hundreds. We have to look further, to a recovery, unfortunately not close, founded on new and substantial elements and not on conjectures, where space can be found to safeguard the safety of spectators.

“They will not be simple steps, but necessary because the social rebirth after the emergency will also have to go through the recovery of culture and artistic performances.”

As well as fining TicketOne in 2017, AGCM also handed out fines totalling €700,000 to Seatwave, Viagogo, Ticketbis and Mywayticket. Viagogo won a Council of State appeal against its fine in 2019.

TicketOne and the AGCOM have had long-running issues related to the resale market, with the ticketing firm in December calling on the judicial authority to sanction forbidden behaviours in relation to the resale law, which came into force in January 2019. The act provides for specific interventions when tickets are being resold at prices above face value.

The introduction of named ticketing started on July 1. At the time TicketOne said the move, which would see every ticket for shows over 5,000-capacity become personalised, was “ineffective” and “highly disruptive.”

TicketOne opted to reach out to the Public Prosecutor’s Office to encourage action.

Image: Martin Fisch