Ireland’s anti-ticket-touting bill has been signed off by the Cabinet today (Tuesday) some four years after it was first mooted.

The Sale of Tickets (Cultural, Entertainment, Recreational and Sporting Events) Bill 2020 aims to prevent the selling of tickets for more than their face value.

There is an exemption for amateur sports clubs and registered charities for fundraising purposes. A person found guilty of an offence under the act will face a fine of up to €100,000 or up to two years imprisonment.

The bill, brought forward by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, requires sellers for events or venues that have been “designated” as falling under the legislation must be given “clear information” that the ticket cannot be resold for above face value.

Varadkar said: “Ticket touts rip us all off, driving up ticket prices and making it harder to get a ticket in the first place. This new law will ban the resale of tickets to large events and venues at a cost over face value, making sure everyone gets a fair price.

“We’re all looking forward to the day we can go to gigs, festivals and matches again. This law gives me hope. We’re planning for a time when live events are possible again. Numbers will likely be restricted to begin with so it’s even more important that people aren’t ripped off and that tickets go to real fans.

“There is a specific provision in the Bill for the Euro championships later this year, banning the unauthorised sale of tickets for matches. Even though it is hard to know how the championship will proceed this year, we will be pushing to have this new law in place before the 11th of June, when it is scheduled to begin.”

Under the legislation, ticket resellers also need to provide information on the original sale price of the ticket and the location of the seat or standing area listed on the ticket.

Venues with the capacity of over 1,000 people will be able to apply to the Enterprise Minister for designation. Once this has been confirmed, the reselling of tickets above the original sales price for that venue will be prohibited.

The bill also states that event organisers or venue operators may apply for the designation of events which take place on an annual or other periodic basis in the same venue.

It will then be introduced to Dáil Éireann at the earliest opportunity, with enactment as early as possible thereafter.

Minister of State with responsibility for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Robert Troy, added: “This Bill will stop opportunists with no interest or involvement in music or sport enriching themselves at the expense of sports and music fans, sporting bodies, artists and promoters.

“And importantly, fans will have all the information they need to ensure they are not being ripped off. I recognise that sometimes there are justified reasons for reselling tickets above face value, for example, when charities are fund-raising, so allowances have been made in such instances.

“While matches and concerts with fans are still some way off, we expect numbers allowed to attend are likely to be restricted in the initial phases of eased restrictions. Ticket touts could only be too willing to exploit the opportunities presented by restricted attendances for popular events. With this in mind, the Bill now includes a provision for the fast-track designation of venues or events if the normal designation procedure cannot be completed before events attended by fans resume.

“Our ambition is for this Bill to proceed quickly to enactment and be in place for future events. The published legislation reflects recommendations made during pre-legislative scrutiny, making it stronger and fit for a post-COVID landscape.”