ANTI-TOUTING laws, prohibiting the sale of tickets at over the face value (plus fees charged on the initial sale) came into force in Ireland last week, finally.
It remains to be seen how effective the law will be in practise, but it should at least act as a deterrent to the snaffling and high-priced resale of in-demand tickets.
It’s long been possible to eliminate touting. I attended my first Glastonbury Festival in 2002, for example, and 19 years ago they already had extensive measures in place to prevent anyone who didn’t buy the ticket from making use of it. It’s extraordinary that it’s taken so long to become a more established concept to ban the practise.
There are some minor arguments for a secondary ticketing market – there’s nothing inherently wrong with selling a ticket you can’t use, for example – but the idea that touts benefit attendees seems flimsy at best to me.
After all, touts buying tickets in the first place – something that very clearly happens in vast numbers for popular events – denies real attendees the tickets in the first place. The fact that they’re then resold at over face value, and that might ‘help get fans in’ on the day, ignores that initial denial. The only person who actually benefits once you take a wider view of the situation is a tout, clearly, who is acting as a rather transparent price scalper.
Perhaps we’ll see a ticket market where tickets are readily sold outside major events for face value, where necessary, and it’s hard to imagine anyone having a problem with that. Perhaps we’ll simply see a law that is in practise difficult to enforce. In practise, the reality remains that if event organisers were willing to spend a little more on their ticketing systems, touting would become far more difficult, as Glastonbury – who include photos on their tickets and require matching photo ID and credit card to enter – have long since demonstrated.
We’re not convinced the problem is about to go away, but at least it’s about to be made that little bit less appealing to those scalping middle men.