back to article Proposed Brit law to ban b**tards brandishing bots to bulk-buy tickets

The British government is to ban ticket touts from using automated software to snap up more tickets than allowed by event organisers. The new criminal offence will be brought forward under a provision in the Digital Economy Act. Those who break the law will face an unlimited fine. The plans are part of draft legislation and …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Some more research into how tickets are put for sale on secondary ticket websites within seconds of them going on sale on the primary ticketing site would also be useful. The fact that the secondary site is owned by the primary site is entirely coincidental of course.

    1. Gio Ciampa

      Legalised Touting

      TicketMaster and GetMeIn being one example (of many, I presume)

      First thing they could do is stop this "Pre Sale" nonsense, so tickets go on sale when they are supposed to, not several days earlier (if you happen to be in the know...)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        There is advance sales and advance sales

        Putting a gig on sale a whole frigging year before the event is really taking the piss.

        Back in the day you would queue up outside the gig venue a month or so before the event. I saw the first performance of DSOTM on 20th Jan 1972. I bought the ticket on 1st Dec 1971. I have a ticket for a gig that is taking place next November... Then if the artist dies or cancels, they will no doubt charge me another handling fee to get a refund.

        Taking the Piss the lot of them.

        Don't even get me started on 'handling fees' that are on top of the ticket price.

        1. Chunky Munky

          Re: There is advance sales and advance sales

          Aussie PF perhaps? I booked my tickets to see them in Reading next November at the start of December - 11 months ahead ffs!

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Bands / shows want to maximise their profits.

      They could advertise tickets for the market price - but it would look bad if hero of the people Bono sold tickets for £2000. So they sell a tiny fraction of the tickets for £50 - and then run their own secondary market

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "They could advertise tickets for the market price - but it would look bad if hero of the people Bono sold tickets for £2000. So they sell a tiny fraction of the tickets for £50 - and then run their own secondary market"

        That doesn't really work though, in that the secondary market only takes a thing slice. Unless you're suggesting that Bono and the music industry are the ones snapping up the tickets (or never really selling them) and 'reselling' them at the £2K mark.

        Plus, advertising them at £2K isn't the same as actually selling them at £2K. And the problem isn't getting a ticket for gigs, it's getting a decent seat at gigs.

        1. Rimpel

          decent seat

          wait - who sits down at gigs??? :-)

          1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            Re: decent seat

            wait - who sits down at gigs??? :-)

            Me. If I can - which isn't very often at most prog gigs. Which is why my attendance at said gigs has dropped considerably.

            Arthritis is a bummer.

    3. JLV

      >The fact that the secondary site is owned by the primary site is entirely coincidental of course.


      Equally convenient is that more tickets than allowed by event organisers doesn't apply since it's the organizers who are ripping you off.

      Happily for me, I mostly attend smaller concerts in smaller venues, where the elaborate tricks to gouge the customers are less prominent. You can also buy off Craigslist, because people won't go through as much hassle to fake a $70 ticket as a $500 one. Though I still have nasty memories of the Pixies charging $150 minimum for their comeback gig 5 years ago, totally on their own initiative.

    4. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      And yet the fix to tickets being resold is very easy. Put a bloody name on the ticket when first sold and only allow the named individual into the venue.

      Except that would destroy the very secondary market that seems to have suspicious links to the primary market...

  2. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Popularism, much?

    As well as being a rather dodgy proposal, I doubt an unlimited fine would do much to stop the NHS, railway, and Brexit headlines.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      I doubt an unlimited fine would do much to stop the NHS, railway, and Brexit headlines.

      Nor should they. In fact WTF are they wasting time on this at all right now?

      Was this piece of legislation not engineered by the Dark Lord Mandlescum himself?

      "Ticket Fees" as charged by TickeMaster* are basically "We supply the infrastructure" charges, which are basically whatever they can get away with.

      *Other organizations that will also charge extortionate excess fees on top of face prices are available.

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Popularism, much?

      Yep, much as I'd like to see the end of scalping, there is more important things they should be getting on with.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They don't need to bulk buy tickets when Ticketmaster own getmein.

    Lets see, I have 10,000 tickets I can sell at normal price or I can sell 2,000 at an inflated price on my own website.

    It's a good job most artists these days aren't worth seeing or I would be outraged, outraged I tell you.

    1. tiggity Silver badge

      Small bands

      Are all I see these days - as I can afford the tickets.

      Big name / big venue tickets are hellishly expensive if you can actually get them from the primary site, and cost goes up to Croesus level on secondary sites.

      1. 9Rune5

        Re: Small bands

        Not all of them.

        Last summer I bought some "Lucky Dip" tickets for two Rolling Stones shows. "Lucky Dip" is basically a lottery. You will always get two tickets, but you might get the worst seats in the house or find yourself situated right next to the stage. I experienced both ends of the spectrum. At the second show my dad and I got pit access for a fraction of the normal price. Felt like winning the lottery (or so I imagine, having never won the "real thing").

        The "catch" is that you (and your companion) have to pick up the tickets in person on the concert day, you are then marked and can't transfer/sell the tickets to a third party. Thus it isn't practical to do this with everyone.

        In any case, I did not put in a lot of effort to get these tickets. Win-win afaict.

        1. Jan 0

          Re: Small bands

          Why bother? If you didn't see the Stones in the sixties, then you should be seeking their equivalents now. Why watch tired old men when you could be seeing top acts now? I saw the Stones, Who, Hawkwind, Third Ear etc in the sixties, but I've been going to the avalanche of newer, just as wonderful bands ever since, "Don't look back"!

      2. Sherminator
        Thumb Up

        Re: Small bands

        Well played tiggity.

        I believe that is the first time I've seen the use of Croesus.

        Well played indeed. :)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Small bands

          I used to used it on the shed. Then I got a new-fangled plastic one that didn't need painting.

      3. BongoJoe

        Re: Small bands

        I know people who fly to overseas venues, stay in a hotel and it works out cheaper than watching the band in the local UK arena.

        1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

          "I know, stay in a hotel..cheaper than..the band in the local UK arena."

          Yes, they don't call the UK "Treasure Island" in some circles for nothing.

          The British really are a group who demonstrate the adage

          "They live, we sleep."

  4. wolfetone Silver badge

    Would be easier and cheaper to ban ticket touting full stop. But that would make too much sense.

    1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      It would simplify things.

      Require venues to buy back unwanted tickets at 90% face value (perhaps up to 24 hrs in advance) and make it illegal to offer tickets for sale. Allow transfer of tickets to another person.

      Not being able to advertise or sell online would take out a lot of the market. Secret shoppers (PCSOs) wandering outside venues should round up most of the remainder.

      1. lglethal Silver badge

        Another suggestion - names of attendee has to be on the ticket (or at least the purchaser of a group of tickets). ID's checked at venue. If your ID doesnt match the name on your ticket or that person isnt in the group then no entry for you sir. Name changes are possible (e.g. purchaser gets ill), but require you to go through an approval process at least 24 hours in advance. Only one name change possible (so if someone has bought a whole bunch of tickets, they cant tout them to individuals only to a group). And no doubt there would be a fee involved in this.

        Probably wouldnt completely wipe out touting, but would go a long way towards it... And requiring a name and ID to be associated with each purchase would certainly make some of the touts think twice...

        1. Lee D

          I just think you'd find an awful lot of John Smith's by that method.

          Better... "Your ticket is confirmed, Sir. You just need to swipe the credit card that you booked with to release your tickets at the box office."

          In fact, I'm pretty sure that an awful lot of London theatres that I've been to operate on that exact principle, just not for every single ticket. There's no reason you couldn't demand card-only booking in this day and age, though (hell, it's already almost "book online in the first ten minutes" if you want tickets to anything popular anyway). The Olympics basically did that and few complained even if it was only one particular type of card, too! Or even a "member's card" (with photo) that you have to sign up for and which is disabled if it's used for touting.

          There're all kinds of ways to stop touting or make it so difficult that you could crush the industry overnight. The fact that they're not used tell me that someone gets a backhander or that it works to the artist's (or their management's) advantage to allow touting even if they can't admit that because it's screwing over their own customers to get more money.

          If you compare touting to eBay bidding, that's what I think happens. 10% of the tickets aren't sold until the last minute when those people so desperate to go are willing to pay so much more just for the chance, so the total income rises dramatically just by holding onto 10% of the tickets until later on and selling them via "other" sites (often related, as mentioned above). You still only sell 10,000 tickets, but the last 1000 get you 10 times more money ("because they were sold out, but look what I got!").

          I can't believe it's not an industry set-up, rather then thousands of independent people all looking to make a quick buck and hang around outside venues carrying lots of cash.

          They don't want a "fair" system - of 10,000 tickets being available for the published ticket-price. They'd make less money, and it would also cost administratively to run. They'd then have to put up the face-price of the ticket to compensate, and fans would revolt.

          While it still says £30 (or whatever) on the ticket, the artists etc. aren't the bad guys. And while someone is still willing to pay £3000 for a "rare last minute" £30 ticket, even the touts are the good guys. Win-win and the only person screwed over is the guy who can only afford the £30 ticket but never gets one because he can't book in the first nanosecond. You can make more profit out of a touted ticket than 100 of those people, so who cares?

          That said, I haven't been to a live gig in my entire life. Nearest I get is classical music, West End shows, or a stand-up comedian. Biggest piss-take I've had? Russell Howard at Wembley Arena. Someone bought the tickets for me at great expense, we were so far away the guy was a tiny dot even on the big screens, and it was basically his normal TV stand-up, with almost no ad-libbing or interaction with the audience. Paying a fortune to stand in a sweaty pushing crowd for hours to listen to a bad ad-libbed and interrupted rendition of a handful of songs you've heard a thousand times, and a thousand songs nobody would ever choose to listen to? More fool you.

          1. myhandler

            Doesn't work for tickets as gifts or for parents buying tickets for their kids.

            Do you want your teenage progeny taking your credit card to a gig where they will no doubt lose it?

            Kids will also optimistically buy tickets but then find their friends can't go (or their parents won't let them) and have to sell them all. I speak from experience. (But easily sold via Gumtree not the bastard agents)

            1. Lee D

              1) So kids will have to have a member card to let them pick up the tickets. Not hard. You could even link them so your kids can use any ticket in your name, if you really want to.

              2) Buying tickets that haven't been confirmed? Sorry, no sympathy at all. That's probably why there ARE so many resold tickets in the first place, and not enough for the people who want to actually go see. Speculative booking is at least partly the cause of shortages, and shortages the cause of speculative booking ("Quick, just order 2 while they have them, we'll see if Jeff can come later").

              Compared to the sheer volume of tickets that are touted for every possible concert, such concerns are a drop in the ocean. And those other reasons are why the tickets are so hard to come by / so expensive in the first place anyway.

      2. Muscleguy

        IIRC New Zealand has already done this. Despite having a widely used home grown EBay equivalent perfect for selling on such stuff. EBay took too long to get around to NZ and a local outfit got off the ground and were too established by the time EBay took a look. The founders sold out to a local newspaper conglomerate for big bucks.

  5. tiggity Silver badge

    Handling charges

    See title, another dodgy expense in ticket purchases.

    Ultra expensive postal delivery charges (for those that still send out paper tickets) - charged about as much as recorded delivery for a bog standard delivery

    1. monty75

      Re: Handling charges

      I've had to pay delivery charges on digital tickets I downloaded and printed myself. It's beyond extracting the urine.

      1. kain preacher


        These folks really can get blood from a stone. these folks can embarrassed

        a loan shark.

      2. Oddbodd

        Re: Handling charges

        Shoutout to Sunderland Empire who once wanted me to pay three quid for box office collection. That's three quid for them to do nothing.

    2. kain preacher

      Re: Handling charges

      What about charging to print your own damn tickets ?

      Last time I printed my own ticket there was a $2 handling fee and a $5 ticket printing fee.

      1. Def Silver badge

        Re: Handling charges

        Last time I printed my own ticket there was a $2 handling fee and a $5 ticket printing fee.

        I'd get your lawyer to send them a nice invoice for the printing fee (and other associated costs, of course). See what they have to say about that.

        1. kain preacher

          Re: Handling charges

          I have a feeling their blood sucking sharks would eat my lawyer as a snack

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Handling charges

        Sounds like even RyanAir could learn a thing or two about price gouging

        1. kain preacher

          Re: Handling charges

          Bah not even RyanAir would stoop that low.

  6. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Glastonbury have one answer

    You have to send in a recent photo which gets embossed onto the ticket, so not re-sellable and not easy to fake. That's only a part of the security measures - and yes, they do check them at the gate.

    For people who genuinely later find they can't go for some reason, it is possible to get a partial refund (I think it depends on how late you return them).

    No new laws needed, but it does require the vendors to be somewhere approaching honesty, or at least know what the word means.

    1. Boothy Silver badge

      Re: Glastonbury have one answer

      You could do something similar with electronic tickets (I've not seen a paper/card ticket for any venues I've been to for quite a few years now).

      i.e. send your profile pic in on ordering, and it's bound against the ticket.

      When you are scanned in at the venue (often a mobile app these days), your profile pic pops up on the screen of the scanning device and they can see if it's you.

      Does mean the venues need up to date scanners though!

      Went to Sheffield arena a few months back, and their scanners were old school red laser handhelds (like in a shop check-out), that could only read tickets if they were printed out on paper (they can't scan a phone screen)! Kind of defeats one of the point in having electronic tickets :-/

    2. Martin Summers

      Re: Glastonbury have one answer

      That's a great idea but how do I buy them as a gift for someone if I need their mugshot?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Glastonbury have one answer


        In this selfie obsessed world you can't con a friend to take a pic with you for some spurious reason?

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Glastonbury have one answer

          n this selfie obsessed world

          There are still pockets of sensible people that have never taken a selfie in their lives. My desk is currently occupied by one[1]..

          [1] Unless you count the profile picture that my Apple store account uses - one of the user-registration workflows on a previous version of OS X included the use of the built-in webcam to take a profile picture. Now since replaced by a proper picture (of a cat, naturally. Specifically, senior male ginger-and-white cat, sticking his tongue out..).

  7. DJO Silver badge

    Promoters culpable?

    It would be ridiculously easy to stop bots from buying tickets from a web site, a simple captcha would probably suffice. I wonder why they don't bother

    1. zappahey

      Re: Promoters culpable?

      "It would be ridiculously easy to stop bots from buying tickets from a web site, a simple captcha would probably suffice. I wonder why they don't bother"

      Not even remotely sufficient. There's a great freakonomics podcast on the topic of ticket touts.

    2. shade82000

      Re: Promoters culpable?

      Apparently, "back in the day" they didn't have too many captcha variations, so the bots were written to get to the verification page, then many operators on terminals would type in the responses and the bot would take over again. That's even if it got to the online stage - the touts had a relationship with some of the sales people and they would persuade them on the phone to reserve more tickets than they were allowed to. This was even well past the introduction of online sales - apparently they still had better results from phoning the sellers directly, or would even do the deals before they went on general sale.

      There was a really good 30+ page interview that I read a couple weeks ago but I can't find the link now, there are plenty of others to read if you are interested in the subject.

      Not that any of this means anything - according to that same article, some popular gigs only allocated 20% of their tickets to the usual outlets (just 5% in one particular case), the rest went through 'other' distribution channels which would not be affected by this legislation anyway.

      It was quite funny really, the interview had the writer of the original bot (now 'reformed'), a couple of event managers / promoters and a ticketmaster rep. They were all blaming each other for the process failure but the obvious thing was that the whole system is flawed and needs government intervention from ticket allocation, right through added fees, all the way to customer delivery. This legislation will only affect one small part of the problem and legislating just that bit will shift the problem to another bit unaffected by law. People will still be wondering why tickets are unavailable or expensive and it will take another 20 years to deal with that bit of the problem.

      1. shade82000

        Re: Promoters culpable?

        Nice one zappahey, That was the exact article I was referring to!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Promoters culpable?

        Something I never understood is why someone wants to get the government deeper involved in something like this, instead of letting the free market solve it. Every time you establish rules, someone is going to find the loopholes and exploit them - and the government is better at creating loopholes than they are rules.

        If I have a bushel of apples, I should be able to charge whatever I want for the apples. Price them too low and I loose money. Price them too high and I eat them myself. If someone else pays my asking price, and then finds people who are willing to pay even more, then he can sell them and make a profit. If not, he can eat them himself. In the end, the final price paid for the apple is its true market value.

        Tickets to an event shouldn't be any different.

        If the resale market is so large, it is ONLY because the "market value" of the tickets is higher than the price printed on them. If the Tickmaster sells through Getmein, it is because they don't want to loose out on the profit and want to keep something for themselves.

        Price controls on staple goods, such as milk or sugar, in times of shortage are fine. But an entertainment ticket isn't a staple good, it is a luxury, and if someone wants to pay 6000 pounds for a ticket and they have the means to do so then they should be allowed to do it.

        At the same time, a artist, venue, or promoter should be able to define their own parameters as well and if they say that only the original purchaser can have the seat, and the original purchaser knows that going in, then they should be able to keep the prices low that way. It works both ways.

        1. John 110

          Re: Promoters culpable?

          "...instead of letting the free market solve it..."

          Because the free market isn't solving it, perhaps?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Promoters culpable?

            Because the free market isn't solving it, perhaps?

            Of course it is. Just not in the way that many people like. If there were no people willing and able to pay above the face price of tickets, there would be no market for touts. That's the tricky things about markets - an economic outcome isn't necessarily the sort of outcome everybody approves of, since it amounts to rationing on price.

            If the promoters were (in economic terms) competent, they'd set prices that cleared each category of tickets at the highest possible price. There would be no touts, but equally, the cheapest price for a top artist would be several hundred quid a ticket.

            An interesting thought experiment for those who think that tickets are too expensive due to touts: What prices would you set, and how would you ration tickets?

          2. nijam Silver badge

            Re: Promoters culpable?

            > Because the free market isn't solving it, perhaps?

            Actually, yes it is, because the primary-owned secondary sites are doing exactly that. I suspect that it's just not the solution you personally wanted.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Promoters culpable?

          "Something I never understood is why someone wants to get the government deeper involved in something like this, instead of letting the free market solve it. "

          The "free market" is what got us here in the first place. There is no "free market" when there is only a monopoly supplier.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Promoters culpable?

            @John Brown re: monopoly supplier

            No such thing. Never forget, you ALWAYS have a choice.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Promoters culpable?

            "Something I never understood is why someone wants to get the government deeper involved in something like this, instead of letting the free market solve it."

            Quite. Getting incompetent British civil servants involved will only ensure the worst of all worlds. It's not like they're known for their problem solving abilities.

        3. d3vy

          Re: Promoters culpable?

          "If I have a bushel of apples, I should be able to charge whatever I want for the apples. Price them too low and I loose money. Price them too high and I eat them myself."

          Ahh, but before you can buy your apples the farmer has given access to his brother in law who has taken 95% of the best apples. He then waits until everyone is starving before selling them for £££ above normal market rate.

          Normal supply and demand rules don't apply is one entity has sufficient access to the supply side of the equation.

    3. Shadow Systems

      At DJO, Re: CAPTCHA's.

      There are far too many examples of bots foiling CAPTCHA's.

      The blind & anyone without perfect visual acuity can't see the pictures, but the bots can OCR them easily & regurgitate the "hidden" letters, numbers, & symbols.

      The deaf & those even remotely hard of hearing can't make out the audio ones, but the bots can apply various tricks to extract the bits that matter, plug them in to the site, & carry on their merry way.

      The tests to make sure a live Human is actually the one trying to do something actively fails utterly at it's task: it blocks the Humans & lets the bots in.

      Sites that use CAPTCHA's deserve to die wedged into the buttocks of the nastiest Golgothan that Satan can find to torment the bastards for the rest of eternity...

      1. Donn Bly

        Re: At DJO, CAPTCHA's.

        While CAPTCHA had its place years ago, the solve rate of bots is higher than the solve rate of humans, even among those that have full use of their senses. In that sense, the "Completely Automated Public Turing Test to tell Computer and Humans Apart" is an unmitigated SUCCESS. The problem is that it has the exact OPPOSITE result of the original desired outcome.

        So if I accepted comments from only those that FAILED the test, I would get a higher percentage of humans....

    4. d3vy

      Re: Promoters culpable?

      "It would be ridiculously easy to stop bots from buying tickets from a web site, a simple captcha would probably suffice. I wonder why they don't bother"

      I do quite a bit of automation work, one client wanted to push a large quantity of data to a web application, the owners of the application put a captcha in place making it difficult to automate the process, my clients solution... Offshore the work to a warehouse full of cheap labour.

      So yes, your solution would stop BOTS but when you can hire a few hundred Vietnamese guys for < £250 a day the captcha will represent a small bump in the road to the serious touts.

  8. JimmyPage

    Led Zeppelin. Robert Plant

    are just two acts that I know of that managed to organise and fulfil a concert without any complaints of touting.

    Having experienced the Percys methods, they work very well. I can't see how a ticket could have been sold on, since you needed to collect it one the day, with the card used to book it. If you had lost the card, then your new card needed the same name, and you needed additional photo ID.

    So the question is, how come *some* acts manage to look after their fans ?

    I look forward to hearing the tales of how this law gets misused. Because that always happens.

  9. testacc

    Take the same position on High Speed Trading....

    1. GrumpyOldBloke

      Yup, one moment capitalism and the efficiency of a competitive free market is good but if it gets in the way of the bread and circuses it is bad. There is no difference between ticket scalping and futures trading. If it pushes up the cost of food and fuel and the bankers profit it is good. If it pushes up the cost of nothing consequential and the plebs profit it is bad. From a market point of view bulk buying tickets helps to support the entertainers by guaranteeing a level of market support and contributes to market efficiency by providing services to those who are prepared to pay, and as our economics teachers told us, can make the best use of the tickets.

  10. mintus55

    primary auctions are the solution

    big artists would make so much more if they set the prices at a market rate, instead of the fixed price.

    The way to maximise revenue is to hold a series of ticket auctions, including a final auction 24hrs before the event to squeeze extra ££s out of the punters.

    I don't have any sympathy for punters or bands in this debate - no one is forcing punters to pay high prices, and the bands and their management are just plain stupid when they sell things too cheaply.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: primary auctions are the solution

      "I don't have any sympathy for punters or bands in this debate - no one is forcing punters to pay high prices, and the bands and their management are just plain stupid when they sell things too cheaply."

      And yet many of these acts have taken political stances of various types over the years, eg Bono, so charging the market rate based on what touts get away with would only show them for the hypocrites that they might well be.

    2. 2+2=5 Silver badge

      Re: primary auctions are the solution

      > primary auctions are the solution

      Or maybe mandatory ballots / lotteries? Every event must have a one month period during which anyone can register to buy tickets. Names are then drawn out the hat.

      Enforcement is by the promoter being required to retain the ballot details for a period and the regulator being allowed to examine all ballot submissions if they get complaints. Bots should be easy to identify by checking the supplied credit card numbers, postal addresses etc to see if they belong to individuals or corporations.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Buying tickets?

    What's this about having to pay for tickets? Don't you just go "Hi, can you put me on the guestlist for..." and then just turn up at the front of the queue?

    Next you'll be telling me all those people queued up in the rain waiting to be allowed in paid to be there too?!

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Buying tickets?

      "What's this about having to pay for tickets? Don't you just go "Hi, can you put me on the guestlist for..." and then just turn up at the front of the queue?"

      You must be a peasant. I get my butler to do that for me.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Buying tickets?

        Your Butler, how crude.

        My Butler gets his dogsbodies lackeys baldrick to take care of such trifling matters.

        Butler indeed, you have no breeding sir!

  12. Zippy's Sausage Factory

    Here in Portugal they sell tickets in Worten (the nearest thing we've got to Dixons/Currys to me within walking distance) and on BlueTicket. Weirdly we don't seem to have this problem here as far as I can tell. Maybe the fact that most of the secondary seller sites aren't owned by the primary sellers has something to do with that?

  13. Stuart 22 Silver badge

    Prioritising the priorites

    Social mobility and the fair distribution of wealth going down the pan, NHS in meltdown, Brexit in chaos with the economic impact written on the back of a fag packet that can't be found - bu**er sorting that, let's get serious about ticket touts!

    I guess someone in the Cabinet Office paid too much for Wimbledon last year ....

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Prioritising the priorites

      Government is responsible a lot of areas and not all the public have the same concerns. If the entire government machine was obliging you, Stuart, by concentrating on what you think they should be doing there would be a lot of other people complaining about neglect of other issues such as Xylella fastidiosa or asking why you left climate change or whatever off your list.

    2. Tom 38

      Re: Prioritising the priorites

      Wimbledon is one of the few venues that don't really have this problem. The tickets you can buy in advance are bloody expensive, but still sell out, which maximises revenue for the tournament. The rest of the tickets are made available on a daily basis to those who queue up for a reasonable price, which ensures that people are not priced out of attending.

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: Prioritising the priorites

        However, if you buy a debenture, essentially a 5 year season ticket, then you can legally resell the tickets for whatever price you want.

  14. AndyMulhearn

    No perfect solutions...

    I saw Iron Maiden at the O2 last year and that was paperless so had to take along the card I used for the purchase and photo ID, the latter needing a quick passport renewal as the easier option than getting a photo drivers licence. In practice it worked fine for me, but what would have happened if late in the day I couldn't go? From the Ticketmaster terms, no one else would have gone either. Could I give tickets to that show as a present? Nope, I have to go and actually go in to the show. No other options.

    While I can understand the desire to sell to real fans at face value, some of the other aspects of the "experience" seem not to have been thought through.

    1. Martin-73 Silver badge

      Re: No perfect solutions...

      It strikes me that the tickettouter terms saying you cannot give the tickets away would be 'unfair contract terms'. Of course by the time you'd won in court, the event would be long gone...

  15. Cynic_999 Silver badge


    I thought it was perfectly acceptable to let the market set the selling price, and that buying something at a low price and re-selling at a high price was how the retail trade and capitalism in general was *supposed* to work? Especially when the item in question is most definitely non-essential.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Anti-capitalism?

      Yes, but the Department of Culture, Music and Also Sport likes to be seen to taking an interest in the plebs. You know, with things like salary caps for sportsmen…

      The proposed solution is unworkable and easily contestable but as usual, it's all about grabbing some headlines.

      Next week, of course, the touts will be invited to tender for the new NHS bed lottery…

  16. Mark M.

    As long as the unlimited fines doesn't go lower than the high 100's of thousands of pounds and the touts don't end up in front of a wet wimp of a judge (or even a dumbass jury) who doesn't understand the crime or the magnitude of it.

    A "fine" of a few 10's of thousand pounds would be loose change to some of these greedy touts who will then make it up with the next ticket scalping.

  17. The Nazz

    Next - Sports Hospitailty?

    Ticket touting at Football is illegal.

    Ticket touting at major sports is perfectly allowable, indeed encouraged, provided you include a ticket within your £800+ hospitality package.

  18. Mike Richards

    Resale sites

    Forbidding the ticket companies from owning the resale sites would remove the obvious abuse of their near monopoly. Can’t calculate the number of times I’ve patiently waited online to buy tickets only to see they’ve all been sold and mysteriously reappeared on places like Stubhub at massive markups.

  19. SVV

    Oh woe is him...

    "He recently complained: "I'm having to miss the gala opening of Hamilton so I can vote on the EU withdrawal bill.""

    What's that, you couldn't go to the theatre because you had to be at work, doing the job you get paid to do by us, the taxpayers? Poor diddums! The conclusion in the article is that this experience may prompt the ministet ti legislate against touting. I doubt he got his tickets online for thousands from a resale site : much more likely they were given to him free (no influence peddling with OUR politicians is there, eh Mathew?).

    Bands can stop their fans getting ripped off if they want to. Otherwise, they're just lazy (most likely from my knowledge) or they are staunch believers in the let the market decide doctrine espoused in some other posts here (for many modern big name acts, also likely in reality). For me, a lot of stuff I like is still in pub sized venues - rarely have to bother with all this malarkey.

    1. Martin Summers

      Re: Oh woe is him...

      "What's that, you couldn't go to the theatre because you had to be at work, doing the job you get paid to do by us, the taxpayers? Poor diddums!"

      He's just as entitled to a private life as anyone else. Why do so many people think that people we elect have to be subservient to us? Fact is, he did miss going to see something he wanted to see to do the job. You're also forgetting that there's a large plethora of people paid by the tax payer to do jobs for us including the likes of doctors and nurses, would you say that to them? So what's your point really?

  20. DrRobert

    I completely fail to understand why this should be illegal.

    I'm serious, this is not some trollery.

    1. Martin-73 Silver badge

      AOL! If you purchase a good, you may resell it. I was gobsmacked by the upthread comment (google shows it to be true!) that you can't re-sell your own football (soccer) ticket. That's utter testicles so far as I can see. If it's yours, you may sell it for whatever price you can get

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "you can't re-sell your own football (soccer) ticket. That's utter testicles so far as I can see. If it's yours, you may sell it for whatever price you can get"

        That's one of the unintended consequences of attempting to stop the professional touts.

        1. d3vy

          The problem isnt the odd person selling their tickets because they cant make it to a game, the problem as John has alluded to is professional touts buying tickets on mass preventing the sale to real fans who are then forced to pay exorbitant rates to the touts.

          More admin but a system for swapping tickets with other fans at face value could be made available.

          So if you buy a ticket and cant make it you find someone who wants it, contact the company that you bought it from, the third party also contacts the ticket seller who takes their money an admin fee and then refunds you - basically they provide some escrow for the transaction...

          The added benefit is that you can be sure that your getting your money and the buyer knows that they are getting genuine tickets and not being ripped off.

      2. JimmyPage

        re: you can't re-sell your own football (soccer) ticket

        Wasn't that one of the laws bought in to crack down on football hooliganism ? Along with ID cards for people attending games ?

      3. DavCrav

        "That's utter testicles so far as I can see. If it's yours, you may sell it for whatever price you can get"

        A ticket isn't a good. The physical ticket is, and you can sell it for whatever price you want, but what the ticket represents is a contract to provide a service. If you contract a plumber to fix your house for a fixed price, can you substitute your house for someone else's? What if there were no free slots for plumbers and you had an emergency? Could you sell someone else your plumbing slot?

        In a contract, you cannot just scribble out one person's name and put another in. The good (which is the concert, not the ticket) hasn't been provided yet, so there's no first sale doctrine.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    unlimited fines

    amazing, how easy it is to set it up for toutbots, and virtually (and literally) impossible for misleading advertising and a few other areas, where the "unlimited" fine might have a sobering effect. If I was cynical, I would say misleading advertising is good (for the tax-man), touting is baaaaad (for the tax-man)

  22. inmypjs Silver badge

    As if the...

    bastards don't have anything more useful to do.

    "get the chance to see their favourite music and sports stars at a fair price"

    A fair price is what people are willing to pay and if it takes touts to find out what the fair price is it would be just as sensible to legislate and fine the primary sellers for incompetence.

  23. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    It's not an area that greatly concerns me but from the descriptions I've read here I'd have thought existing fraud legislation might have dealt with a lot of it and has the added advantage of imprisonment as a deterrent. But introducing a new piece of legislation is easier for legislators than getting existing legislation enforced. Which raises the question of how the new legislation will be enforced.

  24. DJO Silver badge

    I suppose making it illegal to sell tickets for more than 25% over the printed price would be too easy. Also banning "handling" charges would be necessary.

    Ticket reselling is a parasitic business model that is grossly unfair and should have no place in modern business.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "Ticket reselling is a parasitic business model that is grossly unfair and should have no place in modern business."

      And people think "disruptive business models" like Uber are a new thing? :-)

      There's nothing new about people finding a niche as a middleman with little to no benefit to anyone other than themselves in the long run. The customers always end up paying more while the suppliers save a few pennies and make people redundant.

  25. Excellentsword

    If you're paying more than £30 to see anything, you're doing it wrong

    In myyyyy day (five years ago) you could arrive at the door to any rock venue in Camden and get in for a tenner to see internationally acclaimed bands. Now you do normally have to order in advance if you want to get in, but it's generally done through the promoter. Touts don't even come into it.

  26. Jonathan 27

    Good luck enforcing this, ticket scalping bots are illegal in the part of Canada I live already and it hasn't helped. The people doing this in the first place are criminals and they don't care if it's illegal or not. It will take some serious crackdowns to make a difference.

    1. d3vy

      I'd imagine hosting the bots and sites selling the tickets outside the country would also make it fairly easy to circumvent.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Step one - Print the ticket purchaser's name on the tickets.

    Step two - Require photo ID at the venue to be allowed in.


    If you want to allow a form of reselling, make the ticket sellers offer a buyback service (minus an administration fee) up to 24 hours before the event. They don't buy the actual ticket back, but they make it available in the system to be resold and the original purchaser can then destroy the (now invalid) tickets.

    1. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

      No. Just sell tickets at the market price in the first place and the problem solved.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Follow the money

    How are the bad guy bots paying for all these tickets?

    Surely if the same credit card is being used to buy more than the allocation limit you just block it for 24 hours?

    1. DJO Silver badge

      Re: Follow the money

      Too easy to circumvent by using lot's of pre-paid cards.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Follow the money

        Pre-pay cards are identifiable and can be refused. Try hiring a car with one.

  29. murrby

    It's in the fans hands

    If nobody bought from the touts they'd disappear.

  30. mark l 2 Silver badge

    "If you want to allow a form of reselling, make the ticket sellers offer a buyback service (minus an administration fee) up to 24 hours before the event."

    Good idea, but minus the admin fee, businesses can't charge admin fees if i want to return items under the 14 day cooling off period under consumer law. So allowing ticket seller to charge a fee they will just ramp it up as much as they can. So it should be free to get your money back, even after the event if you couldn't make it at the last minute due to a emergency.

  31. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge


    I'm trying to work out what the two letters are that would make the word offensive enough to require censorship. Can anyone help?

    They're not "as". I've worked that out for myself.

    1. teebie

      Re: b**tards

      u and m

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: b**tards

        Perhaps it was meant to be /b/tards.

        Anonymous because anonymous, obviously.

  32. JimmyPage

    Remember how artists sidestepped the labels ...

    and grew their revenue stream from live gigs instead of vulture-ripped recording contracts ?

    This is a moribund music "industry" trying to get it's mojo back.

    You have to wonder, in this day and age of Uber and AirBnB, why we "need" ticket agencies and promoters anyway.

  33. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

    So why those venues not selling tickets at the market price in the first place, instead of trying to make the State police prices as if it was the old USSR?

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I take it...

    Many of you have forgot about the 'outrage' that occurred when one of the ticket groups, ATG or Ticketmaster, can't recall, only let people in with a ticket if they had the corresponding ID to match the details on the ticket.

    Hundreds of people outraged that they'd bought from tout resellers online at inflated prices but couldn't get in.

    Serves them fucking right.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Support the up and coming stars of the future and don't waste your money on big-ticket past their best "stars". Not only do you get the future boasting rights ("...I saw them in a small auditorium 10 years ago before you'd even heard of them when they were building the act and reputation they now rely on to charge you £££ to watch them repeat...") but also you do get to SEE them, not from hundreds of yards away in a massive arena, only really visible on the massive TV screen or with binoculars.

    The only big arena show I've been to in recent times (Cirque du Soleil) was booked by the wife. Massive soulless concrete wasteland where we were treated like the cattle for whom the building would have been better suited. "Refreshment" outlets selling utter crap food and beer for very ambitious prices. Never again.

  36. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Could someone explain ...

    what this has to do with the Government?

    The tickets are initially sold in a legal 'system' devised by the sellers/promoters.

    If there are people reselling goods after that so what?

    If there are people legally making a business out of reselling so what?

    The issue is with the 'system' that the sellers and promoters choose to use and nothing to do with the Government.

  37. teebie

    "The British government is to "

    Doesn't mean the same as

    "The plans are part of draft legislation "

    'plans to' or 'may' work, but not 'is to'

    It annoys the hell out of me when the news says the government is going to do something, but doesn't say whether the something has been voted into statute, or has just been gobshited out by an MP requiring attention.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Simple solution

    Prosecute those that buy from touts. The buyers are obviously a bit dim paying the tout's prices. You don't have to go you muppets!

  39. ravenviz Silver badge


    I've been going regularly to music events for over 25 years, and touts are a scourge. I do not object to selling on tickets per se, my only condition is that all tickets get sold to fans who want to go, and at face value, it should not be an economy.

    1. Touts are excluding tickets from face value that then get sold out

    2. Touts may have tickets left over after the event which means real fans could not go

    I rocked up at Hyde Park one time wanting a ticket to a sold out event, approached a tout with an amount and haggling strategy in mind. At the same time a lady approached with a spare ticket and I offered to buy it from her at face value. At which point the tout erupted and got very offensive saying I was ruining his livelihood! WHAT?! Luckily another tout saw the commotion, intervened, and I was able to buy said ticket at face value.

    Ticket resale just for profit should be made illegal, as should resales of more than two. If it is in the law then it can be policed; police are at these events anyway so they can keep their eyes and ears open for touts and rid us all of them.

  40. cantankerous swineherd

    interesting to see the tories interfering with the sacred workings of the market.

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