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Tout Bots Banned

This is a very bad week to be a ticket tout (sorry, we’re supposed to refer to them as ‘power brokers’ these days aren’t we?)- Not only has Ed Sheeran’s team clamped down on tickets sold through secondary sites but Minister of State for Digital Matt Hancock (pictured) has signed the commencement order for the Digital Economy Bill, which of course includes measures to combat industrial scale ticket touting through the banning of ‘bots’.

For those not familiar with the inner workings of Westminster (and lets face it, who would want to be at the moment?), a commencement order is a statutory instrument that brings into force all or part of an Act of Parliament at a date later than the date the Act was passed.

The Bill was given Royal Assent in April this year and includes an amendment giving the government the power to create a new criminal offence of using ‘bot’ technology to bypass limits on maximum ticket purchases set by event organisers. Ticket touts who use bots to bulk buy tickets could face unlimited fines under the new legislation.

A spokesman for anti-touting campaign group FanFair Alliance said: “In the last Parliament, there was some strong progress made on the issue of ticket touting, and we’re obviously pleased that work will now start to implement Section 106 of the Digital Economy Act. Criminalising the bulk buying of tickets through specialised software should be a significant deterrent to some touts – however, it is not a complete solution. The priority to properly clean up this runaway market remains the proper enforcement of Consumer Law, and action against the Big Four resale sites when they fail to comply with it”.

In addition, the team behind Ed Sheeran’s enormous 2018 UK stadium tour also revealed this week that 10,000 of one million tickets sold for the dates have been cancelled after being revealed to have been purchased illegally by known touts. The tickets will be returned to the marketplace via face value resale service Twickets.

The Gen often wonders if Communities and Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid still regards touts as “classic entrepreneurs”.
As Fanfair has stated above, the measures introduced by the Digital Economy Act should be welcomed but the problem goes way beyond bots and the key lies in enforcement.

As reported by The Gen last week, FanFair Alliance has also published new research into secondary ticketing platforms that pay for prominent placement on search engines.

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