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Should ticket touts be banned?

04:43 UK time, Saturday, 3 July 2010

A number of MPs are calling for ticket-touting at big sporting events to be made illegal. Should there be limits on ticket touts?

The ban would include Wimbledon, where tickets for tomorrow's men's final are currently being offered on websites for more than £6,000 a pair.

Currently, it is only illegal to re-sell tickets for professional football matches.

But Sharon Hodgson, Labour MP for Washington and Sunderland North, wants touting to be banned at all "crown jewel" sporting events, such as Wimbledon, the Grand National and the Six Nations Rugby.

Should touting be made illegal at major sporting events? Should a ban be wider than just sporting events? Have you bought tickets from a tout? Do ticket touts provide a necessary service for those needing to sell tickets?

This debate has now been closed. Thank you for your comments.


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  • Comment number 1.

    As much as I detest touts, I am also against laws that are difficult or impossible to enforce, and sadly I suspect that any legislation around touting will fall into largely into that bracket.

    One thing that might make a significant difference is if auction sites like eBay either voluntarily capped ticket auctions to the face value of the tickets in question, or were legally compelled to do so. Combine that with making it illegal to sell tickets for profit outside of venues and I suspect many 'casual touts' would be dissuaded.

    Whilst this might free up a great many tickets for genuine fans, sadly I suspect that the ultimate effect of this would be to inflate the prices asked by the remaining 'professional' touts.

  • Comment number 2.

    Although I support the idea of banning ticket touts, especially those who bulk buy which prevents true fans to buy tickets. I do have concerns for the normal person who purchases a ticket and then can not attend. Companies selling tickets appear not to accept returns as such.

    I think re-selling of tickets should be allowed however the maximum you can charge is the price of the original purchase (ticket + booking fee. Also companies such as ticket master should be required to accept returns up to 30 days before an event.

  • Comment number 3.

    I don't see why, tell us more?

    So why are you against this system, why?

    Cllr Ken Tiwari (Oxford UK)

  • Comment number 4.

    I see two issues regarding touting that make it difficult for the man on the street seeing events.

    First is the condition on nearly all tickets to performances, shows and sporting events are non-returnable. Therefore if you can't go, selling to a tout or becoming a tout yourself via one of the touting websites is the only option. Event promoters should be made to offer a return service. This would also allow fans to buy as face value again. The promoters will gain 2 handling fees.

    Secondly. There appears to be a two-tier law for touting tickets. In the past years the likes of seatwave and getmein on-line ticket resale agencies have started and be allowed to operate. These on-line touts take a huge margin of around 25% to allow ticket owners to resell tickets. Even for the traggic the Michale Jackson 02 gigs, it appeared that some tickets were only released and sold via one of these sites at a huge preium to the face value. I think the selling agent website was linked to the promoter in some way. This can not be right.

    As fans we all want to watch these events at fair face value, with the (now accepted) high handling charges. However the ticket market has some legal barriers that need to be ermoved before it can be tightened otherwise the promoters will be the only winners.


  • Comment number 5.

    Take the profit out of reselling and the touts will move onto the next profitable activity. Limting resale prices to face value plus resonable handling could remove the profit.

  • Comment number 6.

    So ticket touts are banned at football matches are they? I am a regular at Arsenal and always see plenty of touts openly doing business. it won't work.

  • Comment number 7.

    Would Sharon Hodgson explain why is it ok to tout music events and not "crown jewel" sporting events? If touting is wrong, it is wrong and should be banned. Otherwise let it continue?

  • Comment number 8.

    Ticket touts should not only be banned for selling at sporting events, they should also be banned from selling at rock concerts and festivals because in some cases genuine fans don't get a chance to see their favourite artists.
    Thank you
    [Personal details removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 9.

    Make it simple - limit resale prices of tickets to face value + a 10% handling fee. Apply that to all major events, whether sport or entertainments. That cuts the margins for professional touts, but still allows private sellers to pass on unwanted tickets legitimately. And set up a hotline to report anyone trying to sell tickets for more than this

  • Comment number 10.

    We live in a free market and it is pointless to have special legislation for entertainment events. The real problem is with the ticker issuers. If touts are snapping up huge blocks of tickets it means the tickets are underpriced. The issuers are not doing their job properly because they are selling the event for much less than it is worth.

    For "genuine" music fans (i.e. those that actually pay for their music) there is no reason why the artists should not give them priority for tickets - if they could be bothered. There are several obvious ways to do this.

  • Comment number 11.

    A resounding "no" in my opinion. Ticket reselling is merely a free-market system in which supply meets demand at a true/equilibrium market value. The touts are merely agents in that transaction and they exist because the ticket face value prices (too low) and the prevailing demand (high) facilitates it. There is no rationale behind criminalising or stigmatising ticket touting any more than there would be to the same to, say, estate agents. Yet another example of poorly considered ideas from MPs to intervene in free markets that will inevitably be circumvented and prove futile. The fact that genuine fans might be denied the opportunity to hold tickets is a result of the market demand and NOT the touts per se.

  • Comment number 12.

    "if it wasn't allowed, people wouldn't do it"

    that's completely untrue. if it wasn't allowed, the touts would continue to do it, and they would have a reason to charge much higher prices.

    if you want to eradicate a behaviour, changing the law will not work. Just look at drug abuse for confirmation of that.

    to get rid of touting (although i'm failing to understand why it's such a terrible thing), sporting events should make it easier for those who have bought tickets but cannot attend to get a refund. In other words, if the sporting event doesn't want touts, they should provide a similar service but at regulated rates so that late minute ticket buyers and those who cannot make it have a fair system.

    Whether touting is illegal or not, it will continue while there is a market for it!

  • Comment number 13.

    Is there not some muddled thinking, envy or even greed behind such proposals?

    If someone pays £6000 for a ticket, then that ticket is worth £6000. The buying fan has shown himself much more ardent than the person willing to pay only the face value.

    Why do not the event organisers not charge the "market" price and obtain higher revenues? Either they are inept (unlikely) or they are hedging the risks of an event flop by selling to intermediaries. "Touts" can therefore have a useful financial role. They don't always make a profit either. Maybe they even pay tax on their profits.

    People who moan about not being able to see Crown Jewel events on the cheap can see them, usually at no cost, on the TV and the seats are better!

  • Comment number 14.

    If you have £6000 to spend on Wimbledon tickets, (or large amounts of spare cash to see any such event) you are actually just showing off your money, not justifying the 'importance to mankind" of that event.

    These days the market-machine hypes everything up so e.g. to see a show in London you have to plan months ahead and commit money months ahead and lose the cash if you can't go at the time or sell them privately to a friend.

    Nobody is forced to buy from a tout. But you might have to go without your dream becoming manifest, in which there is the useful lesson of patience and self-denial while learning that the world still goes round after your disappointment.

  • Comment number 15.

    Oooh the cut-and-thrust of the open market. Listen if you're dumb enough to pay carry on.

  • Comment number 16.

    It is not the place of the state to dictate the price at which I sell a product or service, it is up to the purchaser to decide if I am charging a reasonable price: if they think it is too much they don't have to buy.

    Why should tickets to sporting or cultural events be any different from any other commodity which I wish to sell?

  • Comment number 17.

    As far as I am aware these tickets come mainly from the tickets given to officials as freebie concessionary tickets and any money gained from their sale should go back to the appropriate sport or sport person not into the pockets of touts that lets face it wont be declaring the profit to the tax man IE another tax evasion loophole that wants sewing up for the benefit of the country. Also ticket touting is not to dis similiar to copyright theft in the music industry and should be dealt with accordingly. I am sure their are many up and coming young sports people that would gladly benefit from these ill gotten gains so that they could become top of their feild and win gold medals for Britain in the forth coming games

  • Comment number 18.

    Tickets for Wimbledon, the Cup Final, Glastonbury or the Last Night of the Proms are not food, clothing, housing, education, medical care, or any of the other essentials of life. They are candy-floss. Let them go for what the market will bear and get off people's backs.

  • Comment number 19.

    Really, what's the ACTUAL problem that a ban on touting is supposed to solve? It's basic market economics, supply and demand, and no different from trading in any other commodity. Touts actually provide a useful service to consumers. Sometimes you might have a ticket for an event and then it turns out on the day that you can't make it. Alternatively, you may have missed the initial ticket sale and really want to go to an event with some friends and not mind paying a bit over the odds.

    If the problem is profiteering, then that just means the original tickets were solded below their real value and should be priced higher. If you want to sell subsidised tickets to people who couldn't otherwise afford to go then by all means, sell SOME tickets at a lower price and attach conditions to them (eg. only valid if presented with a student ID card, only valid for under 18s, only valid for the named ticket holder, etc.).

    If the problem is people selling fake tickets then that's a completely separate issue. It's fraud and should be severely punished, but it has nothing to do with touting.

  • Comment number 20.

    Sharon Hodgson, Labour MP for Washington and Sunderland North:
    "(...) makes it a criminal offence to buy up large numbers of tickets, with a view to selling them at a profit,"
    "If that wasn't allowed, people wouldn't do it."

    What, you mean like murder, robbery, recreational drugs etc. etc. aren't allowed - and therefore they don't happen?

    Ah, bless.
    Ain't she a sweetie...

  • Comment number 21.

    "Ticket reselling is merely a free-market system in which supply meets demand at a true/equilibrium market value".

    Yes...and the global financial collapse of the last few years is a result of unrestrained "free market" fundamentalism! What a stupid argument. It's not fair if events are priced beyond the reach of most lets make make touting illegal and the process more fair.
    Friedmanite capitalism has beyond all doubt been shown to fail!

  • Comment number 22.

    There is an easy way to end the problem of ticket touting: Stop buying tickets from touts!

    Remember, the tout paid good money for those tickets. You always have the option not to pay the price they are asking. And after the event, the tout is left with a handful of expensive but worthless pieces of paper.

    As long as people would rather pay over the odds than not attend an event, ticket touting will continue; and any attempt to ban it will only have a negative impact on people who have a genuine need to pass on a purchased ticket to a third party.

  • Comment number 23.

    If so many tickets for music and sporting events were not given to corporate hospitality then the real fan would not have to go to touts. I think england matches for all sports should be banned from handing over tickets to corporate groups thats were most touts get their tickets,I bought an england one day cricket ticket a few years ago for £200 and found myself in a section with a load of the prawn sandwich brigade who had no interest in the cricket just the free booze, food.

  • Comment number 24.

    Ticket touts see a business opportunity, take advantage of it and screw as much money out of the punters as possible.
    Surely if you close them down on those grounds you would have to close all the banks as well!

  • Comment number 25.

    Making this illegal won't stop it, there will still be the same dodgy characters lurking around a gig at showtime.

    I'm more annoyed at companies such as Ticket Master acting as legalised touts, adding "Booking Fees" and other such markups for no added value to the punter. Gone are the days when you could just buy from the venue.

    Another thing that is creeping in is the "VIP package" that assures you of a premium seat in the first 15 rows at hugely inflated prices. Pre-sales assuring a good seat used to be for the true fan who took the time out to keep informed of an up and coming event. Now the descent seats are reserved for the fickle.

  • Comment number 26.

    I suppose they will then need to ban hotels and other outlets buying up concert tickets and then selling them as package deals at their own extortionate prices, no?

  • Comment number 27.

    "The ban would include Wimbledon, where tickets for tomorrow's men's final are currently being offered on websites for more than £6,000 a pair"

    99% of the people at these posh events are only there to be seen. if you want to watch wimbledon watch it on the bbc you don't have to put up with a crowd who act like they are are on a day out from a graveyard

  • Comment number 28.

    Basically it is about greed. There are people who will make money any way they can and there are people who will pay whatever it takes to get to a prestige event. If people simply refused to buy the over priced tickets the touts wouldn't bother.

    It is the same with having to own things. I understand that a good proportion of the people queueing outside 'phone shops to buy the latest ipod for £300 were only doing so in order to resell them on ebay. Having been told this my husband checked on ebay the day the ipods went on sale and there was one on offer for £600. No doubt there are people dumb enough to fork out to be 'one of the first'! Personally I would wait until the prices came down...if I felt the need to own one at all.

  • Comment number 29.

    Most of the problems associated with ticket touts are the fault of the event promotor in the first place. The biggest problem is that they don't buy back tickets that for whatever reason the purchaser can no longer use. This is unnacceptable and should be legislated for.

  • Comment number 30.

    Of course it should be made illegal.

    However it also needs an accompanying law that forces providers to offer an alternative for those wishing to legitimately get rid of tickets.

    All providers should have to provide a service by which buyers can register their wish to resell their ticket. Then once the show is sold out, these tickets can be resold at cost price by the original provider. If sold then the original buyer gets the refund.

    This protects sellers from refund seekers, allows more fans opportunity to attend and the chance of getting money back to genuine resellers.

  • Comment number 31.

    There's all sorts of stuff sold freely, including some of life's essentials. What make's tickets of all things so darn special?

  • Comment number 32.

    On touting Sharon Hodgson says "If that wasn't allowed, people wouldn't do it."

    If only life were that simple

  • Comment number 33.

    I don't see what the problem is. Ticket touts do the same as ticket offices. Ok, they try to sell for as much as they can, but if someone is stupid enough to want to pay 6000 for a ticket to see something when he can see it better on tv, thats their problem.

  • Comment number 34.

    With the planned cut in police staffing levels on the horizon, how on earth are they planning to enforce it? This is becoming a bit of a Monty Python sketch Messrs. Cleese, Idle, Chapman, Jones, Palin and Gilliam would be proud of!

  • Comment number 35.

    Don't people notice the ever increasing number of bans, and associate it with the ever increasing number of prisoners?

    I believe the salespeople of the events have significant enough control over their own tickets to be able to prevent touts, such as requiring ID and a Ticket, and printing name/dob on the ticket.

    There is no reason to justify making it a law.

    What's next, make it illegal to bring in external food in to a pub/cafe/cinema? They have their own rules, enforce their own rules, it's not a crime however.

  • Comment number 36.

    As a Premiership football fan, I've seen the benefits of the ban on ticket touts. Most, if not all, clubs have taken big steps to counter the problems arising from this that some people have raised.
    With regards genuine fans who cannot make the match, many clubs have official links with a ticket agency (such as Viagogo) who then offer these tickets to be resold at face value. Similar practise could be put in place for other sports, as Viagogo currently offer the ticket agency for all events, but only football is limited at face value.

    Criminalisation of ticket touting would do a great deal to help genuine fans attend events, touts often buy large numbers of tickets from the outset.

  • Comment number 37.

    Speaking as one of these much-maligned ticket touts (i prefer the term ticket broker) i fail to see why there is a problem. I have made money selling tickets and i have lost money and nobody complained when they were getting tickets that cost me £50 for £5. We live in a free market and thank god for that. I can see no difference between buying and selling tickets and buying and selling houses and nobody calls property speculators house touts and calls for buying multiple properties to be made illegal do they? If a music or sports fan wants a ticket and can't afford to pay me then they miss a night out. If someone can't afford a house they are homeless. Also, supermarkets don't sell food to you at the price they paid for it. If you can't pay you starve! Got to go now. I have tickets to sell. Cheers

  • Comment number 38.

    All tickets should be purchased online or at a reputable outlet, and two tickets to one postal address maximum, tickets will always be posted.

    I am sure the government would crack down on this activity if they knew the profit being made by these people. No income tax, no VAT, no money back, no guarantee says it all really. Buy 50 tickets per week at cost sell at £100 each more, £5000 per week profit in the pocket.

  • Comment number 39.

    Why bother if people are stupid enough to pay such ridiculous prices then it will continue in one way or another. If spectators refused to pay it would stop. Even if they pass a law they will leave a few loopholes so that the rich can get richer, they always do

  • Comment number 40.

    Plain interference again. No, I don't support this proposal.

    The only reason ticket touts exist is because there's a market. If people are crazy enough to pay over-the-odds for tickets that's up to them. Hardly different in principle from an auction.

  • Comment number 41.

    So far the Authority that is responsible for organizing an event sell a small percentage of Tickets as such with collection of Taxes on such sells; keeping the issue as transparent as possible to pass a audit scrutiny afterwards, none other than the Authority as well as the Government shall be the benefactors out of it, it can kill two birds with one stone while upholding the liberty of buying a Ticket at the eleventh hour open to the Sports lovers who can manage to pay additional amounts at ease without feeling a pain at one’s Pocket.

    But as and when we allow such actions to happen through use of 3rd Parties, there exist a doubt of misusing of fund by the concern Authority being free to buy Tickets at most ease for the sole purpose of earning a profit to oneself. Under such circumstances, the procedure becomes corrupt in one way or the other nonetheless it shall not put much of pressure on consumers but shall allow easing the situation of holding unnecessary fund by one which can well be released into the system as such without breaking of any rule.

    If we go deep into the matter we can invariably always everywhere fork out a small percentage of Ticket for sell nearer the time of happening of an event to genuine Customers who can able to undertake the burden at most ease in view of holding a position of affluence within the Society. This is also one of the novel ways of collecting Tax by the Government while indirectly supporting the Authority that is responsible for organizing the event.

    (Dr.M.M.HAZARIKA, PhD)

  • Comment number 42.

    If tickets for all events were returnable, say within 2 days of the event, there would be no problem with 'touts' offering tickedt at grossly inflated prices.

    If someone buys tickets to sell at a profit, then the profit should be taxable in the same way that a business or self employed person is taxed.

  • Comment number 43.

    Oh honestly surely this country has other more important things to worry about that ticket touts?!
    Having queued, redialed a hundred times and prayed for tickets to some events over the years I can say it is not the easiest thing to do!
    If touts are willing to do the same to get those tickets then so be it. If you want to pay over the odds for tickets that might be faked, more fool you. Personally I would go to more concerts if the cost was cheaper, so if promoters wanted to oust ticket touts make events cheaper and more accessible then touts wouldn't have a chance.

  • Comment number 44.

    59% profit? Less than the promoter makes then. Less than the mark up on diamonds, less even than the tax rate on petrol.

    This is just about some well funded entertainment lobbyists leaning on our government because their bosses can smell a buck. If you remove touts then you can reliably over sell events by 10% thereby increasing takings by 10% with no outlay.

    All this from an industry that has the cheek to charge a handling fee every time you buy anything.

  • Comment number 45.

    Touting doesn't always mean people having to pay more for tickets to events. I've been to a number of gigs where I've waited until the main band has started or is about to start before buying a ticket from touts, and in some cases I've managed to get in for as little as half price. Rarely do I end up paying more than face value, and that's only if I really want to see the band, normally it's face value or less. It does help that I live a couple of hundred metres from a major music venue, and so can just walk down, see if it's a band I'd like to see, see if I can get a cheap ticket, and if not just walk back home again.

    A couple of my work colleagues buy tickets to sell on ebay, and again it isn't always profit rolling in for them, especially with the current trend amongst big bands to not announce all their gigs at once. A number of times my colleagues have bought tickets for what they think will be a sure fire profit maker and the before they've sold them the band/artist has announced extra dates at the same venue and suddenly there is a glut of spare tickets and they end up selling at a loss.

  • Comment number 46.

    Should ticket touts be banned?
    Of all the ways of trying to ban ticket-touting, you have probably selected the most impossible to enforce. Imagine the eventual prosecution, assuming you were able to capture the felon in the first palce: He said/she said = dismissal for lack of evidence.
    In any case, in the UK resale of football/soccer tickets is illegal under Section 166 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 (unless the resale is authorized by the organizer of the match e.g. viagogo through partnerships - Chelsea FC, Manchester United FC.) So IF Section 166 is proving effective, all the UK need do is amend it.
    Since the object is to make ticket-touting illegal, there are other ways to proceed. e.g.
    - you might consider a "drawing system"; that is, those who want tickets have their names entered for a draw by computer. This would reduce the number of tickets ending up in scalpers' hands
    - sell tickets in online auctions. This has the advanatge of driving the selling price closer to market conditions. In other words, the legitimate seller becomes the ticket-touter, but the profit doesn't end up in a touter's pocket.
    - And then there was "Glastonbury Festival" where 140,000 tickets were sold withinn two hours. It introduced a system whereby tickets included photographic ID of the original buyer, to enforce non-exchangeability.
    So, how is Section 166 working for you?

  • Comment number 47.

    If you can afford to pay £6000 for a pair of tickets then you probally won't have to pay anything at all as the rich don't get rich by spending money.

    Well not their own money anyway.

  • Comment number 48.

    No. Stop nannying and sucking up to the wealthy event organisers. There is no reason at all tickets should not be resold on, via touts if need be. Free market, not restricted to dictatorial 'official' choices.

    If touts get more for tickets, then they were too cheap to start with!

  • Comment number 49.

    Yes - it will only go underground but at least there will be sentences for those caught.

    Here's another question on sport: should Serena Williams be allowed to wear those pink cycling shorts?
    Another player's attire was questioned for far less than that this year.

    My view: No. The rules are clear nd I quite like the all-white rule even if it is a bit old-school.

  • Comment number 50.

    If the people who buy the tickets to resell [touts] didn't have access to ticket blocks then the problem would be less of an issue.
    Individuals with a few tickets to dispose of at the gate or on ebay are not the perceived problem.
    Having said that it is really just market forces at work - if the tickets are available to buy - its a free world and why not buy them and resell - its called commerce - now maybe they don't pay tax etc but thats another issue.
    If a ticket is face value £40 and I really want to go but missed the buying window that's my problem and to overcome it I must pay more - I can't see what the fuss is all about.

  • Comment number 51.

    I dont understand what the objections to touts are.

    Sure, they should not be allowed to bulk purchase and create value only by creating a shortage. Other than this managebale problem they appear to be providing a service.

  • Comment number 52.

    It's a way of earning a living; it's a business like any other. Whilst there's a market for them, there'll be ticket touts. If people didn't use touts they'd go out of business.

  • Comment number 53.

    Touting is only possible because of the huge demand for tickets which means the price of the supply can be pushed up. However it is largely the ticket touts themselves that are pushing the prices up by the very act of touting. By buying a huge number of tickets they make it harder for people to get tickets through the normal means, making it necessary to go to touts.

    Incidentally, it was made illegal to re-sell tickets for professional football matches to control football violence and not to stop ticket touting.

  • Comment number 54.

    It's called "Market forces" or, as my old economics teacher would have said: "they are simply expoiting the elasticity of the demand curve".

    As long as these so called "touts" pay their taxes (just as the corporate "touts" do, who charge well over face value of the ticket by wrapping it up with a prawn sandwich and the services of a pay bar), then good luck to them.

  • Comment number 55.

    It's simply market-value resale.

    There is only one problem with ticket touting, in the case where touts buy up blocks of tickets and then re-sell at a significantly higher price (i.e. it's not a private resale of non-refundable tickets) - and this problem is that more often than not they don't pay tax.

    If a ticket is worth 6000 pounds to the consumer, by all means let someone sell it for that much - but make sure that if this is a commercial re-sale, all duties and VAT are collected at the correct rate.

  • Comment number 56.

    Those who glibly argue that ticket-touting is nothing more than the free market system in operation probably don't care if they see events live. The reason touting is an issue is because it distorts the events concerned and damages the cultural wellbeing of the community. If Springsteen and Wimbledon and the Proms and the National Theatre (for "hot" tickets) and the Premiership and so on don't charge 6,000 pounds a seat, it's not because they're lousy business people, it's because they've made the conscious decision not to want to perform just for multi-millionaires. Events don't (generally) grow on trees--they're put on by organisers and performers who have the right to decide their own pricing policies and not have touts gobble up fistfuls of tickets, thus circumventing their intentions.
    Whether touting can be EFFECTIVELY outlawed is another matter.

  • Comment number 57.

    According to this logic, the selling on of shares in a company for inflated prices should also be banned (thus closing down the stock-market and preventing all the troubles it causes - Excellent!) Also railway tickets should only be available from one seller at a standard rate - much simpler for all of us.

  • Comment number 58.

    So typical of you...
    I mean the BBC and the wider UK.
    Make people busy for nothing at the time when real things happen.
    There was a rule of ... than if you want a nuclear plant to be
    approved, vote on bycicle storage in front of it first, exactly before lunch time..:))

  • Comment number 59.

    If everyone followed the same rule not offer a tout any more than the face value of the ticket then the problem would die out....but of course in our current "" I must have society "" the selfish will not do that so touts will thrive

  • Comment number 60.

    Of course they should be. But that must also include all those companies eyc who offer tickets for these events as prizes.

  • Comment number 61.

    Touting is imorral but if you ban it will just go underground like drugs.
    The wealthy who want to show off and be seen will still pay £6000 for a Wimbledon final ticket legal or otherwise (look at todays papers) its the free market if you can afford it take it and tough to the rest of you

  • Comment number 62.

    The problem is that touts are circumventing ticket-sellers rules on buying multiple blocks of tickets, but that's the problem of the ticket seller.

    One benefit to touting is that if you turn up to a venue with minutes to go and there's still touts outside, you can very often get a bargain. I've seen many bands this way, usually paying £10-20 for tickets that 1/2 an hour earlier were selling for £100+.

  • Comment number 63.

    I'm not sure why the idea of banning touts should even be considered. If I buy anything I can see no reason why I should not be free to sell it on at any price I can get; it's called free enterprise. If I buy a car, I can sell it for whatever I can get, what makes a ticket any different? If someone wants to pay 6000 pounds for a ticket for Wimbledon (or anything else) then what can be wrong? I do not see the need for banning touts but I do see the danger because it is stopping what is a free and open trade between consenting parties. I know Fifa would disagree too, but then they disagree with anything that they don't control.

  • Comment number 64.

    Good question, and no doubt one that will bring forth numerous ways of combatting this action.
    But it is simple: As long as there are people out there who are willing to pay these DAFT prices there will always be touts.....fact!

    But to be honest, how anyone can afford the touts asking prices is really beyond me. The world is in a recession, things are pretty bad and yet there are people complaining about "ticket touts prices".

    It`s just totally daft.

    If I want a ticket to any venue, I would purchase it in advance. If there are no tickets left. Then I`ll watch it on TV.

    I would never be DAFT enough to pay a ticket tout 300% or more the face value for a ticket, I don`t care what it was for.

  • Comment number 65.

    I think that trying to prevent touting is going to be difficult to enforce, but that doesn't mean there shouldn't be an effort to try to stop it. I would, though, like to see an all-encompassing ban - not just sports but concerts, etc.

    I agree with a lot of the comments made about returns, prices, etc. If the companies selling tickets in the first place (e.g. O2, Ticketmaster, etc) allowed tickets to be returned for a FULL refund in the event that you couldn't attend, that would eliminate the need for a ticket purchaser to resell.

    Alternatively, if they can't be made to do that, allow ticket owners to resell but put a cap on the markup they are allowed to make - a really SENSIBLE cap.

    I am, frankly, sick and tired of people who have early access to tickets (e.g. O2 customers for O2 tickets) buying them up before the tickets go on sale to the general public.

  • Comment number 66.

    Yep! And ticket agencies that charge more than 10% of face vale.

  • Comment number 67.

    Another stupid idea.

    I thought this government yesterday on HYS were asking us which laws we would like cut.

    Simples, stupid. Laws that are unenforceable like this one.

    Touting is only a case of supply and demand. If you really want something, anything, then if you can afford it, you will pay above the asking price.
    And as for saying sites like ebay should monitor ticket sales, thats just plain ridiculous.

    One good SUGGESTION would be is if ticketing agencies, and this includes football clubs, sold no more than 2 tickets per application

  • Comment number 68.

    This is all fairly obvious.

    People make a business, as in the property market, of hoarding a desirable commodity. This business depends on the conspicuous consumption status of people with more money than sense.

    The hard part is deciding whether this tiny minority of mercenaries and status seekers have a right to freeze out the vast majority of fans.

    I favour fans and people who need houses, but that's just me.

  • Comment number 69.

    The fact that people are touting suggests unrefundable seating. Wimbledon knows exactly what to do if it wants to end ticket touting. Why don't they just go an implement it? Or are they that primitive?

    If touting is merely selling your ticket on, then I don't have a problem with it. After all, you've just made a purchase and should be able to do what you like with that ticket (yes, even tear it up). This isn't another example of nanny state stupidity where we may not have as much reasonable freedom as before, is it?

  • Comment number 70.

    I have been a volunteer at music events for the past 21 years and I just cant understand why the Government does nothing.Anyone who has attended The Reading Festival will know that there is at least twenty five Ticket touts who sell 24 hours per day right in front of Police and you can spot them as you drive off the motorway or if you leave the train station .

    Every year they are in the exact same spot and its always the same jokers.They always have tickets and clearly they are running it like a business except I doubt many will pay tax on their earnings.The same jokers can be seen at other music events so its clearly a full time job for them except due to Glastonbury advance registration they are not seen at Glasto.

    It should be dead easy to make it illegal to sell a ticket for more than its face value so genuine ticket holders can resell their ticket but cant exploit the price and this would drive the touts away.

    The Law should apply to any event where tickets are sold.

  • Comment number 71.

    Touting is immoral! Where do people get that distorted view. There is nothing immoral about it - If I go to M & S and buy a jacket and someone wants it enough to pay me double and I sell it to them knowing that they could have bought it at the ticket price, what's wrong with that? One persons demand has inflated the price - They haven't been forced into buying it.
    People seem to have some weird concept that they have a 'right' to buy a ticket to an event. There is no 'right' to anything that is discretionary, so the opportunity is there to buy from the box office and if you miss out but still want to go then you may have to pay a premium.
    The whining and wailing of a few people that can't afford to go is just a fact of life - if you haven't the time or money to get what you would like then you have 2 two choices - get over it or work harder to ensure you can.
    There inumerable events and activities that I would have like to attend over the years but either because of being too poor in time or money or not being quick enough when they were released I couldn't go - jealous - no, frustrated - often, but it made me savvy of what was necessary to obtain the tickets or invitations I needed and maybe the people who think touts are wrong should reflect on the realities of why they didn't get tickets as soon as they were offered.
    However if those tickets were bulk bought by touts before they went on general sale then this indeed should be stopped as this clearly distorts the market. Touts with 10 or 20 tickets selling on e-bay at inflated prices is no big deal and services a market need.

  • Comment number 72.

    Tickets are only worth what people will pay for them. If someone's willing to pay six grand to watch the Wimbledon final, someone will be there ready to take their cash off them - simple entrepreneurism.

    Loads of people buy double what they need in tickets and then sell the extras later to recoup some of the difference. I call this prudence in an age where ticket prices are exorbitant, and the event has lost nothing because it's sold its tickets - a "victimless crime" if ever there was one!

    Of course there should be legislation to prevent fake tickets being sold, or not sending out the tickets at all as a scam (there is legislation surrounding this; it's called 'fraud' and the 'Trades Description Act'). There certainly shouldn't be laws against people trying to recoup their own losses or sell something which they actually own and have bought with their own money.

    Stop nannying us all the time!

  • Comment number 73.

    Banning touts will not work. Human nature being what it is means that there will always be someone willing to pay over the odds for a ticket.

    It is up to the individual how important the event is to them. In a better world this weakness would not be exploited but it is and stopping it is virtually impossible. As others have written a ban would just drive the 'industry' underground.

  • Comment number 74.

    Surely ticket touts are no different from stock market speculators or the wretched city bankers - except that the bankers gambled with our money for quick gains - or MASSIVE LOSSES as it turned out!!!

  • Comment number 75.

    How do you stop touting? Sorry, but if there are fools that want to part with large sums of money to be entertained, then that is entirely between them and the tout. After all, there's quite a gulf between selling tickets to responsible adults and selling heroin at the school gates, isn't there?

  • Comment number 76.

    They are parasites. I have been to big concerts in the past and seen these greedy leeches tear up tickets after the start of a concert rather than sell them to waiting fans who could afford no more than face value.
    They block buy tickets and deprive genuine fans of a chance to see the gig.
    Ebay should bring in a rule prohibiting ticket sales above face value and a reasonable postage and packing charge.
    Touts cought outside a venue should have tickets confiscated and returned to the box office for sale at face value.

  • Comment number 77.

    Market economy, init?

  • Comment number 78.

    Is it any different from a supermarket paying a farmer a low price for milk, then selling the milk at a higher price.

  • Comment number 79.

    For some it is a free market but I regard it a scourge and ought to be stopped with strong action.

  • Comment number 80.

    Once again we seemed to be heading down the labour route of adding yet more laws to make things illegal to what benefit? Just like some of the drugs laws you have got to be careful of not just pushing activities underground. We don't like touts but if people are willing to pay over the odds for tickets that is their problem. It is up to the event organisers themselves to manage ticket sales to ensure they don't end up in touts hands. I would far prefer the police to be spending time getting guns, knives, etc out of circulation

  • Comment number 81.

    I cannot see how any such legislation would be enforceable, unless all tickets were issued in the same manner as Glastonbury festival does it with your photo on your ticket. Even then there is the issue of what to do if for some reason you are unable to attend the event - Glastonbury's attitude is you lose your money, tough luck.

    Of course the only reason the touts exist is because people buy from them. The only sure-fire way to get rid of touts is to simply not buy anything from them. No legislation required.

  • Comment number 82.

    I don't see how you can ban it, without making it even more expensive and difficult for members of the General public to acquire tickets, you would need to go down the Glastonbury route and have photo ID etc.
    I already find it extremely annoying to buy tickets legitimately, with a lot of promoters sending out tickets at the last possible moment, even though in some cases I brought the tickets 9 months previously. I often have to pay for recorded delivery, which given that I work means often having to make a trip to the local sorting office to sign for the tickets. I haven't missed an event yet, but it has been close, and if I had been working away from home i would have not got the tickets in time.
    You also have to remember often the worse offender is actually the concert promoters who sell a lot of tickets at higher prices to hospitality and corporates. This isn't exactly ticket touting, but has almost the same affect.
    You also have to allow people to sell tickets if they find they can not go to an event. I occasionally have been unable to attend, or in one case managed to accidentally buy 3 tickets twice. Fortunately I was able to sell or give the tickets away to friends, but this isn't always possible.
    The problem of ticket touting would disappear overnight if everyone refused to buy touted tickets. I have never bought them and never would. No event is so important that I have to attend.

  • Comment number 83.

    I do not see any justification for banning the sale of anything provided fraud is not involved and it is not an item prohibited by law. Selling a ticket which is forged, or would not enable the buyer to get into an event for some other reason, should already be illegal.

    Otherwise, the buyer knows what he or she is buying and the price to be paid, so what is wrong? If true fans cannot get into an event, it is probably because too many tickets have gone to product promoters or celebrities.

  • Comment number 84.

    In addition to my early post I should add what is the difference between ticket touting and the hundreds of ticket agencies that exist on the internet. I can get get tickets to almost every west end show through them, but some of the prices they charge are way above the official price.

  • Comment number 85.

    First off I think ticket touts are bad for sport, but the people who buy off them should simply stop and the problem goes away.

    It is perfectly legal for me to buy a sofa, then sell it on at a pofit, even if the profit is obscene, infact it's what most companies do, buy for pennies, sell for pounds.

    But when someone does that with a ticket its a crime? Opportunist maybe, but it should be a crime.

    Reselling tickets should either be illegal or not, not some 1/2 way house where the "big" events are protected. It's like saying stealing from the rich is a crime but from the poor is fine!

    Finally banning reselling would hit ordinary fans. Why?

    Tickets for major sporting events are available in some cases more than a year in advance. Now say I bought a pair for the first test of the next home ashes at lords. And before said test comes around my wife dies, or gets pregnat and gives birth. In either case I may not any longer be in a position to go. Why should I not be able sell my tickets at a reasonable price to someone else?

    Sporting events could stop it if they wanted. Simply have names on the tickets and insist on photo ID on entry. Touts would then have to sell fake Passports/drivers licenses, which is a crime and they could be jailed. Simple.

  • Comment number 86.

    It's frustrating when you can't get a ticket when an event sells out and there are immediately hundreds on sale on eBay at hugely increased prices, but ultimately it's no different to making a profit by selling any other product or service people are willing to pay for - that's what our economy is based on. If you see a rare book in a second-hand shop for a fiver, and you know you can sell it online for £50, what's the problem?

  • Comment number 87.

    The naivety of some people is breathtaking - putting some arbitary percentage and handling fee on a ticket and providing a hotline for the benefit of sneeks to phone and say a man in a blue fleece is selling tickets at twice their value isn't going to do anything to stop the practice of reselling tickets above their face value.
    Perhaps we should make a law that say's stamp collectors need only pay the face value of their purchase + a handling fee of course.

    Too bad if you can't see the event because other people have paid more - best you go and earn some more money so you can compete.
    I would like a new Ferrari - should I camapaign that it is against my human rights that they are too expensive or should I get off my backside and earn the money necessary to be able to afford one?
    These are personal choices and mindless interference from government and 'do-gooders' would benefit all of us.

  • Comment number 88.

    Bringing in a law to make ticket touting illegal is a waste of time unless it is policed properly. The law supposedly already prevents the touting of tickets to football matches and as one comment already posted on here confirms that does not happen.
    I have been a regular at Arsenal football matches for many years and still as you walk out of Arsenal tube station on match day you will hear a number of touts openly asking if you have spare tickets or need tickets for the game, despite there being a large police presence.
    It wouldn't be that difficult to have a couple of plain clothes officers mingling with the crowd and arresting the touts when they spot them doing a deal. If they did that just a few times I'm sure the touts would soon get the message but it seems for some reason they simply can't be bothered which leads me to believe introducing similar legislation for other events would be pointless unless the police actually enforced it.

  • Comment number 89.

    can you imagine what sort of reception house builders would get if they complained that people were selling on the houses they bought from them at a profit?

    how about latest flavour of the month gadget manufacturer who sees his in demand product selling for more on online auctions than the RRP?

    so why should the entertainment industry be pandered to in this way when it applies to no other business? I buy a commodity that turns out to be worth more to someone else than I paid for it then I see no reason why I cant sell it.

    the only exception to that should be in real cases of public safety ie an event with rival teams where crowd segregation etc is required.

  • Comment number 90.

    There are people who seem willing to pay touts the money they want for tickets to lots of different events, maybe if you yourself had a ticket for an event that had sold out and were offered a large amount of money for it, would you be classed as tout for selling the ticket,

  • Comment number 91.

    Whilst nothing annoys me more than the massive amount of money touts make on tickets, we live in a free market economy, and trying to stop that makes me feel a little uneasy.

  • Comment number 92.

    Just make it illegal to sell a ticket for more than its face value.

  • Comment number 93.

    We live in a computerised world now. It would take all of a few seconds to cancel someone's ticket if they were unable to attend, and it could then be immediately displayed and automatic notifications could be sent to those who have queued up in the system in the hope of getting tickets.

    If you then put tickets on an ID-based scheme it would stop people from touting, which to me is a despicable trade where people feed off desires of others in order to line their own pockets. It isn't free-trade, it's screwing others who are legitimate

  • Comment number 94.

    regulated to stop fraud but they should operate as bucket shops....however buying vast tickets for sale means that ordinary people are excluded is this really right?

  • Comment number 95.


    This would make yet another unenforceable law that flies in the face of the free market economy and of freedom of choice itself.

    If someone is IDIOTIC enough to pay £6,000+ for a pair of tickets to a final, good luck to the touts.

    That's no different from any other industry with a high profit/risk margin, like the stock market.

  • Comment number 96.

    on the one hand; touts bulk but tickets preventing real fans from buying them. they then sell these tickets to these same fans at an inflated price. why should they be making money off these events and preventing real fans from attending?
    on the other hand; there quite useful for people who decide they want to go to an event at the last minute and have the money to afford tout prices, a situation ive found myself in on a number of occasions.

  • Comment number 97.

    89, lambrettaforever (with whom I otherwise agree, and I like the name) writes

    "the only exception to that should be in real cases of public safety ie an event with rival teams where crowd segregation etc is required."

    Where that is an issue the event should not happen at all. It is only a football game or a concert - if it is going to cause mayhem it should be forbidden.

  • Comment number 98.

    If event owners do not want their tickets sold on by third parties it would be simple nowadays to make them useable by the original purchasers only by incorporating a photo of purchaser on each ticket sold. There is no need to make ticket touts illegal, or give them the huge profits, just remove the option of selling on the tickets by making them non transferable with the photo.

  • Comment number 99.



    Little muppets in control of £millions, buy up ALL the coffee and sugar and other produce, they THEN HOLD OUT for the HIGHEST PRICE, if they do not sell before a given date, product life, then they have to sell at below price.





  • Comment number 100.

    Lets look at it another way sometimes the only way the true sports fan gets a ticket is from a tout as the other tikets have gone to corporate hospitality ,club members or tickets as perks to knowingly be sold on. So in this way the tout could be seen as providing a service to those locked out of the system in the first place and maybe this is more immoral than the touts?


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