In an effort to limit the resale of event tickets for extortionate prices in the secondary market, the government has enacted the Breaching of Limits on Ticket Sales Regulations 2018, which came into force on 5 July 2018.
The problem the statutory instrument attempts to address is the use of specific software, or “bots” to purchase large numbers of tickets immediately upon them being placed on the market. For example, an American Ccompany, Prestige Entertainment, is alleged to have bought over 300,000 tickets in a two-year period, including 30,000 Hamilton tickets, and in one instance over 1,000 tickets to a U2 concert in less than one minute (See Ticketmaster v Prestige Entertainment, case 2:2017cv07232). The tickets purchased in such a way are then resold to consumers at a considerably higher price. For example, tickets for a 2016 Radiohead show had a face value of £65, but were placed on Viagogo, a resale website, for £3,934. Up until now however, this practice has not been illegal in the United Kingdom.
Clearly, this sort of activity negatively affects consumers, as they are often left to choose between either paying higher prices for second-hand tickets, or not attending the event at all. The Breaching of Limits on Ticket Sales Regulations aim to combat it by making it a criminal offence to use such software to obtain tickets in excess of the sales limit, with a view to obtaining financial gain. The penalty for the offence is an unlimited fine in England and Wales, of a fine not exceeding £50,000 in Scotland.
Please contact Jose Saras if you have any questions relating to the Regulations, or online ticket sales more generally.