Friday 30 September 2016

Ticket touts to face two-year jail terms under proposed new law

Published 26/08/2016 | 02:30

'Currently there are no laws banning people from selling match or concert tickets at extortionate prices' Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach / SPORTSFILE
'Currently there are no laws banning people from selling match or concert tickets at extortionate prices' Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach / SPORTSFILE

Ticket touts could face two years in prison if a new law due to be debated when the Dáil returns is passed.

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A private members' bill, based on Portuguese laws, will be introduced by Dublin TD Noel Rock in the autumn.

Currently there are no laws banning people from selling match or concert tickets at extortionate prices.

The Irish Independent has learned that one website is charging up to three times the face value of tickets for this weekend's semi-final clash in Croke Park between Dublin and Kerry.

Seated tickets are being sold for the match at €40 across the board, but some tickets in the Hogan and Cusack Stands were being advertised this week for €120.

New laws on ticket touting were needed to avoid people being "fleeced" by touts selling tickets way above the retail price, Mr Rock said.

"It won't be 100pc effective, but it will drive some of the more militant operators off the street. People in the industry have told me that around 10pc of tickets for events are purchased by people with the explicit intention of selling them on."

The law only outlaws above-cost selling, which means people who need to sell a ticket for an event for genuine reasons will still be able to do so.

Gardaí will also be able to confiscate tickets from suspected touts under the laws.

At the moment, gardaí can only deal with touts under casual trading laws.

If the new legislation was enforced, people found guilty of ticket touting would face up to two years in jail and fines of up to €5,000, Mr Rock said - although the draft legislation does not make any reference to jail terms.

Ticket touting has come under the spotlight after the arrest of Kevin Mallon and Olympic Council of Ireland president Pat Hickey in Rio in connection with the unauthorised sale of tickets for the Games.

Meanwhile, the GAA has slammed the resale of tickets as "immoral".

A spokesman said that the organisation had in the past investigated the source of touted tickets and cancelled them.

Irish Independent

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