Conservative MP Nigel Adams has presented his amendment to the House of Commons Public Bill Committee for the Digital Economy Bill, aiming to tackle industrial-scale online touting.
Adams (pictured) is leading the bid to make illegal the misuse of bot technology by ticket touts to purchase excessive numbers of tickets to resell on the secondary market.
Highlighting evidence from tickets sales of shows by Green Day, The 1975, Black Sabbath, You Me At Six and The Tragically Hip, the amendment won unanimous cross-party backing from Labour and SNP members of the committee. Similar legislation has been introduced by New York State.
Adam Webb, campaign manager for the FanFair Alliance, said: "We fully support Nigel Adams MP in pursuing this issue. The abuse of software by touts to hack into ticketing sales and scalp inventory is a major bugbear for genuine fans and it is an issue where we need clarity in the law.
"However, as was also made clear by MPs at the committee and also by the Minister, action against bots is not a silver bullet. To make the ticketing market function better for audiences, we also need proper enforcement of existing consumer law and regulation of the Big Four resale platforms.”In the debate that followed, the UK’s online ticket resale market was described as “a racket” and enforcement of current legislation contained in the Consumer Rights Act 2015 as “extremely patchy”.
In response, Matthew Hancock MP, Minister for digital and culture, said had recently paid “eye-watering amounts” for Paul Simon tickets on the secondary market, and recognised a “very clear sense in the debate that there remains a problem to be solved”. He called for a meeting of “all interested parties” before Christmas to investigate the issue further as well as further discussions between the National Cyber Security Centre and primary ticketing companies.
Government will respond to recommendations made in the Waterson Review of secondary ticketing following these meetings. On the basis of a “clear commitment to making progress in this area”, the amendment was withdrawn.