It seems quite fitting to be talking about the government the day after Bonfire Night.
Why won’t the government legislate the secondary ticket market? There could be a number of reasons why the government won’t bring in regulations. The ones I’ve come up with are pure speculation and based on my own observations.
- It could be that the government doesn’t believe regulation of the secondary ticket market is important enough. The idea has been debated several times in parliament and, in 2006, legislation surrounding the reselling of football and Olympic tickets was put into place. However, the government didn’t see other ticketed events in the same light.
- They also may believe that it’s not that serious a crime to warrant legislation.
- Government may believe that the secondary market already regulates itself enough. STAR (Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers) is a body formed within the UK to provide self-regulation within the theatre and event ticketing sales industry. Their aim to ensure fairness and openness in the sale of event tickets. Members are required to comply with a code of practice. Along with the guarantees that websites provide, as well as making it illegal for street touts to operate without a license, government may believe that they’ve already done enough and that little more can be done.
- However, these ideas don’t target the illegal sellers, many of whom operate through legal channels (ebay, Stubhub etc) or who set up ticketing websites for single events (as was seen with recent Take That and One Direction concerts. Love Money offers advice on spotting fake ticket websites.). The technology is in place to be able to find and track these people.
- The legal secondary ticket market is worth an estimated £2,000,000,000 a year and growing, which means the government will see some of that in taxes.
- The government could also see it as not their responsibility to regulate the secondary market. It could be that the government want the market themselves to bring in the control measures that are needed (i.e. photo ID to be shown at entry to an event). However, unscrupulous sellers can easily bypass some of these control measures (There’s already been reports of people reselling multiple copies of a pair of PDF tickets to an ALT-J concert, meaning that once one pair had been scanned everyone else was left outside and out of pocket). There is a call for photos to be printed on tickets, something that has worked well for Glastonbury. Measures would have to be put in place for people who found themselves unable to attend. Again, the technology is in place to do this.
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