If you’re the average human being, you’ve probably tried to buy music or sports tickets online in the last decade, only to be foiled by the lightning-fast reactions of scalpers. Using a system of ticket-purchasing bots, modern scalping is more efficient and frustrating than ever, resulting in popular tickets that sell out instantly, only to reappear on resale sites immediately at twice (or more) face value. It’s a situation that is nigh universal, worldwide.
Unless you’re talking about Ireland, that is. Because in the Emerald Isle, a newly passed piece of legislation has just banned the reselling of any kind of ticket for more than face value. It’s a huge piece of legislation for Irish lovers of music and sports, and one that could have huge precedent as far as the industry is concerned if adopted by other countries.
Unfortunately for music lovers in clubs and small venues, the legislation is aimed exclusively at venues with capacities of “1,000 or over,” but it’s easy to see how the rule could be modified for smaller venues down the line. According to Fine Gael Dublin North West TD Noel Rock, a sponsor of the legislation: “I have no doubt that for sports and music fans, this legislation will be a game changer.”
“It’s now my ambition that, should this Bill be passed by the Dáil and become law in Ireland, we see other nations across Europe replicating it,” Rock continued. “Time and time again, fans are being told that all tickets are sold out on the primary sales website, while almost immediately being able to buy those same tickets at much higher prices on other websites.”
Minister for Business Heather Humphreys, meanwhile, said she is confident “that this Bill will have the support of the main sporting bodies, of many artists and promoters in the entertainment industry, and of music and sports fans right across the country”.
It’s easy to imagine that a similar bill would have the support of average Joe music and sports fans in the U.S., and likewise be opposed by major ticketing services and corporate interests—as well as by the scalpers themselves, of course. But if this new system in Ireland is effective, it could be a key step in interceding against the scalping scourge that has made online ticket sales a veritable nightmare in the digital age.