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Irish Senator opposes ticket touting laws because it might cost Viagogo jobs

By | Published on Monday 6 August 2018


A member of the upper house of the Irish parliament has criticised plans to greatly restrict the resale of tickets for profit in the country because it could negatively impact on the always controversial Viagogo, which is an employer in the city she represents.

The Irish government¬†recently said it would back proposals¬†by two backbench MPs to introduce new laws basically outlawing ticket touting at many venues. The department of the Minister For Business, Enterprise And Innovation said it was backing new rules that would “ban the above-face value resale of tickets for sporting and entertainment events in designated venues with a capacity of 1000 or over. It would also prohibit the use of bot software to purchase tickets in excess of the number permitted by event organisers”.

However, Maria Byrne, Senator for Limerick, has confirmed her plans to oppose the new anti-touting laws. That’s because Viagogo – the most controversial of all the ticket resale sites – employs about 150 people in the city, with plans to increase that to 250.

According to the Irish Independent, Byrne said: “I was alarmed to learn that ticket resale sites like the Ticketmaster company Seatwave closed down in Belgium when it introduced similar legislation” to that being backed by the Irish government.

Viagogo has, of course, been criticised by multiple government departments, consumer rights agencies and regulators in multiple countries. It is frequently accused of misleading customers so that they think the ticket touting marketplace is in fact an official ticket seller. And it is the one resale site that always ignores promoters when they request tickets not be listed on the basis that they plan to cancel all and any tickets they discover have been resold.

Noel Rock, one of the backbench MPs behind moves to restrict ticket touting in Ireland, says he is still hopeful the new rules will become law, despite the opposition of the likes of Byrne.

He told reporters last week: “The reality is that the majority of the public do not want to see politicians cave into lobbyists’ demands on this one, and would prefer to see match-goers and concert-goers properly protected, rather than propping up the companies that facilitate this gouging of punters. The cabinet have accepted this, and we hope to be in a position to legislate in the months ahead”.