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SNP MP demands legislation to tackle ticket tout bots, wonders if Scottish government could lead

By | Published on Tuesday 31 May 2016

Ticket touts

A Scottish Nationalist Party MP has written to Culture Secretary John Whittingdale and Home Secretary Theresa May to ask what action might now be taken with regard to secondary ticketing, in the wake of the publication last week of the government-commissioned review of the sector by Professor Michael Waterson.

As previously reported, Waterson didn’t propose immediate new legislation to further regulate the resale of tickets to in-demand events, but he did seek clarity on rules introduced in last year’s Consumer Rights Act, while urging voluntary initiatives by both primary and secondary ticketing firms to further protect consumers.

Alison Thewliss MP has also reportedly written to Scottish Secretary David Mundell for an update on conversations between the UK and Scottish governments on this issue. The CRA applies to the whole of the UK, though Thewliss’s letter implies that Scottish ministers could consider introducing further regulation of ticket touting north of the border if the Conservative government fails to act UK-wide.

According to the Daily Record, the MP thinks that further regulation may be necessary to restrict the use by touts of special software – or “bots” – to hoover up large numbers of tickets to in-demand music and sporting events. Thewliss: “The government needs to urgently look at introducing legislation to prohibit the use of bots that are being used to buy up lots of tickets and make a fortune for ticket touts”.

The Scottish tabloid adds that politicians in Edinburgh are awaiting a response from the UK government to Waterson’s report, while concurrently investigating whether the further regulation of online ticket touting could fall under Scotland’s devolved powers. A spokesman for the Scottish government said this weekend: “We are studying Professor Waterson’s report, particularly to see if any aspects might fall within devolved competence”.

Glasgow MP Thewliss commented on the secondary ticketing debate after the Daily Record ran a profile on one of the industrial touts named in submissions to Waterson’s review, Andrew Newman, who runs a multi-million pound touting operation from Linlithgow.