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Ticket Touting

Volume 512: debated on Monday 21 June 2010

The Government have no plans to extend existing legislation covering the resale of tickets. However, those protections are in place under the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006 and under most legislation involving major sports events.

I am sure the Minister is aware that it is increasingly difficult for genuine sports, music and theatre fans to buy tickets, especially at the last minute, and even within days of tickets going on sale. He says that there is coverage for the Olympics, but does he agree that this cover should be extended? Does he agree that we should consider introducing legislation to tackle the practice of buying tickets in bulk and selling them to people at huge profits, as that takes the price of tickets totally out of some people’s reach?

The hon. Lady makes a fair point. Indeed, I looked at the issue in view of quite a lot of the work that was bequeathed to us by the previous Administration. There is a practical problem relating to the police. I am afraid that it is very rare that ticket touts ever come to court, even when the police catch them, because the amount of police time involved in bringing the prosecution makes that very unlikely. I think that the previous Administration adopted the correct approach, which is to encourage a much more vibrant secondary ticket sale market and much more vibrant exchange market, so that fans who buy tickets but cannot attend the event can readily exchange them.

Does the Minister agree with the Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport in the previous Parliament, which found that the secondary market for tickets was perfectly legitimate, and with the Office of Fair Trading, which found that it often works in the consumer’s best interests?