Italy moves to crimimalise touting

January 2017

Live event sector


An amendment to Italy’s 2017 budget law that would criminalise ticket touting has been approved by the country’s Chamber of Deputies. The amendment, introduced earlier this month by culture minister Dario Franceschini, prohibits the “sale, or any other form of placement [on the secondary market], of tickets” by anyone other than the issuer, and provides for fines of between €5,000 and €180,000 for those caught doing so – both online and elsewhere. In addition, secondary ticketing sites will themselves be held responsible if found to be facilitating the illegal resale of tickets, and subject to “removal of the [tickets] or, in severe cases, the blocking of the website through which the infringement has taken place”. The amendment does allow for the sale of the personal unwanted ticket(s), which are “not sanctioned when carried out by a physical person on an occasional basis, provided there is no commercial purpose”. The amendment will still need to be approved within 30 days by the justice, culture and economic ministries, although a source close to the situation told IQ Magazine that the move will “definitely be approved by [all] parties”. The passage of the bill could, however, be complicated by the looming referendum on overhauling the Italian constitution – to which a ‘no’ vote could, analysts believe, trigger the resignation of prime minister Matteo Renzi.
In the UK, HM Revenue & Customs is to investigate the tax affairs of secondary ticketing companies. The BBC reported that culture secretary Karen Bradley said she would raise concerns with HMRC after security expert Reg Walker, of Iridium Consultancy, told last month’s select committee hearing: “This is meant to be a £1.2 billion industry in the UK alone, and yet we can only find a turnover of around £200 million on published accounts.” The Competition and Markets Authority is also currently undertaking a compliance review into the four largest secondary ticketing websites.  The Culture, Media and Sport Committee has written to Karen Bradley asking her to ban the use of ‘bots’ – software programmes used by touts to harvest tickets for resale in the secondary market.

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