That leave be granted to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to regulate the selling of tickets for certain sporting and cultural events; and to provide for related matters.
The aim of the Bill is to tackle ticket touting while at the same time protecting ordinary customers and charities. I am introducing the Bill because many people have been enraged by their inability to access tickets for events while seeing the same tickets on sale, often at the same prices or, in many cases, at prices that are multiples of the original ticket price.
The main concern I have in drafting the Bill is to ensure that those who buy tickets with the intention of attending events but who later find themselves unable to attend are protected, while at the same time ensuring that those who purchase tickets for events which they have no intention of attending but who want to resell tickets, often to generate significant profits - basically, ticket touts - are disincentivised and face substantial fines for so doing. Ticket touting and the secondary sale of tickets for events such as music concerts, sporting or cultural events has been a source of major concern and anger for many people.
People are perplexed as to why tickets for events with are supposedly sold out are for sale, in some cases by companies owned by the primary seller, for multiples of the initial cost. Clearly, people are very angry about this. There have been a number of attempts to regulate the resale of tickets over the years, but the problem has not been tackled and continues unabated. If enacted, the Bill will have the potential to make the resale of tickets unprofitable, which would, therefore, have a major impact on the problem and make most ticket touting pointless.
The Bill will deal with designated events where 300 or more tickets would be sold and how they would be regulated.
It will ensure that ordinary people who need to resell their tickets for genuine reasons will be facilitated but that those seeking to sell tickets at hugely exorbitant prices will have the profits from those sales eradicated, making their efforts pointless. Taking the profit away from secondary ticket sellers and ticket touts is the only way to address this problem. Therefore, the Bill will ensure that those who engage in the shameful business of ticket touting face fines of up to €5,000. The Bill will allow secondary sales of tickets to a maximum of 110% of the initial value of the ticket and it will also have a specific exemption for regulated charities. The Bill will also ensure that the relevant Minister consults with venue operators and ticket sellers to ensure that a voluntary code regarding ticket refunds to consumers is established.
That is the outline of the Bill. I hope that all Deputies will support it and commend the Bill to the Dáil.