IN LIGHT of the government’s rejection of calls by a cross-party group of MPs to tighten up laws on “industrial-scale touting” by websites reselling tickets, it’s worth noting that whilst the resale of football tickets is illegal, this is the only sport this legislation covers.
That in itself begs the question: why should it be illegal for someone to tout a ticket outside a football stadium but not outside a racecourse?
As everyone knows, ticket touts are rife within horseracing so why is the resale of football tickets illegal in the UK under section 166 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, but the resale of horseracing tickets remains perfectly legal?
There’s no doubt that ticket touts are costing the horseracing sector millions of pounds in lost revenue, yet, rather than introducing new regulations on the secondary ticket market, the government has said that it wants to see event organisers work with ticket sellers on a voluntary basis to limit secondary sales through steps such as bar-coding technology, named ticket-holders and staggered ticket release.
New technology is already starting to address the issue. Indeed, the recent installation of a new ticketing system at Ayr Racecourse resulted in a 21 per cent rise in revenue.
This was achieved through the installation of software which makes the entire sales process transparent, highlighting where sales originate. That means that every ticket has a traceable history, giving event organisers a complete trail of who bought a ticket, where and when, whether or not it has already been scanned to gain entry, if it has been reported as lost in the post and if it was bought with a dodgy credit card.
Yes whilst such sophisticated ticketing solutions help solve many of the issues for event organisers, they do not, of course, help those punters who buy tickets in good faith from touts only to discover subsequently that they have been barred from gaining entry to an event because, for example, the ticket has already been registered as lost or stolen.
Only the introduction of new legislation would help remove the heartache from punters barred from entry into any sporting event other than football because, unknown to them, they had bought a dodgy ticket.
• Nanette Aitken is founder of software developer Serendipity EMS