Music fans ripped off before touts get near tickets, Dáil hears

Fat Boy Slim and Drake tickets cost over double as same gig in Netherlands, Belgium

Fat Boy Slim and Drake are playing the 3Arena in March and April. The Dáil was told of big price gaps between ticket prices here and in Europe to see the acts.

Fat Boy Slim and Drake are playing the 3Arena in March and April. The Dáil was told of big price gaps between ticket prices here and in Europe to see the acts.

 

Rip-off merchants are charging Irish music fans more than twice as much as fans pay in other EU states for the same gigs even before ticket touts get their hands on them, the Dáil has heard.

Independents4Change TD Clare Daly condemned as “useless” and “soundbite legislation” a joint Fine Gael-Fianna Fáil private members’ Bill which aims to target ticket touting.

She said it was ironic that the Prohibition of Above Cost Ticket Touting Bill would do “nothing to address the fact that Irish people are charged exorbitant prices for tickets in the first place”.

Speaking during the ongoing debate on the Bill Ms Daly said that if the Government really wanted to do something it should start with ticket pricing because it might actually be able to do something about that.

She highlighted the “exorbitant” prices Irish fans are being charged for upcoming gigs.

The Dublin Fingal TD said DJ and musician Fatboy Slim is playing in the 3Arena the week after next. “Ticket prices run from €51.50 to €61. A few weeks later he is playing in Utrecht in the Netherlands. There, the tickets are €28, nearly half the price for the exact same gig on his tour.”

Canadian rapper Drake is playing in the 3Arena in April. “Tickets start at €79 and go up to €276. For the same gig in Belgium, people will pay from €56 up to a maximum of €106 for the very best, premium seats.”

Ms Daly said the Government should be asking itself if the touts are the real rip-off merchants here. “Should this not be the aspect to focus on if it really wants to bring down the cost of tickets?” she asked.

If the Bill’s sponsors are serious about ending the “industrialisation of touting, they would be banning resale websites from charging resale or transaction fees. They are not doing that.”

She said there was nothing in the legislation to stop her from setting up a resale website, “writing a computer script to snap up a few hundred tickets for the next big gig in Croke Park and flogging them all at face value on my resale site with an added 50 per cent or 500 per cent transaction fee”.

What is the point of this Bill?

Minister for Enterprise Heather Humphreys told the Dáil when she introduced the Bill that she would bring forward amendments to prevent bots being used to buy tickets.

But Ms Daly questioned if that was possible. “Even if by some miracle, the Government manages to do what no one else in the world can do, it would take two minutes for someone to pay a bunch of lads in Bangladesh tuppence ha’penny to go in and snap up the tickets manually” and sell them on.

Ms Daly said it was an indictment of the Dáil that at a time when the decks were supposed to be cleared to deal with Brexit legislation that this Bill made the cut when there were so many important issues to deal with.

But Minister of State for Trade Pat Breen said the legislation was constructive and “ticket profiteering must be tackled in the interests of sport and music fans throughout Ireland”.

He added that amendments to address the liability of websites that host ticket listings are under consideration.