Anyone who has been to a football game or concert will have seen individuals trying to sell tickets for these activities outside of the venue. These are often at much steeper prices and where official tickets have sold out. Despite how common place this sight may be, it still perhaps remains unclear as to whether this behaviour is actually illegal.
Ticket touting refers to the activity of buying and re-selling tickets, usually at an inflated price. This often means that customers feel that they have no choice but to buy from these unofficial sellers if they want to attend the event. In relation to concert tickets this is not against the law, although a street-trading licence is required in order to sell directly outside of the venue. That being said, this activity could make the individual at risk of a civil law suit from the official concert promoter.
However, touting football tickets is entirely different. Indeed, it is illegal for a person to sell a football ticket for a designated football match unless they are authorised to do so. Moreover, the ticket itself does not even have to be physically sold before that person could face charges as it is enough that the ticket is offered or advertised for sale.
This law therefore affects anybody who puts themselves in this position of touting despite however small a scale they may be operating at. We are certainly seeing more and more cases in the news where ordinary people appear to be charged with this offence because they were previously unaware of how strict the law in this area is. Once convicted that person could then be subject to Proceeds of Crime proceedings where their finances can be investigated in depth to ascertain and potentially confiscate any profits gained from this type of activity.
If anybody finds themselves faced with proceedings of these kinds, we would invite them to contact us to see if our expert team might be able to help them.
By Sacha Van de Perre, Trainee Solicitor in the Fraud and Regulatory Department.