The UK Government Needs to Step Up Its Fight Against Touts

Stuart Cain is the Managing Director of The Ticket Factory, one of the UK’s leading national ticketing agents, selling around 2.5m tickets a year for a range of comedy events, concerts, sporting events, exhibitions, theatre performances, visitor attractions and much more across the UK.

The New York State Assembly has criminalised the use of ticket ‘bots’, or automated ticket-buying software. It’s time for the UK to follow suit and declare a war on online touts.

Last month, a report was published highlighting the problem of ticket touting. You’d think this report would have been welcome news to the industry but for me, it was yet another kick in the teeth for artists and true music fans.

Ticket touting has evolved drastically over the years. It’s no longer the stereotypical ‘dodgy dealer’ trying to flog you a ticket outside the venue – these are global, well-financed organisations and cyber-warriors that we’re dealing with.

At The Ticket Factory, we’re fighting a war with ticket touts on a daily basis and have invested significant resource into trying to combat the issue. We’ve implemented intelligent software to actively look to block malicious attacks and fraudulent activity without damaging the sales process for genuine fans.

We also have a pioneering partnership with Twickets – an ethical secondary ticketing agency that allows genuine fans to buy and sell tickets to events that they can no longer attend at face value so nobody loses out.

Ultimately, all we’re concerned about is making the discovery and purchase process as easy and seamless as possible for our customers and protecting our industry, but we need more help and protection to take these guys down and make it harder to access tickets in the first place.

The recent move by the New York State Assembly to make the use of ticket-buying software illegal highlights the scale of the problem. At last – an official body that recognises ticket touting as a criminal offence and is taking steps to expose these individuals.

New York is the entertainment capital of the world and our government should be following in its footsteps and making ticket touting illegal.

The faceless, online secondary market in its current form is hurting the industry and we need the government to pull its finger out and work with us to address touting and cybercrime once and for all.