The government has announced under new legislation that the use of computer bots to bulk buy concert tickets will be made illegal.
The move, which will fall under the Digital Economy Act, is the latest in the battle to tackle ticket touts who snap up highly coveted tickets to shows and then sell them on at vastly inflated prices on the secondary market. Under the proposed legislation, anyone caught using bots will face unlimited fines.
According to a report in The Telegraph, the decision was made after tickets for the musical Hamilton, which launched its debut run in London in December 2017, were found being re-sold on secondary ticket markets for up to £6,000.
It also comes after acts like Ed Sheeran and Harry Styles cancelled tickets for their respective world tours that were being re-sold at inflated prices on the secondary market so that they could be sold again via official channels. Taylor Swift also announced a novel way for fans to get the best tickets for her upcoming Reputation World Tour with a fan-incentive lead initiative.
Speaking about the decision, Matt Hancock, the minister for the creative industries, said that it was all about putting fans first.
“We’re determined to make sure 2018 is the year we help real fans get the chance to see their favourite music and sports stars at a fair price," he said.
Continuing, he said: “Our work, together with improvements by industry, will help make the market more transparent and mean a great year for Britain’s thriving live events scene."
Introduced last year, the Digital Economy Act put new requirements on ticket retailers in order to clamp down on touts and re-sellers.
Last year also saw the ticket retailer DICE announce a new feature to take on the touts. Called Dice Does Refunds, the retailer now allows fans to return tickets and receive a refund if they can't make a show. Those returned tickets will then be offered to users on a waiting list for the original fee.