A new report from the Met Police supports ongoing calls for legislation to shut down fraudulent ticket sales estimated at £40m a year alongside regulation for the secondary ticketing market.
The ‘Ticket Crime: Problem Profile’ report was published as a result of Operation Podium, set up to tackle economic crime affecting last year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games. It refers to practices exposed during last year’s explosive Dispatches doc and concludes that legislation should be considered, stating: “Due to the surreptitious way that large numbers of ‘primary’ tickets are diverted straight onto secondary ticket websites, members of the public have little choice but to try to source tickets on the secondary ticket market.”
The report continues: "The primary and secondary ticket market require regulation to ensure transparency, allowing consumers to understand who they are buying from and affording them better protection from ticket crime.”
The Police also suggest that the live sector should work more with search engines and SEO experts to ensure that legit ticket outlets score higher in web searches- an issue that the recoded music industry is also currently struggling with. The Met also called on consumers who are ripped off by rogue ticket outlets to report incidents so they can take action and gain insight into the scale of the ticket crime problem on a national basis.
Detective Superintendent Nick Downing said: “Experience shows that fraud is the most prevalent form of ticket crime and causes the greatest harm – conservatively estimated at £40 million per year. Criminals involved in this are also highly likely to be involved in other crimes”.
Campaigners including Sharon Hodgson MP and ticketing trade body, the Society Of Ticket Agents And Retailers (STAR) welcomed the report, with STAR’s Jonathan Brown said: “This industry has never before benefited from such concentrated work to help uncover criminality and fraud which continue to cause detriment to the ticket buying public”.
Secondary ticketing outlet Viagogo also responded with a statement saying: "The call for regulation is well-intentioned but ultimately flawed because you can't regulate the touts that operate on the streets or through unsecured auction websites - they would still charge whatever they want. All it would do is increase the number of tickets on the black market. We believe self-regulation works”.