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Is Reselling Tickets Legal?

julio 27, 2023

The world of ticket reselling or ‘ticket touting’ is often shrouded in controversy. While it can be a lucrative opportunity, the legality surrounding this practice is not uniform across different countries. This is something that has come under increased spotlight as of late due to huge names such as Taylor Swift and Coldplay going on worldwide tours. With that in mind, in this article, we look at the question posed in the title by examining the legal landscape of ticket reselling in major countries worldwide, notably, the UK, US, Canada, and Europe. However, nothing in this article should be taken as legal advice. The information presented here should be taken at face value and it may not be fully up to date. As always, we implore you to do your own research on the laws that apply to you before reselling tickets.

Ticket Reselling in The U.S.

In the United States, ticket resale laws are under the jurisdiction of individual states for the most part, which can lead to a complex patchwork of legislation to navigate. In some states, ticket reselling is completely legal and unfettered, with states having no specific laws that limit the practice. This laissez-faire approach allows resellers to operate freely, provided they adhere to basic business regulations and taxation laws.

However, other states have more stringent rules in place. For example, states like New York have rules surrounding the use of bots to obtain tickets. Others meanwhile, may require you to have a license. To acquire such a license, resellers often have to meet certain criteria and may be required to pay a fee.

In addition to these state-level laws, there’s also federal legislation to consider. The Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act of 2016 was signed into law to curb the use of software or bots to buy up tickets in bulk for resale. Violation of this Act can result in a hefty fine of $16,000.

UK Laws and Regulations

In the United Kingdom, ticket resale is generally not illegal, though there are some important caveats to this rule.

Most notably, it’s illegal to resell football tickets without express permission from the organizer. There’s also legislation to prevent bulk-buying through software or bots. Much like the BOTS Act in the United States, the UK introduced the Digital Economy Act in 2017, which makes it an offence to use bots to bypass limits on maximum ticket purchases set by event organisers.

Rules in Canada

Much like in the US, laws surrounding ticket reselling in Canada vary from province to province. Ontario recently signed a law that states that the rapid purchase of tickets by ‘scalping bots’ is now illegal, that ticket sellers must disclose the full cost of tickets – including service charges – much earlier in the purchase process, and that tickets for concerts, theatres, sports games and other live events cannot be resold at more than 150% of the original price. However, as of the time of writing no effective date for the rules has been set as the province works to establish regulations under the new framework.

Reselling Tickets In Europe

Of course, laws in Europe vary vastly from country to country.

However, there have been moves towards an EU-wide initiative to crack down on ticket reselling, as of late. A recent deal, if enacted, will mean that ticket resellers will need to provide more information about themselves whilst there are also regulations which will need to be followed by secondary platforms such as Ticketmaster and Viagogo.

The Future Of Ticket Reselling?

With ticket reselling becoming more prevalent, more countries appear to be reconsidering their stance on its legality. The fine line between making a profit and exploiting eager fans has led to numerous ethical debates surrounding the practice.

The use of bots for bulk purchasing is a particular area of concern and has led to the implementation of laws like the BOTS Act in the US and the Digital Economy Act in the UK. As such, it seems possible that more countries will introduce similar legislation in the future.

However, it still remains unlikely that we will ever see a complete crackdown on reselling tickets, especially ones that are obtained manually without bots. Believe it or not, this is actually quite easy to do with the right information and can be incredibly profitable as you should know by now.

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