Automated Ticket Touts Criminalised

The Breaching Limits on Ticket Sales Regulations 2018 (“Regulations”) come into force on 5 July 2018, making it illegal for ticket selling websites to bulk buy UK event tickets with a view to selling them on to consumers at a profit.

The Regulations introduce a new criminal offence (punishable by a fine) for the use of software bots to purchase UK recreational, sporting or cultural event tickets in excess of any maximum ticket sale limits established by the event organiser, with a view to selling them on to consumers at inflated prices.  The new offence extends to any act which enables or facilitates the completion of any part of the purchase process with an intent to obtain tickets in excess of the limit imposed by organisers.  The offence will be committed whether the offer is made, or anything is done to obtain the tickets, inside or outside the UK – the key will be the location of the event concerned.

The government hasn’t issued any guidance on the Regulations as yet, but it’s clear that the intention to make a financial gain from the resale of the tickets is an essential element of the offence.  This confirms that the main aim of the Regulations is to prevent profiteering secondary sellers from bulk-buying tickets using “bots” so that an event is “sold out”, resulting in the artificial increase of the market value of any tickets on offer to the detriment of individual consumers.

Rebecca Gardner, Corporate & Commercial Partner at Howat Avraam Solicitors comments:  Event organisers have been trying for years to find ways to prevent ticket tout websites from taking advantage of music and theatre fans in the UK.  These new Regulations will go some way to protecting festival fans and theatre buffs, but the question remains whether a fine will be sufficient to deter companies from breaching these new rules.


Howat Avraam Solicitors provide Corporate, Commercial, Employment, Real Estate and Contract Dispute advice to companies, business owners and individuals.  As business owners ourselves, we have a pragmatic in-house approach to resolving issues before they arise, by working alongside our clients as part of their team.  We are commercial, practical and entrepreneurial in our approach to legal services.

To discuss any Corporate or Commercial matter with us on a no obligation basis, please contact Rebecca Gardner on 020 3735 6700 or email Rebecca at  Alternatively, visit our website at for more information.

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