viagogo fined €23.5M by Italian Regulator for breaking rules on secondary ticketing rules

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Italy’s Communications Regulatory Authority AGCOM, has fined viagogo €23.5M for breaking Italy’s rules on secondary ticketing and given it seven days to remove the illegal listings from its site.

The decision, taken at an AGCOM Council meeting on 23 June 2022, followed an investigation by Italy’s financial crime enforcement agency the Guardia di Finanza. This found that viagogo had listed tickets for 131 events at prices up to six or seven times above their face-value. Events included concerts for artists such as Maneskin, Vasco Rossi, Sting, Green Day, Dua Lipa, Pearl Jam, Placebo, Cesare Cremonini, Paolo Conte and Andrea Bocelli.

An amendment to Italian legislation was introduced to Italy’s 2017 budget law to criminalise ticket touting (art. 1, paragraph 545, of the law 11 December 2016, n. 232). Subsumed into Italy’s Secondary Ticketing Act in March 2018, the law, to be enforced by AGCOM, prevents tickets being sold for commercial purposes or for above face value.

AGCOM’s ruling is available here.

Said FEAT director Sam Shemtob “This is a substantial fine for viagogo, and a clear requirement to remove illegal listings within seven days. What is especially encouraging is the extensive investigation carried out by Italy’s financial crime enforcement agency working closely with the Italian regulator AGCOM. Legislation across Europe – at both a national and EU basis – is catching up with ticket scalping. If other enforcement authorities follow Italy’s example, the hope of a functional ticket resale market, with scalping largely relegated to the history books, could become a reality”

Aspokesperson for viagogo commented:

“We respect the decision of the AGCOM, however we are surprised by this fine because the Council of State has already raised “serious doubts” that the law in question on secondary ticketing – and the related fines of AGCOM, including to viagogo – are compatible with fundamental principles of EU Law on competition, free circulation of services and limitation of liability of pure intermediary platforms for illegal activity of its users. Indeed, viagogo has already been held a “passive” intermediary platform by the same Council of State in a previous final judgment, confirming that it does not sell the tickets and is not liable for the illegal sales of tickets carried out by the platform’s users. As a result, the Council of State has referred case to the Court of Justice of the European Union to decide whether the law at issue and the AGCOM fines are valid and enforceable according to such EU principles. Viagogo trusts that these pending proceedings will confirm it is not responsible for the allegations raised by the AGCOM and all fines will be annulled”.

Adam Parry
Author: Adam Parry

Adam is the co-founder and editor of www.eventindustrynews.com Adam, a technology evangelist also organises Event Tech Live, Europe’s only show dedicated to event technology and the Event Technology Awards. Both events take place in November, London.

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