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Viagogo fined €23.5 million for breaking Italian anti-touting laws

By | Published on Monday 27 June 2022


Often controversial ticket resale website Viagogo has been fined €23.5 million in Italy for breaking the country’s rules on secondary ticketing, and has been given seven days to remove illegal listings from its site.

Italy is one of the countries that has introduced pretty strict rules about the resale of tickets. Only sellers authorised by a show’s promoter can sell tickets in the country. Individual ticket buyers can then re-sell tickets for shows they cannot attend, but only at face value or less.

Viagogo was previously fined €3.7 million in 2020 for carrying listings for touted tickets that broke the rules in Italy. It appealed that fine arguing that it was a mere internet intermediary and shouldn’t be held liable if its users broke Italian laws when posting tickets for sale.

However, despite that argument having worked in the past in some countries, including Italy, last year an Italian court ruled that Viagogo was liable for the illegal listings it carried and the fine was confirmed.

The new bigger fine was confirmed at a meeting last week of Italian internet regulator AGCOM and follows an investigation by Italy’s financial crime enforcement agency the Guardia Di Finanza. That investigation found that touted tickets for 131 Italian events were on sale on the Viagogo site at up to six or seven times their face value.

Anti-touting campaigners have welcomed this latest fine in Italy. Sam Shemtob of FEAT – which is campaigning for stronger regulation of ticket touting across Europe, said: “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”, he added. “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”.

Meanwhile, Adam Webb from the UK anti-touting campaign FanFair also noted the fine against Viagogo in Australia which was recently upheld in court, stating: “Following the $7 million fine levied by Australian regulators, this is another body blow to Viagogo’s tarnished and outdated business model. No matter where they operate, this company shows an almost pathological inability to obey the law”.

A Viagogo spokesperson told Billboard that, while the company “respects the decision of the AGCOM”, it was nevertheless surprised by the fine.

They added that Italy’s Council Of State have asked the European Union courts to confirm whether or not the country’s rules restricting the resale of tickets are compatible with EU law. With that in mind, “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”.