Ticket touts face unlimited fines amid ban on bots

Touts who use bots to mine for concert tickets before selling them for massive profits - and blocking fans from seeing their favourite artists - will face unlimited fines.

Automated bots can get around security measures designed to limit ticket purchases and snap up hundreds of tickets as soon as they go on sale.

Almost immediately, the tickets appear at vastly inflated prices on resale websites.

Last month, secondary ticketing website Viagogo was accused of "moral repugnance" for reselling tickets to an Ed Sheeran cancer charity gig for up to £5,000.

And an £85 seat to see Adele at the London O2 last year was reportedly being sold online for £24,840.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport will announce that the use of bots will soon become a criminal offence as part of a crackdown on resale websites.

Culture minister Matt Hancock said: "This profiteering is simply not fair, so we are acting to put fans first and improve the chances of seeing our favourite musicians and sports stars at a reasonable price.

"Ticket sellers also need to do more, by improving transparency and ensuring that they are acting in the best interests of consumers and help the market work for everyone."

Primary ticket firms, such as Ticketmaster, will also be encouraged to report bot attacks to police as the Government takes on the recommendations made in a review by Professor Michael Waterson.

Firms must also introduce tougher anti-bot measures and there will be stronger enforcement of existing consumer rights laws.

Jo Dipple, the chief executive of music industry representatives UK Music, welcomed the moves.

"Massive profit is made by people who are taking value out of the music industry and putting tickets out of the reach of music fans," she said.

"Banning bots is a step towards ensuring the ticketing market for live events works more fairly for gig-goers."

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