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The Andrew Goff column

IN PRAISE OF TICKET TOUTS

19-07-2006

When the quadrennial tribal fest, The World Cup, was being celebrated recently tickets were being sold at vastly inflated prices by ticket touts.

Ticket touts are not popular people. Most see them as fleecing genuine devotees of a game, for example The World Cup, Wimbledon or music events like Glastonbury. They are vilified in the media and, therefore, disliked by politicians.

To me they are a pure form of capitalism.

Ticket touts take a punt on the stupidity of their customers. They leap in and buy large volumes of tickets for events on the basis that they might sell them on at a higher price. This involves a risk. You can't buy insurance for that risk. The touts are making a market; paying up front and then hoping they can find a buyer.

Tessa Jowell, our Culture Secretary (whatever that is) has decided to step in.

Ms Jowell said: "The innocent victim of ticket touting is the fan who has to pay through the nose for a vastly over-priced ticket to see their sporting, stage or musical hero. These are the people we must protect. I have met with the industry three times and progress is being made - the steps I am setting out show that."

What a lot of tosh!

Who is forcing these “innocent” victims to part with their money? Are people being marched to the nearest cash point and forced to withdraw vast sums so they, the victim, can see England lose to Portugal?

This is another case of the government stepping in to try and control something which is figuring on the tabloids radar but nowhere in the thinking person's brain.

It is also another example of the Government identifying a problem and then coming up with the pretence of a fix.

I suspect what worries the guardians of our wallets more is that ticket touts are rather unlikely to pay tax and national insurance on their risk taking profits.

If punters stopped buying tickets at higher than face value prices then touts would become more risk averse. The market cycle would be broken.

The last thing I want is a government, with a rather cavalier approach to spending tax payers money, interfering with how we empty our personal pockets.

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