Italian regulator fines Viagogo 23 million euros in fines for high ticket prices for Maneskin, Dua Lipa concerts

LONDON – Italy’s communications authority has fined Viagogo € 23.5 million ($ 24.8 million) for selling tickets to rock and pop stars’ concerts. Maneskin,, Pearl Jam and Dua Lipa at sharply increased rates and thus violates the country’s strict rules regarding the resale of concert tickets.

Following a board meeting on June 23, the Authority for Guarantees in Communications (AGCOM), a government regulator overseeing Italy’s telecommunications, audiovisual and publishing industries, also ordered the secondary ticketing company to remove all “illegal content” listed on its platform within seven days.

The fine follows an investigation by AGCOM and the Italian Economic Crime Enforcement Agency, Guardia di Finanza, which looked at tickets to 131 events listed on www.viagogo.it. In addition to ads for Maneskin, Pearl Jam and Dua Lipa, the investigation found that Viagogo advertised tickets for increased prices on the site for shows by Vasco Rossi, Stik,, Green Day,, PlaceboCesare Cremonini, Paolo Conte and Andrea Bocelli.

Viagogo listed tickets for these shows at prices up to six or seven times higher than face value, says AGCOM. This is in breach of Italy’s strict ticket laws, which say that only authorized dealers may sell tickets.

In cases where Italian consumers are in possession of unwanted tickets, they are only allowed to sell them occasionally at a price “equal to or lower than the nominal price.” AGCOM has not provided details on when the concerts were scheduled to take place or when its investigation was conducted.

In a statement published June 24, translated into English by BillboardAGCOM says “secondary ticket sales have the effect of raising ticket prices” and exists at the “expense of the community of artists, event organizers and primary retailers.”

“This is of particular relevance at an important time for the resumption of the live events sector following the forced shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the regulator said.

In response to the ruling, a spokesman for Viagogo said Billboard that they “respect AGCOM’s decision, but we are surprised by this fine.”

The company points to a reference by the Italian Consiglio di Stato (Council of State) to the European Court of Justice in April, asking the court to rule on whether the laws restricting the commercial resale of tickets in Italy are compatible with the principles of EU law.

“Viagogo trusts that these pending cases will confirm that they are not responsible for the allegations raised by AGCOM and that all fines will be annulled,” the spokesman said.

Over the past five years, the Italian authorities have cracked down hard on the sale of tickets for rock and pop concerts. In 2017, the country passed the first of several pieces of legislation banning the use of automated bots to harvest tickets and banning commercial resale of live music and entertainment tickets for commercial proposals or above face value.

Last year, an Italian court rejected Viagogo’s appeal against a separate fine of 3.7 million euros issued by AGCOM in 2020. In that case, AGCOM sued Viagogo for selling tickets to 37 high-priced events between March and July 2019.

The Lazio Regional Administrative Court rejected Viagogo’s argument that it is a “passive hosting provider” that connects dealers with potential buyers and is therefore exempt from liability under Italian law. The question of whether Viagogo can be described as an “active” or “passive” hosting provider is one of the questions that the European Court of Justice has now been asked to rule on.

Outside Europe, the Australian Federal Court last month rejected an appeal by Viagogo against a $ 7 million in fines issued by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission in 2020 to mislead Australian ticket buyers about hidden fees and its claim to be an official ticket website.

Viagogo has also encountered difficulties in the United Kingdom. In February 2021, the Danish Competition and Market Authority ordered the company to relieve its StubHub business outside North America to complete its $ 4 billion acquisition after an investigation revealed that Viagogo was involved in anti-competitive practices.

Adam Webbcampaign manager for the British anti-ticketing organization FanFair Alliance, called the fine by Italian regulators “another blow to Viagogo’s tarnished and outdated business model. Wherever they operate, this company shows an almost pathological inability to obey the law.”

Legislation across Europe, both at national and EU level, “catches up with ticket scalping,” he says Sam ShemtobDirector of the Face-value European Alliance for Ticketing (FEAT), welcomes AGCOM’s strong stance on Viagogo.

“If other law enforcement agencies follow Italy’s example,” says Shemtob, “the hope of a functional ticket sales market where scalping is largely referred to the history books could become a reality.”

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