Fans who buy tickets to the ’12 London Games “will be prevented from reselling them on the internet, as part of a campaign against illegal ticket touting,” according to Ashling O’Connor of the LONDON TIMES. LOCOG officials are “in talks with eBay and other auction websites to stop tickets being listed.” Only a “small number of companies will be allowed both to sell and resell tickets, and only at face value.” Nearly 9 million tickets will go on sale March 15, and organizers will be “targeting touts and fraudsters, and seeking to prevent the sale of tickets on fake websites.” A “website checker” will allow consumers to “verify the authenticity of companies offering tickets.” The “close monitoring of online activities is part of a wider campaign on the illegal trade of Olympic tickets.” A specialist unit of 36 detectives from the London Metropolitan Police “set up seven months ago has already arrested 32 people under nine separate operations.” Detective Chief Inspector Nick Downing said, “We have a list of these people and it’s growing. We are looking at the ways their payments are processed and we will seize their assets.” Under “special legislation introduced for the Olympics, the resale of tickets is punishable by a maximum fine” of more than US$8,000. Police also can “charge offenders under the Fraud Act, which allows for jail sentences” (LONDON TIMES, 2/18).
FOR THE GOOD OF ALL? In London, Martin Robinson notes the U.K. government has “ordered 9,000 Olympic events tickets at the taxpayers’ expense to entertain dignitaries throughout the London 2012 Games.” Officials will “plough at least” US$1.2M of public money into Games tickets because they believe it will be for the “benefit of the whole of the UK”. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport also has “not ruled out buying more expensive hospitality packages on top of the tickets order” (London TELEGRAPH, 2/18).