Concerns about an Sporting Event? Case Study: Cheltenham Racecourse - Victory against Ticket Touts
GREG ROLLINGSON >
Consultant SolicitorTue 2 April 2019
Greg Rollingson an experienced Litigation and Sports Lawyer at Taylor Rose TTKW reviews Cheltenham Racecourse’s progress in its war against touts, following the recent Cheltenham Festival.
In October 2018 the High Court granted The Jockey Club (the owners of Cheltenham Racecourse) an Interlocutory Injunction banning ticket touts from Cheltenham’s racecourse premises. The Injunction was effective until June 2019 and designed to cover Cheltenham’s entire race season, including the prestigious Cheltenham Festival in March 2019. On 2 April 2019, the High Court granted The Jockey Club’s application to make the Injunction permanent. The Injunction, therefore, remains in force indefinitely.
Ian Renton, the Regional Director of Cheltenham, said that he was “delighted that the Injunction had been made permanent. The Interim Injunction had been a resounding success. Between October 2018 and January 2019 a few touts had appeared at the racecourse but left immediately once they were told of the Injunction. Essentially, therefore, during this period the racecourse was largely tout free.”
During the Cheltenham Festival in March of this year, Renton said that “there had been a maximum of about 20 or 30 touts who were operating in places such as the coach parks or approach roads. In previous years Cheltenham had about 150 to 200 touts operating during the festival. Therefore the injunction had been a considerable success.”
Cheltenham also put in place a “refund policy” since the Injunction was obtained. This meant that any customers who had bought too many tickets could get a refund of between 50% and 75% of the value of the ticket, up to a week before the event. Cheltenham had taken this step to minimise the number of tickets falling into the hands of touts. Renton said that “he was also encouraged that more tickets had been sold on the gate this year than in previous years, which indicated that fewer tickets were being purchased via the touts.”
John Steele QC (representing Cheltenham) told the court that one of the main reasons why it was felt the injunction had been successful in deterring touts, was because any touts claiming benefits, were worried that they might lose their entitlement to benefits if Government benefits offices discovered touts had a second source of income.
The court heard evidence from The Chief Constable for Gloucestershire Police that the touts were part of organised gangs who were often involved in money laundering.
The next step will be for Cheltenham Borough Council to consider whether they wish to obtain an injunction to cover other areas surrounding the racecourse so as to try and drive the touts out of Cheltenham completely.
It is satisfying to see that the action taken by Cheltenham, in obtaining what was a groundbreaking injunction has been a considerable success. This can only enhance the experience of Cheltenham racegoers and local residents. The Jockey Club / Cheltenham racecourse are therefore to be congratulated in leading the way with their initiative in the war against touts. It will be interesting to see if organisers of other sporting events e.g. Cricket World Cup, Twickenham, Wembley, Wimbledon, etc. take similar action to stamp out touting at those venues too.
If you are a sports organisation, company, or individual with concerns about a sporting event, ticket touts, or general commercial issues, then Taylor Rose TTKW can help you. Contact Greg Rollingson or Thomas Burkett on 020 3959 0550.
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