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Illegal ticket touts raise ire of Paceville businesses, passers-by

The increasing number of illegal ticket touts in Malta is raising the ire of legitimate business owners who are complaining of lost business and an utter lack of intervention

paul_cocks
Paul Cocks
10 August 2017, 7:20am
Sale transactions outside of a fixed licensed structure are illegal
Sale transactions outside of a fixed licensed structure are illegal
The increasing number of illegal ticket touts in Malta is raising the ire of legitimate business owners who are complaining of lost business and an utter lack of intervention by the police and the authorities, MaltaToday has learned.

A large number of young foreign nationals were observed in the past few weeks – mostly in Paceville, St Julian’s and Sliema – selling tickets for boat parties, concerts, beach parties, cruises and nightclubs.

Contrary to what used to happen in the past, when interested passers-by would have been directed to a booking office, these sales are finalised on the spot, with cash exchanging hands in broad daylight.

This is illegal, in that one cannot carry out financial transactions on the streets, outside a fixed outlet, or – in this case – a licensed booking office.

Never mind the fact that no receipts are issued, with the buyer only getting the ticket in return for the cash.

MaltaToday has observed these youngsters selling tickets for all kinds of events, including one-off concerts featuring prominent international artists.

Touts make brisk business selling tickets to tours, parties, concerts and clubs
Touts make brisk business selling tickets to tours, parties, concerts and clubs
Some of them even carry or set up posters and signs advertising the tickets being sold, often combining one event with an additional bonus, such as free entrance to a nightclub.

The owner of a popular outlet in Bay Street told MaltaToday that the foreigners turn up every day without fail in the early afternoon, touting their tickets to foreign students, tourists and Maltese passers-by.

“Most of them are foreigners and are often quite brusque and annoying to passers-by,” he said. “They chase people away from our doors because of their behaviour.”

Another outlet owner in the same street said that the touts were stealing business away from legitimate owners because people were being convinced to pay cash for the tickets on the spot, often leaving them without further money to spend.

“This is illegal and I have reported this behaviour to the police and the department (of trade) numerous times, but no action has ever been taken,” he said.

The owner of a club situated in the square in front of Burger King in Paceville, at the intersection of Zammit Street with Wilga and St George's streets, said that the situation with the touts was becoming untenable.

“I cannot understand how no one wants to take action against these people even if they know that this is illegal,” he said. 

The man said that buses are often noted collecting people to ferry them to the various events.

“What’s worse is that these buses then drop the people off at around 2am or 3am, most of them would be half drunk and therefore in no state to be allowed into our clubs or outlets,” he said.

MaltaToday spoke to Philip Fenech, GRTU deputy president, who confirmed that a number of members had complained of the practice and that some had also filed complaints with the police.

“It is true this is illegal, since no sale transaction can happen outside a fixed licensed outlet,” Fenech said. “We have been noticing a year-on-year rise in the number of people selling tickets directly for the past few years.”

paul_cocks
Paul Cocks joined MaltaToday after having spent years working in newspapers with The Times...