Hamilton producers claim paperless ticketing system has ‘all but eliminated touts’

Giles Terera and other members of the West End cast of Hamilton. Photo: Matthew Murphy Giles Terera and other members of the West End cast of Hamilton. Photo: Matthew Murphy
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The producers of Hamilton have reported that an innovative paperless ticketing system aimed at combating touts has “exceeded expectations”.

The musical began previews on December 6 and producers claimed there have been no “third party or touting issues” at the London run to date, while Ticketmaster – which has created the system – said it had “all but eliminated” touts.

However, producers have pledged to remain vigilant against those who try to resell tickets to the highly sought-after musical at inflated prices.

Earlier this year, producer Cameron Mackintosh unveiled plans to combat online touts by introducing a paperless system.

Audiences do not receive a physical ticket ahead of time, but must present the bank card they booked with and their ID at the theatre, meaning touts would have to be present at the venue to collect the tickets before passing them on.

Despite warnings that resold tickets would be void if they were identified, secondary site Viagogo continues to list seats for up to £6,000 each.

A spokeswoman for Hamilton’s producers told The Stage they had been “working to combat the unauthorised profiteering of third-party resellers and ticket touts”, adding: “To date we are delighted to report that the operation of the ticketing system has exceeded our expectations. To date, we have not had to deal with any third party or touting issues and customers have reported on how user-friendly and efficient the new system is.”

An audience member at the first preview reported a conversation with Mackintosh in which he said the whole theatre had been seated in 20 minutes, despite the additional steps in place to collect tickets.

The spokeswoman added: “Of the four principal unauthorised online secondary ticketing sites, such as Viagogo, three are not carrying, nor advertising, any Hamilton tickets. On the fourth site, in almost every case, the way the tickets are advertised is in breach of consumer regulations and where they are identified, any such tickets will not be admitted to the theatre nor refunded on the night.”

The Observer has also reported that staff at the Victoria Palace had been trained to spot touts walking their customers into the theatre, and that undercover agents could be posing as buyers to catch out touts.

Ticketmaster UK’s vice-president for theatre and comedy, Gary Roden, said: ”We’re really pleased that the credit-card entry system has all but eliminated ticket resale.”

He added: “This is the first time this technology has been used in the West End and the first week has been exceptional, with patrons entering the venue very smoothly.”

Last month, an investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority concluded that some secondary ticketing sites may be breaking the law by not giving customers adequate information about any restrictions on their tickets.

The regulator said if sites did not comply they could be fined or taken to court.

The move has been welcomed by Hamilton’s producers, who praised the CMA for “moving to take further steps to enforce and tighten existing legislation with online ticket reselling”.