While the Turnbull Government is yet to act on the ticket scalping software that allows resellers to buy up big blocks of tickets and gouge fans for sky-high prices, the NSW Government is proposing a crackdown on scalpers.
NSW Fair Trading Minister Matt Kean has announced plans to reform the Fair Trading Act to outlaw the use of bots, which have been used to acquire tickets cheaply and resell them at extraordinary markups.
Resale ticket prices have recently skyrocketed for high profile tours by artists such as Adele, Crowded House and Midnight Oil. Tickets to Crowded House’s recent Sydney Opera House forecourt concerts were advertised on resale sites for up to $1500, more than ten times the original $120-$130 ticket price, while some Adele tickets were being advertised for more than $5000.
Ticketing bots have seen genuine fans locked out of online buying systems, and for some major events in Australia, bots have accounted for 30% of the web traffic to ticket-selling sites.
In addition to banning the bots, Kean intends to prevent ticket resellers from selling tickets for more than the original price, and cap transaction fees at 10%.
Queensland has similar anti-scalping measures, with fines of up to $2,438 for sellers and $609.50 for buyers when tickets are sold with a mark-up of more than 10%.
In March this year, the Australian Senate passed a motion put forward by Independent Senator Nick Xenophon, intending to introduce new laws making the use of bots illegal. The motion did not have the support of the Government, but was backed by Labor, the Greens, Jacqui Lambie and Derryn Hinch.
Soon after, Live Performance Australia called on the Federal Government to legislate against bots, and join the US and UK governments, which have both outlawed their use in the last year.