Ticket scalping bots to be banned in NSW as resale prices soar
Saturday, October 7, 2017
By Lily Mayers | ABC.net.au
Software that automatically bulk buys online tickets as soon as they go on sale will be illegal when legislation from the New South Wales Government is introduced.
A reform to the state's Fair Trading Act will outlaw the software that circumvents ticketing website protections, the Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation, Matt Kean said.
"What we're seeing is ticket bot technology being used to sweep up tickets and deprive genuine fans of getting access to the concerts and sporting events that they want to see," he said.
The live entertainment tickets that are bought by the software are then resold at marked-up rates.
The Minister said the Australian-first legislation would stop this from happening.
"It's time that genuine fans got a fair go and were able to access tickets at a reasonable price," Minister Kean said.
"I'm sick and tired of consumers being ripped off by shonky operators trying to make a quick buck at the expense of genuine fans."
The Minister would not confirm if a mark-up cap would be applied to resold tickets.
Earlier this year, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission announced it was taking ticket reseller Viagogo to court for allegedly engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct.
The consumer group Choice has welcomed the move in NSW, with spokesperson Tom Godfrey saying the bots have been causing havoc in ticket marketing for many years.
"Obviously the major football codes get targeted for their big games but it's the headline acts that tour Australia that be it Adele, Justin Bieber, Ed Sheeran, you name it," he said.
"If they're a big name and there's a lot of competition for tickets, then these scalpers get in on the action and they want to charge massive mark ups."
The organisation has previously called on Google to decline advertising revenue from ticket reselling companies and including them in their top search results.
Mr Godfrey said Australia's ticketing industry should look to international models when updating protections, and should be investing in innovations to protect against fraud.
"We're seeing some great stuff come out of the UK, a site called Dice now enables you to freely cancel your ticket and that ticket goes onto a waiting list," he said.
"That's a great step forward so we need the ticket industry, locally, to think through how it can innovate and better service fans."
Some Australian states have already introduced legislation to limit the amount that tickets can be resold for.
The legislation will be introduced this week.