Just the ticket: crackdown on scalpers as game chiefs meet ministers

Sporting bodies could soon be able to create and enforce their own terms and conditions on ticket sales as part of anti-scalping legislation proposed by the NSW government.

Sports Minister Graham Annesley and Fair Trading Minister Anthony Roberts met with representatives from sporting bodies including the NRL, ARU, Cricket Australia and Netball Australia on Thursday to discuss how to protect fans from scalpers.

The government hopes legislation will be passed through Parliament in about three or four months, allowing laws to come into effect before marquee sporting events including the Bledisloe Cup, the NRL grand final and next year’s Ashes Test at the SCG.

The issue is a timely one, with tickets for the Wallabies versus British and Irish Lions Tests being sold for up to six times the original price. A bronze category ticket for the Suncorp encounter is selling on viagogo苏州美睫培训.au for $549 when the original price was just $95. A platinum ticket was recently put up for sale at $855 (original price $295), while some eBay tickets for the Sydney match are selling for more than double.

There will be further consultation with the entertainment industry and other stakeholders, but the final version tabled to cabinet is aimed at “reducing red tape” for sporting bodies. For instance, they will be able to directly force secondary sellers, such as eBay, to cancel tickets and remove them from sale if they are being sold at exorbitant prices.

In Queensland, where anti-scalping legislation exists, there is an extra step as sporting bodies have to report the matter to police, who then have to pursue the matter with resellers.

The sporting bodies themselves will also be able to determine the maximum price that tickets are able to be resold at. They could determine, for instance, that nothing gets resold at a premium of more than 10 per cent.

There were also discussions about requiring websites such as eBay to display a photo of the ticket. This will allow purchasers to view the original purchase price, minimising the risk of being lumped with a premium fee for lower-category tickets. It will also make it easier for sporting bodies to cancel tickets they believe are grossly overpriced.

“We are about empowering the sporting codes to do whatever they feel they need to do to protect the interest of their own fans,” Annesley said. “It’s giving them the option to determine to what extent they feel the obligation to protect their fans. The legislation will also enforce the outcome of that. There will be requirements on the secondary marketplace they will have to adhere to to be within the law.”

Roberts added: “We’re bringing back openness, transparency and honesty in the secondary marketplace, which is crucial. There’s a great deal of fraud that occurs to the detriment of consumers.

“As a fan, how can you compete with these auto-bots when the tickets are released? We’re empowering the sporting codes to address the issues.”

The proposed legislation was greeted warmly by sporting bodies. “The proposal . . . would also position NSW as a leader in fighting ticket scalping,” an ARU spokesman said. “We would encourage other jurisdictions to follow their approach.”

A Cricket Australia spokesman added: “Our hope is that potential future NSW legislation would become a best-practice model.”

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