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A state-by-state breakdown of Australian ticket resale laws

Despite growing regulation, there is still a lot of grey area.

In June this year, new legislation in New South Wales was introduced prohibiting the inflation of resale ticket prices after NSW Fair Trading received more than 1,000 related complaints, adding to the several hundred other complaints across other states. 

Despite states like New South Wales and South Australia taking action and introducing new penalties against ticket scalping, the past few days alone have seen further complaints against ticket resale platform Viagago. This time, the uproar against the site is lead by Gang of Youths, Tash Sultana and Laneway Festival.

Labelling the site “one of the most disgraceful and disruptive scams our live industry has faced in recent years” on Instagram, Gang of Youths urged fans, businesses and fellow artists to contribute their own negative experiences with Viagogo in order to alert policymakers and get the site closed down.

 
 
 
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As many of you have encountered, Viagogo has become one of the most disgraceful and disruptive scams our live industry has faced in recent years. Viagogo impacts promoters, managers, venues, ticket agencies and most importantly artists and their fans. A number of different bodies over the past 12 months have been talking to both State and Federal Government regarding this issue. There is an opportunity to help eradicate this business from Australia. We are calling for as many examples of how this fraudulent operation has affected your business, additionally, we are encouraging artists to also post on their socials so fans can reply with real-life examples of how they have been affected by Viagogo. We intend to give this documentation to the Opposition Party to form part of their campaign pledge to have this site closed down. It would be greatly appreciated if you could send these examples to stopviagogo@lunaticentertainment.com by Wednesday this week.

A post shared by gang of youths (@gangofyouths) on Nov 25, 2018 at 6:34pm PST

 

This isn’t the first time the site has faced backlash. Even though legislation has been introduced in some states to eradicate the issue, there is still a large grey area in which sites and scalpers can continue to sell large quantities of tickets at inflated costs.

In Victoria, it is an offence to resell or advertise tickets to a declared major event at over 10% of its original value, with penalties ranging from $806 to $483,500. However, this leaves a lot of wiggle room, as the only major events currently covered under the Major Events Act 2009 are the 2018 Meredith Music Festival, 2019 Anzac Day AFL blockbuster, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two, the 2019 Australian Open, Golden Plains festival and the 2019 Melbourne International Comedy Festival. While the 10% rule is advised in all other cases of ticket resale, there is no legislation in place to ensure this.

Queensland also adheres to the 10% rule, though their legislation covers specific venues operated by Stadiums Queensland, such as Brisbane Entertainment Centre.

New South Wales and South Australia offer the most comprehensive laws when it comes to reselling tickets in Australia. New ticket scalping laws in both states ensure that so long as resellers adhere to the laws, event organisers legally cannot cancel a ticket based on the premise it's been resold.

These new laws also enforce the 10% rule across all South Australian and New South Wales venues, with maximum penalties of $110,000 for corporations and $22,000 for individuals who do not comply. Additionally, the event organiser holds the right to cancel a ticket and refuse entry to the ticket holder of a resale ticket which breaches ticket scalping laws.

Any advertisement to resell a ticket in either state must include the original cost of the ticket, the area the ticket authorises access to, i.e. seat, bay and row numbers, and an asking price of no more than 10% above the original ticket price. It is also an offence for publication owners, such as Viagogo, Ticketmaster Resale, eBay and Facebook, to publish ticket resale advertisements which breach these laws.

Interestingly, if you win a ticket and therefore did not pay for it, you can not sell it for any amount of money in accordance with New South Wales legislation. Resale of tickets for events at Sydney Cricket Ground and Sydney Olympic Park is strictly prohibited under all circumstances.

At the moment, Western Australia offers no safeguard when it comes to ticket scalpers buying large amounts of tickets and jacking up the prices, though the state government have announced plans to follow in the footsteps of South Australia and New South Wales. According to PerthNow, Western Australia will introduce new anti-ticket scalping legislation to Parliament this week, with hopes of passing the bill as early as next year.

At the time of writing, all other states do not have legislation in place to prevent ticket scalpers from charging massively inflated prices for resale tickets.

Clearly, there is much room for improvement here. Even if the campaign to rid Australia of Viagogo comes to fruition, it is still perfectly legal in a number of states to continue to buy tickets in bulk and resell them for profit on other platforms. For now, banding together to expel the third party ticketing platform is a good first step.