This morning, New South Wales approved scalping laws to stop tickets from being resold at inflated prices, and announced staggering fines scalpers will face if they do not oblige.
According to The Newcastle Herald, the Minister for Better Regulation, Matt Kean, said that these reforms mean that it is illegal to re-sell a ticket for more than 10 percent of the face value at events held inside New South Wales, Australia. If a scalper tries to sell a ticket above the threshold, they can face fines totaling $11,000 and companies can rack up $22,000.
The decision follows more than 1,000 complaints made to the NSW Fair Trading last year. Kean said that the secondary ticketing site Viagogo was named on the Complaints Register each month last year. The Herald reported last year that tickets were being sold on Viagogo for a Barry Humphries show for $964.26, when the original cost via Ticketek was $75.
“One of the aims of the ticket scalping laws is to provide for a legitimate resale market,” the NSW Fair Trading website reads. “Consumers who purchase an event ticket and can no longer attend should be able to sell that ticket to someone else and recover their costs in the process.”
Now, not only will sellers have to list the ticket’s original cost, but they will have to ask for an amount below the cap and include details regarding the seat and row number, if applicable. Advertisements with dramatic prices over the threshold are prohibited. Additionally, event organizers can cancel the ticket or refuse entry to the person who holds it if it was sold for more than 10 percent of the original price.
“We know ticket scalping is a huge problem in NSW, and I’m sick of consumers being taken for a ride by shameless shonks looking to make a quick buck,” Kean said in a statement. “These laws create a level playing field so genuine fans can buy tickets to concerts and sporting events without being slapped with hugely inflated re-sale prices.”
Although Kean understands the different reasons why someone would want to sell their ticket, he doesn’t think it’s right that they are sold for much higher prices online. NSW Fair Trading also prohibits the resale of complimentary tickets that are won in a competition or were given out for free; if the ticket holder does not use them, they must be given away free of charge.
“These reforms are about making tickets more accessible to the real fans that deserve to be able to enjoy their favourite sport or artist at a live event,” he said.
Tickets sold in New South Wales from June 1, 2018-on will be subject to these new laws and those who disobey will receive the maximum penalty fine. If tickets were purchased prior to this date, even if the event is held in the future, they are exempt to these laws.