On 11 December 2013, the Senate referred the matter of ticket scalping
in Australia to the Economics References Committee for inquiry and report by 26 March 2014.
In particular, the committee was to examine:
the prevalence of ticket scalping and its impact on ticket prices and
the effectiveness of current state-based consumer protection
legislation, and how these measures can be improved, including through a
issues of illegality, including the prevalence of counterfeit tickets;
any related matters.
Conduct of inquiry
The committee advertised its inquiry on its website and in the Australian.
The committee also wrote directly to the Commonwealth, state and territory
governments, major sports and entertainment event holders, promoters, ticketing
companies, online marketing platforms, consumer protection agencies and
relevant academics drawing attention to the inquiry and inviting them to make
The committee received 21 submissions, which are listed at Appendix 1,
as well as additional information and answers from the Australian Competition
and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to a series of written questions. They are also listed
at Appendix 1. On 20 February 2014, the committee took evidence from Mr
Christoph Homann, Managing Director, Ticketmaster Resale International, and Ms
Maria O'Connor, Managing Director, Ticketmaster Australasia.
Background to inquiry
‘Ticket scalping’ is the unauthorised onselling of tickets to sporting or
entertainment events, usually at a price higher than the ticket’s original face
value. The scalper purchases the tickets with the deliberate intention of
making a profit, though may be forced to sell at a loss. This practice can be
traced back to the days when individuals touted tickets outside various venues
or at the local hotel or club. With advances in technology, ticket scalping has
been transformed and is now a very different and more sophisticated type of
operation. The emergence of online auction sites, such as eBay, has facilitated
the easy on-selling of tickets. Although ticket scalping has been in existence
for many decades, recent accounts of this practice have raised concerns and
generated public debate about its regulation.
In 2013, the Australian media reported on a number of high profile events
where scalping had attracted particular attention with unauthorised ticket
sellers asking exorbitant prices for tickets. For example, the Daily
Telegraph revealed that it had investigated ticket scalping and discovered that
hundreds of tickets to the Ashes Test in Sydney and the Pink rock concert had
been snapped up by scalpers and were being offered online for twice the price.
The South Australian Advertiser noted that within hours of the Bruce
Springsteen's February concert selling out, tickets to the show were on offer
for almost double their face value, after scalpers hijacked an exclusive
Similarly, the media reported that tickets for the entire Australian tour by the
British band Radiohead had sold out in minutes and moments later scalpers were on
the internet offering tickets at grossly inflated prices angering many fans.
Headlines such as 'Rolling Stones tour: Scalpers selling Adelaide tickets for
$3,000' and 'Bruce Springsteen Tickets Scalped As Pre-Sale Crashes' heightened
concerns in some sectors of the Australian community about the activities of
These more recent high profile incidents shone a critical light on
ticket scalping in Australia and prompted this inquiry. In this report, the
- findings of a comprehensive 2010 report by the Commonwealth
Consumers Affairs Advisory Council into ticket scalping in Australia;
recent trends in, and the merits of, a secondary market for
distinction between genuine resellers and ticket scalpers;
major concerns about the operation of ticket scalpers in
Australia, including the undermining of sound social policy objectives,
detriment to consumers from over-priced, cancelled or counterfeit tickets and
deficiencies in the primary market that foster a secondary market
and encourage ticket scalpers—corporate packages, sponsorship deals, bulk
purchases of tickets and restrictions on refunds or transfers of tickets;
efforts by promoters and event holders to improve practices in
the primary market to deter ticket scalping—terms and conditions of sale,
allocation and distribution of tickets;
measures to protect the interests of consumers and other
stakeholders through government initiatives including State and Commonwealth
the effectiveness of current legislation, industry
self-regulation and consumer education.
The main issues before the committee focus on: the nature and extent of
the harm caused by ticket scalping; the effectiveness of state legislation in
tackling ticket scalping; and whether there is a need for a national approach,
and if so, the form it could or should take.
The committee thanks all those who assisted with the inquiry, especially
those who made written submissions.
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