The NSW Government is formally introducing new law reforms designed to crackdown on ticket scalping, based on a push by the NSW State Sports Minister Graham Annesley and the Fair Trading Minister Anthony Roberts proposed in February.

The changed laws will give concert promoters the power to cancel tickets or refuse entry to those found in breach of terms and conditions, with those guidelines to be controlled and enforced by the promoters themselves in an effort to prevent opportunistic scalpers from profiteering off of ridiculously inflated prices, as The Age reports.

But the NSW Government’s anti-scalping measures have come under criticism by the very ticketing agents its designed to aid, with several companies saying that the responsibility should fall to the industry and not government.

Fair Trading Minister Roberts rejects claims that the new laws will harm a secondary resale market for people who want to on-sell tickets they cannot use, and instead are designed to curb ticket scalpers and frauds, who are still scooping the lion’s share of tickets through bots and online syndicates.

The proposed anti-scalping laws would require anyone reselling tickets to provide information of a seat’s number and row, as well as visual confirmation of the ticket, while Mr Roberts adds that if requested, operators of secondary markets (eg. eBay, Gumtree, Viagogo) would have to remove tickets found in breach of these conditions.

“These new laws will improve transparency in the marketplace, protect consumers and allow the event organiser to enforce their terms and conditions to protect genuine fans from ticket scalping and fraud,” says the Fair Trading Minister, adding that “the NSW government understands there is a need for a secondary ticket marketplace.” “[Ticket regulation] will send NSW back to the Wild West where people had to take their chances buying from shady people in pubs, car parks and outside venues.” – Viagogo

But online resale platform Viagogo isn’t so sure. The company’s CEO Eric Baker agrees that ticket fraud is an ongoing concern in Australia, with new research figures commissioned by Viagogo showing that 500,000 Australians were the victim of ticket scams and fraud in the last year, but a statement from the company has slammed the proposed law reforms; “the ticketing legislation Minister Roberts has proposed won’t work and will simply increase fraud by pushing people back to the black market.”

Viagogo also notes that the proposals are “particularly surprising” given their recent launch in Australia this month, becoming the 50th territory in its global expansion, where the “benefits of our service… even received a commendation from Minister Roberts himself,” reads the statement.

“Consumer protection is at the heart of our business, and we believe that it’s most important that fans have safe, secure and guaranteed access to tickets,” the statement continues.

“We know from our experiences around the world that legislation, while well intentioned, is not the answer. Regulations on the sale of ticket do not protect consumers. Instead, they will send NSW back to the Wild West where people had to take their chances buying from shady people in pubs, car parks and outside venues.”

The Swiss-born ticketing platform argues that the Government’s focus on ticket terms and conditions, “do not protect the fans. [They] protect the promoter and primary ticket seller.”

Conversely, following on from Mr Baker’s previous comments, Viagogo “believe that once you have bought a ticket, it is up to you what you do with it… The facts are: ticket resale was legal yesterday, is legal today and we are confident that it will still be legal tomorrow.”

A statement from primary ticket vendor Ticketmaster International echoes Viagogo’s views on the proposed government regulation, saying it will harm the secondary market and neither protect fans nor stop scams.“The best way to protect fans, stop scalpers and curb the growth of unscrupulous resale websites is for the industry to take the lead.” – Ticketmaster

“Restrictions rarely stop consumer interest rather; it pushes them into back alleys or in the case of ticket resale to the online equivalent to offshore, unregulated websites and into the clutches of fraudsters,” says Christoph Homann, Managing Director of Resale, Ticketmaster International.

“The best way to protect fans, stop scalpers and curb the growth of unscrupulous resale websites is for the industry to take the lead.” Ticketmaster is taking those steps, launching their own online ticket resale service last month in TM+, which will “create a resale marketplace that will provide clear transaction terms, a money back guarantee and industry leading anti-scalping and anti-fraud measures.”

Mr Homann adds that: “The proposed legislation will do little to combat sophisticated fraudsters who operate outside state borders where even the keenest NSW Department of Fair Trading officer cannot reach. We know from the counterfeit tickets produced based on images of tickets posted on social media sites that publishing ticket images will throw open the flood gates allowing even more fraudulent activity. True consumer protection will come from offering better consumer experiences, not limiting their choices.”

Online auction website eBay is also opposed to the regulations, stating the laws were “masked as a solution” to prevent fraud and inflated ticket prices when the key issue was “the actual distribution of tickets and the fees and charges added to the final price of tickets.”

Conversely, the ticket legislation reforms has the support of Ticketek Australia and The Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports, as The Age points out, as well as The Frontier Touring Company, who have damned “unscrupulous scalpers” while Michael Gudinski himself warned fans over being “duped” by online scammers in response to the backlash over fans missing out on tickets to Bruce Springsteen’s Australian Tour 2014; an incident that has thrown the ticketing scalping issue back into the spotlight in recent months.

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