News November 19, 2017

Victoria to expand anti-scalping legislation to include live music

Victoria to expand anti-scalping legislation to include live music

Image: Adele live at Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium earlier this year

Victoria’s live music industry has begun to hold discussions within itself after the state Government announced plans to extend its Major Sporting Events Act to include protecting music fans from ticket scalpers. 

The state was the first in the country to introduce legislation to take on ticket scalping, with the Sports Event Ticketing (Fair Access) Act in 2002, and the Major Sporting Events Act in 2009.

Clearly, the focus has been on sporting events. However the overhaul of the Act currently being considered by the Victorian Government – primarily to beef up security at the state’s sporting events – will see it extend to concerts. 

Sports Minister John Eren also wants to extend the Act to include major events and conferences.

This would, he said, “give fans of all types a fairer go” and put Victoria in a stronger position to attract more major sports, music, cultural and business events.

Some promoters prefer to keep the protection process a voluntary one, as it would involve a lot of paperwork and compliance.

They suggest it be used only for major tours and events, as happens with major sporting events. South Australia used its laws to protect consumers attending the AC/DC concert in Adelaide in 2015 as “a major event”.

Live Performance Australia, which represents the live music sector, is waiting to hear more details from the Government.

Its CEO Evelyn Richardson told TMN that its members are divided on how helpful such legislation would be. 

“If the Government announces a major event, if it wants a ticketing plan nine months ahead, then that’s not going to work for our industry,” she pointed out.

“But some of our members may want to come under its protection and ask for a shorter time frame.” 

The LPA is interested to know what resources will be put aside to ensure that the legislation is effectively enforced.

Richardson says the LPA has never pushed for ticket-scalping legislation because judging by lack of enforcement in other states, “[new laws] just don’t seem to work”. 

Music Victoria has been in touch with at least eight music promoters to find out their concerns about the legislation.

“There is evidence that the model is working, and that if a ticket has the consumer’s name printed on it, they can sell it if they wish but within a percentage of its face value,” says CEO Patrick Donovan.

A meeting will be held next week in Melbourne with major live music stakeholders.

The expansion of the Major Sporting Events Act will give police and security guards new search powers, including confiscating tickets or membership of sporting clubs, tougher fines for spectators who misbehave, and a ban on the use of drones near stadiums.

It would also make it an offence to resell a ticket for above face value, and give promoters the green light to push for greater penalties for scalpers.

“The proposal will make it easier to fine scalpers who seek to purchase large numbers of tickets to popular events for the purpose of selling them at grossly inflated prices,” the Government contends.  

“The proposal will include online businesses which specialise in exploiting the secondary ticketing market.” 

Each Australian state has a different approach to tackling ticket scalping.

The ACT, South Australia and Queensland have major event-specific legislation which restricts the reselling of tickets to events that are declared as ‘major events’ by the state or territory government. 

Queensland and NSW have venue-specific legislation which restricts the reselling of tickets near or within certain venues, such as at select Stadiums Queensland venues and the Sydney Cricket Ground.

The live music industry has long touted a national solution as the answer.

In March, the Federal Parliament was asked to consider banning “bots” – software that allows scalpers to buy vast numbers of tickets online.

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