September 6, 2021

Three years late, WA rushes through anti-scalping laws with heavy fines

Three years late, WA rushes through anti-scalping laws with heavy fines

It seems sports talk louder than music in Western Australia.

The state is rushing through anti-scalping measures that will introduce criminal penalties and huge fines to those who resell tickets at more than 10% above the original price and use bots to scoop up huge amounts of tickets.

The entertainment sector has long been pushing for such protection, and three years ago there was an unsuccessful move to bring in legislation in WA after a spate of such activity related to superstar concerts.

But it’s now taken the excitement of the AFL Grand Final to be held in Perth on September 25 at the 60,000-seat Optus Stadium rather than its traditional home at the Melbourne Cricket Ground for the WA government to move.

A statement on behalf of commerce minister Amber-Jade Sanderson relayed: “The McGowan Government wants as many West Australians as possible to have the opportunity to attend the 2021 AFL grand final and anticipates the ticket scalping legislation will pass parliament in time for general admission tickets to go on sale.”

The new law had its third and final reading in the Legislative Council this week, and returns to the lower house next week.

According to the Ticket Scalping Bill 2021 individuals attempting to resell tickets above the cap will face fines of up to $20,000, and companies $100,000.

Any ticket sold over 100% of the original price “is void to the extent that it provides for the ticket to be cancelled, surrendered or rendered invalid.”

Bots users can expect a $500,000 fine.

A ticket resale advertisement must specify the original price, and the seat and row number.

The owner of the publication which runs a prohibited ad is up for a $20,000 fine.

However, unlike in Victoria, the WA bill does not make provision for enforcing that scalpers will actually be chased and dealt with.

Similar protection was mooted in two bills before parliament in 2018 but never became law.

The moves were generated by consumer outrage after $166 tickets to Ed Sheeran’s Perth concert were resold for more than 10 times their face value.

All 12,000 tickets to a free Birds of Tokyo show at Wanneroo Showgrounds organised by the local council were scooped up in an hour, with some going up for resale even though an issuing system cross-matching ticket bearers with local addresses aimed to ensure local fans got priority.

Fears were that scalpers would make killings when that summer, WA was to host blockbuster shows by Red Hot Chili Peppers, Eminem, Kylie Minogue, Bryan Adams, Phil Collins, Bryan Ferry and Rodriguez.