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New South Wales passes tough new anti-touting laws

By | Published on Wednesday 18 October 2017

Live Music

Lawmakers in New South Wales have approved some pretty tough new regulations covering secondary ticketing in the Australian state, which will basically outlaw the resale of tickets for profit, capping transaction fees at 10%.

Talking about the proposed amendment to the state’s Fair Trading Act earlier this month, Minister For Better Regulation Matt Kean said: “I’m sick and tired of consumers being taken for a ride by shonky operators looking to make a quick buck at the expense of ordinary fans. No ticket to a NSW sporting or entertainment event should be resold for more than 10% above its original price”.

Under the new laws, which were speedily approved by the state’s parliament this week, anyone breaching the rules by re-selling tickets at more than 10% face value – or advertising the resale of tickets at more than 10% face value – could face fines of up to AUS$22,000 for individuals and AUS$110,000 for companies.

On the flip side, promoters who usually have the contractual right to cancel tickets that have been resold by the original buyer, won’t be allowed to cancel any sold-on tickets where the resale complies with the new law.

Online ticket touting has, of course, become ever more controversial in recent years. Politicians – who previously spoke out against tickets being resold at massive mark-ups, but were generally nervous about regulating – are now much more actively considering new laws to restrain the touts and to increase the obligations of the secondary ticketing platforms they utilise, so the likes of Seatwave, GetMeIn, StubHub and Viagogo in the UK.

The least controversial bit of secondary ticketing regulation is introducing a bots ban, stopping touts from using special software to buy up large quantities of in-demand tickets from primary ticketing sites. The new laws in New South Wales also include such a ban, though it’s the other anti-touting rules that really stand-out.

Of course, with all secondary ticketing regulations, the question is who enforces the law, and to what extent can the big resale platforms be held liable if they don’t enforce the rules on their sites. There will also be jurisdiction questions around the New South Wales legislation, given online sales commonly occur on servers outside the state.