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Growing use of bots for hot sport and entertainment tickets reignite scalping debate

Growing use of bots for hot sport and entertainment tickets reignite scalping debate
September 24, 2016

Demand for tickets for popular sport and entertainment events including AFL Finals Series games and upcoming performances by acts such as Guns N’ Roses and Bruce Springsteen has reignited concerns over ticket reselling and scalping.

In addition to traditional scalpers, fans are having to battle ‘bots’ that auto-buy sought-after seats, leading to inflated prices for popular events.

Today’s AFL preliminary final between the Greater Western Sydney Giants and the Western Bulldogs at Sydney’s Spotless Stadium, has seen fans battling for tickets.

Demand for tickets at the 24,000-capacity venue saw 18,000 tickets sold as of Monday morning to members of both clubs and ANZ Stadium.

Hours before the leftovers were due to be made available to the general public on Monday afternoon, tickets had already been advertised for re-sale on the Ticketmaster Resale site at prices significantly higher than those set by the AFL.

Category 1 seats initially on sale for $179 were up for re-sale at up to $401.

The AFL Fans' Association (AFLFA) described the practice as "legalised scalping" and called on the league to address the issue.

AFLFA President Gerry Eeman told media “this is taking advantage of desperate fans.

"It is legalised scalping which facilitates blatant profiteering.”

Recent weeks have also seen tickets for Guns N’ Roses 2017 tour being sold for as much as $2875 - nearly five times the actual price of tickets.

Re-sales typically take place after ‘official tickets’ have sold out, but many ticket buyers unwittingly purchase resale tickets (at a hiked price) even when authentic tickets are still available through the official ticket provider.

Early this month, concert promoter Michael Gudinksi of Frontier Touring spoke out about scalpers who are buying bulk tickets on an ‘industrial scale’ and reselling them at increased prices.

Gudinski told Melbourne newspaper the Herald Sun “(promoters) hate it … we’re against it.

“Some of the prices I’ve seen are extreme, and it doesn’t go to the artists or the promoters. It’s a great frustration and I think the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) should look at it.”

Ticketek Managing Director Cameron Hoy also told the Herald Sun that fans are being “misled” when they buy tickets on resale websites at inflated prices, stating “often, tickets sold on resale platforms at inflated prices are, in fact, still readily available at the real face-value price from official agencies.

“Resale platforms have created an effective and anonymous channel to enable scalpers to gouge consumers on an industrial scale.”

A report by New York’s Attorney General released earlier this year found a single broker obtained more than 1,000 U2 tickets in one minute despite the vendor having a four-ticket limit.

Live Performance Australia (LPA) Chief Executive Evelyn Richardson said the computer software being used had become even more sophisticated and there were now more reselling platforms.

LPA urged the Federal Government to ban scalping in 2014 but, despite a recommendation from a Federal Senate inquiry to amend Australian Consumer Law to outlaw ticket scalping, the Federal Government chose not to do so.

Responding to the 2014 Senate inquiry into ticket scalping, the Federal Government's Economics References Committee and Education, Employment and Workplace Relations References Committee rejected the idea of legislation, suggesting that such matters be dealt with by industry self regulation or the ACCC.

Now, Federal Senator Nick Xenophon, who chaired the 2014 Senate inquiry, reportedly wants restrictions on ticket scalping to be reconsidered and for ‘bots’ to be banned.

In addition to inflated prices, fans buying scalped tickets also face the possibility that their tickets may not be genuine.

Mindful of this, Christchurch venue manager Vbase recently urged the public to purchase tickets for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band’s concert at the city’s AMI Park next year through official channels

Vbase, who secured the event for 21st February, wanted to make sure people avoid disappointment and purchase their tickets through the only official ticket providers.

Vbase General Manager Darren Burden said he didn’t want to see the public being misled and buying tickets at inflated prices for the concert.

Burden stated “our team have worked really hard to secure this event for the people of Christchurch and the wider South Island, and we want to make sure the public are paying the right prices for their tickets.

“Buying tickets for the Christchurch show from sources other than Ticketek would put people at risk of ending up with tickets that may not be genuine.”

Images: GWS Giants fans (top) and Bruce Springsteen (below).

21st September 2016 - READY TO HOST ITS FIRST AFL FINAL, SPOTLESS STADIUM AIMS FOR INCREASED CAPACITY

14th September 2016 - BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN CONFIRMS 2017 AUSTRALASIAN TOUR

30th August 2016 - BAYCOURT WARNS AGAINST ONLINE TICKET SCALPERS 

1st May 2016 - FRONTIER TOURING ISSUES FACEBOOK WARNING ON TICKET SCALPING AND UNAUTHORISED RESELLERS

23rd February 2015 - GUMTREE CHANGES TO DETER TICKET SCALPING

24th June 2014 - FEDERAL GOVERNMENT LEAVES TICKET SCALPING ACTION TO THE ACCC

27th May 2014 - TICKETMASTER AUSTRALIA BEGINS SOFT LAUNCH OF TICKETMASTER RESALE

21st February 2014 - CALLS FOR NATIONAL CRACKDOWN ON SCALPING AT FEDERAL SENATE TICKETING INQUIRY

25th September 2013 - VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT TACKLES TICKET SCALPING WITH TOUGHER PENALTIES 

25th September 2013 - 500,000 AUSTRALIANS A YEAR CAUGHT OUT BY ONLINE TICKET SCAMS

27th September 2012 - BEWARE OF UNAUTHORISED TICKET SELLERS TO THE AFL GRAND FINAL 


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