Australia has moved to join the ranks of the United States by introducing legislation that bans so-called “ticket bots:” automated software that purchases tickets online en masse.
Former US President President, Barack Obama signed the Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act of 2016 into law in December, 2016, in the dying days of his presidency. Recently, the UK Government has also made similar moves against bots.
This week, South Australian senator, Nick Xenophon introduced a motion with the intent of “better protect[ing] consumers from ticket scalpers,” arguing that ticket bots in the country have monopolized the market and ripped off genuine ticket buyers while scalpers resell the tickets for sometimes three times the original price.
Australian ticket bots have, as a result, drastically affected the entertainment industry. Australian Ticketmaster has recently seen higher than average ticket prices on big international acts visiting the country. These higher prices are usually required by the artists themselves, who want to cover costs of travelling such a long distance. However, such ticket bot scalping practices have also meant that big name acts like Adele, who recently toured Australia, saw her tickets on resale websites for prices as high as $5000.
Senator Xenophon argues that though there is state legislation for such practices, the policing of ticket bots would be farther and wider reaching with a federal approach. He states that this is achievable “if there’s political will to do so”.
Senator Xenophon had held an anti-scalping inquiry previously in 2013 but after a soft response, is now pushing the inquiry again.
This may be in response to the Australian Immigration Department’s recent move to remove the visa cost cap for large touring parties and musicians: a move that Australian concert promoter Michael Chugg calls “a money grab,” and one which may deter them from visiting as well as deter the prevalence of music festivals
For now it’s unclear how things will play out, but due to a large amount of support from artists and concert promoters and an influx of complaints from ticket resale vendors on the Australian consumer website, CHOICE, it’s apparent that things may be changing for the Australian ticket buyer.