Have you ever thought about whether it is legal to sell your unwanted tickets online, or whether you can sell them to make a profit? This might be considered ‘ticket scalping’ and in certain circumstances and in different states, the law may restrict how an individual can resell tickets.

What is Ticket Scalping?

The NSW Department of Fair Trading states that ‘ticket scalping’ is considered the unauthorised reselling of tickets for more than the original ticket price. Often this will occur where an individual buys a ticket, can no longer attend and thus resells it. Alternatively, some scalpers will deliberately purchase tickets that are in high demand for the purpose of making profit. Obviously, with current technology, this reselling will occur online through websites like Ebay, Gumtree and Amazon. With current trends, there is a rise in startup online websites focussing on reselling tickets online. Viagogo is an example of this where tickets can be resold online for events around the world.

Is Ticket Scalping Legal?

Primarily, the terms and conditions that ticket agent companies usually enforce will often give them the right to cancel the tickets leaving them worthless. However, most companies that enforce these terms will only enforce such a right when the ticket is sold at a profit. Therefore, if you are selling tickets online, it is important to read the terms presented on the ticket or those found at the time of original purchase.

Besides the terms written by the agency, it will ultimately depend on where you are in Australia and the circumstances to which you are selling a ticket. This is because there is no restricting legislation nationally. Generally, the answer is that ticket scalping is legal, however different states have circumstantial restrictions.

Queensland, South Australia and Australian Capital Territory

The Queensland Government provides that ticket scalping is illegal if a ‘major event’ ticket is being sold at a price greater than 10% above the original ticket price. Along with this, Queensland has venue specific legislation which prohibits the sale near or within major Queensland venues. Besides this, reselling tickets generally in South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory all have restrictions on the reselling of tickets for ‘major events’.

New South Wales and Victoria

New South Wales has venue specific legislation. Ticket scalping is prohibited near a major event venue or facility. This will include major venues such as the Sydney Cricket Ground and the Sydney Olympic Park Precinct. Currently, there are no such restrictions online but reselling may still go against the original terms of the ticket.

In Victoria there is specific event legislation that currently regulates the resale of tickets for large sporting events. These are defined under the Major Sporting Events Act 2009 (Vic) and will be enforced where an event is a ‘declared event’, thus imposing fines for ticket scalpers where they resell tickets contrary to the original ticket conditions. An example of a ‘declared event’ is the AFL Grand Final.

Conclusion

Currently, reselling tickets online in states besides Queensland are somewhat under-regulated. There is no national legislation imposing restrictions and state specific legislation only imposes regulations in specific circumstances. Probably the most important thing to consider before reselling tickets online, is the limitations placed upon you by the original ticket terms and conditions. Most ticketing companies will reserve their right to cancel tickets if the ticket is found to be ‘scalped’. Live Performance Australia provides a useful guide when considering your rights to resell tickets.

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Adam Lewis

Adam is a Legal Intern at LawPath working with the content team. With an interest in consumer and commercial law he is currently completing a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in International Business as well as a Bachelor of Laws at Macquarie University.