Bid to ban ticket  sales to scalpers
In demands: Tickets for the Rolling Stones at Perth Arena. Picture: Getty Images

Concert promoters and box office agencies want a ban on "robo-scalpers" who bulk buy tickets to blockbuster gigs and sporting events and then sell them to desperate fans at a huge mark-up.

Amid the mounting frustration of sports and music lovers missing out on tickets, shady middlemen are using computer programs to swoop on the best seats in the house.

A Senate inquiry is investigating ways to target scalpers while protecting ordinary people who have legitimate reasons for wanting to sell their tickets.

In WA it is not illegal to sell a ticket for more than its face value but promoters have the power to cancel tickets being on-sold - even at a loss - through the secondary market.

Though the proliferation of corporate packages is often blamed for pricing average supporters out of marquee events such as the AFL grand final, in some cases as soon as tickets go on sale to the public they are snapped up and immediately made available at inflated prices on websites such as Gumtree and eBay.

One seller last night was offering two dance-floor tickets to the Rolling Stones' show at Perth Arena next month on website Viagogo for more than $12,000 each, a 2000 per cent mark-up.

But Ticketmaster, auction website eBay and Live Performance Australia, which represents venues, promoters and ticket agencies, dispute that scalping is rife in Australia.

However, Ticketmaster and LPA both suggested the Federal Government crack down on automated "bots" being used to buy tickets online en masse.

Up to 60 per cent of tickets are reportedly bought this way in the US and LPA said "sophisticated scalpers" were constantly updating software to stay ahead of ticket companies.

Ticketmaster said though it believed the problem was of a "limited nature" here, it was investing in technology to win the "scalping arms war".

According to eBay, ticket buyers should be able to legitimately resell their tickets on the secondary market.

It said most of the demand to sell tickets came from consumers who could no longer attend an event rather than greed.

Hawthorn supporter George Peterson said in his submission that he happily paid $750 for a ticket from a scalper for last year's grand final against Fremantle.

"My point is, what sort of country is this if you guys, who are smarter than me and we vote you in to look after us, bring in laws to stop me going to see my team play in a grand final," he said.

"I don't have many vices, but footy and AC/DC it is."

The West Australian

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