Ticket scalpers are snapping up hundreds of tickets to prime sporting events, charging massive mark-ups and ripping off fans by selling the same seat to multiple customers.
As sports administrators demand a crackdown on unscrupulous online touts fleecing fans, some of the nation's biggest scalping scams have been exposed in a Senate inquiry.
While Fremantle fans scrambled to secure tickets to the Dockers first AFL grand final last year, scalpers were charging $3500 for three tickets with a face value of $260 each. At the Perth Ashes Test, one cricket lover who purchased his ticket through a British sports travel company was denied entry after the company ignored earlier warnings from Cricket Australia against unauthorised reselling.
The ticket had originally been bought by a scalper who used six different accounts to buy more than 500 tickets to matches.
In another cricket ticket con, one customer bought 150 tickets for each day of the Adelaide Test by falsely claiming they were for a big medical conference.
The $50 seats were actually used for a $500-a-head corporate function being hosted across the road from the Adelaide Oval.
One of the most elaborate cases involved a scalper using fake names and addresses to join multiple rugby league clubs, gaining access to the members-only pre-sale period. He spent thousands of dollars buying 110 tickets for the grand final.
The tickets were listed the same day on eBay with starting bids up to 250 per cent above the face value.
In other cases, fans had been denied entry to games when they showed up with a ticket that sporting bodies had cancelled after identifying it was sold on the black market.
The Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports, which represents the big four football codes, Cricket Australia and Tennis Australia, has revealed the litany of rorts as it pushes for national laws to make it illegal to sell tickets at a mark-up without permission from the event operator. Executive director Malcolm Speed warned administrators were losing the fight against ticket scalpers in the internet age.
"Our experience is that enforcement . . . against scalpers who are gouging the market is cumbersome, expensive and difficult," Mr Speed said.
Its submission to the Senate denied sports bodies overcharged fans for tickets, saying the emphasis was on optimising crowds rather than maximising revenue.