The Australian government is scoping the effects of ticket scalping on the general public.

The Commonwealth Consumer Affairs Advisory Council has launched a review, which will examine the secondary ticketing market and asks whether changes are needed to the system of distributing tickets Down Under.

"Ticket on-selling can have positive and negative impact on the market, consumers and suppliers," notes the review document, which is titled "Ticket scalping: Ticket on-selling and consumers."

The challenge, it continues, "is to balance fair access to tickets for consumers, with the desire of organizers to control pricing while capturing potential revenue. Accordingly, measures to control the practice of ticket on-selling may have consequences for the market, consumers and suppliers."

The review goes on to explain that some Australian fans were "outraged" when tickets to the Australian leg of Metallica's World Magnetic 2010 tour were purchased in a pre-sale through Ticketek for $150 Australian ($127) and were then on-sold for greatly hiked prices. Bids on eBay for two "Gold" reserved seats reportedly reached $699 ($591).

"Some fans were angry at how on-sellers could buy up tickets, causing fans to be unable to secure good seats or to miss out on tickets altogether," the study continues.

The paper also drills into the effectiveness of current legislation relating to ticket on-selling, and analyses the effects of technology on the marketplace.

Interested parties have until July 23 to comment on the paper. The council can later recommend its findings to the Minister for Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs, who can table a regulatory overhaul of the industry.

"It's great that the government is stepping in and acknowledging the severe impact scalping has on the multi-million dollar entertainment and sports industries," comments Adam McArthur, GM of ticketing firm Moshtix, which will participate in the review.

"Too many punters are continually being ripped off by ticket scalpers
who re-sell tickets on auction sites for inflated prices," he says.