Australian Open tennis scalpers on notice

TENNIS fans have been urged to beware of scalpers and abide by strict new ticket resale laws as the business end of the Australian Open approaches.

Ticket police are patrolling online sites for instances of scalping, with new laws making it illegal for any seats to this year's Open to be sold at inflated prices.

It comes after more than 400 tickets to last year's AFL Finals were taken off re-sale websites in breach of the new Victorian laws. Fans will also be warned not to violate the new laws when selling unwanted tickets or risk significant fines.

Sport and Major Event Minister Martin Pakula said fans do need to know the law.

"These tough new laws will make sure tennis fans get a fair go," he said.

"We've already seen how effective these laws can be."

With matches expected to sell out as Aussies and global tennis stars continue their march towards the finals, premium seats will become increasingly in demand from scalpers and fans alike.

The Andrews Government will also launch a campaign in coming days to ensure tennis fans are aware of their rights under the legislation and how they can protect themselves against scalping.

For the first time, the entire Australian Open has been declared a major event, putting every match off limits to scalpers instead of just the finals.

It makes it illegal to sell or advertise tickets to the event for more than 10 per cent above the ticket's face value.

The Government has also declared the 2019 Melbourne International Comedy Festival and Anzac Day AFL clash between Essendon and Collingwood as major events.

The Herald Sun last year revealed a quarter of fans turned away at the gates of Melbourne Park with tickets that did not work bought them on resale site Viagogo.

The site last year advertised tickets to the men's final for up to $8899 and staff were inundated with complaints from fans who bought seats online only to find someone else sitting in it.

Tournament director Craig Tiley said the Melbourne major event should be scalper free.

"At the end of these days we want these tickets to be accessible to everyone in the community and we want them to have an opportunity to buy tickets and see the Australian Open," he said.

If you suspect tickets to a declared major event are being scalped, report the case by calling (03) 9651 9999 or emailing fairgo.forfans@ecodev.vic.gov.au



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