Ticket scalpers beware: the federal government is considering an outright ban on bots or a crackdown on reselling tickets for “major events.”

After years of persuasion from the live industry and consumer advocacy groups, Canberra is exploring a shake-up of the secondary ticket market. Late in 2017, the Treasury invited submissions to a consultation paper, which drilled deep into scalping and the secondary space at both a state and national level.

The document runs across 62 pages and proposes five policy points, ranging from keeping the status quo (with some consumer education tacked on), through to a national ban on the use of ticket-buying bot software.

“There may be scope for the government to take action to improve the operation and efficiency of the secondary market to ensure that consumer can make more informed purchasing decisions as well as having fairer access to tickets,” reads the document, entitled Ticket Reselling In Australia.

The Treasury admits there’s no real sense of the scale of Australia’s secondary ticketing problem. No clear data exists on how many tickets are scalped each year. But there is, unequivocally, a problem. For its consultation paper, public servants went searching on Google for tickets to Ed Sheeran’s upcoming blockbuster tour. What they found was what we already knew: purchasing secondary tickets is a risky business and secondary ticketing sites look and feel like the real deal.

Across the country, the major ticket selling platforms used by scalpers were found to include Viagogo, TicketmasterResale, eBay and Gumtree.