Ontario wants to stop scalpers and make ticket-buying bots illegal

The government is cracking down on scalpers, capping ticket mark-ups and banning bots.

June 26, 2017

The days of having an approximate 0% chance of snagging hot tickets thanks to an army of automated bots might be coming to an end, at least if Ontario Attorney General Yasir Naqvi and MPP Sophie Kiwala’s Ticket Sales Act goes forward.

After consulting with over 35,000 members of the public over the spring, the Ticket Sales Act was unveiled earlier today at Roundhouse Park. If the act is adopted, it will force ticket resellers such as StubHub to cap their markup prices at 50% above face value, and make automated bulk ticket-purchasing bots illegal across the province.

It’s not exactly clear how that second part will be accomplished, though, since most ticket bots operate outside of Canada, much less Ontario. The legislation would also compel ticket resellers to be much more transparent with their pricing practices, including all fees, and the exact number of how many tickets are still available.

The impetus for the proposed legislation is widely held to be the ticket situation to the Tragically Hip’s last Canadian tour, organized after singer Gord Downie made it public that he’d been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Tickets to the sold-out tour were heavily scalped and resold for ridiculous markup margins, leaving many devotees of what many perceive to be Canada’s national band shut out of seeing them on what could likely be their final tour.

Of the respondents to Kiwala’s subsequent public consultation in the wake of the Tragically Hip situation, 89% agreed there should be a resale cap on the price of tickets, and 85% said it shouldn’t be legal to post tickets on a resale site before they’re available to the general public. [h/t Globe & Mail]


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