Ontario Mulls Over Resale Restrictions

Ontario resale legislation banning bots and capping resale prices has been put forth and will be voted on in the fall.

Gord Downie of The Tragically Hip
Arthur Mola / Invision / AP
– Gord Downie of The Tragically Hip
Air Canada Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada

The Ticket Sales Act was unveiled June 26 by Attorney General Yasir Naqvi and Sophie Kiwala after consulting tens of thousands of individuals on their concerns related to concert ticketing.

The law, if adopted, would set the maximum resale price of a ticket at 50 percent above its original face value, would prohibit the use of automated bots to purchase tickets online, would require businesses selling tickets to disclose more info to consumers and would establish enforcement measures to ensure compliance, according to the Ontario government’s website.

Public outcry over scalping in Ontario grew to a fever pitch when The Tragically Hip’s farewell tour was exploited by scalpers, who were marking up tickets at exorbitant rates.

“Tens of thousands of fans across Ontario told us they are frustrated and want to see changes. It’s not fair to fans when tickets sell out in seconds and show up on resale sites at a massive markup. That’s why we are changing the rules to make sure fans come first and to give everyone a fair shot at getting the tickets they want,” Naqvi said.

Speaking at Canadian Music Week in Toronto April 20, Live Nation Chief Michael Rapino said he was skeptical about the effectiveness of legislation at reigning in the secondary market.

“I think some of these [changes] are decent attempts, but I don’t think over all, until you start pricing the product better, and/or have better technology to deliver the fan their ticket, that you’ll start to make a difference,” he said, as quoted by the Toronto Globe and Mail. “As long as the market’s gigantic, you’ll have sophisticated players trying to figure out how to monetize it. … My instincts are always on the free market.”