Ontario Bans Ticket Bots and Enforces Stricter Measures For Businesses Selling Tickets

When the Tragically Hip farewell tour tickets sold out last summer in record time and were almost instantaneously being resold well beyond their original asking price, the Ontario government took notice. More specifically, they took action after hearing the many complaints from their constituents who have been dealing with this ongoing problem of tickets for sporting and musical events being up-sold for often times more than 50 percent of the original value.

This will hopefully no longer be the case, at least in Ontario, where the government is proposing the Ticket Sales Act. The act is an attempt to curb some if not all of the foul practises involved in the secondary ticket business – an industry that is globally reported to be worth as much as $8 billion US.

The Act will strive to protect the customers from over priced resale tickets, prevent “bots” from buying out all of the tickets ahead of time, and providing more transparency between businesses and customers purchasing tickets on their sites.

In total, it will cover these four areas:

  • capping the resale price of tickets at 50 percent above face value
  • banning tickets bots and the sale of tickets purchased using a bot
  • businesses become more transparent with relevant information (i.e. number of tickets available to the public)
  • enforcing new measures to help ticket selling and reselling businesses meet these industry standards

Often when people go to a website to purchase tickets for say a Blue Jays game or a Bruno Mars concert, they are floundered by the fact that in just a matter of minutes the event will become completely sold out. This is in part the result of ticket buying bots, technology that can – with the click of a button – send a script of code that has the ability to purchase up to 15,000 tickets in just two minutes.

But another less talked about reason for these tickets being sold out so fast is that venues selling the tickets actually set aside a large portion on behalf of local businesses, colleagues or the venue’s own promoter. The tickets are then actually sold ahead of time in a much quieter – less advertised – exclusive pre-sale event.

This is another trend that will, hopefully, be quashed as part of the rules for transparency in the Ticket Sales Act will require venues to disclose exactly how many tickets are available at the time of their purchase and what the capacity of the event it also. Ticket resellers will also be required to display how much the ticket’s face value was, where the exact seat location is and the all-in price of the ticket (including taxes, fees, etc.)

Do you think these rules will make a difference in ticket resales in Ontario?

Click here to learn more about the Ticket Sales Act from the Ontario Government.

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