Leading operators including Ticketmaster Canada and StubHub have warned Ontario lawmakers that proposed changes to consumer legislation could lead to a spike in black market ticketing.

Representatives from the live events industry told social policy committee members in Canada’s most populous province that a new law enforcing resale-price caps would drive consumers to less-safe and less-legal means of ticket trading, exposing them to more fraudulent tickets through less-regulated websites or through old-fashioned parking-lot scalpers.

The proposed Ticket Sales Act, which has been fought by ticketing industry leaders for almost a year, could become law as early as next week. The legislation, which has cross-party support, decrees that live-event tickets cannot be resold for more than 50 per cent above their original cost while automated ticket-buying ‘bots’ would be made illegal.

In its presentation to social policy committee members in Toronto, Stubhub cited a 2016 report reviewing ticketing in the UK that found price caps on ticket resales “would be extremely difficult to police or future-proof.”

The Canadian Ticket Brokers Association, the concert-industry lobby group Music Canada Live and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce have all expressed their concerns.

Jim McDonell, the Progressive Conservatives’ consumer services critic, told The Globe and Mail after the meeting that he does not expect price caps to disappear in the bill’s final language.

“It’s a hard thing to fight, because consumers think it’s a great idea,” he said. “We’re just worried of unintended consequences.”

IMAGE: Etereuti