The Ontario government has asked residents of the Canadian province for input to develop “practical solutions” for giving people a “fair shot” at buying tickets for concerts, sports and other events.
Attorney General Yasir Naqvi said fans are to be consulted about accessibility, affordability, transparency and enforcement, with the goal of introducing legislation in the spring, CBC News reports.
Naqvi said the internet has led to a greater variety of options for people who want to buy tickets quickly, but it also has created a platform for “scalper bots”. He said the underground technology scoops up huge blocks of tickets, shutting out regular fans that are forced to go to expensive ticket resellers.
“The rules around buying and selling tickets online are not doing enough for fans. They are not putting them first. Our government is going to change that,” he said.
“Ontario is home to some of the best artists, performers and athletes in the world,” he said. “But we also have a real problem when it comes to fans getting a fair shot at buying tickets.”
Naqvi urged members of the public to go to ontario.ca/tickets to fill out an online survey, which is open until March 15. The government will report back on its findings in the spring of this year.
The consultation document reads: “We want to change the rules for buying and selling tickets online. Tell us about your experiences and help us understand what’s important to you.
“Your feedback will be used by the Ministry of the Attorney General to update current legislation and develop new rules to better protect consumers and give everyone in Ontario a fair shot at buying event tickets.”
Naqvi announced last year that he would consult with consumer groups, performers and colleagues in other jurisdictions such as New York on the outlawing of ‘bots’. The legislation would likely be built on an earlier private member’s bill by MPP Sophie Kiwala.
Italy has introduced legislation to ban the reselling of tickets, while the UK passed the Digital Economy Bill at the end of last year, which includes provision to crack down on scalpers and target ticket resale sites.
President Obama was also hailed for signing the Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act, which makes the use of bots of scalp tickets a federal offence in the US.