Industry News

Ontario plans 50% mark-up cap on resold tickets

The Canadian province of Ontario has announced plans to introduce legislation that will clamp down on online ticket scalping.

The Liberal government said that automated ticket-buying ‘bots’ would be made illegal, while also placing a cap on resold tickets at 50 per cent above their face value.

The proposed law would impose stricter guidelines for ticket resellers, in which they would be required to provide more information, including the face value of tickets and any surcharges.

“By the time any real fan is able to log on and search for tickets the best seats are gone,” Yasir Naqvi, Ontario’s attorney general, said.

“Many events sell out completely in minutes, even seconds, and many of these tickets end up on resale sites for huge mark-ups, of course.”

Earlier in the year, the Ontario government 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.

Naqvi had said fans were consulted about accessibility, affordability, transparency and enforcement, with the goal of introducing legislation in the spring.

While Naqvi recognises that enforcing a ban on scalper bots will be a difficult task, he said that capping the mark-up on tickets will give scalpers less financial incentive to use bots in the first place.

Companies have attempted to restrict bots through technology, with Ticketmaster recently launching its Verified Fan platform, but the new legislation could allow fans and the industry to sue those who use of bots or facilitate the reselling of those tickets.

“Between bots, lack of transparency and unfair prices on resale sites, there is a pervasive sentiment that the system is rigged,” Naqvi said.