Industry News

Ontario drops key element of ticket bill, Alberta to ban bots

Ontario lawmakers that proposed changes to consumer legislation have opted to drop a controversial transparency clause following pressure from artists and the ticketing industry.

Under the bill, the Canadian province would have required ticket sellers to disclose how many tickets are available to the public for a given event seven days prior to them going on sale.

The proposed Ticket Sales Act, which has been fought by ticketing industry leaders for almost a year, also 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.

According to the Globe and Mail, Ontario’s Liberal party government concluded that the transparency rule “would be a disincentive for musicians, particularly small and medium acts, to tour the province”.

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

Meanwhile in the Canadian province of Alberta, legislatures are moving full steam ahead with a new bill that would outlaw the use of software bots. If passed, the new A Better Deal for Consumers and Businesses Act could be introduced in Alberta, whose cities include Edmonton and Calgary, in the coming days.

As part of the proposed legislation, ticket sellers would have to perform “due diligence” to block bots on their websites, and cancel any tickets snapped up through the software.

In addition, those who purchase cancelled or counterfeit tickets on secondary sites like StubHub, could be protected under the proposed legislation by compelling those companies to offer refunds.

“There is a widespread feeling among Albertans that the ticketing game is rigged against them,” said Service Alberta Minister Stephanie McLean.

“We believe fans deserve a fair shot at tickets to see their favourite artists without getting gouged or scammed.”

Unlike Ontario, Alberta has opted to refrain from capping the amount tickets can be sold for on secondary sellers.