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Ontario opens public consultation on ticket touting bots

By | Published on Wednesday 1 March 2017

Ticket touts

Ontario lawmakers have launched a public consultation on plans to introduce new laws banning the use of ticket tout bots.

As previously reported, the Canadian province’s Attorney General Yasir Naqvi announced the intention to introduce new legislation last October. The one bit of the secondary market the big ticket reselling companies advocate getting rid of, bots are bits of software used by touts to automatically hoover up large quantities of tickets on primary sites before genuine members of the public can get their hands on them.

The move to outlaw the use of such software was prompted after tickets for Canadian rock band The Tragically Hip’s farewell tour quickly found their way to secondary sites at massive mark-ups. This was particularly emotive, as the band had announced their split because frontman Gord Downie had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Their final show ran for three hours and was televised nationwide, with many Canadians declaring the country “closed” while it was on.

“What happened with The Hip’s ‘Man Machine Poem’ tour really, really personally bugged me”, Naqvi told reporters yesterday. “Tickets to shows across Canada were bought up in seconds then reappeared immediately on resale sites at hugely inflated prices, prices that were out of reach for a lot of fans”.

However, opposition parties in the province have criticised the ruling Liberal party for being slow to act on the matter since then. They also say that the rise of bot use is of the Liberals’ own making, they having changed the law in 2015 to make reselling tickets at a mark-up legal in Ontario.

“The Liberals created this problem when they enacted a policy and a regulation which actually allowed this to happen”, NDP deputy leader Jagmeet Singh told The Globe & Mail. “Now they created a problem and they announced that they’re going to try to study the problem that they created and figure out a way to solve it”.

Ontarians with a view on secondary ticketing matters can fill out the consultation survey here.