Ontario’s new ticket sales law could backfire for fans, critics warn


Fun industry stakeholders are complaining that imminent changes in Ontario’s rules hither live event ticket sales will drive up prices, take precautions less protection from fraud and do little to improve transparency as the sway had promised.

Alan Cross, a broadcaster, blogger and music historian, put it bluntly in a late piece on his website: “The Ontario government just blew It with its new concert ticket premium laws.”

The Ticket Sales Act, part of a larger consumer protection neb, will be put to a final vote on Wednesday. The Liberals have a majority and can archaic it without the help of the Progressive Conservatives or NDP, who both plan to vote against Charge 166.

The bill, which bans the use of bot technology and overhauls other areas of ticket blow the whistle on, has been in the works for more than a year. Bot technology is software that allows purchasers to circumvent website security and rapidly buy swaths of tickets.

Some of the nib’s key measures were in response to the outcry from Tragically Hip fans who couldn’t get their hands on tickets or waged exorbitant amounts on resale websites when the beloved band needed on its final tour in the summer of 2016.

Attorney General Yasir Naqvi conjectured Tuesday the legislation will make Ontario stand out globally.

“We caused a very important bill dealing with making sure we are rib fans first,” Naqvi told CBC News.

But some of the ticket hustle’s heavyweights, like StubHub, warn the government is doing the opposite.

Unintended consequences

“They get created a bill that is going to have many unintended consequences and essentially doesn’t do what it was meant to do,” said Jeff Poirier, general boss for StubHub in Canada, in an interview.

“I would say that passage of this restaurant check will be regressive versus progressive in nature.”

Ont Justice Reform 20170221

Attorney General Yasir Naqvi is peddling Ontario’s proposed rules on ticket sales as some of the toughest in the the human race and says they will put fans firs. But some industry betters warn of unintended consequences. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

One of the biggest beefs from industry players is the resale price cap of 50 per cent overhead face value. StubHub and others tried to push back on that, make a casing that it will drive sales off their legitimate websites to somewhere else on the internet where there are no protections against fraud.

They cited authorities in the United States that dropped price caps because they weren’t unsurpassed to lower prices or increased access to tickets.

“Prices end up going up, reservoir goes down and then these transactions are going to move off of hypothecate platforms, which is the whole thing we want to reverse,” said Poirier.

Erin Benjamin, kingpin director of Music Canada Live, which represents ticket sellers, venues, promoters and others tangled in live music events, agrees.

“To try and regulate ticket sales via valuation caps, we believe, because it’s been proven, just drives unlawful activity into the darkest corners of the internet,” she said. Benjamin utter fans can expect to pay more with less certainty that their tickets are right.

Imposing price caps is also a “slippery slope” of interfering in the open market and the principles of supply and demand, said Benjamin.

‘Fans unquestionably want that cap’ 

“Fans really want that cap on resale,” Naqvi said in reaction to the criticism.

The government argues the cap will reduce the incentive for people to buy tickets, with or without the alleviate of bot technology, and then immediately resell them for inflated prices. Delightful away that incentive could help keep more tickets in the best years market and available for fans, it says.

One measure it did back down on has to do with transparency.

In the queer fish bill ticket sellers would have been required to show how many tickets would be available for general sale, but that was charmed out of the final version. It would have helped expose how many tickets are holdbacks, which venues, artists, and promoters swing on to for their own purposes or for direct marketing campaigns such as fan loyalty programs.

John Prine tickets

Tickets to viable events that are in high demand can get scooped up quickly. Ontario’s legislation, earmarked for approval on Dec. 13, cracks down on bot technology. (Elizabeth McMillan/CBC)

StubHub disputed in favour of this provision, but Ticketmaster and Music Canada Live lobbied to consign to the scrap heap it.  

Benjamin said because ticket inventory is fluid leading up to an affair, availability can change. Ticketmaster argued that disclosing availability whim help cheaters using bots.

Other transparency measures lodged in the bill, such as requiring all-in pricing to be displayed instead of honoraria added after checkout. As well, the face value of the ticket should be shown, and the currency and seat location must be disclosed.

Bot ban widely applauded

The one big pass out all parties are applauding is the bot ban.

“Who in their right mind would say that that’s a bad outlook?” said Patti-Anne Tarlton, chief operating officer for Ticketmaster Canada, in an examine. “The only challenge that they would be faced with is the enforcement thereof.”

Tarlton affirmed the new private right of action provided by the legislation will help with enforcement. It leave allow individuals and companies to sue anyone found to be flouting the law. Others farmed concerns about the legal recourse, saying it could be anti-competitive value and clog up the courts.

“On balance, it’s a very productive piece of legislation,” claimed Tarlton. She’d still like the government to give some ground on the premium cap. Ticketmaster also operates a resale platform for ticket sellers.

StubHub’s Poirier estimated the government didn’t strike the right balance among the competing keen ons in a complex and valuable industry.

“The fans and the Ontario businesses that were suppositious to be put at the front of this and made the most important constituents here were at bottom relegated to second place,” he said. “And that’s just unfortunate.”

Naqvi acknowledged there is “no one sorcery bullet here,” but said he feels confident the new rules will profit consumers. 

“I think Ontario is showing leadership by bringing a suite of proportions that will create a level playing field for the fans,” he imparted.

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