Ontario Set to Announce How They’re Going to Take Down Ticket-Buying Bots

In conversations over the past 18 months with people from the Ontario Attorney General’s office, I’ve been told that the government is serious about cracking down on those damn software programs that swoop in and buy up tickets to concerts, sporting events and theatre productions before us poor meatbags have a chance. The last time I spoke to someone from the office–this was just before my article on Ticketmaster was published in the Globe and Mail–the person assured me that after months of consultation, legislation was imminent. Nothing would make it until the fall session of the legislature, but something was coming.

Word is that come Monday (June 26), the Ontario Government will announce reforms to legislation surrounding the selling of tickets. This will include more rules for resellers (everyone from StubHub to that guy on Kijiji) to a call for “more transparency.” Ticket reselling won’t be outlawed but could be curtailed somehow.

Then there’s the issue of scalper bots. How Ontario plans to outlaw/ban/limit their use is unclear, given the difficulty regulating out-of-province bots.

From Global News:

The attorney general sought public feedback earlier this year on how to craft legislation on ticket buying and resale, including how to shut “scalper bots,” which scoop up huge blocks of tickets that quickly appear on resale sites at higher prices.

Of the 34,700 people who responded to the government’s online survey, 89 per cent said ticket-buying software should be illegal and the same percentage said there should be a cap on ticket resale mark-ups.


The opposition parties have charged that it’s a problem of the Liberal government’s own making, since it changed the Ticket Speculation Act in 2015 to make it legal to resell tickets above their original face value.

An outcry from fans shut out of buying tickets to the Tragically Hip’s farewell tour last year prompted the Ontario government to take a look at the issue.

Read more here. Monday’s announcement should be interesting.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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