The Ontario government today is introducing legislation aimed at preventing related primary and secondary ticket sellers from selling tickets to the same event. The obvious target? Ticketmaster, whose secondary market subsidiary (i.e., scalping service), TicketsNow, makes huge fees from allowing people to resell tickets at higher than face-value prices.
Ontarians have spoken out clearly, resoundingly and unequivocally against companies benefiting from the primary and secondary markets, says Chris Bentley, Ontarios attorney general. This is about fairness. We are determined to ensure that Ontarians have fair access to entertainment tickets for events taking place in the province.
If the legislation is passed, any individual convicted of reselling would face a fine of up to $5,000, but corporations could be dinged up to $50,000.
The proposed legislation is certain to be applauded by sports and entertainment ticket buyers, as well as brokers who have complained that Ticketmaster is horning in on their territory.
Ontarios current Ticket Speculation Act already makes it illegal for anyone to a) sell or try to sell a ticket at higher than face value, or b) buy or offer to buy tickets with the intention of selling them at prices higher than the advertised or announced price. Anyone guilty is subject to a fine of up to $5,000.
Whether or not Ticketmaster is actively reselling tickets directly on TicketsNowand, for the record, Ticketmaster says it isntthe current legislation would seem to cover everyone selling tickets through the online service. If that indeed is Ticketmaster, charge them, just as police would charge a street scalper.
But this new legislation probably does at least one thing: it should force Ticketmaster to change how its subsidiary works. TicketsNow, which was bought last year for US$265 million, would have to prevent anyone from Ontario reselling tickets that were originally bought through Ticketmaster. If the legislation passes, no doubt other jurisdictions will look at adopting similar laws.
Its all just another headache for Ticketmaster, which also faces four class-action lawsuits in Canada, widespread consumer hatred and artist criticism. But its a well-deserved one.
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