Ontario, Canada’s Attorney General Chris Bentley today introduced legislation that aims to restrict primary ticket sellers, such as Ticketmaster Entertainment, from reselling tickets on their own secondary ticket Web sites for more money. Ticketmaster owns ticket resale subsidiary TicketsNow, which has run afoul of some Canadian and U.S. officials because of the cozy relationship between the two.
Under new provisions to the Ticket Speculation Act, the law “would prohibit related primary and secondary ticket sellers from selling tickets to the same event. An individual fine of up to $5,000 and a corporate fine of up to $50,000 would also be created for violations.” Click here to read the original Ticket Speculation Act.
In recent months, Ticketmaster has drawn the ire of some fans and government officials for the company’s handling the sales of Elton John, Leonard Cohen and other artist tickets because ticket buyers were being shuttled from the Ticketmaster Web site to that of TicketsNow. Ticketmaster vehemently denied it was trying to manipulate purchasers from one site to the other, where tickets sell at a premium, but the company settled similar complaints with the Attorney General’s Office in New Jersey involving Bruce Springsteen tickets.
“Ontarians have spoken out clearly, resoundingly and unequivocally against companies benefitting from the primary and secondary markets,” Bentley said in a statement. “This is about fairness. We are determined to ensure that Ontarians have fair access to entertainment tickets for events taking place in the province.”
According to internal government documents obtained by The Canadian Press, however, officials’ hands were somewhat tied as to what action the government could take against Ticketmaster. “The legislative consumer protection instruments and powers in regard to this matter rest largely at the provincial level,” the documents said.
“We are ensuring that fair business practices continue to be the standard in Ontario,” echoed Harinder Takhar, Minister of Small Business and Consumer Services, in a statement. “Ontarians deserve to know that they are getting fair and equitable access to event tickets.”