A proposed bill that would essentially wipe out the ticket resale market in the Canadian province of Quebec could end up being watered down to allow for a regulated secondary market.
Government officials concluded two days of hearings about the bill today, September 13, and are considering some changes to the bill in part because the Canadian Ticket Brokers Association (CTBA) and others argued that banning ticket resale in the province would drive the secondary market underground where consumers could be at greater risk of being scammed.
The proposal, Bill 25, states that no reseller “may sell a ticket to a consumer at a price above that announced by the vendor authorized to sell the tickets by the producer of the event.” But, the bill applies to online brokers and not street scalpers, and the CTBA argued that it would be virtually impossible to enforce such a rule.
“The law is misguided and doesn’t serve anyone’s interest,” Mario Livich, spokesperson for the CTBA, told TicketNews. In addition to being with the CTBA, Livich is also founder and CEO of Vancouver-based ticket brokerage ShowTime tickets. “It targets legitimate businesses and doesn’t address the scalpers on the street, and it would just push things underground into the black market.”
Livich said the CTBA is optimistic that the group’s argument was well received by government officials.
Quebec Justice Minister Jean-Marc Fournier, who is pushing for the bill’s passage, helped create it because he has received complaints that brokers allegedly bought huge supplies of tickets and effectively shut out regular fans. Several promoters and venues in the province also are pushing for passage of the bill because they believe that the resale market has adversely affected their business for years.
Montreal attorney Julius Grey, who represents ticket brokers, denied that charge to reporters on Monday, September 12. “The solution is consumer protection legislation – not a prohibition of the whole resale system. There is simply no history of a large percentage of the tickets being in the hands of resellers; it’s a small percentage of tickets that has no effect on the price and makes the availability more even.”
Livich added that the CTBA will continue efforts to educate Quebec lawmakers.
“We will be working with the government to create effective regulation,” he said. Officials are expected to come up with some new proposals over the next several weeks.