“Scalper bots” may be outlawed in Ontario

Concert-goers and sports junkies may have reason to celebrate

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TORONTO – Ontario plans to introduce legislation next spring to outlaw computer “scalper bots” that scoop up huge blocks of tickets to concerts and major sporting events, forcing many customers to the more expensive resale market.

Attorney General Yasir Naqvi admits there’s no magic bullet he can use to stop criminals operating in other jurisdictions from using sophisticated computer software to make bulk purchases of tickets to resell at far above face value.

But he says inaction is not the answer either, and feels strongly that the government needs to do something to try to protect consumers and make sure they get a “fair shot” at buying tickets to big events.

Naqvi says he was “bugged” by seeing Tragically Hip fans being shut out of initial ticket sales for the iconic Canadian band’s farewell tour last summer.

He plans to consult with consumer groups, entertainers and his colleagues in other jurisdictions like New York, who have also struggled to deal with ticket scalping and “bots.”

Naqvi says the government’s legislation will build on a private member’s bill by Liberal Sophia Kiwala, which also was aimed at banning “scalper bots.”

“I want to see what kind of solutions we can put in place,” he said. “New York and London are bigger markets than us, and they’re struggling with the same thing.”

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