The Tragically Hip perform in B.C.: tickets for the band’s farewell concert were snapped up as soon as they went on sale. (Scott Alexander/Pressphotointl.com)

B.C. vows crackdown on price-gouging ticket scalpers, bots

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth starts with survey of users

The B.C. government wants to crack down on concert ticket scalpers and automatic buying programs, but it isn’t sure how to proceed yet.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said Tuesday he’s beginning with a three-week online survey of people’s experiences buying from event providers and ticket resellers.

“Live events should be an enjoyable experience for British Columbians, not a windfall for scalpers,” Farnworth said.

The survey results are to be released this spring, and legislation to restrict ticket sales will be introduced this fall, Farnworth said.

The event organizing and ticket selling industry will be a key to tackling the problem, which has vexed other provinces and countries since the advent of automated methods to snap up tickets as soon as an authorized ticket seller makes them available.

“We want to learn from the successes as well as the failures of other jurisdictions,” Farnworth said.

“There’s a whole range of issues beside bots. In a 50,000-seat arena, people think there are 50,000 tickets. But when you start to take out things such as tickets being held back by the owner, for fan clubs for example, that reduces the number of tickets.”

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