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Nine in 10 Canadians support prison for touts

With the Tragically Hip controversy still fresh in their minds, Canadian consumers are demanding tough action on bot-using ticket touts

By Jon Chapple on 19 Jul 2016

Gord Downie, The Tragically Hip, Mike Bouchard

The Tragically Hip's Gord Downie at Ottawa Bluesfest 2013

image © Mike Bouchard

Nearly 90% of Canadians support prison terms for touts caught using ticket bots – and a third would do away with online ticketing altogether, new research reveals.

A survey by market research firm Insights West of Canadians who have attended a concert in the last three years shows that 87% would support legislation, similar to that introduced recently in New York, that allows for severe fines or jail time for touts making use automated ticket-buying software.

The company also found that 28% of those surveyed had recently attempted unsuccessfully to buy tickets through a primary ticket outlet, and comes shortly the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, was forced to intervene in a controversy over the number of tickets for The Tragically Hip’s farewell tour that ended up on secondary sites.

Insights West Canadian concertgoers

More surprisingly, almost a third of Canadian concertgoers (32%) – and a massive 43% of Quebeckers – would prefer to make ticket touting an impossibility by turning back the clock to a time when those wanting to go to a gig had to physically queue up outside the box office.

“Canadians have always been respectful of the queue,” says Mario Canseco, vice-president of public affairs at Insights West. “The country’s concertgoers are definitely showing their frustration when they lose out to a machine and have to pay more than they should to attend a performance.”


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