Ticket, sport systems get anti-bot edge in revamp

Urbtix's new ticketing platform - set to debut in the last quarter of this year - will not only better accommodate bookings for popular events but will also boast anti-bot programs, the Home Affairs Bureau told the Legislative Council yesterday.

The news came soon after many complaints late last month of long waiting times for people trying to get their hands on Urbtix tickets to popular events, namely local boy band Mirror's upcoming concert.

Jack Chan Jick-chi, the acting secretary for home affairs, said the upgraded system will accept more e-payment methods including Octopus, the Faster Payment System, Alipay, WeChat Pay, Apple Pay and Google Pay.

He was replying to sports, performing arts, culture and publication sector lawmaker Kenneth Fok Kai-kong's question.

Tianjin Maoyan Weying Technology is behind the new platform, Chan said, adding the Leisure and Cultural Services Department first commissioned the company in October 2020.

"Maoyan has completed the system's design and is now working through the development and testing stages, which includes enhancing the system's ability to handle immense demand for events. The system will also be able to mount a more effective defense against bots."

Systemic upgrades will also extend to recreation and sport facilities as Chan announced a new booking platform will replace the existing Leisure Link website. This platform will also target bots by requiring real-name registration.

Further, a balloting function will be introduced to complement the existing first-come, first served method of allocating bookings. The first phase will launch next year, in which core functions will be introduced, while enhanced functions will become available in 2024.