The New York State Legislature passed a bill Wednesday that takes aim at ticket resellers.
The legislation, which has been supported by the Broadway League and its members, will require ticket resale sites to post a clear notice on the site saying it is selling secondary tickets. The bill will also force ticket resellers to disclose whether or not they have a ticket at the time of purchase, or whether it is speculative, as in a ticket they will try to obtain after the sale is made.
“A lack of oversight has led to a confusing and opaque ticket buying environment where, in many instances, consumers are not aware that they are doing business with a third-party reseller or that the reseller is listing tickets on speculation and they have not yet been made available for sale by the artist or venue,” Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League, said in a press release. “As a long-term champion of consumer protection and theatre accessibility, the League has been a vocal supporter of reform in this area.”
The bill has passed the New York State Senate and Assembly and awaits a signature from Gov. Cuomo.
Under the bill, resellers will not be allowed to use a confusing or misleading URL that may make them look like a primary ticket seller. The resellers will also have to provide their license number on any site where they sell tickets and clearly disclose fees and other surcharges.
One issue with the speculative ticket listing, according to press release from the State Assembly, is that it forces normal ticket buyers to compete against resellers as they rapidly try to find the tickets they have already sold and it can increase the end price for the consumer.
Speculative tickets and resale sites contribute to the idea that Broadway tickets are too expensive, said Jordan Roth, producer and president of Jujamcyn Theaters.
“When people see these wildly inflated prices, they get a false perception,” Roth said.
The new legislation, and the aim at speculative ticket pricing in particular, should provide better protections for ticket buyers, which, in turn, helps the industry by bringing in consumers, he said.
Under the passed law, resellers will have to refund a customer’s money if they cannot sell the ticket at the original price.
The law also includes a provision for the use of bots: any ticket seller who uses, owns of controls ticket purchasing software may lose their license and be barred from receiving a license as a ticket reseller for up to three years.
The legislation has been in the works for about two years, according to The Broadway League. The League has participated in two roundtable discussions about improving current law, met with lawmakers and submitted filings recommending language for the legislation.
Elsewhere, the United Kingdom has been cracking down on ticket resellers, requiring them to list additional fees upfront.
Google has also enacted rules for its advertisers that require secondary ticketing sites to disclose premiums and clearly show that they are not primary ticketing sites.