State Legislature Passes Skelos Legislation To Create Free Market In Ticket Resales

Dean G. Skelos

June 01, 2007

New York State Senate Deputy Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) and Assemblyman Joseph D. Morelle (D-Irondequoit) today announced passage in both houses of the New York State Legislature of legislation removing many of the current restrictions regarding the resale, or “scalping”, of tickets for entertainment and sports events.

The bill (A.07526A/S.3857A) eliminates the present cap on ticket resale prices, effectively establishing a free marketplace for such transactions. Furthermore, the legislation requires that ticket brokers be licensed by the state, and simplifies the process for doing so. It also introduces new language that prohibits entertainment venue operators from restricting the resale practices of fans and patrons, while at the same time enhancing provisions against fraud and misconduct for resellers and purchasers.

“The free market works,” said Senator Skelos. “This legislation will provide more people with greater access to tickets for sporting events, concerts and Broadway shows and it will help lower prices on the resale market. This is pro-consumer legislation that reflects the changing market for these tickets though the internet.”

“This bill allows ticket resellers and consumers to interact freely while maintaining the necessary safeguards against unsavory and unethical conduct,” Assemblyman Morelle said. “It strikes the right balance between free market practices and consumer protection.”

The impetus for this legislation is the changing marketplace, with the advent of electronic media, and the need to increase the accessibility of tickets for New Yorkers while protecting their right to freely buy and sell those tickets. Existing law caps scalping prices at 45% over face value at events with more than 6,000 seats, and at 20% over face value for smaller theaters and stadiums. This legislation establishes a true free market for ticket resales after a decade of incremental change.

“The original rationale for these regulations and restrictions was to safeguard the public from undue price gouging in the secondary resale market,” Assemblyman Morelle said. “By allowing greater competition for the resale dollar, we may actually see a decrease in secondary prices, which is the ultimately best for the consumer.”

“The current system doesn’t work. It places this industry in the shadows and denies New Yorkers the same opportunity to purchase tickets to sporting events and shows that residents of other states enjoy. After 15 years of working to create a true free market system, I very pleased that we’ve finally achieved that goal,” said Senator Skelos.

The current law governing the resale of tickets expires on Friday. This legislation was signed into law by the Governor.