By Alfred Branch, Jr.
New York State’s ticket scalping law, which allows for the resale of tickets above face value to large events, is set to expire on June 1, and the chairman of the League of American Theaters and Producers is advocating its demise.
In a letter to the state’s Consumer Protection Board, Gerald Schoenfeld said he would like to see the state’s legislature replace the current law with new legislation that would require the licensing of all ticket resellers and establishing tough, new rules against “ice,” which is the payoffs to box office personnel to steer tickets to brokers.
Schoenfeld also would like to see the safe zone around a venue where scalpers are not allowed to resell tickets be expanded from 1,000 feet to 1,500 feet, and a new provision requiring brokers pay full refunds to patrons if an event is cancelled or if a ticket is fraudulent. In addition, he believes that if all resale caps were removed it would help increase competition, and consumers would benefit in the long run because prices would drop.
One of the New York legislators most closely identified with the law is Republican Sen. Dean Skelos, who has reportedly advocated similar changes to the bill in the past, but his spokesman John Conway said the senator has not introduced any bills for or against the law in the current session. “We were looking at getting involved, but that’s all we can say at this time,” Conway said.
New York is one of several states that are reviewing its ticket scalping laws in light of the Internet making it virtually impossible to enforce the regulations. Minnesota’s Senate recently approved a measure repealing its anti-scalping law, and that state’s House of Representatives is also expected to pass it. Connecticut is also reviewing its anti-scalping laws.