By Alfred Branch, Jr.

A proposal to eliminate Massachusetts’ restrictions on ticket reselling is nearing a legislative vote, following approval for the measure this week from a key state government committee.

The Massachusetts legislature’s Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee moved SB #214 to the floor of the legislature earlier in the week, and lawmakers could vote on before Monday, Oct. 1, which interestingly is the date that neighboring Connecticut will officially allow unrestricted ticket reselling.

TFL and ATBS for ticketing professionals

As proposed by state Rep. Michael Rodrigues, the bill states that “No one can sell [a ticket] above face value unless licensed by the Department of Public Safety to do so,” and such a license will cost $1,000. . . Individuals who did not want to obtain a license can simply use a licensed third-party agent to resell their ticket, such as a StubHub! or Ticket Liquidator, for example. Licensed brokers would have to post a $100,000 bond as a condition of licensure, and guarantee refunds if a ticket is fraudulent, or if the event is cancelled. The state’s Department of Public Safety would continue to oversee the licensing and administration of the proposed law. Professional sports teams, venues or promoters can also establish ticket exchanges where fans and season ticketholders can buy and resell tickets, but prohibits those teams from retaliating against fans who use other brokers to resell their tickets.

The bill as proposed does not restrict the amount for which a ticket can be resold, but it does allow for buffer zones around venues where reselling cannot occur. In addition, brokers are prohibited from using surrogates or “runners” to snap up large blocks of tickets to games or events.

Violators of the proposed law could be progressively fined up to $5,000 and/or imprisoned for up to a year depending on whether the infraction was the first, second or beyond.