Online ticket brokers reselling tickets in the Tar Heel State can breathe a sigh of relief today following Gov. Mike Easley’s decision Monday to sign a new resale law that legalizes unrestricted ticket sales over the Web in North Carolina.
Senate Bill 1407, which went into effect retroactively on August 1, is “An act to protect customers when purchasing tickets via the Internet and to prohibit the use of software to unfairly purchase tickets over the Internet.” It was sponsored by Republican State Sen. Fletcher Hartsell.
In an exclusive interview with TicketNews, Hartsell said the new law still prohibits “street scalping,” and it carries a sunset of June 30, 2009, which will allow legislators to assess how the new law plays out.
“We wanted to get some controls in place and then be able to gather information to see if it works,” Hartsell said. “There is a reporting provision in it for the online companies so that we can see what the real numbers are.”
Legislators grappled with the issue of taxing resold tickets, and they may revisit the issue again in the future, but they wanted to know how much revenue they might be generating. Hartsell said estimates place potential tax revenue for resold tickets in the state “at seven figures.”
Despite the fact that state legislators in both the House and the Senate had discussed the bill on and off for close to a year, Hartsell said they did not hear from ticket brokers about whether they were for or against the law, but legislators did hear from Ticketmaster, eBay and venues, all of which supported the measure. In addition, the state’s major sports teams, including the Carolina Panthers, Charlotte Bobcats and Carolina Hurricanes, also supported the plan.
“The final bill represents a compromise among the parties that we heard from,” Hartsell said. While online brokers can legally resell tickets at a profit, venues in the state can stop it for tickets resold for events in their facilities. “There were several venues that were experiencing problems with counterfeit tickets being resold,” he added.
As the new law states, “The venue where an event will occur may prohibit the resale of admission tickets for the event at a price greater than the price on the face of the ticket. To prohibit the resale of tickets under this section, the venue must file a notice of prohibition of the resale of admission tickets for a specified event with the Secretary of State and must post the notice of prohibition conspicuously on its Web site. The primary ticket seller for the event must also post the notice conspicuously on its Web site.”
In addition, the new law requires all resellers to give full guarantees for all tickets resold, and also outlaws the use of software “bots” that allow users to circumvent computer firewalls and quickly purchase large blocks of tickets.
North Carolina was one of only a handful of states, including Massachusetts, that still outlawed ticket resale.