In a move to buy some time while officials continue to negotiate new provisions, Gov. David Paterson has sent a letter to legislators seeking to extend the current ticket resale law for another week. The measure is set to expire tomorrow, May 15.
Whether the letter will have any effect is unknown – but it is unlikely to stop the expiration – because most legislators are back in their districts and not in Albany, and they are not scheduled to return to the capitol until Monday, May 17. The current law allows consumers and brokers to resell event tickets for any amount, and prevents sports teams from punishing season ticket holders who resell their tickets through channels other than the team itself.
If the law expires tomorrow, as expected, virtually the entire secondary ticket market would technically be illegal, because the old anti-scalping law does not allow for resale above $2 beyond the face value of the ticket. However, chances are the expiration would have little immediate effect because the law is unlikely to be enforced, officials believe, and on Monday the legislature may approve the temporary extension.
Some legislators reportedly want more than a week for the temporary extension in order to be able to hold a hearing on the matter. Whether a hearing will be held, and when, has not yet been determined.
The main sticking point continues to be the issue of what to do about paperless ticketing, which Paterson and other legislators want to see addressed because they believe the technology could harm consumers. Live Nation Entertainment’s Ticketmaster division is the chief proponent of the technology, which the company says allows it to better control ticket distribution and offer safeguards from tickets being counterfeited.
Paperless ticketing, however, makes redistribution of tickets difficult, because Ticketmaster controls the only exchange where its paperless tickets can be resold. That exchange also caps the amounts that people can charge for their tickets, which in some cases can lead to consumers taking a loss. In addition, paperless tickets currently cannot be bought with cash at a venue’s box office, in part because an ID is needed at the gate to gain entry to an event.
State legislators first sought to have paperless tickets transferable across multiple platforms, but recently changed their negotiation track to push for paperless tickets to be just one of the options a consumer can request at check out.
Ticketmaster and client Cablevision, former owner of Madison Square Garden, oppose any language in a new bill regulating paperless tickets.
“Gov. Paterson wants to protect the consumer by giving them a choice,” spokesperson Morgan Hook told the New York Daily News.