With just weeks to go before the law defining New York’s ticketing rights landscape was set to expire, the Assembly and Senate agreed on a one-year extension of the current law, which was signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday. This extends the currently existing protections for ticket holders in New York to June 30, 2022.
Among the provisions in the law are the requirement of freely transferrable tickets to be offered by primary ticket sellers, a ban on cancelling of tickets strictly if they have been resold, and the framework for the licensing and regulating of professional ticket resellers operating in the state. Both primary marketplace operators and resale interests pushed hard for the extension to take place, showing the popularity of these provisions for consumers in one of the most important ticketing markets in the country, home to Broadway, the New York Yankees, Knicks, Islanders, Rangers, and Buffalo Bills as well as a staggeringly vibrant live music scene.
Paused for the moment are a series of new consumer-friendly actions that had been proposed by Sen. James Skoufis after his investigation of the ticketing landscape found what he believed to be several places where consumer protections fell short. While numerous consumer organizations pushed for the passage of these protections, the Assembly had already passed the extension of the current law, and the two houses agreed to stick with that, with plans to examine Skoufis’ proposed changes in greater depth for the next year.
With New York buttoned up, it appears that New Jersey may be next in terms of adding protections that would make it a more consumer-friendly ticketing landscape. The legislature is currently considering the “New Jersey Ticket Consumer Choice Act.”
The act proposes to add to New Jersey’s books protections and privileges for consumers that would bring it more in line with its neighbors New York and Connecticut – as well as Colorado, Virginia, and Illinois. The Senate version is S376, while the Assembly version is A3194. The assembly bill has already passed out of committee and is awaiting a floor vote, with the Senate hoping to pass out of committee this week.
“This bill would guarantee the right of New Jersey ticket purchasers to opt-out of ticket restrictions that limit their ability to use, sell, or give away the tickets they have purchased,” reads the statement introducing the legislation, which is co-sponsored by Senators Loretta Weinberg (District 37 – Bergen) and Robert W. Singer (District 30 – Monmouth and Ocean). Assembly members Gordon M. Johnson (District 37), Clinton Calabrese (District 36 – Bergen & Passaic) and Robert J. Karabinchak (District 18 – Middlesex) co-sponsor A3194.
Simpler than New York’s wide-ranging legislation, these bills primarily limit the ability of primary ticket sellers to deny consumer transfer rights through the use of anti-resale technology such as SafeTix, save in specific circumstances defined by law. It also prevents discrimination against a ticket purchaser arriving at an event in terms of denial of entry to that event solely on the basis that the otherwise valid tickets they have were purchased on a marketplace different from the primary seller. Lastly, the bill removes existing caps on ticket resale prices that New Jersey has had in place.
The bill summary makes a specific point of the fact that New York has had similar protections in place for consumers for six years at this point – with those protections being renewed on multiple occasions. Polling related to the New York ticketing law shows more than 80 percent of consumers in favor of the renewal of these protections, flying in the face of primary ticketing interest lobbyists who argue that they are “pro-scalping” rather than pro-consumer.
Already, organizations including Fan Freedom and Sports Fans Coalition have come out in support of the New Jersey Ticket Consumer Choice Act. SFC has gone so far as to make a push for user-submissions from New Jersey residents to provide members of the legislature a show of support at the grassroots level for these added consumer protections and benefits regarding tickets purchased for live events.
It is expected that the bill will be considered by the New Jersey legislature at hearings as early as this week. New Jersey’s legislative session concludes in late June, so time is relatively short for the Garden State to pass protections for tickets that would bring it in line with its neighbors.