Democrats hope to make ticketing industry more consumer friendly

By Published On: May 10th, 2021Categories: Capitol Notes

When New York’s laws governing the ticketing industry expire this summer, Senate Investigations and Government Operations Committee Chair James Skoufis hopes they’re replaced with a system that shifts power to ticket buyers.

“The current laws, in my estimation, are still tilted too much to some industry players, and we’ve got to make these more pro consumer between now and the sunset,” the Orange County Democrat told The Capitol Pressroom.

The live-ticketing industry was the subject of an April Senate hearing, during which senators heard from representatives of Ticketmaster, StubHub, and industry stakeholders about ticket fees, held back tickets and much more. A Senate investigation into the ticket industry began last year, and Skoufis said his committee will issue a final report in the “next week or so.”

“I’ve got a running list of items that we’re fleshing out, most of which will appear in our report,” he said.

One of those items is the state regulation governing what constitutes reasonable ticket fees, which Skoufis says has been exploited by ticket sellers because it’s too vague. “Everyone sort of just makes up what they think reasonable is, and therefore it’s legal,” he said.

During the hearing, the senator grilled a representative from Ticketmaster about the regressive nature of the fees, which make up a much higher percentage of the cost for a ticket buyer in the cheap seats, than for the front row ticket purchasers.

If new regulations aren’t adopted this summer and the existing laws aren’t extended, extremely outdated rules that used to govern the industry will take effect. Under those rules, Skoufis said there would be no transferring of tickets and ticket reselling prices would be capped at $2 above face value.