A bill that would require ticketing platforms to offer consumers freedom to buy tickets Committee resigned unanimously in the Florida Legislature Monday. The statement, SB1316, was passed unanimously by the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee by a 9-0 vote. it will next be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
According to Senator Ed Hooper, the bill’s sponsor, the bill seeks to limit the restrictions on consumer choice that non-transferrable ticketing systems pose. It would also reduce the potential for monopolistic behavior fueled by promoter-imposed ticketing restrictions restricting consumers to making resale transactions only within the original ticketing system. Multi-day tickets or passes would be exempt from the law.
“If I buy a ticket for the Tampa Bay Rays, technically I can’t give that ticket to a guy who’s never seen a baseball game because technically that’s not my ticket,” Hooper said.
If passed, Florida would join several other states that already have legal requirements related to consumer choice on ticketing platforms. States like New York, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Utah and Virginia already have laws in place that protect consumer choices. This means that when you buy a ticket through a prime seller, they are legally required to offer you the option of receiving that ticket in a freely transferrable format – often in the form of a ‘hard’ paper ticket or a PDF e-ticket, that can be shared without having to go through the ticketing system again to either scan it from a mobile device or print it out at home.
Ticket transfer rights have become an increasingly important issue for consumers in recent years. Companies like Ticketmaster and AXS have increasingly developed systems that rely on mobile-only ticketing apps for ticket delivery. Such apps mean that the actual ticket is locked in the system and can only be used, transferred or sold if the ticket system allows it. At best, it’s a massive data theft that allows consumer information to be sold to third parties. At worst, it can result in hundreds of people being locked out of venues at the whim of event organizers if they decide to unilaterally crack down on ticket resale competition.
Some lawmakers have expressed concern that such a bill could lead to a rise in consumer ticket prices, but supporters of the measure believe consumers will benefit and fares will fall if there are fewer restrictions on tickets, rather than more. “The debate is not whether [ticket] Resale is good or bad,” says Laura Dooley, head of government at StubHub. “The debate is who controls resale.”
Dooley pointed out that Live Nation-owned Ticketmaster controls an overwhelming share of the live events market in the United States. It operates on both sides of the fence, using technologies like its “Safetix” barcode system to extend its control over tickets well beyond once a consumer has paid for them – actions that have often drawn accusations of monopolistic behavior from both consumers have and legislators. The proposed law, she argued, will curb this behavior by limiting a company’s power over tickets already sold.
If passed, the law would go into effect on July 1 of this year. The full invoice language is available here. You can follow its progress through the Florida Legislature here.