A new bill signed into law this week in New York will affect the consumer experience for ticket purchases to live events, and the state hopes the changes will be for the better. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a statement, “Live entertainment has long been a critical sector in our economy, and as consumers and the industry recover from the pandemic, it is important that we make the ticket-buying experience easier and more transparent. This bill will expand penalties for malicious ticketing practices that have made live events inaccessible to New Yorkers for too long.” [via Deadline]
The new legislation is meant to guarantee transparency in the ticket buying process by requiring sellers to make full display of the cost of the ticket, effectively banning the notorious hidden fees. It includes penalties for those using scalper bots and associated software to acquire bulk quantities of tickets. Delivery fees on tickets that are delivered electronically or printed at home have been given the deep six, and the sale of tickets to free events has also been prohibited as part of the new legislation.
However, the bottom line on the new legislation is that the goal was to always build more transparency into the ticket purchasing process. And while more transparency is always good, it wasn’t necessarily the problem. For example, the bill will not address the validity, if any, of any of the many such fees included in the ticket purchase, nor does it even dare to address the constitutionality of a multi-conglomerate live event market that seems to only incentivize those at the top of its food chain. Even the outlawing of ticket bots is largely toothless, as people in neighboring states with no such ban can easily pilfer tickets without consequence.
That said, the signing of the law marks the first serious attempt to reign in the industry, especially within the concrete confines of the biggest live entertainment city in the world, New York. Time will tell if this is only the beginning.