Ticket sale bill clears panel

TRENTON – Legislation that would change the way concert and sporting event tickets are sold in the state was released by a Senate panel today.

The bill, S875, which would restructure the way tickets are sold and resold in the state – including lifting limits on resale prices – cleared the Senate Commerce Committee. The legislation, sponsored by Sens. Ray Lesniak, (D-20), Elizabeth, and Robert Singer, (R-30), Jackson, aims to level the playing field, according to its sponsors.

“It’s called the free market,” said Lesniak, arguing changes need to be made in the way tickets are bought and sold in the state.

Other provisions in the bill include:

* Requiring ticket issuers to provide advance public notice of their ticket policies, including the total number of tickets to be issued; the number of tickets to be offered to the general public and the number of holdback tickets.

* Banning “bot” technology, which is software used to purchase tickets in excess of limits set by an issuer.

* The bill prohibits owners or operators of a place of entertainment or of an entertainment event, or their agents, from making initial ticket sales to themselves or their affiliates.

* Under the bill, ticket brokers would no longer have special privileges or be separately regulated. They would no longer have to register with the Division of Consumer Affairs and sections of law concerning registration of ticket brokers would be repealed by the bill.

* Operators of places of entertainment would be required by the bill to code tickets, so that they can be traced back to the original sale, and to keep records of ticket sales for five years.

* This bill also addresses a newer aspect of the business, so-called paperless tickets. The bill would prohibit ticket issuers from issuing “paperless tickets” in an electronic form that is not readily transferable to a subsequent purchaser or that conditions entry into an event on the presenting of documentation, such as the original purchaser’s credit card, that cannot be readily transferred to a subsequent purchaser.

Supporters of the legislation told lawmakers the proposal would level the playing field and give ticket holders greater flexibility to transfer what is rightfully theirs.

A representative from the Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce opposed the legislation, arguing it would hurt the Atlantic City community. The representative was joined by representatives of MetLife Stadium and the New York Jets, which argued it’s harmful for vendors to not have control of their ticket policy.

Multiple other individuals and organizations, including the New Jersey Devils, New York Giants and the New York Yankees, opposed the legislation without testifying.

“I’m really troubled about voting against the New York Giants,” Sen. Gerald Cardinale (R-39), said before correcting himself and referring to the team as the “Jersey Giants.”

Cardinale voted in favor of releasing the bill but said he understood some of the concerns opponents had with the legislation.

Sen. James Beach (D-6) was the only lawmaker to oppose the bill during the vote.

The committee also released two other bills following little discussion:

A1968, would permit surety companies to issue blanket bonds for certain local government officers and employees. The bill would also apply rating criteria and underwriting standards to blanket bond coverage.

S2057, dubbed the Anti-Big Brother Act, the bill would require school districts that provide laptops or other electronic devices to students to give the students written notice that the electronic device may record or collect information on the student’s activity.


Ticket sale bill clears panel