NY Loosens Scalping Law

New York’s anti-scalping laws were recently amended, making it legal to resell tickets for up to 45 percent over face value, provided they are for events in buildings with more than 6,000 seats and the sale is made at least 1,500 feet away from the venue.

The amendment repealed the old scalping law that prohibited resale of tickets for more than $2 above face value.

Fans and scalpers alike outside Ralph Wilson Stadium and HSBC Arena told The Buffalo News they welcome the change.

“The fact that it’s legal now … probably helps the customer more,” John Wilson of Rochester, N.Y., told the newspaper.

He picked up a pair of tickets to a Buffalo Sabres hockey game for $7 each just as the match started.

Though sports fans are happy with the change, the amendment was directed at Broadway, where theatre box office employees of smaller theatres often bought tickets to sell to scalpers, and the $2-over law was almost impossible to enforce.

The amended law provides greater controls on licensing ticket brokers both in state and out of state, and opens the street-level sale of tickets to market prices to increase supply, NY Assembly Majority Leader Paul Tokasz told the News.

The Buffalo Bills NFL franchise let its displeasure be known after the bill’s passage.

“We feel we, the average fan and the public are all being cheated. Just follow the money. The markup does not go to the team to add to the fan experience – all of which hurts the average fan and the public,” the newspaper quoted a Buffalo Bills press release as saying.

The statement added that allowing a 45 percent markup encourages scalping – at the team’s expense.

“These entities have no investment in the game-day experience. They don’t provide parking, security, ushers, restrooms or the team. Yet, if they play their cards right, they could yield more revenue on a given ticket than we do.

“If the team attempted to charge these prices, it would be considered ‘gouging the consumer.’ Consequently, what we are beginning to see is that the legitimate marketplace is restricted and the illegitimate marketplace is unrestricted.”