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Maryland Governor Signs Anti-Speculative Ticketing Bill Into Law

The Maryland bill targeting speculative ticketing in the state was signed into law by Gov. Wes Moore today. The consumer protection bill focuses on the sale and resale of live event tickets and was supported by the Recording Academy, National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), National Independent Talent Organization (NITO), Eventbrite and more.   

The bill bans speculative ticketing (the practice of listing tickets on secondary sites before a reseller owns a ticket), as well as require ticketers to present “all in” pricing for consumers, meaning the full price of the ticket — including all fees — must be present in the price first shown to fans. The law will go into effect on July 1.  

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“In addition to Senators [Dawn Danielle] Gile and [Pamela] Beidle and Delegate [C.T.] Wilson, we’re also grateful to Marylanders who spoke out and let their elected officials know that they want protection from parasitic scalpers who use acts of deception to gouge concert fans,” said Audrey Fix Schaefer, communications director of Merriweather Post Pavilion and I.M.P. in a statement. “Nearly 17,000 letters were sent by Marylanders to their state legislators, letting those in Annapolis know they want protection from the rampant deception and abuse that’s taking place now. We applaud the entire State legislature for this groundbreaking legislation, and we look forward to working with the Attorney General’s office to help ensure enforcement.” 

The bill requires resellers to provide the zone and seat number for non-general admission events, eliminating the common practice of resellers listing an unspecified seat and procuring a ticket — for a lesser price — once a consumer has purchased the “unspecified” seat from a secondary site. It also reduces resellers’ ability to list generic tickets on resale sites before on-sale for the actual event has occurred. 

A standout of the bill for proponents like NIVA, NITO and others, is that the bill makes it illegal for secondary ticketing platforms to provide a marketplace for the sale or resale of tickets that violate the law. If a consumer purchases a ticket that is counterfeit, canceled by the reseller or fails to meet its original description, the secondary platform would be responsible for paying the consumer back for the total amount paid, including any fees. Platforms selling or offering to sell speculative tickets can be fined up to $10,000 for the first infraction and $25,000 for each subsequent infraction.  

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Additionally, the bill mandates “all-in” ticket pricing — where consumers see the full price of the ticket, including fees, from the beginning of their transaction — and require those fees to be itemized so fans know where their dollars are going. The passage of the bill also means Maryland’s attorney general’s office can conduct a review of how resellers are procuring their tickets, the price difference for fans on the primary versus secondary market, fraudulent tickets, the use of bots, what measures other states have enacted to protect consumers during the ticket buying process and more.

The AG’s study is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.  

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