Bipartisan Live Event Ticketing Legislation Advances in Congress

Congress ticketing legislation
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Congress ticketing legislation
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Photo Credit: Tom Dillon

Two pieces of legislation aimed at reigning in high ticket prices have advanced through Congress. The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee unanimously passed the STOP Act, moving it forward for House vote. Here’s the latest.

The STOP Act was introduced by Rep. Gus Bilirakus (R-FL) and Jan Schajowsky (D-IL) and is aimed at preventing both deceptive ticketing practices and speculative ticket pricing. It requires ticketing companies like Ticketmaster to display ‘all-in’ pricing at the beginning of the purchase—so there are no surprises. The first price that you see advertised should be the one you pay with fees and taxes inclusive.

It also protects buyers in the event of a concert cancellation or postponement. Under the STOP Act, buyers would be eligible for a full refund or a replacement ticket if the event is postponed. It also requires ticket sellers to inform consumers when they are purchasing from a primary ticket vendor or a secondary marketplace. It also bans the practice of speculative ticketing—which should help tackle secondary marketplaces selling phantom tickets.

“The live event ticketing system needs to be cured of deep flaws that result in customers being abused before tickets go on sale, while they are for sale, and through the moment they are scanned for entry,” the Ticket Buyer Bill of Rights Coalition said about the legislation. “We are pleased the committee today expanded the scope of the bipartisan TICKET Act beyond its original focus on price transparency to now include other important consumer protections.”

“As a combined package, this legislation will take important steps toward improving the broken ticketing system. We hope this bill advances and ultimately becomes law, and that its passage out of committee is a first step toward enacting broader ticketing market reform that is needed.”

The Senate companion bill the TICKET Act, sponsored by Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) has passed the upper chamber’s commerce committee in July and now awaits a full vote in the Senate. Now that both the House and the Senate have ticket reform packages waiting to be voted on, ticket reform may be closer than ever.