Maryland lawmakers pass legislation on third-party ticket sales


After surviving last-minute lobbying from third-party ticketing companies such as StubHub, Vivid Seats and SeatGeek, the Maryland House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 539 on Monday. If signed into law by the Governor. Wes Moore, the bill protects consumers when selling and reselling tickets through third-party websites for events in the state of Maryland. The legislation is not entirely beneficial to consumers, but it does prohibit the sale of speculative tickets – the fraudulent practice of selling tickets that a person does not actually own. Maryland is the second state in the country to ban such sales.

Originally submitted by Maryland State Senator. Dawn Gile and Del. C.T. Wilson In January, the consumer protection law originally aimed to limit the resale price to the face value of the original ticket. This language was removed entirely to pass the Senate Finance Committee on March 13. Lawmakers from both parties opposed the price cap, in some cases citing personal interests.

During the House Commerce Committee meeting on February 20, Del. Pam Queen, a Democrat who represents District 14 in Montgomery County, said she is a season ticket holder for various sports teams locally and abroad and has resold her tickets through third-party websites. Queen questioned the price cap, saying, “If I can’t play this game, can’t I make an extra $50 or $100?” People want that ticket.”

Across the aisle sat the Republican senator. Stephen Hershey Jr., a Dallas Cowboys season ticket holder who has received campaign donations from StubHub, also opposed the price cap. Hershey's representative did not respond to a request for comment.

A key issue Maryland lawmakers wanted to address was figuring out how to distinguish individual buyers who want to resell their tickets from ticket brokers who use bots to snag tickets as soon as they go on sale. Bots allow third-party sellers to sell speculative tickets to consumers who are unaware that they are purchasing tickets to a show that does not actually belong to the seller and is not yet on sale. In December 2016, Congress passed the Better Online Tickets Sales Act, which made it illegal for ticket brokers to use bots to purchase large quantities of tickets once they went on sale, but like anyone who attempted to purchase tickets Beyonce's or Taylor SwiftFor the 2023 Tours, you know the law has been largely ineffective.