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Maryland legislature passes strict anti-scalping law

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (CelebrityAccess) — To combat some of the excesses in secondary ticket markets, Maryland lawmakers have passed new anti-scalping laws that may be among the strictest in the nation

Maryland House Bill 701 aims to create a fairer secondary market and cracks down on a number of predatory practices, including a ban on so-called speculative ticket sales, in which ticket resellers offer tickets for sale that they don't actually own.

The legislation also intervenes strictly on pricing, preventing the resale of tickets at prices above the face value of the ticket, including fees and taxes. In addition, resellers are required to disclose the total price of the ticket including all fees and taxes.

“We are getting used to paying these exorbitant prices. It's funny, now when you get a ticket at face value it's apparently a big deal,” Rep. CT Wilson, who introduced the bill in the Maryland House of Representatives, told Washington DC Fox affiliate WTTG. “It shouldn’t be a big deal. We were tricked into accepting this.”

The legislation also caps third-party website fees at 10%, further reducing prices for consumers attempting to purchase tickets on the secondary market and codifying tickets as a license.

Additionally, the bill requires the Consumer Protection Division of the Maryland Attorney General's Office to conduct a comprehensive review of the state's entire ticketing industry.

The legislation only applies to concert tickets, while an amendment to the bill excludes tickets to sporting events.

“The regular Joe who has season tickets, I don’t want to punish him,” Wilson told WTTG. “I understand that he might want to sell some of his tickets and earn back some of the money he sold – and while it’s not a business and shouldn’t be, that’s not our target audience.”

The passage of the law, which must be signed by Maryland's governor before it takes effect, was welcomed by Maryland concert industry stakeholders.

“Maryland Senate Bill 539 represents a significant milestone in consumer protection for fans and artists,” said Stephen Parker, executive director of the National Independent Venue Association. “This bill protects consumers from the fraudulent ticketing practices that have plagued Maryland and the country for far too long. Every fan deserves peace of mind that their ticket is real and where their money is going. The Maryland bill does just that. Nearly 17,000 Maryland voters wrote letters urging their legislators to pass this important legislation. We are proud to support this bill and would like to use it as a model for ticket reform across the country.”

“Passage of SB539 proves that when policymakers listen to the voices of local music communities, including artists, independent venues, nonprofit arts groups and our allies across the live entertainment industry, we can achieve truly meaningful reforms that benefit fans, workers and small businesses. ecosystem, center stage,” says Kevin Erickson, executive director of the Future of Music Coalition. “We are deeply grateful to Senator Dawn Gile and her co-sponsors Senators Beidle, Feldman and Ellis, and Representative CT Wilson in the House of Representatives. And as we celebrate today, we also look forward to working with the Attorney General's Office on its upcoming study of the industry as we seek further reforms to strengthen music communities and end fraudulent and predatory business practices in ticket sales for live events. in Maryland and across the country.”

“Maryland has made it clear that if you listen to artists and venues, you will pass tougher laws,” said Nathaniel Marro, executive director of the National Independent Talent Organization. “NITO commends Maryland lawmakers for protecting consumers by passing the strictest speculative ticketing ban in the country and looks forward to continuing to work with them as they examine the resale market and its harms.”