DENVER (KDVR) — Lawmakers in the state House of Representatives passed live event ticketing legislation at a time when many national organizations are calling for increased monitoring of price gouging and deceptive practices.
“It is a consumer-friendly bill,” said David Weingarden of the Colorado Venue Association, who said the bill will help ensure consumers are buying legitimate tickets.
The Ticket Buyer Bill of Rights Coalition fought for an amendment to Senate Bill 23-060, which would have required large venues to reveal how many tickets are held back by sellers.
“If fans know how many tickets are actually for sale, that’s an important data point for when they’re making a decision on whether or not to wait in line or wait in an online queue for 10 hours,” said Brian Hess of the Sports Fans Coalition.
The amendment was voted down. The Coalition told FOX31 that without it, ticket sellers will be able to create fake scarcity, which affects prices.
“It’s deceptive trade practice, it’s shady and consumers should know if there are actually more tickets for sale and if there are more coming. When you go to a store, you know exactly how many of an item is on the shelf. It should be the same experience for fans at the box office,” Hess said.
Weingarden said many retailers in other industries are not legally required to reveal their inventory and said asking Colorado venues to do so “makes no business sense whatsoever.”
Promoter group argues against ticket inventory transparency
Arts and entertainment are Colorado’s third-largest economic driver and provide thousands of jobs. The Colorado Independent Venue Association, which supports the bill without the amendment, represents more than a hundred promoters and thousands of employees.
Weingarden, who’s also vice president of concerts and events with Z2 Entertainment in Boulder, said consumer protection measures are needed to crack down on unfair pricing and ensure fans are buying legitimate tickets.
“The transparency is along the lines of what you’re seeing up-front with service charges and whatnot,” he said.
Weingarden said that requiring extensive inventory reporting will hurt Colorado venues and ultimately the consumer while benefitting powerful second-party ticket sellers from out of state.
“We would have to actually invest more in our labor, not just us but everybody around Colorado would have increased cost, and there’s really no functionality in this system that we currently use that we could actually do that,” Weingarden said.
Another issue is mandatory bot reporting. Bots are used by some brokers to purchase huge blocks of tickets.
FOX31 reached out to Ticketmaster and StubHub but was still waiting for a response on Thursday night.
Those who supported the amendment will call for Gov. Jared Polis to veto the bill. The Colorado Independent Venue Association will continue to support the bill and encourages the governor to sign it into law.