Virginia Legislation: A Step Forward for Ticketholders’ Right to Sell or Transfer their Tickets

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Gary Adler, Executive Director and Counsel of the National Association of Ticket Brokers (NATB), issued the following statement regarding Virginia House Bill No. 1825, the “Ticket Resale Right Act” introduced by Del. David B. Albo, R-Fairfax County:

“We commend Delegate David Albo for taking action to stop practices like restricted paperless ticketing that harm consumers and the function of a fair and level secondary resale market for tickets. In an open market, if you purchase a ticket, you can do whatever you would like with it, including selling it for less or more than you paid, depending on what the market and demand will bear, without onerous strings attached. Actions to restrict the purchase, sale and transfer of tickets, punish consumers and lead to a market with less choice and higher prices.

“Paperless ticketing is presented as a measure to reduce fraud, but fraud on resale exchanges is not a pervasive problem, and while paperless on its own is perfectly fine as a convenience, in practice there are usually restrictions that come with paperless designed to prevent you from reselling your tickets if you wish on your own terms and in some cases not at all. It’s just one example of how large, powerful players in the ticketing system overreach and this legislation will help to loosen their chokehold and protect consumers.”

The Ticket Resale Right Act would make it illegal for companies to provide tickets solely through a delivery method that prevents customers from lawfully reselling them on a ticketing platform of their choice. The legislation also would prohibit ticket companies from penalizing, discriminating against or denying admission to an event within Virginia to any ticket purchaser on the basis that they resold a ticket, or purchased a resold ticket, on a specific internet ticketing platform.

Consistent with the intent of this legislation, NATB and its Protect Ticket Rights initiative ( draws attention to efforts underway in many different forms that restrict the purchase, sale and transfer of tickets. These include:

  • Restricting Transferability: Some performers, promoters and venues use restricted paperless tickets which require the credit card holder who purchased them to show the card and ID at the door of the event. This means that only the original purchaser can use the tickets, essentially eliminating the ability for tickets to be transferred (shared, gifted or sold). Often ticketholders are inconvenienced by being required to wait in two lines, first at will-call to present ID and a credit card to receive their paper ticket, then a second line at the gate to gain entry.   
  • Ticket Cancellations: For some events or as a matter of policy, some venues, artists, ticket issuers, and also sports teams are cancelling or threatening to cancel ticket orders of ticketholders that they believe are reselling tickets, in an effort to have even more control over the primary and secondary ticket markets. Meanwhile, resale does not harm the original seller in any way since the ticketholder has already paid full price plus all applicable fees and taxes.
  • Resale Platform Exclusivity with Resale Price Minimums and Added Fees:  Some ticket issuers and venues are requiring ticket buyers to use a single designated resale ticket platform, should they wish to resell their tickets, that come with strings attached (such as minimum resale prices regardless of actual market value, or another round of fees even though fees were already paid at the original sale). Recent reports indicate fees can average 21% of face values.  Approximately 40% of tickets sold on the secondary resale market sell for below face value.

    (Note, NATB brokers who purchase tickets, even after paying full asking price initially, routinely resell tickets at a lower price if that is what demand and market price will bear, preferring to fill an otherwise empty seat with a fan and avoiding a full financial loss on the purchase.)  
  • Ticket Holds: Event promoters and venues commonly place “holds” on large numbers of tickets before they go on sale to the public. Reports indicate that only 46% of tickets become available when tickets go on sale, leaving less than half to meet demand – which is the reason events sell out too quickly and lead to frustration over supply and market price.
  • Ticket-Buying Software - “Bots”: The use of computer software commonly known as “bots” and auto-dialing programs to rapidly buy up event tickets before fans can access them is detrimental, manipulating demand and driving up prices significantly. NATB members oppose the use of bots and support efforts to crack down on their use. In 2016 a new federal law was passed aimed at prohibiting the use of software bots.    

NATB and its Protect Ticket Rights initiative defend the rights of ticket buyers and sellers through a stringent Code of Ethics, legislative advocacy and in the public arena. We do so according to the values outlined in NATB’s Ticket Owner Bill of Rights. Founded in 1994, NATB is comprised of approximately 200 member resale companies, professional ticket brokers that offer a 200% refund on guaranteed tickets, and have long opposed ticket brokers who utilize software bots.

Recent articles by NATB’s Gary Adler: Fans deserve fair access to World Series tickets

Sun-Sentinel:     Marlins, others need to play fair with ticket holders

Fox Business:      Abusive Ticket Rules Hurt Consumers

The Hill:                 Fans deserve protection in the ticket marketplace

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