LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan House on Tuesday voted to lift the state’s rarely enforced ban on ticket scalping, bringing the long-proposed bill closer to the governor’s desk.
The legislation would end a prohibition on the resale of tickets for more than face value. Currently, the law only allows scalping if a venue permits the excess charge in writing. Violators face a misdemeanor punishable by jail and a fine.
The Senate approved a version of the measure in January and will need to OK changes made by the House. The main bill, which was passed 91-14, would also prohibit the use of “bot” software to interfere with online ticket-purchasing limits. Brokers have been able to grab hundreds of tickets in the first few seconds after they go on sale.
Supporters said the restriction would go further than a federal anti-bot law.
Also, broker sites would be banned from using domain names that are substantially similar to the name of a venue or event. Netchoice, a trade association of online retailers, submitted legislative testimony this month calling such domains “deceptive” because they offer more expensive seats when the official venue or promoter site has unsold seats at face value.
There would be an exception for ticket sites acting on behalf of the venue or performer.
Michigan’s scalping ban has been on the books since at least 1931. Bills to repeal or change the law have been introduced every two-year session since at least 2012.
The office of the main sponsor, Republican Sen. Tom Barrett of Charlotte, said he worked on the House changes with interested parties and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Graham Filler, a DeWitt Republican. Barrett was hopeful the Senate could vote quickly, but it is up to leadership, chief of staff Ron Kendall said.
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SOURCE: David Eggert, The Associated Press