Why is Ticket Scalping Illegal?

Ticket scalping is the practice of re-selling tickets to events. It is legal in some places, and illegal in others.

Bob Gheldof is running “Live8” and is hitting the roof that some people are scalping tickets on (where else?) e-Bay. E-Bay has agreed to suspend these transaction (perfectly OK under British law).

Why the heck would BG care who is buying or selling tickets on the secondary market? Just a control freak? Why do sports or concert venues care about scalping? They got their money.

I suspect there is something very basic I am overlooking.

Beats me. Seems like scalping is the free market doing a better job of distributing tickets on its own. If the Mann act applied to the government, I wouldn’t see how they could block scalping.

Because scalping means that tickets will sell at a price too high for most people to afford. It’s what’s known as “the greatest good for the greatest number.”

Scalping is illegal because people would like to get tickets at reasonable prices. Concert promoters can’t just sell the tickets for huge prices because that pisses people off. If others buy the tickets and then turn around and sell them for huge prices that pisses the concert promoters off because that is money out of their pockets going to some middle man.

The idea is to prevent people from buying huge blocks of the tickets in order to create and artificial shortage, then sell them for a higher price.

Allowing resale of tickets makes an attractive market for counterfeiters. And what RealityChuck says: theatres, stadiums etc. aren’t only and always thinking of the bottom line, but want to be accessible to a wide cross-section of people.

Why does Geldof care? Because he’s riding high on self-importance. But yes, I do see it as morally wrong to profiteer from a charity event, however misguided you may consider that charity to be :wink: (Don’t forget that these were free tickets, given out on a lottery system.)

If this was at all true, they’d have shut down TicketMaster long ago. I, for one, am sick of paying another 15%-30% of the ticket cost to fookin’ TM.

(I did not realize the tickets were free. Still this still puzzles me.)

Why would BG care who comes to his show, since he is making the same amount of money (apparently nothing) either way? Is it some sort of class warfare thing?

If a poor person get a ticket to Carmen at the Met (an institution that for the sake of argument we will say wants to reach out to poor people), why shouldn’t the owner of the ticket be able to sell it to buy tickets to a 50 Cent concert instead?

Isn’t the ability to sell something a very basic part of what ownership means?

(Not trying to get into a debate here in GQ, but it is noteworthy some places have examined this problem and made scalping legal, other places with much the same information have made it a crime. I suspect I am seeing only one side of this.)

Well since this is GQ and all here is a link Paul :http://www.golf-quest.com/n_12216.html

Here is a better one :http://ticketfinder.com/industry-news/index-page.html

A darn fine link. Was scalping illegal Long, Long Ago? Or perhaps banning scalping is a fairly recent development?

They can. They just can’t sell it for more than the face value of the ticket.

Is not the ability to sell something at a market price a basic part of what ‘ownership’ means?

I think you are missing the distinction between lisencing and owning. When you pay money for a ticket you are not buying tangible property you are buying permission to view the event. The perveyors are free to limit or place conditions on granting you a lisence.

You don’t own anything tangible with a ticket, it’s essentially a license to sit in a seat and may be non-transferable.

(It is bedtime here. Thank you all for the thoughtful comments.)

It’s called ‘touting’ in the U.K. and is explicitly illegal - sorry but I can’t cite the relevant Act (Google shows plenty of hits that say it is illegal, though).

Sure you do. You have the ticket. Anyone who shows up and presents that ticket gets in.

If the Ticketmaster markup was 500-1000%, it’d be a decent analogy.

…subject to the conditions under which the ticket was sold. Turn up to the opera so drunk you can hardly walk, or with an away ticket for a football match wearing a home shirt, and you won’t be getting in. If it’s sold with a ‘non-transferable’ clause, then this would be a valid reason to refuse entry to the person who bought it second-hand. Of course, it’s almost impossible to identify them on the door, hence explicitly forbidding it earlier on in the chain.