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Bill Legalizing Ticket Scalping in Michigan Splits Venues, Brokers

Thursday, April 3, 2014   (0 Comments)
Associated Press (03/03/14) Eggert, David

An effort to overrule Michigan's ban on ticket scalping won a 66 to 42 vote in the state House of Representatives. Entertainment venues hope to block the passage of the bill in the state Senate. The bill's sponsor, state Rep. Tim Kelly says the laws for people trying to resell tickets should be the same as those for online brokers who resell tickets with impunity. “It occurs to me you either enforce the law evenly across the board or you decriminalize it across the board,” Kelly says. “The law is fuzzy, and I’m just trying to remove the fuzziness.” Although rarely enforced, scalping is a misdemeanor crime with a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail or a $500 fine. Major sports and entertainment industry officials argue the law keeps brokers honest and prevents them from using high-tech online software to buy all of the available tickets and then resell them at a premium. Entertainment venues maintain that if they control ticket sales, patrons get a better deal. However, ticket brokers say teams and concert promoters withhold good seats to create pent-up demand and increase prices. Michigan State University's David Bertram is concerned that legalizing scalping would discourage brokers from signing deals with the university, an arrangement the school uses to control the price and availability of tickets.

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