Virginia Legislature Passes Bill Legalizing Ticket Scalping
In most parts of the country, state officials are working to limit ticket re-sales and scalping. Not so in Virginia, where a new bill has passed that guarantees the ability to resell concert and other event tickets.
A new bill passed in the Virginia state legislature guarantees the right of a ticket purchaser to resell them on the internet ticketing platform of their choice. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has said that he supports the bill.
HB 1825 Ticket Resale Rights Act was introduced by Virginia Delegate Dave Albo, who tried to resell tickets he'd purchased to an Iron Maiden concert after his plans changed. Ticket seller Ticketmaster would not allow Albo to resell his ticket on its re-sale platform, apparently since the show had not sold out. When Albo then decided to give them away, he was thwarted by a Ticketmaster rule requiring that ticket holders show a matching ID or credit card at the show.
"Such a violation of free markets and freedom," said Del. Jason Miyares, R-Virginia Beach, who told his fellow legislators that his daughter missed a U2 concert because of these same rules.
The final bill states:
"Rights to resell tickets; civil penalty. Prohibits any person that issues tickets for admission to a professional concert, professional sporting event, or professional theatrical production, open to the public for which tickets are ordinarily sold, from issuing the ticket solely through a delivery method that substantially prevents the ticket purchaser from lawfully reselling the ticket on the Internet ticketing platform of the ticket purchaser's choice. The measure also prohibits a person from being discriminated against or denied admission to an event solely on the basis that the person resold a ticket, or purchased a resold ticket, on a specific Internet ticketing platform. A person violating these prohibitions is subject to a civil penalty of not less than $1,000 nor more than $5,000."
Virginia's new law runs contrary to efforts by state legislatures in Tennessee and elsewhere who are working to place additional limits on secondary ticketing, and a growing number of artists like Eric Church who recently cancelled 25,000 tickets purchased by scalpers for his current tour.
Ticketmaster has not yet commented on Virginia's new law.
MORE: Eric Church Cancels 25,000 Scalped Tickets, Releases Them Back To Public
The reason why ticket reselling is so restricted is not to burden the original ticket purchaser, but to protect consumers from scalpers that take advantage and sell tickets multiple times or sell fake tickets. Working in ticket operations in various venues, I have seen time and time again people who get left out of a show because their tickets are not valid. While I agree that Ticketmaster should allow customers to offer their tickets for resale at any point, they are clearly posted as being non-refundable. You can, however, transfer them if you like. Although Mr. Albo had a legitimate reason to try and resell his tickets, by doing this, Virginia is also aiding ticket scalpers that take advantage of the system. These people have clearly not had to explain to a customer that the show is sold out because scalpers bought all of the tickets and are now reselling them at a large profit (the Broadway musical Hamilton is a good example) and now have to pay a ridiculous amount of money to see a show instead of face value.
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