Scalping Loophole Scrutinized

Massachusetts’ antiscalping law is under the microscope after the state’s largest ticket reseller claims the law doesn’t cover Boston and it can charge patrons whatever it wants.

Ace Ticket Worldwide, which was sued by an area resident in November after the company charged him $375 for a $40 Red Sox baseball ticket, said in court papers the sale was legal because Boston isn’t included in the state’s antiscalping law, according to The Boston Globe.

Should Ace’s interpretation of the statute be correct, it reportedly could leave the door open for other ticket resellers to do the same thing for concerts at TD Banknorth Garden as well as sports and theatrical events.

“This is a complicated, archaic area of the law,” Joseph Shea, an attorney representing the ticket company, told the paper. “Especially with the potential for Internet fraud, the Legislature may want to update and conform the law. But the fact is that presently there is no statute governing the resale of tickets to events in Boston.”

State regulators and ticket industry officials reportedly aren’t buying the argument but also aren’t willing to dismiss it, mostly because the laws covering event licensing and ticket sales are complex.

Attorneys representing the allegedly overcharged resident have argued that Ace’s interpretation of the law could lead to “illogical, unintended, and absurd results,” the Globe said.

A spokeswoman for the state Department of Public Safety told the paper that although she hadn’t seen Ace Ticket’s legal arguments, the company is licensed by the agency and is subject to the provisions of the antiscalping law.

The Massachusetts law requires ticket resellers to get licenses from the DPS and limits resale markups to $2 plus certain service charges.

However, Shea said the state law applies only to events licensed under a specific section of the law, and that all events held in Boston are licensed by the city under a separate statute, the paper said.