Minnesota Embracing Scalpers?

Minnesota, one of a handful of states that continue to ban the resale of tickets above face value to concerts and sporting events, recently reached a tipping point following a vote to overturn the anti-scalping law.

Under current law, which was originally enacted in 1913, those caught reselling tickets at a markup can be prosecuted and face fines or jail time.

But following the passage of a Senate-sponsored bill to repeal the ticket law earlier this year, a similar bill in the House faced little opposition May 2nd, when it was approved in a 124-8 vote.

The bill’s sponsor, representative Chris DeLaForest, reportedly called the existing law "unenforceable" during the session of the House.

"The Internet has made this commerce legal, and that’s what it should be," DeLaForest said. "We don’t talk about scalping real estate or artwork or stocks or bonds."

Other representatives questioned whether repealing the scalping law would give secondary-market sellers free rein to gouge buyers and charge whatever they wished, the Pioneer Press reported.

"Couldn’t they just buy up all the tickets and set the price?" Representative Torrey Westrom asked.

But DeLaForest explained that ticket prices would drop with increased competition, and that consumer-protection laws would protect buyers, the paper said.

Ticket broker Jason Gabbert said it was time for the state to repeal the scalping law, but said he didn’t think much would change.

"It doesn’t really change anything because both the public and professional brokers have been willingly and openly selling their tickets above face value when the market dictates," he told the Pioneer Press. "When the majority of citizens are willing to blatantly ignore an existing statute, then common sense dictates it’s time for that statute to go."

The legislation now heads to Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty for consideration.

If signed, it would take effect August 1st.