House perfects ticket resale legislation

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Should Missourians have the option freely transfer or sell tickets they have purchased if they are unable to attend? A proposal moving through the House says yes.

Under the legislation, sponsored Rep. Shawn Rhoads, R-West Plains, concert-goers and sports fans who purchase tickets to live events would be considered the owner of said tickets, and as such would be able to sell or give them away if they so choose. The Senate also has a similar bill, filed by Sen. Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia. Rowden is a music lover, while Rhoads put forth the legislation from the perspective of a sports fan.

But websites and ticket services like LiveNation and TicketMaster restrict that practice.

Under Rhoads’ bill, HB 255, those sites would still be able to offer a non-transferable option, as long as they offer a transferable ticket and guarantee entry with tickets that have been resold. 

Rep. Shawn Rhoads, R-West Plains

Rep. Shawn Rhoads

Rhoads argued on the House floor Wednesday that the legislation was about consumer freedom.

“If I spend $300 on a ticket and can’t go, I think I should be able to sell it,” Rhoads said.

Rhoads and Rowden both believe that when a person buys the tickets, they own them, and should be able to do with their property as they please.

But opponents of the bill responded, saying it could drive away artists and businesses.

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Rep. Paul Curtman, R-Pacific, argued strongly against the bill, saying Missouri consumers already have a choice on whether to buy the tickets and that it limits businesses in the state.

“They’re the ones incurring all the risk, not the people buying the tickets,” Curtman said. “That’s not the way this is supposed to work. If people don’t want to buy restricted tickets, they won’t buy tickets, and the property owner will adjust the restriction or even the price of the tickets.”

Rep.Paul Curtman

Rep.Paul Curtman

“This body is making an effort to intervene and totally strip the property rights of the people, organizations, or companies who are literally incurring all of the risks before they can even sell the ticket,” Curtman said.

Yet more legislators expressed concerns that the price of tickets could rise exponentially if forced to offer the transferable ticket option, referencing potential for scalpers to profit.

But the bill lays out penalties to punish those who would buy up large numbers of tickets to scalp.

Similar legislation has already passed in New York, Colorado, and was recently passed in Virginia.

The bill received initial approval from the House on Wednesday, and just needs to be third read and passed to head to the Senate.

  

Benjamin Peters

Benjamin Peters is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine, and also produces the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined the Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield. To contact Benjamin, email benjamin@themissouritimes.com or follow him on Twitter @BenjaminDPeters.

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