Lawmakers look to ban ticket scalping

Lawmakers look to ban ticket scalping

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Bruno Mars ticket sales have inspired government legislation. Some lawmakers now want to create an anti-scalping law.

Hawaii used to have a scalping law 15 years ago but it was repealed. Now we're one of the few states in the country where scalping is legal.

Bruno Mars is the hottest ticket in town. So much so a pair of seats in the second row are going for $11,000 on StubHub. If prices seems excessive you're not alone. A bill at the State Capitol today would make scalping or reselling a ticket for more than face value against the law.

"I think what we're trying to do is stop this wholesale scalping movement," said Rep. Angus McKelvey, (D) West Maui

State Rep. Angus McKelvey actually introduced the bill before the Bruno Mars tickets skyrocketed and it's getting much more attention now.

"We plan to be very methodical and look to what other states have done since they have worked through a lot of these issues themselves," said Rep. McKelvey.

He says it would help with counterfeiting problems and also wants to outlaw computer bots buying up the tickets.

"We want to use the opportunity of anti scalping to look at the bot phenomenon, especially when you may, not to say that's its happened, have a situation where bots seize up all the tickets simply because the person wants to resell them for scalping purposes," said Rep. McKelvey.

Enforcement is a big question especially for online sales.

"Can they put it into effect in Arizona if someone in Arizona bought a couple of tickets and is selling, scalping them? I don't think it would have an effect. It just wouldn't work," said Tom Moffatt, A Tom Moffatt Production.

Promoter Tom Moffatt's office is all for protecting people but doesn't want lawmakers to rush a flawed law and prevent future blockbusters from coming to town.

The scalping law applies to all events in the State.

The bill was heard at the Capitol today. No vote was taken. Lawmakers plan to work with the parties involved to craft the bill correctly.

The following statement was released by Barbara Saito, with A Tom Moffatt Production:

"As longtime promoters in this state, we welcome protections that aid residents in purchasing tickets to shows they wish to see. The resale of tickets far in excess of their face value hurts everyone connected with a promotion except for the scalper, but there are circumstances, particularly charitable fundraising, where such a resale is of benefit to the community. What comes to mind first and foremost is the donation situation surrounding Elvis' "Aloha from Hawaii" concert to benefit the Kui Lee Cancer Fund, which had =no= ticket price but was driven solely by donations…all of which were "in excess" of the face value of the ticket.

A rush to pass any resolution or especially a piece of law without an extensive understanding of the way the industry works -- from the promoters, to the venues, to the primary ticket brokers, to charities, to hotel room sales, to the measures already in place within the industry itself -- could cause more harm than good. A flawed law could potentially cause entertainers to bypass Hawaii altogether, which is not a solution of any kind.

Attempting to push legislation through based on one event, as opposed to looking at a history of events for which scalping has been an issue, puts undue pressure on the one event to prove the merit of the law. Each event is its own set of circumstances and there's not typically a "one size fits all" approach to the scalping issue. So it's a proposed law that needs to do its homework, and we're happy to be a part of that process."

The National Consumers League has also weighed in on the issue. To read its stance click here

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