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Mass. Cracks Down On Scalpers

BOSTON (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Authorities have vowed to crack down on scalpers in Massachusetts, with the long arms of the law reaching out to both authorized ticket resellers and street scalpers.

A District Court judge in Quincy, MA, last week indicated that he planned to force authorized reseller Admit One Ticket Agency to provide the name of its key suppliers, after the company was accused of violating state anti-scalping laws.

StubHub Inc. told the Boston Globe that a strict interpretation of a moribund 1924 antiscalping law that limits resale prices to only $2 above face value could drive it and every other reseller in the state out of business.

StubHub recently tried to fight a lawsuit by the New England Patriots by arguing that the state’s antiscalping statute only applies to specific licensed events, but that weekend events, like the Patriots games, do not fall among the covered licensed events.

Ace Ticket Worldwide Inc. has tried to fight litigation by claiming that events held in Boston are also exempt from the statute.

Higs Cityside Tickets Inc. told the paper that the law needs to evolve with the times.

Higs Cityside was recently accused of violating the law by local consumer activist Colman Herman after he paid $825 for a Red Sox ticket worth $150 face value.

“We cannot hold current license holders to the same standards that were created for resellers of theater tickets in the 1920s,” Higs Cityside attorney, Robert L. Allen Jr. told the Globe.

“Make no mistake about it,” Allen continued. “Mr. Herman’s strict construction of the statute would inevitable put this entire industry out of business. It is neither right nor fair and would certainly create more public harm than good.”

The statute is affecting local fans as much as major companies as well.

For the first time in years, Massachusetts police are cracking down on fans selling tickets outside of Red Sox games as well, and were in full force for the team’s home opener at Fenway Park on Wednesday.

“We are going to enforce the law on the tickets and try to have a lot more visibility to enforce it,” Captain William B. Evans told the paper.

Several lawmakers have filed bills to address the situation, all with varying degrees of resale value proposed. One bill would raise the cap on markups to $10, another to 25 percent of the face value, and a third to three times face value. Another bill would let the original seller set the maximum resale price, and yet another would eliminate the cap on markups entirely, as long as the ticket was resold by an authorized website.

Most ticket resellers would like to see the cap eliminated completely, arguing that competition would keep prices in check. –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers