On January 3, 2011, Clark County, Nevada Commissioner, Susan Brager, proposed amendments to local scalping laws. Brown Paper Tickets was asked to review the proposal and write a response. Scalpers who raise prices to gouge ticket-buyers perpetuate an antiquated and unfair model. Unfortunately, the Clark County amendments do little to prevent this practice and instead grant greater privileges to businesses over “average-Joe” ticket-buyers. We cannot support the proposed amendments.
You may read our entire response to the Clark County Board of Commissioners below.
You may contact Clark County to obtain the full text of the proposed amendments and share your opinions here: http://www.clarkcountynv.gov/depts/countycommissioners/Pages/default.aspx
Mr. Jeff Wells
Assistant County Manager
500 South Grand Central PKY, 3rd Floor
PO Box 551810
Las Vegas, NV 89155-1810
Re: Proposed amendment changes to Title 12.38.020 Ticket Scalping Prohibited
Dear Mr. Wells,
Thank you for inviting Brown Paper Tickets to comment on the proposed amendments to Clark County Code Title 12.38.020. We understand Clark County’s concern regarding unregulated ticket brokers selling tickets to event goers. In many instances, the coordination between a primary ticket seller and a secondary seller exists solely for the purpose of increasing revenue to both these parties, at the expense of ticket buyers. We at Brown Paper Tickets have serious concerns regarding the proposed amendments, specifically in regards to the services Brown Paper Tickets provides to both event organizers (be it a producer or venue) and the ticket purchaser or holder. As proposed, these amendments threaten legitimate resale practices, enable those with a business license to set ticket prices above fair market value, legitimizes the gouging of ticket buyers, and ultimately runs the danger of infringing on individuals’ rights.
Laws written to regulate secondary ticket sales need to be fair and equitable to all ticket resellers. Large, secondary ticket brokers should not be given advantages over individuals. The proposed amendments are neither fair nor equitable.
In regards to fair ticket reselling:
The proposed amendments to Title 12.38.020 leave no option for an individual ticket holder to sell their ticket for fair market value, if the fair market value happens to be higher than the face value of the ticket. If the proposed amendments are implemented, ticket buyers can only resell tickets for face value or less, or risk the threat of prosecution and jail time. Adversely, anyone who has a business license, such as a professional ticket broker, can buy in bulk and sell those tickets at a much higher rate, artificially limiting primary ticket availability and inflating prices. This effectively criminalizes the “little guy” ticket buyer who needs or wants to resell the tickets he/she legitimately purchased. Not only does this give unfair advantages to businesses over individuals, it potentially exposes an honest, individual ticket reseller to criminal prosecution.
In specific regard to the Brown Paper Tickets resale system:
Ticket buyers that do not hold business licenses can resell their tickets on the Brown Paper Tickets system at any price they choose. Under the new amendments, these ticket buyers would be breaking the law. The ambiguity of the amendments does not take systems such as ours into consideration.
The Brown Paper Tickets system protects the interests of all parties involved with a number of safe-guards. Here’s how: When an event organizer sets up an event with Brown Paper Tickets, the event organizer can choose whether or not to activate the resell option. This feature allows a ticket buyer to offer his/her purchased ticket for resale through the Brown Paper Tickets site. Ticket buyers may choose to sell tickets for a number of reasons beyond making a profit, such as the inability to attend the event due to illness, lack of childcare, or schedule changes. The event organizer controls if the ticket reseller receives all the money from the resale, or if a portion goes back to the original event organizer, venue, or artist. The ticket holder may choose to sell the event ticket for a higher price than the “price printed or endorsed upon the ticket” they are holding. These resale tickets are listed, along with primary tickets, on the main event page. A new ticket buyer may decide to purchase the ticket from the ticket holder or from the original event organizer depending on which has the better price and availability. When a ticket is resold on Brown Paper Tickets, a new ticket is issued and the old ticket voided making the transaction as fair as possible for both ticket reseller and buyer.
Brown Paper Tickets was founded with the intent to fix the ticketing industry. We feel the proposed legislation serves only one party secondary ticket brokers. It will not serve the ticket buyer, nor the event producer. Taking power and control away from ticket buying citizens and handing it to brokers is a step backwards.
Thank you again for the opportunity to voice our concerns over the proposed amendments. Our request is that the board rejects these amendments. The amendments would criminalize a legitimate ticket holder attempting to resell tickets at a fair market price, whether through the Brown Paper Tickets system or otherwise.
Steve Butcher, CEO & William S. Jordan, President