Some unnecessary and undesirable interference in the natural workings of markets was supported by a Queensland parliamentary committee on major events last week (see the Major Events Bill report). It appears the Government is proposing to extent current laws that apply to major sporting events, such as those held at Suncorp Stadium, to a wider range of events. It was reported in Friday’s mX newspaper that:
A Queensland parliamentary committee report has recommended measures to crack down on overpriced black market ticket resales at busy events.
Under the proposed legislation, anyone caught selling their ticket for more than 10 per cent above the original purchase price could face hefty fines.
People will also no longer be able to flog unwanted tickets at major event venues, with face-to-face resale to be considered an offence in some areas.
It seems odd to me that we can accept the efficiency and desirability of secondary markets nearly everywhere else in the economy, including for stocks and bonds, real estate, and anything you can buy over eBay or Gumtree, but we make an exception for concert or sporting tickets.
I’ve previously posted on the economics of ticket scalping. While I can understand the equity argument for cracking down on ticket scalping, I don’t think it makes any sense economically.
A close reading of the Committee report suggests that the Committee itself has some reservations about regulating ticket scalping, as it has requested further information regarding at exactly what events the new regulations would come into play. I hope that the Government intends that the regulations apply only in very limited circumstances, such as for only a limited number of events at the upcoming Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.