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Minn. Lawmakers Look Into E-Ticket Bill

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(credit: CBS) Pat Kessler
Pat Kessler knows Minnesota politics. He's been on the beat long...
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By Pat Kessler, WCCO-TV

ST. PAUL (WCCO) – Minnesota lawmakers are trying to get ahead of the next big thing in concerts and sporting events — e-tickets.

And there’s been a lot of controversy over a bill that would make it much easier to re-sell your e-tickets.

Minnesota made ticket scalping legal five years ago, and it’s been tinkering with the law ever since. Now comes e-tickets on your phone, but you may not be able to re-sell an e-ticket like you can a paper one.

When The Boss comes to town, he’ll make an effort to make sure tickets go to fans, not scalpers.

Concert promoters and sports teams set aside tickets that are hard to re-sell. And some sellers, including eBay and StubHub, are crying foul.

“If you buy a ticket and you pay full price, you are being told you cannot sell it or you have to go back to the original seller,” said Jon Potter, of the Fan Freedom Project. “They will tell you what price to sell it at. That’s not American.”

E-tickets are the next big thing. They’re not in Minnesota yet. Buyers download non-transferable ticket barcodes to cell phones or credit cards instead of paper.

Venue owners say it’s fan protection.

“There’s a battle being waged here. It’s between scalpers and fans. And the scalpers are winning,” said Twins President Dave St. Peter.

St. Peter told a Senate committee the biggest challenge for the new Target Field isn’t the weather. It’s scalpers driving up prices for fans.

“From every part of our sales efforts, from single tickets to group tickets to hospitality sales, we saw huge amounts of tickets gobbled up by out of state fans. And yes sir, they are scalpers,” St. Peter said.

Automated computer programs scoop up $50 tickets within minutes, and re-sell them for hundreds. But supporters say restricting sales in the age of eBay, just won’t play well.

“Imagine if your Vikings hat, your Wild jersey, you Twins bobble head came with resale prohibitions that required you to sell those — if you were allowed to — back at the stadium where you acquired them,”

Very few, if any, e-tickets are sold in Minnesota. But it is coming.

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