Answering the prayers of concertgoers everywhere — especially those traumatized by Ticketmaster's paperless tickets
— a bill now pending in the Missouri House would seek to ban non-transferable ticketing systems that prevent individuals from selling or gifting tickets that belong to them.
Although Missouri essentially legalized ticket-scalping in 2007, ticket companies nationwide subsequently decided to shackle ticket purchases to credit cards, and those rules put fans in a tough spot if plans fall apart at the last minute. Got those Slayer tickets, but the babysitter calls-in sick three hours before the show? Unless you're willing to let a friend or stranger borrow your credit card and commit an act of impersonation, you'll probably have to eat the cost
and hope for better luck next time.
That's where this bill
comes in. Sponsored by Representative Shawn Rhoads (R-West Plains), the measure draws some of its language from a 2015 bill
from Representative Tracy McCreery (D-Olivette) that failed to pass the House. However, two years later, this version has been bolstered with new verbiage aimed at preventing scalpers from using the bill's new freedoms as one giant loophole.
For instance, while the bill would force companies to allow individuals to transfer their tickets at no extra cost (and to do so on the platform of the ticket-purchaser's choice), it would slap would-be scalpers using "automated ticket purchasing software" with civil penalties. Repeat offenders could be hit with criminal misdemeanor charges.
During a floor debate last week, Rhoads said that the bill's main intent is to protect consumers. “At the end of the day, if I spent $300 on a ticket and I can’t go, I think I should be able to sell it,” Rhoads said, reported the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
So far, the bill is making good headway in the legislature. It was perfected during a March 15 vote in the House and now needs to pass just one more time before the Senate can consider a mirror version, sponsored by Representative Caleb Rowden (R-Columbia). Similar bills have also been passed the state assemblies in New York, Colorado and (most recently) Virginia
Follow Danny Wicentowski on Twitter at @D_Towski. E-mail the author at Danny.Wicentowski@RiverfrontTimes.com