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The term scalper has several definitions. It may apply to a day trader in the stock market who purchases stock and quickly sells it, usually within a matter of minutes, for small profits. The term scalper may also refer to anyone who purchases collectibles not to collect but to make money by selling them at a profit. Another form of scalper purchases hard to get items, like popular new toys released during the Christmas season, and then sells them at a much higher price.
Most commonly, people use the term scalper to describe people who purchase large blocks of tickets for sporting events, Broadway shows, or concert performances. They then resell these tickets, usually right in front of the venue where the event will occur. Prices of tickets sold by a scalper may have as much as a 100% markup, but people may have to use a scalper when they cannot get tickets by any other means.
In many states, the activities of the scalper are illegal, especially when he or she sells the tickets right outside the location of the event. On the other hand, purchasing tickets in advance and selling them from one’s home or place of business for a higher price is often not considered illegal.
One should be wary of the ticket scalper, since he or she may sell tickets that are not real. If one is desperate to attend an event, look for people who are selling an extra ticket or two at market value. Many people end up with an extra ticket by accident, and are willing to sell the ticket for its original price.
Also occasionally, predators will pose as ticket scalpers in order to lure people away from an event and rob or hurt them. One should never follow a scalper anywhere that takes one away from the public view. This is a dangerous practice that could get one hurt, especially if the fake scalper knows one is carrying a lot of cash to make a purchase.
Even though the actions of a scalper at the site of an event tend to be illegal, they are hard to enforce since so many people scalp tickets. Usually a scalper operates with nonchalance toward any state statutes forbidding scalping.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a scalper in the context of ticket sales?
A scalper, in the context of ticket sales, is an individual or entity that purchases tickets to events like concerts, sports games, or theater shows with the intention of reselling them at a higher price for profit. This practice often takes advantage of high demand and limited supply, leading to inflated prices for consumers. Despite the negative connotation, some forms of ticket scalping are legal, depending on local laws and regulations.
How do scalpers affect the pricing and availability of tickets for consumers?
Scalpers can significantly impact both pricing and availability of tickets for consumers. By buying up large quantities of tickets, scalpers reduce the number available at face value, forcing fans to turn to secondary markets where prices are often marked up considerably. According to a study by the National Association of Ticket Brokers, tickets on secondary markets can be sold for an average of 49% above face value, though this can soar much higher for in-demand events.
Are there any legal measures in place to control scalping?
Yes, many regions have legal measures to control scalping. These laws vary widely, with some areas imposing strict regulations that prohibit the resale of tickets above face value, while others may allow it with certain restrictions. For example, the UK's Consumer Rights Act 2015 requires resellers to provide specific information about the tickets, helping to ensure transparency. However, enforcement can be challenging, especially with the rise of online scalping platforms.
What technologies do scalpers use to purchase large quantities of tickets?
Scalpers often use sophisticated technologies such as bots, which are automated software programs designed to quickly purchase large quantities of tickets as soon as they go on sale. These bots can bypass security measures and captchas, giving scalpers an unfair advantage over regular consumers. In response, legislation like the Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act of 2016 in the United States has been enacted to combat the use of such technology in ticket scalping.
Can anything be done to prevent scalping and ensure fair ticket access for fans?
To prevent scalping and ensure fair ticket access, event organizers and ticketing platforms are implementing various strategies. These include using fan verification systems, limiting the number of tickets one can purchase, requiring ID checks at the venue, and offering slow ticketing, where tickets are released gradually. Additionally, some artists hold back tickets to be sold directly to fans through fan clubs or verified fan programs, reducing the number that scalpers can acquire.