Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Scalping now legal in MN 

For one of the few times you'll read here, Phyllis Kahn and I agree on something.
Minnesota's decades old ticket scalping law has gone the way of 25 cent ballgame beers. As of August 1st concert and sporting event tickets can be resold for whatever the market will bear.

"It kind of felt like it would never happen, but we're sure glad it did," says Brian Obert a co-owner of Ticket King, a Wisconsin based ticket broker with a new store on Chicago Avenue between the Metrodome and the Guthrie Theater. Ticket King has already leased Space in St. Paul near the Xcel Energy Center to open a second location. Ticket King's Hudson, Wisconsin office will eventually be closed.

State Representative Phyllis Kahn, (DFL) Minneapolis, pushed for nearly 20 years to have the ticket scalping law repealed as a waste of police resources. "It's just a total violation of the free market system," says Kahn.

I hope this represents an awakening in Rep. Kahn's understanding of economics, though I'll wait for more evidence.

The story goes on to show some illiteracy among the public.
Twins fan Diane Peterson of Butternut still needs some convincing. "To get more than it's worth, that's not honest," she said. "We're from Minnesota and Minnesota nice doesn't do that."
To paraphrase a Paul Heyne line, worth is always worth to someone. Things don't have a worth. People give things worth. That is, the worth something has is reflected by how much people are willing to give up to get it. If I'm willing to pay more than the face value for a ticket, that's because it's worth more to me. If I force sellers to sell for no more than face value, that ticket may go to someone who values it less than I do. Is that Minnesota nice?

UPDATE: Your economics review courtesy of Phil Miller, who separately notes the possibilities for downtown redevelopment.

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