Massachusetts law about ticket reselling

Laws, regulations, cases, and web sources on ticket reselling law.

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Table of Contents

Massachusetts laws

MGL c.140:

  • § 185A Resale of tickets; necessity, term and transfer of license; information in application; definition of resale; restrictions
  • § 185B License to resell tickets: fees
  • § 185C Revocation or suspension of license
  • § 185D Resale price
  • § 185E Rules and regulations re: reselling of tickets
  • § 185F Violation of statutes or regulations re: reselling of tickets
  • § 185G Nonapplicability of statutes to tickets for entertainment of nonprofits

Selected cases

Commonwealth v. Santangelo, 25 Mass. App. Ct. 583 (1988)
"General Laws c.140 § 185D, which prohibits resale of tickets to public amusements at a price above that printed on the ticket, plus a permissible profit and a defined "service charge," did not permit a reseller, as part of the service charge, to recoup from a buyer the amount he paid for the ticket in excess of the printed price."

Grossman v. Boston Red Sox Baseball Club Ltd. P'ship. (In re Platt), 292 B.R. 12 (2003)
The Massachusetts Anti-Scalping Statute, M.G.L. ch. 140, § 185A, did not apply to a bankruptcy trustee who wished to sell Red Sox season tickets because he was not "'engaged in the business of reselling tickets' within the meaning of the statute."

Herman v. Admit One Ticket Agency, 454 Mass. 611 (2009)
In order to establish standing, "a plaintiff must purchase a ticket to maintain a c. 93A claim premised on a violation of the policy embodied in [MGL c.140] § 185D."

Lainer v. City of Boston, 95 F.Supp.2d 17 (2000)
The court issued an injunction prohibiting Boston Police from " attempting to arrest, threatening to arrest, arresting, and prosecuting any person who attempts to resell or resells any ticket to a Boston Red Sox baseball game in the vicinity of Fenway Park, at or below the face value of the ticket, unless they have probable cause, at the time of arrest, to believe that said person is a person engaged in the business of reselling tickets, and is not duly licensed as required by Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 140, § 185A."

NPS, LLC v. StubHub, Inc., 25 Mass.L.Rep. 478 (2009), 2009 Mass. Super. LEXIS 97, 2009 WL 995483
Patriots’ lawsuit against StubHub for reselling Patriots' tickets online survived StubHub’s motion for summary judgment on the count alleging intentional interference with advantageous relations. The Court discussed how the "Patriots may prove that StubHub induced a breach of contract by improper means if they can show that StubHub intentionally induced or encouraged others to violate §§ 185A or 185D, or profited from such violations while declining to stop or limit it." (Note: The parties ultimately settled out of court. See "Patriots, StubHub End Legal Battle", CommonWealth Beacon, July 14, 2009.)

Opinion of the Justices to the Senate, 247 Mass. 589 (1924)
An analysis of the purpose and limits of the ticket reselling law as it was first enacted.

Licensing

Office of Public Safety and Inspections
Division of Occupational Licensure
1000 Washington Street, Suite 710
Boston, MA 02118

Phone: (617) 727-3200
MassRelay (TTY & ASCII): 711
Website: Office of Public Safety and Inspections

Web sources

File a complaint against a DOL licensee, Mass. Office of Public Safety and Inspections.
To file a complaint against a ticket reseller, choose “File a Complaint against an OPSI Licensee” and use the OPSI General Complaint Form 2020. The Division of Occupational Licensure may investigate the affairs of anyone licensed to resell tickets to determine compliance with the law.

Judge rules ticket firm violated law, Boston Globe, September 18, 2007.
Quincy District Court Judge "Coven ...ruled Admit One violated the "language and legislative intent of the existing law" by recouping the cost of acquiring the tickets it was reselling and by charging customers a membership fee equal to 15 percent of the sale price."

Pro teams find a hot ticket in secondary market, Boston Globe, February 27, 2005.
Teams are exploring their own methods for reselling their tickets. "The Red Sox and the Patriots have taken a very strong stance against fans reselling their tickets above face value. Both teams have revoked the tickets of season ticket holders who have been caught reselling tickets." Note: You must be online in Massachusetts in order to access this link.

Ticket resellers FAQ, Mass. Office of Public Safety and Inspections.
Questions and answers for current and potential ticket resellers with a link to an application for a license.

Print sources

"Consumer law – buy before you sue: standing to sue for ticket scalping requires purchase – Herman v. Admit One Ticket Agency, LLC, 912 N.E.2D 450 (Mass. 2009)," 43 Suffolk U. L. Rev. 1031 (2010).

"The law and economics of ticket scalping," 68 Wayne L. Rev. 345 (2023).

Contact for Massachusetts law about ticket reselling

Last updated: December 8, 2023

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