Massachusetts law about ticket scalping

A compilation of laws, regulations, cases, and web sources on ticket reselling law.

Table of Contents

Massachusetts laws

MGL c.140:

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

Selected case law

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., 22 Mass.L.Rep. 717, 2007 Mass. Super. LEXIS 301, 2007 WL 2367748 (Mass.Super.), July 31, 2007. Superior Court order compelling "StubHub to produce documents that identify individuals who purchased or sold, or who offered to purchase or sell, tickets to Patriots' home football games using the StubHub website."

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

Licensing

Department of Public Safety
Ticket Resellers Division
One Ashburton Place Room 1301
Boston, MA 02108
Phone: 617-727-3200

Web sources

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."

Ticket Resellers FAQ, Mass. Dept. of Public Safety
Questions and answers for current and potential ticket resellers

Contact

Phone

Within Massachusetts only

Within Massachusetts only

Online

Reference librarians online Chat with a law librarian 
Reference librarians via email masslawlib@gmail.com

Address

Administrative office (no law library at this location)
2 Center Plaza
9th Floor
Boston, MA 02108
Last updated: September 11, 2018

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