Sioux Falls joins the march down the great South Dakota path of crony capitalism with its proposed ordinance to outlaw ticket scalping:
Sioux Falls business owner Brian Opp is speaking up to make sure the ordinance, if passed, does not hurt his future opportunities. As an online ticket broker, he has sold tickets to events anywhere from New York to California.
"We never really did anything in the South Dakota market, and the Sioux Falls market, because there wasn't any events going," Opp said.
With new venues including the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center and Sanford Pentagon, Opp's small business could get a boost.
"There needs to be some clarity. We need to differentiate between a scalper and a broker," Opp said [Brady Mallory, "Proposed Ticket Scalping Ordinance Concerns," KELOLand.com, 2013.08.15].
Yes, let's differentiate. A scalper may be regular guy in the street who bought a couple of tickets to Hairball, lost his date to a business trip or appendicitis, and now just wants to make a few bucks on last-minute market demand. A broker makes a business out of exacerbating desperate demand by hogging tickets, then gives the city a piece of the action.
Sioux Falls music aficionados Scott Hudson and Scott Ehrisman see the anti-scalping ordinance as a waste of time. Hudson doesn't think the ordinance will address the real problem of the music industry ripping off fans. Ehrisman sees a free-market fallacy:
The reason I am on the fence about this, because, believe it or not, I am all for the FREE market. If I buy a used car for $1000, fix it up for another $200 then sell it for $1600, am I considered a ‘car scalper’? If someone buys a ticket, or several tickets to a popular show that they know will sell out, what is the problem with profiting from re-selling those tickets for more? All we need to do is look at check cashing places, credit card companies and VL casinos in this state. They all make HUGE profits on ‘re-selling’ something at an enormous rate [Scott Ehrisman, "Is 'Ticket-Scalping' a Problem in Sioux Falls? And Should It Be Illegal?" South Dacola, 2013.08.12].
As usual, the powers that be in South Dakota believe in raider capitalism for usurers who profit on the desperate financial straits of working people. But when those same average Joes try to make a few dollars on the side, free-marketeering becomes a crime.