During far happier times, Jessica Simpleton purchased a front row, 50-yard line ticket for a Cowboy’s game at their new $1.1 billion Arlington stadium. At the time, Simpleton was dating Tony Roentgen, the Cowboy’s team radiologist. However, as a result of their recent (and messy) breakup, Simpleton is no longer a Cowboy’s fan and is anxious to sell her ticket. Simpleton knows that the November 22nd Cowboys-Redskins game is sure to be a hot ticket and she plans to “scalp” the ticket for at least twice its face at the stadium on the day of the game. Is that legal?
In Simpleton’s case, ticket scalping laws are complex and vary significantly from state to state. Scalping – basically defined as reselling tickets for greater than face value – is legal in Texas, but illegal in many states. Although scalping is legal in Texas, local municipalities may choose to regulate the reselling of tickets. Unfortunately for Simpleton, Arlington has a city ordinance that prohibits the public scalping/reselling of tickets at any price. (The City of Arlington does permit the resale of a ticket in a person’s residence if the ticket is for the buyer’s personal use and if it is being sold at face value.) While scalping laws are typically not strictly enforced, Simpleton‘s violation of the Arlington ordinance would constitute a class C misdemeanor with a fine up to $500.
It is interesting to note that any amount paid to a scalper in excess of the face value of a ticket is not a deductable entertainment expense for IRS purposes. For a more detailed treatment of the topic, go to “Watch Out for the Pitfalls of Business Entertainment Deductions”.
Arlington Ordinance Section 15.05