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Scalping: what's allowed, what's not

23

October

ST. PETERSBURG -- Got tickets? If not, scalpers are an option. But it might help to clear up the confused issue of ticket scalping.

It is not illegal to scalp, or resell, tickets. And as of 2006 in Florida, it's also no longer illegal to profit from scalping.

The real issue is where ticket scalping is allowed during the World Series.

First, tickets cannot be re-sold on Tropicana Field property by order of Major League Baseball. The Rays allowed that during the season and set aside space outside to do it. But no longer.

The new "clean zone" ordinance the City Council passed on Oct. 16 for the World Series restricts what all vendors can sell and how they can sell it around the Trop -- and that includes tickets.

Scalping is allowed on private property -- with the consent of the property owners -- or scalpers can sell tickets under white tents, just like the other vendors, if they obtained permits from the city. Three scalpers obtained such permits, according to the city.

But the ordinance forbids vending in the public right of way: sidewalks and streets. Patrons can stand in those rights of ways to buys tickets, but the scalpers can't block vehicle or pedestrian traffic.

"We're trying to keep the sidewalks less congested," said chief assistant city attorney Mark Winn, "by pushing these people off the rights of way."

According to the St. Petersburg Police Department, eight scalpers were cited Wednesday with violating the ordinance. The penalty: at least $500 in fines. And here's a cautionary tale from Game 1 for those who buy scalped tickets:

Mike Gary Jr. and Mike Gary Sr. of Brooksville told the Times on Wednesday night that they paid $400 for a pair of fraudulent Game 1 tickets. They bought the tickets -- two computer print-outs of online tickets -- only to find out those tickets had already been scanned in.

Police fielded four complaints of patrons being sold counterfeit tickets.

--Jamal Thalji, Stephanie Garry, Times staff writers

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[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:43am]

    

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