Traverse City Record-Eagle

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April 2, 2014

Forum: Repealing ticket law could lead to fraud

By Diana Baribeau

Traverse City demonstrates Michigan’s economic transformation from an almost exclusive reliance on manufacturing to a more diverse portfolio of revenue generating industries; due in large part to the critical growth in tourism.

But, despite that progress, some in Lansing are now pushing policies that could make it harder to attract and entertain visitors, critical to the state’s and Traverse City’s economy.

Traverse City built on its exceptional natural beauty and added first-rate entertainment to draw tourism from all over the country. Visitors come to lie on beaches like Sleeping Bear Dunes during the day and then head to venues like the City Opera House at night. The money they spend supports our community and thousands of jobs.

Today, nearly half a million people are employed by the state’s arts, entertainment, recreation and hospitality industries — 20,000 in northwest Michigan alone.

The Pure Michigan campaign last year generated over a billion dollars in revenue for the state.

Yet the Michigan Senate is now considering a bill that could make the tourists behind those dollars think twice before spending it in the future.

HB5108 would repeal the state’s current ticket resale law and strip away one of the few tools available to help combat ticket fraud.

If this bill is enacted into law, venues around the state will have a harder time helping their customers access genuine tickets to events.

The existing law in Michigan is an example of how resale can be done right. An event-goer can buy a ticket from a venue box office or through an official ticketing site and be confident the ticket is real. Then that same ticket buyer can resell the ticket at face value. Further, if a ticket seller has permission from the venue, they can then resell the ticket above face value.

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