Author Topic: Does anybody scalp tickets as a side gig?  (Read 10321 times)

g3

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Does anybody scalp tickets as a side gig?
« on: December 22, 2014, 03:56:17 PM »
Title says it all.

I've been keeping an eye on prices for an annual concert. The early bird special was $99 at the beginning of October, and current prices are now $160 on the event website, >$190 on Stubhub. Say you could sell today at $150, comes out to $130 after resell fees.  30% return on your money in 3 months.

Does anybody do this as a side gig?  What are the challenges of doing this successfully?  Hidden benefits? Hidden burdens?  Or is this site morally opposed to the practice?

Thanks for satisfying my curiosity!

seattlecyclone

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Re: Does anybody scalp tickets as a side gig?
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2014, 04:19:12 PM »
I don't do this myself, but I have no argument with those who do. I tend to think laws against ticket reselling generally do more harm than good. If an event sells out within a few minutes of the tickets going on sale, that means the tickets weren't priced high enough to begin with! The event organizers should learn from their mistake and price their tickets correctly next time, not try to prosecute people who try to make a little extra cash on arbitrage.

BlueHouse

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Re: Does anybody scalp tickets as a side gig?
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2014, 05:57:31 PM »
I don't have any idea how scalping tickets works in this day and age of print-at-home tickets.  I've printed out tickets at home and then sold them to scalpers on the street.  But how do they know I didn't just print out two copies?  Whoever enters first gets in and the second person who attempts entry loses out. 
For this reason, I'll never buy on the street (unless the scalper walked up to the gate with me and we exchanged money there). 

MoneyCat

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Re: Does anybody scalp tickets as a side gig?
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2014, 06:06:34 PM »
I scalp tickets all the time.  It's a great way to make a little extra cash.  The only thing is that you need to have enough free time to get the presales which are usually in the middle of the week on late mornings.  If you have a stay-at-home accomplice, that works the best.

alice76

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Re: Does anybody scalp tickets as a side gig?
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2014, 06:48:08 PM »
Husband just made $50 scalping 2 extra tickets last week. He was surprised how easy it was, but I'm not sure it will be a regular thing for us.

southern granny

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Re: Does anybody scalp tickets as a side gig?
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2014, 08:12:25 PM »
Scalping is illegal in Kentucky where I live.  The fine is $250 per ticket.  That would definitely cut into your profits.  Of course people still do it.  University of Kentucky tickets are always a hot item for scalping.

mlipps

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Re: Does anybody scalp tickets as a side gig?
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2014, 09:20:29 PM »
I did it on accident this summer. We had tickets to a country concert at Soldier Field, but as the summer went on, I started to regret the steep price we had paid for some pretty lousy seats. Another show came up at half the price we wanted to go to, but I couldn't justify it with how much we had spent on the Soldier Field show. I went on Stubhub and the seats were selling for crazy money. I think ultimately I sold $75 tickets for $150 each and we netted like $120 after Stubhub fees. And it. was. so. easy. I've thought about doing it again, but I feel like it's hard to have the information I need to make smart buys.

Grateful Stache

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Re: Does anybody scalp tickets as a side gig?
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2014, 06:16:11 AM »
1) You can just as easily get burned if you mis-calculate
2) Definitely illegal
3) There is a time/expense cost of doing this 
4) If you've ever tried to get a ticket to a show that you really want to see, only to have to buy it from a scalper, you probably think they are the scum-of-the-earth.

To me, there are better ways to make $50.

- Grateful

GuitarStv

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Re: Does anybody scalp tickets as a side gig?
« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2014, 06:40:42 AM »
People who scalp tickets are assholes, pretty much no matter what way you look at it.  You are depriving people of getting to do something they want in the hope that you can overcharge them for a no value added service.  It's also typically illegal.  You might as well just mug some people for cash.

oldmannickels

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Re: Does anybody scalp tickets as a side gig?
« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2014, 06:53:33 AM »
I do this sometimes when I know the show will sell out. Just buy a few extra tickets and sell them so I can go for free.

IMO if you snooze you lose buying tickets to those shows.

Cromacster

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Re: Does anybody scalp tickets as a side gig?
« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2014, 06:57:17 AM »
I have mixed feelings about scalping tickets.  I have sold tickets to shows after if it turned out I couldn't attend or chose not to.  I have made a profit off of doing this.  Probably 200-300 in my lifetime.  I also feel that scalpers provide a service.  The service you are paying for is to not be online or at the box office right when tickets come on sale.  You are paying for their time, their ability to get tickets, and the convenience buying a ticket when it fits your schedule.

That said, what annoys me is when resellers get early access to tickets, even before the regular presales.

2) Definitely illegal

Depends on your state.  In Minnesota it is completely legal and there are businesses entirely devoted to buying and reselling tickets. Also, see stubhub, nfl ticket exhange, ticketmaster resale...etc

Edit: I don't know about Canadian laws.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2014, 07:00:07 AM by Cromacster »

Cromacster

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Re: Does anybody scalp tickets as a side gig?
« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2014, 06:59:30 AM »
People who scalp tickets are assholes, pretty much no matter what way you look at it.  You are depriving people of getting to do something they want in the hope that you can overcharge them for a no value added service.  It's also typically illegal.  You might as well just mug some people for cash.

How are they depriving?  They are offering to sell you tickets.  If they didn't get them, someone else would have bought them and you would not be able to buy them.

I have even been able to get into events for cheaper than if I bought them upfront.  Walk up to a baseball game or hockey game after it starts and at that point they are looking to make whatever cash they can.  Maybe not a hockey game in Canada, you guys are hockey crazy!.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2014, 07:02:55 AM by Cromacster »

MustachianAccountant

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Re: Does anybody scalp tickets as a side gig?
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2014, 07:20:30 AM »
Scalping in this day and age happens on StubHub and the like. Seems like half of us are talking about that, and half of us are talking about "traditional" scalping where some shady guy approaches you outside the event venue.
I don't think StubHub is illegal in any states, though I could be mistaken (and am feeling too lazy to look it up...)

GuitarStv

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Re: Does anybody scalp tickets as a side gig?
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2014, 07:26:38 AM »
People who scalp tickets are assholes, pretty much no matter what way you look at it.  You are depriving people of getting to do something they want in the hope that you can overcharge them for a no value added service.  It's also typically illegal.  You might as well just mug some people for cash.

How are they depriving?  They are offering to sell you tickets.  If they didn't get them, someone else would have bought them and you would not be able to buy them.

I have even been able to get into events for cheaper than if I bought them upfront.  Walk up to a baseball game or hockey game after it starts and at that point they are looking to make whatever cash they can.  Maybe not a hockey game in Canada, you guys are hockey crazy!.

Scalpers make the purchase of normally priced tickets very difficult for the average person.  They prevent many from seeing shows and events that they would otherwise attend, essentially enforcing class separation (as those with means don't care what they pay).  There is no value at all added with what a scalper does, it's simply gouging.  Choosing to use a scalper exposes you to high risk of fraud (you have to somehow verify the tickets under pressure immediately before the event).  When many people without tickets show up for an event expecting to attend it can cause crowd control problems.

This type of practice is no different than say, all the oil companies getting together and fixing gas prices to be three dollars a gallon higher.  Or than a large electronics company selling their products at a loss for several years to put their competitors out of business and then jacking up the prices.  Sure, it's capitalist . . . but it's also fundamentally the behaviour of an asshole and detrimental to society.

A scalper is a leech, working to defraud people and providing no benefit to anyone.

shotgunwilly

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Re: Does anybody scalp tickets as a side gig?
« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2014, 07:41:53 AM »
Scalpers make the purchase of normally priced tickets very difficult for the average person.  They prevent many from seeing shows and events that they would otherwise attend, essentially enforcing class separation (as those with means don't care what they pay).

How?  The only reason scalpers are able to increase prices is because of demand. If the prices were low, demand is high, and then the tickets sell out and the "average person" still doesn't get one.  Unless they are lucky enough to buy one on original release date for the low price.   

Quote
This type of practice is no different than say, all the oil companies getting together and fixing gas prices to be three dollars a gallon higher. 

Actually, it's more comparable to supply and demand driving oil prices.

astvilla

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Re: Does anybody scalp tickets as a side gig?
« Reply #15 on: December 23, 2014, 07:50:27 AM »
I'm a little surprised at some of the anger at scalping tickets. I've done it only once but that was because I had an extra ticket and wanted to get rid of it. I sold it on Stubhub and made about $50 on 1 ticket. Realized I could make good money doing this even with Stubhub's high fees that eat into your profit. It's not illegal i think cause Stubhub is a pretty big company and it's based almost off scalping.

Scalping IMO is pretty high risk unless you have experience with the event, the event has to be sold out which you're not always sure of. You also have to compete with other Stubhub sellers and the time you put it up matters too. You gamble with raising prices close to showtime and risk not selling at all so you have to compete on price. For the record, my ticket sold fast because it was much cheaper than everyone else and helped someone get a ticket close to sale price when no alternative was available. You can also think of it as you snooze you lose. Because my mom bought the tickets, I just gave the profit all to her in the end anyways. I would also use stubhub over craigslist. a lot of the craigslist buyers bailed out and it's too much hassle. Stubhub is much easier to do just online. the downside as a buyer is if you get the ticket and the original owner beats you to the gate basically rendering your ticket useless (i think not sure someone can correct me?)

slugline

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Re: Does anybody scalp tickets as a side gig?
« Reply #16 on: December 23, 2014, 08:17:06 AM »
Wow. I'd never use the words "price gouging" in conjunction with the sale of luxury goods. A concert is not an emergency.

MgoSam

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Re: Does anybody scalp tickets as a side gig?
« Reply #17 on: December 23, 2014, 08:28:28 AM »
I have no issue with scalpers, it is my belief that they reflect market forces. A scalper isn't likely to mark up a $100 ticket to  $1000, unless he/she knows that it will sell for that much. What's amazing is that with sites such as StubHub, it has become a way for observers to gauge the interest in sporting event or concert. For instance the past few years, Michigan football attendance has been down, and so many people were following the StubHub price listings as a way to gauge fan interest in any particular match, obviously games against Michigan State and Notre Dame were going to yield much higher prices than against Minnesota or other non-marquee matchups (nothing against the Gophers).

I scalped a little when I was in college, but as a student we were able to tickets at the students rates and there was always a student or two in one of my classes that wasn't going to be able to make the game and would give me their ticket. They had already paid for it, and so just asked to split any profit, so on my way to the Big House I would listen for anyone wanting a ticket and could easily sell it, not a ton of money but when you're in college an easy $15 means quite a few pizza dinners. Another time was for the MN Renaissance Festival. My friend bought 4 tickets at the State Fair for $15 each (normal price is $25), but when I went with him and another friend he still had a spare ticket. So when we walked to the gate I quickly sold that extra ticket for $15, so my friend wasn't out any money. The person that bought the ticket was happy as he saved $10.

clarkfan1979

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Re: Does anybody scalp tickets as a side gig?
« Reply #18 on: December 23, 2014, 08:40:42 AM »
People that buy/sell at events try to buy at 40% on the dollar and sell at 80% on the dollar. People often go to events with unused tickets and will sell for 40% on the dollar vs. just eating the ticket.

It's often illegal to sell above asking price within a certain amount of feet from the venue. But if you are selling below are at ticket price, I think you can do it right in front of the venue.

Iron Mike Sharpe

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Re: Does anybody scalp tickets as a side gig?
« Reply #19 on: December 23, 2014, 10:11:11 AM »
I think a lot of the anti-scalping tickets have been eliminated.

I do a fair bit of reselling on StubHub.  I'm in a season ticket group for the STL Cardinals.   My share of the plan is 40 tickets each season.  I keep about half of them for myself and then resell the other half for premium games.  I think last season, my tickets cost me $18 per ticket (5th row bleachers).  After reselling 1/2 of the tickets, I my actual cost to go to the games I went to came in at under $8/game. 

One of the guys in our group pointed out that the Cardinals had tickets for sale in one section for a Cards-Yankees game for $X and people were buying them in that section for a lot more than that.  So I bought a few pairs of those tickets and resold them.  Only profited less than $10 per ticket after StubHub's fees.   Bought I only had to put in 5 minutes of work for it.

During the playoffs, I noticed that the Cardinals had a bunch of tickets left for Games 6 & 7 of the NLCS.  I bought a lot of them to resell.  Let's just say I'm glad that the Cardinals lost in 5 games.  I had only sold a few of them by the time Game 5 had ended. 

I've never tried reselling concert tickets.  I don't know how that works as I don't think the tickets have the same barcode as baseball.   I think you have to attache the PDF for concert tickets.  Too much of a pain in the butt.

I've always thought that some band should try an eBay type of auction system for a tour.  If tickets to a hot club show are going for $40, but people are buying them from scalpers for $200, it seems like the bands are leaving a lot of money on the table.  Why should resellers get the profit?  The band should be able to see that money.

otherbarry

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Re: Does anybody scalp tickets as a side gig?
« Reply #20 on: December 23, 2014, 10:42:52 AM »
From a sports/concert fan viewpoint, I hate scalpers.

From an economist viewpoint, I admire scalpers for recognizing a trend in the market that they can take advantage of. They wouldn't do it if people stopped buying from them.

Eric

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Re: Does anybody scalp tickets as a side gig?
« Reply #21 on: December 23, 2014, 10:44:18 AM »
We should include some definitions here.  If you have an extra ticket or two, to an event you're attending, and you re-sell those, you're not scalping tickets no matter the price.  Only if you purposefully bought high demand tickets with no intent to attend the event, then you're scalping.

Why should resellers get the profit?  The band should be able to see that money.

Exactly why scalpers suck.  Bands try to set prices so that all of their fans have the opportunity to attend, not just the ones with lots of disposable income, because they're not assholes.

Eric

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Re: Does anybody scalp tickets as a side gig?
« Reply #22 on: December 23, 2014, 10:48:46 AM »
People who scalp tickets are assholes, pretty much no matter what way you look at it.  You are depriving people of getting to do something they want in the hope that you can overcharge them for a no value added service.  It's also typically illegal.  You might as well just mug some people for cash.

I disagree.  The scalpers are rendering a service. The tickets usually go on sale in the middle of the work day, a time that is very inconvenient for people with traditional jobs.  So you're essentially paying the scalper more so that you can A) get a ticket and B) make your purchase at a time more convenient for you.

It's not much different than paying someone to wait in line for you in the cold, so that you can buy something.  This would have been an inconvenience for you, and they are incurring it for you in exchange for money.

You might direct your anger at the ticket sellers.  There's no reason why they can't start the ticket sales at, say, 7 p.m. when everyone is home from work.

By the way, to answer the OP, I have scalped tickets before... but it's a tricky business.  It's not as easy as it looks.  Now I look upon it the same way as purchasing individual stocks - high risk, high reward.  I stick to index funds :)

That's a real stretch.  Does it still apply to those of us online at 9:59am waiting to buy tickets and then they sell out 5 minutes later, half of them going to people only wanting to re-sell for profit?  Where's the service there?

TimmyTightWad

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Re: Does anybody scalp tickets as a side gig?
« Reply #23 on: December 23, 2014, 10:51:47 AM »
Be careful with this. I thought about doing this for the Beyonce/Jayz tour. Was very close to buying $2000 worth of tickets(4 front rowish). Luckily I didn't because demand was not as high as I initially thought it would be. I believe some tickets in the NY/NJ show actually never sold.

seattlecyclone

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Re: Does anybody scalp tickets as a side gig?
« Reply #24 on: December 23, 2014, 10:52:27 AM »
People who scalp tickets are assholes, pretty much no matter what way you look at it.  You are depriving people of getting to do something they want in the hope that you can overcharge them for a no value added service.  It's also typically illegal.  You might as well just mug some people for cash.

I strongly disagree. Is someone who buys a house, does no work on it, and later sells it for a profit an asshole? Is a dealer who buys limited-edition collectibles from the public and then sells them for a higher price an asshole? No. They're making good investment/business decisions. I fail to see how selling a ticket for a profit is materially different from selling any other object for a profit.

If event organizers sell all of their tickets to scalpers for $50 and the seats all get filled by people who paid $100, what does it matter that the ticket says $50 on it? Everyone willingly paid $100. Perhaps the event organizers should have charged $100 in the first place.

There's risk involved for everyone. If the event organizers set too high of a face value, they risk having too many empty seats and making less money than if they started with a lower price. If the scalpers buy a bunch of tickets at the first possible minute with the assumption the tickets are underpriced, but the show fails to sell out at face value, they can lose a bunch of money.

People who sell counterfeit tickets are indeed scum. Buying and reselling legitimate tickets for whatever price the market will bear is A-OK in my book.

otherbarry

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Re: Does anybody ,scalp tickets as a side gig?
« Reply #25 on: December 23, 2014, 11:33:10 AM »
Buying and reselling legitimate tickets for whatever price the market will bear is A-OK in my book.

Agreed, scalpers are just a market shift to equilibrium if initial ticket prices were too low.

GuitarStv

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Re: Does anybody scalp tickets as a side gig?
« Reply #26 on: December 23, 2014, 01:01:20 PM »
People who scalp tickets are assholes, pretty much no matter what way you look at it.  You are depriving people of getting to do something they want in the hope that you can overcharge them for a no value added service.  It's also typically illegal.  You might as well just mug some people for cash.

I strongly disagree. Is someone who buys a house, does no work on it, and later sells it for a profit an asshole? Is a dealer who buys limited-edition collectibles from the public and then sells them for a higher price an asshole? No. They're making good investment/business decisions. I fail to see how selling a ticket for a profit is materially different from selling any other object for a profit.

If you are invited over to your mom's house for a big family dinner, she realizes that she's out of beans that she needs for a recipe and she sends you out to get some . . . do you come back and demand 30$ for the can of beans, knowing that she won't have time to go out and get them on her own?  I mean, she's not going to starve without them . . . it'll just ruin dinner.  This would be a GREAT business decision though.  That's how an asshole scalper behaves.  Wait, it's different.  You know your mom, you would never do that.

Or to use your housing scenario, maybe you overhear at work that one of your friends is considering purchasing a house.  Do you rush off to put in a slightly better offer on the house, buy it, and then sell it to your friend for a little bit more a couple months later?  That's how an asshole scalper behaves.  Again, that would be a GREAT business decision.  Shitty thing for a human being to do though.  But wait, it's different.  You would never do that to a friend.

Well, I don't buy into the theory that it's somehow OK to act like a dick to someone just because you don't know them.  I think it should be possible to muddle my way through life minimizing the hurt and damage I do to others.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2014, 01:05:27 PM by GuitarStv »

seattlecyclone

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Re: Does anybody scalp tickets as a side gig?
« Reply #27 on: December 23, 2014, 01:37:11 PM »
I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. Every business is based on selling goods or services for a higher price than the owner paid. Every single one. Just because profiting on transactions between friends is socially unacceptable doesn't mean it's evil to make a buck from strangers.

neo von retorch

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Re: Does anybody scalp tickets as a side gig?
« Reply #28 on: December 23, 2014, 02:34:09 PM »
I strongly disagree. Is someone who buys a house, does no work on it, and later sells it for a profit an asshole? Is a dealer who buys limited-edition collectibles from the public and then sells them for a higher price an asshole? No. They're making good investment/business decisions. I fail to see how selling a ticket for a profit is materially different from selling any other object for a profit.

If event organizers sell all of their tickets to scalpers for $50 and the seats all get filled by people who paid $100, what does it matter that the ticket says $50 on it? Everyone willingly paid $100. Perhaps the event organizers should have charged $100 in the first place.

As mentioned before, it's not "reselling tickets" that is a bad service. It's "buying up all the available normal price tickets" which artificially raises the prices (see monopoly, price gouging for more information.)

In your first example, you're talking about One person buying One house to live in it, and then selling it once they've used it. A few really seasoned real estate veterans might snag a property that's slightly below market value and resell it for profit. This is different from a large organization buying ALL the houses in the area and then reselling them for a higher value (because everyone has no choice but to buy homes from them despite the price increase).

In your second example, it's actually more of a finder's fee. The collectors willing to pay high prices may not have the means to find the items they want to collect. A dealer profits from gathering things of value from a variety of sources and offering them for sale in a central location.

If it was not for bulk ticket purchasing, it's possible (if not likely) that everyone that is interesting in attending the event would pay $50. When they pay $100 for the same event because they are still interested but tickets are not available at the original price, they are choosing to value the event over money, but the choice was artificially forced upon them by the bulk ticket buyer rather than direct market forces. (It's import to note that a normal, competitive market drives prices down, but limited availability, particularly from a single merchant drives prices up.)
« Last Edit: December 23, 2014, 02:37:34 PM by neogodless »

GuitarStv

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Re: Does anybody scalp tickets as a side gig?
« Reply #29 on: December 23, 2014, 03:42:13 PM »
I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. Every business is based on selling goods or services for a higher price than the owner paid. Every single one. Just because profiting on transactions between friends is socially unacceptable doesn't mean it's evil to make a buck from strangers.

It's not profit that's bad, it's profit purely at the expense of others without adding any value that is evil.  Money for doing nothing but hurting others.

seattlecyclone

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Re: Does anybody scalp tickets as a side gig?
« Reply #30 on: December 23, 2014, 03:51:49 PM »
If it was not for bulk ticket purchasing, it's possible (if not likely) that everyone that is interesting in attending the event would pay $50. When they pay $100 for the same event because they are still interested but tickets are not available at the original price, they are choosing to value the event over money, but the choice was artificially forced upon them by the bulk ticket buyer rather than direct market forces. (It's import to note that a normal, competitive market drives prices down, but limited availability, particularly from a single merchant drives prices up.)

It's simple supply and demand. For most events the supply (S) of tickets is fixed. There is some number of people (N) who are willing to pay $100 to attend the event. Since the seats were full, N is clearly greater than or equal to S. There's also some number of people (M) who would be willing to pay $50 to attend the event. In the sentence I bolded, you are suggesting that M is not (much) larger than N, but I find this unlikely. There have been a ton of concerts I've skipped in the past few years because although I like the band, I thought the ticket price was too high given the amount that I enjoy the band's music. I doubt I'm the only one who has made a buying non-decision in this manner. For every potential attendee there exists a price where that attendee would no longer be interested in attending the event for more than that price.

So then the question becomes whether it's better for the N people who value the tickets most to attend the event, or for some subset of M (the ones who were lucky enough to click the "buy" button at the right second) to attend the event for a sub-market price. I think it would be "best" for the event organizers to charge $100 in the first place so that the people actually putting on the show get to maximize their income. I hardly think we should criminalize attempts to perform arbitrage in events where the organizers insist on underpricing their tickets.