Home > Newspaper Articles > 1977 > June 23, 1977. Des Moines, IA.

CONCERT DATE: June 23, 1977. Des Moines, IA.

You Ain't Nothin' But A Scalper (Up To $115)
by Barbara Brooker
The Des Moines Register
June 17, 1976

Tickets to Elvis Presley concerts that sold for $15 when they were first made available to the public last month are now being hawked for $100 or more in Des Moines and in the Omaha- Council Bluffs area.

And Elvis fans are paying those prices, despite the fact that the concerts are not sold out.

The concerts are scheduled Sunday at Civic Auditorium in Omaha, Monday at Pershing Municipal Auditorium in Lincoln, Neb., and next Thursday at Veterans Memorial Auditorium here.

Although limits were placed on the number of tickets each person could buy, some managed to pick up several and are now demanding high prices for the extras.

Advertisements started appearing in the want ad sections of newspapers in Des Moines and Omaha a couple of weeks ago. Prices usually are not mentioned in the ads, but telephone calls indicate the sellers are asking $25 to $115 for the tickets.

One person asking $50 per ticket said: "I camped out 24 hours, including sleeping on the ground, to get these tickets. I deserve a little extra compensation."

Some persons studied the probability of making a profit from the concerts before they invested their money.

Gregg Houghman, 22, of 1437 E. Seventeenth St., said he noticed people selling high-priced tickets at an Elvis concert in Ames last year. "If I had had the foresight and money, I would have done it then," he said. This time, Houghman did get extra tickets to resell - 40 of them - and he feels no guilt in making some money that way.

"If people want to see the concert bad enough, they'll pay the price," he said.

There seems to be some question if ticket-scalping is illegal in Iowa. "We have a problem in that area," said Rod Ryan, an assistant Polk County attorney. "Ticket-scalping is illegal under Iowa law if a fraudulent act can be proven. "The large problem in prosecuting these cases is that people are willing to buy the tickets for the outrageous price offered."

Julian Garrett, head of the consumer protection division of the Iowa attorney general's office, doesn't agree that ticket-scalping is illegal. "People seem to have the idea that it is illegal," he said, "but I've never been able to find any specific law that covers it."

Des Moines City Atty. Philip Riley said there is no reference to ticketscalping in the city code. One ticket-seller said: "I don't even question if it's legal or not. Everybody's doing it. What makes me mad is one guy had some ad in the paper for a front row seat for $115. I'd like to know how he gets away with that."

About 11,000 tickets for the concert here went on sale May 6. An auditorium employe said Thursday that a few are left, most of them $10 seats near the rafters, but a few singles are available on the main floor. A spokeswoman at Civic Auditorium in Omaha said there are still some "good seats" available for the concert there Sunday, but she said they haven't been advertised so many people assume they are sold out.

Such assumptions help ticket-scalpers get the price they want

Courtesy of Francesc Lopez