The dust is starting to settle after casino impresario Steve Wynn’s decision to tightly regulate sales for Garth Brooks’ five-year residency at Encore Theater stirred up some well-publicized confusion earlier in the week.
Despite initial questions and concerns about the procedure, put in place to dissuade ticket scalping, many brokers are now taking the necessary steps to comply with the constraints. In some cases, that means not buying or selling Brooks’ tickets at all.
Ken Solky, who is president of LasVegasTickets.com and the National Association of Ticket Brokers, noted that he does not have and has not sold any Garth Brooks tickets. However, he noted, “Being a ticket broker who has served the Las Vegas valley for over 15 years, we always want to serve our customers. The tight restrictions on tickets make it more difficult to serve their needs.”
Those restrictions included an October 27 deadline that required buyers to verify the names of all guests in their party or risk immediate cancellation of their ticket orders. The Wynn will also require all attendees to provide a valid photo ID matching the register on receipt of the ticket and again on entrance into the theater.
According to Wynn, the box office will buy back cancelled or unwanted tickets at face value, and put them up for sale again through the night of the respective performance.
Later in the day on Tuesday, the NATB’s general counsel Gary Adler issued a statement regarding the change in the Wynn’s terms and conditions for collecting tickets.
“Fans should have the right to buy and sell the tickets they want without having to RSVP their guests or risk cancellation based on new, arbitrary rules,” Adler’s statement read, in part. “They’re changing the rules in the middle of the game, and it’s only going to hurt the fans who can’t find tickets, or are stuck with ones they can’t use.”
Wynn quickly fired back that same day during an interview with the Las Vegas Sun.
“Garth wants to protect his fans, and I’m with him. We don’t want them exploited. The price is $125, and nobody but us and Garth Brooks are going to make money,” Wynn told the publication, adding, “I’m jousting with ticket brokers. They are not going to sell them at a profit. Tough [stuff].”
Roger Jones, general manager of another Las Vegas broker Alliance Tickets, said that the problem wasn’t necessarily the policies themselves, but with their late implementation.
“Nobody has a problem playing by the rules up front,” Jones said, noting that brokers follow other guidelines, such as per-order ticket limits, among other rules. But based on the calls he received, most customers “were disappointed that the terms and conditions had been changed post-purchase.”
Solky agreed that the disclosure of ticketing procedures came too late in the game. “If that [delay] didn’t happen, this wouldn’t be news,” he explained.
Despite the late change of ticketing terms, Solky voiced nothing but respect for Steve Wynn, CEO of the Wynn Resorts where Brooks’ residency will be based. He noted that his primary concern, at this point, is moving forward with business and hoping to continue to persuade people to visit Las Vegas.
“This is what Garth wants, and this is what Mr. Wynn wants,” Solky acknowledged. “Whether it’s good or bad, or how this affects things going forward, remains to be seen.”
For now, though, it’s business as usual for Solky and Jones. Though neither brokerage lists tickets for Brooks at the moment, they have tickets for many other shows in Las Vegas to offer customers. And, at the end of the day, both brokers agree that anything that brings more tourists and capital to Sin City is good for business.
“Whether I buy or sell tickets to Garth Brooks doesn’t matter to me,” Jones said. “From a business standpoint, on a day to day basis, we’re going to continue to sell tickets [to other events].”