Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers are putting together a bill that could severely restrict the online resale market for tickets, with an eye on the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, according to reporting by The Yomiuri Shimbun published in English-language at The-Japan-News.com.
The bill, which is expected to be submitted for consideration at the ordinary Diet session next month, will reportedly cover tickets that meet three conditions:
They must specify the event’s date, time and venue, and a designated seat; the event organizer must clearly state reselling tickets is prohibited; and the organizer must take steps to prevent scalping, such as checking the identities of ticket buyers.
In-person ticket resale is already prohibited in many of Japan’s prefectures. In the Tokyo area, for example, the penalty for selling tickets can range as high as six months in prison and a fine of 500,000 yen (slightly more than $44,000 US as of December 4, according to Google).
The new laws will reportedly not have any effect on consumers who wish to sell tickets that they purchased as an individual for face value or less. Instead, it will seek to limit so-called industrial resale of tickets for the games, which will have an estimated 7.8 million tickets for sale, with an average price of 7,700 yen (approx. $70).
If passed, it will be interesting to see what impact the law, however well meaning, will have on the demand for tickets. Tickets for the upcoming 2018 winter games in South Korea have been performing at woeful levels, prompting a bank bailout in September. The IOC and organizers of that Olympiad have gone with a similarly restrictive mindset for their tickets. According to the official event website, there is no authorized resale of tickets save for an official “fan-to-fan” marketplace, and those purchased outside of the official primary sale or fan-to-fan marketplace are subject to cancellation.
This is backed by a threat on the official website that “any person who scalps or purchases illicit Olympic tickets is liable to be punished by an administrative fine of up to 5 million Korean Won, based on applicable laws.” 5 Million Won is approximately $4,600.
It’s impossible to know to what extent the heavy restrictions on resale have had on the upcoming Olympics – worries about the political climate regarding North Korea and its saber-rattling with the Trump administration have also undoubtedly taken their toll, but it’s possible certainly possible that Tokyo’s organizers will also see a noticeable dip in the ticket market by boxing out those who would scoop up the tickets as an investment.