Two days later, he was on the Encore Theater stage with Garth Brooks explaining how he would approach ticket sales for the country singer's comeback appearances:
Am I the only one who sees the contradiction here? Other observers have been intrigued by how Wynn can extol the joys of doing business in totalitarian China while casting aspersions on Obama's efforts to revive a capitalist economy and provide health care for all. But I'm more intrigued by a different paradox.
Isn't shutting down scalpers the same as attacking the free market and capitalism? Aren't they people who make an investment at Wynn's foolishly under-market price of $125 a seat and take the risk that others will want to pay more? Sometimes scalpers are wrong and get stuck with tickets they can't move; that's the nature of the beast, no?
Let's go over the rules as they are published on the Wynn website:
Specific procedures have been put in place in an effort to ensure that the tickets for concerts are accessible to fans at face value and through authorized sales channels exclusively.
Limit 6 concert tickets per order or per person or per credit card. Persons who exceed the ticket limit may have any or all of their orders and tickets cancelled without notice by Wynn Las Vegas, LLC at its discretion. This includes orders associated with the same name, e-mail address, billing address, credit card number or other information. No exceptions.
Tickets will be available for pick-up at Will Call at Wynn Las Vegas after 12 p.m. PT on the day of the concert upon presentation of valid photo I.D., confirmation number and actual credit card used for payment. Under no circumstance will tickets be distributed in advance.
Ticket holders must enter the Encore Theater with their entire party. Wynn reserves the right to request valid I.D. of the ticket holder prior to entry into the Encore Theater at show time. The person who purchased the ticket(s) must be a member of the party entering the theater.
All ticket sales are final and are non-refundable and non-transferable.
No one has the permission of Wynn Las Vegas to sell this ticket for a price in excess of $143.00.
Management reserves the right to cancel any ticket and refund the face value of the ticket to the ticket holder, if management determines, in its sole and absolute discretion, that such ticket was purchased from a ticket reseller at an amount in excess of face value.
Tickets must be picked up no later than one-hour prior to show time or will be subject to cancellation with no refund.
That's cold. No refunds. No advance ticket issuances. Final. Non-transferable. No exceptions. Theoretically you could resell them for $143 or less, but how would anyone get in under that circumstances? You can't even, so far as this reads, GIVE AWAY your tickets. Huh.
At the press conference, the crowd -- including journalists!?! -- cheered this anti-scalping effort. But those folks won't be cheering so loudly when they try to surprise Grandpa with tickets for Christmas during his upcoming Vegas trip and realize he can't get in without the presence of the ticket-buyer, who's not going on the trip. Can I call ahead and make such an arrangement? If so, how do you know if that's really my Grandpa or if it's some ticket-broker client? What if I get swine flu three days before the show? I'm stuck with tickets and Garth is stuck with empty seats? Again, I can't even give these seats away?!?
Today, Wynn Las Vegas staff began a thankless game of whack-a-mole. Jade Bailey-Assam, the Tweeter (@WynnLasVegas) wrote: "We're looking for unauthorized sales of Garth Brooks tkts. Please help & tweet links to sites where you see tkts for sale."
Well, gee, how hard could that be? EBay alone has about 100 entries already. Scalpers have figured out the end-run, that they can pick up the seats themselves on the day-of and personally deliver the tickets. A pair of seats advertised as center section Row H on Feb. 12 has 22 bids now and is at $710 right now. That's three times the face value and there's five hours to go on that auction.
The intensive efforts that would have to be undertaken here are unreasonable and prohibitive. It would require someone being hired specifically to do nothing but root out this alleged evil. As Steve Wynn, in his heart of hearts, must appreciate, entrepreneurs will always find a way. Always.
The folks hurt by this? The normal people, actually. They'll be stuck with tickets they can't resell if they really need to and can't give away if they so desire. I thought of a partial solution, but these rules don't allow for it: Wynn should accept refunds less, say, 10 percent. They know they can resell them, so at least that solves the problem of what people can do if their circumstances change at the last minute, if they get sick or snowed out or whatever. This still doesn't solve many other dilemmas herein, though.
But he might have considered saying this to Garth: