Buyer – and seller – beware.
Augusta officials will be out next week checking the licenses of ticket brokers to ensure that those who are trading in Masters Tournament badges are complying with state and local laws.
Augusta Licensing Manager Larry Harris said he and other inspectors will make the rounds Monday on Washington Road and other streets surrounding Augusta National Golf Club, looking for ticket brokers who have set up shop.
State law requires that those who buy and sell sporting event tickets must acquire a special ticket broker’s license and register with the Georgia Athletic and Entertainment Commission.
Less than 20 companies or individuals hold active licenses, which cost $500 per year, according to state records. In addition, brokers must register with Augusta and purchase a temporary business license for the week, Harris said.
As of Friday, only about five brokers had done so, Harris said. He expects that the city will issue about a dozen local licenses to brokers before the week is over.
“Each location has to be licensed,” he said. “They may buy two or three licenses because they have more than one location.”
Those who fail to purchase a license can be charged with a misdemeanor and be subject to jail time and fines, if found guilty.
Ticket brokers aren’t the only temporary businesses that have to register with the city, Harris said. Every vendor that intends to set up shop selling waters, food or other items must also buy a business license, he said. He estimated that at least 100 such licenses are issued each year during the tournament week.
Inspectors will be checking those licenses also, but they will be coming back repeatedly to make sure ticket dealers are following the law.
“We will come back a couple of times,” Harris said, explaining that Wednesday also is a good day for inspections because the Par 3 Contest at the Masters generates more business that day. “There’s always a lot more traffic on Wednesday.”