Lawmakers toughen penalties for reselling theme park tickets

Walt Disney World ticket
Posted at 10:23 AM, May 02, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-17 12:21:19-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) -- Penalties are likely to become more severe for those caught reselling theme park tickets in Florida without permission.

Governor Rick Scott is expected to sign House Bill 1057, sponsored by Representative Jason Brodeur of Seminole County.

The bill is aiming to crack down on counterfeit and unauthorized sales of theme park tickets. When signed by Governor Rick Scott, first time offenders would face first degree misdemeanor charges, up from second-dgree. Repeat offenders could face felony charges.

The new law also provides language to include not just traditional theme park tickets, but also Disney's new "MyMagic+" wristbands. Disney has invested more than $1 billion into the technology, allowing guests to use the wristbands as theme park admission, hotel room key, and charge card.

Disney is among the companies in favor of the new legislation.

How significant of a problem is this? Large enough for local law enforcement to have dedicated teams assigned to cracking down on the problem.

By the numbers, Jane Watrel, public information officer for the Orange County Sheriff's Office, says there are no public numbers to release. However, she says they have a team of investigators whose job it is to reduce the problem. In the past, various law enforcement agencies have gone as far as carrying out sweeps, resulting in multiple arrests.  

Watrel says the new legislation is a new way to help protect tourists from being taken advantage of by scammers.

If signed by Governor Rick Scott, the law would become effective July 1, 2014.