Scalpers who use bots to sweep up loads of tickets to plays, concerts, and sports events so they can resell for ludicrously high prices are on notice. Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York signed legislation this week to punish scalpers who use bots for resale by criminalizing the act, reports the International Business Times (IBT).
The new law also applies to people down the food chain, those who obtain bot-purchased tickets from scalpers and then resell them themselves. Ticket bot law breakers will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, and be subject to fines up to $1,000 and sentences up to one year in jail. The new law was signed on Monday, November 28, and goes into effect after 90 days from that date.
Not mincing words, Cuomo said in a statement: “These unscrupulous speculators and their underhanded tactics have manipulated the marketplace and often leave New Yorkers and visitors alike with little choice but to buy tickets on the secondary market at an exorbitant markup. It’s predatory, it’s wrong and, with this legislation, we are taking an important step towards restoring fairness and equity back to this multibillion dollar industry.”
IBT cited a report by The New York Times that used Hamilton, the hit Broadway show, as an example. Average normal seat prices were $189, but jumped to $850 in May. Between the Tony Awards on June 12 and July 9, the priced almost doubled to $1,600. When Lin-Manuel Miranda, the Hamilton star and creator, announced his departure date from the cast, average prices per seat jumped to $10,900 for the last 100 performances before his exit.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman chimed in about ticket bots: “In recent years, it has become almost impossible to find affordable tickets – or even any tickets at all – for all popular shows. Brokers armed with illegal, high-speed ticket-buying bots have kept too many New Yorkers from attending the shows, sporting events, and cultural experiences that make New York so special.”