Just in time for everyone to freak out about Lin-Manuel Miranda leaving “Hamilton,” New York has criminalized ticket bots to make it a little easier to get tickets. Maybe.
The bots work by grabbing thousands of tickets the second they go on sale and then reselling them at massively hiked prices. Cyber scalpers can made up to $20,000 a week from “Hamilton” tickets alone. Using ticket bots is already a civil offense, but brokers who use them have faced nothing more than a fine, which is easy enough to pay if you’re netting that much money. Now—if the new legislation is signed into law by Gov. Cuomo—using ticket bots will be a criminal offense, and those who violate the law could face a $1,000 fine and a year in prison, which suddenly makes the profit a little less attractive.
Earlier this month, Miranda pleaded for state assembly to criminalize the bots, but his crusade hasn’t been entirely successful. Miranda had wanted even stronger protections that made using the bots a felony instead of just a class A misdemeanor, as they would be under the new law.
A felony ruling would have required places like StubHub to list how much they had originally paid for the tickets and upped the jail time, and apparently the state assembly wasn’t down for that much punishment. Then again, “Hamilton” might be the only show worth risking prison time for, so maybe the bill is good enough for the rest of us to get some Taylor Swift tickets.