New York Is Criminalizing Ticket Bots

Image: Getty
Image: Getty

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.

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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.

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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.

[New York State Assembly via Engadget]

Angela Chen is the morning editor at Gizmodo.

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DISCUSSION

geekymitch
geekymitch

Never help - not as long as (as I suspect) reseller sites and resellers in general are in bed with ticketmaster....which, at the end of the day, is what the real problem is.

Ticketmaster, for all intents and purposes, is a monopoly. Sure there’s ticketron but lets be honest: hard to get tickets are on ticketmaster, period. Wanna see Hamilton? That’s where you have to go. Good concert coming up? Odds are real solid it’s on ticketmaster.

I go through it every time Springsteen tours: as someone who lives in NJ those tickets are a bitch to get...yet within seconds of them going on sale, there’s tons of them on Stubhub at 3 or 4 or 5 times face value. It’s also obvious this is what ticketmaster wants when it’s REALLY in high demand...example? I bought tickets to Springsteen in Minnesota (good timing for having to be out there for a wedding). Got good seats and they were “credit card verified” - which means I need my credit card to enter the arena: the credit card that was used to buy the tickets. They did it out there where the tickets were not in high demand. NJ/NY/PA? Not a single CC verified ticket was sold. How about Radiohead? They go on tour once in a blue fucking moon, do one east coast show, and sell their tickets for 80 bucks across the board. Again, remarkably, MSG is sold out within SECONDS of tickets going on sale...and by the time I get the message that there were no more tickets available, Stubhub had 800 tickets available, starting at 500 bucks a crack.

There’s a lot of problems with all of this, but legislating resale isn’t enough: how about legislating the crooked ass ticketmaster scam in the FIRST fucking place. They have the ability to reduce this shit, they don’t want to. At worst because they get gigantic kickbacks from resellers and at best because they just don’t give a shit.

Oh added bonus, don’t even get me fucking STARTED on the RIDICULOUS per ticket fees. While it’s not on all tickets nothing aggravates me more than facility fees, except perhaps when they have the gumption to charge a “Convenience fee” if you opt to print out your own tickets.