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Ticket scalping today is a lot easier than it was years ago, thanks to the internet and the use of bots. They're able to start buying tickets at the exact time of release and can circumvent the purchase limits that sites place on customers. The scalper then sells the tickets at a hugely inflated price, knowing people will be willing to pay when it's the only way of seeing a concert or event that's sold out.
The problem is especially severe in New York, where scalped tickets for popular Broadway shows can go for thousands of dollars. To fight back against the practice, Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation that will bring more severe punishments to individuals who use bots.
"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 mark-up," Cuomo said in a statement.
"It's predatory, it's wrong and, with this legislation, we are taking an important step towards restoring fairness and equity back to this multi-billion dollar industry."
Using ticket bot software was already illegal, but the new bill makes it a Class A misdemeanor that could result in a fine of up to $1000 and a year behind bars. Additionally, it expands the definition of ticket bot to include a wide variety of systems that can amass tickets before the general public can access them.
The final part of the new law makes it illegal to resell tickets that were obtained through the use of a bot, even if they're sold at face value.
A New York Times report found that scalpers made $15.5 million from the 100 performances of hit Broadway show Hamilton earlier this year. At one point the $189 tickets were selling for an average of $10,900 on the secondary market.