New York can jail ticket scalpers who use bots under new law

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New York State is trying to do something about how difficult — and expensive — it can be to buy tickets to concerts, plays, and sporting events online. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill today that criminalizes the use of “ticket bots,” which allow resellers to quickly purchase tickets before legitimate customers can get to them.

The use of ticket bots had already been subject to fines in New York, but those fines clearly weren’t cutting into resellers’ profits enough to discourage the practice. Under this new law, running ticket bots will be considered a misdemeanor, which can carry a fine of up to $1,000 or twice an individual’s gain from a crime, as well as one year in jail.

“It’s predatory, it’s wrong.”

Not only will people running a ticket bot be subject to fines, but anyone knowingly reselling tickets that were purchased with one may be fined and receive jail time as well.

Cuomo called the use of ticket bots “predatory,” and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said he believes the law “will go a long way to finally bringing sanity — and fairness — to the ticket buying process.” The law goes into effect in 90 days.

Officials and lawmakers hope the harsher penalties will deter the use of ticket bots, making tickets more available and driving down prices on secondary markets.

A renewed push to fight ticket resale bots began in June, when Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote a New York Times op-ed criticizing their use and calling for tougher laws to stop them. “Many would-be customers complain that tickets to their favorite shows, concerts and sporting events are sold out within minutes — if not seconds — after they are posted for sale,” he wrote.

Miranda hopes to have the same success at a national level.



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