New legislation in the works from Attorney General Eric Schneiderman would criminalize the use of speedy ticket bots that snatch up reams of concert and playoff game tickets for resale at bloated prices. The legislation would also ideally dispel the sulfurous plume that rises over New York City less than a minute after Radiohead tickets go on sale.
"For too long, unscrupulous ticket brokers have used illegal bots to scoop up tickets for popular events, denying ordinary fans the chance to buy tickets at face value," Schneiderman said in a statement Thursday.
Certain types of ticket bot software are technically already illegal under New York’s Arts and Cultural Affairs Law, but enforcement has proven lax. A report on unscrupulous re-sellers released by the AG's office earlier this year [PDF] detailed how ticket bot software automates the process of searching for and purchasing tickets, allowing brokers to conduct "tens, hundreds, or even thousands of lightning-fast transactions at the same time." Report authors called the situation an "epidemic," citing how three brokers using ticket bots purchased more than 140,000 tickets to events in New York between 2012 and 2014.
In March 2013, a single bot purchased 520 tickets to a Beyonce concert at Barclays Center in three minutes; in December 2014, a bot purchased 1,012 U2 tickets for a concert at Madison Square Garden in one minute.
In addition to criminalizing the use of ticket bots, Schneiderman's legislation would expand the current law to include more types of bot software, and prohibit ticket resellers from selling tickets that they know have been acquired by bots. It would also increase civil penalties for using bots, although exact amounts weren't immediately available.
Earlier this week, Schneiderman's office announced settlements with six unlicensed ticket sellers to the tune of $2.7 million. Among them were Ticket Toad, Flying Falco Entertainment, All Events Utah, A2Z Tix and Just In Time—all of whom used ticket bot software that's already illegal, according to the AG's office.
As for the feasibility of this legislation being approved, the Times Union points out that bills to make ticket bots illegal already exist, and haven't made any progress at the State level so far this session.