Cuomo Signs Ticket Bot Bill Into Law

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill this week that calls for harsher punishments for those using automated software to purchase large blocs of tickets for concerts and other events. These tickets often turn up on third party ticket resale sites such as Stub Hub minutes after purchase at a much higher markup.

The new law, sponsored by Assemblyman Marcos Crespo (D-Bronx) and Senator Andrew Lanza (R-Staten Island), makes using ticket “bots,” or willingly reselling tickets purchased using the software illegal in New York State.

The use of ticket bots was already illegal in New York but this law toughens penalties beyond the civil level. It carries with it a civil penalty of a $500-$1500 fine and forfeiture of any profit made for anyone reselling tickets purchased using “bots” and rises to the level of class A misdemeanor if the person knowingly uses “bot” software to purchase tickets with the intent to resell for profit.  In a statement, Governor Cuomo said:

 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. 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.

As reported by NYS Music in January, the issue of ticketing “bots” gained widespread attention when New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman issued a report critical of the industry. Several states have anti-scalping laws on the books, but this new law provides the harshest penalties thus far.

Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda issued a call this July, via a New York Times editorial, to get tough on ticket “bots.” In it, he praised the efforts of the AG and sponsoring legislators in pushing the bill through and called on Governor Cuomo to quickly sign the bill into law, which he did Wednesday.

At the federal level, Tuesday the Senate, passed the BOTS (Better Online Ticket Sales) Act of 2016. The bill now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration before it can be signed into law.