New Law Makes Ticket Bots Illegal in New York

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By Gerald B. Silverman

Nov. 29 — The use of computer software known as bots to purchase large amounts of tickets will be a criminal offense under a bill (A. 10713) signed Nov. 28 by New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D).

The new law, which takes effect in 90 days, makes it a Class A misdemeanor to use bots to purchase tickets or to resell tickets that were knowingly obtained through bots.

The law also expands the definition of “ticket purchasing software” to include a broader variety of systems used to bypass methods designed to limit the number of tickets purchased for an event.

The law is a response to ticketing-industry abuses that have inflated some prices on the resale market and limited the availability of tickets to the general public for some events.

“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,” Cuomo said in a statement.

Under current law, it’s a civil offense to use bots. But the new law creates criminal penalties and expands the maximum civil penalty from $1,000 to $1,500 per offense.

Don Vaccaro, chief executive officer of TicketNetwork Inc., an online ticket exchange, said the law fails to address “the bigger reason why fans can’t get tickets from the public sale, which is that event producers do not even sell the best tickets to the public.”

“It’s creating a standard for the rich and well-connected that is different from the poor and disadvantaged,” he told Bloomberg BNA in an e-mail.

The law was applauded by Stubhub and the National Association of Ticket Brokers (NATB).

“The professional resale companies that are members of NATB oppose bots as part of our Code of Ethics and we support efforts to crack down on bots,” Gary Adler, executive director and counsel of the National Association of Ticket Brokers (NATB), said in a statement.

“When tickets go on sale, people should not be competing with ticket-hording software to make a purchase,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gerald B. Silverman in Albany, N.Y. at GSilverman@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Keith Perine at kperine@bna.com

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