Have you wondered how ticket brokers are able to scoop up so many tickets so quickly while you hit “refresh” on your browser and resign yourself to sitting in the back row? They’re using automated “bots,” which are illegal in New York state. That’s why a handful of brokers have agreed to fork over millions of dollars to the state after being caught deploying ticket-buying bots and selling tickets without a license.
In total, six ticket brokers and one tech company will pay a total of $4.19 million for their part in illegally buying and/or reselling tickets in New York since 2011, according to NY Attorney Eric Schneiderman.
Five of the brokers — with names like “Prestige Entertainment” or “Presidential Tickets” that you can easily picture on poorly painted, dinged-up signs affixed to run-down offices in a strip mall — were accused of violating a New York law that prohibits the use of bots to purchase large numbers of tickets.
Many of these same brokers, plus an additional firm, also allegedly sold tickets in the state without obtaining the required license.
One company, the aforementioned Prestige Entertainment (not to be confused with Prestige Worldwide), will pay the lion’s share ($3.35 million) of this settlement, after the AG’s investigation turned up what it contends was one of the largest ticket-purchasing operations in the country.
According to Schneiderman’s office, on one day in 2014 Prestige bots — with the help of thousands of credit cards and Ticketmaster accounts — managed to scoop up 15,000 tickets to U2 concerts nationwide, including 1,012 tickets to the show at Madison Square Garden — in just one minute.
A seventh company, Componica, won’t be paying any penalties but has agreed to not develop or use software to bypass security measures on ticketing websites, but it won’t be paying any penalties.
“Unscrupulous ticket resellers who break the rules and take advantage of ordinary consumers are one of the major reasons why ticketing remains a rigged system,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “We will continue to fight to make ticketing a more fair and transparent marketplace, so fans have the opportunity to enjoy their favorite shows and events. Anybody who breaks the law will pay a steep price.”