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NY attorney-general fines ticket brokers $2.7m, announces anti-bot bill

Anti-touting campaigner Eric Schneiderman will introduce harsher penalties for companies found to be snapping up tickets with illegal software

By IQ on 28 Apr 2016

Attorney-General Eric Schneiderman

image © New York State Office of the Attorney General

Eric Schneiderman, the attorney-general of New York who in January announced a crackdown on the use of illegal ticket bots he said were buying tens of thousands of tickets a year to sell on the secondary market, has settled with some of the biggest offenders to the tune of US$2.7 million.

Online ticket brokers TicketToad, A2Z, Just in Time, Flying Falco Entertainment and All Events Utah used software in violation of New York state law to purchase large numbers of tickets – including for Beyoncé’s 2013 concert at the 18,000-capacity Barclay’s Center and the One Direction show at Jones Beach the same year – before they could be obtained by consumers.

In a statement, Schneiderman (pictured) said yesterday: “Our office has zero tolerance for ticket resellers that use illegal bots […] New Yorkers deserve a fairer ticket marketplace. Our office will continue to enforce New York’s ticket laws by investigating ticket brokers who are breaking our laws and making them pay for their illegal acts.”

TicketToad, A2Z, Just in Time, Flying Falco Entertainment and All Events Utah used software in violation of New York state law to purchase large numbers of tickets before they could be obtained by consumers

The attorney-general also revealed today that he is proposing a bill that would increase civil penalties for anyone caught operating the bots, and make their use a criminal offence.

Schneiderman has a long history of campaigning against what he sees as the exploitation of New York consumers by unscrupulous ticket touts. In January he pressured secondary-ticking sites StubHub, TicketNetwork and Vivid Seats to remove speculative listings for Bruce Springsteen’s 2016 The River Tour, arguing that listing tickets not yet in the seller’s possession constituted false advertising.

Politicians in other US states have been similarly critical: earlier this year Washington state senator Marko Liias called for an investigation into ticket bots in his state after sites selling Adele tickets “locked up almost immediately after the tickets went on sale”.