In New York City, the stage production of the musical Hamilton has met with great success. Now one of the show’s actors and creators, Lin-Manuel Miranda, has written an editorial appealing stronger penalties against the use of bots that scalp tickets. His plea appeared in The New York Times on Tuesday. Presently, some theater groups have announced support for the passage of a new law in New York City to impose criminal penalties upon anyone utilizing a bot for the purpose of ticket scalping.
Although people cannot legally purchase tickets to events and then re-sell them at significantly higher markups, a practice called “ticket scalping”, the practice of volume purchases and resales has become a problem in some locations. The sale of tickets online led to the use of automated software programs called “bots” which snap up tickets quickly at high volume as soon as they go on the market . The buyers then resell the tickets, often with very significant profit margins.
High-tech volume scalping using bots has become such a serious problem that some people hoping to attend in-demand Broadway events cannot obtain tickets. One Broadway theater critic joked that anyone seeking tickets to Hamilton should consider mortgaging their homes to obtain a seat at the show. A former CEO of the firm Ticketmaster complained about the lack of ticket availability as a result of the use of bots also. Although ticket bots remain illegal in New York, the new bill would stiffen penalties.