Ticket scalping, also known as ticket brokering, refers to the act of reselling tickets for an art, cultural, music, or sporting event at a price that is higher than the original face value of a ticket. Over the past two decades, ticket scalping has become increasingly common due to the existence of the internet. As such, the majority of ticket scalping incidents are now primarily committed through an online sales transaction.

Currently, there are no federal laws that prohibit the scalping or resale of tickets. Instead, states are free to enact their own state scalping laws to regulate the practice. The laws on ticket scalping tend to vary widely from state to state. For instance, some states like Texas have no restrictions on ticket scalping, while others like New York and New Jersey, impose strict limitations and penalties on those who are found guilty of illegally scalping tickets.

In general, states that entirely or partially ban the resale of tickets will often adopt scalping laws that set the amount at either the cost of the original ticket or no more than a percentage or a few dollars above the original amount, whichever of the two is greater. In addition, some state laws require that a scalper register with their state as a ticket broker and pay a registration fee.

Even in states that do not place restrictions on the act of ticket scalping, there may still be laws on where scalpers may operate to resell tickets. For example, some states prohibit the scalping of tickets if a scalper is 1500 feet or closer to the entrance of a venue where a resold ticket can be used.

Lastly, to learn more about ticket scalping laws in your county, you may want to consider hiring a local criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. This is especially true in cases where a person is facing charges and possibly a prison sentence for illegally scalping tickets in a particular state. You can also face criminal consequences if you are a scalper who resells fraudulent tickets as well.

What Are Some Examples of State Scalping Laws?

As previously mentioned, each state has its own scalping laws. This means that the penalties and elements to prove whether or not an individual may be punished for illegally scalping tickets will vary from state to state. Some examples of state scalping laws include:

  • The state of New York has adopted a law known as the Arts and Cultural Affairs law, which prohibits the reselling of tickets for an amount that is ten percent or five dollars more than the original cost of the ticket. Whichever of these two amounts ends up being greater will be the one that is applied in such a scenario under this law in New York State.
  • New Jersey state law provides that tickets cannot be scalped or resold for an amount that is more than twenty percent or three dollars of the original ticket price, whichever of the options is greater when applied.
  • The state of Washington has anti-scalping laws that restrict the resale of tickets for more than the original cost of the ticket plus ten percent. The scalper must also specify the actual cost of the ticket, along with the retail price and section included on the ticket if they advertise to resell a ticket.
  • Recently, the state of Florida passed a law that prohibited the resale of tickets that cost more than a dollar extra than the original ticket price.
  • The state of Alabama has an interesting twist in its scalping law. In addition to having to prove that an individual resold a ticket for more than its face value when it was originally purchased, the state also needs to prove that the person was commonly known as a ticket scalper. Additionally, the statute defines the word “person” as a natural person or a corporation.
  • Rhode Island state law prohibits the scalping of tickets for an amount that is either ten percent or three dollars more than the original ticket price, whichever of the two ends up costing an individual a greater amount to repurchase.
  • In Wisconsin, the state law provides that a ticket cannot be sold for more than the original price of the ticket. Persons who are caught doing so can face considerable legal penalties.
  • According to the scalping laws in the state of California, a person who scalps tickets to an entertainment event, such as a movie premiere or a sold-out concert, will be considered to have committed an illegal act unless they have written permission to sell a ticket from the owner or operator of the venue.
  • The state of Maine makes it unlawful to resell or scalp tickets at an inflated price. The resale of tickets is only permitted if an entertainment site or venue has provided an express authorization. Otherwise, such conduct will be considered to be illegal in Maine.

On the other hand, states like Texas and Ohio do not have any state laws that prohibit the resale or scalping of tickets. Instead, only individual municipalities in both states may impose local rules against ticket scalping.

What Are the Penalties for Scalping Illegally?

It is important to note that not every state considers ticket scalping to be illegal. Thus, whether or not scalping a person will face penalties for illegally reselling or scalping tickets will largely depend on state laws.

Generally speaking, however, states that do consider ticket scalping to be illegal will issue fines for up to $1,000 and/or a jail sentence for no longer than one year if the scalper is a first-time offender. If convicted, it will appear as a misdemeanor on an offender’s criminal record.
On the other hand, if a scalper is a repeat offender or has a significant rap sheet, then they could receive fines that are greater than $1,000 and a prison sentence for one year or longer.

Again, it all depends on state law and the facts of an individual’s ticket scalping case. As such, a person who has been accused of illegally scalping or reselling tickets should speak to a local criminal defense lawyer immediately.

Do I Need a Lawyer for My Scalping Problem?

As discussed above, the legal consequences that one may face if they are caught illegally scalping tickets can vary widely from state to state. Therefore, if you have been accused of the act of illegal ticket scalping, then it may be in your best interest to consult with a local criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.

An experienced criminal defense lawyer can inform you of your legal rights and options, as well as can determine whether you have any defenses. Your lawyer will also be able to explain how the laws may affect the outcome of your case and can discuss the potential penalties you may receive if you are convicted of the act. In addition, your lawyer can perform legal research and help you to build a strong defensive argument for your case.

Finally, if you need help with negotiating a plea deal or if you need legal representation in court for a ticket scalping issue, your attorney will also be able to provide these services too.