Scalping, or ticket brokering, is the resale of tickets to sporting, art, or cultural events at a price higher than the face value of the ticket. Ticket scalping is increasingly being done over the internet.

While the law regarding ticket scalping varies from state to state, in most jurisdictions scalping is regulated, if not banned entirely. Many states limit the amount above the ticket’s face value that a scalper may charge. Another regulation requires scalpers to register as licensed ticket brokers and pay a fee. States that do allow scalpers to operate often have laws restricting where scalpers may sell tickets, for example at least 1500 feet from the venue entrance.

What Are Some Examples of State Scalping Laws?

Each state has different laws regulating ticket scalping. For example:

  • In New York, the Arts and Cultural Affairs Law prohibits the resale of tickets for more than $5 or 10% (whichever is greater) over the face price of the ticket.
  • In New Jersey, tickets cannot be resold for more than an additional $3 or 20% of the ticket price (whichever is greater).
  • In California, scalping of an "entertainment event" tickets is illegal unless the scalper as the written permission of the venue owner or operator.

What Are the Penalties for Scalping Illegally?

In some states scalping is considered a misdemeanor, which carries a fine as high as $1,000 and imprisonment up to one year for the first offense. Subsequent offenses have higher fines and more prison time.

Do I Need a Lawyer for My Scalping Problem?

If you have been accused of ticket scalping, an experienced criminal defense lawyer can advise you of your legal rights and defenses. An attorney also can explain how you can scalp tickets legally in your state.