Did you know that 4 out of 5 event tickets are purchased by bots every day? 

The entertainment industry has a lot of vulnerabilities. One of them is ticket scalping. This type of bot attack allows online platforms to acquire a large number of tickets and resell them at higher prices.

Unregulated price inflation leads to customer complaints. Complaints eventually lead to reputation loss and public relations crises. To understand the nature of ticket scalping, let’s take a closer look at it.

What Is Ticket Scalping?

Ticket scalping definition


Ticket scalping (aka ticket touting or ticket reselling) is an example of a sophisticated bot attack. It is aimed at the instant mass acquisition of tickets to resell them at a higher price and generate a profit.

Resellers use scalping bots (aka ticket bots) to acquire tickets in large amounts. After that, they resell them with inflated prices. This leaves customers with no choice but to buy them at wild costs.

How ticket scalping works

Ticketing industry characteristics that appeal to scalping bots:

  • Availability of tickets and prices;
  • Limited availability of tickets for certain hot events;

The process of ticket scalping

  1. Scanning ticketing platforms for hot events;
  2. Scraping event information and ticket prices;
  3. Deploying scalping bots to automate mass purchases;
  4. Reselling tickets at inflated prices;

 Is Ticket Scalping Legal?

The legitimacy of the ticket scalping situation is different across the world. Every country implements its policies to handle scalpers.

Ticket scalping laws(by states)


In the US, different states apply different policies o manage scalpers and resellers.

New York the Arts and Cultural Affairs Law limits the ticket's reselling price to $5 or 10% (whichever is greater) of the ticket's face value.

In New Jersey, this limit goes to $3 or 20% of the ticket price (whichever is greater). (2013 New Jersey Revised Statutes § 56:8-26 – 56:8-38)

Delaware prohibits reselling resell tickets at a higher price than their face value on the day before or during an event.

In Hawaii, Indiana, Maryland, Arkansas, New Mexico reselling tickets for more than their face value is illegal. (Hawaii Revenue Statute § 440-17, Indiana Code § 25-9-1-26, Maryland Code § 43-318, Arkansas Code § 5-63-201, New Mexico Statutes § 30-46-1)

In California, Louisiana, and North Carolina, ticket scalping is illegal without documented permission from the venue owner or operator(California Policy Center § 346, Louisiana Revised Statutes § 4-1, North Carolina General Statutes § 14‑344)

In Illinois, selling tickets anywhere except the box office of the venue is prohibited. (720 Illinois Compiled Statutes 375 § 1)


Quebec’s Bill 25 prohibits brokers from reselling a ticket at a higher price than its face value. To resell tickets they need to receive documented permission from the original vendor.

In Ontario, reselling tickets above the face value is completely illegal due to the Ticket Speculation Act. and even punishable.


In Australia, the New South Wales government prohibits scalpers to resell tickets at a price 10% higher than the face value of the ticket.

Who Uses Ticket Scalping?

Ticket scalping is not only used by reselling platforms. Different individuals could use scalping bots depending on their needs.

  • Ticket brokers
  • Individual scalpers
  • Hospitality agencies
  • Corporations 
  • Criminals 

They use bots to scrape event data and ticket prices, continuously scan seat map inventories for newly released or premium seats, and instantly purchase available tickets to resell them.


Why Ticket Scalping Is Bad for Business?

  1. Mass purchases don’t allow customers to get tickets to the events from the vendor and it causes customer outflow;
  2. Tickets sold at inflated prices cause discontent among the customers and lead to a public relations crisis;

How Does Ticket scalping Affect Economics?

  • Vendors keep selling tickets at low prices aiming to sell as many tickets as possible relying on profits from food and merchandise;
  • The absence of ticket reselling policies allows scalpers to put any prices approved by the market;
  • Uncontrollably high ticket prices create customers outflows;

More details here: The economics of ticket scalping

 How to Detect Ticket Scalping?


Detecting ticket scalping bots is hard. Nowadays they appear to be very sophisticated. 


  • Simulated human behavior makes most rule-based defense system ineffective;
  • Distributed attacks that make IP blocking ineffective;
  • Residential proxies that make reputation-based defenses ineffective;

To detect bots on your website before the tickets were scalped you need anti-scalping bots solutions.



How to Prevent Ticket Scalping?

To obtain tickets scalping bots need to pass several layers of gateways, these are:


  1. Account registration;
  2. Account login; 
  3. Order check-out page;
  4. Payment page;


Deploying human verification to these sensitive gateways can detect and filter out these automated programs.



  • Image rotation;
  • Orientation;
  • Recognition;


  • Can be beaten by modern sophisticated bots with image recognition technologies;
  • Can be beaten by CAPTCHA farms;

An advanced AI-based CAPTCHA ( GeeTest CAPTCHA - the leading enterprise-grade verification solution)


  • Deep Machine Learning analysis prevails over image-based challenges and allows to filter bot before they make a purchase;
  • AI-powered back-end engine ensures security, provides the best reporting system and user experience;


  • Paid;

Full-stack bot management solution


  • Constantly monitoring your website traffic to detect bots;


  • Paid and very expensive;


Why do you need to take measures to prevent scalping bots?


  1. Managing ticket scalpers is crucial for long term success and the reputation of your business;
  2. Preventing ticket scalping will help ticket price regulation in the overall market;
  3. Stop customers outflow; 


This is why it is imperative to take measures and stop scalpers and resellers from mass purchasing your tickets. Analyze your needs and options and take serious measures right now.

Related Article:

5 Reasons Why Your Data is at Risk While Working Remotely & 8 Tips to Secure Your Information

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