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Schumer wants to outlaw 'evil' bots that scoop up concert tickets

Ellen Abbott
Sen. Charles Schumer at the Carrier Dome earlier this week.

Last weekend’s Luke Bryan concert at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse put the spotlight on a common problem that plagues venues and concert goers across the state and nation -- computer hackers that buy up hundreds of tickets early, then resell them online for a hefty profit.

More than 36,000 people jammed the Carrier Dome Saturday night to see country star Luke Bryan, some of them paying $750 for $75 tickets. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) says that’s not right.

"It’s getting harder and harder to see these shows at a reasonable price, and it’s not the fault of SU, it’s not the fault of the performers, it’s the fault of something evil, called bots,” said Schumer.

These online computer programs can purchase thousands of tickets in a matter of seconds, leaving fans at the mercy of tickets resold online at 100 times their face value, in some cases. And Carrier manager Peter Sala says these online ticket sales also cause problems for the venues.

"We have to thoroughly increase our staff to deal with day-of show problems. Because there are many relocates that come with these bot purchases. Because people buying from the brokers don’t even know where the ticket is,” said Sala.

Schumer wants to crack down on this kind of cyber-scalping. He’s introducing a bill that would make it illegal, and fine hackers $1,000 for every ticket they buy using a bot. He’s hopeful the legislation moves quickly.

"There’s becoming an outcry here, because this is happening at every major concert in the United States. It’s not just here in central New York. I think we could get it done by the fall of this year.”

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.