Savvy Tips Guru

Understanding Better Ticket Scalping: Legal or Not?

is ticket scalping illegal

Ticket scalping, or ticket reselling, is when someone buys tickets for events like movies, concerts, or sports games and then sells them for a higher price. Some folks believe it’s a good way to make money, while others disagree. Understand if ticket scalping is illegal, how it works, and the arguments for and against it.

What is ticket scalping?

Ticket scalping, or ticket reselling, involves purchasing tickets from an authorized seller, such as a venue or ticketing website, and then reselling those tickets to others at a markup. Scalpers usually look for events that many people want to attend and where seats will likely sell out quickly. They might use different methods, such as automatic software or “bots,” to buy many tickets as soon as they go on sale.

What are scalped tickets?

Scalped or resale tickets have been purchased from a scalper or reseller at a price higher than the original face value. These tickets may be sold through online marketplaces, ticket brokers, or even on the street outside the event venue.

How Do Scalpers Get Tickets?

Scalpers employ different methods to obtain tickets for resale. Some common techniques include:

  • Using bots or automated software to bypass online ticket purchase limits.
  • Hiring people to physically stand in line or camp out to purchase tickets in person.
  • Getting tickets before anyone else by taking advantage of pre-sale opportunities or insider links.
  • Purchasing tickets from season ticket holders or official resale platforms.

Is ticket scalping illegal?

The legality of ticket scalping differs by state and jurisdiction. In some areas, it is perfectly legal to resell tickets, while in others, reselling tickets is illegal and subject to specific regulations or is outright prohibited. For example, many states have anti-scalping legislation restricting ticket resale beyond face value. These laws protect customers from price gouging and ensure everyone has equal ticket access.

There’s no federal law against scalping in the US, but the BOTS Act of 2016 bans using software to buy tickets in bulk. Some states, like New York and Alabama, require a special ticket sales license. In other states, cities decide on the rules. In New South Wales, Australia, scalping is unlawful if tickets are resold for more than 10% of the original price. The EU and UK also have laws against scalping bots. Buying tickets from scalpers can lead to fines in some areas.

Pros and Cons of Ticket Scalping

The debate surrounding ticket scalping is ongoing, with valid arguments on both sides. Here are some of the main pros and cons:


  • Provides Access: Scalpers argue that they provide a service by making tickets available to those who could not secure them through official channels, ensuring well-attended events.
  • Free Market Economics: Some believe ticket reselling is a legitimate business practice governed by the principles of supply and demand, allowing market forces to determine prices.
  • Convenience: Online ticket resale platforms provide ease for buyers and sellers by streamlining transactions and providing a consolidated marketplace.


  • Unfair Pricing: Critics argue that scalpers take advantage of high demand by inflating prices, making events inaccessible to many fans and creating an uneven playing field.
  • Exclusive Access: Using bots and other tactics gives scalpers an unfair advantage in securing tickets, limiting access for the general public.
  • Potential Fraud: There have been instances of counterfeit or invalid tickets sold by unscrupulous scalpers, resulting in financial losses for buyers.

Is ticket scalping illegal? Be aware of the law!

The legality of ticket scalping is widely discussed. Some see it as a fair way to do business, while others see it as taking advantage of fans. The rules about scalping vary widely. Some places allow it with limits, some ban it completely, and some have no rules. The debate will continue as people try to balance making money, protecting consumers, and ensuring everyone has a fair chance to attend events.


  • RJ Sinclair

    RJ is our resident money guru, with a knack for keeping finances neat and organized. With previous experience as a budget manager in supply chain companies, he brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table. Count on RJ as a trustworthy source for valuable money tips and advice to help you make the most of your financial journey.