Select Page

Is Ticket Scalping Illegal in New York?

Buying and selling tickets for events is a common practice, particularly in New York City, where tourists and locals flock to concerts, sports games, and Broadway shows. However, some individuals in the secondary market, called ticket scalpers, buy tickets in bulk to resell them at a higher price, leaving many people asking: is ticket scalping illegal in New York? In this post, we will explore the laws surrounding ticket scalping in the Empire State, and whether or not it’s illegal.

What is Ticket Scalping?

Before we dive deep into this question, let’s clarify what ticket scalping is. Ticket scalping is the act of purchasing tickets for an event, often in large quantities, with the intention of reselling them for a profit. Scalpers can operate both in person or online, and prices for the tickets can often surpass the face value by significant margins.

The Legality of Ticket Scalping in New York

Now that we’ve defined ticket scalping, let’s talk about its legality in New York. In the United States, the laws surrounding ticket scalping vary from state to state, so it’s essential to understand what the laws are in New York specifically. In general, the state of New York allows ticket scalping to take place, but there are some limitations to what scalpers can and can’t do. According to Section 25.05 of the New York State Arts and Cultural Affairs Law: “Any person who resells or offers for resale any ticket to any place of entertainment or amusement, in any theatre, stadium, or place of public entertainment or amusement, for a higher amount than the price that appears on the face of the ticket, is guilty of an unlawful sale of tickets.”This means that ticket scalping is illegal in New York, but only when tickets are sold at a price higher than the face value. So, if someone were to purchase a concert ticket for $50 and resell it for $100, they would be breaking the law. Scalping tickets for events that are sold out is also illegal in New York. Under the same law, it is unlawful for anyone to sell tickets for an event that is sold out or unavailable through normal channels, which means that if a concert is sold out through the official vendor, scalpers cannot sell tickets for that event. There is also a prohibition regarding the sale of tickets for charity events. Under New York law, the resale of tickets for an event that was advertised as a charitable function, religious service, or other non-profit organization is illegal.

Penalties for Ticket Scalping in New York

So, what happens to those who violate the ticket scalping laws in New York? Individuals who are caught selling tickets at a higher rate than their face value, or those who sell tickets to a sold-out event, are committing a violation of Arts and Cultural Affairs Law. If found guilty, they can face a fine of up to $500 per violation. However, if the individual has committed ticket scalping in the past, the penalty can be more severe. If someone who has been convicted of scalping within the past five years violates the law again, they are guilty of a misdemeanor, which can result in a fine of up to $1,000 or imprisonment for up to one year. It is also important to note that purchasing tickets from a scalper is not illegal in New York, but it comes with its own set of risks. Because ticket scalpers often operate in the secondary market, there is no guarantee that the tickets they are selling are authentic, and there is no recourse for buyers who are scammed or sold fraudulent tickets.


In summary, ticket scalping is illegal in New York when it involves selling tickets for a higher price than their face value or for a sold-out event. Those found guilty of ticket scalping can face a fine, imprisonment, or both. However, buying tickets from a scalper is not illegal, but it’s important to be cautious and only purchase tickets from reputable sources to avoid getting scammed. If you’re planning on buying tickets for an event in New York, always check the official sources first, and if you decide to buy tickets from a scalper, be sure to verify their legitimacy to avoid any legal or financial problems.