People
Fact-checked

At PublicPeople, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

What is a Scalper?

A scalper is a trader who buys and sells stocks, tickets, or other commodities rapidly, aiming to profit from short-term price fluctuations. They capitalize on small market movements, often holding assets for mere minutes or seconds. This high-frequency strategy requires precision and discipline. Ever wondered how these quicksilver trades influence the market? Join us as we explore the impact of scalping.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

The term scalper has several definitions. It may apply to a day trader in the stock market who purchases stock and quickly sells it, usually within a matter of minutes, for small profits. The term scalper may also refer to anyone who purchases collectibles not to collect but to make money by selling them at a profit. Another form of scalper purchases hard to get items, like popular new toys released during the Christmas season, and then sells them at a much higher price.

Most commonly, people use the term scalper to describe people who purchase large blocks of tickets for sporting events, Broadway shows, or concert performances. They then resell these tickets, usually right in front of the venue where the event will occur. Prices of tickets sold by a scalper may have as much as a 100% markup, but people may have to use a scalper when they cannot get tickets by any other means.

Scalpers resell event tickets for a markup.
Scalpers resell event tickets for a markup.

In many states, the activities of the scalper are illegal, especially when he or she sells the tickets right outside the location of the event. On the other hand, purchasing tickets in advance and selling them from one’s home or place of business for a higher price is often not considered illegal.

One should be wary of the ticket scalper, since he or she may sell tickets that are not real. If one is desperate to attend an event, look for people who are selling an extra ticket or two at market value. Many people end up with an extra ticket by accident, and are willing to sell the ticket for its original price.

In many states, the resale of tickets outside the location of an event is considered illegal.
In many states, the resale of tickets outside the location of an event is considered illegal.

Also occasionally, predators will pose as ticket scalpers in order to lure people away from an event and rob or hurt them. One should never follow a scalper anywhere that takes one away from the public view. This is a dangerous practice that could get one hurt, especially if the fake scalper knows one is carrying a lot of cash to make a purchase.

Even though the actions of a scalper at the site of an event tend to be illegal, they are hard to enforce since so many people scalp tickets. Usually a scalper operates with nonchalance toward any state statutes forbidding scalping.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a scalper in the context of ticket sales?

A scalper, in the context of ticket sales, is an individual or entity that purchases tickets to events like concerts, sports games, or theater shows with the intention of reselling them at a higher price for profit. This practice often takes advantage of high demand and limited supply, leading to inflated prices for consumers. Despite the negative connotation, some forms of ticket scalping are legal, depending on local laws and regulations.

How do scalpers affect the pricing and availability of tickets for consumers?

Scalpers can significantly impact both pricing and availability of tickets for consumers. By buying up large quantities of tickets, scalpers reduce the number available at face value, forcing fans to turn to secondary markets where prices are often marked up considerably. According to a study by the National Association of Ticket Brokers, tickets on secondary markets can be sold for an average of 49% above face value, though this can soar much higher for in-demand events.

Are there any legal measures in place to control scalping?

Yes, many regions have legal measures to control scalping. These laws vary widely, with some areas imposing strict regulations that prohibit the resale of tickets above face value, while others may allow it with certain restrictions. For example, the UK's Consumer Rights Act 2015 requires resellers to provide specific information about the tickets, helping to ensure transparency. However, enforcement can be challenging, especially with the rise of online scalping platforms.

What technologies do scalpers use to purchase large quantities of tickets?

Scalpers often use sophisticated technologies such as bots, which are automated software programs designed to quickly purchase large quantities of tickets as soon as they go on sale. These bots can bypass security measures and captchas, giving scalpers an unfair advantage over regular consumers. In response, legislation like the Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act of 2016 in the United States has been enacted to combat the use of such technology in ticket scalping.

Can anything be done to prevent scalping and ensure fair ticket access for fans?

To prevent scalping and ensure fair ticket access, event organizers and ticketing platforms are implementing various strategies. These include using fan verification systems, limiting the number of tickets one can purchase, requiring ID checks at the venue, and offering slow ticketing, where tickets are released gradually. Additionally, some artists hold back tickets to be sold directly to fans through fan clubs or verified fan programs, reducing the number that scalpers can acquire.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent PublicPeople contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

Learn more...
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent PublicPeople contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

Learn more...

You might also Like

Discussion Comments

strawCake

@JessicaLynn - I see what you're saying. Scalpers are just using the rules of supply and demand to make a profit. However, it does seem sleazy to me too, and as the article said, in some places scalping tickets is straight out illegal. So there is that!

JessicaLynn

I have mixed feelings about scalpers who snap up products or tickets and then sell them for a huge markup. On the one hand, I think it's pretty smart and enterprising on the part of the scalper. On the other hand, it just seems kind of sleazy.

I was in Target awhile ago, and I saw someone purchase almost all of the "designer collection" that was on sale at that time. They were clearly planning on selling the clothes on Ebay later on. Meanwhile, there were actual customers that just wanted to purchase the clothes for themselves there, and there were none left for them.

KaBoom

@dautsun - I think most people who buy from scalpers are people who forgot to get their tickets or waited too long. A lot of really popular shows sell out, so sometimes the only option is to buy from a scalper if you want to go that badly.

dautsun

@popcorn - I don't think it's really dangerous to anything but your wallet to purchase tickets from a scalper. As long as you follow the advice in the article and don't follow the scalper to a secluded area, you should be fine.

Also, I've never heard of anyone getting arrested for scalping or buying a ticket from a scalper. So if you really want to purchase from a scalper, you're not in any real danger.

However, I would just recommend buying the tickets online ahead of time. You'll end up paying a lot less money that way.

popcorn

Has anyone ever purchased tickets off of a scalper? Would you recommend it, or do you think it is dangerous?

As far as the laws go, does the law only punish the ticket seller, or does the buyer get in trouble as well?

While I understand that in many places this practice is illegal, I sometimes just want to go to a show. I am willing to pay a higher price for better seats, and if I think it is worth it.

To be honest, there are those of us that don't want to wait in line for hours, for a small chance that we might get front row. I want the option to just buy it.

animegal

I don't see how standing out front of a venue and scalping concert tickets for $1000 is any different that utilizing e-auctions like E-bay to do the exact same thing.

I think the laws that ban ticket scalping are out of date and need to be redone because of the changes to technology. Either it should be completely illegal to resell tickets at a markup, or the law needs to wiped off the records.

I think once someone has purchased something they should be able to sell it for whatever they want. This is a free market economy after all.

anon237

The article says "In many states, the activities of the scalper are illegal, especially when he or she sells the tickets right outside the location of the event." But that's not true and the word "activities" is vague. There are more errors but I'll just say that I feel like the tone of this article regarding ticket scalpers is unnesessarily negitive.

The truth is that Ticket Brokers and Ticket Scalpers are providing a service to millions nationwide. Simply put, if there wasn't a need then they wouldn't be there.

I'd like to see this article reviewed and re-written in a more objective manner. Thanks for your time!

M.

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register:
    • Scalpers resell event tickets for a markup.
      By: Mat Hayward
      Scalpers resell event tickets for a markup.
    • In many states, the resale of tickets outside the location of an event is considered illegal.
      By: get directly down
      In many states, the resale of tickets outside the location of an event is considered illegal.