Ticketmaster has been accused of allowing scalpers to break its own rules against ticket resale limits. Ticketmaster has reportedly been working with scalpers who buy massive amounts of tickets through multiple accounts, and then re-sell them with a markup on a Ticketmaster-owned platform called TradeDesk.
An undercover investigation by CBC and Toronto Star journalists recorded two Ticketmaster employees on video explaining how some scalpers were able to bypass the purchase limits with the company’s knowledge. The report said the newsrooms sent a “pair of reporters undercover to Ticket Summit 2018, a ticketing and live entertainment convention at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.” The journalists were equipped with hidden cameras and posed as scalpers.
Ticketmaster’s shows are notorious for selling out in seconds to bot-running scalpers who then mark up the tickets for much more than their face-value. According to the Ticketmaster reps, the most successful scalpers use the TradeDesk system to make as much as $5 million a year. The employees said the company ignores fraudulent accounts in order to earn commissions on the ticket resales. Ticketmaster earns revenue from the original ticket sale and by taking a commission on the resale.
Ticketmaster said it does not “condone the statements” made by an employee cited in the original report. In its statement, the company said, “It is categorically untrue that Ticketmaster has any program in place to enable resellers to acquire large volumes of tickets at the expense of consumers.” The company also said it would launch an internal review to determine if any policies were broken.
Ticketmaster, which is owned by the world’s largest concert promoter Live Nation (NYSE: LYV), has sued groups in the past for using bots to buy more live event tickets from its site than allowed. The company said in its statement, “Moving forward we will be putting additional measures in place to proactively monitor for this type of inappropriate activity.”