Hawaii is one of few states where ticket scalping is legal. Some want that to change

Hawaii is one of few states where ticket scalping is legal. Some want that to change

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - State lawmakers are once again looking at new laws to crack down on ticket scalping and computer bots after thousands of Bruno Mars tickets ended up on third party websites at inflated prices.

Hawaii is one of the few states in the nation where ticket scalping is completely legal, except for boxing matches.

There was a push to crack down on scalping back in 2014, the last time Bruno Mars came to town, but the bill died.

"We need something to try and make it a fair playing field. I was pretty miffed when the (bill) didn't pass at the last minute," said state Rep. Angus McKelvey, who introduced the bill.

McKelvey says his bill would have made it illegal to resell a ticket for more than face value.

Some promoters expressed concern that restrictions would discourage some major artists from coming to Hawaii.

McKelvey says he's confident they can find a balance this time around, but says the industry also needs to step up and regulate itself.

"If they were out there trying to enforce, especially third party sellers, through court action, I think that would shut down a lot of this activity," McKelvey said.

As fans get ready to buy tickets for Bruno's second show, tech experts say not much can be done to beat the bots.

"(Bots) can open multiple browser tabs and basically automatically fill out the information. What normally takes a person 10 minutes, it can get it done in less than a second," said Ed Kim, lead instructor at DevLeague, a "tech bootcamp."

Bots became illegal in the United States in 2016, but they are still widely used.

Kim says these computer programs that have the ability to buy up all 36,000 seats at the Bruno Mars concert in just a couple minutes.

"Bots can input whatever credit card they have available to them, so they can actually go and register a bunch of credit cards beforehand in the state of Hawaii," said Kim.

You may have noticed third party websites already selling tickets for Bruno's second show, even if tickets don't go on sale till Saturday.

Kim says this is called a "phantom sale."

"They will go and try and sell the tickets before they even have their hands on it, knowing that they will get their hands on it," said Kim.

Ticketmaster says it has zero tolerance for illegal bot use, and that it has invested millions into technology and resources to block them.

"It is kind of a cat and mouse game. So any time Ticketmaster creates a new kind of guard against something, the bots are just as smart in finding a way to get past it. On average, it's usually the bots winning," Kim said.

Even if laws are changed, experts say there's still the issue of enforcement.

Many of the criminals running the bots also know how to hide their identities and location.

Copyright 2018 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.