New Bill Would Outlaw All Automated Event Ticket Buying (BOTS)
Washington state already has a law on the books forbidding the use of automated event ticket buying programs, often done by "bots" (automated ticket buying computer programs). Now, a Washington state senator wants it to go national.
You might remember WA Attorney General Bob Ferguson proposing the legislature pass laws prohibiting the purchasing of sports, music, and other event tickets by second and third-party vendors, using extremely fast automated computer programs. These vendors then turn around and sell the seats at inflated prices. The bill was passed almost unanimously by the state House and Senate. You may also remember during the Seahawks last Super Bowl appearance, many WA state fans were affected by suddenly skyrocketing prices stemming from 'bot' ticket sales. These fans ended up losing their seats, some after they'd traveled to Arizona.
Now Senator Patty Murray has introduced a bill that would expand that 'bot' ban nationwide, by way of the Federal Trade Commission.
According to Murray and other sources, many sporting events and music concerts saw as many as half the tickets sold across the country had prices affected by bots. The New York Attorney General reported a recent U-2 Concert had over 15,000 tickets purchased by two 'bot' computers, which were then resold later at a markup of nearly 49%.
Before Washington state passed and enacted it's new 'bot' law, some tickets to the Adele concert at Key Arena reached the $5,000 mark, inflated in part by 'bots.'
The bill would outlaw the use of automated purchasing systems, and would forbid such computers from also circumventing security on ticket buying websites. According to Murray, some vendors have used what could be illegal programs to break anti-bot firewalls on these ticket sale sites, allowing massive purchases.
The bill, if passed, would also allow state and local officials to prosecute vendors who use automated systems to buy excessive numbers of tickets, beyond what they would normally be allowed to obtain.
Much like the Washington state law, the national law would be expected to drive down many tickets prices, and allow many more people to get their hands on them, and have better opportunities to buy them.