Senate Passes Ticket Bot Measure, Setting Up Final Passage in House

The Senate on Wednesday passed legislation that would clamp down on ticket bots, the automated programs that quickly buy up thousands of tickets online for concerts, sporting events and theater performances.

The bill, passed by voice vote, now heads to the House, which passed a similar measure in September. House lawmakers are expected to send the Senate-passed bill to the White House for President Barack Obama’s signature.

The legislation would empower the Federal Trade Commission to penalize individuals who use ticket bots to bypass the security of ticket sales systems to buy large amounts of tickets for events that can accommodate more than 200 people. The measure would also make it illegal to sell tickets obtained through bots.

“Scalpers who cut in line, then buy mass quantities of tickets just to resell them at higher prices make it difficult for people to get tickets for themselves and their families,” bill sponsor Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) said in a Thursday statement. “Ticket bots have affected people across the country, and the need to end this growing practice is reflected in the widespread support in the Senate.”

Ticketfly, an online ticket distribution company bought by Pandora last year, “strongly supports” the legislation “in order to increase fairness in the ticket-purchasing industry,” Katie Peters, Pandora’s director of government relations, said in a statement Wednesday.

report from the New York Attorney General’s Office in January detailed instances where bots were found to have monopolized ticket sales by buying up thousands of tickets for one show. In December 2014, one bot purchased 1,012 tickets for a U2 show at Madison Square Garden in one minute, according to the report.

Morning Consult