Advertisement

Congress passes BOTS law to crack down on predatory ticket scalping

"Ticketing, to put it bluntly, is a fixed game," New York's attorney general said in a recent report.

By
Doug G. Ware
Congress on Thursday sent the Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act of 2016 to President Barack Obama's desk for approval. The proposed law aims to eliminate predatory ticket scalping practices that are often aided by Internet software programs that circumvent selling restrictions. File Photo by Doug G. Ware/UPI
Congress on Thursday sent the Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act of 2016 to President Barack Obama's desk for approval. The proposed law aims to eliminate predatory ticket scalping practices that are often aided by Internet software programs that circumvent selling restrictions. File Photo by Doug G. Ware/UPI

WASHINGTON, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- The U.S. Congress has passed legislation intended to eliminate the practice of excess ticket scalping that hikes prices for sporting events and theater shows.

The Senate and House on Thursday sent the Better Online Ticket Sales Act of 2016 to President Barack Obama's desk for approval, and the lame duck president is expected to sign it.

Advertisement

The bill's acronym (BOTS) is a play on the term of the very thing it aims to defeat -- software that circumvents restrictions on how many tickets any one party can purchase. Such revenue-driven Internet programs are often referred to as "bots."

RELATED Text: BOTS Act of 2016

In addition to barring predatory scalping tactics, the bill also makes it illegal for anyone to purchase tickets with the knowledge they were obtained in violation of the new law.

RELATED U.S. stocks enjoy best day since election; Dow, S&P post new records

"It shall be unlawful for any person to circumvent a security measure, access control system, or other technological control or measure on an Internet website ... or to sell or offer to sell any event ticket in interstate commerce obtained in violation," the bill states.

Enforcement of the proposed law would be handled by the Federal Trade Commission, which regulates deceptive or unfair business practices.

The BOTS Act was sponsored by Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and several co-sponsors.

RELATED European Commission fines JP Morgan Chase, HSBC, Credit Agricole $520M for collusion

RECOMMENDED IOC official arrested for ticket scalping resigns

Motivation for the new law was aided by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who has decried ticket reselling systems and issued an investigative report on the practice in his state.

"[Schneiderman] has been investigating the entire industry and the process by which event tickets are distributed -- from the moment a venue is booked through the sale of tickets to the public," the report states.

"The problem is not simply that demand for prime seats exceeds supply, especially for the most in-demand events. Ticketing, to put it bluntly, is a fixed game."

RELATED Google expects all of its energy in 2017 to come from renewable sources

Latest Headlines