Senate Commerce OKs Online Ticket Bot Bill

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By Alexis Kramer

Sept. 21 — The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Sept. 21 approved by voice vote legislation aimed at stopping the use of illegal software called bots to buy up large numbers of event tickets and resell them at inflated prices.

The Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act of 2016 ( S. 3183), by Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), would also ban the sale of tickets knowingly obtained through the use of such software.

The bill is designed to address bot use, a long-standing problem in the ticket industry that restricts consumers' opportunities to buy concert or sporting event tickets at face value. Moran said the bill was narrowly tailored to address the issue and that he was hopeful it would quickly move through Congress. It's unclear whether the full Senate will act on the measure this year.

Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) said the legislation “will ensure that all consumers have a fair shot at seeing their favorite act or team live without having to pay exorbitant prices to do so.”

The committee approved the measure after adopting a substitute amendment that would preserve the Federal Trade Commission's existing authority under other provisions of law.

The House passed a related bill ( H.R. 5104) Sept. 12.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alexis Kramer in Washington at akramer@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Keith Perine at kperine@bna.com

For More Information

Text of Moran's substitute amendment is available at: http://src.bna.com/iL4.

Text of S. 3183, as introduced in the Senate, is available at: http://src.bna.com/iL6.

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