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Senate Approves Blumenthal Bill to Crack Down on Unfair Ticket Bots

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) applauded Senate passage of a bipartisan bill to crack down on unfair ticket scalping. The Better Online Ticket Sales Act, also known as the BOTS Act, will ban “ticket bots” that intentionally bypass security measures on online ticketing websites to outprice individual fans. Blumenthal introduced the legislation with U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS), Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Deb Fischer (R-NE) in July, and worked to pass it out of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation in September.

“This measure stops scalpers from using bot technology to devour tickets and sell them at inflated, unfair prices. As new technology enables ticket scalpers to expand their exploitive operations this protection is all the more necessary,” Blumenthal said. “Consumers deserve access to tickets at affordable prices and a fair chance to buy them before scalpers buy them in bulk. I urge my colleagues in the House of Representatives to quickly approve this bill so it can be signed by the President.”

At a Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection hearing on the bill, Ranking Member Blumenthal emphasized the urgent need for bipartisan legislation to crack down on unfair ticket scalping. Jeffrey Seller, the producer of hit Broadway musical Hamilton, testified at the hearing about how this critical bill would help prevent the widespread scalping of tickets to the popular show. The hearing also included testimony from the Big 12 Commissioner and representatives from StubHub and Ticketfly, who joined Seller in support of the bill.

“In one of my favorite shows of all time, Hamilton, my favorite number is called, ‘The Room Where It Happens,’” Blumenthal said at the hearing. “All that fans want is to be in the room where it happens. And what this bill does is give them fair access to be in that room—whether it is a sports stadium, a music venue, or a show like Hamilton.”

Tickets for popular events with high demand sell out almost immediately after they become available, leaving average consumers often unable to purchase tickets directly from a primary ticket vendor. Instead, consumers are forced to purchase from a third party through a ticket resale platform, where they can often expect to pay prices many times the ticket’s face value.

One of the chief reasons for this lack of ticket availability has become the use of “ticket bots” – inexpensive software programs that automatically locate and purchase large quantities of tickets offered for sale online through primary ticket vendors such as Ticketmaster. In a matter of seconds, third-party brokers using ticket bots can purchase hundreds or thousands of tickets, thereby squeezing out consumers.

Last month, Blumenthal was joined by Connecticut theaters and ticket vendors – including Jim Koplik, President of Live Nation, Tom Viertel, Executive Director of the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, John F. Fisher, Vice President and Executive Director of the Connecticut Association for the Performing Arts/Shubert Theatre, and David Fay, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Bushnell – at an event in Hartford, Connecticut to call for passage of the bill.