Update: Governor Jay Inslee signed this into law April 28th 2015.
Here’s some good news out of Olympia as the Senate wants to protect concert tickets from computer ‘bots’
As many of you know, bots often consume a great deal of concert and sporting event tickets, up to 60% of available tickets for high demand, popular events in our state according to Ticketmaster. Some are programmed to “bypass” purchasing security limits on event websites. Some of these bots can evade programs that only allow consumers to purchase limited numbers of tickets.
If you’ve ever tried to buy a ticket online for a high demand event and were’nt able to get through, there is a good chance that part of the problem was an internet robot or ticket robot. The principle is that this software can order tickets thousands of times faster than a human can do so with fingers. And the buyers can then resell the tickets, driving up prices. For some shows this means huge profits for the companies that use ticket bots. Often times this method leaves some hardcore fans out in the cold.
Rep. Kevin Van De Wege, D-Sequim, introduced the bill to outlaw the use of ticket-related “bots” in our state. Similar laws already exist in Oregon and California as well as 11 other states. The bill would declare this as an unfair or deceptive practice under the Washington Consumer Protection Act.
The House earlier passed a version of the legislation, also unanimously. Because the Senate made some changes, the measure must again receive House approval. Ferguson, who requested the bill, said the changes were minor. After House approval, the bill will go to Gov. Jay Inslee for his signature.
Ferguson said this Wednesday in his news release:
“The legislation bans ticket bot use and makes it a violation of the state Consumer Protection Act to sell software to circumvent, interfere with or evade any security measure or access-control system on a ticket seller’s website.”
“Consumers deserve a fair deal,” said Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson in a press release. “Outlawing ticket bots will keep fans’ hard-earned money in their pockets, instead of fattening the wallets of scalpers trying to game the system.”
All you have to do is type in Ticket Bot into Google and the results will bring in several websites that specialize is supplying the software that helps scalpers scarf up as many tickets as they can. Let’s hope this new law will make a difference in who gets to go see a show at face value.