Bill introduced to prevent bot scalping of popular concert tickets.
Millions of ardent Taylor Swift fans were left distressed when they were unable to obtain tickets to the pop star’s Eras Tour due to scalpers utilizing bots that allowed them to bypass security functions and purchase more tickets than the allowed limit. This prompted Texas House lawmakers to introduce a new bill aimed at regulating the use of bots in the ticketing industry.
The bill has been proposed by State Rep. Kronda Thimesch of Lewisville and will impose civil penalties, including hefty fines, for individuals found to be using technology that circumvents security measures in ticketing systems. The bill, which has been positively received by lawmakers, aims to tackle the issue of bots that have brought about significant disruptions in ticket sales by purchasing tickets in large quantities, leaving genuine fans empty-handed.
The proposed legislation is particularly personal for Thimesch, who has first-hand experience of the heartbreak fans go through due to bots, stating that her daughter was one of the unfortunate fans who was unable to purchase tickets to Eras Tour when they went on sale because of bots. Another bill with similar provisions, Senate Bill 1639, has been introduced by Sen. Judith Zaffirini and has successfully passed out of the Senate. It remains to be seen which of the two will be ratified.
The use of bots in ticketing has caused widespread disconcert amongst fans who have taken matters into their own hands. The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee held a public hearing about the ticket mess, and fans are looking to seek their own revenge against Ticketmaster and Live Nation by suing them for unlawful conduct.
Companies such as Live Nation Entertainment have been in favour of the introduction of HB 2444. Jas Sajjan, with Live Nation Entertainment, testified in favour of the bill saying that there are so many bots that it’s become a game of whack-a-mole, and this bill takes a step forward during a time we’re seeing more bot activity than ever. Similarly, Zach Anderson, President of TicketCity, has stated that although the company is in favour of the intent of the bill, they are concerned that it may have unintended consequences for legitimate ticketing businesses in Texas and suggested a substitute for the bill that prohibits the use or creation of bots for purchases, instead of prohibitions on all online ticket sales or resales.
Despite the mixed reception of the bill, it is a step in the right direction. Fans eagerly awaiting the Eras Tour will finally be able to have an equal opportunity to purchase tickets, without having to worry about the use of unfair tactics by scalpers. In the meantime, fans like Alex Agnew will continue to wait patiently, albeit nervously, as the botched ticket release is rectified. After hours of waiting, Agnew was finally able to purchase tickets just in time for Christmas and new mother Avery was overjoyed at the gift.