Bots first entered popular consciousness in 2016 with the passing of the BOTS Act, and have further established their mainstream presence through messaging and social media bots. They continue to be fought with legislation across the globe — most recently with Ontario’s Ticket Sales Act — however the ticketing industry has been fighting bots for years.
In the US, the Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act prohibits the use of software to jump to the front of the line and buy up inventory during online ticket sales. The legislation permits fans to have a greater opportunity to purchase tickets at face value as they first become available online.
The law grants enforcement to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which can take civil action against those who use bot software. It also allows state attorneys general to take similar action.
The BOTS Act applies to public concerts, theatre performances, sporting events, and similar events at venues having a seating capacity over 200. And it addresses more than purchasing—Congress also made it illegal to sell tickets if the seller participated in their illegal purchase, or knew (or should have known) that they were acquired in violation of the law.
New York State had passed its own version of the law in November 2016. And after BOTS Act passage, in June 2017 Nevada’s attorney general was empowered to directly prosecute bot developers, as opposed to waiting for the FTC to take action.