The White House Is Making It a Little Easier for You to Get Tickets Online

December 17th 2016

Laura Donovan

If you've ever tried getting tickets online for a big concert or performance and received a notification that they all sold out within the first five seconds of going on sale, you may have wondered who could have possibly swept up them up so quickly. More often than not, these "people" are actually Internet bots, and a new law is going to make it harder for them to get tickets before you do.


A Thursday press release from the White House stated that the "Better Online Ticket Sales Act of 2016," also known as the "BOTS Act of 2016," will prohibit "the circumvention of control measures used by Internet ticket sellers to ensure equitable consumer access to tickets for certain events." In other words, the legislation, which President Obama signed into law on Wednesday, should make it easier for you to get tickets online without having to resort to exorbitant, marked up tickets on third party sites like StubHub and Craigslist because bots have snatched everything up.

What are bots and how do they move so quickly?

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman wrote in a report earlier this year that some people illegally use computer systems to instantly buy large amounts of tickets online, and then these vendors resell the tickets at much higher rates to profit from fans who (understandably) missed out on the initial ticket sales round, NPR reported in January.

"The problem is not simply that demand for prime seats exceeds supply, especially for the most in-demand events," Schneiderman's report states. "Ticketing, to put it bluntly, is a fixed game."

Following Schneiderman's investigation, New York decided to criminalize the use of bots in June. As noted by Mic writer Christine Stoddard, "Hamilton" creator Lin-Manuel Miranda voiced a lot of opposition to bots in an op-ed in the New York Times this summer. He wants to give more people a chance to see his highly-acclaimed show at a rate they can afford.

Lin-Manuel Miranda

"I want the thousands of tickets for shows, concerts and sporting events that are now purchased by bots and resold at higher prices to go into the general market so that you have a chance to get them," Miranda wrote. "I want theatergoers to be able to purchase tickets at face value at our box office and our website, rather than on a resale platform. And if you do go to a resale platform for tickets, I want the markup you must pay to be clearly displayed. Most of all, I want you to be there when the curtain goes up. You shouldn’t have to fight robots just to see something you love."

You might now be able to score those Adele or "Hamilton" or Beyonce tickets, after all.

[H/T Mic]