Senate votes to ban bots that drive up concert ticket prices

DES MOINES — The Iowa Senate has entered the chat about computer bots programmed to buy big bunches of tickets for concerts and sporting events.

“Ladies and gentlemen of the Senate, are you not entertained? If you’re not, it may be because prices for tickets are too darned high.” That’s Senator Jeff Reichman of Montrose in his prelude to debate of his anti-bot bill in the Iowa Senate. It would ban people from using bots to buy more than eight tickets to an Iowa event.

Reichmann says computers, apps and smart phones have helped consumers find less expensive options in most everything but concert tickets.  “In this case, technology has not helped us, it’s hindered us,” Reichman says. “The supply curve, by hoarding, has created artificially high inflation.”

The bill gives Iowa’s attorney general authority to sue people caught using bots and disabling website waiting periods or other security measures meant to prevent mass ticket purchases. Senator Liz Bennett of Cedar Rapids chimed in on the bill. “With this legislation we’re sending a clear message to anybody that who wants to disadvantage Iowa ticket buyers: you to screw around with Iowa ticket buyers, we’re going to have bad blood and with that I urge Swift passage of this bill,” Bennett said.

Reichmann says the bill could help a broader audience snag tickets.  “Some people live to work and some people work to live,” Reichman says. “Our jobs sustain us, but our arts and entertainment help fulfill us.”

The bill cleared the Senate by unanimous vote and has been sent to the Economic Growth and Technology Committee in the Iowa House for review.