President Barack Obama makes ticket-snatching bots illegal in the USA

In the UK, where bots are still legal, the secondary ticketing market is worth £1bn

Barack Obama has signed a new act into law that makes it a federal offense to buy tickets using bots.

The Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act of 2016 makes ticketing bots – software capable of grabbing thousands of tickets as soon as they go on sale – illegal.

The Bill is sponsored by the Republican Kansas Senator Jerry Moran, who has said it will “level the playing field” for customers of ticketing sites.

The law also means the federal government can file suits on the behalf of those who miss out on tickets due to bots.

Theresa MayAFP/Getty Images

In October, it was reported that the UK government was considering a proposal to criminalise touts using bots to buy up tickets for resale at a heavy markup.

Conservative MP Nigel Adams, chair of the all-party parliamentary group on music, suggested that the digital economy bill should be amended to make the practice illegal. This would mean touts would incur either a fine of up to £5,000 or a jail term of up to 51 weeks.

According to The Guardian, the secondary ticketing market is reportedly worth £1bn. Prime Minister Theresa May said she “will be looking at the recommendations very carefully”.

“It’s not a silver bullet but it will go a long way and act as some deterrent,” Adams said at the time, having missed out on tickets to see Green Day. “If there’s no punishment for this sort of rip-off behaviour it will continue to happen.”