Universal Studios Stamping Out Scalpers

Starting Nov. 1, Universal Studios Japan in Osaka will not honor tickets been obtained through third-party businesses or individuals.

Photo: momopy

The move is to confound scalpers, who have become a nuisance for the theme park. USJ said, “We have decided to implement an all-out ban on reselling tickets and eradicate acts of reselling to protect guests from the disadvantages that arise from unjust resale of tickets.”

The company estimates that some 1 billion yen ($8.3 million) worth of tickets have been resold so far. A USJ representative told the Japan Times it is investing hundreds of millions of yen in a system to “identify and blacklist” online scalpers.

Visitors will be refused entry if QR matrix barcodes on their tickets are found to be invalid when they show up at the entrance gate or at rides. That means that all tickets purchased through “unofficial channels,” which include auction sites and resale agents, will be “unusable.”

This includes not only admission tickets but also special passes, like the Express Pass Five, which allows visitors entry to attractions more quickly. The representative said the Express Pass, which costs 14,400 yen, has been resold for as much as 100,000 yen.

At least one online ticket merchant has offered to create an official ticket reselling system that would prevent profiteering, but USJ rejected it. Some resellers complained the new rule is unfair to those who purchased tickets and find that they are unable to use them.

USJ tickets are not refundable. USJ can afford this hard line. This year’s attendance is already up 18 percent compared with last year, and 2015 will likely be the park’s best year yet.