Sept. 17 (UPI) -- Pizzeria chain Chuck E. Cheese is asking a court for permission to purchase and destroy 7 billion prize tickets produced for its game machines.
The 612-location restaurant chain, which declared bankruptcy in June, said the tickets were printed prior to the bankruptcy filing, but the suppliers hadn't yet been paid and the tickets had yet to be delivered.
Chuck E. Cheese is asking the court's permission to spend $2.3 million to purchase and destroy the 7 billion tickets, which are worth about $9 million in prizes.
Officials said the game machines were being converted to an eTicket model even before the COVID-19 pandemic in a bid to reduce wait times. The conversion efforts were accelerated amid the outbreak in an attempt to increase no-contact service.
The company's court filing said the $2.3 million to buy and destroy the tickets is "a cost which is far lower than the cost to the [company] should these prize tickets be circulated to the general public and presented ... for redemption."
Bankruptcy Court Judge Marvin Isgur has scheduled a virtual hearing for Sept. 21 to discuss the prize ticket purchase and other issues.