barcoded ticketing


I was wondering if anyone knows how barcoded ticketing works? This is where you order a ticket online for an event, print out your ticket, then when you go to the event, staff scan you barcode, and let you in.

What happens if you give a copy of the barcode to a mate (or lots of people) - and the event is general admission (as in, no allocated seating)?


The bar code that represents your ticket is unique. Every person that orders a ticket over the web gets a ticket with a different number/barcode. When they scan your barcode at the event, the scanner and computer look to make sure that your ticket is valid and has not been used. That barcode is then flagged as alreadt used and will read that way if anyone else presents a copy of the same one.

But what if you go back outside and then back inside? They’ve scanned twice, now.

Most events/venues using barcoded tickets I’m aware of don’t allow ‘in and out’ privledges.

As Shagnasty said it depends on the the programming of the system to catch duplicates. A good system would never allow such exploitation but that isn’t always the case. I work as a data warehouse consultant and one of the clients I worked for last year discoved something when they were able to analyze the warehouse data, that some of their customers were taking barcoded documents they were allowed to print themselves and making multiple copies. The way their application was written this fact was never even captured let alone prevented but they were losing greater than a million dollars US per month due to fraud.

Ok, what if someone steals your ticket, makes a few copies - and one of the stolen copies makes it in first? Or hell, you buy a ticket from a scalper - sure it’s dumb, but not that unlikely.

You turn up with the original after they have already let someone in with a scalped ticket, what happens?


The movie theater we normally attend does accepted home-printed tickets from However, when we go, they NEVER scan the ticket when we go in. They just take the piece of paper, check that it has the right number of people, and stuff the paper into the ticket collector box.

I assume they scan it later, and would possibly re-charge my credit card if my ticket was used more than once. But it is a little weird.

Tell me more. I have been working with management reporting systems and BI systems for many years - all sorts of warehouses and data marts and can’t think of any circumstance where you could discover something from a warehouse that wouldn’t be obvious from your live active data. How stupid were these people?

For events with in-and-out privileges, like baseball games … if you want to go out, you go out a separate doorway (usually without the turnstiles nor the scanning device), and have your hand and ticket stamped. When you reenter, you go through the same doorway. That’s my experience.

Assuming that the seats are assigned, like at a theatre, then some manager will usually have a polite show-down, asking both parties for identification, etc. This happened to me at London theatre: when we went to our seats, some other people were sitting there. We called an usher who called a manger, who asked to see everyone’s stubs and verification of identities. Turned out, pretty quickly discovered, that the other folks had bought tickets from a scalper and they were forged. I dunno what happened to them – I think they just learned a “sadder and poorer but wiser” lesson. We got to enjoy the play in our seats.

You’re screwed. They don’t let you in.