I hate Chuck E Cheese for exactly this reason. Kids play stupid games to get tickets, the tickets turn into prizes. Of course the prizes are worth far less then the money we spend to get the stupid tickets.
The focus of a trip this hellhole becomes to get tickets. It is like some twisted Pavlovian experiment. The kids will play the stupider games in order to get these little rectangular paper treats.
In an attempt to make this contemptible place a little less evil, I tried to make the no-ticket rule. We would play the games for fun and would throw away the damned tickets. This failed miserably as it was seen as "cruel". I even offered to buy stupid plastic toys in place of the tickets, but this giant furry BF Skinner won out.
There are lots of other examples. In the supermarket near our house is a gumball type machine that contains one really cool prize (like an electronic game) in with really cheap toys. Fifty cents buys you a chance at the good toy which is heavily featured on the outside of the machine. I refuse to let any kid use this machine under my watch.
It is nice that you were able to have a teachable moment.