Those McD's Monopoly Games

So, what if the winning game piece for the top prize is tossed in the trash by someone who doesn’t play those contest games? What happens to the prize?

I would imagine they go unclaimed. Not having to pay out some of the prizes probably helps their bottom line.

I always assumed sweepstakes and their ilk were simply a type of advertising; sink 2 million in prizes/promotions and hope people buy 10 million of your stuff trying to win the prize. Right? :confused:

The real problem isn’t when no one wins the grand prize, it’s when too many people win it.

Well, the Monopoly game was rigged 1995-2000 by an employee of the company that made the pieces – so it wasn’t a concern then. :slight_smile:

I’m chiming in with Jinx.

OK, we know that the McDonald’s contest got rigged for a time. The Kraft thing was a clusterf**k. Let’s put that aside.

A lot of people can’t be bothered or are not customers on a regular enough basis to pay attention to these games that run for a limited time. So Joe Schmoe gets the cup with the big winner prize chit and throws it in the trash.

The question becomes . . . is that a big win for McDonald’s? Or, does McDonald’s know that this is going to happen at a predictable rate and will distribute multiple “big-winner” chits so that someone will win, while knowing that not all of the “big-winner” chits will get claimed? Do they distribute 1 or 100 of those chits? Of course, contests with big winning prizes are often done on an insured basis. For instance, a hole-in-one contest at a golf outing doesn’t put the sponsor of the outing at risk, they have already contracted with an insurance company that understands the odds of running the contest and charge a flat fee that provides them with a profit over the long run. Maybe McD’s is big enough that they are self-insured. There lies the question.

Statisticians, gambling experts, insurers, the companies that run lotteries all know the stats or can figure them out. How does this apply to McD’s and how they run their scam?

So again, I’m with Jinx wondering how this is all working. Any SD?

I 100% believe you. However, why did you post this without a citation? I’m curious and I think we’d benefit from learning how you know this and so forth.


A simple Wiki search:

Precisely this!

Anecdote time!

On a cross-country trip, we were chatting with a nice McDonald’s employee about the game. As he handed us our food, he reached under the counter, grabbed a huge fistfull of Monopoly entries, and crammed them in a separate bag for us. There were close to two hundred game pieces in our Hot Apple Pie bag.

Well, when we stopped for dinner, I said “Let’s try Mickey D’s, and see if there’s another kind employee.” We picked a 20-ish cool-looking guy, told him what had happened to us, and he smiled and said “Like this?” and grabbed us a massive handful.

Now, don’t get too excited… the point of this story is that even with over 400 game pieces, we did not win anything substantial. We’d have a dozen Atlantic and Ventnor Avenues, but no Marvin Gardens, and of course never saw a Boardwalk.

Makes me sad when I think of those kids just sure they’ll get Tennesee Avenue with their next McLunch.

In fairness, according to the wiki, this was not a “rigging” (McDonald’s insuring that they would not have to pay out) but an independent fraud which McDonald’s attempted to make amends for to some extent.

Here are the official rules for last year’s Monopoly game.

Note that the rules state there are exactly two winning game pieces for both the car and the cash. If they don’t get claimed, that’s the way it goes.

Amusing story more about how incredibly stupid one man and the newspaper The Atlanta Journal Constitution can be when it comes to this McDonalds game.

A few years ago (I don’t remember the year, but it was in the late 90’s or early 00’s) The Journal Constitution ran a story on the FRONT page of the Metro section about a local Atlanta man that was desperate to win the million dollars. The combination to win the million was to have Boardwalk and Park Place. This man had Park Place and he was … now get this everyone… willing to split the top prize of one million dollars if someone had the Boardwalk piece and the both of them together could complete the set!

Any one with either any brains or that has gotten a few of the pieces knows that the winning piece is Boardwalk. EVERYONE and I mean everyone has Park Place, probably they have multiple Park Place pieces. And this guy is absolutely serious about his offer. What made the whole thing weapons grade stupid is the reporter couldn’t figure this out. He and his editor actually ran this story as a local interest item. To this day I want to slap both the guy and the reporter if I ever have the chance. So much stupid, so few people.

I remember seeing classified ads with people offering to buy Boardwalk or whatever the winning piece was. They would offer something huge like $50 for the right puzzle piece. I’d like to think they were trying to take advantage of the naive guy who held the winner, but from the way these ads were worded, it was pretty clear they thought it was all random and they were just missing that one little piece.

I did something similar one year, except I claimed to have the Boardwalk piece and was wanting to split the winnings with someone who had Park Place. For the lulz :smiley: It’s been a while, and I don’t remember everything, but I got some interesting responses. One kind soul offered to forgo his half of the winnings and just sell me Park Place outright for the bargain price of just $10,000… but only if I acted immediately. I told him I already got one from a nice young man in Nigeria.

I liked the Olympics game McD ran the year the Soviet Bloc boycotted the games. Got a lot of free eats on that game.

My buddy worked at McD’s when we were in high school and he showed up at my house one evening with boxes and boxes of those game pieces. He had stolen them from the office. Yes, we were rotten kids.

We had thousands of those things and we sat there all night ripping them open. We didn’t bother ripping the piece off of the paper (it was sufficient to simply check if the pieces was a “key” piece) and we ended up with thousands of long, paper strips piled all over my bedroom. It looked like there had been a ticker-tape parade.

Well, anyway, do you know what we won, after all that? No joke: Less than a dozen free fries and hamburgers. That’s it.