What Are the Rare Gamepieces in the Current McDonald's Monopoly Promotion?

In the McDonald’s Monopoly promotion, you win prizes either instantly or by collecting gamepieces of the same color (or category) based on the Monopoly board.

For example, collect Boardwalk and Park Place and win $1,000,000. There are tens of thousands of one piece, and only one of the other. Obviously, collecting the rare one is the key to winning the prize.

I’ve got about five or six pieces in my pockets and on my desk at work. Can anyone please tell me what the rare pieces are, so I can start anticipating my winnings a little in advance?


This page lists the rare pieces:

The list is:

Mediterranean Ave
Vermont Ave
Virginia Ave
Tennessee Ave
Kentucky Ave
Ventnor Ave
Pennsylvania Ave
Short Line Railroad

I wouldn’t hold out too much hope unless your local McDonalds franchises are struggling, or losing market share.

As I understand it, those running the game don’t know exactly WHICH cups/hashbrown wrapper/french fry sleeve has the winner, but they know the approximate lot, and they allocate these to areas where McDonald’s sales need a boost. Big winners -> good publicity - > boost in sales.

I am sure 30 people will rush in here to refute this. Makes for a spicier thread, which is why I am willing to type out the hearsay.

Do you have some cite, or is this merely speculation?

Are the Best Buy prizes not available at Walmart locations? They have Future Shop prizes here, and it says they’re not available at Walmart. McDonalds would have to know which gamepieces were going to Walmart locations, and those might have a different distribution of prizes. I don’t know what the Walmart locations offer in place of the Best Buy prizes, although I think a $1 Best Buy prize is still better than a breakfast sandwich or a small drink.

Local radio commercials state that there are no Best Buy bucks available at WalMart McDonalds… I’m in the Cleveland area, but I believe that’s universal for the contest…

Ahh, McDonald’s Monopoly, this is becoming quite a longstanding tradition. Isn’t it usually in the spring, though?

I always wait until I know someone has a few Park Places collected and nonchalantly say something like, “I can’t believe those bastards switched it up on us this year. I almost shit myself when I found Boardwalk on my Big Mac but there was another on my fries :rolleyes:”


*bolding mine(samclem)

Cranky. This is GQ. Perhaps you forgot where you were. We don’t need no steenkin’ hearsay to spice up our threads. What we need is the Straight Dope.

Don’t do this.

samclem GQ moderator

Are the Best Buy bucks replaced with Future Shop stuff in Canada? I’ve seen the commercials on American stations for Best Buy and the Canadian ones for Future Shop. I know Best Buy owns Future Shop, so it’d be logical, but just wondering.

I apologize.

I should clarify to satisfy Bricker’s belief that I am merely “speculating.” It’s called “seeding,” not something I made up. Companies choose whether prizes will be distributed wholly randomly, or by some other process.

I was told about this seeding policy (to boost sales in lower-performing markets) by someone who had done some consulting work for McDonald’s corporations re: their games promotions. This was in the early 1990s. Things may have changed since then, and the person could have been making it up. I didn’t see original documents produced by McDonalds, so it’s hearsay, and I deserve the mod smackdown (my first ever, mark the calendar). I should have said your odds may vary <b>IF</b> McDonald’s does seeding, without saying I (in effect) heard from my veterinarian’s cousin’s ex-boyfriend that this is, in fact, their process.

The rules must be made public, and they have some accounting firm audit their processes. Do the rules say it is purely random or not? Seems to me they could be sued for quite a bit if they engaged in non-random practice in a presumedly fair lottery system?

I’m not sure whether they claim it’s random or not. The overall odds would remain the same. If they say it is, then I’ll bet it is. McDonalds has had legal trouble before (for something that wasn’t really their fault). I would imagine they’re careful.

Remember 2001? When an employee at their contracted promotion company held out the top prizes, and then found people to claim them (splitting the winnings)? To allow the FBI to catch the people involved, McDonalds went ahead with the game. Customers were playing a game in which they could not, in fact, win all the prizes advertised, and some of them sued when they learned the truth: that the game had been compromised by crooks, and turned into a sting operation to catch them.

Could I be any more vague?

When I said:

I meant: If the rules say that winning game pieces are distributed randomly, then they most probably are distributed randomly. Not by any system, not targeted. And that would, obviously, thoroughly debunk what I wrote in my first post.

kushiel: Yes, the Best Buy prizes are replaced with Future Shop prizes in Canada. I’m not sure if you can use the Future Shop coupons at Best Buy. (There are many more Future Shop stores than Best Buy stores in Canada, but they’re owned by the same company. Future Shop has commissioned salespeople who will jump at the opportunity to help you buy something. Best Buy has non-commissioned salespeople who will tend to hide until you seek them out. Also, Future Shop stores have red and white decor; Best Buy is a more drab black, yellow and gray. Other than that, they have very similar selection and prices.)

The minimum Future Shop prize is $2 Canadian ($1.59 US as of October 18). The minimum Best Buy prize is $1 US. And you’ll get an even better return on your investment in Canadian McDonalds locations than in the US. According to the May 27th, 2004 Big Mac Index, a Big Mac is $2.33 US in Canada and $2.90 US in its homeland. This agrees with my personal experience that American McDonalds prices tend to be higher than in Canada.

According to this CNN article, this fraud was going on for several years, which matches my recollection at the time. There’s no mention of McDonalds working with the FBI in any kind of sting, and I’ve never heard that before. But that’s an old article. Do you have a cite for that?

Well, this magazine is dedicated to whole promotion/marketing field, and it alleges that McDonalds cooperated with the FBI. It said before the last game went live, it knew about the theft, but went ahead anyway to help the FBI with its case.


I’m not sure if Canadian Best Buy stores will accept the Future Shop coupons. I do know that BestBuy.com will not accept the Future Shop codes.