The McDonald’s Monopoly game starts today (September 27, 2011). I’ve been a big fan of this game ever since McDonald’s first launched this marketing juggernaut in 1987. So this year I thought I’d give you everything you need to know about the game, including how to play online, how to get free game pieces and your chances of winning the big prize.
Let’s start with how to play McDonald’s Monopoly, which has become more complicated over the years. The key is to keep in mind that there is an in-store game AND an online game.
You’re probably familiar with the in-store game. You get two or four game pieces when you buy certain food and drink items from McDonald’s. You peel the game pieces to reveal either an instant win or a monopoly property you collect for a big prize.
Instant Win Prizes
Here are the instant win prizes for 2011 (with number of winners in parenthesis if available):
- $25,000 (5)
- $10,000 (3)
- $500 (750)
- $50 (5,000)
- $5 Walmart gift card (more than 1 million)
- $1,000 Walmart gift card
- $5,000 Walmart gift card
- EA Sports Ultimate Game Room (10)
- EA Sports Lifetime of Games (4)
- My Coke Rewards 30-Point Bundles (more than 1 million)
- Snapfish 4×6 Digital Photo Bundle (a few million)
- $10 and $50 Gas Cards (hundreds)
- 2012 Nissan Z (4)
- Kinect for XBox 360 Prize Pack (500)
- Redbox DVD Rental (a few million)
- Trip for 4 to the 2012 McDonald’s All American Games (a few)
- Trip for 4 to London Olympics (a few)
Collect to Win Prizes & Rare Game Pieces
And here are the ‘Collect to Win’ prizes, along with the number of prizes available and the rare game piece within the monopoly need to win each prize:
- $1 million* (1–Boardwalk)
- $100,000 (6–Ventnor Avenue)
- $50,000 (8–Kentucky Avenue)
- $100 (3,000–Vermont Avenue)
- $50 (10,000–Mediterranean Avenue)
- EA Sports Fan Trip (8–Short Line RR)
- 2012 Nissan Leaf (2–Pennsylvania Avenue)
- Caribbean Vacation (a few hundred–Tennessee Avenue)
- $200 SpaWish Gift Certificates (a couple hundred–Virginia Avenue)
*Did you notice the pesky asterisks (*) next to the $1 million prize? If you win the big prize, you won’t actually receive $1 million in cash, at least not right away. Instead, you’ll get $50,000 a year for 20 years. A great payoff for sure, but one that in present dollars is worth a lot less than $1 million.
McDonald’s also has an online Monopoly game that you don’t want to miss. Here’s how it works. The game pieces come with an 11-digit code that can be entered online. You enter the code at www.playatmcd.com
Here is the list of prizes for the online game (with the number of potential winners in parenthesis):
- $10,000 (1)
- $5,000 (7)
- $50 (couple thousand)
- $1,000 Walmat gift card (a few dozen)
- EA Sports $10 prizes (100,000) and games (thousands)
- $50 gas cards (couple hundred)
- Snapfish digital photo prizes (hundreds of thousands)
- 2012 Nissan Z (1)
- Beach Resort Vacation (couple dozen)
- $20 SpaWish gift certificates (thousands)
- My Code Rewards Points (millions)
- Redbox DVD rental (hundreds of thousands)
How to Get a Free Game Piece
You can get a free game piece from Mcdonald’s:
A Participant can request a Game Piece without buying a food item at a participating McDonald’s location by mailing a legibly handwritten, self-addressed, stamped envelope (“SASE”) with sufficient postage and a return address, including first and last name, street address, city, state, and ZIP or postal code to: 2011 MONOPOLY Game at McDonald’s Game Piece Request, P.O. Box 49180, Strongsville, OH 44149-0180.
You’ll receive two game pieces (four peels).
And if an in-store and online game weren’t enough, you’ve also got the sweepstakes. Each time you play online you receive one entry into the sweepstakes. For each five online plays, you receive and additional five entries. On or about November 14, 2011, a winner will be drawn from all entries. The prize is a MY 12 Nissan Z® Coupe Touring Model (MSRP: $38,210).
The Odds of Winning
The odds of winning with an in-store game piece is roughly 1 in 4. Of course the odds of winning go down as the value of the prize goes up. So let’s get to the big ticket item. Remember that for each color group, one of the properties is considered rare, which is how McDonald’s controls the number of prizes and odds. To win the $1 million, you need to collect both Park Place and Boardwalk. The odds of getting Park Place are 1 in 11. But the odds of landing on Boardwalk are 1 in 618,106,200.
For complete details on the odds of winning every prize, check out the official rules of McDonald’s Monopoly.