13 Things You Might Not Know About McDonald's Monopoly

Getty Images/Tim Boyle
Getty Images/Tim Boyle / Getty Images/Tim Boyle

It’s that time of year again! Time to make fun of your friends who go to McDonald’s excessively in the month of October because they genuinely believe they will win a million dollars in the Monopoly-themed giveaway. Here are some things you might not know about the promotional tool.

1. The winner of the million dollar prize receives an annual check for $50,000 for 20 years.

2. To become a millionaire, you must collect both Park Place and Boardwalk. The odds of finding Park Place are 1 in 11. But, the odds of acquiring Boardwalk are around 1 in 651 million. So, your chances of getting them both are about 1 in 3.5 billion.

3. The 2010 million dollar winner, Jon Kehoe, managed to beat those odds. He had been jobless for 11 months when he bought a McRib containing the Boardwalk piece with some money from his final unemployment check. Park Place was the piece on his drink.

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4. It may not be easy to become a millionaire, but there’s a 25 percent chance of winning an in-store prize like a McFlurry or medium fries.

5. The giveaway has been going on for 27 years now. It started big in 1987, in multiple countries with over $40 million of prizes.

6. In 1995, a clerk at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital opened an envelope containing the $1 million prize piece.

7. It was revealed in 2001 that a group of eight people had been rigging McDonald’s Monopoly along with the restaurant’s other promotions since at least 1995. None were McDonald’s employees, but one person was the Chief of Security at Simon Marketing, the company that ran the game. By the time the con was discovered, the group had taken over $20 million.

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8. McDonald’s Corporation attempted to sue Simon Worldwide for the debacle, but it backfired. The fast food chain ended up having to settle and pay Simon Worldwide $16.6 million.

9. The con artists who rigged the game were the ones who mailed the winning piece to St Jude’s. The hospital said they would return the money, but McDonald’s allowed them to keep it.

10. McDonald’s Monopoly would be illegal without a “no purchase necessary” clause. In 2012, lawyer Alan L. Friel took advantage of this rule by mailing one hundred handwritten letters to McDonald’s, along with self-addressed and stamped envelopes, asking for game pieces. He determined that the cost of stamps were cheaper than the lowest-priced menu item containing game pieces: 99 cent hashbrowns. He did end up receiving ninety-eight of his envelopes back with the pieces.

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11. The giveaway has increased McDonald’s sales by 1 to 6 percent in the past.

12. Between 2003 and 2011, there were 4.2 billion game pieces created. Those pieces would cover the circumference of the earth one and a half times.

13. The current spokesperson for McDonald’s Monopoly, LeBron James, probably wouldn’t eat at McDonald’s with you. He recently went on a no sugar, no dairy, and no carb diet.