Every year, McDonald’s launches a worldwide sweepstakes based on the popular board game Monopoly, and it couldn’t be more fun to play. You get a game board, and with most McDonald’s purchases you receive “tokens” that can be pulled off and matched together with different properties in order to win cash and prizes. There are also “instant win” tokens that immediately award you McDonald’s food items. Here are six more things that you probably didn’t know about McDonald’s Monopoly.
It’s Been Around Since 1987
The sweepstakes launched in 1987 with United States, Canada, Australia, Austria, France, Germany, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom on board. Argentina and Brazil were added in 2013.
McDonald’s Doesn’t Run the Contest
Companies are forbidden from running their own contests in order to prevent fraud, so a subcontractor called Simon Worldwide is actually responsible for distributing the tokens and awarding prizes.
There Was a Major Fraud Scandal
The promotion had to be stopped early in 2000, when Simon was caught defrauding the contest. The chief of security, Jerome Jacobson, had been stealing the most valuable game pieces and distributing them to friends and family, netting them over $24 million between 1995 and 2000.
It’s a Little Different Every Year
In 2001, winners could “pick their prize,” giving them three options of how they wanted their prize to be awarded. So for example, if they won $1 million, they could choose between cash, gold, or diamonds. In 2005, certain foods also came with a guaranteed coupon to partners including Best Buy, Toys ‘R’ Us, and Foot Locker.
You Don’t Need to Buy Anything to Play
The “no purchase necessary” notice you see on sweepstakes is a law, so you can actually request game pieces by mailing a hand-written, self-addressed stamped envelope to the game headquarters.
Boardwalk is the Rarest Piece
Only one boardwalk token was produced until 2013, when two were made. The prize for finding it? $1 million.