• Food

9 Reasons You'll Never Win McDonald's Monopoly

Each and every year McDonald's rolls out its McDonald's Monopoly game. The promotion always comes with a heavy advertising blitz telling people Monopoly at McDonald's is back and better than ever. As a result, millions of Americans hit the fast food chain hoping to be the lucky winner of the $1 million grand prize.

The question is, though, can you really win the McDonald's Monopoly game? After all, they say that anything that seems too good to be true usually is, and the ability to take home cash, vacations, or a new car simply by eating a Big Mac or a McRib seems way too good to be true. That's why this list looks a little deeper and uncovers that the most famous McDonald's promotion out there is nearly impossible to win.

So, is McDonald's Monopoly a scam? How is it a scam? Are you going to be a millionaire? Read on and find out!
  • The Boardwalk Piece Is Rarer Than You Can Even Imagine

    Photo: Mark Strozier / flickr / CC-BY 2.0

    Each of the key pieces to complete a set has insane odds. In 2016, the chances of finding these rare pieces were:

    Boardwalk – 1 in 513,591,720
    Pennsylvania Avenue – 1 in 102,718,344
    Ventnor Avenue – 1 in 102,718,344
    Kentucky Avenue – 1 in 102,718,344
    Tennessee Avenue – 1 in 102,718,344
    Virginia Avenue – 1 in 51,359,172
    Vermont Avenue – 1 in 51,359,172
    Short Line – 1 in 2,567,95
    Mediterranean Avenue – 1 in 114,132

    Only one Boardwalk piece was produced. Given that not all are in circulation and that many are thrown away, it is easy to see why the grand prize isn't always claimed.
  • Park Place Is Next to Worthless

    Photo: Philip Taylor PT / flickr / CC-BY 2.0
    The trick of the game is found in the Park Place piece. The market is flooded with those pieces and there's a 1 in 11 chance of it being on the side of your cup/fries/sandwich. When a player has Park Place, they only need Boardwalk to win $1,000,000. Thus, a bunch of naive players suddenly think they have a $500,000 game piece when in reality there are so many Park Places out there that the piece has virtually zero value on its own. Players, though, are more and more tempted to chase Boardwalk if they are that close to the grand prize.
  • There Are So Many Game Pieces

    Photo: JeepersMedia / flickr / CC-BY 2.0
    The sheer amount of game pieces produced is mind-bending. Between 2003 and 2011, McDonald's produced 4.2 billion game pieces. Laid end to end, these pieces would stretch around the earth 1.5 times. Remember, of all those billions of pieces, there are less than 10 that are Boardwalk...
  • Casual Players Don't Understand The Ratio of Pieces

    Photo: JeepersMedia / flickr / CC-BY 2.0

    This ratio and the way McDonald's plays with its customers is best explained by Business Insider:

    "For instance, most people think if McDonald's wants the Brown prize probability to be 1 in 1,000,000, they'll make the probability of drawing Baltic 1 in 1,000 and Mediterranean 1 in 1,000, making the probability of getting both 1 in 1,000,000. Instead, McDonald's was much smarter about it. They make Baltic show up 1 in 10 times and Mediterranean show up 1 in 100,000 times."

    Clever, McDonald's. Very clever indeed.