McDonald's Monopoly: A History
Since 1987 millions have played the Monopoly sweepstakes at their local McDonald's restaurants. The game is even played outside the United States in countries such as Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Hong Kong, Australia, Portugal, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Poland. The Monopoly sweepstakes has had its fair share of entertainment and controversy.
The First Monopoly Sweepstakes
When monopoly was first introduced in 1987 the rules were typed up and printed with the board game. On each visit to McDonald's you received a game piece that included two stamps. There were "instant winner" pieces, which could be redeemed at any McDonald's or board game pieces which you would moisten and place on your board game. To obtain a cash prize, the manager at your local McDonald's would provide you with a pre-addressed envelope to be sent off to the "redemption center." In 1987 the prizes available were of course monetary values from $100.00 to $1 million dollars. The sweepstakes also advertised winning vacations, dream homes, educational scholarships, a 1988 Lincoln Town Car, and money towards your mortgage. If you're interested in viewing the board game from 1988 you can do so by visiting the Newspaper Archive.
As more people started playing monopoly, the prizes increased. During the first year McDonald's offered 40 million dollars in prizes, which continued to grow. In the 1990s the rules changed, allowing participants to only receive tokens, or game pieces with specific purchases. Prizes in the 1990s included:
McDonald's hired Simon Marketing to produce and advertise the game in the United States. From 1995 until the year 2000 the "major" pieces were taken out of play and passed to associates. Reports state that associates received over 24 million dollars from the monopoly sweepstakes and other contests Simon Marketing promoted for McDonald's. The contest was placed on hold in 2000- one of the associates tipped off the FBI and an investigation was initiated. McDonald's did chose to rectify the issue by providing new, legitimate winners millions of dollars. The investigation ended with the arrest of eight individuals and twenty one total indictments.
Monopoly is back
Monopoly did appear again in until 2003. Offering prizes such as an Xbox system with five games, portable DVD players, wireless camera phones and plasma televisions. Of course the million dollar prize is still what most contestants seek. McDonald's started including coupons for Red Box rentals, Coke Rewards, and Fat Heads gift cards. You can use their website as a location to enter your codes. The prizes for 2012 are:
- 2013 Fiat 500 Sport Hatchback (10 winners)
- Beaches Resorts vacation (30 winners)
- SpaWish Gift Cards $100 (500 winners)
- EA Sports Trip (4 winners)
- Cash Prizes
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