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How To Win McDonald’s Monopoly Game, 2013 Edition
Posted By Jim On 07/16/2013 @ 6:47 am In Personal Finance | 813 Comments
If you’re like me, you look forward to the McDonald’s Monopoly game every single year. If you thought this year’s game would start in the fall, well you’re in store for a real treat.
This year the McDonald’s Monopoly game will be starting a whopping two months earlier than last year. This year’s game started on July 16th and will run until August 12th. I don’t know why they started the game so early but it likely messed up preparations for so many Monopoly fans. (The last few years, the game started in September)
As we’ve done every year, we go over the rules and regulations to put together this guide to winning the McDonald’s Monopoly game. As is the case every year, it depends mostly on luck but with our guide you can have a better informed gaming experience. As was the case last year, the prize pool is bigger with two Boardwalk pieces, and McDonald’s is more transparent with the odds by publishing the probability you get every piece (even the common ones).
Overall, besides changing some of the prizes and the probabilities, the game hasn’t changed in many years. You can get game pieces by purchasing food from McDonald’s or mailing it self-addressed stamped envelopes. Those pieces will be a mix of instant win, for food, money, and other prizes, and game properties. Match up monopolies with the game properties and you win an even bigger prize. There are usually two common pieces and one rare piece.
There is always one rare piece and two common pieces in each monopoly (with the exception of Park Place/Boardwalk because there are only two pieces). The common pieces are really common (Park Place is 1 in 11) and the rare piece is really rare (Boardwalk is 1 in 3,050,412,898). Get the rare piece and you pretty much win the prize.
The key is to get that rare piece, which is usually the last one when you list all the properties in alphabetical order. Last year, they only published the probability to get the prize. This year, they’ve once again published the probabilities of each piece.
For 2013, there were some adjustments to the rarities, prize pool, and what your prizes were. Here are the monopoly prizes, listed based on the rare pieces (probability is the probability of the monopoly, not of getting the rare piece):
|Mediterranean Ave||$1,000 Cash||1 in 152,520,645|
|Vermont Ave||$5,000 Cash||1 in 578,695,060|
|Virginia Ave||$10,000 Cash||1 in 686,411,977|
|Tennessee Ave||Super Bowl XLVIII Trip for two||1 in 2,897,127,759|
|Kentucky Ave||Delta Vacations Trip for two||1 in 72,428,194|
|Ventnor Ave||$20,000||1 in 1,419,702,416|
|Pennsylvania Ave||2014 FIAT® 500L||1 in 189,293,656|
|Boardwalk||$1,000,000||1 in 3,050,412,898|
|Short Line Railroad||Shell Fuel for a Year||1 in 5,945,378,686|
The prize pool and the odds of winning are about the same this year. The big change from last year that they kept for this year is that there are two potential Boardwalk winners. Until last year, there was only ever one winner.
In addition to the monopoly property prizes, you have the instant win prizes (such as an Arch Card pictured above), which you discover just by ripping off the pieces from the packaging. They’re essentially coupons you can use immediately.
The instant win prizes for 2013 are:
Last year, McDonald’s Arch cards replaced Wal-Mart gift cards. This year, some of those Arch cards were replaced with Shell gift cards. There appears to be a partnership with Beats by Dre, Ace Hardware, and a continued partnership with EA Sports. Panasonic throws in a 50″ plasma HDTV and a digital camera too.
Finally, as if the instant win and the pieces aren’t enough, you can enter codes online for additional chances to win prizes. The string of alphanumeric characters at the bottom of each piece is a code you can enter online. The codes themselves don’t determine who wins, it’s based on time. At set points during the day, the computer decides someone will win. The first person to enter a valid code after the time will win the prize.
Free Play Code (I’ll add more as they are available):
Here are the instant win prizes for 2013:
After an increase in the number of prizes last year, McDonald’s has reduced the number of the higher value prizes and replaced them with a boon in the lower prizes. There are now literally a million Redbox rental codes, versus only a few hundred thousand last year. It’s a trend that continued from the year before. In 2011, there were seven $5,000 prizes and a prize for ten grand. Last year, there were several Beaches vacations and other high dollar prizes. This year, they have a $20,000 cash and a car but otherwise pulled out a bunch of the mid-tier prizes.
The way to get game pieces hasn’t changed this year, you have two choices here. The first is to go to a McDonald’s location and buy food. The list of food items that give you prizes has remained entirely unchanged from last year (along with how many game pieces you get):
Cheapest Food for Pieces: This hasn’t changed in years but the cheapest food you can buy to get pieces are the hash browns. My local McDonald’s sells hash browns for $1 or two for $1.49. In years past, people have just paid to get the containers and not gotten food so they don’t waste it. Some places won’t allow this since they inventory product.
In order for a game like this to be legal, they need a “no purchase necessary” option. For McDonald’s Monopoly game, you need to send in a hand-written self-addressed stamped envelope in order to receive two game pieces mailed back to you. It must be hand written. The addresses need to match and you need to mail it in after July 2nd, 2013 and no later than August 12, 2013 (when the game ends). Be sure to include your full name, street address, city, state, and ZIP code (you don’t want them to disqualify you for a dumb reason). There does not appear to be a limit to how many you can request.
Last year, we hand wrote a hundred letters for the McDonalds Monopoly , mailed them in , and then chronicled the results . Let’s just say the results were pretty entertaining.
The address (it is a different PO Box from last year):
2013 MONOPOLY Game at McDonald’s Game Piece Request
P.O. Box 49419
Strongsville, OH 44149-0419
The only cost to you is the cost of postage, 92 cents, and you can leave off return postage if you live in Vermont. You may have to prove residency according to the rules but it’s not clear how they check.
The cost of hash browns will vary from store to store so this comparison may not be accurate for your area. That said, the cost of two hash browns is $1.49 and the cost of a SASE is 92 cents. Given the time it would take for you to fill out two envelopes (plus they cost money) versus driving to and walking into a store to buy hash browns, it’s really up to you. Personally, I think I’d rather buy the hash browns than write all those letters .
Dumpster diving is always another option if you’re really interested in getting game pieces, don’t want to write letters, and don’t mind getting a little dirty. I’ve never done it, I don’t really have any tips, so do this at your own risk. It would be cool if one of you found an instant win piece for a free vacation… let me know if it happens!
Not to be a Debbie Downer but the rules forbid the trading, buying and selling of game pieces. We don’t condone it either, we believe you should play within the confines of the rules of the game.
That said, people do it on message boards and the like. You can see it in the comments on any blog post that discusses the game and there are thousands of people willing to trade you common pieces for rare ones. You can also search online for people to trade with but just be aware that most of them will be scammers . As always, trade at your own risk.
Did you win anything from last year’s contest? If so, please share in the comments!
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 Email: mailto:?subject=http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/how-to-win-mcdonalds-monopoly-game.html
 we hand wrote a hundred letters for the McDonalds Monopoly: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/handwriting-100-letters-for-monopoly-game.html
 mailed them in: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/journey-handwriting-100-letters-mcdonalds-monopoly-pieces-part-2.html
 chronicled the results: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/journey-handwriting-100-letters-mcdonalds-monopoly-pieces-part-3.html
 I’d rather buy the hash browns than write all those letters: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/mcdonald-monopoly-game-mailin-hash-browns-challenge.html
 scammers: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/beware-mcdonalds-monopoly-trading-scams.html
 here: http://www.playatmcd.com/rules.html
 fun trivia: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/mcdonalds-monopoly-game-trivia.html
 _skynet: http://www.flickr.com/photos/15161454@N05/3699901077/
 Simon Miller: http://www.flickr.com/photos/44633292@N00/169060848/
Thank you for reading!