Why Are There Rumors that McDonald's Monopoly Game is a Scam?Legal problems with McDonald's Monopoly Sweepstakes came to light in 2007. Jerome Jacobson, an employee of the company that was managing the sweepstakes for McDonald's stole high-value game pieces and distributed them to people he knew for a share of the loot. Jacobson was caught, convicted, and sent to jail.
Erik Arneson, About.com's Guide to Board Games, has a good write-up about the McDonald's Monopoly Scam.
No McDonald's employees were involved in the scam, and no problems have surfaced in recent years.
What Does McDonald's Have to Say about the Monopoly Scam?In a press release, McDonald's said:
McDonald's has a rigorous and thorough security protocol in place for running the 2009 McDonald's Monopoly Game at McDonald's, from Game Piece production and application, to secure warehousing, shipping, and distribution in the restaurants. McDonald's security protocol touches every individual associated with the 2009 Monopoly Game at McDonald's.
If It's Not a Scam, Why Don't I Hear About More People Winning the McDonald's Monopoly Game?Although the big prizes in McDonald's Monopoly Game are legit and distributed to the public, it's not easy to win. Some of the game pieces for the big prizes are very rare indeed.
For example, the odds of winning the million-dollar Monopoly prize in 2009 were 1 in more than 542 million. And that's assuming that the one elusive game piece you need for that million dollars isn't lost or thrown away.
To see how close you are to winning a big prize, check out the Rare McDonald's Game Pieces article.
Just because the chances of winning a million dollars are extremely long, however, it doesn't mean that the McDonald's Monopoly Game is a waste of time. Tons of prizes are given away, from free fries to trips and electronics. And if you don't want to buy McDonald's food, you can always send away for free game pieces by mail.
Note that while the Monopoly game is legitimate, there is a persistent scam that pops up year after year involving game piece trading. Read Beware of McDonald's Monopoly Game Piece Trading Scams for more information.