You've got more of a chance at buying a flat in Mayfair.

Food

Can you win at McDonald’s Monopoly? These scientists crunched the numbers to find out

By Jack Beresford

September 11, 2018

MCDONALD’S MONOPOLY might be a favourite of fast-food lovers the world over but have you ever wondered what it would take to actually win it?

The annual contest, which sees customers at a participating McDonald’s restaurants buy food and collect stickers from the packaging in order to win special prizes with everything from games consoles to flash cars up for grabs.

But while the prizes on offer are impressive, an investigation into the likelihood of landing one of these big-ticket items could be about to put fans off Big Macs, chicken nuggets and the likes.

It’s the work of Monash University postgraduate student Sarah Belet who, along with the University of Melbourne’s senior lecturer in Applied Mathematics Jennifer Flegg, crunched the numbers for The Conversation to find out your chances of winning big.

The results don’t make for great reading if you’re a McDonald’s fan with their findings revealing that the chance of someone landing the top prize stands at just one in 136 million. To put that number into some context, that means it’s about as likely as winning the big EuroMillions lottery jackpot.

Each McDonald’s food item carries peel-off Monopoly tickets, with the number varying depending on the size of items. These tickets each carry one of three possible tokens: an ‘Instant win’, a ‘Chance card’ or a ‘Collect to win’.

 

 

‘Instant win’ items usually end up being tokens for more McDonald’s food or, if you are lucky, a non-food prize like a cinema ticket or cash gift card. ‘Chance card’ tokens include a 12-digit code which, when entered into an app, provides another opportunity to claim an instant prize or a digital ‘Collect to win’ ticket.

The ‘Collect to win’ tickets, meanwhile, offer customers the chance to claim the major prizes. To win, customers must collect all of the ‘Collect to win’ tickets of a specific colour and complete the set – as you would when playing Monopoly.

McDonald’s states there is a one-in-five chance of winning an instant prize. The study estimates around 18 million tickets yield instant food prizes, which gives you roughly a 13.2% chance of winning. Another 11.8 million tickets yield instant non-food prizes, giving you roughly an 8.7% chance of winning.

So 13.2% plus 8.7% gives you a 21.9% chance of winning an instant prize, on average which is pretty close to the one-in-five that McDonald’s claims.

Unfortunately, the research also suggests you have about as much chance of being able to afford a house in Mayfair as you do landing one of the big wins.