I’m Lovin the Odds

The McDonalds Monopoly Game is back. I, among the many hundreds of thousands, am fascinated each year at the opportunity to win the promised prizes. In fact, I probably consume most of my McDonalds food during the game period. I am especially prone to being a sucker for gimmicks that involve memories from my childhood. So, as I gulp my large Coke (which by the way is not a game piece holding choice this year, due to brilliant marketing strategy by the hamburger giant) and munch my large fries (that do have game pieces) I wonder what are the odds of winning the various prizes; especially the big million, versus other seemingly rare events.

After a little lunch-time research I came up with the following factoids. Granted, there are a lot more thorough researchers on the case; but again this is more of a fun fact report than a hard-hitting expose on the evils of fast food and how marketing tricksters are living off the ever increasing waistlines of average Americans.

First off I have the odds from the McDonalds website that gives the odds of winning the prizes. I cut-out the legalese as it gives me a headache to think about how you have to define every term with a paragraph of lawyer speak.

Prize:                                  Odds:
$50                                     1 in 601,735
$100                                  1 in 6,797,351
$200 Gift Cert                1 in 36,950,005
$1,000                              1 in 36,950,005
Beaches Vacation         1 in 23,683,033
EA Sports Trip                1 in 1,200,022,974 (that’s right 1 Billion with a B)
$25,000                           1 in 568,154,634
$50,000                           1 in 704,260,028
$1,000,000                    1 in 273,825,959

There you have it folks. It is 1,000 times more likely for you to win the million dollar cash prize than to win the sports trip; and approximately twice as likely to win the million dollars as $50,000 or $25,000.00. Now look at the following table with fear and trepidation.

Event:                                                             Odds:
Being Struck by Lightening                    1 in 750,000 (according to NOAA)
Being Killed by an Asteroid                   1 in 700,000 (Astronomer Alan Harris – Discovery Mag.)
Dying in an Earthquake                           1 in 153,597 (National Safety Council)
Getting Flesh Eating Bacteria                1 in 333,333 (Healthlinkbc.ca)
Winning MegaMillions Lottery             1 in 135,145,920 (MoneyCentral.Msn.com)
1 winning Roulette number                    1 in 37 (as there are 37 numbers on the wheel)

So if you like McDonalds and you play the Monopoly game, you are among friends. If you are a winner, especially of the million dollar prize, you are one of the rarest people on earth. In fact you are 391 times more likely to be killed by an asteroid. Maybe they should sell helmets with every meal, just in case.

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