Fraud number 1 : the collect-to-win game
The core of the fraud is the collect-to-win game. The very essence of the Monopoly game is to complete property sets. In the original Monopoly board game, there is an equal quantity of each property. By calling their game "Monopoly", McDonald's states implicitly that there is an equal proportion of each property. By printing Monopoly game board showing an equal proportion of each property, McDonald's explicitly states that there is an equal proportion of each property. But McDonald's has lied.
McDonald's has rigged the game so that it would be impossible or almost impossible for you to complete an entire property set. That's the reason why you can't find some stickers which you would need to complete a property set. They want you to believe that you can easily complete a property set by buying enough products but it's simply not true.
By naming their game Monopoly, McDonald's puts a seed in your brain. They want you to believe that the game is played like the real Monopoly board game. They want you to believe that you have the same probability, the same odds, to get any of the 26 possible stickers. This is the very reason why the promotion is such a success, because it's a fraud and consumers are deliberatly deceived. The advertising surrounding this fraud is so intense that it creates a psychological effect, called the anchor effect, on consumers.
There is a misleading omission from McDonald's to correctly inform you about the real odds to be able to complete a property set, to inform you that the game is rigged.
Monopoly rules in the USA : "The approximate odds of collecting Park Place are 1 in 11; the approximate odds of collecting Boardwalk are 1 in 618,106,200; the approximate odds of collecting the Winning Combination (Park Place and Boardwalk) are 1 in 3,141,832,163."
Monopoly rules in Ireland : Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Absolutely no information that the "game" (or should we say fraud) was in fact rigged. No information on the fact that, contrary to what McDonald's wanted you to believe, you had no chance or almost no chance to complete even one single property set.
Normal consumers are attracted to the Monopoly because they think they can complete an entire property set. Had they made been aware that their real odds to get this or that sticker truly were 1 in several millions, tens of millions or hundreds of millions, as opposed to 1 in 26, would had they played? Probably not.
McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook, during a conference call with bankers and investors admitted that the Monopoly promotion did have a concrete effect on consumers' spending behavior. He admitted that it did increase the average check. It means that McDonald's knows very well that because of this fraud, the consumers' behavior was affected and that the consumers ended up spending more money than they would have otherwise.
To get a full grasp of why this promotion is illegal, you need to understand the law a minimum. We've created a dedicated section to help you understand what the law says.
First additional remark : McDonald's states clearly that one way of playing is to collect the property sets. They even use the term "collect-to-win". But why lie by using the word "collect"? Since they've rigged the game by making some stickers impossible or almost impossible to get, it's not a collection game anymore but more like a lotery kind of game in which you only have 1 chance out of several millions, tens of millions or even hundreds of millions. If you think about it carefully, you will realize it's true that it's more like a lotery than a collection game. You should then ask yourself this question : since it's not a collection game but more a lotery kind of game, why does McDonald's pretend that you can win by being lucky with the instant-win game or simply by collecting the properties with the collect-to-win game? Why make two games? Ultimately, since the collect-to-win game is rigged, it's a lottery and they should have merged the collect-to-win game into the instant-win game, so why didn't they do so? Why create two separate ways of playing instead of only one? And then, why not call the whole thing a lotery? Because their purpose was to mislead the consumers! And it does work as McDonald's CEO Steave Easterbrook clearly said to investors.
Second additional remark : the essence of the Monopoly game is to collect and complete property sets. It is therefore what McDonald's calls the collect-to-win game. The instant-win game has nothing to do with the Monopoly board game. So, why is McDonald's intensively advertising the odds of the instant-win game instead of intensively advertising the real odds of the collect-to-win game? The purpose being again to mislead the consumers.