Monopoly Never Felt So Real

Photo by Ronda Churchill

Photo by Ronda Churchill

Did you ever wish Monopoly money could be turned into real money? Well, now it can, on the all new television game show based on the popular board game and new lottery scratch-off ticket, “Monopoly Millionaire’s Club.” Hosted by actor and comedian Billy Gardell of CBS’s “Mike and Molly,” the game gives lucky lottery winners a chance to become instant millionaires. Each person in the studio audience bought a “Monopoly Millionaire’s Club” scratch-off ticket. They then entered a special code on an online website to put their name in a drawing. The lucky few who are selected get flown to Las Vegas, where the show is filmed, for a vacation and a chance to become a contestant on the show. There are five audience sections, each representing a different Monopoly token and each representing a different state lottery that participates in the selling of the lottery tickets. Out of the audience members in each section, one gets chosen to play for them and their section in a special Monopoly themed game, and the single contestant may have a chance to earn one million dollars.

On every episode of the “Monopoly Millionaire’s Club,” five out of the show’s eight different games are played, and each of the first games a lottery member plays can potentially earn them $100,000. The games are based on different elements of the world’s most famous board games, from games based on some of the spaces on the board including Boardwalk, Electric Company, Community Chest, and the Railroads, to a game based on the hotels you can buy in the game, to a game based on the car token, and there’s even a game based on the color properties on the board themselves. Whatever amount the audience member playing wins gets split 50/50 between them and the other lottery winners in their section, meaning the most money a single player can win when playing one of the five games is $50,000.

Once the first five games have been played, anyone who has won money in their game has a chance to give back their total winnings and their sections total winnings to play for a million dollars in the game, “GO for a Million.” The one who has the highest money total who decided to go for the top prize gets to play. In the final round, the contestant gets five rolls to make it around the Monopoly board. If they can do that, the contestant and their audience section will split 50/50 $200,000. However, if in the five rolls the contestant manages to land exactly on GO, the single contestant will win $1,000,000, and the audience section will split the audience jackpot, which is almost always $200,000. Every space on the Monopoly board is worth a cash amount or a prize, so if the contestant doesn’t make it all the way around the board in five rolls, they do get to keep and split any money and keep any prizes they pick up on their journey around the board. However, if the contestant lands on Go to Jail, the contestant and their audience section leave with nothing. So far, two contestants have landed exactly on GO and won $1,000,000. On episode three, Chris from Atlanta, Georgia rolled a nine when he needed it and slid into GO, and on episode seven, Susan from Cranston, Rhode Island advanced to GO via a chance card. Both contestants, with a little bit of luck, became television game shows newest million dollar winners.

This is not the first time “Monopoly” has hit the airways in a game show form. Back in the year 1990, ABC aired a summer long series of “Monopoly” created by Merv Griffin and hosted by former “Jeopardy!” champion Mike Reilly. This version’s format is different from the current version, however, the bonus round for both versions is almost the same. In both versions, the object is to get around the board in five rolls or to land exactly on GO in five rolls. However, in the ‘90s version, the grand prizes were $25,000 and $50,000. In addition, in both versions, if you roll doubles on any roll, it counts as a free roll, but in the new version, rolling three doubles automatically sends you to jail. In addition, the actual rolling of the dice is different for both versions. In the 1990 edition, the contestant rolled a pair of giant dice, while in the current edition, there is a big machine known as the Rock-n-Roller. The Rock-n-Roller has a pair of dice in it that roll around and the machine is fired up every time the next roll occurs. The machine is stopped by the contestant with a buzzer that looks almost like a “Jeopardy!” signaling device. Whatever number appears on the dice is the number of spaces they move forward.

“Monopoly Millionaire’s Club” is certainly a must see. The problem is that you can only see it on YouTube. GSN, the Game Show Network, was supposed to air a new episode every Tuesday at 8 p.m. starting March 31st. However, for an unknown reason, no episodes have ever aired on the channel. The good news is that all of the episodes have so far appeared on YouTube, and each new episode is uploaded a week after it was supposed to air.

Although new game shows typically get worse and worse as the years go by, “Monopoly Millionaire’s Club” has given new light to the game show world. This television year has actually produced two exciting and well developed game shows, “Monopoly Millionaire’s Club” being one of them (“Celebrity Name Game” being the other.) “Monopoly Millionaire’s Club” is a fun show to watch because there is never a dull moment. Even when the contestant loses, it is exciting and suspenseful until the very end. Each game will have you screaming at the television trying to get the person, who has already been recorded playing their game, to choose the option you think is right in each game. It is also a family friendly show, and because the show is Monopoly based, kids will probably enjoy watching and playing along at home. First time game show host Billy Gardell is a very fine host. He is very supportive of every contestant and really gets into the game, especially when serious money starts to occur. He is a good speaker when explaining the rules of each game, and even though he doesn’t fit the qualities of what you may expect to see a game show host to look like physically, he handles the show professionally and with his own style. “GO” and watch the “Monopoly Millionaires Club” because the show is much more than just a board game.

— by Bradley Clarke ‘15