Winning McDonald's Monopoly pieces underwent extremely intense security protocols

George Back
Producer, Yahoo Entertainment

The hit HBO doc-series McMillion$ continued to shine the light on the mega-popular McDonalds Monopoly game on Monday. And the fact that the game was basically scammed for 12 years by a former employee is even more impressive after seeing all the security protocols that were in place.

During the second episode of the six-part series, audiences were shown how the game pieces were created and placed in public circulation.

McDonald's outsourced the Monopoly game to Simon Marketing Inc., who hired Dittler Brothers secure printing press to create the game pieces. At the time, Dittler had several security measures in place because the company printed lottery tickets, scratchers and U.S. postage stamps.

There were several security protocols just to get into the printing area, including a giant vault door that required two people entering a passcode at the same time to gain access. A federal prosecutor likened it to a missile silo during the Cold War.

Dittler and Simon both monitored printing of the high-level game pieces, generally prizes worth $25,000 or more. Once the pieces were printed, they were sealed in an envelope along with several "common" pieces, then sealed in a truck, and escorted to a McDonalds facility along with security personnel and a third-party auditor. Once the pieces arrived at the McDonald's facility, a quality control person would distribute them randomly amongst the various formats.

The game pieces would be put into public circulation and when someone claimed a high-level prize, the secondary security measures would kick in. The winning pieces would be mailed into Simon Marketing and opened under intense scrutiny to make sure all the game piece markers were verified authentic. The high-level winning pieces always had some imperfection, like a part of the lettering missing. They also contained black-light coding so the inspectors could easily identify forgeries.

While all these security protocols were impressive, they did have one flaw. They were designed by Simon's head of security, Jerome "Jerry" Jacobson, who also happened to be married to Dittler Brothers' head of security. And according to the FBI, Jerry swindled the public out of $24 million in winnings.

McMillion$ airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on HBO.

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