McDonald's Monopoly starts today

The golden arches
The golden arches

McDonald's kicks off its annual Monopoly game today, Oct. 6, giving fans of fast-food and the popular game of capitalism a long shot at winning prizes without having to work for it.

The Puritan Work Ethic is out the door here, with only the purchase of a drink, sending in a written request for a game ticket, or playing online with a game code needed for a chance to win anything from an online gaming subscription (1 in 110 chance of winning) to $1 million paid at $50,000 a year for 20 years without interest (odds of 1 in 273,825,959). Why look for work when you can buy a Big Mac and possibly win some free money, even though you're more likely to get killed by a lightning strike -- 2.3 million to 1 versus 273 million to one for the big prize.

Collect all of the properties in a color group and you win a prize. Only two pieces are needed for the $1 million prize: Park Place and Boardwalk. The odds are much worse for the $50,000 prize -- one chance in 7 million -- and four game pieces must be collected to win it. As I wrote a year ago for WalletPop, the odds of winning are crazy. You're better off taking your McDonald's money and putting it in a trust fund.