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Nothing about this past year has been normal. That includes the most popular annual contest at one of the country’s largest grocery chains.

The thirteenth annual Monopoly Shop, Play, Win game begins today at Albertsons, Safeway, Pavilions, Vons, Randalls, Tom Thumb, ACME, Jewel-Osco, United Supermarkets, Shaw’s, Star Market and several other smaller, regional Albertsons-owned stores. The launch is a month later than usual – and that’s not the only thing that’s different.

Oh, you’ll still have a chance to win a million dollars. And the odds of winning the grand prize are actually better than ever. It’s the game play itself that’s a whole lot different – which, depending on your strategy, may or may not suit your style.

One of the most notable changes in the game that Albertsons promised would be “very different” this year is that there’s not a whole lot of Monopoly associated with this year’s Monopoly game. In past years, you’d collect game pieces to attach to a Monopoly board, and if you earned all of the game pieces needed to fill in a colored property group, you’d win the associated prize.

This year, there’s no Monopoly board and no need to collect, match, sort, trade and keep track of game pieces. Instead, every game piece that you earn in store when you make a purchase from now through May 4th, either qualifies you for an online game, or is an instant winner. Most tickets will provide a code you can enter on the Shop, Play, Win website or app for a chance to win various prizes from $100,000 cash, on down to a $1 reward or a free item offer loaded to your store loyalty account. Even if you don’t win, you’ll earn digital tokens that can be collected and redeemed for just for U cash rewards or sweepstakes entries.

But the instant win game is where the big money is. About 25 million of the 627 million available game pieces will earn you a prize on the spot – from a free product, to $5,000 in groceries, a $50,000 “vehicle of choice,” a $250,000 “mortgage payoff,” all the way up to the million dollar grand prize.

The switch from matching-and-winning to instant-winning is likely to put a damper on the brisk business in ticket trading that occurs every year. On online message boards, social media and even here on Coupons in the News, serious Albertsons Monopoly players list the tickets they have, the tickets they need, and offer to trade or go in together to claim a big prize. But now that you don’t have to collect or match tickets this year, everyone is pretty much on their own.

The other potential bit of bad news is that, out of the 627 million game pieces available, only one of them is the million-dollar instant winner. So the odds of winning with a single game piece are pretty simple to calculate – 1 in 627 million. That makes winning Albertsons’ million dollars more than twice as difficult as winning a multimillion-dollar Powerball or Mega Millions lottery jackpot.

That said, this year’s odds are the best they’ve ever been. Past contests required you to collect and win two specific game pieces in order to claim the top prize – a “rare” piece and a “semi-rare” piece. So last year, for example, you had a 1 in 552,501,000 chance of finding the rare game piece each time you played, but you had to combine that with a 1 in 5,000 chance of finding the corresponding “semi-rare” piece – which put the odds of finding both pieces together in a single try at 1 in 2.76 trillion.

1 in 627 million is already sounding a whole lot better.

Of course, the odds of winning get better the more you play. And winning is certainly not impossible – three times in the history of the game so far, there’s been a million-dollar winner in regular game play. Plus, several years ago, Albertsons introduced a “second chance drawing” if no one wins the top prize – so now, one way or another, someone is guaranteed to win a million dollars, this year and every year.

Bottom line, after a year in which grocery shopping became stressful and your finances may have suffered, playing a game and getting a chance to earn prizes could be a welcome distraction. And if you win the million – then this year is already looking a whole lot better than last.

77 Comments

  1. North bend , Wa state Safeway

    Scan your bar code below or type in the code,
    Code 1 scanned in and accepted
    Code 2 not accepted tried again this time says sorry duplicate code!!!
    Look under faq box to search for an answer to my headaches …no list of questions and answers !!

    Um..this game sucks picture this …two handfuls of lovely stacked unopened tickets walked over to the recycle container and gently dropped in lid closed
    Good bye !

  2. Only a moron could like this game. So, now that I’ve played for 3 weeks, going through maybe 100 tickets, I’ve won a bottle of water, and a yogurt. 100 out of 100 tickets had either $1 or $2 as the prize. That’s right. I’ve never seen even the possibility to win more than $2. No cars or boats or house or million in cash, or ten thousand in cash. No nothing. 90 out of 100 tickets had $1 as the prize, and maybe 10 out of 100 had $2 as the prize. Even winning the $1 prize seems impossible. And if I ever won $1?… I would say whoop de do… who cares?

  3. I seem to be the only one who likes the NEW game! It takes WAY less of my precious time to play and I appreciate that so much!! And the stats of being able to actually WIN are way up! It went from 1 in trillions to 1 in millions! No, it’s not like monopoly but I don’t care, the first one was just reminiscent of a real monopoly game anyway. I hated the old way trying to stick those infernally unsticky lick tabs on the big paper and worrying about losing them with the one in a trillion chance I might win. Horrible mess and massive time waster!! I love the new game and am happy as heck they changed it and made it easier for me to possibly win!! Thank you!!

  4. Can anyone tell me how I get the $5 Just for you cash. I had earned the tokens and in the past I could buy a $5 gift card and it would be free now It said $5 would be discounted off my bill but that did not happen either. Albertsons

  5. I still want to know if the Monopoly coupons/tickets/tokens are recyclable. I sure hope so. Sadly, the game is really boring. Same matching luck game each time. And so far the coupons aren’t great either. Albertsons has to go back to the drawing board on this one.

  6. This is the biggest bull shit I’ve ever seen. Spent hours just trying to download the game without success. If they don’t get their results act together I’m not shopping gathered anymore.

    • Turk Blackwell says:

      This is terrible…the app does not work, the website does not work. I am seriously wondering if this is criminal/class action. They advertised a chance to win with purchase and then made it impossible to win. Sounds illegal.

  7. I am on food stamps so whenever i win money off prizes i use to buy non food items. The new way of forcing a person to use any $ prizes off your next purchase is bull. i won match 3 $10 and lost it because I had a rain check for meat which is very difficult for cashiers to handle so I went to customer service. Where even thought I had went to customer service before shopping to see if I could get a safeway gift card with the $10 prize which I could not and we talked about it. I forget to purchase my non food items very first seperately from any food before purchasing my rain check meat. So I lost my $10 on food which already cost me nothing. I am very dissatisfied with the radical changes. I feel it penalizes poor people in many ways.

    • I won gas and no contact info. To get it. Went to customer service desk at Albertsons and they had no idea how to get it. Bunch of BS.

  8. I understand we’re in a pandemic and the company was trying to accommodate to that aspect when switching over to mobile devices but this game is not it. So much missing from this game that would be considered Monopoly. I do not like how I cannot collect the game pieces to match to my board. They should have made the board and game pieces digital as well. Also why didn’t they make the tickets digital? If decreasing the spread of germs was the main goal and reason for not bringing the baked back, the tickets should have been digital too. Anyways, I’m a little disappointed. I’m coasting on my friends and family’s tickets this year.

  9. Kathleen Lucas says:

    I do not know who thought this one up but he should be fired. I tried
    the game and it was a mistake. No correction are allowed

  10. The new game is horrible there is no way you can win anything!!!! The match and play is ridiculous. What a sucky change!

  11. New game sucks. Nothing is monopoly related. No pieces to collect. Most of what you win are 50 cent off coupons for products you normally would not buy. However, you can’t give them to the cashier and have them scanned. You have to scan them with phone and they are deposited into your “for U account.” Which is difficult to do in the checkout line with a long line angry frustrated people waiting behind you. The cashier and manager were of little help. Game pieces can take up 24 hours to show up in your account so they are useless. Prices are even cheaper at other stores even without the coupon so I will not be back.

  12. There are more coupons, less codes to scan, less tokens, less instant winners. The pick 3 is a dud & just makes you know that you lost. Isn’t even monopoly related. Very disappointed. Still playing but I feel like there’s way less winning. Oh yay though—I’ve won some nail clippers, 2 small bottles of water & a teeny sour cream. Not that fun.

  13. The game this year is not as fun. There are more coupons, less codes to scan, less tokens, less instant winners. The pick 3 is a dud & just makes you know that you lost. Isn’t even monopoly related. Very disappointed. Still playing but I feel like there’s way less winning. Oh yay though—I’ve won some nail clippers, 2 small bottles of water & a teeny sour cream.

  14. Bill McConnaughey says:

    I thought the change in the game process was pandemic related. At any rate, not sure when the App stopped working correctly, maybe after update to iOS 14.4.1. When the App displays, the “Play the Game” button and “Select Your Store” button are missing. Also, nothing happens when tapping on the links: FAQ, Rules, Winners, Privacy Policy, Terms/Conditions.

  15. Not sure why people are saying that if you win free tickets, they will automatically be added to your total next time you shop. How is that possible? I pick stuff off the shelf. I pay for it. I don’t enter my name or anything, so how would the store know I am supposed to get more tickets?

    Also, what does “match 3 of 9 hidden blocks” have to do with monopoly?? There is no “Park Place”, or “Baltic Avenue” etc. This dumb game has ZERO to do with monopoly, other than showing the cartoon Mr Monopoly guy.

    So after scanning in 20 tickets, I got zero winners, and the most I could have won is $1 or a can of soup or something.

  16. testing

  17. Couldn’t agree with you more, that is all except the 1 winner. Even the so called instant win coupons have to be loaded to the app or on line, they should honor them at checkout like they used to. The whole game is a sham!!!

  18. What a waste of time. I throw them in the garbage can. Where the rest of this game belongs. Hopefully the idiots that came up with joke are unemployed.

  19. I AM GLAD TO SEE EVERYONE HERE ARGREES WITH ME THIS NEW GAME FORMAT STINKS TO HIGH HEAVEN. i TRIED IT ON MY HOME COMPUTER AND AFTER PUTTING IN THE FIRST CODE IT WON’T ALLOW ME TO DO ANYMORE. I THOGHT THAT MAYBE IF I DOWNLOADED THE AP TO MY CELL PHONE IT WOULD LET ME SCAN IT BUT NO.. I AM NOT EVEN GONNA PLAY THIS GAME ITS NOT WORTH IT TO GET FRUSTATED TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHAT YOUR
    OR NOT DOING CORRECTLY .

  20. Received message Congratulations you matched 3 properties, reward will be loaded on account in 24 hours. Haven’t seen anything on account??

  21. Take notice Albertsons. Not one positive message. This is BS! I do this one my home computer and the very first code I typed in froze it up and now can’t do shit. Even today came back after two days of staying off and the damn thing is still in the same place and still lockup. Fix it or get off the pot. Not worth the time and it’s going to piss everyone off if they aren’t already.

  22. Very disappointed. This sucks. If you don’t have a high tech phone you can’t play. I will shop there way less than before. I thought promos were supposed to encourage shoppers? This unfairly shuts out low income and low tech people. Very dissatisfied.

  23. Very unhappy! Scanner doesn’t work! Very time consuming. I will shop somewhere else! Probably Stater.

  24. The new format is terrible. In addition to the comments about being fully digital,
    1) They won’t give you tickets if you buy groceries online! Though it doesn’t say it anywhere, you have to buy stuff in store in get tickets. Terrible policy in a pandemic.
    2) To win you have to match 3 out of the 9 cards. Easy for them to fake & control this. I noticed in 2 out of 3 tickets that got the board, the same 3 cards were the match: 2,4,7 (phonepad style)
    3) Most of what you get in the tickets are junk coupons
    4) It’s just not fun. There’s no game anymore. You’re just scanning and hitting a few buttons. No strategy. No accumulation.
    PS- I know most of the staff at the stores really hate this game. They know no one really wins. The cashiers hate having to count & distribute the tickets. The shelvers hate changing all the tags out. Possibly they are sabotaging their game to phase it out.

  25. Sheila Kraemer says:

    You have just disenfranchised the majority of your senior citizen shoppers because many, if not most of them, don’t have smart phones or find the app too complicated to use! SHAME ON YOU, ALBERTSONS AND JEWEL-OSCO! Even for those who manage to try to use it, the app doesn’t work!! Downloading a QR code reader, which my phone didn’t have, just resulted in an overabundance of google ads, which I had up to now managed to avoid infiltrating my phone, and a card reader that does nothing but take a photo of the code. PLEASE GO BACK TO YOUR OLD WAY AND BE CONSIDERATE OF PEOPLE OF ALL AGES AND ABILITIES!!

  26. My wife feels the same way. Shoot, I’m even disapointed. The old way would make you want to keep going back and buy more just to get tickets. Not to mention begging for extras and getting a free box here and there full. Now, we don’t really care but will still play. And ask for extras lol

    • I have to agree. Not fun or exciting to play. I still do it, but I don’t go out of my way to buy more of the items that get tickets. If it’s on my list great, if not oh well. Biggest question is what prizes are available aside the million? Why am I playing this?

  27. Disappointed shopper says:

    Absolutely pathetic, to change this up. It’s an awful attempt at weeding out the elderly and those who do not have a capable phone. They took the enjoyment out of the game, and the app keeps crashing, gee that’s a shock.

  28. As a loyal player of this game, I am really disapponited with the changes this year. I love the old way. I love collecting the tickets. It is more fun. I was expecting to the game this year. But the only thing I found now is disappointment. In the comments, I found that I’m not the only one disappointed. In the past, as long as you make a purchase, no matter how much, no matter what products, you can get one ticket. Now you have to make a purchase for at least $25 just to get one ticket.This reduces the opportunity to get a ticket. And if the buyer is an old person or disabled person who do not know how to use a smartphone, his or her right to play this game will be forfeited by the new rules. And sometimes the system doesn’t work. It makes people impossible to play this game. And as what is said in the article, we used to be able to exchange the tickets we need. Now we can do nothing to help each other. I really hate the new rules this year. Bring back the old game! If the company cannot afford to play this game, don’t toy with us.

  29. I was able to scan a few game pieces, but then the app got stuck on a game board and even deleting and reloading didn’t help it. No way to enter anything. I’m done. Played religiously the last few years and never won a thing other than a few instant winners. Now I can’t enter them and “Paper coupon cannot be redeemed in store.” This year is a bigger bust than usual!!! 🙁

  30. I am very disappointed in the way Acme destroyed the game of Monopoly. I liked it the way it was. There are a lot less prizes and it isn’t fun anymore. Thanks for destroying a game that I looked forward to playing every year. I will not make any extra trips to the Acme for extra monopoly tickets anymore. Not worth my time and energy.

  31. This game is a waste of time! I cannot find a way to manually enter my codes & I don’t have a smart phone. Just more paper for my recycling!

  32. Disappointed says:

    This is the worst Monopoly ever. The App doesn’t even scan. I would rather have my board and game piece. Fix the app Albertsons.
    No stars and 👎👎👎👎👎

  33. how do i inter my game tickets

  34. Who was the “intelligent”?.
    This game is BS now. Why these days EVERYTHING has to be trough the internet? I was an every year follower but now I don’t even want the coupons. They can keep it.

  35. Don’t like it. Not Playing. Even the “required” info to post this is too intrusive. So I made it up.

  36. Why did you bother even calling it Monopoly??? This new way sucks and have fun with it. Thanks for canceling the game board. Must be a democrate game now. Not interested in playing this stupid game anymore

    • LearnToSpell says:

      I don’t know why you think Democrats ruined this game! I’m a democrat and I hate it. Politics for once has nothing to do with it, but good to see republicans still blaming everyone else for their problems.

  37. okay not going to play way to difficult and work. I did fine yesterday entering codes.. Go back to the physical board.

  38. Jeanne Mills says:

    Do not like this way, I like the old way. I do not believe this should be on the phone. I think this is really sad. I have played from the beginning, but this is really bad.

  39. Dumbest game ever! So disappointed. I DO NOT want an app on my pone plugging it up and opening me up to more crap on line. I DO NOT like that the For U coupons are digital. I DO NOT do digital things on my phone! And it is discriminatory to not let us redeem the cents off coupons in the store!!! SO NOT HAPPY! I always looked forward to playing the game with the board. This IS NOT FUN!

  40. This is BS. A lot of work for little or no return. Not fun anymore. They’re trying to force customers to enroll into the Just For U program. Why? To sell your info to partners. I don’t need the spam. Not playng anymore.

  41. Very disappointed with the new format of monopoly. The board and the game tickets were fun and enjoyable. This method is not. Also eliminates people who do not have a smart phone.

  42. Dear acme, the format of this game is horrible. The board, the tickets and everything about it was fun and exciting. Very very disappointed.

  43. Why don’t they give you the tickets for your first purchase? Do I need to bring the receipt to the store next time I shop so I can receive the earned tickets from my first purchase? If they truly want to make this online, then the earned tickets should be automatically loaded to your monopoly account.

    • I agree – my receipt says i earned 5 tickets, but there are no instructions as to where to get those tickets. Nothing in the instructions tells you how to go about it. I did not receive them at the time of the purchase. This is all very confusing.

      • Shame on them. Cashier is to ask if you play, and give you the tickets at the time of purchase. Call the store. It’s of value to us all to keep life honest. Lest the cashier starts pocketing them

  44. Natalie Bears says:

    Do you get tickets at the store?
    If so why did the checker not give them to me?
    I am lost. I enter for some drawing on the app, but cannot figure out the rest.

  45. Terrible change to the game. How is this related to The game monopoly at all?

  46. The next time you shop they “should be” included with the other tickets from your current purchase.

  47. Wasted more than an hour trying to figure this out! A terrible change!!
    Count me out. Shame on you, Albertsons!

  48. I have no idea how to play this game. It is HORRIBLE

  49. This is horrible. The whole point of Monopoly is to fill the board with the pieces you get. No Monopoly board. It’s just scan to see if you won something or try and blindly match 3 cards for a prize.

    I was already disappointed when they told me there was no physical Monopoly board. But I was still excited to play with an online board. But the fact that there isn’t any board at all, just makes me not want to play anymore. Hopefully they fix this next year.

    Thumbs down for me.

    • I totally agree with you. I love the board. I love the old way. I love collecting the tickets. Hope they will bring the old way back.

  50. John Mercer says:

    Of all of the monopoly games this one is the worst! You have to blindly pick three matching prizes out of nine hidden blocks. Most of the time, when you hit submit, it shows the prizes that you lost.

    This game should not have the word monopoly associated with it, played once don’t care to try it again

  51. Does anyone know how to play the match 3 game

    • Hi Mary,
      You just click on 3 of the 9 squares in the center of the screen (they change color when you click on them), then click on submit and hope that the 3 you chose match. If they do you win a prize. I won a bottle of water tonight.

    • As mention choose 3 of 9 cards…seems unlikely to match but out of 32 entries I have won 5 items…then there is a second chance question mark ..pick one and it gives you a certain amount of tokens to help spend on sweepstakes items

  52. The same thing which occurred with Mary K. also happened to me. Scanned the code, waa taken straight to a Monopoly Board, unable to move past. If anyone has figured out a way to get past this part of the game please pass on.

    Thanks much

  53. My receipt says I earned 5 Monoploly tickets, but I don’t know where to get them?? Not sure how to even play and I read the “how to play” rules, but it doesn’t clue me in on how to get the codes, etc.

    • You should get the additional tickets when you make your next purchase at Albertson, Safeway, etc.

      • The same thing happened to me. Cashier and bagger said everything is online. From some of these comments it seems I should have received some sort of paper tickets. Why do I have to wait for my next shopping purchase to get the 3 blue tickets I earned on March 10?

  54. I hate it… Half the fun of the game was to find the matching properties. This is just click and guess…..And you might win a few tokens. As soon as I get enough tokens I am so done. Hopefully after things with Covid get better we can go back to the old format.
    The plus is the codes are much easier to put in by hand. I don’t have a phone like that so everything is put in by hand. I know… I am old school.

    • Not sure why people are saying that if you win free tickets, they will automatically be added to your total next time you shop. How is that possible? I pick stuff off the shelf. I pay for it. I don’t enter my name or anything, so how would the store know I am supposed to get more tickets?

      Also, what does “match 3 of 9 hidden blocks” have to do with monopoly?? There is no “Park Place”, or “Baltic Avenue” etc. This dumb game has ZERO to do with monopoly, other than showing the cartoon Mr Monopoly guy.

      So after scanning in 20 tickets, I got zero winners, and the most I could have won is $1 or a can of soup or something.

  55. I entered a code and got a screen of a monopoly board loaded with products. Directions are to match 3-tried to click on and nothing happens.

  56. I am trying to get my albertson’s 2021 Monopoly tickets checked without kading another app on my phone. This is for Jewel-Osco.

  57. Can’t wait to play!

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