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Monopoly money? Put it on a card

July 26, 2006|From the Associated Press

If you're passing Go and want to collect $200, better bring a debit card.

A British version of the classic Monopoly board game released this week substitutes a Visaimprinted debit card for the stacks of yellow, blue and purple play money long hoarded by children worldwide.

Cheating just got a little tougher.

"We started looking at what Monopoly would look like if we designed it today," said Chris Weatherhead, a Britain-based spokesman for Hasbro Inc., which makes the best-selling board game. "We noticed consumers are using debit cards, carrying around cash a lot less."

British players might not be the only ones switching to plastic. Officials at Pawtucket, R.I.-based Hasbro say they're considering a similar change for American versions.

Introduced in 1935, Monopoly offered players a form of financial escapism during the country's worst financial depression. Players become pretend real estate magnates who compete for fictitious property named after real places in Atlantic City, N.J. A British version released that same year featured London neighborhoods.

In the new British version of Monopoly Here & Now, players type amounts into a palm-sized scanner and swipe their debit cards to seal the deal.

While the change may startle some Monopoly fans, the game has been revised several times before. Consumers can now buy Monopoly editions inspired by the "Star Wars" and "Lord of the Rings" movies, or even a version featuring SpongeBob SquarePants, the animated TV character.

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