How Does Monopoly End?

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Sometimes, it might feel as though there’s no end to Monopoly. That you’ll just keep playing until someone angrily flips the board over and runs off in tears.

To be honest, I can’t promise that won’t happen; after all, it is a game where you try to make everyone else bankrupt. But let’s take a look at how Monopoly is supposed to end…

Monopoly board game

When does Monopoly end? A quick guide:

  • Monopoly ends when all players bar one have gone bankrupt
  • The player who wins Monopoly is the last one standing
  • Monopoly games sometimes drag out when house rules are used instead of standard rules
  • A faster way to decide who wins in Monopoly is to end the game when one player goes bankrupt – whoever has the most assets then wins

How Do You Win Monopoly?

You win Monopoly by being the last player left who hasn’t gone bankrupt. You will then be declared the winner, and the game is over. Players are declared bankrupt when they are unable to pay rent or a fine on their turn. 

This is not necessarily when they run out of cash. When a player runs out of cash they are able to mortgage their properties and sell buildings or other assets like a Get Out of Jail Free card in order to raise funds. 

By doing this a player should be able to raise some money to pay the rent or fine. But, if they still don’t have enough value in their assets to cover their debts then they will be declared bankrupt as per the Monopoly bankruptcy rules

The player that has been declared bankrupt must hand over all of their assets to either the bank or another player (depending on who they owe the debt), and they are then out of the game. 

If there is only one player left following this, they have won the game.

A swift handshake, a muttered ‘well done’ and a calm packing away of the game should follow. There is definitely no need for tears or to scatter tiny plastic houses everywhere!

Monopoly Money

Can Monopoly Last Forever?

Monopoly can last forever, but it shouldn’t do and it won’t last forever if you’re following the official rules. Sometimes people play variations of the rules (often without realizing it) and these can upset the balance of the game and cause it to go on, and on, and on and on until tears. 

There are a few things that can cause a game of Monopoly to last forever: 

1. Loaning money 

I get it. You’re playing with your friends and family. Your nearest and dearest. Maybe your beloved children. So, it’s only natural that you might feel the urge to give them a little loan. Help them out in their time of need. 

Well don’t! Let out your ruthless streak and let them pay their debts or suffer the consequences! In the official Monopoly rules, you’re not allowed to loan between players.

If a player is low on cash they can legitimately get a loan from the bank by mortgaging property. But don’t take pity on each other and start loaning money or the game might never end. Ever.

Monopoly IOU
Don’t do this!

2. Offering rent immunities

This is another way of letting your heart rule your head. According to the Monopoly rent rules, a player must pay you rent when they land on one of your properties.

You might be tempted to let your friend stay rent-free if they fall on hard times, but don’t do it. When has a real-life landlord ever done that? 

Sometimes rent immunities are offered as part of a trade, and whilst this is a bit more hard-nosed and calculating, it can still upset the balance and extend the game. 

3. Putting fines in the middle of the board

“What do you mean, you don’t get anything for landing on Free Parking? Of course, you do!”

I’ve heard this many times, but if you follow the official rules, nothing happens when you land on Free Parking

You don’t have to worry about paying any rent or fines so it isn’t a bad place to land but you don’t get a payout. Fines don’t go in the middle of the board, they just go to the bank and stay there.

Yep, it’s a bit boring and I was shocked the first time I found this out too!

Money in the middle of monopoly board
Don’t do this!

4. Not trading 

People often seem to forget about trading in Monopoly, which is odd given that it’s known as the ‘Fast-Dealing Property Trading Game’! It’s actually the key to winning the game and also the key to getting the game over with.

If you forget to trade, or the other players never agree to a trade, then it’s pretty hard to get a full set of properties in any color. 

Without a full set, you can’t start building and it’s the developed properties that bring in the big bucks needed to help one player win and send other players into bankruptcy. This is what you need to finish a game of Monopoly the right way. 

5. Stealing from the bank

There are a whole load of reasons why I can’t condone stealing in Monopoly (even though I have written a handy guide showing you how to cheat at Monopoly and get away with it!), but in this case, it’s simply because it might make the game last forever. 

If you’re stealing money from the bank to avoid bankruptcy then you won’t be out of the game when you should be. If you do it repeatedly then the length of the game will extend even more. 

And what if all the other players are secretly cheating as well? Then the game won’t ever end! You’ll eventually get to the point where the bank has run out of money but you’re all sat there with wads of illicit cash! But as no one is bankrupt, no one can be the winner.

If you avoid doing all of the above then the game should naturally run its course and someone will be the winner. If you’re still worried about the game lasting too long there are a few ways to play Monopoly faster.

stealing from the bank

How To End Monopoly Early

If you’re playing Monopoly by the proper rules it shouldn’t last forever. A game of Monopoly should last around an hour but it depends on how many players there are. The more players, the longer the game is likely to last. 

But, if you’ve been playing for a while and want to get the game wrapped up, there are a few ways to finish the game early…

1. End it when the first player goes bankrupt

This is one of the most common ways to end Monopoly early. It gets the game finished much quicker and avoids the problem of having someone sitting around who is out of the game. 

If you decide to end the game this way, you simply add up the cash and assets of each remaining player, the one with the most is the Monopoly winner. You can also rank the other players from first to last based on the total value of assets (the bankrupt player will be the loser).  

Counting Monopoly cash

2. Choose a time and count up your assets

Another option is to add up the value of your assets at a certain time. The player with the most will be the winner. You could set this time in advance, maybe you decide to play for 45 minutes or an hour and see who is winning at this point. This is probably the fairest way to do it. 

Or, you do this at the point when someone (or all of you) decides that they have had enough of the game. This probably happens more often than a predetermined time limit. 

It could be used tactically when someone knows that they are in a strong position so is perhaps not quite as fair as ending the game properly, but it’s usually a fair enough option to avoid arguments. 

3. Call it a draw

This is possibly not in the spirit of the game (although it might be popular with its anti-monopolist creator), but you could always accept that you have all built decent little property empires, that you can all live happily ever after, and that there doesn’t have to be a winner after all. Just a thought. 

Keep it friendly!

It’s important to make sure a game of Monopoly ends on good terms. It’s just a game – there’s no need to argue over it.

Sometimes it can get a little heated – even the British royal family have banned the game due to arguments – but don’t take it so seriously.

In 2023 things got really serious when an argument over Monopoly led to a fight involving a samurai sword, leaving two people injured in hospital.

Seriously – however the game ends, keep it light.

The Bottom Line

Hopefully, you now have a good idea of how Monopoly ends. It’s famously a game that goes on forever but that is probably just because people don’t always play it according to the proper rules. 

It’s a game that people grow up with and their mom told them the rules and they tell their children the rules but nobody ever actually reads the rules. So, top tip, read the rules

They tell you how to win Monopoly, it makes the game better and quicker and, with a bit of luck, you just might avoid the tantrums next time you play.

Jenni Fielding

Jenni Fielding is the founder of Monopoly Land - an unofficial fan site. She has been a huge fan of Monopoly and has been playing the game for over 30 years. She is a stickler for the rules and loves to find vintage Monopoly sets in second-hand shops.