One constant over the past year at toy-maker Hasbro (HAS) : Brisk sales of legendary board game Monopoly, which was developed by one-time salesman Charles Darrow way back in 1933. Sales at Hasbro's games unit, which represents about 29% of the total company, rose roughly 1% last year, but when excluding the negative impact of the strong U.S. dollar, sales gained 8%. For the win, Hasbro credited solid consumer interest in games such as Monopoly, Pie Face and Magic: The Gathering. The momentum has continued into this year, with the company's games segment seeing 8% sales growth in the second quarter alone. This month, Hasbro is readying to debut an all-new version of Monopoly that adds several huge changes to the franchise. Unveiled at the annual toy fair earlier this year, "Monopoly Ultimate Banking Game" eliminates both the game's trademark paper money and banker role. Game cash has been replaced with special bank cards that players scan on a handheld "banking unit" to buy properties and pay off debt. Property deed cards, such as Boardwalk, are armed with codes that players scan in order to finish a transaction. The bank cards also track a player's wealth and property values, which can go up and down. Rents for properties on the board also fluctuate. "It's a real fun game," Hasbro Chairman and CEO Brian Golder told TheStreet in a Feb. 12 interview. Just for fun, Friday TheStreet's Brian Sozzi sat down for an exclusive interview with the star of the iconic board game: Mr. Monopoly. Somewhat reluctantly, he shared five of the game's best-kept secrets.
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