Capitalist Conchs rejoice: the city of Key West is getting its very own Monopoly board. Local business owner Casey Arnold began developing the Key West edition of the iconic board game after a trip to his home state last year. “I saw a University of Kentucky Monopoly board and it caught my eye. I saw how customized it was and how beautiful the imagery was. I immediately dreamed of how successful that could be for us in Key West.” Arnold contacted Hasbro Gaming, the game’s manufacturer, and got the wheels turning — or the little silver tokens moving, so to speak.
Everything about Arnold’s forthcoming Key West edition is tailored to reflect the island. Game tokens will include a Kino sandal, a slice of Key lime pie, a rooster, a conch shell, a manatee and a fishing boat. The board is color coded: green squares are dedicated to famous houses, mansions and inns of Key West; yellow is resorts and hotels, red is family-named businesses, orange is real estate, pink is restaurants and the remaining squares represent attractions and event-planning services.
Arnold declined to divulge the complete list of affiliated businesses. “Everybody wants to know who has Boardwalk and Park Place. That’s the secret and I’m not telling. You have to wait until the game is released.” That release date is slated for late fall, just in time for Christmas.
Arnold said that because Monopoly is, at heart, a game for children, bars, liquor stores, dispensaries and strip clubs are notably absent.
He did reveal that in lieu of owing the traditional luxury tax, players will pay The Pool Man of Key West for pool-cleaning services.
For Arnold, choosing the right businesses for the board took serious consideration. “It’s an iconic timepiece. It is of the utmost importance for the city, and to these businesses, that the integrity of this game is the highest it can be. It’s also my project and my baby so it’s going to be a lot of reflections of me.” Those reflections include Arnold’s long-standing relationship with the Conch Republic Seafood Co. His first job on the island was waiting tables at the restaurant and he now serves as director of marketing and events. In addition, Arnold is the owner of Key West Team Building and Southernmost Scavenger Hunt.
The many hats he wears and hands he shakes as a businessman prepared him for his most recent role as a Monopoly ambassador. “My favorite part of the whole process is the people I’ve met. These business owners who have lent me their time, which is your most valuable asset, and have heard what I’ve said. To be believed in, and fully supported by people in this community, is the most humbling.”
Arnold is reciprocating that support by donating a portion of proceeds from each game sold to local charities, including Reef Relief. “They’re all about educating children and tourists about our waters and I thought that would be such a great fit.”
Love of the game runs deep for Arnold, who grew up on a farm in rural Kentucky. “We didn’t have any kids in our neighborhood; it was me and my sister. We had to keep each other entertained and we always played Monopoly.” Admittedly, he doesn’t always play fair. “I’m very competitive. I’m not a cheater if I don’t get caught,” he laughed.
Arnold has been on a winning streak since relocating to Key West 10 years ago. “This town has done nothing but reward me and accept me and make me such a better person. I started out as a server and became a business owner and I’ve really developed myself here. I will be a lifelong Key Wester. I love this island.”
Arnold plans to use the earnings from the game to further deepen his roots in the Keys community. “My goal with this project is to purchase my very first home here in Key West so I can tell everybody I bought a house with Monopoly money.”
To preorder a Key West Monopoly game, visit keywestmonopoly.com.