Cash Bonanza was a lottery-based game show with a wild west setting which allowed lucky scratch-ticket players to play for cash prizes of up to $100,000.
Fifteen contestants who all were winners of the Cash Bonanza scratch ticket game were selected to participate on the show. They were divided into three groups of five and seated at the base of the studio audience who were divided into three coloured sections (red, blue and yellow). The contestants wore coloured vests to match the sections and their cowboy hats were numbered for the selections.
At the beginning of each game, a vehicle named "Fling" fired three numbered nuggets towards Larry and whatever number was printed on the nugget, the contestant with that number was selected to play the game. There was always one person from each section playing.
In each game, the contestants were playing for up to $5,000 and $2,000 for their audience partners plus a chance to play for $100,000. Losing player took home $500. Each time the entire $5,000 was not won, the remaining amount went to a home player.
Game 1: Gold Digger's DerbyEdit
The three selected contestants sat in their own mining railcars and faced a game board of fifteen numbered squares. Behind those numbers were coloured mining railcars matching their colors. The players took turns picking off numbers and each time a colour popped up, the player with that colour moved down the track, one space. The first player to reach the end won the amount showing on their monitor, anywhere from $2,500-$5,000. Whenever a player was one space away, s/he could decide to shuffle the amounts in the hopes of getting a bigger one.
Game 2: Double Quick-DrawEdit
This was a game based on Rock, Scissors, Paper. The contestants played eight/nine rounds of this and in each round, they locked in their choice. Then on the count of three by the audience, they would hit the plungers in front of them and their choices would appear on the monitor over their heads. If one player beat the other two, s/he won double the money; if two players beat one, they both got the money; but if all three chose differently or if they chose the same thing, it was a draw no money was scored and the value of the round was carried into the next. Dollar values increased throughout the game with the first round worth $20/$30 and it ended up at $2,000. The player with the most money at the end won the game and kept the cash up to $5,000.
Game 3: Drop the Silver DollarEdit
The game was played on a giant pachinko machine. The three players standing at the top of it took turns dropping their silver dollars down the machine. At the bottom were five cash pockets with a monitor above each of them. The monitors each displayed a cash value indicating how much the cash pocket was worth. Whatever amount the silver dollar landed on was what the contestant got. The amounts changed after each drop and increased for each new round. A "half stake" space was added in each new round; landing on one halved the player's score. The game was played in three rounds and at the end, the player with the most money would get one last drop, only this time, the cash pockets now became WIN or LOSE pockets. Three would say "WIN" while the other two said "LOSE" and vice versa. If the leading player's silver dollar landed in a "WIN" pocket, his/her winnings jumped up to $5,000. But if the leading player's silver dollar landed in a "LOSE" pocket, the second place player won and kept the cash. The player in the lead had a choice to not take the drop prior to the drop, giving the next highest player the same choice.
In the final game of the night, the player with the highest dollar total of the evening got to face a home viewer for $100,000. The home viewer got to communicate by phone. The game was played on a 12 celebrity board.
To start, the studio player faced the board. Half would say that the studio player would go first while the other half would say the phone player would go first.
Regardless of who went first, the players took turns picking off celebrities. Ten of them held $500 in cash, one held dynamite and another one held a cheque for $100,000. Play went on until either player dynamited the dynamite or spotted the celeb with the $100,000. Picking the $100,000 star naturally won that amount, but hitting the dynamite star lost the money and gave the opponent the $100,000. Should the studio player win, the home player still won a trip to Gold Coast, Australia.
The show was taped at Warner Bros. Movie World on the Gold Coast in Queensland.