March 30th, 2012
01:57 PM ET

You're not going to win Mega Millions jackpot

“Never tell me the odds.”
Han Solo in "The Empire Strikes Back"

Look. We know that you're aware the odds of winning Friday night’s record-breaking $640 million Mega Millions jackpot, or any Mega Millions jackpot, are astronomical.

We also know that for the people who win it, the odds matter not one bit. Someone is going to win at least a share of the prize if not Friday, then in some subsequent drawing. But since we’re covering the historic jackpot and showing people in long lines giddily talking about how many cars or yachts or Dippin' Dots they’d buy if they win, we feel compelled to remind you:

It’s not going to be you.

The odds of a ticket winning a Mega Millions jackpot is 175,711,536 to 1. As Han Solo’s talkative robotic friend would tell you, you have a much, much better chance (1 in 3,720!) of navigating an asteroid field successfully. We didn’t exactly vet that, but you know you’d smash your ship into the rocks. And who are we to question protocol droids fluent in more than 6 million forms of communication?

To hammer home the point, here are a few other unlikely scenarios that, we’re sorry to say, are far more likely than you taking home a jackpot.

From the Harvard School of Public Health:

Chances of dying from a bee sting: 1 in 6.1 million. Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.

Chance you will be die from being struck by lightning: 1 in 3 million. Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.

From the University of Maryland Medical Center:

Chance of having conjoined twins: 1 in 200,000. Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.

From U.S. Hole in One, which insures golf prizes for holes in one:

The chance of an amateur golfer making a hole in one on a par-3 hole is about 1 in 12,500. Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.

The chance of a golfer hitting a hole in one on consecutive par-3 holes: 1 in about 156 million. Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.

From a 2011 State Farm study on collisions between vehicles and deer:

 The chance of hitting a deer with a vehicle in Hawaii, the state where State Farm says deer-vehicle collisions are least likely, is 1 in 6,267. Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.

From the National Weather Service:

The chance of being struck by lightning over an 80-year lifetime: 1 in 10,000. Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.

From the Florida Museum of Natural History, based on U.S. beach injury statistics in 2000:

Chance of drowning and other beach-related fatalites: 1 in 2 million. Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.

Chance of being attacked by a shark: 1 in 11.5 million. Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.

What are the odds you will win? Weigh in below, or on Twitter using #whataretheodds.

soundoff (1,701 Responses)
  1. BOMBO ©

    Krusty: You people are pigs! I personally am going to spit in every fiftieth burger.

    Homer: I like those odds.

    March 30, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • don

      I WOULD USE THE MONEY TO GET THOSE SKID MARKS OUT OF MY BUDDYS SHORTS

      March 30, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. JaJose

    Yeah but the chances of not winning are zero if u never buy a ticket... I just want $10 to put in my tank

    March 30, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Hadenuffyet

      If you don't buy , you've already won.

      March 30, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • JCH

      The chances of Jajose winning any argument using logic like that are nill ;-)

      March 30, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. RUFFNUTT (( 1/2 5th level magic-using kender ,1/4 illusionist ,1/4 warrior ))

    oh yeah??? when i win.. i'm buying the space shuttle and leaving all you looser behind... i'm goona live on the moon in my own moonbase..
    .

    March 30, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mike

      Newton? Is that you?

      March 30, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      If I promise to do the same and bring you when I win, will you bring me if you win?

      March 30, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • GBG

      You wouldn't be able to afford to launch a space shuttle even if you did win it. From NASA's website Q&A

      "The average cost to launch a Space Shuttle is about $450 million per mission."

      Now, after taking the cash payout and paying taxes...they'll be no launches...much less a moonbase.

      March 30, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  4. So What

    It's a dollar.

    March 30, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Hugh George Gazim

    This story doesn't apply to at least 1 person.

    March 30, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Hadenuffyet

      What about the millions who played last week ...it sure applies to all of them.

      March 30, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Scot

    So do not pay to play ! I can deal with a $20.00 bill to play or a bottle of wine for tonite. I will play ! Plus i have another bottle of wine !

    March 30, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Pete

    Far better odds than those offered by voting which is a complete waste of time. You vote is only significant if your candidate wins by a single vote and then they actually have to do what they said they would do.

    March 30, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. GBG

    And yet...SOMEONE will win it.

    March 30, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Sekh

    Someone will win. Your logic is terribly flawed.

    March 30, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Hadenuffyet

      Really , who won last week?

      March 30, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jeff

    "...the same as being mauled by a polar bear and a regular bear in the same day"

    March 30, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • huh?

      What is a regular bear? Why do you not consider a polar bear a "regular bear"? Are you a racist?

      March 30, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  11. goodluck

    May the odds be ever in your favor.

    March 30, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. devin

    normally, it is dumb to play the lottery because there is a negative expected value. but when the jackpot is this big, there is actually a positive expected value. it makes sense to play in situations like this.

    March 30, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Hadenuffyet

      When it gets this big you'll start seeing equity firms buying millions. It happened before, back in '92.

      March 30, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Todd

    Most people should know that. But if you don't play then you won't win at all. I plan to put in $1 for 1 ticket. Not that I really expect to win... However if I did it would be nice.

    March 30, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Hadenuffyet

    Time is running out , increase your odds , buy more please. Thanks for keeping my tax burden down...

    March 30, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. basketcase

    I really hope the next lotto winner reads this article.

    March 30, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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