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. Lee

    Seriously? I've play the lottery all the time and so I can say, "stop the insanity" to those in charge of Megamillions. People are dreaming and wishing NOW but guess what, after the drawing, they'll be ticked off that one single individual won all that money. Then people will say, 'they should cap it." They should cap it. Remember that state governments oversee the lottery, they can change it so this mass hysteria doesn't happen. $640 million won by one person? Yeah, that's makes so much sense!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And for all the people that regularly play the lottery, we all know it will end up being one person that bought a ticket ofr the first time ever. You'll probably give the person a heart attack, who ever wins it.

    March 30, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank Jakubiec

      Look up the Dutch Postcode Lottery and move to the Netherlands, please.

      March 30, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bdubs

    so you're saying there's a chance......

    -lloyd, dumb and dumber

    March 30, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Thanks for being a Debbie Downer, Dbag

    Thanks for being a Debbie Downer, Dbag

    Let people have their fun and dreams, you literary twit

    PS Go smash some kids sand castle and kick a puppy on the way home

    March 30, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. johnnyph12

    Thanks, Captain Buzzkill

    March 30, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. prettypiper

    I can't wait to re-post tomorrow, It WILL BE ME......Hands DOWN!!

    March 30, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  6. John Herling

    A dollar and a dream...

    March 30, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Frank Jakubiec

    It's a lottery, not social security (although the lottery may be a safer bet than SS), so you don't have to "hammer home the point" it just makes you come off as bitter and cynical.

    Seriously, all I get from your article is a vivid visual of you pouting in a darkened room lamenting and being a total Buzz Killington to those of us who enjoy daydreaming.

    March 30, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. DJ

    May the odds be in your favor!

    March 30, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Gary

    Lotteries are a tax on people who are not good at math.

    March 30, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. michaelfury

    http://michaelfury.wordpress.com/2008/08/16/black-box/

    March 30, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Han Solo

    Chewy loves the lottery.

    March 30, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. dan

    It's not about winning or losing. People need hope. And it only costs a buck for a few days worth. I can't blame them.

    March 30, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • robinsondb

      Absolutely, a little day dreaming never hurt anyone....

      March 30, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  13. D

    Somebody has to win, and their odds are no better or worse than mine are.

    So until someone comes up with a reason, other than long odds, I am playing.

    Tell me there is a law that men with goat-tees are not allowed to win, or people who are left handed are not allowed to win, then I will stop playing.

    If its just b/c of odds...then there is a chance...regardless of how small it may be.

    Someone has to win, why can't it be me?

    March 30, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • robinsondb

      Because its gonna be me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOL

      March 30, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Anonymous

    I wonder how much people spend to buy these tickets, which probably far exceeds the lottery jackpot.. eother way, someone is making money.

    March 30, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Lionel

    Of course one could win the jackpot, if one has $175 .7 million to buy each and every combination.(175.7 million). Then its a 100% guarantee winning the jack pot. There is a small problem with that, like all other good ideas. There may be multiple winners with the winning combination, in which case the jackpot is shared. Even if there are 3 winners one is still guaranteed a 1/3 share of $640 million or $213.3 million for the outlay of $175 million. One could write off against taxes the $175 million as they allow winners to write of gambling losses against winnings. So one would still come out a winner i.e if one has $175 million to spare.

    March 30, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
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