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. Ann

    I never play the lottery but I'm SURE my husband is going to go buy some tickets today. Hey, as long as it's only a couple of bucks I don't mind.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  2. BiteMe

    This actually makes sense for a CNN article. Considering how left-leaning CNN is and has a liberal agenda, they'd rather see people spen d the money on helping the poor and the sick. Whoever up the ladder okay'd this article must have deep disgust for people who gamble.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Player

    Each ticket purchased has the exact same odds of winning. Buying 100 tickets does not give you 100 times better odds, each ticket is still just a 1 in 175 million chance. But who really cares, it gives us all something to have fun with for just a moment or two while the world goes to crap around us. So go buy those tickets and have some fun dreaming!

    March 30, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • tony

      Actually NO. Buy all 175 M tickets and you WILL win.

      March 30, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Carrier

      Not true tony. If somebody else buys a winning ticket, the jackpot gets split in half. After taxes and taking just a lump sum instead of annuity, you will lose millions of dollars.

      March 30, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Math

      If you bought 100 tickets, your chances of winning are 100 in 175 million. so your chances are 100x better than if you had only bought one ticket.

      March 30, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • blake

      Your wrong. Buying 100 tickets significantly increases your odds of winning. Go learn some statistics 101.

      March 30, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  4. JoBair

    Chances of winning if you don't buy a ticket... 0 in 1. By the way, with CNN's readership numbers, what are the chances that the person(s) who win this MegaMillions drawing are also reading the headline "You're not going to win Mega Millions Jackpot"?

    March 30, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. oops

    I think I just won in my pants.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jamie

    Soooo you're telling me there's a chance... :)

    March 30, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Good Time

    What a downer piece by CNN. We all know what the odds are but its fun to spend a $ on it. Take some uppers.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Matt in Oregon

    I'm coming back to this article tomorrow to say HA! IN YA FACE!

    March 30, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Valerie

    Well....someone has to win sooner or later and that someone could be any one of us that buys a ticket

    March 30, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  10. John@johnjchappell.com

    My chances of winning are 50/50........Either I will, or I won't.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jose Pineda

    I will win! I've scheduled it on my Outlook calendar already: item: Appointment; with Destiny, Location: Mega-millions drawing 3/30/2012 from 5:00 to 9:00 MST. Private Appointment. Agenda: what next now that I have the only winning ticket in the Mega Miliions Jackpot.

    I think the writer of this silly article missed a couple of good points: all those statistics are based on mathematical formulas that try to express something that will surely happen to someone some time. Many of thise things have already happened. Point 2: someone will for damend sure win this Jackpot, and as I wrote before: it's my turn.
    How do you want to go through life: thinking there is no chance, or thinking there is a chance. Simple choice!!!!

    March 30, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • JoBair

      Sorry, Jose... I've scheduled my win also. Who know, maybe we both picked the same numbers and we will both be right :-)

      March 30, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Alan

    If I win the jackpot, I'll be sure to send this writer my $0.02. I can afford to "throw away" any money I spend on the lottery, I choose to play it on occasion because it is fun. You don't need to tell people they aren't going to win, they already know it is extremely unlikely. The odds of you winning the lottery if you don't play is zero. The odds of you having any fun playing the lottery is also zero if you don't play. Now if only we can decrease the odds of annoying people telling me that I'm not going to win.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  13. mr davis

    it's equivalent to the chance of Newt Gingrich making a jump shot.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Han Solo

    You aren't very good at following orders.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  15. randoid1234

    Well I'm broke and ugly so unless kleenex has a womb, I have a better chance of winning the lottery than having conjoined twins.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
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