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. Al

    How did a deer get to Hawaii?

    March 30, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Smart Alec

      Capital One rewards card

      March 30, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Boston

    Easy article to write considering everyone but 1 potential person reading will lose. You write it, look like a genius! So what if you are wrong with the one person who ACTUALLY wins. Economy sucks, let people dream CNN.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. sparty7

    Point is....there is a chance. Someone will win, so to say that it won't be "you" is dumb. Because the person that does win, will be, "you"! Pointless article...

    March 30, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. AtheistsSeeThePinkElephant

    I have been indoctrinated to believe that the possible and the highly probable have a near equal chance of being true. Therefore, I will purchase tickets!

    March 30, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Dude123

    Fact of the matter is someone's gonna win, I'm just throwing my name in the bag

    March 30, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cambride Ray

      > Fact of the matter is someone's gonna win

      Not necessarily: that is why it keeps on growing.

      March 30, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  6. nathan

    Odds of me winning, I am going to win even money!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 30, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. malik

    The chances of a pregnant woman having quintuplets is 1 in 65.6 million. The chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpo is 1 in 175.7 million.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Jamie

    This article doesn't make sense. Since someone has to win eventually that means one of us will be the winners. Duh! You of course have to play to have a chance at winning, but no matter what the odds are someone in this country that buys a ticket is going to be the winner. That might not be me, please God let it be me, or any of you that post to this article, but that 1 person does exist that's going to win. Since it's random numbers selected, anyone holding a ticket can win tonight.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Carrier

      How hard is it to figure out odds? Statistically, it is possible that nobody will ever win. Unlikely, but it IS possible.

      March 30, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Cambride Ray

    Why does CNN say that this is "The Largest in the World"? A few months ago, Spain's "El Gordo" paid about TWICE (some $900 million).

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

      you sure it wasn't pesos?

      March 30, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  10. DeeNYC

    yea but doesn't hurt to spend a buck JUST IN CASE!!!

    March 30, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. El Duderino (if you're not into the whole brevity thing)

    Rich people invest, and poor people buy lottery tickets.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • JoBair

      Yes... but a very small percentage of the people who buy lottery tickets become rich people... then they invest (most of the time, not wisely, but...)

      March 30, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. nathan

    I won

    March 30, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Mr. X.

    If the article says that we won't win the lotto due to the astronomical odds, then who will? gotta be someone right?

    March 30, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Scott

      Yes, ME. he he

      March 30, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Maydee

    I hope you win (yes, you who just read this).

    March 30, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Meecie

    Well that's not very encouraging!!!

    March 30, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Charlie

      This is no different than playing poker. And the saying in poker is "If you have a chip and a chair you have a chance."

      March 30, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
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