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. Big Munay!

    who cares.. i bought 1 thousand tickets last night and I'm buying another 1000 today after work. If I don't win im going to kill myself before my wife realizes I used the kids college funds.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bob D

    Cost of 1 chance $1.00. VS Cost of loss of 1 dollar

    Bottom line 1 chance could pay off greatly yet 1 loss isn't going to effect me.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  3. salsagirl

    I went in on the office pool, because if by some miracle they win and I wasn't in on it, I couldn't go on living. There was a story about some guy that this actually happened to...

    March 30, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jason T

    Well, there is a 100% chance of CNN being a killjoy here. When I win half a billion dollars, you will rue the day you crossed me CNN.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dmitri

    Chance of getting a date with Lora Astanova – 1 in 201,000,000

    March 30, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Karissa

    This article is mean spirited and nasty. With the trouble state of our society and all the downtrodden unemployed and underemployed masses, people are just looking for a little HOPE somewhere. Shame on you. You probably have enough money to pay your bills and feed your children without worrying.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Norman

      yes because its CNN's job not to report the truth. CNN's telling people their money is better put somewhere else. Sorry for letting people know facts.

      March 30, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  7. The Winner

    So you're tellin' me there's a chance....

    March 30, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • hopeful in the Soo

      good one!

      March 30, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Adam

      hahah best response on here.

      Kudos. The person who wrote this article doesnt understand that it is fun to dream sometimes for a $1. What a j.e.rk

      March 30, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      LOL! Good one....

      March 30, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      Best Comment Of The Day :)

      March 30, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jay

    I think most of you are missing the point of this article. Think about this, even if you played the same numbers and purchased 5 tickets every drawing (A cost of $520/yr) for 50 years of your life ($26,000 wasted in a lifetime) it would take you over 115,000 lifetimes (5,750,000 years) give or take a few thousand before you might win. So I guess paying $26,000 to buy a fantasy must be worth it to most of you, that can't seem to find happiness around you. Lotto tricks us with that saying "It might be you", but is reality you are wasting your money. What else could you spend that money on, or instead of day dreaming about what you would do if you won lotto you spent your time day dreaming about something that will improve your life or the life of those around you?

    March 30, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. E

    Always 50/50 chance. Forget odds. No one can argue this. You win it, or not win. Simple.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  10. jayh

    You have to be in it to win it.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Brian

    horrible article. CNN blows my mind about the bs they report on. Everyone knows that it is astronomical to win. It isn't rocket science. The point of people playing is to put yourself in the situation to win. If you don't by a ticket then your chance of winning is zero of 175 million.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. David

    chances of winning the lottery 1in 175 million... chances of winning if you don't buy a ticket: zero. It's only a buck. Don't be such a buzzkill.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  13. patrick

    You’re not going to win but its fun for a dollar.

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

    I rarely waste money on things I don't need. I don't buy a new car ever year. I don't have the biggest dish package or buy myself toys. Matter of fact I rarely buy lottery tickets unless the pot has grown enough that people take notice. So I don't think buying a couple of tickets will do any harm. One thing is for sure, you can't win if you don't have a ticket. Nothing wrong with dreaming a little. Most people spend more on a Mcdonalds kids meal to get a plastic toy that seldom makes it home,or even out of the car. Win or lose doesn't matter that much, and some of the money goes to a good cause. Lighten up, and enjoy having a chance that you would otherwise never get. If you go out and spend your whole paycheck on lottery tickets, I would have to classify you as a fool. But to buy one, to have a chance at maybe changing your, and others close to you, lives, isn't a crime. It can't hurt when so many waste so much on smart phones electronics, music etc. Somebody is going to win, but I'll bet you a trillion dollars it won't be someone without a ticket.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Winner9898

    I AM the winner! And it feel amazing but a little scary...

    March 30, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • John-117

      No one stands a chance. I traveled back through time and already know the winning numbers. Looks like I'll be much richer by tomorrow.

      March 30, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
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