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. Shamrock4949

    I've known three people who have won big lotteries, and everybody said they were stupid for buying them, until they won. Yes, the odds are horribly against you, but if you have a buck or two a week you would blow on something that won't return anything (drinks, smokes) a lottery ticket in your pocket gives you hope every week. I once won $2800 so I'm playing on house money the rest of my days. The author of this article can kiss my a**.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Cycy the American Optimist

    In this pessimistic economy and world of uncertainty…all we have is dreams. What’s so wrong with dreaming of a better future? Wasn’t this country built on the power of hopes, dreams and chance? I’m guessing you have not received one positive response to your negative article. This was the most tacky article I have read on CNN. Americans don’t need more pessimists. I get it, I most likely will not be winning the lottery tonight but what fun is there in talking about that. Best of luck to everyone!

    March 30, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joe Labriola

      It's a poor tax. You're paying the government a fee for the hopes of winning when you realistically would have to be struck by lightening multiple times before you will ever win.

      March 30, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tracey

      So agree with you!!!!!

      March 30, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • MPM

      i like you

      March 30, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Linda Stuart

    I think I would rather have a hole in one than win the megaball. Buying drinks for friends after a round is a lot easier than giving money to all my relatives.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • winston846

      I have 2 holes-in-one. Neither one gained me anything.

      March 30, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Randy Cowper

      Buy hole in one insurance. Much cheaper than buying drinks for everyone in the clubhouse. http://www.holeinoneinsurance.com

      March 30, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  4. winston846

    "– 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."

    "– 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."

    I remember someone once saying on a TV program that you had a better chance of standing in the ocean during a thunderstorm and getting struck by lightning and bit by a shark – SIMULTANEOUSLY. Looks like they were right.

    But nevertheless, someone IS going to win. Why not me? I have the same chance as anyone else who bought tickets.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Michael

      Those lottery odds they tell you assume you play one ticket in your entire lifetime.

      March 30, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      Nope...the odds of that are over 1 in 300,000,000.

      March 30, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • theman

      Not true! You have as much chance of winning as anybody who bought the same number of tickets like you did:) You buy more tickets, you increase your chances. If you want to win, the formula is very easy. Just spend $175,711,536 and make sure all the numbers are unique. You will be guaranteed to win! But then, who has that type of money to spend on the lottery?

      March 30, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Curt

    Here is a word to the wise. If you win, look into trust funds. You can legally claim the winnings semi-anonymously in some states. It will come at a price, but it's a price I would be willing to take.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Sherry Durk

    Hey, after 175.7 million post later, I can no longer find mine.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. josh

    Someone's got to win.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. TJ Sam

    if you bought 100 tickets, your odds go down to 1 in only approximately 2 million... and you have 100 chances.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • steve

      That's not true....

      March 30, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  9. cptpooppants

    Maybe the writer should just take a long walk off a short pier. What are your thoughts on that smart a$$

    March 30, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Dave

    Chance of getting a hole in one if I don't play golf. None. Chance of winning the lottery if I don't buy a ticket. None. Chance of winning the lottery if I buy a ticket. 1 in 175.7 million I guess I'll take my chances.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jake

      Sorry people I just bought the winning ticket!!!

      August 15, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  11. J

    Hope is priceless! To hell with the odds.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. James.Storm

    Says the bitter jagoff CNN writer. Way to crush peoples hopes. Im sure most folks know its obviously a long shot but way to spread negativity.. thats what CNN is best at anyway #cnnsux

    March 30, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Justin Key

    Chance of getting 3 hole in ones in a row if you never step foot on a golf course: 0

    Chance of having conjoined twins if you never have children: 0

    Chance of drowning in the ocean if you never come within a mile of an ocean: 0

    Chance of winning the lottery: more than 0

    Moral of the story: your chances are infinitely worse if you don't play.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Jayson

    what an incredibly stupid article. first you tell us we will not when. then you say someone will win. well which one is it? what exactly is the purpose of this? we live in a world where we're told it's okay to dream. now when people dream of winning the largest jackpot, here you come to spat on that dream. go get a personality and let people have their fun/dreams. with your logic, why should anyone do anything if the odds are against them.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Michael

      I'm going to sue for slander when I win and share the winnings from the lawsuit with the people I left out when I shared out the winnings from the lottery ticket.

      March 30, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  15. brucetunkel

    It's 50/50. Either you win, or you don't.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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