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. cptpooppants

    If I win, I will pay CNN to fire this writer!

    March 30, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Mel

    Actually she's right. Your all not going to win, because I am.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. EP Sato

    The royal "you" means everyone who bought a ticket, right? Well, then the premise of the article is completely wrong. SOMEONE is going to win. In fact, it's possible with this many ticket sales that multiple folks might win.

    And frankly, who cares?!? $1 gave me a week to daydream about "what if." Isn't that worth a dollar? Just imagining what you'd do with all that money, and there's actually a chance, no matter how insignificant, that this could happen?

    Whoever wins this, is likely just like you, just like me. It's likely someone who's going to create trusts and scholarships so their siblings, kids, grandkids, cousins, etc, can go to college. Whoever wins is likely to buy their mom a house, pay off debts of their loved ones, perhaps take a long needed vacation.

    It's beautiful to see people dream. because another aspect of this that cynics don't seem to get is that dreams is where a lot of things get started. I'm sure that of the 175, 711, 535 who lose (and that likely includes me), some folks will say "I do want to be a millionaire and I'm going to make it happen without the stupid lottery." Some of the people who don't win may still quit their jobs to seek bigger fortunes, may finally take that leap and start a business.

    Frankly, it upsets me when people try to stomp on the dreams of others. Reality will hit us all on Saturday when we find out we didn't win. But for the next few hours, I'm imagining the ways that my friends, family and co-workers will all get a taste of a sudden fortune. For a few more hours, I get to pretend that just maybe I won't have to go to work on Monday, or ever.

    No lame-o hater written article can take that away from me. My fellow ticket buyers, most of us won't win anything. In fact, nearly all of us will go home empty handed. But so what? Aren't you right now dreaming of what could be? Don't let the haters tell you it won't happen. for someone, it will. And I will be so happy for that person tomorrow, because I know that person will do for their loved ones with this money exactly what I'd do for mine. At the end of the day, that's what makes America so great. We're in the one country where people actually feel happy for those who succeed and those who win. If I can't win, I hope it's you. I just hope you'll remember your family and friends when you win, maybe use some of that money to build playgrounds, fix some streets, donate to a worthy charity, make right those things you want to change.

    and if you don't win, wasn't it nice, for just a second, to think of how many ways this would change your life? It's been wonderful for me.

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

      Nicely said.

      March 30, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • GoPinky

      Nice!

      March 30, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • windycitybill

      Love it.

      March 30, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      @ EP, I like your article better than the story your commenting on. Good for You! I hope you win to.

      March 30, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Max

      Well said EP. We all fantasize of various selfless (and more frequently, selfish) endeavours at some point in our lives. Dreaming, indeed is both relaxing and enjoyable...not to mention free! In the next few hours, may everyone have a wonderful trip past the last star on the right!!

      March 30, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ethan

      Yup its a great thing when whole communities are willing to through away hundred of thousands of dollars for a 1:175 million chance at winning the lotto, but are too cheap to put up a couple bucks up for educating their youth!.....Hahahaha.....you you've already lost by not putting your money to better use! You know what that dollar could have done for some kid in Africa?....you greedy American Swine (include myself). I also lastly want to say I purchased $20 dollars worth!!!!...lol

      March 30, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff P

      Yes, someone will win. And yes, the dreams alone are worth the $10 I spent on lottery tickets. This article is appropriate, however, because this large jackpot will inevitably create some unnecessary tragedies. Folks who can't afford it will spend $100 or $1,000 or more chasing what is essentially the fantasy of winning. For virtually everyone (but not actually everyone) the end result will be that the fantasy won't pan out. If people can't pay the rent or the mortgage or buy medicine because of this lottery, then that is a real shame. We need to fight against that outcome, and the author of this article is engaged in that fight.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  4. JB

    Actually your chance of winning the lottery are better than CNN's chance of being the number one most viewed news channel.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • banasy©

      lol...

      March 30, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carol

      love that JB! I believe you're right!

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

    WOW this is probably one of the most negative articles I've ever read. This is BEYOND tacky for such a highly esteemed leader in news. Who cares what the odds are? Just to say you participated in this historic event is a pretty big deal. I'm guessing the writer of this article sits at home watching Star Wars and never takes a risk in life because the "odds are against him". Kudos CNN..way to bring everyone down. I'm sure I won't win either but I had fun playing. I can't wait to see the winners face later! It'll be one for the books. Good luck to all!

    March 30, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. BiteMe

    What happens if the person that wins the jackpot also reads this article? Can he sue CNN for being wrong?

    March 30, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. open400

    Yes. It is true, if you buy just oen ticket, you have a better chance of getting hit with lightening twice in a year, but can the average working stiff ever amke 640 million in a year.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. strangways

    Hey, you never know.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. bob

    during the vietnam war i was 21 and i knew it was not gonna be me, but the other guy and i was right.. now i'm older and i know someday you may be the other guy.. today may be the day.. for a buck??? why not

    March 30, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. john

    What are the odds of winning the lotery then being captured by a bounty hunter and frozen in carbinite?

    March 30, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • banasy©

      lol.....

      March 30, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Brett

    Chances that the author is a debbi downer: 1 : 1.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. net

    Hmmmm, so what are the chances of me aquirring $640 million dollars otherwise?

    March 30, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. stosh

    Who cares, it's only money!

    March 30, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Lev

    You certainly can't win if you don't play!

    March 30, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Hope is eternal

    The very existence of life is predicated on beating these odds:
    –> 1 out of 300 million sperms hits the jackpot and the world population is getting bigger and bigger.
    –>Of the billions and billions of stars the odds of life are small, yet here we are teaming with people and now as is universally believed hundreds of more planets like us with some form of life.
    - There are several more examples. To hope against all odds and then beat those odds is what human spirit is all about. So best of luck of everybody. Whoever the winner, he/she had the audacity of taking that leap of faith!!

    March 30, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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