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. Jim

    It may not be me but I'm sure someone else will win half a billion dollars.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. bummed

    man, I'm out. I got my hole-in-one last year. No chance of accomplishing the other things on the list for at least another 20 years. Good news is I don't have to fear a thunderstorm.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Joshl

    What is the point of this article?? Why would someone write an article like this? The whole fun of a lottery is that you know you most likely will not win but it's fun to imagine and it's fun to put your name in an impossible drawing anyway. So people are just having fun and enjoying themselves with this lottery and somebody thought it would be a good idea to write an article that is aimed at people who are participating in the lottery with the purpose of taking the fun away from those people.... Way to encourage people to visit your site and read your articles CNN! CNN continuously just doesn't get it. Over the past couple years they have only pushed me more and more away from their website. I used to get ALL my news from CNN but now I only stop in occasionally and I never watch their TV channel anymore.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joshl

      Instead of making this a negative article to discourage nearly everyone who would be interested in reading it because they participated in this lottery, CNN could have gone a positive route and said "If you end up winning this lottery, here are examples of the odds you beat!" And that would have made this wayyy more enjoyable to read. I swear, people need to get fired at CNN and they need some new editors and some new ideas - anything new that they DO try ends up as the butt of the joke on the Daily Show, and rightfully so.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • B

      Yet, you are one of few people who actually took time to respond to the "meaningless" article on CNN. Way to stick it to the man!

      March 30, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. phearis

    Odds of you not winning if you don't buy at least 1 ticket: 0:0

    March 30, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • sidsalamander

      I think you have that wrong. The odds of you not winning if you don't buy a ticket are 1:1.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • josh

      Nah, its probably no more likely that you'll win the lottery with a ticket you bought than it is that you'll encounter an accidentally discarded/lost winning ticket lying on the street Friday night.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Meh

    The headline should be rewritten. "I've never won the lottery so I'm going to be all sad and mock people who try."

    Each ticket has a 1 in 175 million chance to win. That's orders of magnitude better than having no ticket and no chance, isn't it? What does it hurt to blow $5 on a chance? Not a thing. But the article was written from a loser's viewpoint: "I never win the jackpot, so I won't ever try again."

    No, I don't have much of a chance, but who gets their feelings hurt if I drop five bucks? But I really hope that the people who win this thing post their thoughts here on how they'd never win....

    March 30, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      It is not orders of magnitude better than having no ticket. 10, 100, 1000, 10000000000, time zero is still zero.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. App

    Chances of winning if you DON'T buy a ticket – ZERO !!!

    March 30, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  7. across12

    I got the winning numbers tonight. Who wants a share from that huge amount let me know as soon as possible and I will send you the info where to send the investment. I will answer only to a limited numbers of investors, possibly none, depends how I feel about the sharing process. If you invest $1 you will get back 0.001 % of the wining lump sum after taxes, if you invest $1000 you get 1% and so on. Your life is going to be changed forever tonight. I am not fooling around. Peace out.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Artbyforrest (dot) com

    So what your saying is, theirs a chance!

    March 30, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  9. MagnuM

    "You're not going to win Mega Millions jackpot"

    Of course I won't! I didn't buy a ticket!

    March 30, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  10. dave

    CNN has spent days and precious hours in their newscast all week telling everyone what to do if they win the lottery then they publish an article admitting, as most of us already knew, that all the talk was a waste of time when they could have been doing real news. This is why I watch MSNBC now, CNN almost isn't to be taken seriously their morning shows are filled with braindead women.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Drake

    I bought 175,711,536 tickets, I have a certain chance of winning.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Artbyforrest,com

    So your saying theirs a chance?

    March 30, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  13. J

    This is a really terrible article! I feel like a kid who has just been told there is no Santa. Maybe if the media spent more time reporting on good things like hopes and dreams there wouldn't be so many depressed people in the world.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  14. chaseki

    BUUUUUUUTTTTTT it only it only takes that >>>>>>>>>>>>> 1

    March 30, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  15. r

    It might be someone so bugger off CNN.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
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