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. mrkeno

    unless lotteries increase the number field this will be the highest jackpot ever seen
    the fact that is has almost doubled since tuesday in mind boggling

    March 30, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Don

    Chances of winning a share of the jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.

    Chances of winning the whole thing: significantly higher.

    Now watch something like five people win, and each gets "only" about $80-90 million (before Federal taxes) as a lump sum.
    (If you ask me, what they should do is, they should put a cap on how much a single ticket can win – say, $100 million – and any excess rolls over to the next draw. The total jackpots can exceed $100 million, to account for multiple winners, but no winner gets more than $100 million.)

    March 30, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • drc

      Sounds like an Obama plan

      March 30, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • B

      Chance of winning if you do not buy a ticket - 0%.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aloisae

      The bigger jackpots, though, are what bring out these voluntary contributions to state budgets. People know that it is extremely unlikely that they will win.. they are just buying the ticket for the dream and coming up with all the things you would do with $100 million, after you pay the taxes on it, is less fun that doing the same for half a billion.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Holden

    If you journalists are so much smarter than the rest of us, why are you journalists?

    March 30, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  4. gonzomaloney

    If I win, I'm going to take whatever amount of money it takes to have each of the people behind this story fired and make them work for Hallmark writing 'Get Well' cards, all the way to the CNN Library! How fun to flick peoples fun and hopes away, the odds of me having any of the things in this story happening to me: 1 in NEVER and I know this. Glad all the journalism schooling paid off.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  5. KK

    So you're saying there *is* a chance...

    March 30, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Allinyourface

    If there are 175,711,536 parallel universes, I guarantee that you're a millionaire in of those universes.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  7. js

    Actually, the expected value of this game is about $3.64. Play away.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  8. bergymand67

    Reblogged this on bruinshubcentral and commented:
    quote from one of the comments "chances of winning megamillions if you don't buy a ticket-zero" – wjf010. I dont know why they would publish this article....

    March 30, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Steve

    The odds of winning are not much different from not playing at all however for $1 we can at least dream for a couple of days.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Sally

    test

    March 30, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  11. BIGm@ple

    i'd buy the rights to all the twight movies and crush the franchise, and then get drunk and buy a lambo.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ashok Kumar

    Winning this will make me richer than Mitt Romney!

    March 30, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jecdev

    Odds of the Author winning a Pulitzer Prize?

    0 in 245 million

    March 30, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Andy Mike

    Look everyone,

    We (or at least half of us!) know that IT IS NOT ACCIDENTAL ! The winner(s) is(are) NOT BY CHANCE. DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY and be fooled by these ads. But at the end, WE ALL PLAY, It is like a voluntary tax !

    March 30, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Ted Ryder

    I'll think of you often CNN writers when I claim my prize.

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