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. KH

    Here's the thing about lottery tickets. For $1 I can spend a day or two feeling hopeful. So for the price of a small McDonalds fries I can buy a tiny chance of winning big money. Of all the things I've wasted my money on, this isn't one I regret.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Hinterarsch

      I think that the US Government should start a giant lottery which has about 100 to 200 million every week. In this way, the Gov can collect big taxes and work off the debt.

      March 30, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Godzilla

    so in other words your chances of wnning are same whether you play or not!!

    March 30, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Math Teacher

      "so in other words your chances of wnning are same whether you play or not!!

      Only if you're inclined to round 0.0000006 down to 0.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • thechanggang

      No silly, if you don't play you have zero chance of winning. One in 175.7Mil is slighty better odds than that

      March 30, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Master Baker

      Everything is a 50-50 win or not outcome. The odds are, that yes someone will win, maybe more than one. with the number of combinations, and that many tickets sold, chances are it will be hit. The winning ticket it out there. i can guarantee it. But is still is, as everything else in anyone's life, a 50/50 chance. You either do, or don't.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Master Baker

      As they say here in California, it only takes a dollar. So if you don't put in your buck, then obviously you have no chance.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Chad K

    So If I spend 176 Million on all possible outcomes, I would triple my money as long as nobody else won.

    I am looking for people to go in with me on this!

    March 30, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Scott

      Well, you have to take taxes out and take the reduction for a one-time pay out. So, you'd not break even even if no one else won.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • kimba

      Yeah – if you buy every possible permutation of the numbers, you will win but chances are good that since so many tickets are in play, other folks also will have the winning numbers. If there were other winners, you would have to split with them and then you might end up losing money. Nice try though.

      March 30, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jimbob

    Chance of being one of the dbags that wrote this article 1 in 1.75 billion.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. chris

    can't win the lotto if you don't buy a ticket.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Andrew

    Uhh... well SOMEONE'S going to win. Where's the hurt in people thinking it might be them? It will be at least one of them. This article is pointless.

    I hope the person who wins has read/will read this article.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Terry in Florida

    But the only way to guarantee a loss is to not play at all.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Carrier

      No, the only way to guarantee that you don't lose is to not play. You can't lose something that you aren't playing.

      March 30, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jack Rafferty

    Odds are 50-50. You either Win or Don't Win.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. inex

    Yes I will ...and the entire amount

    March 30, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Ted Ryder

    It's better than spending 100 dollars on meth this weekend like I was going to do.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Sandra LeVin

    So, you're sayin' there's a chance!!!

    March 30, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • DumbNDumber

      Hey! what was all this 1 in 175 million talk!?!

      March 30, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  12. BBG

    ...chance a CNN article will have been proofread before being posted to the internet: 1 in 175.7 million.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Marvs257

    SHUT UP SHUT UP, I WILL WIN AND I WILL DESTROY ALL OF YOUR DREAMS.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. xmgmx

    Soooooo, you're sayin there's a chance?

    March 30, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. xmgmx

    Sandra, you beat me to it LOL

    March 30, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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