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. Ohreally?

    It WILL be someone, and it WILL be someone that purchased a ticket... :) sorry naysayer... and no I have not purchased one, so it won't be me (but this doesn't support your point)

    March 30, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Heather

    I already won the lottery. I am very healthy and have a happy, healthy son as well. So...SUCK THAT!!

    March 30, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Patty

    A chance is better than NO chance.

    Bought 5 tickets. GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!

    March 30, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Charles

    So what are the odds of winning a $640,000.000 + Mega jackpot if you don't have at least one MM lottery ticket? Zero! Which is the education value of this article.... I am certain that the odds that I am going to operate a multi billion dollar space craft successfully through an asteroid belt are far greater than 1 in 176,000,000.

    March 30, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lula

      Well now my chances of winning are 1 in 175999996(176,000,000-4). Plus while buy a ticket today, I played a scratch off and won $30 bucks.

      The odds are in my favor!!!!!!!!!

      March 30, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ellen

    Since I'm going to win, y'all can just relax.

    March 30, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Unit34AHunter

    Hey CNN. Why such killjoys? Yeah, the odds are astronomically not in my favor. But if you know anything about marginal risks vs opportunity costs, then you know why I bought two tickets.

    March 30, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  7. TheManBehindTheCurtain

    And yet, someone always eventually wins.

    So it begs he question, "What is the longest that a lottery has gone un-won, and does the time duration match the odds of someone winning it?" !!

    March 30, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • atp

      Time between wins has nothing to do with the odds of someone winning. They are completely independent events...

      March 30, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ben

    I know the odds before playing and realize that I will most likely, not win...but if you don't play...your odds are obviously 0:0.

    March 30, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • correctorrrr

      Actually if you don't play your odds are 0:1

      March 30, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Den

    the taxes on winnings in my state is 1/3 (25% federal & 8% state). May be higher or lower in other states i dont know

    March 30, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. virtuallyme

    gee, thanks

    March 30, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. andyoo

    chance is really small, but 1 guy will win.
    you don't buy, it will not be u.
    that's why you are still writting junk on CNN...because u don't take chances.

    March 30, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
  12. reality check?

    Odds of winning if I buy 10 tickets: 1 in 17.57 million. Still steep, but you can't just parrot the odds for everyone based on one ticket with this one...

    March 30, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • atp

      Fact Check? The odds don't change because you have ten tickets. It's based on a probability equation based on the chance you have of getting each number correct.

      March 30, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  13. rcrosby55

    I am waiting for the jackpot to hit 1 billion dollars before I buy ticket.

    March 30, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Keith

    The odds of winning are 1 in 175 million. The odds if you don't buy a ticket are zero.

    March 30, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
  15. nitrous

    Yeah – but SOMEONE will win – what a tool.

    March 30, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
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