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. IrvineLawyer

    Whoever wins the lotto should take a picture of their winning ticket in front of this article with the caption "CNN, UMAD?"

    March 30, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Possumgrease

    So you're telling me there's a chance?

    March 30, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. just_saying

    Since CNN is making fun of me for buying a ticket, take this:

    "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."

    1 in 3,720! is a lot more than 1 in 175,711,536 since ! means factorial. BOOM

    March 30, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Carson Wynne

      Odds of winning if you bought every single ticket combination possible: 100%. Cost $175,711,536. SURE THING PROFIT $364.3 million. What am I missing?

      March 30, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • michael

      Can you say nerd? I thought you could!!!!

      March 30, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ramesh

      Cool Dude, Now that's called being smart....

      March 30, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Den

    I would rather they advertise what the jackpot would be minus the taxes removed

    March 30, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • john

      Really? So if someone came up to you and said "Hey, you just won $500M", or if someone came up to you and said "Hey, you just won $250M tax free", you'd turn down the first one?

      Seriously.

      March 30, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike Zana

      And what exactly will those new found taxes go towards?? No way the gov't was counting on that $200mm

      March 30, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Alesha

    As Han Solo once said, never tell me the odds.

    March 30, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Jesse

    Regarding the stated odds of navigating an asteroid field: 3720! is a far, far larger number than 175 million. 3720 has 11686 digits, compared to the 9 digits in 175 million. Duh.

    March 30, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Kim Dietel

    Its not so much winning but the dream of winning that takes us away from the reality of life. Give me a break most people know they won't win but the possibility that you could. Someone has to win why not me.

    March 30, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Jim34

    With so many people buying tickets there is bound to be at least one or two winners.

    March 30, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Den

      thats what I'm thinking, very heavy demand. I think we'll see several ppl beat those jackpot odds...we'll see

      March 30, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  9. John

    If I win, I'm buying CNN.

    March 30, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Tiffany

    The fun we have all had talking and dreaming about what we would do if we did win was totally worth the dollar!

    March 30, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Mike Zana

    OK, well, hmmm... can you tell me the odds of winning if I don't have a ticket? My guess, I have just as good of a chance to win as the next guy and I look at it like my $1.00 was spent towards the entertainment value of the last 3 days watching this pot grow and grow and dreaming of what I'll do with the winnings... Hey if it comes true, EVEN BETTER... if not, dollar well spent in my opinion... and to those with no ticket... My chances are astronomically better to win than yours!!!!

    March 30, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. plenty

    You can't win without a ticket

    March 30, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Michele

    Chances are 50-50. Either you win it or you don't.

    March 30, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. ketul

    So you are telling me there a chance it may be 1 in 176 million but still there is a chance.

    March 30, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Bob Klepak

    Now, wha are the odds of conjoined twins, after being stung by a bee and while navigating an asteroid field winning the lottery?

    March 30, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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