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. Dazed and Confused

    There are only 2 possible outcomes – Win and Not Win. So probability of winning is 1 is to 2. Chance of the author of this article winning – ZERO.

    March 31, 2012 at 1:56 am | Report abuse |
    • The_Mick

      That's not how odds work: You say there are only two "possible outcomes" winning or not-winning. But there's only one way to win and 175,700,000 ways to lose: and each one of those is a "possible outcome."

      March 31, 2012 at 3:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Ed

      You obviously flunked statistics!

      March 31, 2012 at 3:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Ed

      I'm 175.7 million ertain you faled your statics class

      March 31, 2012 at 3:50 am | Report abuse |
  2. Bob

    "Face it – You won't win"

    ...And yet, people do.

    March 31, 2012 at 2:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Diana Manwaring

      In the state of New York, most of the people who win are from NYC. Hardly anyone else in our state does, regardless of where they live. Another example of how this stupid thing is rigged.

      March 31, 2012 at 2:30 am | Report abuse |
  3. Diana Manwaring

    Face it.....every state's lottery is rigged. Why don't they all draw the numbers PRIOR to a drawing, instead of AFTER all the tickets have been sold? There are too many chances they can rig this and I believe they all do.

    March 31, 2012 at 2:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      Why would they rig it? Who benefits from this 'rigged' system? Who do they prefer to choose to win the jackpot? If you win the jackpot would it still be considered rigged?

      March 31, 2012 at 2:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Put up or shut up

      Well, the "drawing" is broadcast live and you can see the ping-pong balls as they drop.

      How would you "rig" that? Please explain.

      March 31, 2012 at 6:15 am | Report abuse |
  4. The_Mick

    I'm in Maryland and I one! No, that's not a mistake – I "one" – that's the highest number of matching numbers in any line of my $5 ticket!

    March 31, 2012 at 3:03 am | Report abuse |
  5. The_Mick

    Some did win. This article reminds me of the kid in league of there own who kept saying, "You're gonna lose."

    March 31, 2012 at 3:11 am | Report abuse |
  6. Brad

    I got 3 of 5 numbers with the multiplier, so with fuzzy math I think I won 21 bucks. So maybe the writer should consider the fact that those people who play who were fortunate enough to pick the megaball or 3 out of 5 numbers are winners. They may not be millionaires but u spend 1 or 2 bucks on a ticket and you win 3 bucks, 7 bucks, 21 bucks, 150 bucks or 450 bucks, in my mind you are a winner. And guess what the chances of me winning more than I paid are less than being hit by lightning.

    March 31, 2012 at 3:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Your number's up

      ZAP!!! [oops]

      March 31, 2012 at 6:11 am | Report abuse |
  7. Dave Brown

    "It’s not going to be you." – someone in Maryland does not have the internet to read this :), looks like they won.

    March 31, 2012 at 3:13 am | Report abuse |
  8. Fox Mulder

    It's nice to see pessimism is alive and well.

    March 31, 2012 at 4:50 am | Report abuse |
    • The other side of the record

      It's nice to see that fantasy is still alive.

      March 31, 2012 at 6:12 am | Report abuse |
  9. HeWhoKnows

    So my odds of winning the lottery should be pretty good if I've already been struck by lightning?

    March 31, 2012 at 5:56 am | Report abuse |

      You've already been struck by lightning? Well, then, you're the next lotto winner! You'd better be playing the lotto every single week–thousands of dollars a week. You'd be a fool not to.

      March 31, 2012 at 7:22 am | Report abuse |
  10. The numbers game

    LOL... the next headline reads "To win, visualize your numbers."

    I visualize a $10 bill still in my pocket. That's a win.

    March 31, 2012 at 6:10 am | Report abuse |
  11. Bill

    To the author of this stupid article/opinion: face it.....someone won it! Jerk!!

    March 31, 2012 at 6:20 am | Report abuse |
  12. A Man Called Prancer

    Thanks for the uplifting, shit story, CNN.

    Fuck a sheep.

    March 31, 2012 at 6:23 am | Report abuse |
  13. John C

    The way my reverse psychology works, i have 175,700,000 chances of losing, so i just keep repeating, "I hope I lose. I hope I lose." Logical?
    Oh, wait, it's Saturday morning, and my hopes were answered. I lost. Dang.

    March 31, 2012 at 7:47 am | Report abuse |
  14. Nicole

    Well, I can certainly say that I did not contribute to the money since I don't by lotto tickets lol!

    March 31, 2012 at 7:53 am | Report abuse |
  15. Mike

    I'm a guy...I'll take the lottery odds over having conjoined twins any day!

    March 31, 2012 at 8:00 am | Report abuse |
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