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. KB

    chance of winning if you don't purchase a ticket – 0

    August 15, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • George Washington

      Exactly
      Chance of winning if you spend more than a few bucks? Not much more than if you spend $1
      In most states, the money goes to helping the elderly..... which is good.

      August 15, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      Exactly. All of those other things can happen free of charge. But if you don't buy a lotto ticket there is zero change of being struck by fortune.

      August 15, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • J

      Amen. There's an old story about this guy named Isaac. Isaac was devoutly religious. He lived his life without telling lies, by helping strangers and the needy, and by praying to God every day. Each and every day he prayed to win the lottery. Each and every week he watched sadly as he didn't win. One day, as he was in his 80's, he did something he'd never done before, he prayed to God in anger instead of graciousness. "Why God?!?" screamed Isaac, "Why have you never seen fit to allow me to win the lottery?!?" I've been your devout follower my entire life! Why?!"

      A booming voice filled Isaac's room and his mind. "Isaac," Said God, "Meet me halfway. Buy a ticket!"

      August 15, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Umpire's Wife

    Kill Joy.

    August 15, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  3. DMDPT

    Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.
    Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.
    Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.
    Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.
    Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.
    Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.

    WE GET IT

    August 15, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. stever

    You don't play to win. You play to dream!

    August 15, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Franky

    Those chances are still higher than the chance Justin Beiber has any talent.

    August 15, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Marie

    Someone has to win it, and you can't win if you don't play................

    August 15, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • natalie

      you sound like my father

      August 15, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  7. zipfan

    Hey KB 0 = 1/175mil

    August 15, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Franky

    What were the odds man would fly? Thank You to all those who don't play the odds.

    August 15, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • phorse

      about 1 in 1

      August 15, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Colleen

      The odds any given individual would fly? 1 in 175.7 million.

      The odds SOMEONE would fly? 1:1.

      August 15, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mel

    Debbie Downer

    August 15, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Patrick

    Call it what it is... a dream tax. Yes, they found a way to tax the dreams of the middle class and poor to ease the tax burden on the rich.

    August 15, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Rob

    "So your saying there's a chance"

    August 15, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • J

      LoL from Dumb and Dumber. Love it. By the way, it's "you're" not "your" – just sayin.

      August 15, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mike

    For our state, it was either increase taxes for schools or have a lottery. Oh yea, lottery money didn't go to the schools either.

    August 15, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mike F.

    I buy one lottery ticket a drawing and I buy very enjoyable daydreams with that ticket. I know I'm not going to win, but I'm buying a piece of the fantasy and I get my money's worth. If we have to bring this down to a mathematical probability level, why not calculate the odds of winning without a ticket :-)

    August 15, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Professor Brown

    Chance you'll go back in time = 1.21 gigawatts!!

    August 15, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  15. more2bits

    Odds are I will win someday if I am immortal......

    August 15, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
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