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. FinDogg

    The dude who wrote this article bought a dozen quick picks on his way home. Shut your face hole.

    August 15, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Gary Thompson

    I don't play the lottery and I have just as much
    chance of winning as those who play.

    August 15, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Tax Morons

    Now that makes perfect sense – You don't want to win because you'll have to pay taxes at the highest tax rate on the winnings. That thinking is why some people just don't make it in life...........

    August 15, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Bob T

    640MM for cash equals approx 320mm winnings. After taxes one winner would clear about 190mm. SO if you bought 175,711,536 tickets and were the only winner one could make 15MM profit. not bad return for an investemnt of <24hours. Dogh! You could spend $15 on a bad movie or $5 on a lottery and have better entertainment value fantasizing about the winnings for longer than 2 hours........

    August 15, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • ShannonInCT

      And if you split it with one other winner, you lose $80M.

      August 15, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dean

    Somebody should tell the writer that tonight's lottery is Powerball and not MegaMillions....................

    August 15, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Logic

    Problem is, someone DOES win, so the rest keep playing....

    August 15, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dust My Broom

    The games are rigged.
    Every once in a while, they have to let somebody win, or people stop playing.
    If you all stopped playing, they may be forced to change the game.
    If everybody in America, just for one week stopped playing the lottery......
    The next week you will find more winners.
    Think about it.

    August 15, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • harryhaller

      Yep. And the Apollo landings were staged. They were recorded in Billy's sandbox just down the street!

      August 15, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  8. cedaly1968

    Why is CNN reposting an article from March 2012? Man, this site is starting to suck...

    August 15, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Slotracer

    This article is nothing more than a repeat of what we all already know. Yeah, the odds are astronomical against winning. But to say unequivocally the I WON'T win is a lie. The only way to guarantee that is to not buy a ticket. Odds against winning are INFINITE if just don't buy a ticket. As for me, I'll take those odds... and if I win I'll send the author a fruit basket.

    August 15, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Chris Phillips

    So there are 5 numbers between 1 and 59 (so a total of 714,924,299 possible combinations) and then another number between 1 and 35. So the total number of possible combinations is 25,022,350,465. It seems to me that the possibility of winning would be 1 in 25,022,350,465, and NOT 1 in 175,711,536. What am I missing?

    August 15, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • harryhaller

      You forgot to carry the 4 in the third column.

      August 15, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Tolbert

    I know the reason that I'm not going to win – I still have all my teeth.

    Think about it, when was the last time you saw a lottery winner that din't flash a gap-toothed grin or looked like they had just come off a week long meth binge.

    August 15, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  12. shekke

    Using these odds for comparison is stupid- like odds for having conjoined twins. If you are a man, you're odds are zero so the odds are actually better with the lottery... There is no guarantee that ANY person will get hit by lightning ever again. Anywhere. (now someone probably will, but that's not hte point, it's not guaranteed) SOMEONE WILL win the MegaMillions jackpot probably in then near future. Maybe two or three or four people/tickets will win. Given that someone WILL win, I'm ok with buying a couple of tickets because my chances are as good as anyone else's.

    August 15, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  13. AUGUST

    Who wants their taxes to go up a little more?!?

    August 15, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris Phillips

      I do! I do!

      August 15, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  14. AUGUST

    I don't!!!!!!

    August 15, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Rooster Cogburn

    So I'm wasting my money???

    August 15, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
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