Getting struck by lightning has a better chance than winning the lottery. But with a jackpot of $ 475 million, you can dream
MARK RALSTON | AFP | Getty Images
There’s a pretty good chance – okay, an overwhelming chance – that you won’t win the $ 475 million Mega Millions jackpot.
On the other hand, someone has to win at some point. And daydreaming doesn’t hurt in general.
“Buying a Mega Millions ticket gives our players the permission to dream for just a few dollars,” said Gordon Medenica, lottery director and chief executive officer of Mega Millions in Maryland. “That’s what buying a ticket does – it enables us to dream even when we don’t win.”
With no ticket matching all six numbers drawn last Saturday, the grand prize immediately rose to $ 468 million and was adjusted again to $ 475 million before the Tuesday night drawing. The cash option – which most winners choose in lieu of an annuity – for this jackpot is $ 319.4 million (pre-tax).
In other words, a $ 2 ticket could turn into a slip of paper worth more than all of the economic activity of some small countries. The amount marks the ninth largest prize in the game’s history.
The jackpot has been rising since mid-February when a New York couple won $ 96 million. That was a couple of weeks after a group of players in Michigan won the grand prize: $ 1.05 billion (a staggering).
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Every Mega Millions ticket has a 1 in 302 million chance of hitting the jackpot. (For Powerball – whose jackpot for the Wednesday night draw is $ 201 million – it’s a little better: 1 in 292 million).
The chance of being struck by lightning in your life is far better: 1 in 15,300, according to the National Weather Service.
And buying multiple tickets wouldn’t move the needle much in the odds department.
To give yourself a 50:50 chance of winning the Mega Millions jackpot – that is, the same chances of winning if you toss a coin once – you would have to buy over 151 million different number combinations. Even then, you couldn’t guarantee that you would be the only winner.
The biggest jackpot in US history – a Powerball prize of $ 1.59 billion in 2016 – was split into three types.
Of course, you can win the game without hitting the motherlode. Since the jackpot was last won on February 16, there have been more than 16.4 million winning tickets at all prize levels, including 26 worth $ 1 million or more, according to Mega Millions.