Life Events With Better Odds Than Picking Winning Mega Millions Numbers

Posted on October 22, 2018 - Last Updated on January 4, 2019

Since we’re approaching a historic event in American lottery history, it is important to establish some perspective about winning the big prize. After all, the chances of winning the upcoming Mega Millions jackpot are 1 in 302,575,350, but who really knows what that means? First, a bit of background.

The Oct. 23 Mega Millions drawing will be the largest lottery jackpot in American history. Because there were no winners at Friday’s drawing, the current estimated jackpot for the grand prize is $1.6 billion, surpassing the previous winning record of $1.586 billion.

That previous record occurred in a January 2016 Powerball drawing. Three ticketholders in Tennessee, Florida and California split the prize to receive roughly $533 million in annuity payments each.

With about 30 hours to go before the drawing (as of this writing), ticket purchases will likely increase and push the jackpot even higher. However, it’s still going to be pretty tough to win.

You should still play to win–but here are some things with better odds

This section is fairly self-explanatory. It’s a fun (and rather astonishing) list of odds for various life events–odds far more likely than hitting the Mega Millions jackpot.

Here are the odds that you:

As a note, you have a better chance at winning the Mega Millions jackpot than dying during a five-mile bus trip (1 in 500 million) and getting struck by lightning seven times (4.15 in 100 nonillion).

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Mega Millions wanted it this way

Of course, it may seem odd that the two biggest jackpots in history occurred in the last two years. As it turns out, there’s nothing odd about it. Mega Millions did this on purpose.

The first thing that Lottery regulators did was a simple ticket price increase: $1 to $2. The price increase mirrors the same price that Powerball charges for its tickets.

The second thing the company did was to monkey with the odds and draw selections. The drawing used to be a five number selection out of 75 numbers, then a Megaball selection out of 15 numbers.

That arrangement created a 1 in about 259 million chance of winning. However, two years ago, Mega Millions tweaked the formula to a five number selection out of 70 numbers, but a Megaball selection out of 25 numbers.

Those simple adjustments created the new odds that sail upwards of 300 million against winning. With fewer people winning, the jackpots had only one direction to go–way up.

So, it’s probable that someone will be a new billionaire after tomorrow night. But fewer people are winning, and that’s just how Mega Millions wants it.

Of course, we’re buying Mega Millions online lottery tickets ourselves, too. After all, it’s a billion-and-a-half dollars, people.

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Bart Shirley

Bart Shirley is a writer and poker player from Houston, Texas. Bart writes about the NJ online casino industry and US online poker. He has a master's degree in business administration from Texas Christian University and a degree in English from Texas A&M.

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