economy Planning To Take Home A Huge Lottery Jackpot? Here’s What You Should Know. The Mega Millions grand prize is up to more than $1.5 billion. Planning To Take Home A Huge Lottery Jackpot? Here’s What You Should Know. Shutterstock
News that is entertaining to read Subscribe for free to get more stories like this directly to your inbox

While no one thinks it’s particularly easy to stumble upon the lucky numbers that will win a lottery, the actual odds are even slimmer than most folks realize.

But with today’s Mega Millions jackpot set at an astronomical $1.55 billion, you might be inclined to invest anyway.

So you’re saying there’s a chance

Some people win the lottery, and you could technically be one of them. The chances of winning the Mega Millions is roughly 1 in 302.6 million, though, so buying a few tickets here and there means the statistics will always be stacked against you.

“They’re not even investments,” said Virginia Tech economics professor Matthew Kovach advised, adding that “there’s an expectation you will always lose money.”

He put it in a starker context by explaining that you’d be about four times more likely to die in a car crash during a one-mile round trip to buy the ticket than you would be to win the jackpot.

Syracuse University mathematics professor Steven Diaz had another comparison ready, noting that the average lifetime odds of being struck by lighting are about 1 in 15,300 — so even if you bought a ticket each week for 80 years, the chances of getting hit are still a lot likelier than taking home a top Mega Millions prize.

Jackpots are becoming harder to win

Subtle changes to the way lotteries are conducted have made them even harder to win than they were in the past.

Powerball kickstarted this trend in 2015, when it became nearly twice as unlikely to hit the winning numbers — jumping from 1 in 175.2 million odds to 1 in 292.2 million. Shortly thereafter, Mega Millions changed its strategy to dilute the chances from about 1 in 258.9 million to the game’s current odds.

Chris Agee
Chris Agee August 8th, 2023
Share this story: