The Odds Of Winning The Mega Millions Jackpot


So, what are the odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot? Well, deep down everyone who buys a Mega Millions or Powerball ticket is actually an optimist. But a really hardcore optimist. When ever there’s a draw and no winner is declared, then we can see the ultimate jackpot growing on a weekly basis. But to actually win it, then you’ll be needing to have all the luck of the gods on your side. But, on the other hand, the reality is that someone does actually win the jackpot. The question is: could it be you?

Introduction: The Odds Of Winning The Mega Millions Jackpot

Unfortunately, the short answer is “probably not.” Not to be a downer, but perhaps we should have a look at the odds. The odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot are around 1:259 million. For the Powerball the odds stand at around 1:292 million. As the jackpots get rolled over, more people pile in leading to more ticket sales. This means that your odds of winning get longer and longer. But if you’re a real optimist, then you’ll be playing both. Now the odds of winning both the Mega Millions and the Powerball together are around 1:75 quadrillion according to the latest lotto news (that’s 15 zeros added onto the end). The actual sum is, 1: 75,648,252,765,957,300!

Real World Odds Comparison

These odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot mean little as stand alone numbers. So let’s compare some real world odds. This’ll give us a broader understanding to the possibility of finding ourselves sitting on the deck of a super yacht, surrounded by babes and drinking cocktails, whilst lighting up our Cuban cigars with $100 bills. The average American has a 1:13,500 chance of being struck by lightning. Or the odds of dying in a car crash are 1:645. So, you have to ask yourself, how many people do you know who have been struck by lighting? Then multiply that answer by 19815. Now you’ll begin to see that it’s the excitement of taking part in these lotteries that is the driving force for most participants, not the possibility of winning. Switch on the TV, and grab some snacks. Settle down with a beer in the one hand and your lottery ticket in the other. As the numbers are drawn, because the order of the balls doesn’t matter, then you’re guaranteed to have an exciting evening. As with all things, it’s the taking part that matter (though the winning of it would be nice as well!).

Average US Lottery Spend

Depending on where you live in the US, the average annual spend on lottery tickets is around $200. For some reason, those living in Massachusetts spend $735 each year. Residents of Delaware spend £400. Rhode Islanders put down $514 and those tight New Yorker’s only a mere $200. Maybe you buy those scratch cards, or “Scratchers”, the tickets that may give you an instant payout.

Odds of Winning the Mega Millions Jackpot: Scratch Cards

You can buy these for between $1 to $50. Though the odds for these are certainly better than for those big daddy’s, you’re not going to be buying that yacht any time soon by playing them. Let’s look at the odds. One experiment bought up $1000 worth of scratchers. They actually won on 64 of the 314 tickets purchased. So that represents a 22% chance of a positive return. They had one big win of $500 on a $1 ticket that helped them recover the majority of their initial layout. Unfortunately, this was a one off that they couldn’t repeat. The majority of players actually lost money. The recovery rate was $974 out of each $1000 spent. So if you’re thinking of playing with your pension funds, keep in mind that the rate of return on lottery tickets is a lousy -2.6. Yeah, that’s a minus.

The Lottery Business

Here’s the thing. Lotteries are a business and as such needs to make a profit. Convenience stores are the biggest winners in this game. As the jackpots increase in size, then in come the hopeful punters, clutching their dollar bills. Of course no one goes to the convenience store and leaves with just a lottery ticket. So the stores make money off the other things you stock up on when you’re there. Also there’s a lot of cross buying. Maybe a customer buys a Powerball ticket, and then notices the Mega Millions and buys into that at the same time. The store makes around 5 – 6 cents for each dollar spent. If the winning ticket came from a particular store, (even if it’s not highlighted in the best jackpot site ratings) then they also make a nice fat commission off that as well.

Hope Springs Eternal

All this doesn’t mean that you should be put off from playing any of these lotteries. Though the odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot may appear to be astronomical, remember that someone has to win. And that’s the main takeaway here. Someone wins. So…as it has to be someone, why can’t that someone be you? There, you’re already thinking like an optimist. Why not set aside a weekly or monthly budget. It doesn’t have to be a lot of money as the tickets are very cheap. Now off you go and buy your tickets for both the Mega Millions and the Powerball. Though the odds of winning both are 1: 75,648,252,765,957,300, you’re not fazed. On the other hand, maybe you’ve already been struck by lightning 19 thousand times.