To my dismay, I didn’t win the $636,000,000 MegaMillions lottery the other night. I guess I won’t be buying a yacht anytime soon…
According to the odds listed on the bottom of the of the ticket, there is a 1 in 258,890,850 change of winning. That number comes from a formula called the Combination Formula, which is:
Where r is amount of numbers you can pick, and n is total number of choices.
Think “N choices, choose R“
In MegaMillions, you pick 5 regular numbers from the pool of 75 and a MegaBall which is 1 number from a pool of 15.
258,890,850 is the total number of combinations. If you have a single ticket, your odd of winning are 1 in 258,890,850.
Simply having 2 tickets doubles your odds of winning.
What if you bought 2 tickets for every drawing for your entire life? Then would you have a chance of winning?
MegaMillions draws numbers on every Tuesday and Friday.
Let’s assume I start today. I’m 24 years old and the average life expectancy of a Wisconsinite is 80 years old.
Now we take the years I have left to play multiplied by the drawings per year to get 5,824 drawings over my life.
If I buy 1 ticket for each of the 5,824 drawings, it would cost $5,824 and my odds of winning are 5,824 in 258,890,850. This roughly equals 1 in 44,452. This doesn’t sound like a great ROI.
I can double my odds if I buy 2 tickets for each of the 5,824 drawings. Again, it would cost $11,648 and my odds of winning are 11,648 in 258,890,850. This roughly equals 1 in 22,226. Better, but not sure I’m will drop that kind of dough.
Even if I bought 100 per drawing, the odds are pretty slim.
To put these numbers in prospective,
- Odds of having twins: 1 in 726
- Odds of a male developing breast cancer: 1 in 1,000.
- Odds of being struck by lightning (over a lifetime): 1 in 3,000.
- Odds of being eaten by a shark: 1 in 13,729