Can I Win The Megamillion? What Are My Odds?

Well, I must admit it.  I lined up at the grocery store counter yesterday like so many others and bought a few, hmmmm,  lottery tickets. I mean the MegaMillions was up to something like $330,000,000!  When my banker said he was going to buy a ticket, well, I just got suckered in and did the same thing.  Not telling how many I bought. 

Someone has to win it eventually, right?  I have just as good a chance as anyone else, right?  It’s worth a buck or two to get in the game, isn’t it? 

 Let’s look at the odds.  First of all what are “odds” anyway?  Simply put “odds of winning” is the ratio of (the chance the you will win) to (the chance that you will not win).  If the odds are 1 to 3, or 1:3, or 1/3, that means out of 4 picks, I have one chance of winning and 3 chances of not winning.  If we have played 4 games, it means that I have only won 1 and have lost 3.  My odds of winning the next game is 1:3.  Those who see the glass half full, see the possibilities in those odds. They are not that bad.  Or are they? 

One source called the odds of the Atlanta Falcons winning the Super Bowl 30 to 1 back in July.  Not being that much of a sports person, I really don’t know how they got those numbers, but I do like them.  30 chances they will win it to only 1 chance they won’t.  Yay!

Back to the lottery.  It seems the odds of winning a Megamillion Jackpot is around 1 to 176,000, 000.  “To make such a concept less abstract, I find it helpful to think of the numbers as days; 176 million days represents a period of more than 482,000 years. So, to win the Mega Millions jackpot last night, players were essentially asked to pick one particular day from a length of time that extends way beyond recorded history”, according to Boston Globe writer Berge Tatian.

Now that puts it in perspective doesn’t it!  No wonder I didn’t win!  If enough people buy enough tickets, eventually someone will randomly choose the right day!  And that did happen last night.  Two people actually won!  Good for them!

Me?  Nah.  I did win $7 though.  Not a very good return on my money…duh!  What was I thinking?


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